Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2302371-The-tears-of-Saint-Margaret
Printer Friendly Page Tell A Friend
No ratings.
Rated: ASR · Novel · Death · #2302371
he can never return to his former life.
The Tears of Saint Margaret

The heavy rain poured down relentlessly, drenching the city that was shrouded in dense fog year-round. Jack's clothes were soaked as well.

With a single wire frame eyeglass perched on his nose, his shirt meticulously buttoned up to the top button, Jack, with his deep and handsome features, walked briskly in the rain. Even though he was completely soaked, he continued to move gracefully through the rain.

In his hand, he held a suitcase tightly, his gaze scanning quickly around his surroundings.

Passersby hurriedly moved forward while holding their hats down. They too were dressed in suits and leather shoes, stepping into puddle after puddle, leaving overlapping footprints on the busy street, only to be washed away by the rain in the next moment.

Rainy days were not uncommon in this city, but such heavy rainfall was rare. In this weather, even silk top hats and long overcoats were inevitably soaked.

Yet, there were very few people on the street with umbrellas. The city's inhabitants were accustomed to its cold and damp climate, to the point that when the moisture spread onto their own bodies, it seemed inconsequential.

Suddenly, Jack felt a tug on his suitcase, as if someone was trying to snatch it away. His somewhat distracted attention immediately focused, and he turned back alertly, but the pull was gone, replaced only by the hurried figures of pedestrians.

Perhaps it was just an illusion.

Nevertheless, Jack quickened his pace.

The journey continued smoothly until he arrived at a cafe hidden in a small alley within the misty city.

"Look at you! All wet," greeted Charles, the owner of the cafe.

Charles, the owner of the cafe, was a middle-aged chubby man who, despite his slightly out-of-shape figure, still insisted on wearing shirts and overcoats that seemed perpetually on the verge of bursting. This was his way of maintaining a sense of 'gentlemanly demeanor.'

Charles took a leisurely glance at Jack, who looked somewhat disheveled due to being soaked, and walked into the cafe's employee lounge. He emerged with a handkerchief and handed it to Jack.

The fireplace in the cafe emitted a warm orange-red glow, casting a lazy hue over the entire place.

Perhaps influenced by the cafe's atmosphere, Jack's tense posture gradually relaxed, and he accepted the handkerchief, gently wiping off the rainwater from his body.

"Thank you."

"No need to thank me. So, are you still going for a cup of coffee today? But let me remind you, drinking coffee at night might keep you awake. Would you like to try hot chocolate instead?" Charles said as he skillfully took out some grinding equipment from behind the counter.

Jack shook his head lightly. "Thank you for the offer, Charles. But you know, I don't drink anything other than coffee at night. However, you're right, I won't have any today."

"Very well." Charles chuckled and placed the bag of coffee beans he had just taken out on the counter. It seemed he had no intention of putting it back for now. "It's probably time to get some rest. If you keep going to bed at three in the morning like this, I don't think your body will hold up for long."

A faint smile appeared on Jack's otherwise expressionless face. "Yes, it's true. I should rest earlier."

With that, he picked up his suitcase, headed to the third floor of the cafe, and at the end of the corridor on the third floor, there was a small room. It belonged to Jack.

Upon entering, a room with a similar ambiance to the cafe greeted Jack's eyes. However, compared to the cafe, this small room was filled with various tasteful items. There were classical record players, paintings of ancient Greek goddesses, and elegant decorations.

At this moment, the fireplace, somehow already lit, gently emitted its flames, warming up the slightly chilly room.

Having grown familiar with everything, Jack wearily sat on the sofa. After resting for a moment, he solemnly placed the suitcase on the coffee table in front of him and slowly opened it.

Inside the black suitcase, wrapped in deep purple velvet, was an item that gradually revealed itself as Jack moved. It was a bottle of golden liquid with sparkling flecks, contained in a triangular glass bottle. The fireplace's light illuminated it, making it shine even more brightly.

"The Tears of Saint Margaret, a magical potion that can transport the living to paradise."

