The silence in the room was broken by an enormous clap of thunder and the roar of the howling wind. He was startled from his deep sleep and realized he awoke to wet and disheveled linens. Well, he thought to himself, what a horrids night sleep I must have had for the bed to be in such disarray. He rubbed the sleep from his eyes and realized morning had not yet arrived. Just as he was reaching for the pitcher of water from the bedstand it hit him like a sledgehammer. The dream he had, oh my god, no, not a dream at all but an awful nightmare!! The pitcher fell from his grip and broke into tiny pieces. For a second he was free of the vision that had invaded his mind but as he arose from his bed it came back and he slumped to the floor. He sat in a daze, not even feeling the tiny pricks of the little ceramic shards piercing his nightclothes and into his skin. "Oh my, he said, "Thank God it was but just a night vision." He leaned against the bed and gazed out the window into the coldness of the night. The moon was shining brightly, even more so than usual due to a halo of light encircling her beaming face.

He closed his eyes and the night terror returned in the most vivid of colors, as if being played out right in front of his eyes. He saw himself walking down the staircase into the hall. It was dark with the exception of the glow emanating from the great room. The smell of smoke from the massive fireplace permeated each wall and floorboard of the castle. He started walking towards the great room down the East hall when his keen sense of smell picked up another scent. But his mind could not process just what it was. It was not a pleasant smell and the closer he got the stronger the odor became. As he entered the room he noticed that it, as with his bed linens, was not in the pristine condition he had come to love. Chairs were upturned, the heavy cast iron candle stand lay on it's side on the other side of the room, a small table broken in bits near the fireplace. What was this? What had happened? He walked to the fireplace, towards his chair, as he needed to sit and ponder the situation. As he grew closer to the chair his attention was drawn to the floor. Something was glistening from the reflection of the flames. As he leaned over to get a closer look he noticed many droplets and a large puddle next to his chair. He knelt down to feel the glistening wetness and realized as he brought his hand to his face that it was blood! "Where did this come from?" he gasped. He thought perchance one of his dogs must have hurt themselves outside in the briars and wracked with pain ran about the great room thusly creating this massive upheaval. But he was to learn all to soon that such was not the case.

It was then, as he was rising from the floor that the corner of his eye caught sight of her. He gazed upon her; flesh ashen, void of any natural color, with the exception of the streaks of bright crimson. It rolled down the side of her face, escaping from the large gaping hole on the left side of her head. A scream so loud; so gutteral, emmanated from the depths of his being, that the dogs started to howl; as if baying at the moon. The tears rolled down his face, like a waterfall in the darkest depths of the wood.

He just could not fathom what lay before him..his beloved...his friend, lover, his soulmate..the person that completed him...dead before his eyes. He didn't have to touch her to know she had gone to the other side; that there was no hope of her return to the world of the living. His body crumpled and fell to the floor; at her feet. His mind raced; all those years they were, "ONE." How could this happen? Who could of done this to her, his beloved? How was he to go on living without her, they were two parts that were connected as one. How could she leave him like this?

His thoughts were broken as a large log broke in two from the engulfing flames of the fire. It crackled and spit bright glowing embers onto the stone hearth floor. It was then he noticed the fireplace poker laying on floor and covered with blood. He crawled to it thinking it must have been the instrument used in his beloved's destruction. He picked it up and in doing so heard a large"clink" as something hit the floor. He picked up the object, a large gold ring; a man's ring and began screaming in horror. His shrieking became so loud it reached every corner and crevice of the house. His body collapsed to the floor, heaving, crying, screaming. The poker fell into the fireplace and the ring rolled out of his hand as he started banging his fists repeatedly, over and over creating little pools of blood.

The golden ring rolled across the floor and rested at her feet. It was the ring she gave him, her beloved, the man she loved with all of her heart, forever, eternally, in this life and the next. It said it all...the inscription she had them engrave in the ring... "ONE Forever," Janette.

In the distance a rooster bellows the start of a new morning. The sun was to shine today, a beautiful fall day when the leaves change hues and a crispness to the air was apparent.

He awoke with a start and sat bolt upright in bed. Was it the roosters cackling or the rememberance of the night terror he had been subject to while sleeping? He looked quickly to see if she was laying next to him but, she was not. His heart started racing, his mind started wondering, that is until he saw the envelope on her pillow.

He pulled the letter from the envelope and began reading. As you begin to read this I will be far away. DO NOT try and find me, if you do, do not contact me. You have hurt me for the last time. I realize now, after all this time that you are nothing but a weaver of mistruths and falsehoods. You did not love me, I was never your beloved. We were not "ONE" we were not 2 pieces of a puzzle connected together to make a whole, we were nothing. I was but only one part of your life as there were others and still are. I do not know if you will ever have a happy life because you yourself are not happy. Others cannot make you happy, they cannot fulfill your own dark hole, you are the only one that can. I am both happy and sad with my departure. I am sure you can figure out why. Goodbye, Janette.

At that moment something else fell from the envelope, a ring, her ring, he had given her, with an inscription that read, "ONE Forever," Julian.


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