Memories (Completed)
Author: Jewel Heart

Chapter 9
9

There was mist around me. I turned around startled only to find more mist and unending darkness. The air was thick and it was cold. I turned around again. There has to be a way out of this place. Then, reality struck.

I'm dead.

This is where you go to when you’re dead? Where is every other soul whose bodies have fallen, then? Why am I alone? Or is it supposed to be like this? Forced to spend the rest of eternity alone? Maybe this really is what happens to people who commit suicide. It was surprising that I remembered the way I had lost my life. But it was true that I wasn’t stuck in any Elysian Field. I didn’t even know if this was hell. I didn’t know where I was.

Abruptly the scenery shifted. It wasn’t like I’d imagined. The change of scenery threw me off. It felt strange. It was like something had exploded from inside me and become visible in my eyes.

I was in a garden. It was a rose garden, apparently. It’s beautiful in appearance…enchanting. The rose bushes were high over my head and fully blossomed roses were on every branch. Pink, yellow, red, white, and there were even some exotic blue and purple roses. I reached up to pick one.

I was startled. That hand wasn’t mine. It was pale and delicate and looked as if it had never been put through any labor. It was perfect. No scratches from its childhood, no burn marks from when I had stuck my hand in the fire while camping. Even the little birthmark that looked like a crescent moon was gone.

I stepped in a puddle as I reached out. I looked down. Those aren’t my clothes either. I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing it unless it was absolutely necessary. I was wearing a floor-length pink gown. It was simple, but had a few designs which made it look like it belonged to a princess from medieval times.

The puddle finally stopped moving and I saw my face. I wanted to gasp, but I couldn’t. I wasn’t in control of my body this time either. The girl staring back at me had long straight blond hair and a soft expression. The only thing that was the same was the warm chocolate eyes. The sad eyes that I’d had ever since birth. But the girl still wasn’t me. Though, she looked familiar.

“Princess!” someone called from behind the girl.

She turned around to see a young man running towards her. He looked to be a few years older than me. Well, a few years older than I was about to become. He had a handsome face and wavy brown hair tied back in a ponytail and hidden under a big purple hat. He was wearing tights and a big puffy shirt. Normally I would have laughed and made fun of the man’s clothing, but he seemed to look as if he were wearing the right thing. As if there were nothing out of the ordinary.

The girl recognized the young man. Ben Spickle, her servant and friend.

“What news have you brought to me?” the girl asked in a soft, kind voice. It was melodic. Like she was singing as she spoke. I even had an image of white doves flying around her, a light in the background and a choir singing.

Ben bowed. “The son of King Jeremiah from the land of Britannia has arrived. He is waiting for thou in the ballroom,” Ben said, keeping his head low.

Ben didn’t seem to be acting and neither did the princess. This was getting freaky.

I realized something. I'm stuck in this princess’s body. But who is the princess?

“Answer me. Has my mother yet to reconsider the arranged marriage?” the girl asked, looking down at Ben.

“The Queen has insisted for the princess to meet the prince. The Queen says that she shall allow thou to decide on a husband. Alas, if the princess has not chosen a husband by her seventeenth birthday…”

“I am well aware of what shall occur,” the girl answered. “My mother and father will be the ones to decide if I have not. It is how things work.” The girl walked past her page. “Return to your duties,” she ordered.

“Yes, Princess,” Ben said. He stood up and walked away.

The princess sighed. She knew that there would have to be an arranged marriage. She could not just hand her heart to any human being that was willing to accept it.

It’s like a sad love story, I thought. But it’s so familiar. As if it were a movie I’d seen millions and millions of times. As if I knew every line in this tragic love story.

The princess looked up and squared her shoulders. Then, she walked towards the castle. She reached a wooden door and opened it. She walked in, closing the door behind her and then opened another door that led to a hallway.

Ever room, every spot, every brick…everything looks familiar. This feels like déjà vu. Every step I took, it was as if I’d already done it a million times. But this girl—this princess was not me.

The princess walked through corridors and opened doors. Every person she passed bowed. She was the heir to the throne and she wasn’t proud of it.

