Once upon a time, there was a magical world oddly similar to our own. This world divided into itself into the same countries as we have and suffered through the same wars as us. They had the same plants and animals, people and problems. They even had high schools and crappy movies about high schools. It was, for all intents and purposes, cosmic plagiarism exactly the same in all the important places but just contextually different enough to take away your ability to take it seriously.
On the surface of the B-list world, a young couple picnicked under a bright, shining sun. All around them, birds were singing cheery tunes and woodland creatures frolicked. Even the colors around the couple seemed to become super saturated by romance of an outdoor lunch. Maybelle sat on the blanket, glowering at it all. The irate ginger physically could not take it, both because of her fair skin and the layered black outfit she chose to wear. Chains and hot weather didn't mix. Quentin, however, was dressed far more appropriately and came bounding over.
"I got your umbrella!" He held it out with a triumphant, childish smile.
"Parasol, Quentin." She snatched it away and curled up in the tiny bit of shade it provided. "It's a parasol."
"Oh, okay." Her curt tone didn't faze Quentin. It rarely did anymore. He plopped down next to her, sighed happily, and looked up at the sky. Dreamer that he was, Quentin only saw beauty around him, both in nature and in his currently less-than-pleased girlfriend. No amount of her cynicism could distract him from how gorgeous, clever, and perfect she was. She was an angel. An angel who smelled really nice.
"It's so pretty today! It's days like this, Belle, that make me feel like I was alive again." He paused and then glanced at Maybelle out of the corner of his eye, flashing a boyish smile. "Well, days like this and being with you."
"The weather has been dreadful all week. It's as if the very cosmos is conspiring against me. Feeding my misery. Every time I feel the sunlight against my skin, I can't help but fear that I'll be burnt to a lifeless crisp, nevermore forced to contend with the drudge of mortal life."
Maybelle's bitterness didn't deflate Quentin's cheery mood. Not today. He'd accepted that she wanted to be the next Emily Dickinson but that didn't mean he wouldn't put his all into lightening her mood.
"I brought some apples. I know you like them." He pulled the picnic basket over and dug through all of the carefully planned choices. It was hard for Quentin to tell what Maybelle would eat. He'd never really paid attention to vegans before her. He looked it up online but, from what he could decipher, Maybelle didn't know what vegan meant either. It was cute, in a weird way.
"Like, dislike. What does it matter in the end? We're all just spiraling down to our inevitable doom." Maybelle turned her head, finally acknowledging Quentin was there. "All of us humans anyway."
His shoulders dropped. He hated this topic. Why couldn't they just enjoy their "life" together? Maybelle couldn't let it go.
"Tell me about death again, Quentin. What does it feel like?"
"Bad, I guess." He shrugged, inspecting the apple with a sudden interest.
"Come now, Quentin, you know I crave details."
"I don't know, Belle. Not fun. I don't like to think about it. This looks like a nice apple. I got it just for you."
"I don't want an apple. Or any other food or drink. Sustaining my mortal existence is a bitter, pointless struggle against the inevitable. A struggle I have no interest in taking part in." Maybelle slid closer and leaned on Quentin. "Tell me more."
She was so pretty underneath her black make up and piercings. Quentin wished she could see it too. She liked how it looked though, so he'd make sure to smile and compliment her dark appearance whenever she got dolled up. Oh well. Maybelle was the first girl to take interest in him since he died. Okay, that wasn't entirely true. She was the first girl to take an interest in him ever. That wasn't the most important part, though. She knew he was dead and only liked him more for it. What else could a guy ask for?
"Quentin. Look at me. You know how I loathe my human existence. It is pointless and plagued by close-minded, ignorant people."
"Being undead isn't all that great either," he said, rubbing some of the stitches that kept his arm on. "I wish I was still human."
"Oh, Quentin." Maybelle wrapped her arms around him, which instantly brought a smile to his face. Hugs were one of the few things he remembered how to feel. "Poor, sweet, simple Quentin. Humans are locusts, eating up the world and leaving it barren. If you hadn't died, you would have just grown old and bitter, disillusioned by life. Yours is a far superior existence."
It wasn't what Quentin wanted to hear, of course, but he was getting a hug so he let her negativity slide. He always did.
"You smell nice."
"Does that mean you are going to bite me?"
"Maybelle, please. It is a beautiful day. Let's not argue."
"We aren't arguing," she said, moving away from Quentin and brushing a stray leaf off her skirt with an annoyed expression. "It's too bright out here. I'm going to burn up. Would you help me join the ranks of the undead if I was already dying?"
"We could move over by that tree and get in the shade."
"Would you, Quentin?"
"I don't know. Maybe. I don't want to think about you dying."
Maybelle nodded and left for the shade. It was a good enough answer for her. That should have worried Quentin more than it did. However, he saw a chance to get their picnic back on track so, ever the optimist, he let it go. He sloppily folded up their blanket then grabbed the picnic basket with his good arm. He didn't want to risk facing his verbose girlfriend disarmed. Quentin chuckled to himself. Disarmed. That was funny. He'd have to remember to slip that into a conversation with Maybelle. She liked poetic things. Puns were poetic, weren't they?
Quentin trotted over to Maybelle and, much to his dismay, found her sawing at her wrist with a plastic knife. Her suicide attempt may have been successful if moving a blanket twenty feet took several hours. Unfortunately for her, such was not the case and her wrist was still perfectly intact.
"Maybelle. What are you doing?"
"You know why, Quentin! Mine is a foul, tortured existence. If I am already on the brink of death, you'll save me."
Quentin held his hand out.
"Give me the knife, Maybelle."
Quentin sighed. He didn't want to have to grab the knife away from her but, at the rate she was sawing, she'd break skin in the next half hour.
"Maybelle, stop it. I just want to have a nice picnic where no one dies. Is that really so much to ask?"
Maybelle shot him a venomous glare but tossed the plastic utensil on the grass.
"You want me to be miserable? Fine! Stay here and have a happy little picnic with yourself while I rot alone!"
Quentin wasn't sure if this counted as a victory but Maybelle wasn't trying to kill herself anymore and that was something. Did she want him to chase her? He couldn't tell. Girls were so confusing.
As Quentin stood there, debating the pros and cons of going after Maybelle, one of the frolicking woodland creatures scampered over to him. It took him a minute to notice the squirrel at his feet. Quentin glanced between Maybelle and his potential lunch. After deciding she was far enough away, he lunged after the rodent. It didn't stand a chance. It should have known better than to come up to strangers with blue-grey skin.
"Hey, Quentin! Get over here. You have the keys! Quentin? Quentin!" Maybelle spun on her heel angrily and marched back over. Quentin, unfortunately, was too busy happily munching on his meal to hear the jingling sound of Maybelle's chains and his impending doom. "YOU'LL KILL A POOR, DEFENSELESS SQUIRREL BUT NOT ME?!"