Chapter Twenty: Memories of a Dream
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I am awakened by the sweet smell of roses and the chirping of the birds. The warm sunlight bathed me as the pleasant breeze flew by. Slowly I leave the bed and reach the window ledge.
‘Ah... What a pleasant smell...’ I could sense the purity of the land, the fresh vivid grass, and the peaceful birds.
“Are you awake milady?” one of my maids speaks from behind the door.
“You may enter” I answer politely as my hands grab onto one of the roses placed inside a glass vase, allowing my body to embrace its fragrance.

“Do you have any preference for today’s attire?” she asks after walking inside and rumbling through my clothes located inside the wooden closet.
“Anything will do,” I noticed the absence of maids but somehow it didn’t bother me, in fact, it only felt natural.
“How about this dress milady?” she picks a light pink dress filled with small pearls on its chest area.
“That one will do” I smile kindly as she places the dress onto a small bench. Then she proceeds in making my bed as I sit in a chair, resting my arms on a beautiful oak desk.
“Shall I prepare a bath milady?” her thoughtfulness made everything seem so clear, so pure.
“There is no need, maybe later” she nods and picks up a small object, brushing my crow hair with it.
“I heard Lady Lilith baked a cake today, she woke up especially early for it” the maid smiles happily but soon after it turns pained, “If I may milady... Seeing your relationship makes me feel jealous.”
“How so?” I question her as her tender hands braid my hair.
“You see milady, I never met my mother and my father died at a young age so I was always alone and sometimes I wonder if she regrets it... Leaving me, that is” her sad eyes made my heart hurt.
“Anna no one knows what made your mother leave but I’m sure that, no matter where she is, she is thinking about you. We might not be the type of family you’d like but...” as I was speaking she intervenes.
“Milady that’s not it! I love you and your mother dearly and I’m very thankful for everything you have done for me!” her worried expression made me chuckle slightly.
“I know, calm down” I place my hands on hers as some tears found their way out of her beautiful light brown eyes, “But we’re not them. You must not forget where you came from because that’s what makes you unique Anna”
“I know milady, it’s just...” I get up and hug her tightly. She pauses she tries her best to hold back her tears.

“You know, my mother usually says the best way to deliver your feelings to someone is through singing, that’s why you always hear her whenever you go” I smile softly.
My voice echoes throughout the room as I sing about a young girl whose childhood had been tainted by departure and, even after growing old her mind still wanders about those who left, the souls that disappeared from her presence, blaming herself for having her dream ripped away, right before her eyes.
I place my hand on her short brown hair, patting it softly. Anna sobs as her grip on my nightgown tightens, her tears flow, and her pain was being lifted. The ghosts that dragged her feet were no longer as heavy, the scars that her heart carried were no longer as deep and, most importantly, her soul was lightened.
After several long minutes, the song stops, and so do her tears. She lets me go and fixes herself.
“Thank you Ophelia” she smiles warmly as she returns to her chores.
“You welcome, Anna” I reply right before getting dressed.

“Good morning mother” Lilith’s beautiful smile greets me as her pure light blue eyes meet mine. In the garden, her long curly ginger-colored hair reflected the sun rays as her pale skin looked like a porcelain doll.
“Good morning my dear, how was your night? Did you had a good sleep?” I approach her and sit in front of her, grabbing her cold hand afterward. She was having tea, at a small table with several beautifully crafted amethyst cups.
“I did mother, and you?” her weak body always made me worry and, ever since I was born I tried to help her in any way I could since, it was my fault that she became unable to walk.
“Yes... Don’t you think the roses are blooming beautifully today?” her tender and calm voice made my worries disappear as if they had never been there in the first place.
“Would you like me to get you one?” I question just to be answered by her soft laugh.
“Do you know what’s love Ophelia?” she grabs her cup and places it against her pale pink lips.
“I don’t.”
“Love is like a rose dear... Your eyes are presented by its beauty but you know it will be painful to touch it... You see, you want to pick it up, keep a rose to yourself but soon she will wither. Love is being able to watch the rose bloom every spring, wanting to harvest it but not doing so,” she drinks a little bit of the lavender tea.
“I see mother...” I smile as she glances at me cheekily.
‘Love huh...?’ somehow that thought scared me. I had been loved before and sadly, I had withered and, when I fell in love I was nothing more than a bird in a cage, in the arms of a man whose storms I could not control, ‘Who was he again...?’ my mind was blank, I couldn’t remember him but still the idea of love was nothing more than a further memory for me, ‘If I am ever able to love someone again, will they tie me down or will I kill them first?’ were the worries wandering in my head.