Are people meant to be ruled? she asked herself. If they are free outside of the walls of this castle, then does that mean that they are ruled over? Power isn’t really what’s good in this world. There is no power. Even though in these times power means you rule anyone beneath you, are you truly in charge of them? They are free to eat and laugh and sing and dance even if ordered otherwise. Power is not good. It’s for cowards. It’s for inexperienced cowards that don’t know about anything other than how to take advantage of humans with less power than them. They use this so called ‘power’ to their advantage. If they want food, they use power to obtain it. And the bigger kingdom you have, the more control. The more people who stand by you, because of fear, the more powerful you seem to be. When really, you are just like them. The only difference is that they cannot make you fear them, because so many people are already afraid of you. They have no allies and if they do, then it’s not enough. But once they do, you are overruled. Power is neutral. And I don’t believe in it.

Finally the princess reached two enormous wooden doors. She waited for the two men standing on either side of the doors to open them for her. Then, she walked in.

A boy in a white suit with a white cape over his shoulders was waiting. The boy had golden hair that seemed to dance around him whenever he moved. He had turned around, away from a window, to look at her. Now she could see his eyes.

Those eyes had the same effect on the princess that they had on me. It stopped our hearts. I gulped. Even though, it wasn’t my body, I had finally admitted to myself that this was me. I was the princess and I would have to learn to live with it.

I stared into those sad, sophisticated gray eyes for a moment. Then I walked towards him. Towards the prince that looked so much like the man I had loved.

“Enjoying the view, I see,” I said, professionally hiding the hesitation I had just made a second ago.

I walked passed him and stared out the window at my kingdom. I could see maidens shopping in markets, men going off to their jobs and children playing in the village. I envied them all. They were free to do whatever they desired. Marry whom their hearts wished. They have their own lives to do what they want with them. But I'm sold into this prison that is supposed to be a human version of the Elysian Fields.

The prince bowed. “It is an amazing place. Your parents run it well,” he said in a smooth, deep voice.

“Yes. Well, my people have freedom. It is what keeps them truly satisfied.”

The prince glanced at me amazed. “You sound as if you do not enjoy this lifestyle.”

“That is my business.”

I shut my eyes and tried to hear outside. I wanted to see if my human ears could reach the distance. I wanted to hear the children’s joyous, carefree laughter.

“I've had this short conversation with thou and I have not learned the prince’s name yet,” I said, opening my eyes.

“Forgive me, Princess Melody. I have forgotten my manners.”

He said ‘Melody.’ It brought one memory from when I was alive. James had a locket with a word engraved. This word that just happened to be: Melody. The girl in the picture had this face. And this body, with a tiara on her head. He said that it was the only memory he had of her. And this prince, he looks just like James, too.

“My name is James. Prince James of Britannia,” the prince continued.

It has to be a coincidence.

“You say that you come from Britain, but there is no accent,” I noted.

“My parents did not have an accent,” he answered smoothly. “Originally they lived in North America. By the time I was a year old, we were discovered to be royalty and shipped over to Britain.”

“But you are speaking to me without a problem, in fluent Greek.”

“It is necessary for a prince to know many languages. You should understand.” He made a good point.

“Well, then, Prince James,” I said, “It has been a pleasure. I hope you have a safe trip while returning to your homeland.”

I started walking away when the big wooden doors opened again. I froze in place as a woman entered.

“Melody, dear,” the woman said.  “I am sure that you are not running away from Prince James, now are thou?”

“No. Of course not, Mother,” I answered.

My mother, Queen Cecilia, was a thin woman with a pale face and light hair. She was wearing a cherry red gown and a golden crown. Her lips were darker than her dress and her dark eyes were sparkling.

“Then we shall invite him to dinner. If thou do not like the prince, Count Fredrick is bringing his son.”

“Mother, I shall select a bachelor when I meet the right one.”

“Darling, the perfect bachelor is right under your nose but you are just too blind to notice. And still, you know that your coming of age will happen tomorrow,” the queen said.

