Gothic angel, p.1
(c) 2012 by Robert Perry
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How the moss managed to cling to the outstretched limbs of the old oaks in such a gale I will never know, but they swayed fiercely in the wind, blowing both limbs and moss in a rhythmic fashion, as if the trees were painting their sorrows upon the dark night sky. I stood amidst the storm, my flesh feeling the painful droplets preceding the onslaught. One hand clutched my jacket tightly around my neck, while the other took refuge in a pocket. It was cold, and the air was damp with the coming storm.
I was going to a place I knew all too well, though its addition to my memory was only recent. Moving past the small iron gate I gently pushed aside, I entered the enclosure as a strong gust of wind blew several leaves in my face. A love for inclement weather was not what brought me out on such a night, but a dream, a single dream I had where she called me, asked me pleadingly to come to her. I had heard it clearly, the plea, and I could only believe it to be a real summons from her. My heart was too sick to believe otherwise.
My steps were slow and my head was lowered. In my pocket, I could feel the glass bottle of Jack I had stolen from my father growing colder. I would need no courage, especially that which was found in the bottle; what I would need would be solace after she left. My love, my girlfriend, would only be here a short time, a thought I believed and embraced with all my heart.
The stones were many, but spread out among the old trees and sable palms of a nearly forgotten area. Moss, leaves and dead fern branches covered the landscape and formed a thick carpet on the earthen floor. I shuffled through the foliage until I reached my destination.
The stone, staring up at me as if I were a curiosity, did not convey the beauty that was my angel. The cherub sitting silently upon the top looked into the world with cold eyes only, never even attempting to illustrate the brilliant blue hues of my angel’s orbs. I looked around, waiting impatiently and tapping out a rhythmic beat on my leg. It was a beat we had learned in jazz band at school. Neither of us desired to support the institution with our talents, but it gave us time while in class to explore our musical abilities together. Away from school I was a drummer and she a vocalist, her soft and melodious voice rising up in tortured notes of agony and pain. It was, after all, the only life she had ever known. I had promised to put an end to all her sufferings; however, I was too late.
I knelt before the stone and looked over the inscription. It was just as I had seen many visits before. Only two months had passed, and yet I ventured here almost a hundred times. The ground knew my very trod, as upon this soil I spent many a lonely watch. I pulled the hood of my jacket over my head; it was cold, though I cared little.
Standing, I moved around a little. She said she would arrive at the appointed hour. It was nearing that time, and I paced anxiously. Would she really come? Would I actually get to see her again? Could I hold her? I tried to think of what I would say. The words were imbedded in my heart, but my communicative abilities would naturally fail me; they always did, and it was that shyness which won her heart. We were two black spades in a deck of cards, both cut from the same paper, but never at peace with the rest of the deck. We were the night to the world’s day; the moon to their sun. For our differences, we bore the brunt of their antagonism, yet such malice only brought us closer together.
I heard the snap of a twig behind me, and spun quickly to see if she was present. The empty space opened wide, but no one was there. I paced more as the hour came and slowly slipped past. I kept a vigil on the stone, though with the passing of every minute I began to question my dream and my understanding of it. Did I recall the wrong time and date? Was this the location? Did I anger her in any way? Oh, God, how my heart burned within me. I waited, paced and intently watched every movement around the stone. First, it was five minutes past; next, ten; when it reached thirty minutes past the time, I grew frantic.
My whole being was so set upon seeing her that I could not bear the force of rejection, the extreme force of disappointment. I longed to hold her again, to take her into my arms and pull her to me. If my love could be anything to her, it would be a balm to heal her wounds and a salve to mend all the bruises inflicted by an uncaring childhood and unforgiving early youth. I wanted to be that for her; life, unfortunately, did not permit such.
The weather remained as it was. I was growing too restless to stay focused. It was approaching an hour past the meeting time, and my nerves were growing rattled by the elements, the cold, and most importantly, the absence of my angel. After withdrawing the bottle of Jack from my pocket, I took a drink. The liquid calmed me momentarily. A few more swigs found me sitting upon the damp earth, my back resting against the headstone, and my mouth cursing the air for having thought I would ever be able to see her.
“How stupid!” I drunkenly shouted at the floating moss. “She’s not coming, and here I am, sitting like a fool in a cemetery. Stupid!” My exclamation fell heavily upon the death bed of the cemetery floor. It was then I cried.
I consumed a portion of the bottle, perhaps the portion which brings on sleepiness, and soon the falling rain, high winds and threatening lightening had little effect upon my slumbering mind. My eyes closed to all the cares of the world, leaving everything in the realm of the living.
How long I slept I did not know, but I was awakened by a soft touch upon my face. I first thought it was the falling rain, but when it stroked my cheek, I recognized the touch. Opening my eyes and viewing the world through my blurry, drunken stupor, I saw a face before me. My vision was not strong at first, but as I focused on the outline of the chin, the locks of black hair, and the bluish orbs, my heart beat wildly and my lungs let out a deep sigh. It was my angel!
