The Promised Day (Short Story)

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My 3rd short story. Dedicated to my friends and fans on Valentine's day. And also happy 1st monthsary to me in wattpad.



The Promised Day


Anathacia twirled around me gracefully— and though it's winter, her billowing silk skirt looked like a blooming flower in spring. I reached for her hand on the next step and we glided on the polished marble floor of our dancing hall.

"—No, no Cedric! You missed a note! Aren't you listening to the beat?" my perfectionist dancing teacher called for my attention. He had stopped from humming the rhythm.

I smiled apologetically at him. "I am sorry sir."

Anathacia giggled beside me. She was my fiancée introduced by my Papa last year. We were going to get married six years from now, when we both turn eighteen because we're in the same age. If I am older by more years, we could marry as soon as she starts to bleed— I don't quite understand that. They just told me that bleeding was the transition of a young girl into womanhood. I found it so morbid, seeing Anathacia bleed but still manage to live normally, if that's as literal as I'm thinking.

What I do understand was that Anathacia's family could provide a dowry fit for my father's consideration of a marriage.

And what of Anathacia herself? I really admire her from the first time I saw her. She looked like a porcelain doll; her hair was in long golden locks, her eyes were aquamarine blue with pools of thick eyelashes, and her pinkish lips were small and pouty.

Even though I'm still quite young at twelve, I believed that I am irrevocably in love with her, and that feeling seems to be mutual.

When I am at boarding school, she wrote letters to me almost every week. I do the same. We shared even the simplest story of our everyday lives that made me always look forward to yuletide holidays. That's the only time we could be together.

It is either me or her to visit each other's palazzo since distance was not a burden. Today, she was the one who visited me.

I made her a poem which I will read to her later after my dancing lessons for the Yule ball.

Maybe I could add some more lines, because I am delighted she volunteered as my dance partner. I'm saved from pairing with one of our servants who can't be anything but clumsy.

We danced to our heart's desire,
Oh my lovely lady and I..

"—Let's repeat from the start!" the stern in my teacher's voice disrupted my poetic spirit.

"Are you blushing Cedric? You're face is red." Anathacia teased me, and then she touched my cheek.

I heard her gasped. "Oh! You're— hot!" her eyes immediately seek for my dance teacher.

"Sir! Cedric is— I think he's sick!" she exclaimed exaggeratedly.

I do have a mild fever this morning when I woke up. Seriously, it can't be anything worse, just a little raise in my body temperature. But now that I think about it, I felt better in the morning compared to every passing hour.

"You better take your rest Cedric—" my teacher said gravely after he felt my forehead.

"I am alright Sir—" my vision suddenly blurred, and my senses turned unsteady. What's happening?

Everything went totally black. Did someone draw all the curtains?

Cedric?

Cedric!

I heard Anathacia and my teacher called out for me in the midst of darkness, however I could not answer back. My throat was burning and it felt like a thousand needles had been pricked there simultaneously.

——

"Mama—" that's the first word, and probably the only word I had said that night when my consciousness returned. My Mama had already died last year from the scarlet fever, and so it puzzled me.

Despite of the unexplainable pain in my throat, and severe convulsion, I held on to my remaining sanity.

I am lying on my bed, and inside my room I saw our family doctor sitting on the armchair nearest to me.

Anathacia was also there, but she's on the wall just few walks from the doorway. Her servant Luca stood next to her, holding one of her arm as if impeding her from getting near me.

"Cedric! You must fight—" she shrilled.

Fight what?

"—We promised— you promised—"

Promised what? I'm startled. Why was she acting so exaggerated since this afternoon?

"—that on fourteenth of February, six years from now—" Anathacia burst into tears.

'Don't cry Anathacia.' I wanted to say that and comfort her. But why can't I? What's wrong with me?

"—Fourteenth of— Feb-ruary—" Anathacia repeated in between her sobs. "—please, I want to—see you on that day—-"

'February the fourteenth', I pondered. That's Saint Valentine's day, and we promised to get married on that date six years from now— I know that already, why did she have to remind me?

I am so sleepy I could feel my eyelids droop. Please let me take a rest. Tomorrow, I'll probably get well and we will talk things out...

