The cloak of darkness gradually proceeded to cover the entire surroundings, indiscreet and proud, it lapped its way over the earth. Soon, buildings of different sizes and purposes buzzed to life whilst occupants of apartments and homeowners were headed for the comfort of the night’s sleep.
Outside, from an occupant’s perspective staying inside his room and watching the sky through a glass window, one would secretly shiver as the auroras had been succumbed to the inky sinewy of darkness, its cold breathe clawed the stiff arms of birches that surrounded a distant estate, their branches moaned as if in ecstasy under nature’s caress.
Engulfed in the cloak of total darkness and conspicuously separated from the cluster of houses ornamented with sparkling lights that twinkled from afar, this lone estate stood firm on an elevated hill that smoothly sloped down towards the clumps of the smaller houses. Massive brick walls coated with luscious moss and fungus sheltered the interior of the property from rumormongers. Limbs of the greedy ivy vines crept over this ancient wall that stand watching over the land for ages, almost coating every nook and cranny of the structure as if it was its very cloth. Not a hole was left as this grapevine brooded in permanence, its tendrils freely hung low until it reached the loam.
Beyond this parapet loomed the massive structure, aged and arrogant as it beamed its immaculate white wall like a set of pearly white teeth, cleared of any vegetation unlike its exterior walls. The very foundation held a story, a witnessed of circumstances that never have had the chance to escape from its clutch. The night bore its darkness though the humongous structure bathed itself in golden shades, throwing off any unwonted shadows as if treating it akin to dirt. Many eyes had been tempted to cast down their curiosity by delving to the mystery that laid behind these walls however, as if in response to these human endeavors, the walls were built two times higher than the normal walls seen from its distant neighboring houses, its gate of flat and thick iron had made it impossible for the seekers to quench their thirst for discovery.
Huge and tall spires of the massive Victorian mansion boldly rose upwards, almost reaching the inky sky with their pointed tops, its façade was old as time immemorial had held the noble title of class however arrogant it stood from its other smaller neighbors. This boastful edifice held its top akin to a colossus crown jutted with diamonds, sapphires and other gem stones, though its beauty was kept hidden for centuries. Stalwart servants have had kept their beauty brimming with absolute perfection, its wall as smooth and hard as granite, its windows of colorful stained glasses of scarlet, indigo and gold were polished until it sparkled like diamonds, stolidly gazing with vehement contempt at its counterparts from a far. Its beauty of timelessness and elegance was incomparable to what laid beneath its solid surface, beyond the closed massive oak door varnished with dark chocolate brown were the bright and vast halls of the conceited edifice. Big portraits of nobles of the 16th century dressed in expensive ornate clothing adorned the creamy white walls, the sparkling floor coated with the lush carpet of royal blue. Despite of its richness, it contained a cold and heavy atmosphere, choking any timid characters that would accidentally dwell or stray within these charming aisles.
A singular soul marched down this notorious hall, and with him portrayed a stoic expression in uniformed with his deep set of blue eyes. He moved with an air of elegance and yet of arrogance around him; and from above the chandeliers shone, jets of golden light streamed down upon the covered floor, casting a rich shade of burgundy against a mass of his jet black mane. Thin lips set in a linear line and deeply-knitted brows, a habit of which often cost him a great deal of defect on his handsome characteristic and would sometimes for strangers to misunderstood his inner thoughts from his hard appearance. Inhaling a sharp breath, the man precipitously turned a corner and with a resolute will grabbed the silver door knob, twisted it and pushed the door open without considering first of knocking against it to inform of his sudden appearance. An astonished servant, with round-rimmed glasses and flaxen hair immediately stepped forward, blocking his entrance but he brushed past him, ignoring the protest ringing against his ears.
“I demand an explanation,” the man spoke in earnest, standing in front of a dark brown wooden table. Both hands on either side were curled into tight fists as he stood before the presence of another man cloaked in the shadow, quietly seated on a tall dark-brown, wooden chair, his back turned to him while his face towards the wide crystal window covered with heavy red velvet curtains that hung low, concealing the darkness outside and deepening the gloom within the room.
“There is nothing to explain. I did what was deemed important, and disposed of what was unimportant,” the other man answered, not attempting to face the man.
