A mission carried on by tragedy and redeemed by love.
|"You're bleeding." I took my hand away from his chest to see scarlet red dripping from my hand.
He gasped and wheezed. I glanced around; there was little time to lose. Mr. Charles would be back any minute, and for him to appear before we left would ruin our mission. We were in a small dark wood paneled library. Dark wooded bookshelves covered inch of the walls except for the matching wood door on the far right wall. Dark red curtains accented the wall-length windows, which looked over a rolling green valley accented with a couple of trees, that made up the Ransworth estate. I started calculating which wall contained the secret chamber. I knocked around, hoping to hear a hollow sound. Every moment was vital, my heart galloped with the ticking of the clock. But the walls seemed to be all solid. I felt myself sink inside.
James gave an especially hacking cough at that moment, which rattled my very sense of being. Annoyed at my jumpiness, I ripped off a piece of my jacket to make a bandage and knelt beside him. I would get back to settling a game plan in a minute. The clock, however, threatened to shatter my nerves.
"Jane--" he coughed again, the motions making him shudder beyond belief-- "I think you should-d go on with-o-out me. I--I don't think I will-make--it."
"NO!" I almost shouted. "I'm not going without you. We're doing this together." I wrapped the makeshift bandage tightly across his body. He heaved heavily and gasped for breath during my movements.
James gave that faint knowing half-smile through his already tightly scrunched face, the smile which I usually loved, but now....which I hated.
"No, love-e, you must-t go--on with-o-out me. You can c-complete this mis-sion, just rem-em-ber what I told you--go thro-o-ugh the yellow wood, you-know, that is yel-low in the au-tum-n-n? Lo-o-ok for the sy-camore tree in the mid-dle of the cle-e-aring. A mes-sen-ger will be waiting the-e-re. But it is of ut-t-most impo-o-rtance that you get this to them, darling." He pressed the leather bound package in my hand.
I didn't take the package; to take it would admit that he was dying. And I refused to believe that. My mind began to shut down.
James began gasping in short, quick spurts, gripping his chest, as he struggled with death's lethal hold. "Ja-n-n-n-n-e-e-e-e!"
"JAMESSSSSSSS! Don't you dare leave me!" I jumped up. "Hold on, I'll get us on out here." I beat the walls in pounding succession, my heart matching in time to the deafening sound, but sinking with every unsuccessful thump. And...was there footsteps? I put my ear to the floor. There were indeed feet faintly coming this way. Mr.Charles! I banged even harder.
"Ja-n-n-e-e?" I looked at him. Through my incessant bumping, it was a wonder I even heard him. His body was clearly giving up, and his face was freezing into death's repose. His hair was a black matted mass, and his chest was bleeding profusely. But his eyes was burning with a passion, a darkening blue fire, a deep love that will keep us together forever. " Jane, I Iove you. And I alwa-ys will." His eyes slid shut, his hand dropped the package with a resounding thud.