A coming of age was when a maiden became old enough to enter the adult world. Though, for the princess, her coming of age meant that she would be crowned as queen.

She walked over to James and smiled. “Prince James, I will make sure that my daughter gets to know you,” she turned to look at me with a stubborn look, “whether she likes it or not.”

“Queen Cecilia, your majesty, that is not necessary,” Prince James said. “My philosophy is that if the maiden does not like me, then there is no more to do.” Prince James kissed Queen Cecilia’s hand and bowed. “If your majesties will excuse me, I must be leaving now. It is a long trip back to Britain,” he said, standing up and walking towards me. “It has been an honor to meet you, Princess Melody.” He bowed and picked up my hand to kiss.

The second our skin touched, the world disappeared. Everything in the world froze and there was only Prince James.

This can’t be the James I’ve fallen in love with so easily. But it looks like him, it speaks just like him, and even this happened. What the hell is this I'm in?

Prince James finished kissing my hand and then stood up and walked past me. The queen watched him leave.

I finally regained myself and said, “Excuse me, Mother.” I curtsied and hurried after Prince James.

I found him not very far from where we were. I stopped behind him and he turned around to look at me.

“Princess, is there something wrong?”

“No. Actually, I was wondering if you would do us the honor of remaining here at the palace for the night. This is my personal way of saying that you have been invited to my coming of age.”

Prince James looked taken aback. He straightened himself and said, “It would be an honor, Princess.”

“Your horse, if I am not mistaken, her name is Lillian?” I said.

“Correct, Princess.”

“She shall be taken to my stable where she will be taken care of for the night.”

“That is very kind of you. I am grateful for your hospitality.”

“You shall remain in the quarters next to mine, for I am afraid that all the other bedrooms have been occupied.”

“Understandable.”

“Now, if you could excuse me,” I said, taking a step to the right. “My walk was interrupted.” I turned around completely and began walking away.

“If the princess will allow,” Prince James said. “I would like to accompany.”

“Doable.” I began to walk away, knowing that the prince was right behind me.

We walked in silence to the garden. The prince opened doors for me and helped me down the steps that separated me from the garden. We walked into the maze and I took in the scents of the only thing I could call nature in this prison cell.

The good thing about my coming of age was that when I became queen, then I would be allowed out the gates of this palace along with several guards. I would be let out of this place at least. My seventeenth birthday would be one of the happiest days of my life.

“Prince James?” I asked.

He looked down at me. I was aware that he’d been watching me this whole time, but now he was actually looking at me.

“Princess?” he asked.

I didn’t look at him. “Why have thou come down to our small kingdom? You do not look like the type that has trouble finding a maiden. Is there a different reason for your journey?”

“I am sorry to oppose, Princess. But there is no other reason. I heard from a traveler one day that there was a sad princess from a far away kingdom that had not found a husband yet. And so, my father sent me here in search of a rich, beautiful princess to take as my queen.” He looked away from me and played with the leaves of a bush.

“I am sorry to disappoint. This kingdom is wealthy, but I am no goddess.”

“On the contrary,” he said, playing with the petals of a rose the color of blood. “I find you to be lovelier than the moon. You have proven to be sweeter than the finest pastry and more beautiful than Venus herself.”

I flushed. “Offending the gods to charm a maiden is very brave.”

I heard a snap and looked at Prince James. He was offering me the wine colored rose. Prince James seemed to be at perfect ease. As if there hadn't been any thorns on the rose. I took it hesitantly. I examined it and realized that there really weren’t any thorns. I wonder why I never noticed before.

“I am already in the presence of a goddess,” he said.

I swallowed hard. “You play well with words, Prince James. And you have managed to charm this princess.”

He smiled. “From now on, I live to make thou happy. I always have, Princess.”

“Is that for all princesses?” I asked.

“You have failed to remember me, or am I mistaken?”

“I do not understand.”

His smile vanished. “I swear to keep thou safe. And after the coming of age feast, I shall explain my strange way of putting things.”

I'm a princess. I have the right to know when I want. But he’s a prince from a kingdom greater than mine. This is where the power rules come into play. He can crush me.