Staring at the golden liquid in the triangular glass bottle, Jack murmured softly before removing the cork from the bottle and drinking its contents in one gulp.

As the last drop slid down his throat, the scene before Jack began to blur.

Suddenly, Jack's vision went dark, and his body felt as though it had been drained of all energy. With a thud, he collapsed onto the ground.

Before losing consciousness completely, Jack heard endless echoes in his ears, echoes that were so familiar because they were his sister's calls:

"Jack, do you like the song I wrote?"

"Mom has been gone for so long. When do you think she'll be back, Jack?"

"Chocolate is really delicious, Jack. Will you go get some more..."

The voices abruptly stopped, and Jack's heart was filled with an overwhelming panic. He could no longer peacefully drift back to sleep. He jolted up suddenly.

As his disordered breath gradually steadied, he realized that he was no longer in his room. Instead, beneath his feet stretched vast expanses of white clouds, and the sky above was pale, almost faded.

This place was...

Jack furrowed his brows and stood up, and the last trace of confusion seemed to clear from his mind with this motion.

Ah, yes, yes.

I drank the Tears of Saint Margaret.

The Tears of Saint Margaret have the specific ability to transport living people to paradise and allow them to make wishes to the gods. However, there is an additional requirement - the person drinking it must possess a strong enough desire in order to reach their destination.

Regardless, I obtained this potion. Since I find myself here, it means I succeeded.

Looking at everything before him, Jack smiled genuinely.

And my wish is to see my sister, Elizabeth, one more time.

When I was seventeen, my sister passed away. And all of this was because of me.

I remember it was an ordinary day, the city enveloped in dense fog. But that seemingly ordinary day became a recurring nightmare in my nights.

"Elizabeth, I brought your favorite chocolates. Come down from upstairs."

At that time, Jack was innocent. His slender figure was wrapped in a well-fitted suit, black vest, and a white shirt. A silver pocket watch was tucked into the pocket of his chest, enhancing his exquisite and handsome appearance.

Now, he held a bag in one hand and removed his suit with the other, hanging it on the coat rack beside the door.

"My little sister, if you don't come down soon, I'll give these chocolates to Miss Charles next door."

Still, there was no response.

Oh, my little sister, maybe she's lost in her music again, or perhaps she's too lazy to come down?

With these thoughts in mind, Jack shook his head in resignation, then carried the bag and headed upstairs.

This small house was left to them by their mother. Since her disappearance, only the two siblings remained.

Although the house was old, it held fond memories of their childhood with their parents. Therefore, even if Jack had enough money now to buy a new house, he was hesitant to replace it.

Jack's leather shoes creaked on the worn wooden stairs, a sound he was accustomed to and paid no mind to.


He knocked on his sister's door, but there was no response. This puzzled Jack.

"Elizabeth, are you in there?"

"Jack, just come in."

Upon hearing his sister's response, Jack pushed the door open.

Inside the room, there was an untidy space cluttered with various clothes and sheet music. At the center of this 'mess' was Jack's little sister, engrossed in a book in her hands.

"I saw chocolates being sold by the roadside after school today, so I picked some flavors for you. I thought you might like them."

Elizabeth didn't respond; the girl with long black hair continued to focus on her book.

Seeing her lost in the book, Jack's curiosity was piqued. "Working on a new song? No, it's not sheet music. You're actually reading something other than music?"

Upon hearing this, Elizabeth lifted her head from the book and gave her older brother a reproachful look. "Of course! In your eyes, am I just a music-loving bookworm? Well, let me broaden your horizons. Here, take a look."

With that, Elizabeth handed a book with a yellow cover to Jack. "Mysticism: Potion Section. It contains information on many different potions - it's quite intriguing."

Jack glanced at it and chuckled softly. "The Tears of Saint Margaret? Can transport people to paradise? Well, if you like it."

Seeing her brother's somewhat helpless expression, Elizabeth took the book back from Jack. She could tell that he didn't believe in the contents of the book.