“I thought you would never bother them. How could you have easily changed your mind? And what about Devon?” the man’s previous stoic expression twisted into agony, his fist shaking with pure hatred upon the subject and the treatment imposed by the man in front of him. His earlier expression now had completely change, a habit of which he had been exercising since he was a young boy. The servant stepped beside him and with a calm countenance, faced him. “Master Darcy, if you would be kind enough to leave the – “
“Samson, allow my impudent son to speak up his mind,” said the man behind the tall chair, a tone of superiority lacing his voice.
“I claim what is rightfully mine. You should be honored that her son has become useful, Darcy. And after all, the past is past. You cannot bring the dead back,” spoke the man with a thick baritone voice. The said man however, remained impassive and even as he spoke those sullen words, the quality of his voice remained the same, the stark contrast of the other’s quaking voice.
“Useful?” the man scoffed, shaking his head in disbelief. “How is that so? When you proudly banished her from this house and cursed her very existence? How could you easily forget your words!? And I will not allow you to shallowly treat Devon’s memories!” demanded the man named Darcy whose voice echoed against the hollow room. His voice now had raised, his face contorted from its previous hard appearance to a sour look. The golden rays that cascaded down from the silver crystals of the chandelier seemed to flicker; it trembled upon the intensity of his voice.
“You stupid son of mine,” the man clicked his tongue in despair, mass of his pepper-and-salt mixed hair which was peering through the tall chair moved sideways though he remained hidden. “…No wonder I did not entrust my position to you for your heart is weak as a babe! Do not further disappoint me with your weak notions.” Darcy, with his mouth gaped open and eyes that flickered with an uncertain emotion quickly turned his face away, keeping the unwanted sensations at bay.
Swallowing the lump in his throat, he hesitantly opened his mouth and in a suppressed tone had finally asked the very question he had longed to inquire.
“Father, I implore you… Where is he?” The older man as if blind to every emotions and perhaps, the very personification of cold itself did not bother facing him and thus remained rooted to his seat.
“That is none of your concern, Darcy. I have done what is best for him. Your presence will only serve as a big hindrance. It is better that you don’t know his whereabouts,” answered the man which left Darcy quivering, his insides ached at the very words which seared his heart.
“But father! He is my –“
“Enough of this, you weakling! I’ve had enough of your dilly-dallying!” the man finally snapped in a steely voice. Darcy flinched, his mouth slightly opened as if in the verged of protest however, his inside quivered, closing like the morning glory at the sight of the setting sun. “Samson, send him out. I have no wish to converse with him as his head is filled with pitiful thoughts,” the man concluded, not needing any further words.
The younger man, without further remonstrations was immediately sent out by the loyalist Samson. Any further protests were quickly shut away with the soft thud of the wooden door. Seeing how it would be impossible to further deplore the older man for information, he turned around on his heel, shoulder hung low with a grim line depreciating his handsome face. His feet carried him back to the familiar gloomy hall whilst his mind wandered to the strange worlds far from where he resided.
“Cecile…” he softly called out a name in a somber tone, his eyes seeing a phantom created by his wretched mind as his steps took the same route back to his comfortable abode, though his heart quietly ached, and painfully contemplated for a more soothing ambiance. ‘I wonder about you and our son. I always wonder about the two of you…’ his heart cried in silent longing. With bitterness gnawing his tormented soul, he stopped on his tracks as his gaze swept towards the large crystal glass window painted of the achromatic sky. From a far, the Vesper shone and twinkled amidst the velvet sky. Darcy, with unmoving lips uttered his prayer; eyes fixed intently to the Hesperus.
‘My sin cannot be forgiven. My very existence cost you your own future and I of my own freedom… How I wish I can set out to see you, Cecile, Dylan…’ he silently prayed, hopefully waiting that his singular wish would come true however, the very walls of the Black manor house constrained him.
Once more he was drowned in his own thoughts; his mind travelled to a distant world, the soul not rooted to the present time however, whatever emotion stirred within him was concealed behind the mask of a vacant and soulless expression. Carelessly and without regards to the din and the streams of motions that seemed to flow by him like the currents of the Amazon River, the boy stared through the glass window. From an outsider’s perspective, one would assume that this lone person with jet-black hair and light blue eyes seemed to be watching the dusk slowly enveloping the vast horizon, the veil of inky-black darkening the emerald-coated field, and the larks that flapped their wings as they headed back to their nest. However, not all of this mattered as the young boy’s mouth slowly tightened, a shadow flickered in his eyes though he immediately blinked, and it fleeted away as if withered leaves carried away by an eddy of the twilight air.
