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Beckers
SS novice field agent

731 Posts

Posted - 09/18/2007 :  19:47:53  Show Profile
THE NIGHT OF THE FORGOTTEN RIBBON
(Originally: “Goodnight Caroline”)
By Beckers



“I’m back. I know you know I’m here. No, I’m not your son -- but please believe I care.

True, we were in danger when I spoke to you oh so desperately that time before -- when a dream was reality and reality a dream -- but I meant what I said. He was mad … and you knew my words were credible. You did not want to believe us and caused unrelenting tribulation.

You nearly killed me but, even now, I cannot hold it against you.

You were, even in death, trying to prevent further harm to your child. I can understand that. I would feel the same way. That is why I spoke as I did. It wasn’t only my life at risk but also my friend's life. And - let us not forget - every man, woman and child in Texas!

Must I say it again? He was mad, Caroline.

I think you finally came to understand this. Why else would you have allowed us to leave?

But I am back again and not entirely certain why I came. Maybe I just wanted to see if you were still here. It’s been years. Do you still live … exist here?

Not much has change. I can still see your portrait in the sitting room. Cob webs surround that sweet visage; the face of a woman who has (had) suffered much. Were you in pain, perhaps heartsick, when you posed for that canvas?

Or was it painted during better days? Perhaps after you married the man you loved or just after your dear child came into the world ... Oh, what dreams you must have had!

The staircase, hall, candlesticks, cupboards … All is the same. Wait. What is this? A velvet ribbon? It lay here on the floor where I left it. Where you left it. What are you trying to tell me, Caroline? I know you lived at one time, a woman of flesh and blood … and a spirit. You need not prove it to me. I was there for the latter, remember?

A door slams shut where there is no wind.

How lonely you must feel! You do not even have a son to wait for anymore. Dear Caroline, it’s time for you to rest. Why stay here? Are you unable to leave? No, you just don’t want to give up. But it is over. Please try to understand. No one lives here anymore. Your son has gone onto a another world.

Sleep, Caroline, sleep …”


***

He walked from the old dilapidated house as if in a daze. It must have been a beautiful place at one time, he thought. He remembered Liston Lawrence Day and his talk of elegant parties with refined people.

Caroline must have looked lovely.

He somewhat staggered over to his horse, awash in memory and emotions he did not expect to feel, and glanced up at the second floor.

Had he seen something? No, it must have been a trick of the light.

Gently, he patted the beast’s muzzle. “You were here too, old fella. You recollect it, don’t you?

There was no more he could do.

The horse snorted as he mounted and slid into the leather saddle.

He looked up one last time, at the house and the trees surrounding the land. “Goodnight, Caroline. Sleep well.” He paused, after a thought, “I won’t be back this way again.” He did not know why he thought the statement necessary. After all, there really wasn’t anyone in that house, was there?

For one second, through a grimy window, a flash of pink satin caught his eye.

Nothing.

It had been a long day and he’d journeyed far.

“Let’s go home.” he urged his horse on.

A door opened as he turned and rode away. He never saw it, nor did he feel the gust of wind which accompanied a woman’s softly echoing voice: “Goodbye, My Dear …”


THE END.

West: "How did you get into the Secret Service with hayfever?"
Gordon: "I kept it a secret."
TNOT HANGMAN, S-3.
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