"This book was written by the renowned mysticist Elson. Who knows, maybe it actually works. If you don't want to read it, you can leave now. Oh, and leave the chocolates."

After speaking, Jack was escorted out of the room.

Shaking his head in resignation, he returned to his study to resume his research on his paper.

Late at night, as he was extinguishing the oil lamp, Jack suddenly heard the sound of breaking glass from the hallway.

Was it Elizabeth? Or perhaps a thief or intruder?

With these thoughts, Jack's heart raced. He grabbed a pen from his desk - while a pen had much less potential as a weapon compared to a knife, having something in hand still put Jack at ease compared to facing a possible enemy empty-handed.

As he prepared to step toward the figure, Elizabeth's voice suddenly rang out.


"Elizabeth, are you okay?!"

Rather than concealing himself, Jack dashed towards Elizabeth's room.

As he spoke, he attempted to push open Elizabeth's door. However, the door seemed to be locked from the inside, and no matter how he tried, he couldn't open it. Jack knew it was his sister's habit.

Since their mother's disappearance, the siblings would habitually lock all the doors and windows before going to bed. Despite this, Jack's worry remained.

"Jack? I'm fine. Please don't come in. I just broke a bottle..."

Jack remained silent, and for a moment, the entire hallway fell into a deathly silence. Then, the girl's voice resounded again:

"You know, I'm always so clumsy... I was trying to make a potion from the book of potions. The ingredients for this potion are quite strange; it requires moonlight. Haha... Jack, could you buy me some more chocolates..."

With the sound of another heavy object hitting the ground, Elizabeth's voice gradually softened.

Maybe she just knocked over another book in her absent-mindedness.

Listening to his sister's playful words, Jack's heart gradually relaxed.

Yes, this is an affluent area. Thieves are rare. What am I even thinking?

With this realization, Jack headed towards the end of the hallway. There, he found the silhouette that he thought was a person was just the result of wind blowing the curtain over a decorative plant at the end of the hallway.

I was indeed overthinking it.

Elizabeth, go to bed earlier. It's late, and there's no chocolate being sold at this hour. Eat the chocolate I bought you this morning first."

After Jack replied, he walked towards his room.

However, just as he reached the front of his own bedroom, a piercing sound suddenly came from behind him.

It was the sound of a door being opened.

Followed by a second creaking sound, farther away, then a third and a fourth.

This time, it was the sound of old wooden stairs.

As the piercing sounds grew more urgent, Jack realized what was happening. He quickly turned around and saw that Elizabeth's bedroom door had opened without him noticing.


A sense of unease suddenly filled Jack's heart. Although his room wasn't far from Elizabeth's, he somehow found himself running to her door with all his might.

But he was still a moment too late.

White music sheets were scattered throughout the room, the wind blowing in through the window causing them to flutter like petals. And in the center of the room, a vivid red blood bloomed like a flower bud, surrounded by the scattered music sheets.

The girl's body lay on the bed, her white nightgown now stained red. Her head, resting on the floor, with dilated pupils, stared vacantly at the music sheets.

The lingering warmth of red was imprinted on the music sheets, as the dream of a young life was stained with blood, making it impossible to decipher the notes written on them.

Witnessing this scene, Jack's mind went blank, overwhelmed by extreme panic. It was as if he couldn't hear any sound, couldn't see anything anymore.

In his tear-blurred vision, all that remained was a sea of pure white and red.

Trembling, he reached out with his hand, wanting to salvage the music that hadn't yet been tainted by tears. But as he was about to touch the paper, he grasped at nothing but empty air.

Jack furrowed his brow and pulled his hand back.

That was the past.

A past that haunted him, a past he couldn't change. Whether it was his mother's disappearance or his own sister.

Now, he walked above the clouds, in a paradise where everything pure had concealed his own dark heart.

Selfishly seeking tranquility, arrogantly believing he could handle everything, he had ignored Elizabeth's final plea. Ignored all the clues, failed to notice the windows and doors that should never have been opened in the night, letting a bone-chilling wind sweep in.

In this paradise, he was the one who deserved to be condemned to hell.

