Amazing Kids! Magazine

Solitude

By Xochitl Rangel, Age 15, California

 

The small candle illuminated the cottage with dim light. The wind blew over the trees making them roar. Nothing was visible except that small light trying to overpower the darkness. Inside this small cottage was a young woman about 18 or 21 years of age. She struggled for her life in the dimness of the room. Her face was soaked with perspiration and her body was pale, almost white. If it weren’t for the fever she had, she would look more beautiful, almost as gorgeous as the queen herself. This lovely lady was betrothed to a very peculiar young man; most would call him a freak, a lunatic, or even a psychopath. He was lonely since his childhood and he was never any good in making friends. Almost everyone didn’t like him because of his way of thinking, except his beloved fiancé. This young man was left an orphan, first by his father who was assassinated, and later by his mother who suffered from tuberculosis. No one quite knew what this lovely woman had seen in that young man. Her parents had tried to betrothed her to someone of a higher estate or someone that was thought to be sane.

The girl coughed up blood and the young man stood startled by her sudden action. He hurriedly brought her handkerchief and she quietly took it wiping her pale lips. “Thank you.” She managed to say before her head grew heavy as she fell back into her slumber.

“You’re welcome, darling.” The young man replied his voice deep and securing. This young man was very handsome, his eyes the deepest blue, his hair as black as ebony, and his features sharp. Yet, it was his mind that repelled people.

At dawn the young woman seemed to regain some health. “Laurence,” her voice was soft and delicate.

Laurence opened his eyes and responded half asleep and half conscious, “Yes my dear?”

“Do you remember when we first met?”

Laurence stood up and sat by his beloved’s bed side. “How could I forget the first time I laid eyes on Lady Alice?” he gently closed his eyes and smiled. “I remember every single detail of that morning.”

“You do?” replied Alice. “What’s your view of that morning?”

“Well you were sitting on my bench by the fountain,” Laurence said as he lied next to his darling.

“Wait,” she said firmly. “Get me a notepad and a quill, so I can always remember what you’re about to say.”

“Alright, but don’t get too excited, your mother will hear us and she’ll excommunicate me.” As he rose laughing, he fetched the pad and the pen. “Well, as I was saying…

I was lying under the shade of a tree; I was a very depressed man until I saw your shining face. You might ask why I was depressed, well I had gone through a series of suicidal attempts. My aunt, who was like a mother to me, died, and a man can only live alone for so long. I was constantly studying why everyone seemed happy with the many horrid things happening in our country. I envied all those who wore rich clothing, who spent many francs on bouquets of flowers. Every day since I fled my aunt’s home I spent it at the bench where you were sitting. I wondered why God had punished me the way he did. I was always humble, I helped the poor, and I did charitable work. Yet, I never found the answer.

Many beautiful women crossed my path, many sat down on the bench next to me, but I simply ignored them. Their breasts were protruding out of their tight corsets, their bodies reeking of annoying fragrances, and all I did was sketch doves on my book and make annotations. This happened a lot after I left my aunts home after her death. My uncle and I never got along well so when I was able to administer the inheritance my parents left me once I turned seventeen I purchased my own home after my seventeenth birthday. I was bathed in wealth and I lived in the rich sector. Once the mothers of single ladies found out that a young, handsome, and rich man was living alone, they all came to offer sugar, dinner, pastries, and most of all, daughters. I was fed by them for about three months, then they all lost hope. Every day I would go out to the fountain and sit by the bench watching people pass by. Some people would walk by happy, others angry, few crying, and most of the young beautiful women walked start struck with the thought of falling in love

I would take notes on what was wrong with humanity, and how I could make it better. I filled nearly eight books with observations and resolutions. Yet, I never convinced myself of taking action. Many times young lords would sit down next to me and tell me about their beloveds. They would marvel about how much they were in love, or how much they hated their betrothed. I only sat there and listened to the people spill out their feelings. Many times I considered becoming a priest, but I knew I wouldn’t be a good priest, because I would just renegade about the abundance of money the congregation had, therefore I remained in solitude. I was in solitude until I found my Bruno. I was, as always, sitting on the bench watching some spoiled sisters, about seven years of age, throwing rocks into the fountain. Then like a flash a dirty mutt passed right beside them carelessly. The girls of course weren’t expecting such impact and they fell into the refreshing water of wishes, pleas, and anguish. The girls’ sister left her date to aid them.