“You look troubled, what’s wrong?” she knew me way too well.
“Mother... It’s...” I couldn’t bring myself to say it.
“You know dear, when you are older you realize that your certainties are nothing but shells of your pride, shattering at your new perspective. I don’t know what clouds your soul but you are a strong woman, I’m sure you will be able to figure it out and, if you still can’t, rely on your friends, on your family, and your future husband” she caresses my cheek gently as I feel tears leaving my heart.
‘I wish the time could stop. Please, don’t go any further. Just let me stay like this... with her.’
“Oh my... Look at the time dear, you should go” she smiles as her hand goes back to her teacup.
“I don’t want to go, mother”
“You have to go but remember, I’ll always be with you my dear Ophelia” her voice echoed as a harsh wind made everything around into sand, except the table, the chairs, and my mother’s skeleton.
“Of course I have to go... I always have to go because... You are not real in the first place... Isn’t that right?” tears flow down my face rapidly and, the moment I get up, my mother and the other objects were taken away by the sand of time that flew with the wind. I knew that all of this was nothing but a memory of my past.

Everything around me was white and too bright.
“Lilith...” I whispered her name as I cleaned my tears, “If only I’d never been born...” my heart felt heavy as my soul carried a large burden.
“Do you think it would change?” I hear a male’s voice.
“Wouldn’t it? My mother wouldn’t die and I would never be...” I grit my teeth as tears blurred my vision once again. The shape of a person appears in front of me, a man, but I couldn’t see his face or even his body, it was almost as if it was a shadow made out of clouds.
“Who are you?” I ask but he ignores my question.
“Do you blame her?” his voice is calm but, at the same time, oppressing.
I nod, of course, I couldn’t blame my mother... The reason I was compelled by anger and hatred towards all those men and women, towards all who harmed me is because the one I blame the most is none other than...

“Myself...” I whisper as I feel my knees grow weak.
“If you blame yourself then how come you want them all dead?” I couldn’t understand it myself but this voice was as soothing as a lullaby.
‘Is this what people feel when they confess? This feeling of cleansing their souls...’ I wondered.
“Isn’t it their fault? You are right to blame them. Humans are weak and fragile creatures with hearts devoured by demons of greed and lust, you did nothing wrong, Ophelia”
‘Is he trying to reassure me? Is he saying that I am not to blame?’ he reaches out his arm and I feel an urge within me to grab it.
“Humans should be filled with despair since they are despicable creatures” I could sense extreme remorse and hatred coming from this man, this shape, this figure. I placed my arm on my chest.
“But I’m a human too, wouldn’t that make me the same?” several minutes of silence pass after my question.
“Ophelia, do you consider yourself a human after dying nine times?” I flinch as I understood what he had meant.
‘I was reborn nine times and I died nine times... If humans only die once... What does that make me?’ I didn’t understand. Was I a curse? Was I a demon? Was I a flaw created by the Gods?
“What am I? You must know right?” the clouds start to dissipate and I panic, I needed an answer, “Wait! Don’t go!”
The grey clouds disappear and I am left with the extremely bright white light from this place, wherever I was. As I thought about what he told me I couldn’t find an answer.
‘So am I really not human...? Or is it all in my head?’ nothing was clear anymore.

