Read Part 1 here

Secilia brushed the hair out of her face with a shaky hand, glancing around nervously in the pale gray light of the new dawn. That hint of  steely light showed that morning was on its way.  Light broke over the horizon, sunbeams became sunlight and Secilia allowed them to fall across her face. She considered that an imitation of her prayers would be heard. She did not think she would lose, not with the light on her face like the God’s golden promise.

She has not managed to close her eyes all night, again. Those sleepless nights were always giving her a knowing wink that an old friend was in bed with her; not to dismayed or taken aback. She usually fell asleep in Tristan’s warm embrace, but when she awoke this morning the world was chilly, welcoming the winter. And Tristan was nowhere near her.

It was better with her eyes open, every time.  She was on her knees with elbows touching the mattresse’s coverings. Her black hooded cloak hid her features but wisps of chestnut hair could be seen. While thinking Tristan was behing her head, smelling them and rubbing her neck with his dirty hands, she prayed harder for peace. She longed for that serenity of childhood innocence, coming from a time that her every puff was worth something. For the naked mountains were spectacular and intermittent sunbeams spotlighted the glistering granite peaks.

Tristan would always hold her hand, pushing and pulling her further, more to reach the top. She recalled that falling down was more funny that painful, how complete she was and how in the afternoon the rays of the sun and the shadows of the trees cut across their path. Muted light filtered through the trees into a small glade on the other side of the stream and dust particles were caught in it sparkling, compensating them for the lack of awareness that  prevailed.

Birds were chirping as they zoomed through branches above them. Their feathers fluttering brightly whenever thin air passed through them. Hearing footsteps  on the stairs Secilia pulled the hood up to cover her features, the soft material of the cape keeping her face hidden. Everybody knew about what she was praying for despite the numerous times she tried to convince them it was all about her soul being saved. It was all about Tristan and lately she was feeling ashamed of the others looking at her with pity, over and over again. Morning after morning.

The first rays of the new day’s sun were glowing through the small cracks in the ceiling and Secilia started whispering, craving to reach God’s ear through these little holes. For it is through believing that the sun rises and sets, the moon passes and wanes, the rain falls and sunbeams pour down that allows all things to regain order again. To become as they once were. So she prayed in past tenses, mostly. With her eyes closed she was visualising the past yearning to relive it. And somehow even drained of all colour and illuminated by only inspired light from the ceiling, her pictures managed to take on a life of their own.

Light slanted in through the front windows as well and everything was more visibly seen in the bright air. Secilia opened her eyes only to split a sunbeam into a many hued spectrum by passing it through a prism in a darkened room. The one she was in. The one she has made dark. The rest of the house was quite luminous. The headhouse itself was tastefully refurbished and the glow of the light was moving through the great rose windows down onto the polished waiting room. Last time she stood in that room, Tristan was bleeding on the beige carpet trying to soothe her crying, assuring her that everything will be alright. He would be fine. It was just some blood beacuse things heated up.

“Your father did not want to hit me Ses, it was by accident, now go back upstairs.” he said to her in a reassuring tone with his mouth aching. She captured the wet light of his eyes and redirected into hers before she climbed the stairs unwillingly. That night Tristan got his last warning from Ladlow and his men to leave her alone. “The only life me and Ses will have is spelled differently, you bastards!” he yelled while running away on his horse, with his lads following him, wooded themselves too. Ladlow’s men had set them free as soon as Tristan came out his door.

In the dining room, there was one more chair, set in front of the others in the rectangle of light cast by a sunbeam in the middle of her seat.It was the same table from which Secilia came back up in a fighting stance holding a splintered piece of it out in front of her, to defend herself in case Ladlow’s men tried to harm her. But their ordres were clear.

No matter what she does or asks she remains inside the house intact. Secilia always believed this chair belonged to Tristan. It was his spot on the table. One of his places in the house. She even knew where his sword was in accordance with the chair’s legs. But the chair had no seat. No pillow or pad stuffed with a mass of soft material, used as a comfortable support for sitting. It was empty in the center and the dust particles were now cascading through the void to reach the bottom.

To be continued…

Author: Pepi Naki

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