The ink well prompt #59 : Death



A oneshot in Frank's perspective as he recalls a childhood memory of his desire to see the cherry blossoms and has his lifelong.g dream become a bittersweet reality.
If there was anything more than I have learned in this life, it is that death is inevitable, it is inescapable. It is unimaginable, for there are more than a thousand ways our lives can end, and we'll never know which one is destined to meet each of us.
I think about it every day despite not wanting to. But then again, it's to be expected. Who the hell would want to think about something as cruel and as lifeless as death? Just hearing the word sends shivers to my spine...but at the same time, it ring a bittersweet sound in my ears.
I look up to the sky, my eyes overlooked the tall walls that loomed over me. Now that I think about it, there was one type of death that was enough to bring anyone back to reality, and that was the overwhelming feeling of knowing that you could die at any moment, any time to those heartless sacks of monsters called...
"Zombies," I muttered aloud to myself, although it came out more like a growl.
"... Frank! There you are." A familiar voice found its way next to me. I looked up over to see Vera kneeling beside me with a concerned expression. I then wondered about her, and the number of emotions she could effortlessly show. I've always wondered how she did it, and why, but I never asked. Perhaps it wasn't because I didn't care to ask, but rather to not know the answer because maybe it was for the best. Or maybe I wanted to figure it out for myself.
I didn't know.
"Are you alright? You've been out for a while, Sandra and I were starting to get worried. It'll be getting dark soon."
"Oh, right. I didn't realize it was getting so late already." I gazed up to see streaks of pink overlap the darkening blue sky as the sun began to see. I had begun to stand, only to pause and look down at my hand. "Hey, Vera."
"Ever wonder what cherry blossoms look like?"
".. Cherry blossoms?" She slightly tilted her head curiously. "Well, sometimes, but I thought that it's just a myth that they actually exist."
"I remember when Sandra showed us a cherry blossom tree in her book, along the picture of the sea. It felt like it was just yesterday when we were young and dumb, looking at the endless possibilities that were just out of our reach."
I closed my eyes, recalling the memory, the three of us excited as we hovered around the small, worn-out book right along the edge of the river.
Sandra flipping through various things we never even thought had existed. And I pointing out one particular page that stood out to me.
"Hey, Sandra! What's this?"
"Ah, this one? I think it's called a Sakura tree, which is also known as cherry blossoms! Apparently, it symbolizes optimism and time renewal, and when spring hits, the tree grows beautiful flowers that are shade of pink that can't be found anywhere else in the world!"
"R-Really?" I had found myself intrigued by her explanation. My fingers rested on the outline of the tree, tracing out every part of it. "..Do you think that we'll be able to see it someday?"
Sandra and Vera exchanged looks before looking back at me. A smile formed on Sandra's lips as she responded, "well, it's not entirely impossible! As long as we put our minds to it, we'll be able to sit and watch when the petals fall! I heard that it's the best part!"
I really wanted to see them, even now to this day. It may have been a childish dream, but it felt much more realistic back then it does now. But something deep within me truly wanted to see those cherry blossoms. To watch those pink petals fall peacefully to the ground.
I clench my hand closed and suddenly found myself somewhere far from everyone, far from the survey corps, far from the world of titans, far from myself.
I looked around, astonished by the meadow that surrounded me, the pure green grass going on for what seemed like miles ahead. There was a light bristle in the wind, making a rustle behind me. I turned, finding myself facing a tall trees that had several bright pink-colored flowers sprouting from each designated branch. It shine in the sun, causing my eyes to widen with realizations.
".. The cherry blossom tree."
I slowly started to take a step towards it, and then another, fixated by its beauty. As I took each step, print of deep red blood followed behind me and only got thicker the closer I got. My hand reached out and touched it, feeling the rough, yet satisfying edges of the tree, the soft sensation of the flowers rest in my palm.
I then felt an unbearable pain from deep within me, and I was screaming out and grabbing my chest. My heartbeats suddenly quickened and I fell over, suddenly lurching up agonizing coughs that came from deep within. I moved my hand from my mouth and was met with the sight of splattered blood.
... Right, of course. How could I forget?
The thoughts raced back to me, every scene replaying in my head. The fight, the betrayal, the false dreams that things were actually going to get better when I had already known from the beginning that everything was not as it seems.
I knew that, and yet I still decided to make the cruel sacrifice for my own self-interest.
I painted softly, leaning back against the tree. The world around me felt so peaceful, but it just wasn't possible for someone like me to be in it.
Was this it? Is this how my death will play out?
Ah, death. There was that word again. A word of such negative meaning, but of a more meaningful purpose. It is just as beautiful and breathtaking as this cherry blossom tree.
My breath became short and heavy, and my vision became blurred. The wind blew once more, much stronger this time while the tree's branches danced along with it. Soon enough, small pink petals began to fall, fluttering to the ground.
As my eyes closed for a final time, I felt like a kid again, simple enjoying the new blossoms beneath the clear sky. Before I knew it, I was dozing off, knowing that Sandra and Vera were bound to find me soon enough before it had gotten dark. I smiled to myself, feeling the crushing weight of my shoulders lifted. Even if it was just a dream, I would stay here forever if it meant that I had fulfilled my duty.
Then again, maybe death isn't so bad. It's finding the heart of accepting the date of it that makes it more unique and cherishable.

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