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“The Sound of Shattering Bones” by Andrés Menéndez
“Do you want to go for a swim?”
Logan looked up from his book, seeing Tim take off his shirt. Big muscles, hairy chest, brown skin, and long hair shining under the sunlight. He felt the ache in his heart come back, but he ignored it to avoid crying again.
“I’ll… I’ll catch you in a minute. I have to put on a swimsuit,” Logan answered, taking a minute before closing his book and grabbing the backpack next to him to put it inside.
“Why? We are going to die anyway, and we have seen each other naked many times. The sea is beautiful, and I want it to hug my naked body when I leave this world.”
Tim put down his shorts and underwear, and walked towards the sea. Sweat fell down his back, and Logan remembered the kisses he gave him last night, his hands moving around his boyfriend’s body. Sex had been great, and he wanted to experience it again, a fun distraction to avoid the bad thoughts sounding on his mind.
But they only had twenty minutes left. He wanted to spend their last moments together smiling and laughing, feeling the love they had for each other. He wanted to pretend nothing horrible would happen to them.
After taking off his pants and underwear, Logan started to walk toward the sea. He felt jealous of Tim, acting like he didn’t care about the nightmare they were living while Logan couldn’t stop thinking about death. He wished he could be like his boyfriend, and have fun before the shattering occurred.
Seagulls were flying above the two of them, and the fresh spring air made his hair float when it hit his face. And with the air came the smell of death, of bodies starting to rot. Logan looked at the sea, the sand, and his boyfriend swimming deeper into the water. His mind told him to keep going, but he couldn’t. Logan turned around and looked at the house he and his friends had rented for a whole week.
It was a simple blue house with three rooms and a pool, big enough for the six of them to have fun for the last time. They laughed, danced, and drank a lot. Bruno especially, as he broke down inside the pool and started to sob, screaming that he didn’t want to die. Logan was the first to comfort him, hugging him and telling him everything was going to be okay.
It was a lie, as he was proved wrong the next day when Bruno became the next victim.
The sound of his bones shattering one by one came back to Logan’s mind, combined with his friend’s screams as he begged for mercy. Bruno’s leg snapped in two, his collarbone shattered, and his pelvis broke into a million pieces. Logan was grateful that Bruno had a quick death, his heart being stabbed by a bone after two minutes of immeasurable pain.
Not everyone died that quickly. Valeria was proof of that. Her feet were the first to shatter, and then her legs, her bones breaking apart from the bottom of her body to the top of her chest until her neck turned in the wrong direction.
“Fuck you, whoever caused all of this,” Logan said, his eyes laying on the pile of bodies that were covered by a green sheet inside the empty pool.
One by one, his friends started to die at two o’clock, just like they knew they would. He was the one who cleaned the mess, taking their bodies outside the house and throwing them into the empty pool, an improvised grave for his best friends to rest forever.
“Are you going to come with me or what?”
Tim screamed at him from inside the water, and Logan took a deep breath before turning toward his boyfriend.
“Sorry, just a little… shaken. You look cute with your face wet,” Logan said while he got inside the water.
The water was cold, but not enough to make him get out of the sea in a hurry. He liked how shiny it looked under the sunlight, moving in calm waves that made him feel at peace.
“Does it reminds you of last night?” Tim asked, winking at his boyfriend with a smirk.
“God, you are so dirty. Can’t we have a nice few minutes before…” Logan looked at the blue darkness below him, unable to keep talking.
It was all that awaited him, wasn’t it? He will die and go to a place where he will never feel again. Tim will shatter, just like the rest of his friends and classmates did. Logan will be alone, forever cursed to relive the past. That’s if he kept his memories after death. He liked to believe he would, because the alternative was more horrifying.
Tim put his hand on Logan’s chin, and made him look at his face.
“Before we die?” Tim asked.
It took all his energy to not break into tears, and Logan was able to nod. He got closer to Tim, and hugged him, feeling safe in his arms.
“How do you do it?” he asked.
“What do you mean?” asked Tim, hugging Logan back.
“How can you be so happy when one of us is going to die today, and the remaining one will die tomorrow, alone?”
One month ago during the last class Logan would ever take, Patrick got up from his chair and walked to the front of the class to explain his marketing project. He fell to the floor before making it to the blackboard, and Logan perfectly remembers looking up when he heard the hit, thinking his classmate had broken his nose when he hit the floor.
But the bone that he broke wasn’t his nose, but his leg. It was turning in the wrong direction, and as two of his classmates screamed in terror, Patrick’s arm broke in two, his shapeless elbow giving him the appearance of a rag doll, his arm moving in ways it shouldn’t.
