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The clouds show no sign of breaking. The storm that had passed through late this morning caused a deferring of the afternoon’s events and left me waiting a bit impatiently; but now the rain has ceased, and the time is here.

I’ve taken to my final stage, and I stand silently. My gaze skims over the heads of those who have come to bear witness, those who have come to share in this allegedly just event, all dressed to the nines as they stand crowded together, their newly shined shoes sinking into the mud below them; each of their expressions gives away their reasons for attendance on this dismal afternoon, some out of sympathy, but most out of vengeance brought on by envy. My eyes see the rest of the servants huddled together, all refusing to meet my gaze out of respect and the human fear of not knowing exactly how to empathize. I watch them as a man in uniform addresses them, stating that I am to be a lesson to them, a reminder of what becomes of the insolence of servants who break the constraints of their rank.

The platform beneath me is made of rotting wood, and it creaks from the whisper of the spring wind and the burden of my weight. A musty, hardy smell penetrates my nostrils; it is the smell of the wood, fresh with the recent passing of rain. The smell, caught in the grasp of the wind, wraps itself around me, winding up my skirt, tattered from years of daily wear and use, and around my corseted waist like the warm, gentle embrace of a lover. I let the entwined sensations come over me, let them smooth over my long, braided hair and rush across my dazed countenance like a sheet of the lightest satin. I feel the wind’s fingers brush every part of my skin and all at once, I’m dreaming of his hands. I’m imagining the way his fingers felt on my skin the last time we were together, and I’m shivering with the thought. I feel my body begin to awaken, feel the goose-bumps surface and the tingling blaze of desire pulse through my chest and downward, making my breath come in quicker and heavier waves. I stifle the urge to close my eyes and give in to the feeling, to let my head relax and surrender to the caress of the wind’s touch. Instead, I swallow the feeling, cut off my imaginings and stand tall, steady, dignified. They will not take from me my pride.

My hands remain clasped in front of me doll-like, vulnerably; the position portrays the fallacy that I’ve accepted the justification for my fate, and I take in a deep breath and raise my chin to stand even taller in compensation. The wind continues to blow, sending tremors through me that I try in vain to control. I fight to keep myself steady, to keep my knees from buckling as the uniformed man standing in front of me reads the list of my faults to those on the muddy ground around where I stand, as though any of them would have forgotten. His voice meets my ear in muffled tones and I find I cannot make sense out of his words, so my gaze takes to the misty horizon, though its ethereal line is spoiled by the jagged silhouette of the castle, like a leviathan as its turrets stab at the sky as if to dare nature herself.

I glance at the windows; I can see the curtains blowing in the same breeze that teases me with its touch. My stare keeps on one window, his window, and I see our shadows dance across the pane. They hold each other tightly, tenderly, kissing and falling about. I feel a thrill wash over me, a feeling of excitement mixed with the knowledge of deliberate wrongdoing. The feeling is enough to knock me over in its intensity, and I have to shift my eyes from the window and force forgetting.

I know that my eyes glisten, and I keep them focused at the ground in front of me. I take to counting the cracks in the wood until I am sure the gloss has faded. I look up and immediately my eye is drawn to the crowd, in which all are now faceless but one. My eyes are filled with the dark brown of another pair so powerful in their familiarity. It is he, and the sight of him standing amid the crowd, his focus solely on me, is too much to bear. My breath quickens and I feel I might faint. I falter; my face fills with expression as my lips part and my brows furrow, giving veracity to the fear, the anxiety that I could not keep from building within me. I let out a small cry, a plea meant for only his ears, and I can no longer stand. Me knees feel the urge to buckle, and I stumble forward, my hands still clasped, my eyes once again shimmering but still locked onto his. His face contorts with pain, with anguish, as he begins fighting his way through the crowd, his gaze never leaving mine.