I scoffed and kept walking. It was very rotten to act with such manner. Not like a princess at all. But when he didn’t give me what I wanted, I just hated it. I had always gotten what I wanted and he was the exception.

The rest of the walk was peaceful and somehow, Prince James managed to get me to like him again. He managed to charm me once more.

By the time dinner came, he had managed to sneak his way into my heart. I loved him. I didn’t know how it happened but it did and it was wonderful. I didn’t know that I could feel like this. I never wanted it to end. It was as if Zeus himself had come down from the heavens and offered me the food of the Gods. It was blissful.

He’s the one. I want him. No other bachelor could take his place. My heart has decided who it wants. It has given itself to Prince James. I shall announce my chosen husband at my ceremony.

Dinner passed quickly and all the time I was talking and laughing and enjoying myself. And with James right across from me. I noticed that my mother watched closely as I talked to the bachelors at the feast. But I'm pretty sure that a blind person could see who I wanted. Mother seemed happier too. She knew I was in love.

It was easy to fall asleep after dinner. I was exhausted. So much had occurred in those few hours.

I didn’t dream of anything that night. But I awakened cheerfully, because of the light coming through my windows. One of the servants had just opened the curtains and was handing me my breakfast. She waited for me to finish eating and then helped me get dressed.

I was wearing a floor-length green and gold gown. Around my neck I had my mother’s emerald necklace. My long hair was being combed gently with a brush by one hairstylist while a make-up artist colored my face. He was skillful. He used the make-up tools like a paintbrush. And I was his paper. I was his masterpiece.

When they were done, I was allowed to see myself in a large mirror that hung from the wall. I looked like my mother. My lips were full and colored wine. My eyes glittered and the eye shadow made them pop. My hair was like a golden ruler down my back and my bangs were just lightly touching my eyes. The final touch came next. A woman with red hair walked towards me with a pillow in one hand. Behind her came the queen. The redhead woman got on her knees and offered the queen what was on the pillow. The queen picked up the object delicately and walked towards me. I smiled and curtsied. The queen smiled back and placed the golden tiara on my head.

The tiara was the finest. I had never had one like it. This tiara was made of gold but designed to look like vines. The metal twisted and curled and then expanded to the sides around some priceless rocks. I think they’re called aquamarines. They were so exotic, because we didn’t have any here. The metal kept twisting and turning until the top where it shaped into a flower. I had examined the flower as the redheaded woman brought it in. I didn’t see many of those. Only once when I had traveled south with the king had I seen it. I believe that it is called a forget-me-not.

“Melody, my daughter,” the queen said, beginning the pre-coming of age. “Today you will become a woman. Today you shall be turned into the queen. Of what kingdom, we do not know. But we know that thou shall become one of the greatest queens in history.”

The queen had just said the pre-ceremonial sacred words. Now it was my turn.

“Starting this day, this moment, I take on my responsibilities as an adult. I hope that I have matured and learned enough to know what to do to make my kingdom proud. I hope that in this adventure into adulthood Hera will accompany and protect me. I hope I have proven myself worthy to the gods. I hope that Hera will guide me and help me make the right choices in my life. I hope the gods see me as a good queen. And I know that now and forever the gods will always remain with me where it matters most. I know that I will always have the gods in my heart.”

“We trust the gods and worship them now and forever,” the queen and I said in unison.

After the moment of silence that was necessary, the queen took me in her arms and said, “I've taught thou what I know. Now thou will be on your own, without my guidance. My darling, you’ve blossomed beautifully and I know that you shall do magnificent. Just always listen to your heart.” She pulled away from me and kissed my forehead. Then she passed her thumb where her red lipstick had left a mark.

“I am grateful for all you did all these years. I shall never forget it. I shall love thou forever,” I said.

“Your majesty,” one of the guards said. “It is time for the princess’s ceremony. Everybody has arrived and thou should be sitting on the throne with the king.”

“Oh. Yes,” the queen said.

She squeezed my shoulder and left.

I sat on a chair and stared at my reflection for five minutes. I was taking slow, deep breaths.