 

✽ ✼ ✽ ✼ ✽ ✼ ✽

I wake up and see an unfamiliar ceiling. Beside me were Bradley and Jade, both sitting on a chair but sleeping soundly as their heads touched the bed. Slowly I get up and head outside, the night sky was becoming lighter as my feet touched the bare grass.
My eyes wandered around just to see everything already cleaned, almost as if the party had never happened as if everything was only an illusion created by fear. My neck was bandaged and my body felt as light as a feather.
As I walked towards the plains outside the Hillgarden’s estate I did something I had never done before. When my mother was alive, we would sing together but I would only accompany her as she poured her heart and soul into every word she sang.
I never understood the reasoning behind it, I always felt like it wouldn’t make any difference. But somehow, after seeing her in my dream with her kind smile and angelical aura, I couldn’t help but feel the agglomeration of emotions inside of me, dwelling, weighing me down. So I sang as I walked through the plains, as the green grass filled with dewdrops wet my feet, as the wind blessed my face with its touch.
My lives were nothing but a scary story that parents tell their kids when they don’t want to sleep.
‘If you leave the bed the monster below will get you,’ these types of stories, however, for me they were not monsters, they were men and women, they were demons shaped like humans.

For so long, I held myself onto the strand of hope that if I would be kind I wouldn’t suffer because ‘what you give the world, the world will give back to you’ but that never happened, instead I was only haunted by ghosts of lust that filled my soul with pain and sorrow.
I had dreams, I had hopes, I had faith. I believed that things would change. I prayed to God.
‘Please, if you are there if you can hear me, please let it end, I don’t want to go through this anymore’ His silence was more hurtful than any flame that burned my body.
There had been people who tried to save me, for their own reasons, but their cryings, their hopes, their faith wouldn’t reach me. My soul was too shattered in the deep ends of the abyss filled with a thick mist of sorrows, regrets, and hatred.
And then, one day, he appeared. A man whose hunger was bigger enough to consume a whole kingdom, also gripped my heart tightly, taking away everything I had left, leaving me with nothing but an empty heart, wicked, betrayed, broken. Taking away the rest of my innocence, the rest of my childhood, the rest of anything that could make me a good woman.
As he turned my dreams to shame, my soul became darker, my wishes became nothing but regrets and my hopes were nothing more but illusions created by my despair. No matter how I tried to fix it, the pieces wouldn’t glue themselves together. They didn’t match anymore.
He created something bigger than anything he had thought of. He wanted a Rose to himself but instead of withering, she was tainted black, luring every being into them, almost as if she was possessed by a demon. A beast that had to remain hidden from the curious eyes to protect their sanity.

‘But what about my own? What about me?’ I knew that never mattered and, even if I barely had any memories of him, this feeling was still vivid, burning inside of me.
I begged. I cried. I yelled.
“God, please, take me now. Let me go now. Anywhere but here. Anywhere but the hell I’m in” but His silence remained.
And so, as time went by, the flower stopped blooming and I stopped dreaming. My thoughts were filled with despair and no matter what I did, I couldn’t get myself back. I realized that everything would remain the same and that, no matter what I did, my soul would still find a way to come back to me, to haunt me with its memories, to embrace me with its present, and to kill me with its future.
As I arrive at the top of a hill I see the sun rising on the horizon. Tears running down my face while its overwhelming light created the shadow that followed me anywhere, the shadow that knew nothing of my pain but yet still followed me as if I were nothing but its entertainment.
There is no escape from this loop. I am nothing more than a puppet, being played by something people would call destiny, waiting for the day the ropes break, waiting for the day I will leave this world for good.
Praying for the day where all of these painful memories will be gone.
Praying for the day where all of this sorrow will be replaced by happiness.
Praying for a life that I won’t be alone and will be able to dream as far as the moon that disappeared on the horizon.

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