Then his nose shattered, and Logan threw up. His classmate’s ribcage exploded from the inside, and Tim screamed to everyone to get out of the classroom. Patrick’s skull shattered, and Miss Rosswell fainted behind her desk.
The next morning Logan couldn’t get off his bed, hugged by his sheets as the sound of shattering bones echoed inside his head. And it got worse at two o’clock when his group chat exploded with messages saying that Amelia had died the same way Patrick did.
Tim came to his house when their third classmate died, and made Logan company while he cried and begged for their nightmare to end. He was thankful for having Tim that night, and every day after it, to make him forget for a few hours what was happening.
But he could never forget it completely. How could you forget that you could be the next one to die? One more body to the already big pile of dead students of classroom 3-A.
“We are all going to die, Logan. I don’t want to, but what can I do? Nothing. I can’t stop a ghost, a demon, a satanic cult that cursed us, or whatever is causing all of this. And I can’t stop time from moving and making us immortal. The least I can do is enjoy the present, and kiss the man I love until death comes to knock at my door,” Tim said, kissing Logan’s forehead.
The alarm on Logan’s smartwatch sounded, indicating they had three minutes left. How much can he say in three minutes? Five days passed fast, and Logan felt like he didn’t enjoy the last moments he spent with his boyfriend and friends.
The six of them were the last survivors of their class, and they decided to be together during their last moments on earth. But time moved quickly when you needed it to go slow, and five days felt like one. Logan experienced the deaths of his friends as if their bones had broken within minutes apart from each other instead of a whole day.
“I love you, Logan. I love how your face looks when you wake up. The sound of your laugh is beautiful, and I can’t avoid laughing with you every time I heard it. Going to see superhero movies with you is amazing, and I could hear you talk about how all of them are connected for hours. I like your ass too, but you already know that,” Tim said.
Logan laughed, feeling the knot in his throat loosen a little, and he punched his boyfriend in the stomach.
“You are an asshole,” he said, looking at his boyfriend’s eyes.
Tim kissed Logan, putting his hands on his boyfriend’s face to clean his tears.
“You are crying, so I know a million emotions are running through your mind. Is there anything you want to say to me?” asked Tim when they separated.
Millions of memories came to Logan’s mind, but the stronger ones were from the last month, all of them showing him what awaited him in less than three minutes.
He remembered when Tamara came to his house on day fifteen, asking him if she could stay with him because her parents threw her out of their house. She died while they were eating, her fingers cracking and changing directions when she leaned to grab a hamburger, and then the rest of her body followed.
Another memory came, the one from day twenty-seven, when Logan was with his friends and a classmate named Alysson, drinking in honor of their class. They awoke at three of the afternoon, and he was the one who found her dead in the bathroom, her broken knees bent up at an impossible angle, and her chin touching her low back.
That was the day he and his friends got out of the city and went to the beach, leaving their phones and laptops behind to be alone with their thoughts, waiting for the time to come for all of them to die like the ones before them.
“Let me help you. What is something you love about me?” asked Tim, seeing his boyfriend struggle with his thoughts.
So many things Logan wanted to say, but where to start? They were going to be the last words he would ever say to his boyfriend, and he wanted them to be special.
But he could only think about the simple things he loved, so he decided that they would need to be enough.
“I love how you sing to me before we sleep, even if you aren’t a good singer. You like to travel, and I’ll always appreciate that you convinced your parents to let me go with you when you visited France two years ago. It felt like we would get the happy future I always dreamt of. Your eyes, your hair, your body, every time I look at you I think I’m seeing perfection in the flesh. And I know you are, because you make me feel lucky to be alive. I’m the happiest person in the universe because I have the honor of being your boyfriend,” Logan said, letting the tears fall down his face.
The smartwatch sounded again, indicating their time was up.
“I love you, Logan. Thank you for giving me the honor of being your boyfriend too,” Tim said, giving Logan the warmest smile he had ever received.
They held hands, and Logan hoped it would be him who would die first. He wouldn’t survive the experience of seeing his partner shattering into million pieces as he screamed in agony and despair.
“I love you too, Tim.”
Their lips touched, and they closed their eyes to avoid looking at what would happen. They didn’t separate, kissing while they begged not to hear one of their bones breaking in half.
Andrés Menéndez currently resides in Yucatán, México. He likes to use his free time to write about LGBT+ characters in different genres. When he is not writing, he can be found drinking chocolate, reading, and playing with his dogs. You can find his work in Monstroddities by Sliced Up Press and on Twitter @MenendezCAndres
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