As I watch him get closer to me, I feel myself growing faint and in his eyes, I see reflected myself as I appeared only three nights before. I watch, and a strange feeling of contentedness envelops me. In my hazy mind, I see the clouded, endless sky turn to the castle ballroom as it had been that evening, all decorated in easter pinks and yellows; I see the faceless men and women in the crowd take on the visages of societies finest as they appeared that evening, the women draped in different shades of pastel, the men in their best suits. I close my eyes to lose myself in the image as I watch it play out before me. My mind fills with the music of that evening’s quartet and I can smell the delicate mixture of strong perfumes worn by the women of rank. I feel the pastel satins and the tools that dress them, wrapping them in the softness and the weightlessness of clouds. I watch them, the way their dresses graze each others, the way the women gather them up in their frail hands to dance. They are each drenched in jewels that shimmer, reflecting the light and making me squint as I make my way across the room, looking for his face.

I step cautiously, slowly, trying to keep my eyes locked onto the marble floor, but the color, the excitement is too much, and I cannot keep from letting my vision indulge. My excitement lies strewn across my wide expression, and I feel my head go light with awe, with wonderment. I feel my body’s want to give in to the sway of the waltz that plays, and as I begin to surrender to the one two three, my vision once again becomes clear, and I glimpse the faces of my master’s guests, every one of them wrought with an expression of repulsion. I glance around, my cheeks overcome with a blush as I notice the placement of the ladies and the men, parted around me like the Red Sea, the men stepping slightly in front of the women in protection, as though being too near to someone as common as a servant would sully them and their wealth, as though it would brand them with my same fate. I walk down the aisle created by their parting, seeing as I pass women place their gloved hands over their noses, men pull their ladies closer and comment snidely beneath their breath. I feel my chin quiver in humiliation and extinguish the urge to cry by remembering my reason for entering into the ballroom. I lift my chin in boldness as I search for my master’s face.

Finally, I spot him. He’s standing there with her, holding her drink while she adjusts the bustle of her pale green dress, her blonde ringlets falling and bouncing around her face. She mutters under her breath about the shortcomings of fashion, and he looks at me; his look is stern and inquisitive, just as any master’s would be to one of his servants. I walk up to him, keeping my distance and complying with the formalities of rank, and I give a small curtsey as I address him and tell him that he is needed in the study for an unexpected caller. He passes an annoyed glance to the woman on his arm, and I make the mistake of meeting her eye. Her face gives way to a contortion of disgust at my audacity, and he pats her arm in pacification. With that, he excuses himself, and we swiftly make our way to a wooden door adorned with golden trim that lay at the end of the room, he treading slightly in front of me and I trailing behind, head bowed humbly as is expected of a servant.

I can feel every pair of eyes on us as he steps back, and I pull the door open letting him enter before me. I cross the threshold behind him into a small, darkened hallway lit by the light of a single candelabra that extends out of the wall like fingers on a curled, arthritic hand. The door closes behind me with a heavy thud, and at the instant the sound reaches his ear, he seizes me, pushes me against the rough, serrated, brick wall of the corridor, and I can feel it scratch into my back as his mouth already presses deeply into mine; his hands already frantically search me, exploring my bodice, my hips. I feel my body awaken to him, overwhelmed with the urgency, the warmth of his lips, his tongue. Desire begins to course through my veins like a potent drug, rousing every nerve in my body.

Our breathing comes rapidly now as his lips move down my chin. I rub my hands through his dark hair as his lips explore my neck and make my body shiver with the sensation. I push my hips into him and pull him closer to me; he pulls his lips from me and looks at my eyes, his passion there for me to behold, so tangible as though I could reach out and take it for my own. He pushes himself into me, and I can feel him as his lips find mine again. His hands reach below to the hems of my layers of skirts, and I can feel my one crinoline moving scratchily up my legs, past my knees, slowing as it reaches my thighs. I reach down and unbuckle him, hearing him sigh at the feel of my touch. He holds me against him and I feel his fingertips grip into me as he pushes inside of me slowly, creating a tempo for our passion, giving our desire a rhythm, a composition only heard by our ears.

