Dreams and Fairy Tales
sound of falling waters seemed especially loud as he lowered himself to sit on
the ledge overlooking the waterfall, or was it only that he had opened himself
to the roar of tons of water striking with untamed ferocity into the lake
below. The roaring cascade of the
waterfalls inaugurated corresponding rhythms in his soul, reminding him of the
last time he had felt such a sensation.
had been a year ago when he had lost her; a year filled with grief and
pain. The pulse of his emotions still
matched the feelings that he had felt then; and he had spent the day
remembering, yet trying to forget, all she had meant to him. There was nowhere he could go that he didn’t
find mental snapshots of her or hear her voice in all its lovely
manifestations. It was useless; he could
never forget her, nor did he want to. He
had ended his flight from memories at the Chamber of the Falls. Sitting on the promontory to the right of the
tumbling waters, he had opened himself fully to the music of the liquid
cascade. As he did, all the bitterness
rose up to overwhelm him, and he cried out loudly. All the dreams in his life, but one, had
died. All the fairy tales had crumbled
to dust at the instance of her death.
All he had left was the grey, relentless years of one to whom life had
dealt a crushing blow, depriving him of the sublime love of someone who
understood and accepted him for who he was.
He could expect no light in his world. The light had died with her. All color, all brightness had left his life.
stiffened as he felt soft, loving arms slide around his shoulders and a body
firmly press against his back. He caught
a glimpse of honey brown hair and the unforgettable scent of the woman he
here,” he said in wonder.
she answered simply as she rested her chin on his shoulder. She inched her head forward and softly kissed
him on the cheek.
not leave again?” he questioned fearfully, afraid that this was only a waking
dream. He reached up and grasped her
arms in his hungry hands. Just the feel
of her was more that he had dreamt he would ever have again.
I’ll always be here.” For emphasis she
squeezed him and kissed him again.
* * *
in the entrance to the chamber, Father and Mary were carefully observing the
man they both loved as a son. “He looks
rather peaceful, doesn’t he?”
“Yes.” Mary nodded slowly. “He seems . . . ‘content?’ Is that the word I want?”
don’t know, my dear, but I certainly hope he finds some kind of comfort. This seems to be the only place he can find
started as Vincent suddenly reached back and appeared to pull something into
was that?” Father asked.
don’t know. Do you suppose he was just
straightening his cloak?”
not wearing his cloak. I wonder what he
was doing,” Father answered in a puzzled voice.
He couldn’t tear his eyes away from the sight of his unhappy son sitting
cross-legged on the ledge, leaning intently forward, staring down into his
* * *
me be your light,” she whispered in his ear.
Somehow she had felt his aloneness, his despondency. “Remember.
I live in your heart. See through
my eyes. See the hues of all existence .
. . the colors of all life . . . the brightness of every new day. Let me lead you through the darkness.”
Jamie left, she looked at him ruefully.
“Well, that was a fiasco,” Catherine muttered as she sat on bed.
turned his head to look at her and took the hand that rested on his left
arm. Placing it over his heart, he
repeated the words she once had said to him, “There is no darkness when I’m
with you, Catherine.” Then he placed a
tender kiss on the palm of her hand and suddenly lifted her over his
shoulder. With an eek! she fell into his
lap, then proceeded to giggle uncontrollably.
Vincent looked down into the sparkling, grass green eyes of the woman
reclining in his lap, in his arms. “I
don’t want you to ever go,” he said.
never leave you,” she replied. “I’ll
walk beside you wherever you go; I’ll lie beside you in your bed. I’ll be with you whenever you’re awake and
whenever you’re asleep. I’ll see you in
your dreams, and I’ll be with you when you’re awake.”
bent down and raised her lips to his.