Finally a guard walked in and said, “Princess Melody, it is time.”

I stood up and nodded. I lifted my gown slightly with one hand and walked out of the room. I walked across a hallway and stopped in front of two big wooden doors that led to a staircase that led to the ballroom on the first floor.

I could hear the trumpets playing and the royal announcer announce, “Presenting, her royal highness, Princess Melody Carter Martin!”

The wooden doors opened and I walked into the light and down a step. Then another, then another, and then another. It was the happiest day of my life, not only because I would get a bit of freedom, but because at the bottom of the stairs, surrounded by a dozen other princes, was my Prince James. It was all so perfect. All of the decorations of the room were perfect, the slow music, the gown, and lastly, the guy.

I was about to take another step when I felt pain at the back of my head. I heard a loud gasp and fell down the stairs, lifelessly. I saw Prince James with tears rolling down his handsome face and a million other people watching. I heard as the queen and king pushed their way past all the guests before getting to me. Prince James picked me up in his arms and sobbed into my hair.

He kept repeating, “I'm sorry, I'm sorry! He was disguised! I'm sorry!”

I felt something wet stain my dress. I could smell it. I smelled the disgusting aroma. It smelled like metal. I was bleeding to death. I was losing blood quickly. The back of my head still hurt. It had been hit hard enough to crack and then rolling down the staircase didn’t help it.

I saw my parent’s face. I watched as my father looked up, pointed and yelled angrily, “Cortez!”

So it was our guard. Our guard killed me. How had that happened? He was supposed to be a guard. They even test them before letting them in the palace with a sword. They are as honorable as knights. Maybe we should have gotten knights instead of guards. But they have families. It wouldn’t have been fair. And still, Knight Ronald was here. But he was protecting the king and queen.

Though, still, I had never liked Cortez. When I had met him I had tried to see the better side of him like I would anyone else, but I couldn’t find it. There was nothing good about him and now my theory had been proven to be correct. What had made me see his true personality were his eyes. You can’t have eyes so cold and unfeeling. And that color, gold, it’s not human. I had been so close to calling a trial. I had been so close to thinking of him as one of the creatures. But he had convinced me otherwise.

I really should have just followed my instincts.

I lifted a shaky hand and put it on Prince James’s cheek. He kept crying but put his hand over mine. His hand feels so warm compared to mine.

I gave a weak laugh. “It’s not like a prince to cry,” I gasped.

I felt my heart drop. Everything hurt. Oh, Hera, I beg of you to lead me into your kingdom. Welcome me into your arms. Protect my weak soul from harm on my journey into the world of the dead. Help me find my way into the Elysian Fields if I have proven myself worthy or lead me into the kingdom of Hades if I have not.

With my last breath, I said, “I love you.” After that everything turned black. And, the scenery changed.

This time it didn’t feel as if the scenery were being pulled out from inside me. It felt as if it were pushing itself back. It was very uncomfortable. And when it was over, I fell to the floor with a hand clutching my stomach and the other holding me up. I was breathing heavily, almost gasping for air.

When I gained my breath, I sat up and looked around.

I had gone through that medieval princess thing and death to be right back where I started? I was back in the mist. I brought my legs up to my chin and put my arms around them. Then, I put my forehead against my knees and closed my eyes.

I'm stuck here forever. If that princess Melody was right, then this must be Hades’s kingdom. It wasn’t like they described it in the bible. This place was cold and gray and empty. People who came here began fantasizing and were forced to spend the rest of eternity alone. This wasn’t a hell with lava and fire and suffering. It was empty. It tortured you slowly. It drove you insane. It kept you isolated. And I notice now, that isolation can be a bad thing.

I felt something warm beating down on my back. I lifted my head slowly. I was surprised to find myself in the middle of a meadow. I was sitting on grass that reached up to my knees. I stood up slowly and looked around. There was no trace left of the mist. The sky was blue and the sun was shining. There was a breeze that made my hair dance around me. And something brushed my legs.

I looked down and stared. I wasn’t wearing my black Capri’s and striped tank top anymore. I was in a white dress. It was a simple white dress without any special designs or decorations. I stared for another moment and then grabbed a piece of grass. It dissolved once I took it. It’s a damn illusion.