Angelic hymns, divine dances.

A golden-haired girl danced elegantly in a pool, her graceful movements resembling drifting clouds. Her white gown swayed with each step, and as she raised her foot, droplets of water cascaded from her ankle, eventually falling back into the pool. With a gentle wave of her arm, her slender feet touched the water, creating ripples.

Around her, young boys and girls with white wings fluttered, wielding golden instruments, playing music as they circled the golden-haired girl.

Silver platters of fruit were arranged by the pool, while further away, golden recliners were placed. Girls lounged on them, chatting and laughing while plucking grapes from nearby platters and popping them into their mouths.

As Jack pushed aside the thick clouds, he was met with this scene.

In that moment, one of the young angels playing a flute inadvertently looked in Jack's direction. Seeing Jack in his unfamiliar attire and countenance, the young angel froze in place, wings flapping uselessly.

A chain reaction followed as the angels behind him crashed into him, the surprised exclamations causing a cascade of angels to fall into the pool.

"Oh no!" one of the girls lounging on the recliner exclaimed. This halted their conversation and drew their attention to the "disaster."

This cry caused the nearby girls to burst into laughter. They huddled together, discussing the incident animatedly.

At the same time, Jack quickly moved away from the pool, back to the expanse of white clouds. Looking at the boundless whiteness, he finally had a chance to catch his breath.

After all, everything was so beautiful that even a sinner like him couldn't help but be drawn in. Yet, that was precisely why he had to escape, because he would never forget his sins, whether it was his mother's disappearance or his sister's fate.

He only needed to keep moving forward until he found God and made a wish.


Jack hadn't walked far when he heard the cry of a girl, the golden-haired girl Helen. His steps faltered, and he reluctantly came to a halt.

"Are you a human?" Helen asked, her gentle and melodious voice curious. "Why are you here in heaven?"

Hearing the girl's voice, something compelled Jack to turn around, and he saw Helen looking at him from a distance.

Helen had silky golden hair, eyes as blue as the sky, and a face so exquisite that it was hard to tear his gaze away. Even though he had only glimpsed her briefly by the pool, he was captivated by her beauty. But precisely because of this, he had to keep his distance.

"Beautiful lady, I apologize for interrupting your dance. I came here to make a wish to the divine, nothing more," Jack responded.

Helen paused, her gaze complex. After a moment, she seemed to gather her resolve and extended her hand. A cascade of golden particles flowed from her hand like liquid, forming the shape of a young girl.

The golden liquid gathered on the ground, forming the figure of a girl. The figure gained consciousness quickly.

She looked around in confusion, hands nervously clasped in front of her. When her eyes fell on Jack, she couldn't contain her emotions any longer and burst into tears, running towards him.


Hearing that voice once again after all these years, tears welled up in Jack's eyes. Despite his efforts to maintain a smile, he embraced his sister tightly. "Elizabeth, is it really you?"

"Brother, I missed you so much." The Elizabeth also hugged him, her voice tinged with a sob.

This sentence seemed to break down the last defenses in Jack's heart, and a tear slid down his cheek. "I'm sorry, Elizabeth. I was so oblivious. It's my fault..."

"You don't need to apologize, brother." Elizabeth's tears subsided, and she smiled through her tears. "I knew ever since Mom disappeared that people eventually die. Since I've come to such a beautiful heaven, it's not that bad, right?"

"Are you not angry with me?" As he held the Elizabeth, Jack whispered, "You're not angry that I caused your death?"

"Why would I be?" Elizabeth wiped her tears away and smiled gently. "You're my brother after all."

Then, with a mischievous glint in her eyes, she leaned in close to his ear and whispered, "But... why did you kill me?"

Pupils rapidly dilated, and Jack suddenly opened his eyes. At this moment, he lay in his small cabin's bed, facing the familiar ceiling. Just as his gaze fixed on the brown dome, a friendly face entered Jack's view.

It was Charles, the owner of the coffee shop.

"Jack, are you awake? Finally, you're awake. When I came up last night to put out the fireplace, I found you lying on the floor, burning with a high fever and unconscious."