These young girls were always seeking the opportunity to be mischievous. The sister placed her hand out to them and they both pulled on it so their sister dived into the fountain forcedly. That was the first time I laughed wholeheartedly since my parents’ deaths and the sister’s date was laughing as well. Just then, I saw the mutt parade proudly around the fountain. The young ladies walked all soaked and wet through the town until I lost sight of them. I called the dog over. He was hesitant at first, but after a few whistles he came close. I patted his head and he rubbed his nose against my trousers. Since that day I found happiness, I found hope that things might get better, but I was accustomed to my loneliness, except now, I had a partner that understood the quietness I cherished

Bruno’s coat was muddy and opaque. I took the mutt in to my home placed warm water in my tub and placed him in. The water turned a dense brownish color. I thought Bruno was a mutt until I took him to the town veterinarian.

He said to me, ‘Why, are you sure you found him? Might it not be that he may have appealed your eye in someone’s home?’

I said to him ‘No, certainly not. You know me very well doc and I don’t steal from anyone.’

He replied, ‘Well, you found yourself a treasure. My guess is that this dog belonged to a noble who accustomed to go hunting.  The breed is mixed, but I am certain that it’s crossed with a pointer of Ariège.’

I took the pointer home and sat just contemplating him. His coat after the bath was a rich chocolate brown. His nose was sharp registering the new scent of my home. His paws were white as if he had stepped in some paint as was his chest. His ears flopped to his sides and were neatly folded.

One morning I decided to take Bruno for a walk. I took the long way to the fountain on that day. We crossed through the forest and finally made it to the fountain at around ten in the morning. I was exhausted and took refuge from the sun under a large tree with abundant foliage. The ground was upholstered with leaves that made that area a great place for resting. As I awoke after a short nap, I looked over to the fountain, and there, I saw the most beautiful and delicate thing I have ever laid eyes upon. I remember your dress, a light tan, glistening like gold under the noon rays of sunlight. Your corset was tight, but not as indecently provocative as the women that came offering themselves to me. The lilac flowers on your dress were marvelous like the lace that adorned your dress. Your hair brown as it was, had hints of red and was neatly, but loosely and simply braided. Your lips were full and red, they accompanied your white face and thin hands. I also remem—”

Just then Alice coughed more blood spraying the pad where she was writing. Laurence stood and brought her the piece of cloth so she could wipe her lips. She could no longer contain the blood coming out of her lungs. Her thin and fragile body was giving up and she no longer had the strength she had when she met Laurence.

Not knowing what to do Laurence ran to his soon to be mother’s room and knocked aggressively, hollering her name. “Daphnie! Madam! Please, open up!”

Laurence ran back to Alice’s room. When he entered he noticed that pen and the pad were on the floor. He looked over to the bed and saw Alice’s agonizing body. He carried her over to the center room and placed her on the settee. Laurence ran out the door and into the monstrous wind. With much struggle he was able to reach the stables and ready a horse. He went back to the house and when he entered he saw Madam Daphnie on her knees and sobbing over Alice’s night gown. Without being hesitant, Laurence fetched a blanket from Alice’s room and covered her. He carried her out the door in a fearful and angry way only someone fully in love would understand. His fear of being alone was enhanced in those very moments he was afraid of losing the one person he loved the most.

“No!” sobbed Daphnie. “It’s no use. You’re mad! You’re nothing more than a lunatic! You belong in an asylum!” Her voice lowered to no more than whisper after Laurence left. “My God, why? It can’t be.” Madam Daphnie was left to her mourning while Laurence hurried through the forest.

The wind slapped Laurence’s face, but yet he did not stop. He had to reach the town and revive his darling. “She must be breathless like the other times she had fainted,” he thought. Once he reached the town he walked past many doors before finding the doctor’s. “Please, Please open up!” he shouted.

The doctor turned on the light. “Why, Laurence? You, at this hour?” Puzzled, he unlocked the door to his home. “Oh, dear. What has happened to Alice?”

“She fainted, like the other times.” Laurence replied frantically as he set Alice on the table.

The doctor hurriedly opened cabinets and drawers in search of some medication. “Laurence,” he called. “I’ll try this syrup, but I can’t assure she’ll wake up like last time, if she does, she won’t live much longer.” Laurence nodded as the doctor poured the syrup down Alice’s throat. Within fifteen minute her chest rose and descended in an arrhythmic manner.

 

Days Later

“And I pronounce you Husband and Wife,” the priest said as Laurence embraced Alice.

“Darling,” Alice whispered into Laurence’s ear. “I wanted to give you something as our wedding gift.” They separated only enough for a small notebook to fit. “I finished my part of our story, now you finish the end.” Laurence took the book as his eyes watered. “This way, no matter what happens, you’ll never live in solitude ever again.”

“I love you,” he whispered.

One comment

  1. raquel brown /

    I very much enjoyed Ms. Rangel’ s story!!! She has a romantic spirit, exquisite flair for detail and a very good grasp of the setting/ time period of the story. Congratulations to the magazine and Ms. Rangel. Look forward to reading more of Ms. Rangel’s stories in your magazine.