I don't know what I was more freaked out by. The fact that I'd found the tree where I had been buried, or the fact that it was exactly as it looked from the dreams.
Tall, bent over and crooked in places. It was like I was back in my dream all over again. Except I wasn't. And that's what scared me so much.
The chill in the winter air didn't help either. Every so often the wind would creep up from behind me and whip my hair around my face, grazing my frozen cheeks and numbing my fingers even more. So much so, I was worried I would drop the bouquet of flowers, but I managed to grip them tighter. Taking a deep breath, I held the flowers to my chest and slowly approached the tree. I was glad no one was around at that moment, to see me do this. They would probably think I was mad! It calmed me to know that I had some privacy.
Time alone, just me and the tree.
It towered over me like a biblical giant, reminding me how small I was in comparison. Did Emily feel this way the night she was murdered? Was she intimidated by the tree? I didn't know. The dreams began when Victor discovered me buried here, and then woke me up. What happened to Emily before she died was a complete mystery to me. All I knew was that her body was never found, her father died of a broken heart and her killer got away with it…well, for some time anyway.
So I was facing the old oak tree, examining every twisted branch and its crooked roots that spurted from the ground. The ground was dotted with left-over specks of snow, and frosted reeds of grass poked out of the ground. It was beautifully gothic. Until…
For a brief moment I had forgotten why I was here…until I saw the hole in the ground.
The hole was about a metre wide, opening up like an abyss. It was deep, about 6 or 7 feet. I could see the bottom but I had to bend over to get a closer look.
And this was where I had been buried.
A bitter, cold-hearted man had broken my heart, stolen my riches, betrayed my trust and left my body behind, without a care in the world. The heart-less scoundrel. There were much harsher words I could think of to call him, but I wasn't here to remember him. I was here to remember dear Emily Hunter.
I swept my jacket under my backside and slowly knelt down on to the winter ground, sitting comfortably and crossing my legs, my jacket keeping me warm underside.
I wasn't sure what to do, other than place the flowers near the hole in the ground. It didn't have an official mark of a gravestone, but once upon a time, someone was buried here. I was buried here.
"This doesn't seem real" I said to myself. "None of this seems real."
I had to break the silence somehow, it was killing me. So I laid the flowers down by the hole and placed my hands in my lap, keeping them warm as I sat there. I had to do more than just sit here. So I pretended Emily Hunter was with me. Like she was standing behind me in a spirit form, in her beautiful dress with her flowing hair and gazing down upon me, knowing why I was here and smiling.
I dared to look around and see if I was dreaming it or not, but I didn't.
"I'm sorry. I don't really know what to say. I'm sorry for you. You didn't deserve any of it. No one should have their life taken because of the wrong man. I know what I've seen through your eyes was only a fraction of the pain you went through. I cannot even begin to imagine the full extent of it. Oh boy" I sighed. This was harder than I thought.
"I sort of wish you could talk back to me. To hear your voice, see you in the flesh. Like you're a completely separate person to me…but I know that's not true. I am you. And you were me. Just in a different life. I am your reincarnation effectively.
And my boyfriend is the reincarnation of your Victor. Yeah, that's right. Ironic, isn't it? That two people in the past should fall for one another in that life, and the next. Sounds like a fairy-tale romance, but without the happy ending you wanted. Maybe I can have that happy ending for you?"
There was silence through the forest. The sun shining upon me and the tree made it warmer, the sound of the church bells echoing from far away – I took it all in and smiled. Despite its horrible and dark background, this was a beautiful place. Not necessarily to be buried in, but a place for sanctuary. To be alone with your thoughts. A place to rest and escape to.
"Are you actually here Emily? I wish you were. In any shape or form. I'm no devoted Christian or church-goer but…I feel like you're watching me. From above, maybe? In the spirit world? If you are, maybe send me a sign?"
Well, part of me was right at that. Because no more than ten seconds later, something fluttered past the ray of sunshine above my head, catching my attention.
A butterfly. A single butterfly was fluttering down and landed on one of the branches of the tree. It then fluttered closer to me, landing only four feet away. It was blue.
"Oh. Look at that." I smiled, looking up at the ray of sunshine.
