The following is an excerpt from a short story (okay, not so short) I wrote about a year ago. Part 2 will be coming very soon. I hope to incorporate this into a bigger story someday.
Another Time, Another Place
What purpose drives me forward, ignites my entire being with an unquenchable fire? For I do not know where this path will lead, nor if I will return. I know only that I must, for I am driven by a force I am helpless to resist. One thought consumes me: If there was an answer, I’d find it there, though from whence this thought comes, I do not know.
The gentle roaring of waves fills my ears, and then silently recedes. A bell tolls mournfully in the distance. A chilling breeze lingers in the air, sending a shiver down my spine. I slowly open my eyes to a faint light filtering through a hovering fog. My clothes cling to my skin as I push myself to my feet. I squint, struggling to see through the fog. My hand grasps the wall for balance as my feet stumble forward, breaking through the dense fog. A gasp escapes me. I stand upon a high stone wall overlooking a body of water stretching far beyond my sight. Yet the water is unlike that of any lake or ocean I have ever seen. It glistens in wondrous hues of blue, reflecting the rising sun like a rippling mirror.
“You look as if you have seen a ghost,” a deep voice questions and I turn my head to a young man I can only describe as stunning. He stares with questioning green eyes, a faint smile softening his angular features, his stark black hair blown gently by the breeze.
“I have never glimpsed such beauty as this,” I reply, spreading my hand toward the water.
“A flawless masterpiece, is it not?” he says, slowly walking forward and stopping beside me. “I am Aiden Larkson,” he says as he takes my hand and raises it to his lips, prompting me with his keen gaze.
Suddenly a shocking revelation enters my mind and my heart plummets deep within my chest. I know neither my name, nor my identity, nor the ground on which I stand. I disengage my hand from his grasp and press it to my head, as if by doing so I could will the terror seeping into my veins to subside.
“Are you well, my lady?” he questions, his eyes mirroring his concern.
“Yes, I am well,” I reply, though my stressed tone sounds foreign and weak to my ears. I search my mind desperately for any semblance of memory.
“Ellie,” I answer, though from where that answer came, I cannot say. “My name is Ellie,” I repeat, more confidently this time.
“Come, my lady, rest for a moment,” I hear his voice say, though it sounds distant and obscure to my ears. I sense, rather than feel, myself being guided to a bench.
Suddenly his voice is lost to me and I feel my breath being purged from my lungs, leaving me gasping for air. Anxiety penetrates my mind and I must force my hammering heart to subside. A thought suddenly enters my mind, If there is an answer, you’ll find it here. The thought seems both foreign and familiar. Slowly, I become aware of my surroundings and the firm hand upon my shoulder.
“Mr. Larkson, forgive me for alarming you,” I speak quietly, looking up into his eyes. “I… am not sure how to explain this. I know neither who I am nor how I came to be here, however irrational that may seem. I know only that I have come to unearth an answer, yet to what, I do not know.”
I watch as his face transforms from bewilderment into a dark shadow, his eyes now piercing. “My lady, I fail to understand. Yet I must say this, beware yourself here. Many unpleasant things have come to pass; curiosity could lead to peril,” he warns, his voice quietly threatening.
A shiver runs down my spine as I turn from his gaze. “I thank you for your concern. Is there a place I may stay?” I ask as I stand, now hesitant of his presence.
“The Garden Inn,” he replies, rising from his seat, “I will escort you there.” In his tone I sense no room for debate and that assumption is verified when he places his hand on my arm, firm and unrelenting.
“Thank you,” I say, though it sounds forced and cold. He guides me swiftly through the cobbled streets. As we pass the beautiful villas, I notice the unnatural quiet within the town and feel my heart beat faster within my chest. My unease subsides as we reach a building over which hangs a battered sign reading The Garden Inn. He makes no move to release me as we enter inside. As he makes his way to the counter, I sense a tenseness lingering about the small crowd inside. Before I can object, Mr. Larkson purchases for me a room and releases my arm, handing me the key. I open my mouth to assure him such a generous action was unnecessary, yet I suddenly realize I possess have no other means of obtaining shelter and no money with which to pay him. I simply nod my head in gratitude and take the key from his grasp. Without further word, I make my way to my room.
* * * * *
Later, I find myself walking through the streets, the morning chill now replaced by the refreshing warmth of the sun’s rays. My steps echo and I once again notice the eerie silence. I do not even know in which city I now reside, let alone who I am. My mind is utterly blank and it leaves me breathless with a fear I am unable to control. If there is an answer, you’ll find it here. Once again that phrase penetrates my mind and I gasp. How will I discover an answer to a question I do not even know?
Suddenly I feel myself falling, a surge of pain coursing through as I feel my head hit the pavement. My breath escapes my lungs in a gasp and my vision turns black.
I wake to a throbbing pain within my skull. I open my eyes slowly, the pain nearly too much to bear. The dim light of a candle flickers beside me. I feel a damp cloth pressed to my brow and I gently turn my head toward the light. A shadowed figure stands nearby, his back to me. My heart races with fear. Suddenly the figure turns and I glimpse his features in the candlelight. He is young, with dark brown hair and deep green eyes that seem to stare deep within me. In a different circumstance, I may have found him handsome.
“My lady, you have finally awoken,” he says in a deep, gentle voice.
I struggle to push myself upwards, but the pain prohibits me from doing so. He places his hand on the arm to steady me. “You must remain still, until you have healed.” He removes his hand and reaches for a damp cloth, which he presses gently to the side of my head. “Thankfully the wound was minimal and the bleeding has subsided,” he explains, relief evident in his voice.
“What happened?” I ask weakly, closing my eyes.
“I do not know for sure, though it may have been…… deliberate,” he finishes hesitantly as my eyes fly open. “With all that has ensued lately, I would not deny the possibility, however preposterous. Though for something such as this to happen to a woman is beyond my belief.”
My eyes close in exhaustion. I feel his hand gently squeeze my own as I drift off to sleep.
I hope you liked it!! Any constructive criticism would be very appreciated!!