"Antique Romance" by: Cerise Donovan
Glancing at a mirror can cause anyone in front of it to see reflections; reflections of the past, the future and the present. But what if the reflections were true? There's a thin line between reality and imagination, let's just hope she realizes it before she stumbles upon the realms of a parallel yet inescapable world.
Cerise says: Sorry for the VERYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY late post _ But then I do not want my monito to have not a gift from her Secret Santa like me. So then, Mary Louise Rivera, I am your Secret Santa and this is the one-shot you asked for.
21 December 2012.
The woman with flaming red hair had her forehead to the frosted glass. The snow was causing snow beds to form on the pavement outside, and soon the snow would reach up to her window. She was screaming in pain and agony in between her Latin prayers. In her twenty years in this sanatorium only these past five months has she ever complained of ever being in pain.
"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHH!" she screamed as she fell from the window ledge she was sitting down moments before.
I immediately rushed to her side and hooked my arms under her armpits and tried to lift her up and set her on her own bed. She was squirming under me and made it harder for me to lift her up, but she suddenly stopped when I succeeded in sitting her up on the bed.
"No! Leave me alone! You're one of them! You're going to feed me with lies and stab me with needles that make my soul numb!" she shouted as she tried to push me off. I distanced from her a little.
"No, I wouldn't do that. See? I don't have any needles with me." I said as I lifted my arms in surrender.
"Okay." She mumbled. I took advantage of her calmness and went near her again. She didn't make any fuss this time, and I tucked her in. I took hold of a hairbrush and started to brush her hair.
"You know, I've never really known the reason why you're here." I said as I continued to brush her soft hair.
"They're accusing me of being a lunatic."
"I don't see why they would, though." Mental note to self: DO NOT RISK THE TRUTH AROUND A MADWOMAN.
"See it started like this…"
It was a summer afternoon in the year 1992 when I discovered an antique mirror in our attic, a couple of weeks before my eighteenth birthday. I removed the stained sheets and it uncovered a mirror with a white-gold frame where decorative carvings were. I stood before the mirror and saw my reflection. I blinked twice when my reflection became murky, and when I finished doing so, I saw a man behind me. He was probably in his late twenties, and his hands bore witness that he was still a bachelor.
His garments bore a style originated from a very antique era. His clothes were similar to Sherlock Holmes, only more modern-like and more fashionable. He wore garments out of finest materials, and he looked like he was a son of a king or a son descended form a wealthy and prominent family.
He stood there. Breathing uneven as he shot me curious glares. I wanted to break the silence, yet every nerve under my skin wanted no part of my idea. Luckily, he mustered up the courage to talk.
"Fair morning, kind lady. Would you pleasure me by sharing my whereabouts as of this moment?"
"You are in my attic, Sir-"
"Du Valle, Tomaso Du Valle."
"Pleasure to meet you, Mister Du Valle."
"The pleasure is all mine..." He said after kneeling before him and kissing my hand. "What year is it?"
"Erila Brown. It is summer in the year 1992."
"Well then, I do not know anymore how to go back. May I stay under the roof of your home until I find a way to go back to my own time?"
Every nerve in my body was tingling with a strong answer of NO, yet his aura was overpowering my nerves and pulling me towards YES. I nodded solemnly and picked up my paintbrush and continued my representation of the River Styx. Suddenly, I felt a cold hand on my own and guided every stroke I made. Surprisingly, the whole afternoon went on like that and I even skipped my meals to finish my painting with him.
Days went on the same as weeks progressed and we finished more paintings than my normal quantities when I worked alone. I almost never left the attic, excluding the need to eat dinner (My mother and father were both hardworking citizens in our local government, and that made them go home late every night. But not too late for supper. I occasionally went down to meet visitors and suitors, and taking a bath. I slept with him every night.
