In last week's episode of Trapped in Time II, Doll and Vittorio were reunited at last, but not quite in the way Doll had anticipated. Is this a temporary setback? And will Doll hold it together long enough to come up with a plan? Find out in this week's chapter. This will be the last one I post here, so I can work on it and sub it to Xtasy. Next week, I'll start something new. And don't forget to visit the rest of the Briefers and taste of their literary offerings! Their links follow my tale. Enjoy!
Trapped in Time II: Chapter Thirteen
I stand there, frozen, wasting precious moments while I try to collect my thoughts. What has happened, and how can I fix it and make things right between us? How can I engender a spark of recognition inside of him so that he will know me again?
I did not come all this way to find him simply to give up and walk away. That is not how we do things where I come from. But I realize that if I run after them now, I will only make things worse. A conundrum, indeed, when my heart tells me to go but my brain tells me to stay.
My legs feel as if they will no longer support my weight and I fall into the nearest pew. From there I slide to my knees, my hands pressed together in heartfelt supplication as I pray to the Creator. Please, God, help me. I am lost without him. How can I reach him and make him know who he is and who we are? Please help me to help him so that we can become us once again.
I raise my eyes toward one of the candles near the front of the church and as I watch it seems to flicker brightly; a warmth suffuses me. I have my answer and I am content. My faith sustains me, my belief in God and in Vittorio and myself.
How do you mend a broken heart? By talking to God.
Slowly I make my way from the church. I will return here, of that I have no doubt. At least now I know where he is. And I suspect I will have to talk to him when his new protector is not around. I can be patient, now that I have found him. At least, I hope I can.
There is no sign of Vittorio, or of the preacher’s daughter. I had expected no less. My return to the hotel is at a much slower pace; I have much to think about. First and foremost, though, I have an overwhelming desire to speak with my father, to find comfort in his love, and to avail myself of his wisdom.
He will know what to do. At least I hope so.
As I approach the hotel, I get the sudden feeling that I am being watched. The sensation crawls along my spine and into my neck most unpleasantly. I glance around me. People go about their business, paying no attention to me. But then I spot him. The sheriff. Apparently his office is just across the street from the hotel. He stands in the doorway, arms folded across his chest. How lovely. He stares at me. From this distance, his expression is unreadable, but his stance is decidedly hostile.
I cannot worry about him right now.
As I head up the hotel stairs, I meet my father, coming down. Worry creases his face, and he breathes a sigh of relief upon seeing me.
“Doll, they told me you ran out. Are you all right? Is something wrong?”
Without thinking, I fall into my father’s loving arms and bury my face against his chest, fighting the sobs that wrack my body. I had meant to hold it all in, to be calm and rational, but my broken heart has betrayed me, and I am a child again within my father’s embrace.
He walks me up the stairs, carefully, to our room, and sits me onto the bed, without a word. As I continue to cry, he strokes my back. I know the others are there, I can feel their presence, hear murmurs, but no one interrupts us.
At last, I push back, sniffling as I attempt to breathe. Vati takes his handkerchief and wipes my face, then hands it to me so I can blow my nose. I take a deep breath, attempt to calm myself, and begin.
“I found Vittorio...”
Vati looks confused. I can’t blame him, since obviously Vittorio is not with me.
“He... he does not know me.” The words do not wish to come out; they are most painful to speak. And yet for the moment they are the truth.
I explain about the pennyfarthing and the small boy and the church, and what I found there. Vati listens without interruption. The others maintain a respectful distance, but I know they are listening as well. Also without comment.
When I am done with my tale I sigh, a huge tremor that shakes my entire body. Vati seats himself beside me on the bed, and pulls me against him. For a few moments, nothing is said. I can feel the rhythmic thump of his heart as it beats inside his chest, the strength of his arms as they envelop me.
Charlie kneels at my feet. He takes my hand in his and I look down into his expressive eyes. “Do not be sad, Doll, Vittorio still loves you. He just does not remember.”
I believe that, I truly do. It is the only thing that holds me together. And yet it is still small consolation after having searched for him so long, and no substitute at all for the happy ending I had envisioned once I found him.
“Vati.” I turn my face toward my father, looking for a ray of hope. “Do you think... I mean, since magic took him from me, can magic bring him back?”
I know he wants to reassure me that everything will be all right. I am his child, and it is natural that he wish to protect me. But he also does not believe in lying, or offering false hope. This I know, for my father is most honorable man.
“I don’t know,” he says at last. “Perhaps. Myron and I will certainly try.”
“Yes, we will,” Myron affirms.
A sudden noise from outside diverts our attention. Myron and Charlie race to the window, while Mary hoots.
Someone seems to be screaming.
“Zed’s dead! Zed’s dead!”
end (for now)
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