Together Forever

📅 Published on July 31, 2021

“Together Forever”

Written by A.J. Harvey
Edited by N.M. Brown
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by Olivia Steele

Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available


Rating: 9.82/10. From 11 votes.
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Last week I was alone in my bed. I’m not alone tonight. He’s right next to me. He’s not supposed to be here, though.

Last week I was a senior in high school and completely in love with Steven Hooverson. Truth be told, I’ve been in love with Steven for years. He was always handsome and popular.

I’ve never been popular.

I was an only child, and my mom spent the majority of her time bouncing from one man’s bed to another, usually in a meth-fueled haze. I was often alone for days in our dilapidated trailer. We didn’t even have pets; we couldn’t afford them. Besides, there were always strays running around the trailer park. A few times I would drag in some mange-riddled puppy or scrawny kitten and when my mother finally noticed, she would yell about having another mouth to feed
before tossing the animal out the door.

As I got older, I would hide the puppy or kitten for a few days. Before my mom could find them, I would smother them under a pillow or drown them in the bathtub. I buried their little bodies
under the trailer, that way I could visit the small mounds of dirt if I was feeling particularly lonely.

I was alone at school too, of course. You wouldn’t think someone could be lonely surrounded by a classroom full of people your own age, but you’d be wrong. Children have a special way of making someone like me miserable. My clothes were usually dirty or tattered, my hair hanging in greasy strings around my face. It’s hard to keep up appearances with donated clothes you couldn’t even keep clean because the water was often shut off. My classmates would tease me, call me “smelly” and “that grubby girl” and avoid me. Their whispers and giggles trailed after me, as close and familiar as my own shadow.

High school kids can be especially cruel. Boys would pretend to flirt with me on a dare. If I ever gave the slightest hint I believed their compliments, they would burst into laughter, running back to their group of friends waiting a few feet away, all of them pointing and doubled over, laughing. I hated the stupid sound of their hyena yapping. I learned to keep to myself and avoid talking to anyone. Most of the time everyone acted like I was invisible.

The only good thing about being invisible was being able to watch Steven. When he passed by me in the hallways, I could smell his body wash. My eyes would trail after him, drinking in every detail of the way he moved, how his clothes hugged his muscular body, his brilliant smile. Just being near him felt like standing warm sunshine after weeks of winter cold. In class I would watch him rub the back of his head when a test question was frustrating. My fingers would twitch on my desk, aching to run my fingers through his hair.

Last week I was tired of being alone. The twenty-seven dirt mounds under the trailer were not enough. I wanted to be with a person. I wanted Steven.

It was the week before Valentine’s Day. I watched stupid girls giggling as they passed pink cards out to their idiot friends. I watched boyfriends surprise their girlfriends with the standard boring boxes of candy. Even the damn teachers would find gifts on their desks.

On Thursday, February 12th, I decided I wouldn’t be alone on Valentine’s Day. I skipped school and took a bus downtown. I remembered the area from a time when my mother would drag me with her to score drugs. There was a woman in a rundown apartment building that would read palms or whip up hexes and potions. I had some money stashed away from my after- school job flipping hamburgers. The woman’s name was Tamara, or Miss Tam-Tam. She always gave me the creeps.

I remembered the night she grabbed me by the shoulders and stared into my eyes. I was in the third grade. My mom had brought me to the building to meet up with a dealer. Mom had hissed at me to keep quiet and not to touch anything. As we climbed the dingy stairs, we passed Miss Tam-Tam. Her skirts were billowing out behind her with each descending step. My hand involuntarily reached out to caress the colorful silk. Before I knew it, steel talons sank into my shoulders and whirled me around. Sharp, almost black eyes pierced my face.

“Whatchoo know about me, chil’?” her voice purred like a cat, but there was an undercurrent of hatred and malice.

I stammered, my mouth gaping as the air in my throat leaked out forming no words, only soft grunts.

“Never mind this idiot girl, Miss Tam-Tam. We’re just meeting up with Eddie,” my mother laughed, her voice small and shaking. Mother pulled me away from Miss Tam-Tam.

“I see you again, chil’,” Miss Tam-Tam laughed. “You’ll need sumtin, and I’ll give it. But you won’ like it.” Again, she cackled and with a flourish of silks she continued down the stairs, her humorless chuckles echoing off the peeling walls. I watched her disappear behind a door spray- painted with a neon green skull.

Years later, Miss Tam-Tam’s warning repeated in my head as I stepped off the bus in front of the crumbling apartment building. I waved my hands around my ears, as if I could brush the memory of her words away like a troublesome moth. A man was sitting on the building’s steps, sipping dark brown liquid from a bottle wrapped in a crinkled paper bag. I stepped past him, holding my breath to block out the musky smell of his body odor, and pulled open the door to the first-floor hallway.

