Story by Inês Costa - Artworks by Sonia Mª Corral
"The man has only one escape from his old self;
to see a different self-in the mirrors of some woman's eyes"
Clare Boothe Luce (1903-87)
Catherine was so excited that she couldn't keep her mind focused on what she was doing. It was probably the third time that Joe caught her fixing her eyes on infinity,while playing with the necklace that she had around her neck, with a perfect cutted crystal.
Catherine awoke from her state of grace and looked at Joe: his head was about two palms of distance from hers,but he only seemed to be in front of her at that point when he shouted. Catherine shivered and shook her head.
-I'm sorry Joe...my mind is elsewhere today.
-Yeah, it seems that this paranoia of "the end of the world arriving today" is getting to everyone. -said he laying a couple of more case files on Cathy's desk. She sighed at view of the paperwork,but she was also curious.
-End of the world? What on earth are you talking about?
-What? Don't you watch t.v?
Lately, Cathy was spending a lot of time Bellow beside Vincent and the tunnel community, but specially beside Vincent:how she loved to hear him recite those poems! So she putted a questionative face and waited for Joe's answer.
-Well Catherine, you shure live in a whole different world! Today there is going to be an alignment of the nine planets of the solar system,so naturally the speculators and preachers are raving about of the end of the world!
Joe's teasing face caused Catherine to jiggle.
-But let me tell you Radcliffe! Even if the end of the world comes, I'll be seeing you in that courthouse Monday, doing a hell of a job...so snap out of it!
Catherine smiled at Joe and buried herself on the paperwork, but it was a question of time until she looked again at the infinity, helding the crystal, and thinking on the anniversary present that she was going to give Vincent that night.
It was they're fifth year together.
* * * *
Vincent emerged from his strange state of unawareness and focused on the figure.Mouse was standing in front of him, helding a little velvet pouch in his right hand.
-Here it is...finished it.Took work, but Mouse got it.
Vincent reached for the pouch and looked for it's secret. Tinkling at the candles glare,and nestled in Vincent's furred hand, was a perfect gold ring,with a small crystal carved, and an inscription.Vincent approached the light to see what was written; it was a quote from Beethoven's letter to his Immortal Beloved: "Ever yours,Ever mine,Forever." He looked pleased, and to Mouse, that was reward enough.
-Thank you Mouse...It's beautiful.
-Catherine will like?
Mouse,unquestionatively, cheered for those two to work out fine, and so did the tunnel community...Vincent's and Catherine's love was something that transpired warmth and hope, wich embraced not only them,but all of Vincent's family. So, on this very special day, everyone was eager to help on the "romance", so Mouse wanted to give something really special.
-No doubt of it.
Mouse threw a big,big smile and disappeared into the hallway, leaving Vincent behind in his chamber, looking at the infinity.
In that place, Catherine was beside him.
* * * *
-Did you knew about the alignment tonight, Vincent?
Vincent was entering Father's chamber and saw him, literally, submerged in a "tone" of newspapers.
-Oh, Charles brought me these when he came down to leave some medical supplies...
Vincent looked at the stars constellation map and passed a finger through the line that was going to connect the nine planets.
"We are all connected"
-Tonight Mary, the children and some others are going to see it in the park. Pascal is passing out the word...I agreed because I thought that it would be interesting for the children.
-Aren't you going, Father?
-And what about you?
Vincent smiled and looked into his father's eyes.
-I'll be with terrific company, although your company is terrific as well..
Father suddenly remembered.
-Oh! Right!...Five years, isn't it? Good Lord...as it been so long?
-To me it seems that it was only yesterday, said Vincent, remembering the attack on Catherine, the talks, the discovery...
-Well, then you would probably join Catherine...
-No, this year we've decided to celebrate near the waterfalls...she insisted on it.
-Perhaps it holds a special place in her heart...don't try to understand women, my son.God knows I've tried!-said Father, laughing.-Well then,if you will be in good hands, then I'll join Mary, the others and the children.
Vincent looked at the papers, and read something about the end of the world.
-Do you believe in these stories?
-What? That the world is ending?-Father laughed - Man has been saying it for two thousand years, and it doesn't kneed divine intervention for it to end...Man is doing it by his own hand!
Father took off his glasses, and joined his son to a trip to the kitchen.
* * * *
It was almost time.
Catherine looked herself at the mirror and smiled. He would certainly love it, she had bought it specially for the occasion.
