Monday, April 20, 2015

Short Story: Loved, Part 12 of 15

Thank you for continuing to read my story. I will not overload you with more stuff to read. Just go ahead. :) (But if you missed the beginning, click here.)

He could hear better now that the rain had stopped. Charlie breathed softly, hoping to hear something in the silent streets. Nothing.
            Trying not to give into his thoughts of failure, Charlie pressed on. He had no idea what the best way to go about this was, but he just kept trying. Perhaps his good intentions would guide him.
            Oh come off it, he thought. Good intentions mattered naught in this world. Charlie sat on a doorstep to think.
            He thought about Rebekah. He thought about the rose and how it had begun to turn white. Why was it turning white? he wondered. The rose was just a symbol of her life; that was what the gremlin had said. The gremlin who claimed to be ‘Love.’ Or was he just a symbol of love? Or a symbol of something mistaken for love?
            Charlie thought about his feelings for Rebekah. Were they based on what he thought he wanted, or were they deeper than that? He hadn’t first been attracted to her because he wanted her; he wanted to know her. And what little he knew about her made him want to know more about her. Here was a human completely different from him. Someone who knew things he didn’t know. Someone who appreciated things he couldn’t comprehend. Someone who wasn’t going to bend to his own selfish desires, but would continue to live in her own soul. She wasn’t going to be everything Charlie imagined. She was going to be herself, and that thought excited him to no end.
            “I think she is valuable,” he said aloud. “I think she deserves a chance to live out who she is.”
            “Even if that means she doesn’t want to include you in her life?” the gremlin appeared in front of him.
            “What do you want?” Charlie asked him.
            “Ohhohoho boy, I want to know what you’re going to choose to do about the girl! Why do you want to find her?”
            “I want to give her a chance. I think she’s a good person and the world will be better if she is in it.”
            “Uh-huh,” the gremlin didn’t look amused. “You say that now! But what about when you find her? What about when she says, ‘Thank you very much for saving me. Now have a nice day.’ What about then? Will you still love her enough to let her go?”
            Charlie sat quietly for a moment. He had a feeling he shouldn’t lie to the gremlin. He didn’t know what would happen when he found Rebekah; he didn’t know if he even would find her. But he tried to imagine himself in this situation. He found her, he saved her, she should jump in his arms and kiss him. But she wouldn’t. So what would he do?
            “Well boy?” the gremlin pestered him.
            Charlie swallowed. “I love her. I love who she is. I want her to be who she is. So if she doesn’t want me, that is who she is, and that is what I want.”
            The gremlin looked at him very seriously. “You’re sure?” he asked.
            Charlie nodded.
            “Very well, then. Here.” He handed Charlie a small, unadorned mirror.
            “What is this?” Charlie asked.
            “Look into it,” the gremlin stated. “And see how true your heart is.”
            Charlie cradled the mirror in his hands and looked at the surface. It showed him his own face. He squinted.
            “How deep are you willing to look?” the gremlin spoke over his shoulder.
            Charlie closed his eyes for a moment. He thought of Rebekah. Opening his eyes, he looked once again into the shiny surface. His features were immediately reflected back into his eyes. But his eyes didn’t stop on the surface. He looked deeper, past the glossy plane of the glass. He looked inside, and he saw her. He saw her curled up in the library, telling stories to three eager faces. The room looked familiar. Charlie let out a yelp, dropped the mirror, and ran off.

            The painted man’s posse was tired and grumpy. They were wet, hungry, and had been out all night looking for who knows what.
            “Why do we care about this beast again?” they whispered to one another. As the sun rose in the east, it became apparent to them that indeed, they did not care about another man’s beast. He could deal with it on his own; they were going home.
            By morning, all that was left of the group was the painted man and his short friend.
            “How long are you going to look for her?” the short man asked him. The painted man growled but did not answer. Something cracked beneath his feet.
            “What is that?” the short man looked over at him. The painted man reached down and picked up the broken pieces of a mirror. He stared at his glorious reflection in it.
            Perhaps it was because he was tired, that he did not care so much for his reflection at the moment. Perhaps it was because his mind was overrun by thoughts of Rebekah. Perhaps he was just so desperate to get her back. But for some reason, his eyes did not stop at his broken reflection. They looked deeper. He saw Rebekah, the version of her with the beautiful face. He saw her beckon to him, to join him in this room with a fireplace. His mouth watered. What a beautiful girl. What a beautiful room. Wait a minute! He knew that room! His mother had used to bring him there when he was a child, to hear stories. He had heard stories of heroes being brave, defeating the beasts, and winning the princesses. He saw the face of his princess, and resolved that he must win her again.
            “Let’s go.” He called to the short man as he walked away.

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