Wednesday, July 09, 2003

Symposiasts Fiction – Period Romance Special

…continued from And, as the manservant Alejandro set down her breakfast before her, she wondered what indignities her father had planned to both deaden and torment her today……

“Father”, Fermina whispered, eyes downcast.
“How are you this morning, my sweet daughter?” The Count did not wait for an answer, for he was not used to interruptions, even from his kin, “it is a beautiful morning, is it not - the sun shines over our fair Madrid, the birds sing - it truly is a beautiful morning”. His cheery obfuscations sent a chill through her spine; the Count did not concern himself with life’s trivialities, unless… unless concealed beneath lay a grander design. “On such a day as this, it seems a shame to be trapped, as it were, behind the cold walls of La Denetrione, especially for someone of your beauty”. The last word he mouthed languidly, as his eyes met hers. She looked away. What could he possibly mean? Could he at last be offering her the glimpse of freedom she had for so long craved? As her mind drifted towards familiar thoughts of escape, the manservant Alejandro poured into her empty cup some pomegranate juice. She glanced at him, but his eyes would not meet hers. Her mental wanderings soon ended as the Count’s booming voice flared back to life.
“You have been cloistered behind these walls for too long Fermina. You are a woman now, a grown woman. There is a limit to what you can learn from Rosamunda and myself; to what you can learn from within La Denetrione…” With a burst of feeling, Fermina began to entertain the impossible thought that perhaps today, after all these empty years, the Count Daza could be about to offer her the freedom she had for so long craved; the freedom her mother had won all those years ago. Her heart began to soar, releasing within her feelings of hope, passion and desire that had slept dormant for the entirety of her empty life.
“It is for this reason that I have decided to…” Fermina was aware that her fate rested on the words that were to follow. The difference between joy and sadness, life and death – her future stood before this rhetorical precipice. She felt a burning within her as she waited for the Count’s intent to be revealed…
“It is for this reason that I have decided to send you to live with the order of Espantaso de la Alumbramiento Virginal…” With these words, Fermina’s heart sank into the familiar depths of despair and hopelessness from which it had ever so briefly been released.
“You will leave tomorrow at dawn, sailing on La Transferencia. Alejandro will accompany you…” By this point Fermina was no longer following the Count’s cruel words. She was once again resigned to her fate, her imprisonment. The possibilities and dreams that only seconds before had seemed so close, so real, were now as distant as the dark mountains that ringed Madrid – merely shadows that lurked beyond reach. With all the rage that her limp heart could muster, she looked the Count squarely in the eye and slowly whispered the words that were to seal her fate.
“I hate you, father, I hate you!”

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