She tasted of sunlight, moonlight, all of nature blooming, and could it
be . . . happiness? He would never get
enough of her kisses.
he doing now? It looks as if he’s
doubled up in great pain.” Father
started toward his son.
stopped him with a hand on his arm. “He
can’t know that we’re spying on him, Jacob.”
stared at her in askance. “Spying on
him? We’re not doing that; we’re . . .
we’re just overly concerned with his mental state.”
that spying on him? He doesn’t know
we’re here. If he did, he would be very
angry and you know it.”
had the grace to look a little chagrined.
“But it’s for his own good,” he protested.
wouldn’t see it that way,” Mary answered as she pulled him away from the
entrance. “We’ve invaded his privacy
long enough. If he wants to tell us, he
will. Come on, I’ve got a new mix of tea
that William made for me. Tell me what
you think of it.”
a last, lingering look, Father followed his longtime friend and co-worker into
the tunnel. He prayed with all his heart
that Vincent was finding some kind of peace in the Chamber of the Falls.
* * *
that was wonderful. Can I have another
one?” She batted her eyes at him and
started to giggle again.
can have all you want, my heart,” he replied, chuckling with her. He rained kissed over her eyes, cheeks, and
mouth, and then straightened up, smiling down at her, happier than he had ever
been in his entire life. “Will anyone
else be able to see you?”
thought for awhile. “Narcissa, certainly
. . . Jacob, maybe. But no one else. I’ll be like Elwood P. Dowd’s six-foot
stared at her quizzically. “Elwood P.
Dowd? A six-foot rabbit?”
lightly, she explained, “I saw a movie on TV when I was about 13. It was about a man who escaped the world by
talking to an imaginary, six-foot rabbit.”
see,” he said, smiling at her happy face.
she became serious. “You’ll have to be
careful, you know. They thought Elwood
was crazy and tried to have him committed.
If you’re seen talking to thin air when you’re by yourself, they might
have thoughts about your sanity.”
be very careful,” he said dryly. “I know
they are worried about me already, but how do I explain the change in my
“Don’t. Gradually become less sad.”
I won’t be able to,” he cried happily.
“I’m too jubilant to act sad.” He
pulled her tightly against him, almost squeezing the breath out of her.
him on the chest, she said, “Well, do the best you can. Now, let’s go see if Jacob can see me.”
* * *
left many a tunnel dweller gaping at his back as he jauntily strolled back to
his chamber. No matter how hard he
tried, he couldn’t keep a broad smile from blossoming on his unique face at the
most inopportune moments. It was almost
impossible for him not reach for Catherine’s hand. She had to remonstrate with him several times
before they reached his chamber. At last
they came to the safety of his room.
Looking back at the entrance, he commented, “I think I will have to have
a door put in the entrance. I’m going to
need my privacy.”
was only interested in her son, and she went immediately to his cradle. As she had hoped, Jacob was able to see
her. She bent over his crib, smiling at
his wriggling antics as he bounced up and down holding on to the railing of his
crib. “Hi, Jacob, I’m your mommy.” He squirmed even more, making the cot rock
back and forth and grinned toothlessly at her.
she could pick him up, Vincent came up behind her and slid his arms around
her. “He’s the greatest gift you could
ever have given me, other than your love.
Every time I look at him, I am reminded of my own humanity.”
turned in his embrace and reached up to kiss him softly. “It was the only way to show you that you
are, and have always been, a man . . . in every way, my love.”
know that now, but why did it have to take your death to prove it to me? Couldn’t there have been an easier way?”
don’t know. But I’m here now, and I’ll
never leave you again.” At this moment
Mary gave the customary request for entrance.
started. “What shall we do? She might see you; it could cause problems.”
a gentle laugh, Catherine replied, “She can’t see me, love, remember?”
Vincent called out to Mary, “Come in, Mary.”
thought I heard you talking to someone.
For a moment I thought it was . . .” she stumbled to a halt, realizing
that it couldn’t have been Catherine.
