Author: HoneyLynx PM
Natalia comes to San Cristobel, set on winning back Olivia, who has no intention of falling for her again. They find themselves linked to an old curse threatening Olivia's hotel, but also learn a few more shocking secrets, including a lesson on true love.Rated: Fiction T - English - Mystery/Romance - Chapters: 10 - Words: 26,242 - Reviews: 17 - Favs: 11 - Follows: 14 - Updated: 09-14-09 - Published: 06-29-09 - id: 5176267
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Author's Note: The story takes place approximately a year from now, but everything until now is canon. It includes MY version of why Natalia left town, so there won't be any major spoilers for upcoming episodes. There will be a lot of Springfield-ers featured in the form of flashbacks (and some within the story), but the main focus of the story will be San Cristobel and the suspense/horror element, and how it involves Otalia.
Disclaimers: The Guiding Light characters are not mine. I've borrowed them temporarily from P&G, TeleNext and CBS. I will return them in mint condition as soon as I'm done.
Rating: Nothing too explicit in terms of sexuality or violence. It does involve lots of same-sex lovin', so if that's not your cup of tea, sayonara.
She winced as the rope burnt fresh marks into her flesh every time she wiggled her wrist to be free of them. Sweat dripped from her forehead, down her face, accumulating into cold clamminess at the base of her neck.
"Our Father, who art in Heaven"
Below her, the sea fought angrily with the rocks. She shuddered as each violent scream eroded a little more of her courage.
Both time and tide were against her.
She heard the sharp wail of a tree frog right before it succumbed to the talons of a night owl. The predator carried its prize into the sky, until it disappeared into a speck dotting the full moon.
"Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven"
A quiver ran down her spine as she heard a familiar singing voice become distinct amid the cacophony of sounds. So mournful was the tune gradually flooding the surrounding that nature piped down its own volume as if making way for a funeral dirge. Even the sea ebbed into a respectful quietude.
Smiling in the crowd
A love long forgotten
A promise long broken
You will see my face.
I am not a dream
I do not delude
Merely a voice of longing
I am the light that burns.
She strained her neck out of the opening and had to wince as the strong winds slapped her face. Her heart sank as she noticed a flash of white across the roads carved into the cliffs leading to the tower.
"No, Olivia, no!"
She hadn't been aware she had yelled until she tasted her voice suffocate beneath the gag placed across her mouth. She tried again, projecting every ounce of strength she had in her into her voice. She felt her lungs burn, the muscles around her throat clench. She didn't care if she squeezed every remaining life energy she had. It was all she could do, even if it wasn't enough.
A leaf from the past
Silent in its flutter
Aimlessly in pain.
The muffled words soured into her mouth. Drained, she collapsed against the stone walls. Her eyes gave freely to tears. The singer began to hum and the wind howled in rhythm with her; the night creatures cackled in chorus – their musical seemed to mock at her own helplessness.
"Forgive my trespasses, Lord. Do not make her suffer for my sins."
She turned and focused her eyes into a darkness only occasionally broken by the moonlight. A single candle burned in a holder, but far from being a source of light, it only emphasized the enveloping gloom all around. She pressed her hands against the wall and used it as a lever to hoist herself up. Her legs wobbled and gave in to the weakness.
"Mmmfffhhhmm" She struggled against her constraints. She blinked hard, still not being able to discern anything apart from the shadows.
There was no sign of a form to go with the call. Yet, she had no doubt there was someone else with her in that room. A sudden chill had spread across her bones, causing her legs to involuntarily bundle up close to her body. It was as if the air itself had frozen, for none could be taken in and she felt a shortness of breath constrict her chest.
"Deliver us from all evil." She closed her eyes and whispered in her mind.
What are you willing to do for love?
Natalia smiled at the doorman who held the large, heavy door open for her. She shivered at the sudden coolness of the interior after the tropical heat outside. She took off her sunglasses and propped them on her head. She turned toward the man beside her.
"Thank you very much. I can take it from here."
"Alritey, then." He carefully deposited the bags he was carrying on the floor. His face creased into a wide grin when Natalia handed him several slips of cash. Taking a deep breath, she hoisted the two bags on her shoulders and grabbed the handle of her luggage. The wheels rumbled along the thick carpet leading toward the reception.
"Hello, there. How can I help you?" A smiling woman greeted her. Her name tag read Cynthia.
"I… um… have a registration. Natalia Rivera."
"Okay. Give me a minute" The woman turned toward a computer, while Natalia took the moment to observe around her.
