Archives for the Date July 21st, 2018

smashing-yng-man: Reality Bites (1994)


Reality Bites (1994)

Cineres cineribus, pulverem pulveri



Notes: Plot bunny from @sapphiresassenach. But please don’t go after her with pitchforks, she’s lovely.


The smallest details now sprang to life in his vision – in his memory.

The whorl in the grain of the strong, wide planks of the floor in the sitting room – planks he had hewn with his own hands, from trees he had carefully selected. The foundation for the new Big House, perched high on the Ridge as the proud manor house it was.

The tiny freckle on the underside of Claire’s right breast – which he had discovered one lazy afternoon at Leoch, in the first weeks of their marriage. And which his tongue always tried to find most mornings, with the blissful, win-win challenge of doing so without waking Claire up.

Mandy’s corkscrew curls as she sat ramrod straight, chin bravely turned up, resplendent in her blue homespun, a heartbreaker at the age of sixteen. Holding tight to Jem’s hand on one side and Brianna’s on the other, their twin red heads bent in prayer.

The secret spiderweb veins on the inside of Claire’s ankles – one from each of her pregnancies.

The black crepe armband on Fergus’ coat – and the filthy jacket he’d worn that fateful first day at Madame Elise’s, crusted with food and cheap perfume and what must have been vomit.

Claire’s whisky eyes, swimming with tears, as she caressed his face while the life drifted from her body.

“*Lux æterna luceat eis, Domine,*” Roger chanted in the unfamiliar Latin, voice thick with emotion, hands quivering as he held the thick prayer book. “*Cum sanctis tuis in æternum, quia pius es.*”

It was the small things that were keeping him alive – now that the woman who for forty-five years was the blood in his veins, the marrow in his bones, the breath in his lungs, was – gone.

She was gone. There was no more Claire.

Something that looked like Claire lay in the coffin he’d crafted for her, nestled between blankets and pillows to be comfortable for her final journey. Jamie had dressed her, washed her face, kept her hair all wild – the only thing about her that was still alive. He had refused any help, once Denny Hunter had confirmed that the sickness in Claire’s body – the sickness she had so bravely fought for two years – had finally won.

He wanted to crawl into the coffin beside her, and never wake up.

“*Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine; et lux perpetua luceat eis*.”

He didn’t want a large funeral – Claire certainly wouldn’t have wanted one. So it was just family – Roger and Brianna and Jem and Mandy; Jenny; Fergus and Marsali and their bairns; Ian and Rachel and their tribe of young Murrays. Fanny. And William.

Idly he twisted Claire’s wedding ring around his pinky finger. He had given Frank Randall’s gold ring to Brianna – she was the only one with a tie to it, now. But his wee silver ring, the one he had bought with almost all the money he had, that fateful night when he and Claire had truly pledged themselves to each other – feeling the grooves of it cut into his flesh was the only way he could still feel her touch on him.

It reminded him of being underwater – the light still shone through the surface, but shapes were indistinct. Sounds were audible, but faint. But it was only the person who was underwater who had to live through the distortions – not the people swimming with their heads above the water. Not the people safely on the banks, or the shore.

So it was now, surrounded by those he loved most dearly in all the world. Their voices were like the buzzing of bees. Their soothing touches held no warmth. The food they fed him turned to ash in his mouth. Their kind words were met with a faint nod.

“*Cum Sanctis tuis in æternum, quia pius es.*”

Roger was no Catholic priest – but he trusted nobody else with such a sacred duty. The son of his house, the son of his heart.

Jamie watched his family kneel in prayer, heads bowed, grasping each other’s hands tight.

For once in his life he decided to do something for himself.

He slowly rose to his feet, kissed his wife’s cold forehead, and softly padded upstairs.


He didn’t even bother removing his boots – just buried his face in Claire’s pillow, breathing her in.

Inhale, and exhale.

In, and out.

Was this purgatory, then? For all his sins? Was this his sentence – living a life without her?

There was no life without her.

In, and out.

He couldn’t be strong anymore. For where was his source of strength?

In, and out.

Then – stillness of mind and body.

Calm. Warm, comforting calm. Like the waters in that hot spring, a thousand lifetimes ago in France.

No noise – no light. But not frightening – soothing.

He was alone – but was he?

Then the scent of sweat and mud and damp wool and a peat fire.


He opened his eyes – when had he closed them? – and blinked.

Rupert. Angus. Huddled by the fire in a small, borrowed cottage where they waited out the daylight.

Pain throbbing through his shoulder.

The low hum of Dougal’s voice, the firelight glowing in the sheen of sweat on his bare forehead as he discussed the next day’s plans with that man with the greasy beard whose name he could never quite remember.

His heart raced, heedless of the pain. He glanced down at his right hand – and flexed its five fingers into a fist.

Holy God.

Adrenaline surged as the door flew open – and Murtagh dragged a bedraggled Claire Beauchamp into the cabin, her filthy shift swirling around her knees.

His heart called out to her.

She turned to the fire – wide eyes blinking in disbelief – and the ecstatic smile on her face matched his own.

The endless loop theory is one of my favorites and this… well it made me weepy on a Saturday morning. It’s a lot to take in and it is stunning in its beauty.

BBC News July 21, 2018 at 08:04PM

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thebrochtuarachs: ⚠️❤⚠️



Tigre Viejo – Osvaldo Fresedo July 21, 2018 at 07:33PM

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