It was a long white dress, very delicate,that floated in the air.When she walked, she seemed to hover.
Suspended by the neck, her only piece of jewlery:the crystal necklace.
She ignored the make-up: she wanted to look the more natural possible, for the big step she was about to take.
Quietly,she took a bag that was resting on the coach,and quietly descended to the staircase Bellow.
Vincent had felted Cathy entering the tunnels about an hour ago.He was running late on his meticulous dressing, so he decided to wait for her to come to him, by the time he would be ready. That was twenty minutes ago, and now he was getting impatient, although there was nothing wrong happening.
The others were on they're way to the park, where a massive crowd was gathered, to take part in the "one in a life time event" that was the planet's alignement. He was practically alone Bellow, so where was she?
It was when he turned to look for her, that she entered his chamber.
To Vincent it was like he was struck by lightning:Catherine was so beautiful!
Catherine framed a gentle smile on her lips,and tried to talk, but couldn't. She was still fixed on Vincent's reaction.
-Do you like it?I've dressed it specially for you.
Vincent reached on to something he cold grasp: he was sensing his legs failing, dew to the rush that his heart was feeling.
-I...I...I can't find the words, Catherine...you're an angel.
She came close and kissed him on his forehead:the kiss of true love.
Vincent closed his eyes,enjoying the moment. They looked at eachother for a moment and Vincent felt that he had to say something, or he would fall into temptation .
-I have something for you...-said he,reaching for the velvet pouch that was resting on the table. Catherine looked at him, and then she looked at the pouch. He opened it and took off the ring.
Catherine's mouth opened.
-My God!...Oh,Vincent! It's so beautiful!
-Not as beautiful as you.
He took it, and gently asked for Catherine's han, so she could put on the ring. Has he was sliding the object through her finger, he repeated the words that were carved on the inside of the ring. Catherine thought that she couldn't resist.
-"Ever yours...Ever mine...Forever".
An then he kissed her hand.
Catherine's heart was beating very fast: she couldn't wait to give him her present. For her it was The present, the thing that she was waiting for so long.
-And now for my present.
Vincent stood very straight, waiting to be sweetly surprised. Instead,she took his hand and guided him outside his chamber,in the waterfall direction.When they arrived, Catherine made him close his eyes.
Vincent took a few fearful steps, until Catherine stopped walking.
-All right...open your eyes.
Vincent slowly opened his eyes, and this time it was his turn to threw his mouth open.
In front of him was a miniature replica of the crystal chamber.
-Do you like it? Mouse found it a week ago,dew to that rock slide. I made him promise that he didn't tell you. I know that it was hard for him, the poor thing!
Vincent was silent. His eyes were fixed on the candles that surrounded a set of large velvet pillows and a large fury and fluffy blanket that was lying on the floor. He then turned at Catherine,that was also captured by the sight of it.She turned to him and took a few steps back,with the cave behind her.
She reached her hand to the back of the dress, and started to unzip it.
Vincent was paralyzed with a strange mixture of feelings going about. He was unable to react, to do whatever was bound to be done at the moment:would he refuse? Would he deny that was what he most wanted also?
His lucidity aroused from is conscience and he rapidly reached for her shoulder, trying to keep her dress on, but it was too late.
He clashed is touch with a sense of softness that he never had experienced. He turned his eyes to Catherine's green deep, and all he could find was a woman that loved him above all things.
She slowly reached for the ties of his shirt, and started pulling them, while her eyes never left his.
Her dress was a white bundle on the ground.
He was so nervous! He couldn't stop shivering,more of anxiety than of fear, amazed with how she looked.
The shape of her body.
Her hand was sliding between his chest, slowly removing his shirt.
-I'm afraid Catherine.We better stop...I'm not shure if I can hold on much longer...
Catherine stopped moving her hand and rested her mouth against his hear, kissing it, while whispering the words.
-Let go of your fears Vincent...Tonight, everything is possible.
That was it.
With the sound of those few words, and Catherine's touch that made his skin and his soul turn to fire, he rapidly abandoned his sense of reality, and was pulled to that swirl that anticipates the inevitable.
He urgently reached for her neck, and surrounding her with his arms, he gave her a lover's embrace.
She showed him how to touch,how to satisfy the thirst of his loving hunger,and then pulled him to the blanket, when he continued caressing her,his gentle hands, following Catherine's curves and shapes.