A fluorescent light pulsed overhead with a buzzing hum. The flickering light bathed the cracked grey walls in cool light and only served to deepen the shadows in the corner. Though it was mid-morning, the hallway seemed dark and sepulchral.

I walked up the staircase to the third floor where I found the same glowing green skull, faded but still menacing, on a battered door. I raised my hand to knock but before my knuckles could land on the wood, the door slowly creaked open. There was a swampy smell, mingled with the metallic scent of blood. Miss Tam-Tam’s smooth voice slithered from the darkness beyond the door.

“Here you are again, chil’. Look how you grown. Come in.”

I stepped in and the door closed behind me with a soft click. My eyes adjusted to the dark and I could see the apartment was a studio, really just one large room with a small bathroom tucked away in the corner. What could have been the living room held a small round table with two chairs. On the table was a deck of cards and a long twisting knife. All along the walls of the apartment were shelves full of jars, strange plants, a few tattered books, and what looked like small bones. The makeshift kitchen was situated on the other side of the room. A large steel pot bubbled on a hot plate set up on a broken dresser.

Miss Tam-Tam stood next to the pot, stirring slowly, her back to me. I slid my backpack off my shoulders and pulled out all the money I had, a hundred dollars. I gripped the wad of cash in my fist and cleared my throat.

“I… I need a… potion,” I said. “Do you do that?”

Miss Tam-Tam turned to look at me, nodding twice. I don’t know how but she looked even taller than when I first saw her when I was a kid. She stepped towards me and I couldn’t help but shrink back against the door.

“Yes, I do,” her voice was clipped, and her black eyes bore into mine. She stopped only a foot away. I thought I could hear the sound of a swarm of bees from somewhere in the room. The soft buzzing pulsed in time with my heartbeat.

“A love potion?” I asked.

Miss Tam-Tam threw her head to the side and spat violently onto the stained carpet. Her face twisted with scorn and she shot forward, closing the distance between us, only inches away. Her lips curled into a sneer revealing mottled yellow teeth.

“Love,” the word spewed out of her mouth, slimy droplets of spit flicked onto my face. “Stupid chil’, you sure? You think that’s what you need?”

I straightened, willing myself not to blink, and raised the money to my chest. “I’m not going to be alone anymore.”

Miss Tam-Tam grunted and took the money from my hand. I exhaled slowly and closed my eyes in an effort to slow down my heart thumping wildly in my chest as she turned towards the
kitchen area. I could hear pots banging and Miss Tam-Tam muttering to herself.

My eyes flew open at once as a terrifying idea flooded my brain. What if the potion accidentally made Steven fall in love with someone else? I didn’t know how it all worked. I’d certainly seen a movie or two where that mishap occurred.

“He must want only me,” I insisted. I stepped over to stand near Miss Tam-Tam, trying to ignore the acrid smell now rising with the steam over the boiling pot.

“Of course, chil’,” Miss Tam-Tam purred. “But it takes sumtin of you to do that.”

She stepped to me and tilted her head forward, sniffing. The action reminded me of a wolf tracking prey in the snow. I froze in place while she bent lower, weaving her head back and forth across my torso.

“You having your moon cycle. I smell it fresh on you,” she looked up, her eyes gleamed as they scanned my stunned face. “That blood be the best.”

She abruptly stood and whirled over to a shelf above the hot plate and returned with a small coffee mug.

“Take this in there and put your plug in it,” she pointed to the cramped bathroom across from the living room. I nodded and took the cup.

My body shook as I sat on the toilet with one hand clutching the mug between my legs. I pulled the tampon string, catching the blood-soaked cotton cylinder in the mug with a wet plunking sound. I set the mug on the back of the toilet, avoiding looking inside and inserted a fresh tampon.

Washing my hands in the stained sink, I studied my reflection in the mirror. I looked crazy. My eyes were bulging, wet globes straining from pale skin. Two roaches twitched as they perched on the faucet.

“Even the roaches have someone,” I laughed but it didn’t sound like my laugh. It sounded a lot like Miss Tam-Tam’s horrible, empty, cold laugh.

I returned to the kitchen in time to see Miss Tam-Tam sprinkling a white powder into the pot. She took the mug from my hands with a monstrous grin. “The thirteenth is a powerful day for this spell,” she said. I realized it was Friday the thirteenth.

Perfect. More of that terrible empty laughter wriggled in my throat and I clamped my mouth shut.

Miss Tam-Tam turned and tossed the bloody contents of the mug into the boiling pot. A hiss of steam, pink in color, escaped the bubbling liquid. My stomach lurched and I wrapped my arms protectively around my body.

Miss Tam-Tam whispered in a language I’d never heard before as she stirred the liquid in what looked like very specific rotations. She ladled the thick-looking dark red potion into a small silver flask and turned to me.