There never came a day wherein I didn't think of future possibilities between me and the man from the mirror. He seemed all too real for me; I could touch him, I could talk to him, and vice versa. I think I loved him already, but I didn't know if he felt the same. I always feared rejection, yet I felt I had to tell her what I truly felt. After putting so much thought in it, I eventually did. It took him some time before he answered, although part of his answer made my spirits leap, but there was one bit of his answer that was completely compelling. He could never be with me.
"I'm sorry, Grace. I can't be with you."
"Y-you can't? But do you want to?"
"I guess I can never go by without telling you. I do want to be with you, but under these kinds of circumstances, we can never be together. You and I are from different times. I'm from 1937 and you're from 1992. If you go into my time and vice versa and stay, the original timeline would be disturbed. A lot of things that are supposed to happen will never see the light of the sun, and some things that have already happened will never exist."
"Please, let me be selfish just this time."
"I'm really sorry, Grace. But I can't just be with you even if I wanted to. If you went into my time, the time waves would shift and it would be possible that you would disappear because you would never be born."
"I don't care as long as I'm with you."
"NO! You don't understand me! Coming with me would only make me more miserable than leaving you in your own time because you'd soon disappear into oblivion."
I just stared at him while tears freely fell down my cheeks. I noticed that his image was fading. He stood aghast while looking at his body disappearing.
"I love you…I always will."
Those were his last words to me.
The necklace he gave me days before were still wrapped around my neck. I clutched my hand to it as if I were hanging on to dear life. The next few days were hell. It started when I talked about him during dinner together with my parents. Poor old blokes, they were oblivious to the truth. A week after that, I was taken in my sleep and I woke up in the middle of a white room. There was a bed in the room, and I was wearing a coat that restrained me from moving my arms. Everything smelt of chlorine. I knew where I was. And I could never forgive the one who sent me to this.
Vanguard Asylum. Hell on earth, if you ask me.
"No, it's okay, Nurse Jane."
"But-! How cruel of them!" her story sent me to tears. People like her didn't deserve imprisonment in this asylum. What am I saying! Believing this madwoman! But then, my grandmother told me a story once that was so identical to hers, but in the guy's case. Could it be? Could it be that my distant grandfather was the guy she fell in love with? But she and his love did not share the same name!
"I know, trust me, I know."
"Veronica Smith. The name that Vanguard gave you, is it a lie? Is your real name Erila Brown?"
"How did you know? I've been kept in this asylum for 20 years. Surely no one knows who I am anymore."
"My great-great-grandfather is Tomaso Du Valle. A parchment was passed down to us in the recent generations in hopes of finding you. He-my grandfather, he did not have a chance to tell you how much her really loved you, and he poured out his feelings for you in a letter." I reached inside my pocket and gave her the letter. She quickly took hold of it and cried. She opened the yellowing parchment and read the contents:
Words cannot anymore describe my love for you, yet I have made you a sonnet that best describes our situation.
Never interfere with the realms of time,
One can be pulled into a great turbulence,
Where anything can be a sinful crime
And no one can spare even difference.
The past is old and bland at this moment,
The future is breathtaking, oddly new,
The present is filled with good and torment,
But nevertheless everyone gets through.
Love comes unexpectedly around us,
Though it is not the perfect cut for all,
We accept it and not make such fuss,
But weep and sob when out of it we fall.
The realms of life is not simply a joke,
The destruction of all it can provoke.
What have you done to me to take such effect like this? I cannot say that I regret meeting you, but I do regret ever leaving you. This is not goodbye, love. It is only farewell.
Erila read the letter carefully aloud. Tears were now escaping from her eyes. She lay on her bed and hugged the letter close to her heart. Just when she had closed her eyes, as if a lightning jolted her, she arched her back and shivered violently. After a minute, she fell silent as one last tear escaped from her closed eyes and she smiled. The ridge-like creases on her forehead just smoothed out evenly across her head.
"Time of death, 1:43 pm."
Cerise concludes: I just assumed that instead of a big calamity striking earth to cause the Armageddon, it would be a deadly disease :) After all, the Lord did say that no longer will the world experience a great flood.