As Charles spoke, he removed the cloth from Jack's forehead, dampened it with cold water, wrung it out, and placed it back.

"You were also muttering something like 'I'm sorry, it's my fault' in your dreams. What's this? Even gentlemanly Jack has a woman to apologize to?"

It was just a dream.

Jack slightly averted his gaze.

"Thank you, and thank you for not trying any bloodletting therapy on me."

"You know me, I've never trusted those doctors with their exaggerated masks. And stop thanking me so much, how long have we known each other!" Charles chuckled. "You're acting a bit distant with all this 'thank you' business. It's as if you're trying to keep your 'burning passion' away from me."

Looking at Jack's weary eyes, Charles held less cold water in his hand as he prepared to leave. "Well, I guess it's time to give you some personal space. Hey! You always enjoy my puns."

"They're not that funny." Jack turned away, causing the towel on his head to slip off onto the side.

"Haha, I don't believe that. You, my friend, always carry such a heavy burden on your face. You only smile at puns. Well, fine, I admit this time's joke was a bit far-fetched." As he spoke, Charles blew out the candles in the room and then left.

Now it was daytime, yet due to the heavy curtains being drawn, the room appeared even darker.

Seeing that Charles had left, Jack raised his head again, and his vacant eyes gazed at the dark contours of the furniture in the bedroom. At the same time, he thought about everything that had just happened. Or rather, everything that had happened in the dream.

My sister blames me, and I must live with guilt for the rest of my life.

And judging by the fact that Charles could see me, my physical body didn't ascend to 'heaven.' Margaret's tears were indeed fake, and it was all a dream. But, if not for that last sentence, it would have been a beautiful dream.

It's not unreasonable for me to have such a dream. My self-blame, my selfishness will torment me forever. After all, dreams can only reveal what is known...


Jack's intermittent fever lasted for a month.

With the departure of this high fever, Margaret's tears and the journey to heaven dissipated like a dream. Jack's life returned to normal.

No more staying up all night searching for information, and Jack no longer had to depend on his uncle, Charles, for everything. Instead, he found a job as a barista with Charles. In the following days, he became a companion to coffee.

Perhaps due to his expertise in grinding coffee, the coffee shop started attracting more customers. His work became busier. Maybe because of work, Jack felt more easily fatigued.

During his free time, Jack would often go to the theater to watch the latest plays or visit museums as suggested by his uncle Charles. In general, life continued peacefully and routinely.

Only, every night, Jack would be awakened by the same dream. A dream haunted by Elizabeth's voice, a dream where his sister continually spoke of his guilt. Perhaps what Jack had said was true; he did indeed carry this heavy burden of guilt and an unrelenting nightmare.

But in the end, it didn't matter.

Today, the sunlight was beautiful. Jack walked to the living room, pulled back the curtains, opened the windows, and let the rare sunlight warm his cozy cabin. After arranging everything and coming down to the coffee shop on the first floor, the shop was still closed, but the aroma of coffee was already spreading in the air.

Charles was out for supply runs today, so he wouldn't be back until late. Thus, Jack was in charge of the coffee shop for the day.

After lighting the fireplace, he went to the mailbox at the coffee shop's entrance and collected the day's newspaper. Jack then returned to the coffee shop.

As a habit, he made himself a cup of coffee and toasted a croissant. Finally, he found a seat near the fireplace, where he leisurely read the newspaper while enjoying breakfast.

However, his gaze stopped after seeing the headline:

?Illegal Organization Trafficking in Illusion Elixirs, Leading to the Permanent Loss of Hundreds of Families; Are Saint Margaret's Tears the Key to Heaven or the Fires of Hell??

Staring blankly at the newspaper's headline, although he was sitting by the fireplace, Jack felt a cold shiver run down his spine.

Yes, he knew all along that everything was fake.

But he had secretly hoped that the dream was real.

Perhaps it's better if it's fake. The answer from his sister, something he could never know while still alive.

