I know exactly how I’m going to die.


Her name is Evelyn.


She’s the one who taught me how to smoke. It was our second date, and even after five minutes of coughing and spitting I still felt a burning in my lungs hours later. She promised I’d get better, and I did. I really did.


She taught me lots of things. She taught me how to polish a gun chamber- and how to shoot it. She taught me how to shut up and sit quietly, scrub blood out of carpets, hide deep purple flowery bruises, and how to make the best pumpkin bread I’d ever had.


She comes home to our bed and kisses me until she’s tired of it. She tastes like blackberry nightshade. Sickly sweet and poisonous all at once. My mouth is always left dry, and I remember I haven’t drunk water in days. Just remains of whatever bottle of booze she opened the night before. I’m always drunk.


I’m not even sober now. She’s having a party- I don’t know for what. Earlier, she lifted me from bed and set me in the tub with a lit cigarette. She gently washed away the soreness from my body with a warm cloth and whispered something beautiful to me. She picked out a dress, and I put it on.


Stepping from the room, I’m met with cheerful faces and champagne. Evelyn calls me over, and I walk, empty over to where she stands. In the middle of everyone- she announced our engagement. She says she proposed to me late last night- but I don’t remember. Even if she didn’t, I nod my head anyways.


The rest of the night, I am a star. There’s a line of people waiting to come out to the balcony where I’m chain smoking to congratulate me. I laugh with them, hug them, thank them, and feel myself getting colder as the sun goes down.


Evelyn comes outside, too. She grabs my face in her hand and kisses me. Blackberry nightshade. When she doesn’t let me pull away to breathe- I cough in her mouth. She pushes me away- angry. Then, it twists into something concerned. Her beautiful white dress shirt is covered in a spattering of red confetti that I think is probably blood.


I know exactly how I’m going to die, and it isn’t the cancer I’ve had for years.



Grace Parsons is currently a student at California State University, Stanislaus. She expects to receive her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science in the spring of 2023. She is currently working on a fantasy novella involving the love story of a human, a half-demon, and their fight to reform the underworld. When not writing, she enjoys drawing, playing music, and LGBTQ+ activism.