“Just remember, chil’, he will be with you forever… no matter what,” she intoned, her face a statue.

“Forever,” I whispered and carefully tucked the flask into my backpack.

Before she could say another word, I ran from the apartment. Her horrible laughter followed me down the stairs and into the entry hallway. Outside the sunlight was blinding and I gulped at the fresh air.

On the bus ride home, I began to form a plan. Steven would be at Jennifer Miller’s party. I had overheard several of the kids at school talking about Jennifer’s “kick ass” Friday the 13th party.
Jennifer lived in a big, fancy house a few blocks from the school. All the popular kids would be there, and probably a few burnouts too. I figured I could sneak in relatively unnoticed. I was invisible after all. I’d pour the potion into Steven’s drink the first chance I could. Then I’d wait.

My heart pounded as I imagined having him all to myself. I imagined him holding me. My cheeks ignited. I imagined not being alone.

My mom wasn’t home, as usual, when I arrived back at the trailer. I took a long shower. I tried to wash away any lingering smell that might have contaminated me in that awful apartment. After my shower, I shifted through my mom’s closet and pulled out a mini dress. It was black, and probably the least revealing outfit she owned. I pulled the stretchy fabric over my body.

The dress was a bit loose and hung around my thin frame, but it would do.

I took time to brush and braid my hair and even swiped a little mascara onto my eyelashes. It was a special night, after all.

It was a two-mile walk to the school and just a couple blocks more to Jennifer’s house. I tied my sneakers; no dress shoes for me. The single pair of sneakers was all I had, and I knew I couldn’t make the walk wearing my mom’s ridiculous slut heels. I stuffed the potion into my jacket pocket and headed down the street.

The cold winter wind whipped around my bare legs. Along the walk I imagined Steven asking me to the prom. I imagined Steven proposing. I imagined being with Steven forever.

My pace was slow as I dreamed of never being alone again. The sun had already begun to set when I left the trailer and it was getting dark fast. I was almost halfway to the school when thunder rumbled throughout the sky. A light mist of freezing rain fell on me and I pulled my thin jacket around me as tightly as possible, thankful to feel the comforting weight of the flask in my pocket.

A car splashed past me and jerked to a halt before reversing. I knew that car. It was a completely refurbished 1976 Dodge Charger, cherry red and sexy as hell. It was Steven’s car. I had overheard him talking about it several times. He restored it with his dad. It was one of my favorite late-night fantasies to imagine Steven’s body pressed against mine in the backseat of that car.

I blinked in the increasing rainfall as the driver window lowered to reveal Steven’s beautiful face, smiling with concern.

“You need a ride?” he asked. I could already smell him, and warmth flowed through my body. I couldn’t believe my luck.

“Uhhh… y-yes, please!” I stuttered and hurried to the passenger door. The lock clicked and I scrambled in out of the rain. I couldn’t help but grin like an idiot at him while I clicked my seatbelt. I noticed he wasn’t wearing his. Such a naughty boy. So sexy. I shivered and whispered a thank you.

“No problem,” he said and began driving. “Where to?”

“Oh, I was going to Jennifer’s party,” I answered. “I heard it was going to be cool.”

To my horror, he started laughing. My stomach sank as he chuckled like someone would if a small child told a knock-knock joke.

“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” he said after a minute. He eased his foot off the accelerator, and I could feel the car slowing. He had a half smile on his lips, a pitying smile.
He pitied me. My blood started to boil.

“Listen, you know the kids there are just going to make fun of you. You won’t have any fun around them. They can be kind of mean,” he explained still wearing that stupid nice-guy smile. His hands turned the steering wheel, pointing the car in the other direction. He was taking me back home. Back to that empty trailer with only my dead pets for company. Back to being alone.

The rain was pouring, and flashes of lightning illuminated the empty sidewalks and manicured lawns leading to cozy houses full of happy little perfect families… just like Steven’s family. He reached out to pat my shoulder and my vision flooded with red. I didn’t need his fucking pity.

He was supposed to love me, damn it.

My hand moved on its own, shooting out to grab the back of his head and slamming his shocked face against the driver’s side window with all my strength. His body tensed in surprise, and his leg straightened, jamming hard on the pedal. The engine growled and the car rocketed forward, wheels spinning on the rain-slicked streets. I could hear myself screaming with rage just before the car crashed into a massive oak tree.

There was a wet crunching sound when his face hit the steering wheel. No airbags in his precious Charger. Everything seemed to be in slow motion. I could see the top of the steering wheel disappear above his nose. His eyes popped like little grapes before the steering wheel pushed all the way into his head. Blood exploded onto the dashboard and splashed across the windshield.

