fleets: This is an excerpt from my next project, "Recollections." I'll leave you to guess who the speaker is, but I think it's pretty obvious. This story will be different in that I'm going to attempt to develop it by putting together a series of first person accounts. This one is from a diary, but right now I'm thinking of including letters, fading memories, pamphlets, etc. I'm not sure how it's going to go yet. I'll figure it out as I go along.
The air is still today. It wasn't always like this, this calm and stagnant atmosphere suffocating my throat closed like a choking serpent coiled around my neck. Or maybe it's not the air that's choking me, but the sadness. Maybe the tightness around my neck is just the sign of coming tears as I sit across the marble and onyx headstones.
No, I do not cry anymore. I've run out of tears and I cannot let the people see me cry lest they become discouraged or afraid. A few drops escape my eyes while I write this, alone in the graveyard, but they must be some morning condensation that had collected on my cheek and nothing more. This stifling hold is not because of my despairing sorrow but the stillness of the air…
The wind has gone. The gentle breeze, the caressing gust, the wind no longer welcomes me when I step outside in the sun. Only the occasional melancholy howl whistles through the streets, and even then one has to be patient to hear it. I walk the gardens at night, hoping to feel the delicate wind again…but it never comes.
How did it come to be like this, my heart so empty and torn? Everyday I sneak out of the castle so that I may come to this place alone, hoping to find some peace in being in the presence of the white and black stones. The white marble is tall and graceful, but not so magnificent so as to be intimidating. The letters are etched with slender curves and a certain modesty my father and mother would have appreciated. I can still see my mother with her expression so delicate lying on the maroon carpet with a tiny glass bottle in her hands. I do not resent her decision. I used to turn the same deadly bottle over and over again in my hands, wondering why I shouldn't join them to where they all had gone.
The black one is smaller than the other. Unlike the white, only one person sleeps beneath its shadow. It stands nameless, and only the few who holds the secrets of that terrible day knows about its existence. He would have wanted it that way. There is nothing grand about this one – smooth and polished it is no more special than any other headstone scattered in the royal graveyard. No matter, it is very special to me. Not once have I forgotten to place freshly cut white lilies before the grave, the petals gleaming in the contrast of the obsidian. He may have been as cold as the stone, but I know there was no other man who had been lonelier than he had been.
Why, why did you do it? I never had the chance to ask my father but somehow I doubt even he knew the entire reason why.
Wrinkled papers slide out of my hands as my mind wanders and my vision blurs. The morning dew is certainly thick today. I hurry to pick them up, for they are the only clues I have of that week, and perhaps the last memories I will ever have of the invisible guardian. Fragile sheets, wrinkled after being constantly handled by my hands and stained with drops of salty tears crackle under my touch. Each one had been hidden in some obscure corner of the western tower, and each one I will forever treasure. I used to cry myself to sleep after reading them every night, wondering why you never told anyone all those things you wrote. You sounded so frail and afraid. Were you afraid of yourself? It left a scar on my heart because the moment those elegant inked words entered my eyes I realized the extent of how much I never knew you. And I will never know you. Never again will I be able to seek advice or hear your stories. Never again will I wake to the familiar sound of your caustic remarks floating through the castle corridors.
When you left, everything swirled to the darkest depths and I stood watching as one by one the people I cared about disappeared from my life forever. When you left, everything went wrong.
I will always be left wondering what had happened. In the midst of all the chaos I fear the truth will be lost like the letters on the black grave. And for the rest of my life I will sift through these letters, diaries, and memories to see if I can find some truth to it all.
They haunt me so…