“The Labyrinth/Staircase” [short story]

The “Labyrinth”

You wandered through the passages of the old castle, like it was nothing.
Each little moment was dwindling in the endless. You just paced to kill the time, as the teachers were in the classes, along with students and you just did not feel like you fit into all that.
The thought of sitting in algebra was absolutely nonsensical. Especially for you. Just the thought of sitting in the stuffy room with those old teachers and a bunch of students that have their noses in books, or writing something endlessly.
Halls were long, quite endless, really. Yet the sense of the need to find that one corner and disappear was not leaving you at all.

The leaves were rustling outside. The weather was the warm autumn type, just as you like. But the air was filled with stillness and just a little of that soft warm breeze.
It felt like heavy rain along with thunder will come to strike soon.

And soon enough – the thunder was booming through the sky. The pitter-patter of rain began.
The roads, like earth, slowly began to darken, from all the wet. The birds were hidden and barely made any fuss now. The patter on the trees was in itself – a whole different music to ears.

Ah, staircase, that’s the place you’d sit in the most, observing the life outside from the large windows.

“You’re back.” – A soft voice spoke next to you.
You turned to see who it is, that made you jolt in a spot – an old friend, it seemed. But you couldn’t really remember the name. You just felt familiar with him.
“Cat got your tongue?” – He leaned onto the windowsill.
“Not sure if me being here is considered being ‘back’ per se.” – You let out.
“Mm, but you did kind of disappear for a few good years there.” – He pointed out.
You watched him, as he folded hands.
“Few years?” – You ask.

“Yes,” – He looks you in the eyes, – “few years. You were here, but quite a long while ago. Oh, you seem to have forgotten that.”
You’ve close to no reply, but deep sigh.
“Have I been here before?” – You mutter, yet he hears you also. – “I do feel familiar here. But…”
“You’ve just forgot what’s what.” – He lets out, as he watches the rain outside.
A pang in heart, this painful, warm pang, and it does give sense that there’s something to remember.
“We played in the garden outside. Summer time.” – You spoke. – “You were that brat who managed to smack me with those berries in my face from time to time.”

“This brat had managed to steal your first kiss, manage to even hide you from teachers and have a night sleep side to side, hugged in here.” – He points to the top of the stairs, where an old sofa stood in the corner.
The students were forbidden to come onto the staircase. It was off-limits. So nobody would come here to seek anyone. It just was this way.
You smile, as the words make you think back and gasp that moment once more.
“You were the troublemaker here. That I do remember.” – You say.
“And you were the rebellious kid, who’d be stuck to me all day, every day, once you’d see me.” – He came closer, sat next to you on the stairs. – “I’ve missed you.”
You turn to him and you’re met with his eyes.
Those eyes.
Those eyes you would remember always. Those are the kind that make you fall in love even if your heart is ice cold. They melt you down to your core and make you believe that this person would be there for you, pulling along to the adventures and journeys that’s up for a lifetime. Forever entranced.
“You are still a cheeky prick.” – You say softly, with a smile.
He smiles back, cupping your cheek in his hand, and you lean into the palm of his hand.
“I’m here, you know. You might have forgotten all about me, but I’m here.” – He pulls in closer, then closer, and your head comes to rest on his collarbone. His palm softly caressing your cheek.
“I’ve never forgotten of you. Not a day in my life.” – He lets out. And all sounds deeper, as the rain and the sound of his voice seemingly reverberate through you.
His heartbeat, his warmth… So familiar, so close.
“I’ve waited, you know. And I’ve waited long. I’m glad you showed up again.” – He hugged you tight.

The evening ball commenced. The music played all sorts of valtz, as students and teachers wore fancy attires and dresses.
Halls were filled with the music that spread across the whole of the academy castle.
Once again you wandered off to the staircase. But this time around – to see him.
Sneakily you opened the door and walked into the dusty space with large windows. Paced a few steps towards the flight of stairs down, and there, below – he stood and watched the evening darken more and more. The night taking over the world.
You just watched, without really letting him know. Just observing him. In his fancy outfit, with his fine looks, and then, as the moonlight shone into the premises – illuminating him in all charm – you noticed, you truly noticed just now…

“Hey.” – You said with a warm smile. – “Were you always this devilishly handsome?”
He looks surprised for a bit, as he turns to see you. And he knows. He realizes that you’ve most likely seen it.
He walks up to you.
“That’s impolite to stare for so long, without letting one know of their own presence. Unless you wish to be that kind of stalker.” – He says.
You take him by the hand, as you come in even closer.
“I’m a stalker for you and you only.” – You smile and pull him towards you. – “Come on, I’ve waited until this moment. I do deserve a dance.”
He smiles back, his hand on your waist, then he pulls you along for a waltz, as the music from halls do reach this remote corner of the castle.

His warmth envelopes you, as you lean in, eventually, to hug him, as the dance no longer is what you want.
And his hands wrap you tight, his breath felt on your ear, as he presses himself against you. The heartbeat, the whole sense of him here…
“Is there a way for me to steal you away from here?” – You let out, as the sense of sadness slowly begins to lick at your feet.
He shakes head.
“What if…” – you begin, – “What if I too, do that here and stay with you?”
He shakes head again.
“I wouldn’t want it for you.” – He lets out.
You give a nod, then snuggle into his neck.
“I’ll love you forever.” – You say.

A few months later you came back.
Sitting there, in the cold of winter, observing fog from own breath. It was evening, it was absolutely dark and there were no light sources tonight.

The candle would be too much of an attention thing – as some teachers might find your fling.
And you’ve sat there on stairs, and sat and sat… And sleep took you over like a fog.
Warm hand on your cheek and a kiss – woke you up. He’s here.
“I’m mad.” – He hays with a serious face. – “I’m quite mad, coz what took you so long?”
You smile in return and hug him.
“Believe me, it’s nothing of sort.” – You say. – “I hope you won’t be that mad with me.”
You pull out a veil from your pocket and open the top, letting that purple fog consume all around.
You hold tight onto him, as he seems to not really understand what’s going on.
“What are you up to? Is this supposed to be some cool trick?” – He says.
You nod.

“I’m taking you home today.” – You let out.
He’s confused. Not of the statement, but of the impossibility of the making of it.
You just take his hand in yours, as you get up and pull him along.
“Just trust me.” – You say.
He lets out a sigh, then follows you from hall to hall and out through the entry door.
You walk through the gate – outside on the street.
He looks at you stunned. Your hands still held together. You turn to him and smile.
“Oh, my bad. I meant that you’re taking me home. From now on.” – You let out.
He hugs you tight.

Shifting realms was not such a fright.

https://parisianmoments.com/paris-color-prints/questel-staircase-versaille-color-print-9gttm

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