He finished breakfast without much taste, changed into his work attire, and hung the "Open" sign outside the coffee shop.

Mornings usually had few customers, and even when they came, they left after buying a cup of coffee. While Jack was somewhat puzzled, he was also relieved. Fewer customers meant more time to have a good conversation with the "real" Helen.

Until evening, after a busy day, Charles returned from outside, and Helen waved her hand to say goodbye.

Charles asked, "Who were you talking to?"

Jack gazed after Helen's departing figure, a faint smile still lingering on his lips, apparently ignoring Charles.

"Jack? Are you listening?" Charles raised an eyebrow.

Only then did Jack realize it, hurriedly saying, "Oh, yes, nothing."

Charles gave him a suspicious look, then huffed his chubby body towards the counter. "Get some rest soon. You look tired. And, my goodness, with that excited expression, you look like you're going to 'entertain' someone to sleep."

Jack chuckled and shook his head, walking towards the stairs. Returning to his room, he noticed the fireplace had gone out.

With the warmth from the fireplace gone, a cold and darkness that had been lurking in the room overwhelmed it. Jack frowned slightly, walked to the fireplace, and tried to light it. However, he found that the fire seemed to have been extinguished with water. The damp wood refused to catch fire.

With no other choice, he lit a few more candle lamps. The light from those candles brought some brightness back to the room.

No matter what, today was a good day.

Since even a deity had confirmed it, everything should be... No, it must be true.

Thinking this way, Jack took out a glass of apple juice from the cupboard. He raised it to his lips, ready to drink it all. However, just as he was about to do so, he suddenly felt his vision blur. He saw the bottle of apple juice in his hand had transformed into a triangular glass bottle.

His whole body shuddered, and he fumbled the bottle, causing it to fall and shatter on the ground.

Golden liquid splashed everywhere. Looking at the shattered bottle, Jack sighed with a touch of self-mockery. "Certainly, I must have been mistaken."

It was impossible for Margaret's tears to be like this.

Jack gave a wry smile to himself: I must be a fool of an elder brother.

Now it was 6 in the evening, yet for some reason, the seeds of sleepiness took root within Jack. He yawned and stood up.

The window that hadn't been closed in the living room allowed in the chilling breeze and with it, the cold of the rain. The flames of the several candles in the room started flickering intensely. After struggling for a moment, they were eventually extinguished.

Looking at the room plunged into darkness, Jack's mind was consumed by various overlooked suspicions.

Margaret's tears were hallucinogenic elixirs. Consuming them continuously led to his mental deterioration, increasing fatigue. Perhaps, due to the prolonged consumption, his cognition had been altered, mistaking the tears for apple juice, which he usually didn't drink at night.

And this suggested that the Helen he had seen today was a hallucination. The coffee shop's customers left hastily because of his self-talk.

So that's how it was.

Indeed, that's how it was.

Jack felt his brain pulsating in pain, his heart racing and pounding so hard it felt deafening.

He lost sensation throughout his body, and the scene before his eyes began losing color. He could no longer hold on and collapsed onto his bed.

Outside, the rain grew heavier. Jack's thoughts began to drift.

At that moment, he saw faint light flickering in the darkness.

The light was so bright, yet so far away.


Jack heard a familiar voice.

But this time, the call wasn't full of misery; it was like that of a holy angel--kind and ethereal.


Jack felt that the figure before him was so familiar. "I'm sorry, I must have been a foolish brother."

The girl with the white wings smiled, took his hand, and said, "I've never resented you, and you mustn't resent yourself either, alright?"

"Elizabeth? But... How?"

The girl's presence, Elizabeth, became clearer, her voice like a comforting lullaby, easing Jack's pain and doubts. With her by his side, Jack felt at peace for the first time in a long while.

"Come with me. Let's go to that bright place together."

As he held Elizabeth's hand, the room around him gradually faded, and he was engulfed by the warm, radiant light.

© Copyright 2023 beturelie (belie at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
Writing.Com, its affiliates and syndicates have been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work.
Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2302371-The-tears-of-Saint-Margaret