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Chapter 4 : Consider things like the stars.
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You name the place, I give the time and we arrive there for our secret talks, our secret walks.
In the light of the moon’s milky beams it feels as if anything is possible. It feels as if Selene, the woman of the moon, is waving down on us and praising our love. Letting us live this supposedly unacceptable life, letting us be our natural selves and not what we should be. Not what we ought to be.
We wander through the forest and meet the creatures who are on the stranger spectrum of normality. Creatures which we did not think existed until now. You tease them, stroke them. I, on the other hand, note their details and appearances, ready to be documented as soon as I return to my room. This is one of the few occasions where I show my mother’s traits.
The sun never appears in any of these secret meetings. The moon maiden is always our lone companion from the start to end. We do not need the sun and its joyous yellow. We do not need to be shown what is happiness or joy for we already know what it is.
‘The love of God is pure, is unrivalled by all other loves. It is often complicated, riddled with errors, trials and punishments, but you know that his love for you is always there. You know that in those times of hardships, he will be the one to provide you with solace and comfort. He will be there for you in spirit, mind and soul. He will always be there.’
The words slip into my mind as if they are an age old rhyme which I know by heart. I do in a way. I know that he speaks the truth. That God will be there for me when all others have failed. That I need not worry if I know he is there. It is why I am not bothered that I stand alone in Church, content with my thoughts and mind.
That is why it does not even bother me that you, Eleanor, are not by me or even in the Church at all. For you, even you with your unfaltering mind, beauty, wisdom, even with all of that, would fade into grey when placed next to him. His words transcend us all.
The service soon finishes after that brooding thought, and all the Hogwarts students gather together to be escorted back by Aunt Helga. Not me though, I must speak with the priest.
‘I will meet you at the castle, Aunt Helga,’ I say as she looks over at me. She gives me a small nod before returning to the crowd amassed around her and shooing them from the sacred space. I do not think that Godric Gryffindor or my mother, despite the fact her husband was a priest too, have ever set foot in here. Not at Christmas nor even at Easter, the most sacred day of the year.
It is their problem, their fault, their sin. They will be punished as they refuse to be forgiven for their wrongs. I will be safe. They are not.
‘Good day, Mistress Helena,’ one lady says to me, stepping out from the crowd gathered by the door. ‘I do hope your mother is in good health and spirits. I bid you to tell her young Joseph is quite well after that draught she gave him.’
‘I ensure you I will. She will be most glad to hear that is the case.’
The lady gives me a low nod and before I can move on I am confronted by an old, haggard-looking man.
‘Mistress Helena, please do tell your mother she is most welcome to use my roots of asphodel for potion making any time she wishes. She gave me the wisest advice about the lunar calendar and I must now repay her.’
‘I will, I will.’
The cries, greetings and requests continue to spurt out like blood from a fresh wound and I try and answer as best I can. Mother is always a prophet to them. An all knowing, all seeing, all being prophet who can gives them all of their wishes and desires, solving all their problems and evils. They do not realise that the Almighty God could do the same and probably a better job of it too. He is more deserving of their kind thoughts than she is after all.
Their cries slowly dissipate into the crisp January air, and soon it is only I and the priest left here. I must speak with him now. Save myself.
‘Father,’ I say softly, ambling over to him.‘May I have some advice about my spiritual journey. I feel as if have stumbled, fallen, from it and I seek help in finding it again.’
I shall not confess directly about you, Eleanor. As you say, you are not a sin. You cannot be as God gave me these feelings, these emotions, he alone causes my heart to swirl and grow like the tide of a current. He alone makes my heart dance the beat, beat, beat when I see you. He is the one who does this to me. Still, though, I feel as if I need to repent something.
The priest smiles and beckons me closer.
‘Speak now, and behold your sins before the eyes of God in the hope of redemption. Remember the Day of Judgement stands before us all. It is better to confess now and save your soul than leave it for later when the fiery pits of hell will stand before us.’
‘I will, Father, I will.’
‘Good child, now speak.’
‘Father, I believe I may have to go against my mother’s words. She wishes for me to marry a man I have never met, do not know a thing about, and I cannot. I have refused. I have tried to reason but she will not listen. She insists I meet him and attempt to like him so there can be some amicable feeling between us. However, I feel I cannot fall in love with him, let alone have friendly feeling towards him when I am in love with another.