“You’re here. I was beginning to think you wouldn’t come. I mean, I always knew-” and she silenced me with a finger placed on my lips. It was her, in all the glory of her youth, a youth death itself could not touch. I blinked wildly, trying to get the blurriness out of my vision. Looking over her face as she knelt before me, I remembered why I had fallen in love with her. Before me was the tender and gentle face whose smile none ever saw; the noble chin which slid gracefully from a delicate jaw; and her eyes, those blue and brilliant and exquisite eyes which never dimmed, not even in death. She was as I remembered her…as we buried her.
Taking my hand, she slowly removed the bottle from my fingers and tossed it away. I would not need Jack any further. The rain slowed to a light drizzle and the wind momentarily abated. I tried to speak, but the powerfulness of her beauty and the realization of her presence shocked my words into submission. All I could do, all I wanted to do, was stare into her eyes and lose myself in her.
“I missed you,” she finally said, her hand still upon my cheek. “I can’t stay long, but I have something for you.” When her words left her lips, she pressed them to mine. It had been so long since I last felt her tender affection. Reaching out, I took her in my arms and pulled her closer.
She was powerful, vibrant and active; I could not fathom her being anything other than alive, although she was two months in the ground. Her body was too real and too energized for me to second-guess what was happening. No rational thinking would surrender to this moment, as I was beyond the limits of logicians and theoreticians alike. She brought me into some spiritual and spatial rea
We fell over onto the ground, she upon me, and soft laughter escaped our lips. In a moment, the drizzling rain fell on our exposed bodies and for the first time we were connected and unified, our souls merged and welded together in the consummation of our love. The area, so steeped in the deathly throes of decay, looked on us as we embraced life and the living.
She kissed and caressed, as I explored with trembling hands the one I had longed to wed. She arose, and round her neck was the Moonstone I had given her, a necklace she wore to the grave. Her skin was soft and felt like the silken gown of an empress. Her body swayed and moved rhythmically with the swaying of the trees above. She was at one with all creation, and through her, I was, too. Together, we were in unison with the forces which control the destinies and fates; our bodies were conduits for Aphrodite, and with them the energy of the universe was aroused.
When at last the energy culminated, and our bodies were at the brink of excitement, in a fit of passion she threw back her head with her long locks blowing in the breeze, letting out a sigh and moan which rose heavenward to the dark sky. The goddess, through the passing clouds, saw our union and smiled upon us with silvery rays of the moon’s light.
She collapsed upon me, her chest heaving from the exertion. Slowly, she removed her necklace and lazily put it around my neck. The rain began to fall again, but I did not care; I had everything I ever wanted, everything which I had lost. Once she left me, the long hand of death taking her from my side. She could bear her life of pain no longer and death capitalized on her weakness, but now she had returned. I had her back, and the embrace in which I held her spoke of how strongly I would not allow her to leave again.
She smiled and kissed me shyly. I ran one hand through her hair, allowing the strands to fall slowly onto her back. Staring into my eyes, she seemed to glow with joy. I held her, held onto her, my hands fearful of a slip which would send her back again. I kissed her and allowed the feelings of the experience to rush over me. Putting her head on my chest, we both fell asleep.
A single bolt of lightning ripped through the night sky and thundered across the cemetery. Startled, I bolted up clumsily and stood beside the headstone. I did not know what happened, and the alcohol was raging through my body. My blurry eyes searched the landscape and found nothing ablaze.
It took only half a moment to realize I was again clothed, my angel nowhere to be seen. I spun wildly in place, thinking she was playing a game. The bottle fell from my hands and struck against the stone. Where was she? Where did she go? I yelled her name, but only my own words returned to me in an echo. I called again, but she answered not. The area was void of life, save for me. The land was desolate, save for my soul.
Tears welled in my eyes as the rain began to fall. My clothes were wet and hanging on me; my pants were muddy. I looked again and again, but my angel was gone. I could see only the imprint where I laid. I was weak and leaned against her stone. Then, upon her grave, I cried aloud, my tears mixing with the rain falling on her sod.
I attempted to dry my eyes, but to no avail; my grief was too great to be stemmed. She was gone, and I could not hold onto her. I tried the last time and failed. I swore if ever given a second chance, I would not let her go. But I did, again.
A cold chill blew across the yard and shook me violently. The sun would be rising soon, yet I could not bring myself to leave. She had been here tonight, and I wanted to stay, still believing I felt some part of her. She was here, and there, and everywhere. As long as I remained, I felt her.
The cold night air was pressing against me, so when I zipped my jacket to fend it off, I felt it catch on something. Without looking, I tried to force it up, but it would not move. Then, looking down with my saddened eyes, I realized what happened. Caught in the zipper was the necklace, and around my neck hung her Moonstone, the very one my angel took with her to the grave!
Robert Perry lives and works in Central Florida. The inspiration behind his gothic and psychological tales is credited to classic authors such as Edgar A. Poe and H.P. Lovecraft. Follow Robert Perry and stay abreast of all his works through the following websites:
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