"The only way to find true happiness is to risk being completely cut open."
- Chuck Palahniuk -
December, 1988 (1)
Click: this is the sound of the snow announcing its coming.
Alex half-closes a eye, staring at the world outside the window - seeing just white and white, a pristine expanse offering no hold.
The street lamps are off, as the green and red lights adorning the balcony of the Thompsons.
“The electricity meter.” she murmurs, curling up underneath the bed sheets “The power must have gone out.”
Quiet steps, muffled by the blue Persian carpet (asymmetric knot, farsibaff, silky warp and weft threads) and going down the stairs, stopping inside the kitchen - click click, click click.
Alex sighs, rubbing her cheek against the pillow; on the outside the snow keeps falling in big, thick, heavy flakes.
“Raccoon City is dark.”
Alex feels the mattress behind her bend, making space for a man whose profile and heat she always seeks.
“Birkin’s had a panic attack already.”
“Annette told you?”
Wesker slides his knee between her thighs, finding her still wet - ready.
“No; that imbecile managed to contact me on the beeper and melodramatically complained.”
Alex hints a smile, arching her back and welcoming his hands on her hips, around her navel and lower, where the blood from before has already become a mere reddish smear.
“Is he afraid of running out of sweets?”
Wesker laughs, and it’s a low and deep vibration, echoing amongst his ribs, his bones and inside, where the virus murmurs.
“He will steal Sherry’s.”
Alex suffocates her reply on his mouth, releasing a half moan when Albert thrusts, towering her, presenting her with everything she’d always asked - begged - for at Christmas.
Raccoon quietly sleeps, celebrating a white, colourless eve.
Alex loses herself against the skin of a man who’s already
The truth exploded between them like a flower of blood and flesh.
They were both hit, but the one always dragging herself in her own misery is Alex - only ever her.
Raccoon City is no more, but her - their - memories are still there.
The snow falls down, grey from the ashes, red from the blood: it settles on their heads, intertwining with gold and white hair.
A heavy crown, breaking head and fate.
Alex raises her head towards his, seeking him - gently touching his clenched fist with her fingertips.
“Albert.” she calls.
And Albert bares his teeth.
Albert breathes, invoked as the
god he will never be - fickle like the skin of the Snake he will choose to wear.
Alex looks back at the horizon, a dry and arid land - grave to so many lives and wishes, hopes and dreams.
A surviving spruce bends its branches in a unhealthy wind, welcoming a future that’s already lost, burned alive.
She closes her eyes, listening to the crackling of the snow, to the slow beats of Wesker’s heart - William’s laughter, Annette’s unanswered cry.
Sherry’s inconsolable tears.
“It’s time.” he tells her then, waking her from her numbness “We have to go.”
Where? she would ask, where do we go from here, Albert?
But these questions are from a woman in love, not from her; they don't - can't - belong to Alexandra
These questions belong to those not believing to be able to hold the wheel of fate in their hands and break it - make it turn towards wherever and whenever she wants it to turn, no more, no less.
These questions belong to a feeble and inept woman, to she who has failed a thousand times and is imperfect,
“What about subject number Twelve, sir?”
Alex studies his profile in silence, losing herself in his eyes - not arctic anymore, but bloody, reptilian and feral.
He offers her his black-gloved hand, on which she puts hers - white, ethereal.
Wesker intertwines his fingers with hers and jumps.
“How long has she been like that?”
“Five days, Dr. Wesker.”
An irritated sound; rage spreading in waves all around her from his contracted, wounded figure.
“And didn’t you inform me sooner, old man?”
“Master Alex didn’t want me to.”
“Of course.” an abrupt smack, followed by martial, heavy steps “Because the little girl felt offended. Because of Excella. Because of the fact I had work to do.”
“Drop dead, you dick.”
“But your tongue still works fine, I see.”
“As if you didn’t know from the blowjob you got the last time, sucker.”
Stuart clears his throat, embarrassed; Wesker lifts her bodily, earning a punch in his face.
“Things will get better.”
“Your eye, dottor. Wesker, or Master Alex?”
“Both, old man.”
Alex tries not to retch, her forehead burns from a fever consuming her for hours, years.
“She’s got a temperature.”
“She’s got a temperature of 104 °F, then I stopped measuring it.”
Wesker holds her against his chest, heading to the bathroom and opening the door with his shoulder, closing it with his heel.
He puts her down on the little armchair near the bath, then starts searching inside the cabinets - bandages, disinfectant, two syringes, one tourniquet, a ice bag.