——


The moment I opened my eyes, I never felt this light. They're wrong indeed, for I was not ill at all.

They—

My eyes squinted inside my room. It was empty. Where's every one? I went out of bed.

It felt like my feet just accumulated amounts of dust.

Why was it so dusty here?

"Marissa?" I called for my servant. She usually stood outside my room, just in time of my awakening every morning. But no Marissa answered.

I went out of my room and sauntered at the corridors, calling names of our servants until I almost circled our whole palazzo.

I only slept for several hours and everyone was gone when I woke up.

My father was asleep when I opened his study room. He must have come home soon as the news of my illness reached him; thank goodness for that, at least I knew I'm not alone.

His whole back leaned at a cushioned high chair which he bought last year from an auction. His right arm firmly pressed on some stack of papers on his desk. I stooped a bit and read it's the deed of our own palazzo.

I might have woken him up had I not seen his visage.

He looked tired, no doubt. But his face was pallid and withered unlike the last time I saw him.

It felt weird seeing him in shabby and tattered robe. I mean, my father had a good taste for clothing and wouldn't be caught dead wearing such unkempt garments.

I closed his study room door gently and continued on my wandering.

Our palazzo was still the same as yesterday, except for the worn out wall paints, decimated woodworks, and I think it was half empty now. Several of our paintings were gone together with all of our antique artifacts.

When I got out of our palazzo, another surprise met me. It wasn't snowing!

'I thought there's a blizzard last night?' never mind, it's still wintry.

I set aside my hundreds of unanswered questions regarding yesterday and decided to pay a visit at my mother's grave. Perhaps she was my angel last night; I thought so.

Then I will go to Anathacia and ask her everything I missed while I'm asleep.

On my way to the graveyard at the back of the cathedral, the bell from the highest spire chimed at the hour of twelve.

'I overslept' I mused.

There's someone standing in front of a tombstone just beside my mother's; a young lady on a mink coat. I could see golden curls sticking out of her huge white hat.

I stood in front of my mother's tombstone and prayed. I am so sorry that I didn't bring any flowers.

The young lady beside me gasped. When I turned a little, I'm pretty rure I saw a bizzare mix of loneliness, surprise, and terror on her beautiful face.

"You—haven't—changed." she said, with slight stammering.

'Is she talking to me?' I looked around. There's no one else here.

"—Same light brown hair, same hazel eyes, same high nose, same— Oh! This must be my imagination!" the young lady turned on her back at me.

I didn't speak.

"I wonder if I turn around, would you still be there?— of course not.. But—" she start sobbing "—but if ever you're here, please always remember that I love you.." the pretty young lady strode away quickly.

"Wait—" I was going to follow her, but I suddenly caught a glimpse of the tombstone beside my mother's.

My head shook in disbelief as I read the gold embossed curly letters on it. And like a bolt of lightning, it struck me.

"Anathacia.." I said, fazed. "Anathacia!"

"Do not follow her." cried a little voice just behind me. I spun to see a little boy, whom I thought was just seven or eight years old. He looked like a son of a wealthy tradesman because of his fine black overcoat.

"And who are you?"

The little boy smiled slyly. "You wouldn't believe it even if I tell you."

I casted him with a perplex look. "Do you know me? I'm—"

"I know. As a matter of fact, I came here to fetch you."

"Why now? You should have done that long time ago." I blurted out, partly guessing the vague situation.

He held my arm like I'm his big brother. "She had finally set you free. It is time you do the same to her."

Instead of being enlightened, I got more confused.

"You see Cedric," we began to walk. "You were chained in time by your love to her."

"My love.." I whispered.

The boy smiled again as we go on together. "Yes.. You strongly held on to your love that it had endured. Do you know what the exact day today is?"

I nodded as we crossed an unexpected light.

Of course, it had to be this day and no other..

"The fourteenth of February, 1869.."

It was too late, I realized. The little boy was right. I have to let go.

The least I could do was to grant her the happiness she deserved after all these years I pained her.

For the last time, I peered behind my shoulder and glimpsed my own tombstone.

In the loving memory of
Cedric de Poisson

Born on the 15th of May, 1851 A.D.
Died on the 23rd of December, 1863 A.D.

 

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