It seemed to be a busy afternoon. Other than Cynthia, there were three others serving the guests. The reception desk was a wide mahogany, and on its front was embossed in silver the image of a lighthouse. The ambience was a play in contrast. Sleek computer desktops were lined on the desk; the receptionists wore their neatly pressed suits and a tiny headphone just discernible below their ears. They moved their fingers efficiently against the touch-screen that flickered as the visuals changed. A large LCD screen propped on a stand on the right flashed the headlines and the weather news alongside latest hotel bulletin. Just behind the screen, a column of ornate pillars rose into wide arches. Large round windows built high up in the walls were covered with stained glasses depicting what Natalia recognized was the Baptism of Christ. On the grey stone of the walls were carved angels and warriors gathering dust in their corners. Large chandeliers cast the whole place in a dusky glow.
On the wall just behind the reception, a huge oil painting hung. There was a sheer abundance of colors, as multi-hued birds dashed across the startling blue of the sky, and the green of the forage was reflected in the crystal waters of a running stream. Natalia wondered if it was the trick of the light, or an evidence of artistry, for the waters sparkled. On the bottom right hand corner, just before the canvas was blocked off by a solid oak frame, the artist had scribbled in wide strokes "San Cristobel, 1919".
"Ms. Rivera, yes, we have you registered here." Cynthia broke into Natalia's quiet observation. "Room 608."
"Thank you." Natalia said as she took the key card from the woman.
"Here are the details all the amenities provided by the hotel, as well as service extension numbers if you need them." Cynthia handed over a brochure. "The recreation centre is open 24 hours a day, and so is our indoor swimming pool.
"As part of your stay, the hotel also offers guided tours three times a day. This place actually goes back several centuries, so there is a very rich history here."
Natalia smiled, intrigued. "I will definitely check it out."
"Thank you, Ms. Rivera, and hope you enjoy your stay at The Beacon."
Somehow she managed to reach the elevators, but she must have looked a pathetic sight with her petite frame weighed down by all the baggage. The bellhop helped her carry her bags into the elevator. She winced a bit when the heavy door shut with a soft groan.
"This elevator isn't as old as the place, is it?"
The boy grinned. "Oh no, not at all." As if to prove the point, the compartment rose in a smooth, swift manner, and before she could even reply, they stopped with a ding.
Once she had opened and entered into her room, and dropped all her bags with some relief on the floor, she took a few seconds to appraise the room. It was simple and practically furnished, just as she'd expected for the price she had been willing to pay. The walls were a subdued peach that went well with the burgundy sheets. She was pleased to note the smell of fresh clean sheets instead of the usual disinfectant used by most hotels to cover up careless laundering.
She walked across the room to the large windows, and pulled apart the drapes. Her breath lodged in her throat at the breathtaking view of the sea shore and the pleasant rays of the sun that flooded the room with light.
It was a strange sensation, she thought, to just soak in the sun. She had never had that kind of privilege growing up in the misty alleys of Chicago, where the buildings encroached one upon the other, and the ones who were closest to the sun were the ones at the top of those buildings, not those who were slaving away at the bottom.
She closed her eyes and let out a soft chuckle. Sometimes it felt like a lifetime ago – her years spent in Chicago, working from one low-wage shift to the other, all for the kid she had raised alone.
She turned away from the window and walked toward her bed. The sight of the mattress reminded her of how weary she was, of the jetlag that was beginning to take its toll on her head. With great reluctance, she convinced herself that it would be reasonable to take a shower, wash off the plane from her body, before she surrendered herself to a good couple of hours' sleep.
By the time she was done and padded her way toward the inviting sheets and blanket, she could barely keep her eyes open. However, there was one last thing she had to do.
She knelt beside her bed and clasped her hands in front of her.
"Thank you for bringing me safely here. Thank you for everything, thank you for this beautiful day. Please look after Rafe for me. Please guide him while I'm not there." She paused and her eyes fell upon the brochure she had collected from reception downstairs lying in front of her.
"I think I need a little guidance of my own. You have been there for me all my life, so please be with me in every step I take from here on. I need your grace for what I am about to do."
She gently traced the surface of the paper with her fingertips, along the hotel proprietor's welcome message, and stopped at the signature at the bottom. She felt her heart skip a beat as her eyes recognized every familiar curve, every stroke, every turn. She had seen the signature so many times – too many times – and yet…
"Dear Lord, I need you in my journey to get Olivia back."