“What are you staring at?” a boy with burgundy hair and slightly built body inquired him, his bright green eyes followed the other’s line of sight, narrowing his eyes to slits to better see what laid outside. The other boy, immediately awakened by the other presence swiftly straightened himself, turned his face to regard the curious gaze of his companion.
“It’s just the dusk,” he immediately replied with a blank expression though his voice attempted to sound cheerful, holding in the bitterness arising from the pits of his stomach.
His companion turned to him, a sigh of relief escaped his lips as he regarded the boy’s expression. “I thought you saw something. I heard that this academy holds some odd stories regarding the supernatural. I am actually hoping to encounter one,” he said, flashing him with a toothy grin as his mind swam back to the tell-tales he previously heard from the older students. His companion quizzically looked at him with a gaze filled with unabashed perplexity and absurdity.
“You’re being silly, Carlos,” he remarked in a neutral voice.
“Dylan, nothing is impossible. This kind of belief isn’t really something that you can just easily disregard. I have my own personal accounts of such ridiculous stories though I must tell you that I don’t really take it seriously,” the boy he named Carlos spoke, an owlish smile this time spread over his face. Upon hearing his words, Dylan knitted his brows in confusion, his mind balancing the words spoken by his companion and as well as his expression.
“Your words are rather interesting though I cannot fathom your motives for saying it,” Dylan muttered with a deadpan gaze aimed at him, quietly studying his face.
“I can’t blame you,” Carlos sighed then turned his face towards the large hall. His eyes widened, seeing how the previous crowded hall turned ghostly itself under the waning twilight light. Its well-polished white floor glowed under the golden light emanating from the lamps attached on each post of the white wall. “Well, I guess we need to go back to the dormitory. This place is rather gloomy,” he added, controlling his voice from croaking as his eyes keenly turned to every nook and cranny.
“How is it that this place looked so gloomy all of a sudden?” asked Dylan impassively, turning his eyes to the hall however, his question was left unanswered as his companion trotted back to the St. Andrew’s boy’s dormitory. Immediately, he paused and with a final look turned around, his vacant gaze searching at the dismal surroundings, his eyes glinted with curiosity. Carlos, although with his heart racing against his chest, abruptly stopped, noticing himself walking all alone. He swiftly turned back and with a creased forehead noticed his companion standing idly, his back towards him.
“Dylan? Is there something wrong?” asked he, noticing how Dylan’s smooth face creased with wonder while his eyes seemed to search for something.
“Um, nothing at all,” Dylan finally said after an interval of silence, then turned to him with a glassy stare. “I thought I heard someone singing though perhaps, it might have been the wind,” he said with little care and then continued on his heel.
“Well, this place is kind of old. Perhaps you just heard the building itself moaned against the wind. You know, maybe the structure is not as sturdy as it used to be,” explained his companion as he caught up with him, looking uneasily around him, and producing a contrasting effect of what he was trying to say. Dylan just looked at him for a while, unconvinced of his words that went along with his twitching cheeks. “More importantly, let’s go back now. I really don’t want to stay here any longer, especially that we’re the only ones left,” said Carlos who seemed ill at ease as he quickened his pace. Dylan just quietly agreed and in silence, walked back to their room. However, Dylan whose face never changed turned back one last time whilst walking. His ears could not have mistaken to pick up the sound. Earlier, it sounded faint, almost as if the whisper of a wind but now, as he carefully listened to it, he distinctly heard a voice, thin and beautiful, she softly sang in a tune that was inaudible almost like the wind’s breathe.
It was faint, almost an echo to his ears. Quickening his pace, he walked behind Carlos whilst ignoring the voice in his head. It was a long and silent walk however, once each of them finally reached their own separate rooms, Dylan shut the door behind him and with a long sigh, leant his back against the hard wood. Slowly, closing his eyes, he tried to clear off his mind from any acrimonious thoughts of the past and in the process, had accidentally recalled the haunting voice.
‘Yesterday seemed like a dream,
However, tomorrow we’ll see
If our memories remain;
But how will I know
When we are but the ones lost?’
His body suddenly grew cold, and involuntarily he shivered when he remembered the dismal lines that contained in the melancholic song.
To be continued…