| Stanley Part 5 - Doomed
“You’re a writer?”
“I hope to be. Perhaps one day.”
“Tell me about the dreams.”
Nervously, Stanley took a sip of the gin and tonic which had been served to him by the manservant, Wilfred.
“Well, I suppose,” he cleared his throat. “They started a few weeks ago now, I think. I can distinctively remember that I slept well over Easter and...,” he paused trying to calculate just how long it had been since he last had a decent night’s sleep.
“And?” asked the pleasant young man standing at the window of the elaborately decorated room.
“I haven’t slept properly since.”
Stanley observed the rather eccentrically dressed gentleman. They were probably about the same age. He was not one to judge, but he doubted the fellow could wander far without causing disquiet with his manner of dress. Stanley liked to keep abreast of fashion just as much as the next man, but even so, hair that long was one step further than he would ever wish to go.
“This is all?”
“Pardon?” asked a startled Stanley, somewhat embarrassed by the generous smile the other man bestowed on him.
“You seek us out here at RoYds because you are having problems sleeping? Why not visit the local physician or instruct a member of your household to acquire a tonic from a local pharmacist?”
Stanley felt himself blush. He nervously stroked his fine facial hair before taking another sip of the satisfying drink. Now would be a very good time for the ground to swallow him up.
“Is there something else? Something you may be hesitant to mention?”
Stanley fidgeted for a moment or two and then sighed. “It’s about a woman.” His pulse quickened just thinking about her.
“The beautiful, sensual, seductive kind?”
Stanley felt his face blushing like a beacon.
“Most men would welcome such a dream,” his new acquaintance advised casually. “Personally, I find such women irresistible.”
Stanley was a little taken aback to hear this. If he had been a betting man, he would have wagered that the fellow batted for the other side. He was further surprised when the gentleman laughed heartily.
“I do! But not in the way your mind was working.”
“Pardon?” questioned Stanley somewhat shocked. Had his ears just deceived him?
“So, a beautiful, seductive woman climbs into your dreams, into your mind. Would it be fair to say -– to ravish you?”
Stanley nodded in amazement.
“And you’re complaining?”
“Not exactly,” Stanley replied, strangely feeling more and more relaxed if anything. “The problem is...it’s...well I feel like I’m losing my mind...,”
The gentleman sat down on a nearby large sofa. “Please continue.”
“She...the dreams are draining me. Physically. Mentally.,” Stanley hesitated; he was unsure how to phrase what he was feeling.
“This woman in your dreams, does she perhaps leave something behind, some trace upon waking that makes you question whether the dream was real?”
Stanley felt the blood in his face drain. This strange chap may be able to help him after all.
“If I was to tell you what this something is, would you be inclined to believe what else I may tell you, even though it may seem preposterous at first?”
Stanley downed the remainder of the gin and tonic and was amazed when the glass he replaced on the table appeared full.
“Yes, I would.”
“Very well, then. She leaves behind her a faint trail of gold dust. So faint, that you may only glimpse it from time to time and question whether or not it was your imagination playing tricks on you.”
The room felt silent. Stanley considered what he had just been informed. How could he possible know this?
“I met a lady in the meads, full beautiful -- a faery's child, her hair was long, her foot was light, and her eyes were wild.”
“La Belle Dame Sans Merci?”
“To Yeats and others who have crossed their path. The Lhiannan Sidhe gift inspiration to those they persecute. For a short while anyway. Her embrace draws life and breath from you while she grows bright and strong. The madness is just the beginning, followed later by premature death. Even death is no escape.”
“I am doomed then?”
The young man studied Stanley for a moment before speaking.
“Most of us are -– in one way or another.”
Edwardina Templeton observed the smartly dressed young gentleman leaving through the side entrance of the RoYds building. Despite having an almost distracted and tired look about him he was undoubtedly attractive. She felt her heart miss a beat and everything around her seemed to grow more alive. Edwardina had experienced such surreal moments before but nothing quite as acute as this one.
Wilfred greeted her at the main door of the building.
“Afternoon, Miss. How are you today?”
She shot him one of her most spectacular smiles in preparation for the interrogation she had in store for him.