The seatbelt tightened around my body, squeezing the air from my chest. My head snapped back and hit the seat with a thump. Dark butterflies blotted my vision. I heard the same horrible buzzing sound from Miss Tam-Tam’s apartment, like a thousand bees were inside my head. I started to sink into the dark.

Lightning flashed milliseconds before a booming crack of thunder erupted in the sky. I jumped and looked out my window to see if anyone was watching. The curtains covering the windows of the surrounding houses remained shut. Few lights were on, mostly the blue haze of television sets.

My brain went into overdrive, trying to figure out what to do next. The overwhelming reality of what I had just done washed over me and my lips trembled as tears fell fat and hot on my cheeks. On impulse I pulled the flask out of my pocket. It was magic right? Miss Tam-Tam said we would be together forever. Maybe it could fix this.

I set the flask on the dashboard and pulled as hard as I could on Steven’s shoulders. After several minutes of straining there was a squelching, sloppy noise, followed by what sounded like a champagne cork popping. Steven’s head flew back against his seat and a fresh spray of blood decorated the ceiling.

A wail surged out of my throat when I saw his face. His once beautiful green eyes were gone.

Instead there was a deep crevice where his skull had shattered and collapsed inward. There was nothing but a mass of blood and some kind of white, runny fluid… what was left of his eyes… mingling with the red and trailing down his face into his open mouth.

I cradled his face with both my hands and whimpered as I leaned forward to kiss his top lip. I tasted the blood and swallowed. I needed to fix him.

I grabbed the flask, snapped off the top and poured the potion into his mouth. Before it could dribble out, I pushed up on his chin to close his mouth, lifting upward to tilt his head back so the potion could slide down his throat. I held his head that way for at least a minute, waiting for even a hint of something, any sign it was working.

There was nothing.

I screamed in frustration and released his chin. His body slumped to lean against me. He looked like he was sleeping. I gently kissed the top of his head before I shifted out from under his body. I opened the passenger door and backed out, careful to let Steven’s body slide all the way down onto the seat.

I started running. I ran the entire way home, my chest burning. I slammed the door to the trailer shut, tore off my soaking jacket and kicked off my wet shoes. Walking down the hallway, I peeled off the dress and finally climbed into my bed. I cried myself to sleep and dreamed of Steven looking at me with no eyes. The next morning the news reported a high school student involved in a tragic accident. The community was shocked. The footage continued, showing stupid girls clutching each other and sobbing about how much everyone loved him. I felt so empty and more alone than I had ever felt. I crawled under the trailer and laid next to my buried pets for most of the day.

Late in the evening I finally crawled out from under the trailer and went inside. My mom still wasn’t home. I tried to eat some of the stale crackers left in the kitchen, but they were sawdust in my mouth. I gave up and shuffled into the living room and turned on the TV.

The news reporter gave an update about a small flask found in the car at the crime scene.

Police suspected drunk driving. I closed my eyes and I could see Steven’s mouth, bloody but still beautiful. I spent two hours in the living room, watching the news afraid of hearing any
witnesses seeing a woman fleeing the scene. There was no reason to suspect me, of course; no one had seen Steven pick me up in his car. No one could ever connect us. He was loved and I was invisible.

That night I crawled into my bed and pulled the threadbare blanket over my head. I was attempting to will myself to sleep when I heard the faintest creak near my door.

Slowly, I pulled the blanket past my eyes and looked at the doorway. Someone was standing there, in the dark. Someone tall. I blinked and the figure lurched forward with a jerky motion. I scrambled to sit up as the figure moved closer. The moonlight from my window threw a small square of light in the middle of the room. The figure moved into the light and I could see its face.

It was Steven. Beautiful, mangled Steven with no eyes.

He was naked and a dark, jagged Y-shaped cut was stitched closed on his torso. An autopsy scar. He stood in the light, his body swaying slightly. He looked like he was trying to hear my breathing.

I whispered his name and his head jerked to face me. His body moved quickly, scuttling in that strange jerky motion, almost like a marionette puppet with a lunatic pulling the strings. He banged his shins on the foot of my bed and then spider-crawled over me until his face was inches from mine. He didn’t smell like body wash. He smelled very dead.

He craned his neck forward until his lips rested against mine. Dry, flaking, cold lips covered mine. My first kiss. The smell of rot enveloped me, and I gagged. He shifted his body off mine and laid next to me, his arm draped across my stomach.

“Forever…” he croaked.

“Forever,” I answered and snuggled against him.

I finally wasn’t alone.

Rating: 9.82/10. From 11 votes.
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🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available

Written by A.J. Harvey
Edited by N.M. Brown
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by Olivia Steele

🔔 More stories from author: A.J. Harvey

Publisher's Notes: N/A

Author's Notes: N/A

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Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

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1 year ago

search me up oh youtube

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