Her skin was gold at the light of the candles, and Catherine thought the same about his hair. They stopped at some point, just looking at eachother, naked; Vincent's eyes were lost on her face, while Catherine gently caressed his back with one hand, and his eyebrow with the other.
No words were spoken.
With his blues eyes glowing in happiness, he reached for a kiss.
The kisses became deepper, and deepper; they're bodies were controlled by an unknown force that impelled them to continue:they were walking to the edge of reality.
Suddenly, he took her.
Catherine's back arched with the first contact, and they soon abandoned they're souls to that rhythmic movement.Vincent was covering her face with gentle kisses, and Catherine was stroking his hair.
There was no need for further instructions, for regrets...it was over, and consumed.
The movement started to hasten; they're bodies glittered as they were reaching the edge. At that point, just before the step that would release them, Catherine held Vincent's face in her hands and looked straight into his eyes. He opened them for a while, high on the moment, and looked at her.
And it happened.
Both of them threw they're heads back, while the catharsis ruled they're bodies:the world spinned faster, held by they're entangled hands.
They were covered in sweat.
An exhausted,heavy-breathing Vincent laid beside Catherine, and continued caressing her shoulders, while her head was nestled on his soft furred chest and her hand was reviewing all it's path from the tip of his fingers, to the neck.
She looked at the candles,still burning,and whispered.
-I love you.
* * * *
It was late, almost midnight.
Catherine shivered, when her knee touched the cold rock. She woke up to find herself covered by the blankets that were use as protectors from the arsheness of the cave's rocks, to nestle their first night together.
Catherine was hoping that would be the first of so many other nights.
She looked around, trying to find Vincent.He was nowhere to be seen.
Uneasy,she reached for her dress, that was neatly folded on top of the blankets, no doubt by Vincent's hands. She dressed it,puted on her shoes, and walked in the direction of the waterfall.
There he was, siting at the edge of it, his head was bended, and as Catherine was reaching him, with her heart filled with infinite happiness, she noticed that he was crying.
Catherine immediately stopped, has Vincent became aware of her, and was rapidly desguising the tears, cleaning them swiftly.
Vincent didn't replied. He preferred continuing looking at the water falling continuously to the deep, deep bellow. Catherine sat next to him and putted her hand on his cheek,cleaning a persisting tear that kept rolling down his face.
-Vincent...why are you crying?
Vincent looked at her, and then he spoke.
-I...never thought that it would be like this, Catherine.
Catherine smiled. She thought he was referring to ...
-I've always expected not so much from life. I thought that finding a family and someone to care me was to good to be true,and enough to satisfy me. After all...I've asked so many times,why was I born?
Catherine continued listening what he was saying. One by one,the tears appeared again in his eyes.
-Five years ago, my life changed. I met you.And now...life opens me so much possibilities that...I question myself if I deserve it.
-Oh,Vincent...do you want to know why you were born?
Vincent looked at her, with the hope that her words would ease his uncertainty.
-You were born to save me...to hold me...to love me. And I you.
-I'm afraid, Catherine.
-Afraid of what, my love?
He held her hand, and weaped.
-Of hoping...of wanting a better life than the one we are taking, and I know I can't give you such life...but with what you gave me...it seems so possible to accomplish.
Catherine held his face and silenced him with a kiss.
-It is possible. Everything's possible.
Vincent stopped crying and smiled, and Catherine joined him. They shared a few minutes of silence, and Catherine thought if two people could share silence,it was because they could share anything...she thought it was terribly philosophical and almost laughed out loud, but she couldn't break the moment...Vincent was hoping for the first time in his life and she didn't want to spoil his "moment in the sun".
It was he who decided to talk, fact that surprised Cathy.
-Comme, it's almost time for the alignment-said he standing up and walking to the tunnel entrance.
Catherine was standing up to join him,when she stopped to put away some dust from her dress, it was then when she spotted it.Realising that Catherine wasn't following him, he turned around.
She was fixing her eyes on something in the deep of the fall.Vincent approached her.
Catherine was fixing some point at the bottom of the rift, something in the water, perhaps.
-I...I thought I saw something.
Vincent looked on the direction that her finger pointed and waited. The seconds went past , but nothing happened.It was only water.
-I don't see anything Catherine...what was it?
-It was like a...beam of light, but it was a weird light.