And to remind him of her loss was something she didn’t want to do. “I’m sorry, Vincent; I didn’t mean to upset
fret over it, Mary; I must learn to accept any discomfort that comes from the
mention of her. After all, I have a
constant reminder of her sleeping in his crib.
I have decided to make a concerted effort to do that.”
Vincent,” she cried as she buried her face in her hands.
gathered her in his arms, trying his best to soothe her troubled feelings. “I’ll be all right; really I will.”
mistily at him, she stepped back. “I
know you will, but you will never forget her.”
I never will. Thank you for caring about
me. Did you want me for anything?” He escorted her to the entrance.
I just . . .” she shook her head and left the rest of her words to lie silently
between them. “I’ll see you at dinner
turned to find Catherine looking gravely at him. “That’s what I
mean, Vincent. We have to be very careful. We don’t want
anyone to think that you’ve
lost your mind.”
are worried about me already; they think I should have accepted your death and
gone on with my life. But this . .
.?” He spread his hands out. “I don’t know what they will think.”
wilted onto the side of his bed. “Once
again I’ve caused you more trouble than you need. I’m sorry, Vincent, maybe I should go back.”
he almost shouted. “I can’t lose you a
second time. If you go, I go with
you. And I take Jacob with me.”
we’ve got to be more careful. I won’t
ruin your life again.”
my life? Catherine,” he took her by the
shoulders, “you gave my life a meaning, a purpose that I never had
before. A love I never thought possible.” He pulled her
into a tender embrace. “I shall go to my grave thanking all the
powers that be for you ‘ruining’ my life.”
Lifting her face to his, he kissed her, ardently. “Ah, love, you
gave me so much and asked for
so little,” he said when he released her lips.
gave me a lot too,” she retorted. “Courage; strength; someone to adore,
for; a life full of the richness of family, and a son.” She
grinned up at him. “Shall we compromise and say that both of us
had the best of our relationship?”
he responded quietly.
“Vincent?” Mouse’s voice said, “Time to go to chamber,
right, I’ll be right out.” Making a
face, he said, “I forgot that I’m to help with the making of a new
chamber. Will you be all right?”
course, I’ll be right with you. I said I
would walk beside you, didn’t I?”
. . . I didn’t think it meant being with me when I’m working.”
the time, love. All the time.”
* * *
preceded him out of the chamber and took her place beside him as they started
down the corridor. Mouse chattered away
not paying attention to his companion’s silence. Jamie passed them on her way to Vincent’s
he awake?” she asked.
“Yes. There’s fruit for him if he gets hungry
before I get back.”
see you later.”
kept looking in amazement at the woman, spirit, angel, ghost, or whatever at
his side. He was supremely happy.
might have been supremely happy, but her presence was a decided distraction,
and he made several mistakes. Kanin
finally blew up and rounded on him. “For
god’s sake, Vincent, what’s wrong with you?
You’re off moon-chasing or something and not paying attention to what
couldn’t keep from glancing at Catherine during Kanin’s tirade. He shrugged his shoulders
apologetically. “I’m sorry; I just can’t
seem to keep my mind on what we’re doing.”
Kanin grinned regretfully. “I know
you’ve had a rough time of it lately, but really, you’ve got to keep your mind
on your work or we could have serious problems.”
nodded in agreement.
call it a day,” Kanin said with a sigh, “Maybe tomorrow will be better.” Shaking his head, he led his work team into
the corridor. Vincent lagged behind,
loath to cause any more problems or to be the butt of any more complaints. Catherine took his hand in concern.
* * *
he agreed wholeheartedly. “Catherine,
you cannot come with me when I am working.
You’re too much of a distraction.”
sorry, love; I guess I was being greedy.
After being apart from you for so long, I couldn’t bear the thought of
being away from you for even one moment.”
She rose and wrapped her arms around his waist, snuggling up against
him. Heaving a very exaggerated sigh,
she murmured, “I guess I’ll just have to learn how to live without you when
difficult, eh?” he said, teasingly.
head bobbed up and down against his chest.