“Bloom,” a familiar voice called from behind me.

I turned instantly. It was as if they were calling my name.

“What blooms?” I asked.

“Not ‘bloom’ as in a flower, but ‘Bloom’ as in you,” a girl answered.

The girl was beautiful. Though, she looked a bit like me. She had my hair, and her skin was transparent. But her voice was sweet and loving. Just like the voice in my head.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I said, defensively.

“I believe your given name in this lifetime is Lumex, am I correct?” she smiled.

“And how would you know that?”

The girl laughed. Her laugh was still so sweet and it sounded like music. “I'm an angel. Well, your angel to be exact.”

“I don’t believe in angels.”

“So how would you explain that thing that possessed your body?” the girl challenged.

I took a step forward. “You know what that was?”

“Of course I do.”

“Well?” I asked impatiently. “Are you going to tell me what it was?”

“So you don’t know then.” She seemed very casual. “Well, it was you.”

What?”

“It was you. It was your guardian angel.” When I just stared puzzled, the girl continued. “Guardian angels are another mind, but that mind is still yours,” She said, confidently. “You are very special, Bloom. You have three guardian angels.”

“My name isn’t Bloom,” I hissed. “And what do you mean by three guardian angels?”

“Normal humans only have one, but you aren’t ordinary. Three have been granted to you as gifts from the Gods. Annabelle, the immortal, was given to you by Hecate. She sees great things in you. Luke, the demon, was given to you by Hermes. He had a deal with Hades that he just managed to twitch. And I was given to you by Isis. She believes that Annabelle cannot keep you safe from Luke alone. Not that Luke is completely evil.” She stopped and frowned. “The gods did all they could to make him good. But he still has an evil edge. Very small, but it’s enough that he can bring himself to kill you a few times.”

“A few times?” I exclaimed. “I'm dead and I'm never living again!”

“That’s where you’re wrong,” she said. “You see, Isis, Hera, and Hecate have kept you alive. You are reborn every couple of hundred years.”

“But even if that were so, why would the gods show any interest in me?”

She smiled warmly at me. “Because you are the key,” she said. “Oh, and you should know that you aren’t dead.”

“Then where am I?” I challenged.

“In your mind.” She sat down and played with some grass. “That thing in medieval times you just saw was one of your past lives. You were finally remembering something.” She paused and looked at me with a warm expression. “To be honest, that was one of my favorites. The dresses and the princes, it was all so perfect.”

“Yeah, until someone came and killed me,” I mumbled.

“Well, we can’t let that keep happening, now can we?” she said, standing up. “Just trust James. He’ll help.”

James. He was there too.

“Is James—you know, reincarnated as well?” I asked.

The girl blinked twice, surprised. “Oh, darn. I forgot that he hadn't told you. Well, he’ll do it soon. Just wait.”

“Okay, two more things,” I said.

“Yes?”

“Who are you?”

“I told you, I am your guardian angel.”

“Yes, but no names were said. All you said was ‘Annabelle, Luke and me.’ It’s not very specific.”

“Oh, now did I? Well. Isn't that rude of me? I'm Chloe, the angel.”

“Chloe, Luke, and Annabelle,” I repeated.

“Yes, that is correct,” Chloe agreed. “And what was your last question, Bloom?”

I looked at her straight in the eye. “Why do you keep calling me Bloom?”

“You haven't remembered that either?” she sighed. “What a shame. I suppose I should tell you.”

“Well?”

“Bloom is your first name. It was the name given to you the first time you were born. I believe it was about two hundred fifty six million years ago. Give or take a few million years.”

“I've been alive for that long?” I asked, startled. “I'm older than I thought,” I joked.

“Well, anyway, it is time to go,” Chloe said out of nowhere.

“Go? Go where?” I asked.

I didn’t get an answer. Chloe disappeared along with the meadow in the blink of an eye. I was left in the darkness once more. Only this time there was no mist. And there was something that there wasn’t before.

A light.

 

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