‘It would be as if I was committing treason against my true love’s heart. As if I were painting my heart black as it did not care about the true red which fills me inside. It would be blasphemy, a crime, I could not do it. But she does not listen, understand. I cannot love someone whilst I love another so dearly. I will have no choice but to go against her word. This is not intentional sinning, merely necessary given the state of affairs.’
A silence draws up all of the air between us. Neither he nor I draw a breath, whisper a word while my confession of sin surrounds us, penetrates us, grips us in fear. I have gone against my mother, gone against the one thing which brought me into the world. It is as if I am going against him, the heavenly Father, as if I have no care for what he says. Who am I to know that the words my mother utters are not his. How am I not to know that? How? How? How?
‘What you speak of is one of the gravest sins, you speak of open and total refusal to your mother’s bidding. You refuse even though she has offered you a chance to grow and develop your feelings for this man. You have refused that and I am not sure what hope there is for you. I will pray for you, and hope you see that you are standing in the shadows of the world right now. Though I do not have much faith in that either. Now go, pray that you step away from this treacherous path, and you do what your mother says rather than cave to passion. Pray for salvation.’
I am lost. Lost in the world, room, thoughts, mind. I am lost to all now that God has lost faith in me. What am I without him? Nothing. What am I without her, my Eleanor? Nothing. Nothing with neither. Though when I have one I am denied from the other.
The murky claws of darkness are scraping at me. Pulling me in. Dissolving all that could be happy in my life. You are vanishing from my mind. You are vanishing from my thoughts. The letters of your name seem to be drifting away, up to the moon.
E – L – E – A – N – O – R.
There they go, one by one, in single procession. Each one leaving a finite trail of dust and sparks which are soon wiped away by the new dawn. The flick of the R still burns in my eyes, but soon that too will be gone. Gone. Gone. Gone.
Gone too is Helena Ravenclaw. Gone too I am, lost for all and forever.
Greens, browns, whites, and blues. All of the colours coagulate in my mind to form shapes, faces, people. All of them joining together to make a resemblance of reality. All of them blurring again as they try to focus in my mind. Nothing can focus here. Nothing can be real here, veridical. All is fake. All is lies.
Perhaps I am the Anti-Christ itself. Perhaps I am sin on earth. Perhaps I am what occupies the darkest of dark. Perhaps I am not a being, I am not living, existing. I am merely awake, alive, up here in my mind.
All the questions. All these questions. All. These. Questions.
Reality. Reality. Reality.
The word floats around my mind.
Perhaps this is a fictive reality. Perhaps you, Eleanor, you, the sweetest thing imaginable, perhaps you are not really a thing. Perhaps you are a dream, a delusion and that is the land I walk within now. It would explain why you always have an ethereal presence. Why though you say you are mine in mind, body, heart, spirit, it seems as if you are merely a cusp in my grasp, a thing which will never be in my grip.
One cry from you says we are not sin. Another from me says we are.
Other cries from the Bible, Aunt Helga and the Father incarnate say we are too and an admonition to all things good and pure. We will burn, burn, burn. Burn until even the white of our bones have faded to black and then we may have paid enough for our sin. Only then though.
But none of it seems to be the truth. None of it. Perhaps it’s because none of it is, none of it is reality. Then if that is true, I am not in reality.
Perhaps only God is and only in Death will I know what is and finally understand all the answers.
‘Helena? Are you alright?’ Mother calls out. ‘I have something to tell you. Edmund has arrived. Your betrothed is here. He wishes to meet with you, speak to you.’
Thud, thud, thud, voices murmur up above.
‘Can you hear me, Helena? Can you hear me?’
Stamp, stamp, stamp, a door swings open.
‘Helga, Helga, come quickly! Bring Godric, anyone! Helena has taken ill. She is not answering, responding. It is almost as if she is not here. Not on earth. She's gone! Gone!’
Bang, bang, bang, and a pounding heart returns and stands above me. All fades to black and I depart from here.
Author's Note: The quote at the top and the chapter title come from page 247 of Night and Day (Google Books edition) by the wonderful Virginia Woolf! I hope you liked this chapter and it was too philosophical/theological, any predictions or thoughts on this chapter would be fab, so if you had time to leave a review I would appreciate it a lot!
Thanks for reading! ♥
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