[Me and ticklemedead, whose work can be found here, took turns supplying a line each to write this. We weren't really trying to write something good, just something we did to pass the time.

In case you're wondering, the alternating lines which are actually good are hers, the others are mine.]

He walked away from the storefront, walking the slow, deliberate steps of someone at the end of his rope.

He looked down at his feet, they seemed perfectly sure, at this last moment, when for every other moment in his life they'd never known which way to go.

And yet, here they were now, dragging him along to the very spot he had lost her.

The dust in the air, the patch of sky above, the earth underneath his feet, they were witness to that day. He could still hear faint echoes of her words if he closed his eyes. This place had retained them, phantom words held back.

"They all look so pretty, Daddy! I want all of them!"

He clenched his eyes shut. The poppies hadn't all bloomed that day but today the field before the edge was in full bloom. A blood red carpet before a jutting edge that ended abruptly. The scent was starting to call to him.

It reminded him of his stupidity that day, it reminded him of how he'd simply let her go. And twenty years later, she'd done the same.

He'd known as soon as he'd received the divorce papers. He wouldn't get custody and Anya wouldn't be allowed to live with him. He'd known his wife or rather ex-wife was not meant to be a mother. She didn't know Anya's favorite toy or how she needed a story and a nightlight to sleep. He'd known all of this and yet, he'd signed them, he'd went along with the court's decision never once fought against it.

She wasn’t his child, they said. He wasn't the biological father, therefore he couldn't have her, they'd claimed.

He should have seen it coming. Anya had always needed him. If he'd tried harder to stay in her life, maybe she wouldn't have come to their spot that one last time.

She might not have carried his blood within her, but he knew he was an infinitely better parent then her mother had ever been.

But in the end, it counted for nothing. Her mother may have driven her to the spot but his absence had pushed her down that cliff.

He made his way down to the field, determined to find the best flower there to mark his last act of giving.

He picked a poppy that seemed to a brighter red than any on that meadow. He walked to the edge and let it fall. Its descent looked as beautiful and tragic hers must have looked. He stared until it seemed only a drop of blood relenting to gravity.

"For Anya.", he muttered, twenty years too late.

He'd known what he was here for. He sat back on the field. The poppies a sea around him, their scent canceling every other sensation. He knew he had another five minutes before the scent took over and it would put him to sleep.

He smiled. He wasn't going to the Other, he was just going to visit Anya, like he had done sparingly in the preceding years. Except this time, he never had to leave.

He could feel the exact moment when it happened. He closed his eyes, drowsing into a sleep no one could wake from.




RANDOMOSITY (is that a word?)