Sanction

Dear Anna

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Dear Anna,

It's strange to finally be writing to you after all this time. But there's really no one else for me to speak with, no one else I want to reach out to. It's taken the end of the world for me to realize that the only person I want to spend the end of the world with is you.

And yet it seems I can't do even that. For all I know, you may no longer even be alive. Even as I wrote those words, I could barely see them through my tears. I've hoped for a long time that you'd be safe in New York City, but I see now that the chances of that are pretty much non-existent. No place is safe.

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Because whatever it is that fucked technology over, it did it on a planetary scale. No electricity, no radio, no cell phones. No heat. Cities going dark, planes falling from the sky. It looks like mankind's finally come to Death's door, and we're going down with a whimper.

And that's fine. That's completely fine, Anna. You see, soon I'll be ending it all myself.

Today marks the 108th day since I left you in New York and my plane crashed into the Canadian wilderness. Each day since has been a battle to see the next one. This place has no mercy: it'll kill you with fangs and icy winds if it can. It kills all will and hope. It makes you into a killer.

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It's taken me this long and this far to realize that no matter how much food I scrounge or how many knives and arrows I make, I will die here. I look at the barren rose hip bush outside my door and realize it. Everything dies here. I will be gone long before anyone thinks to search this place. I don't know how it will come but it will come. Infection, a bad fall, poisoned meat, a wolf in the dark.

Even as I sit here in bed, I can hear a snowstorm howling hungrily outside my door.

Oh, Anna.

I regret ever leaving you. I regret the angry words I said, I regret making you cry. I regret thinking that you were ever ashamed of me. I hate that instead of mending what I damaged, I ran as fast and as far as I could from you.

I hate that I don't remember ever telling you that I love you.

Did I really think I could escape you? Well, that was stupid of me. Here in this empty dark where I have to steal everything to survive, I think of you every spare moment I find. At night when I lie in bed or on the forest floor, I imagine tangling my fingers in your red-gold hair. I remember the way you brushed your cheek against mine when we first danced. I remember the way you sat at the window to read, and how you liked to light scented candles when we bathed. I remember the afternoon we spent, drunk in a boat in Central Park, warmed by wine and stolen kisses. I'd steal a kiss from you now if I could.

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I never did talk much about my family, did I? My old man was a soldier-fought in Iraq. He told me once that the thing he wanted most was to find a place of poetry where he could die. For years I thought he was nothing but a morbid old drunk. But now with my end in sight, I realize what he meant and how precious that choice is. I want to end my life in a place and in a way that has meaning.

I think I've got it, Anna.

It's an island off the coast by the highway, within sight of a fishing village. It's a ways off from civilization—like me. You have to work a bit to get to it—also like me. But once you get here, you'll never want to leave. It has trees like castle towers, and rabbits live and love and raise families among their roots. And it has a little cottage too, cozy as any fairytale's. I could imagine us living here, sheltered from the rest of the world. If it's true what the poets say, that love is isolation, then this island is love.

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I know how I will end, Anna. Not by a bullet to the head or by jumping off a mountaintop, however quick and painless. I don't want to die in battle against a wolf or a bear. I'm no Viking and I'm not my father.

Tonight I'll step outside the cottage and light my last fire, have my last meal. I'll sit on the snow and take off my wolf-skin coat and my deer-skin boots. I'll watch the moonrise on the frozen sea. And then I'll go to sleep.

I'll die here inside the walls of winter. But I'll die dreaming.

I'll dream that spring will come for me one day. And it will find me sitting here waiting. I'll dream that you'll come with that first warm morning, and when I open my eyes I'll find you standing before me again.

Maybe someday someone will find this letter, and if I'm lucky they'll find you too and give this to you. Maybe then you'll know what I've always held in my heart.

But if that never happens, Anna, I hope to find you myself somewhere beyond the dark, so I can kiss you once more.

Until then, I will sleep and dream of spring.

Your,

Serah

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