As I feel him deep in me, as I feel his steamy breath on my shoulder, my mind reels with sensation and I close my eyes. I see myself in his arms, and under the warmth of his touch, I see my tattered skirts and bodice turn to a gown the color of the morning sky and made of the softest satin. I see his hands reach up into my hair and transform it from a matted nest of dull brown hair into a head-full of beautiful ringlet curls that glisten even in the dim light of the corridor. I feel his breath bathe me, leaving me suffused with the scent of the sweetest spring flowers. I feel his hands trace my throat and make their way down to my breasts, leaving in their phantom tracks the weight and coolness of diamonds dripping from my neck; and finally he is my equal.

My body, overcome with the image and the building sensations beating through me, begins to shiver as I approach my peak and my head begins to feel light, as though it is spinning. Bliss pulses through me, and my closed eyes fill with the brightness of a passion so absolute; I feel him hold me tighter still and then relax with a sigh. I collapse into his arms and am met with a flood of kisses and the simple delight of his arms wrapped around me so tightly.

We know we must part, so we brush ourselves off and adjust our clothing. I reach up to fix his freshly tousled hair, and he watches me, smiling; he grabs my hand when I finish and plants a soft kiss on top of it. I smile at him, taking in a breath, hoping to breathe in, along with his scent, the moment itself so that it could live inside of me, and I would never have to part with it.

He pulls me in for a final kiss, and I feel myself go weak with its sweetness. He takes his lips from mine but lets them linger over them, touching them fleetingly like the flutter of wings as he whispers to me, “I love you and only you.”

And with that, he is back through the door, and I am left against the brick corridor wall, now feeling the slight throb of the scratches I sustained while pushed up against it and the pulse of my lips, still tender from his pressure. I lean myself against the wall and brace myself as my body begins to ache with the absence of his touch. I take in a deep breath to try and pacify the ache, and I hurry out of the corridor, not knowing then that farther down the hall, a pair of eyes had been watching the whole encounter and planning their betrayal, not knowing then that my impossible love had been discovered and would be forced to an end.

The bitterness of thoughts of our betrayal pries my eyes open and as they come back into focus, the memory fades away and turns back into the desperate eyes of my lover as he fights his way to me under the clouded sky. He is right in front of the platform now, and I can see the wet traces of tears that had made their way down his cheeks. I glance at myself and can see that the rope has already been fastened around my neck; I had not noticed them slip it on. And how innocent it looks, embracing my throat inconspicuously, just as a gaudy diamond necklace lies casually around the throat of a Lady.

The rope matches the color of the one wrapped around my
wrists, keeping my hands clasped together demurely. I bring my gaze upward and behold the knots that will keep the rope from failing to end my life. I imagine the man who tied those knots, try to picture what his face might look like, wonder what he thought of as he fastened them.

I hear the sound and feel the vibration of boots on the platform, and my eyes follow the sound to a masked figure who will be the one to offer me to my eternity. I watch him as he approaches the lever and grabs hold. My gaze seeks out the eyes of my lover, and in seeing the pain in his eyes, the veracity of what is shortly to come falls upon me, and I want more than anything to have him hold me close to him; I know that if I can just feel him, my burden will lift, and my soul will feel freedom.

I watch the anguish in his eyes turn to desperation as I see him leap towards me, lifting himself up onto the platform. I watch him serenely, thinking him just another image in my hazy mind, just a mirage; but then I feel him grab a hold of me softly. I feel his hands wrap around me, and I feel his breath once again on my shoulder as a cry escapes from him and he whispers that he loves me. I reach my tied hands up to caress his face and wipe the tears rushing down his cheeks. I part my lips in preparation to reply, but my thoughts are shaken by the loud creak of wood rubbing against itself. My eyes go wide as I look at his face and watch as an expression of terror gently overtakes it; and I feel myself slip from his embrace, feel my body glide past the grip of his fingers until I am left once again absent from his touch, and as habit takes over and that petty ache begins to fill me, I fall until everything goes black.

story Information

Upload Date: 31/12/1969

Downloads: 1488

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