“You don’t know the half of it.”
Catherine, the thought of you waiting for me to come home will lend wings to my
feet and strength to my arms.” Laughing,
he spun them around in circles and then staggered to fall in a heap on his bed
with Catherine on top of him. “I love
you, I love you,” he repeated over and over again.
an inquiry came from the entrance that sounded like a very puzzled Father.
Catherine whispered as she slid off Vincent’s form. Picking Jacob up, she thrust him into his
father’s arms. “Here. Pretend you were playing with him.”
jumped to his feet. “Come in, Father. Jacob and I were just having a little play
wondered,” the older man said. “I heard
laughing and giggling from your chamber: a sound that gladdened my heart,
son. I haven’t heard that in over a
know, Father. But I promise to make an
effort to be more like my old self.
Jacob will give me a reason to do that.”
glad you finally reached that conclusion.
You simply couldn’t go on grieving for the rest of your life; it would
have killed you.”
looked properly contrite. “I know that
now. But you have nothing to worry
about, Father. I will be perfectly all
certainly hope so,” the tunnel patriarch said acerbically. “Now I’ve forgotten what I wanted to talk to
you about.” He gave Vincent a sour look as he left the chamber. “Maybe I’ll remember by supper time.”
was quietly laughing as the old man left.
“Oh, Vincent, this is not going to be as easy as we thought. I dread thinking of what they will do if they
find out about me.”
her close in his arms, he chuckled lightly.
“That is something that we will find out if it happens. But, oh, what a journey we have before us.”
later as Father lay dying; he called Vincent to his bedside. Sitting beside the old man, Vincent took a
withered hand in his, rubbing the back gently with his thumb.
do you feel, Father?”
a silly question to ask an old man,” Father said sourly. “I’m dying.
But I didn’t want to see you to answer foolish questions.” He winked at Vincent conspiratorially, “I
know your secret. I’ve known for many
secret is that?”
he said smugly.
“Catherine?” Vincent looked at his father blankly. “What about Catherine?”
you may think you’ve fooled me, but I know that she is standing by your side.”
I think you’re imagining things.”
Vincent leaned over to feel the old man’s forehead. “Are you feverish?”
I’m not,” he said grumpily, pushing Vincent’s hand away, “and stop patronizing
me. I’ve been aware for years that
somehow Catherine has come back to you.
I’m glad, son. Now I’m not
worried about leaving you alone.”
raised his head to see Catherine laughing silently. “I guess we can’t fool an old fox, can we, my
love?” And she materialized next to
him. “Hello, Father. I’m glad I could be here to say goodbye.”
mean I can’t come back like you did?” he asked with a smile in his voice.
moved to take his hand in hers. “No,
your love awaits you.”
he whispered lovingly and closed his eyes.
Margaret. She told me to tell you not to
keep her waiting too long. She’s
impatient to have you with her.”
won’t be long.” He sighed deeply. “I wish Jacob were here. I’d like to see him one last time.”
will regret not being here, I know. Europe is far away, but good opportunities do not happen
all the time.” Vincent smiled down at
his father. “I miss him too.”
him how much I’ve loved him and how proud I’ve been of him.”
will. And, please, know how much he has
loved you, Father.”
bent down and, releasing his hand, gently moved a strand of hair from Father’s
old man’s breathing began to falter.
“Come closer.” Fumbling for their
hands, he said, “Goodbye, my children.
Be happy. I love you both.”
into his eyes, Catherine said, “I love you, Father. Margaret is
waiting.” As she kissed him on the cheek, he closed his
eyes and went to meet the woman that he had held in his heart for all
stood looking sadly at his father.
“Goodbye, Father. I love you and
I’ll miss you.”
arms around each other, they stood for a few minutes by the old man’s bed and
then left to tell the others that he was gone.
One chapter of the tunnel’s history had closed. Another one was beginning to open.