“Wonderful, thank you, Wilfred! Now tell me, who WAS that mysterious young man? I think I may have seen him before somewhere.”
“Tragic case, Miss. He...”
Lady Mabel Theawicke joined them in the corridor. Wilfred’s manner suddenly became sheepish. Unfazed, Edwardina continued, directing her question this time at Lady Mabel.
“Is there nothing we can do for him?”
“From what I have been able to ascertain from Tashriel, Mr Stanley Birch finds himself in the most tragic of circumstances. I have no doubt that he shall be remembered for his troubles in some way or another for quite a while following his untimely death.” Lady Mabel informed her with relish.
Untimely death? Edwardina felt crestfallen. There must be a way to help him and she would work her fingers to the bone to find one.
“If I may, Miss?” Wilfred interjected, helping Edwardina to remove her short pink bolero jacket.
“Thank you, dear Wilfred,” Edwardina smiled. Lady Mabel thought that she had seen a slight blush surface on Wilfred’s cheeks but dismissed the idea as ridiculous.
“I’ve laid out tea and cakes in the blue reception room, Miss. There’s some of your favourite Macaroon’s.”
Edwardina planted a peck on Wilfred’s cheeks. This time he blushed profusely. Lady Mabel rolled her eyes and huffed loudly. Her grey skirts dismissing the pair of them with a disgruntled swish as she proceeded to make her way down the hallway.
Edwardina giggled and shared a conspiratorial smile with Wilfred. “I have NO idea why she insists on acting like a fuddy-duddy! We both know she is one of the most passionate women that ever walked the earth! If only I was more like her. I would...”
“And look where it got her, Miss! You wouldn’t want to make the same mistakes now would you? Passion’s not all it’s cracked up to be, I can tell you!”
Edwardina chuckled and linked Wilfred’s arm playfully. “You can?” She feigned shock. “Oh! Please do, Wilfred. Tell me all about your romantic adventures!”
Wilfred turned scarlet.
“We haven’t got all day,” summoned Lady Mabel, her chastising voice eerily journeying down the hallway to meet them.
Edwardina sighed and unlocked Wilfred’s arm. “Well,” she said merrily. “I wouldn’t say that, would you, Wilfred? Some of us have all eternity!” And with that, she went skipping off to join the target of her mischief.
Labels: 1907, Refuge of Delayed Souls, Stanley, Web Fiction
|posted by Miladysa @ 21:20
Posted early because readers voted the story to the TOP at http://topwebfiction.com !
Thanks everyone :)
Wow, very intriguing. I can see why it got so many votes!
I had a character in Cold in the Light say something about how dreams were wonderfully fun experiences until they threatened to become real. this dream of the sensuous woman reminds me of that.
I like this very much - especially the Succubus/Lhiannan Sidhe. Give me the creeps - being male!
Thought you'd like to know that after the words "Untimely death" Edwardina has been spelt "Edwardian". Hope you don't mind my pointing this out.
What! No more? This is the very first Ebook I've actually read 'cover to cover', as it were. Look forward to the next part - I really do!
Some of my dreams are the closer I have ever come to real terror, Charles. I keep meaning to read Cold in the Light - I'm going to have a look for it on Amazon tomorrow :)
LOL @Howie - Methinks you protest too much! Mayhap Miss Arwydau will pay you a little visit next time you are painting or composing poetry. Watch out for the specks of gold dust...
& Thanks for pointing that typo out - I'm on to it straight away. I really appreciated the feedback :)
Howie there will be more soon - promise :)
This post deserves two comments, my dear! First, I would like to order one of those gin/tonic glasses that magically keeps filling itself, LOL. I love the portrait of Stanley before he understands RoYds fully ... the dreams and the surprise you paint so well each time the gallant gentleman knows exactly what he's going through with these dreams. You "show, not tell" with the best of them, Milady! My favorite lines:
Now would be a very good time for the ground to swallow him up.
“To Yeats and others who have crossed their path. The Lhiannan Sidhe gift inspiration to those they persecute. For a short while anyway. Her embrace draws life and breath from you while she grows bright and strong. The madness is just the beginning, followed later by premature death. Even death is no escape."
I love Wilifred! And Edwardina's playfulness ... and that Mabel ... she's up to no good! Poor Stanley!