"I'll take that as a sign" I chuckled. In that moment, I had an idea. Keeping my eye on the butterfly, I reached over to the bouquet of flowers and grabbed a single red rose, pulling it out by the stem. I held it forward in my left hand, as a sort of offering to the butterfly.
"This is for you" I smiled.
The butterfly wavered for a bit, staying on a single branch before fluttering over to me and landing on the rose.
"I know they're your favourite."
The butterfly stayed on the rose for some time, indulging in its sweet smell, before fluttering away and landing on the rest of the bouquet, occasionally hopping from one flower to another.
"Can't deny, you have a great taste for flowers" I smiled. "So what now?" I wondered out loud.
No one responded, not even the butterfly. It continued to sit on the flowers. How I wish it could talk back to me.
"I can't think of anything else to say…maybe that's it? What do I do now?" I thought.
I paused, thinking silently for many minutes, ideas rushing to and fro in my head.
I came to a final conclusion, piecing together the puzzle of the dream and deciding what was going to happen.
"OK, Emily. I'll tell you what I'm going to do now" I raised my head to look up at the branches of the tree, imagining Emily was looking down directly upon me.
"I'm going to walk away from this place, this enchanting forest and this beautiful tree…and I'm going to live my life…and yours too.
I'm going to go home, tell my boyfriend – and your former husband – that I love him, so much. I'll tell him that, though it's been a short time, I want to stay with him forever. I want to be his wife, his best friend and have his kids. I'll love him enough for both of us, I'll have our children, and you can watch them grow from above. I'm going to explore the world, no matter how poor I am. I'm going to see as much as possible…and why?
Because your life was cut short, and seeing as you and I are the same person, we'll live this life together. And you can experience the joys of the modern life, the adrenaline of living and see what you missed because of that evil man. And we'll grow old together. We'll watch the children grow and have their own, watch them fly the nest and conquer the world, and I'll tell them about you.
I'll tell them about this wonderful woman, a woman who shares the same name as their Mum and watches from above in the sky, like an angel.
How does that sound? You like that idea?"
Obviously, there was no direct answer. The butterfly had remained on the flower bouquet the entire time, occasionally fluttering its wings. Until it finally took off and flew close to my face, landing delicately on my left arm.
"I'll take that as a yes" I smiled, keeping my eyes locked on the butterfly, before it flew away. It flew above the tree and behind it, briefly disappearing, before emerging seconds later and flying higher in to the sky, towards the radiating sunlight.
"Thank you Emily" I said.
I rose from the ground, taking in my surroundings for one more time. It wasn't the final time, though. No doubt about it, I knew I'd return here in the future, for whatever reason.
I left the flowers there, anyone who found them will assume the correct – that someone loved and treasured had died there, and someone was paying their respects.
Smelling the air and digging my hands in to my pockets, I started to leave. This was a big moment. I was leaving this past behind and looking to the future, whatever it involved.
And truth be told, I was excited!
Excited for what my life would become. I already knew who I was, I had seen it several times in my dreams. I was a girl with a second chance at life. I had learnt how to trust and who not to trust. I had seen what pain and betrayal could do, and what pure love felt like. And I loved it! Every single bit of it!
Through the dreams, I had realised how short life can be, and death was a way of saying "hurry up and live while you can, don't waste a day!"
I took one final look at the tree, admiring its height once more, thinking of what to say.
"Take care Emily" I sighed. That as all I could think of. But it was enough.
All of it was enough. I didn't need money, status or diamonds to make me happy.
Just being alive was all I needed. Having learnt who I used to be helped me realise that.
Walking away from the tree and facing the future, I took my first of many steps back home.
This was the end of the dreams. But it was also the beginning of my future.
My future with Emily.
I could hardly wait to get started. There is so much to be done!
So, that's it! This is the ending of the story.
But in the ways of the story, as one story ends, another begins. A sequel!
Any fans of my debut story 'Reunited' will be pleased to hear that the sequel is in 'pre-production' – 'Reunited 2' is coming (FYI, that's not the actual title!)
It feels weird to finally end this story. It's been going on for just over a year – It's true, I wrote the Introduction chapter in November 2014. And now it is complete! Ta-da!
As always, please review and comment, it always makes me happy to hear your responses.
It helps to fuel my passion for writing.
A belated Happy 2016 to you all! Let's make it a brilliant year!
Love from the UK!
Corpsegirl93 :D xxx