“It won’t work.”
“It will stabilize the virus.”
Alex releases a yelp that should sound like a laugh - she coughs.
“I’m dying, Al: a fucking serum serves me no purpose.”
“You don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“It’s the truth.”
“No, it’s not.”
I won’t let it be, the promise he can’t afford to tell - that he cannot fail.
Alex raises her opaque and whitish eyes towards him, reminding him of those of the infected.
But aren’t you both like that, after all?
“I don’t want to die.” she suddenly confesses, and she’s so little when she says that - she’s so fragile.
She’s the same child that swayed her feet over the edge of the chair in an aseptic waiting room of the Umbrella - a girl that didn’t like gingerbread biscuits and laughed when he offered her his chocolate biscuit, chopping off the head of the unlucky little man with that stupid smile on its face.
She’s the same twenty-five-year-old girl that modified viral proteins as if they were simple origami; the same ruthless woman that deformed lives in her steel fist and enjoyed it.
She’s the same person that had bent to nothing more that his mouth, his longing - to a voracious sex in which they had both found refuge and deliverance.
She’s Alex: only ever Alex.
“You won’t.” Wesker repeats, resolute.
Alex sighs, tries to smile - threads of blood running down her teeth, on her chin.
Wesker takes off his gloves and puts on the latex ones, starting to prepare the serum; Alex offers him her arm, letting him roll the sleeve of the shirt above her elbow and touch her inner wrist with an unexpected gentleness - a treatment he only offers her when they are alone.
Albert looks for her eyes, Alex does the same - she nods: unfolding between them, a story come to its last, desperate pages.
Alex laughed in the face of the Grim Reaper.
She looked him straight in his eyes - down to the bottom of those dark holes without a light, and she laughed, mocking him and his power.
She laughed at him and told him you see? You can’t get me. Not yet.
And Death kept quiet. He sat down, leaning towards her with that bony and disarticulated mouth - sneering, aware.
He waited, and they didn’t cross paths for a while.
Then Alex had come back - and Death with her.
An eternal waltz made of waits and escapes.
The first time she was alone: a scared little girl whose heritage lied in a blood as rotten as his dreams.
Spencer and his obscene longing, nightmares and hallucinations of an immortality as blasphemous as his desires.
The second time she had offered herself to Death like a ragged, miserable woman, holding nothing valuable in her fingers but them: the remains of a world now consumed.
Burnt away too quickly, cast aside like a defective and worthless thing.
Jerked by an invisible and blackish thread, called back by the song of a lipless mermaid - the Progenitor Virus.
Mother, father, son, lover, guardian, executioner, everything.
And then Alex fled - once again, always.
And then Death waited - once again, always.
He put on his nicest cloak and reaped other lives - other faces.
Jill, Ricardo, Excella. Albert.
And Alex came back - in a half.
You are not you, Death whispered, shocked, but at the same time, you are.
“Do you like it, Nat? How do you feel, Nat? Is something wrong, Nat? Are you afraid,
“Do you like it?” Wesker tells her once again, and Alex blinks once, twice.
A dessert fork held in her fingers, a punschkrapfen on her plate - the flavour of rum and pink glaze under her tongue.
Him between her thighs, in her thoughts.
In the center of the table lies a mistletoe crown with red candles - a garland of memories and bones on her head.
“I do.” Alex replies, looking around and taking a sip of cappuccino, removing the foam from her lips with the edge of the white lino napkin. “A lot.”
An assertive gesture, the snake head lying near a cup of black hot coffee - on the outside, Vienna shines with that sad beauty that only Christmas every time bestows on the city.
On the mirror behind the counter the Grim Reaper slowly walks, never abandoning them - I can’t, he seems to murmur, you’re my favourite children. I gave up on everything for you.
Alex leans towards Albert, looking for his naked, warm hand - she clings to it, smiling at his aged figure, hardened by new wrinkles, gray threads on his temples, on his nape.
“What do you think of Venice as a place to celebrate the incoming new year?”
Wesker tilts his head towards hers, silently studying her - a new face, always the same from before.
“The Gritti Palace.” (2)
“Are you asking, Al?”
Yes, Alex indeed met Death.
They both did.
“I knew it.”
But they never met Life.
Underneath the snow that’s not bloody anymore Alex meets his mouth and breathes.
"Happiness is an accident of nature,
a beautiful and flawless aberration."
- Pat Conroy -