Catherine noticed some disbelief in Vincent's voice and decided to rest the subject.
-It was probably my imagination.
-The alignment is to happen any second now. Do you want to come and see it? I know a place-as he said it, he raised his hand, and asked for her's. Catherine was feeling like a princess, and couldn't believe that it was only an cople of hour's ago that they were loving on the floor, and now Vincent looked so calm and serene like nothing happened...like he knew that was meant to be sooner than later. She treasured her thought, thinking that this time things could really work out, despite Vincent's fear of hopping for a better future than the one he thought he was reserved to have.
She reached for his hand, eager for the contact with his palm, when suddenly the ground started to shake, violently.
The alignment was happening.
Catherine fell with her knees on the ground, and Vincent also.Pieces of rock started to break loose from the cave's walls, and were tumbling down into the abyss. Vincent reached for Catherine, trying to involve her in his body, so she couldn't get hit by any rocks,when it all stopped.
Both lovers breathe uneasy.
-I think it was an earthquake.
-In New York?
It was then when Vincent saw the light.The light that Catherine was talking about was emerging from the abyss and was gradually inundating the place with a strange clarity. Catherine turned around,as she noticed it,and gazed at the bottom of the fall:the water was no longer still;it was moving at an abnormal rate, in a giant swirl that emanated the light.
Catherine was captured by it.
Vincent turned around and faced the entry:his fears were correct, for it was blocked with heavy rocks.
-We're traped, Catherine...Catherine?
He turned to look for her. She wasn't there.
-Catherine? Where are you?
He approached the edge of the cliff and look down. He paralized:Catherine was descending to the bottom,through the dangerous path that the most audacious swimmers, looking for a good and relaxing bath, would walk. Vincent knew about the path,because he always had to follow it,every time he wanted to swim. He was accustomed to the dangerous rocks, he knew them by heart,but Catherine didn't.
-Catherine! What are you doing?
Catherine look up, with a smile on her face.
-I just want to take a closer look. It's beautiful! The children will love it!
-You'll fall! Wait, I'll get you.
Vincent rushed down the rock walls,and reached for her. Catherine was standing at the edge of a very unstable shelf.Vincent didn't said nothing, because he didn't want to alarm her.
-Catherine...Catherine...give me your hand.
She was in a strange state of emotions, Vincent could feel it:it was almost like she was drown to the edge.
-Give me your hand, Catherine.
Vincent was getting scared by the minute.
Catherine turned around gently and gave him her hand.
It was then that a new earthquake, more dreadly than the other, splited the rock bellow her feet, and she fell into the unknown, screaming.
Vincent formed a tight grip around her fingers, screaming her name.
She was suspended by his fingers, and soon enough, dew to the violence of the earthquake, the rock bellow Vincent feet also crumbled, and he could only secure himself to a piece of rock that was also starting to brake apart.
The swirl bellow them was duplicating the intensity of it's light, like the quakes were duplicating they're intensity.
Catherine saw that they were going to fell unless...
She reached for the fingers forming the grip around hers,an loosen them,one by one,while the tears were rolling down her face. Vincent saw what she was doing.
-I'm sorry,but you can't die! Let me go Vincent...let me go,please! I don't want you to die!
-Catherine, no, please don't do this...I'll die! If you die, I'll die too.
The rock was loosening more and more. Catherine reached for the final finger that was grabbing her.Vincent's strength was diminishing.
-Let me go.
Vincent look down,at her. Her face was covered in tears,and he could see her lips moving,forming a word that he could not hear.
"I love you".
And she fell into the water, into the fantastic swirl bellow.
Vincent roared tremendously.
The rock that was securing him broke loose, with a final earthquake, and Vincent rushed for the cold water, his body submerged in a strange light, and for an instant, he sweared he could see Catherine,r eaching for his hand.
Abandoned into a strange warmth that invaded his heart, he closed his eyes,a nd sank into the unknown depths.
To be continued in "MIRRORS. Part II. Another World"
Mirrors. The Beginnig belongs to Inês Costa Any distribution, copy, shoul be made under her consent.
All artwork you see here are property and were desing by Sonia Mª Corral, Any distribution, copy, shoul be made under her consent.
"Beauty and the Beast" and its original characters are the creation of Ron Koslow and is owned by Republic Pictures and its owners. The stories shown here are written strictly for the enjoyment of fans, and no infringement is meant in any way