Friday, August 31, 2007

The Grasp of Fate

She had run from her past. She did not stop until the time came, this time in which fate snatched her up in the cold grasp of its hands. It had the power to do anything with her life, anything at all. At its worst, it could even take away her life. She had run into fate's grasp, and now it was up to fate to decide her future. Fate, however, takes kindly to playing tricks on a person’s mind, and so it did with Ginger Kate Tucker.

It was a quiet day in Ginger's life, one that seemed to have no end. As she stood in the familiar garden, she could feel the faint, icy chill of fate's hands on her shoulders. Fate touched her in such a way that she had no other choice. No matter how painful it would be, she would have to remember. Yet fate was not done with her; oh, no, it still had deceiving plans in mind for her.

A strange headache made her dizzy and sure of nothing. Her thoughts circled in her mind. Fate had no mercy. In an effort to relax, she found her way to what looked like a comfortable bench and sat there. The soft feel of the wind eased her in a way she had not known before. Her environment was strange to her.

As she became increasingly familiar with her surroundings, her memory began to kick in. She looked to her right and to her left. It was fall: the leaves were falling, the wind was blowing, and it was cold. The sun prevailed over the dark clouds for the moment, but rain was on its way. She looked about, her sharp, skinny blue eyes rolled from place to place, and all she saw was peaceful. Fate had begun its deed.

A young girl appeared a short distance away. The image was skipping along the paved path, singing a silly song or two. It had a small, cute, rosie smile, skinny blue eyes, and short, brown, braided hair. It looked like a smaller version of her, but in her confusion, she did not recognize the scrawny figure that was once her own, along with the bangs that never stayed straight.

Ginger shivered a little, pulling her jacket tighter. Fate had her where it wanted. She was in a state of madness. Somehow the image of her younger self that Fate had created in her mind awed her. Fate took away what little confidence was left in her. Ginger took pity on the happy, yet lonely, innocent child.

"Child, come, sit next to me. I am in great need of a cheerful song," came the soft tone of her voice.

"Shall I sing for you?" Fate's creation of a younger self asked her.

Fate took up the part of the child and immediately began to sing a song about memories. It knew this would torture the fairly aged woman.

"Do sit," Ginger interrupted.

"Tell me a story,” the young girl asked, “one that is during a happy time, spring, maybe? One that has sad things in it, one that brings pain to one's soul. I can see many things in your eyes. Tell me your story. Does it hurt?"

"Yes, I suppose I could fit a story under all those. I miss my young, innocent days. They were taken away from me, you see?" was the calm reply.

"How was it taken away?" Fate inquired.

"Fate did not agree with me. It left me in misery for some time. After my mother died, my father had a hard time raising me, so he gave me away. I was put up for adoption. Times were hard. The orphanage was not the greatest place to live, but it was there that Fate came back to me," her tone of voice rising a little.

"Do tell me.” Fate was enjoying its hold on her life.

Fate laughed at what she said and refused to leave her be. It would not lose its grasp on her; playing tricks was too much fun. It was pride, as well, that kept fate's grasp. The war would not be lost.

"I met Joseph at the orphanage. We became good friends, and never left each others’ sides," she continued. "Those were sad and tiring times, memories that I will not say out loud. They were all unhappy moments."

Fate continued to laugh at how well all its plans were going and decided to relax, and listen to her telling a story which reminded Fate of the many proud achievements of its grasp on her life. Fate enjoyed hearing it from her. It was all the more painful for her and all the more joyous for it.

"Do tell me more," the image begged, "why were they sad times?"

A tear rolled down Ginger's cheek. One single tear was all it took for Fate's laughter to grow even louder, sharply cutting into a person’s heart and soul. It laughed at her several times as its control over her grew tighter every second.

"Joseph was…," she gave a long sigh. Another tear rolled down her cheek, fell off her chin, and quickly found its way to the pavement beneath her feet.

Fate, it having been a long time since it last meddled with the young man's life, did not at first remember who this Joseph was, and what it had done to his life.

"Yes, I remember!" Fate said to itself.

"I loved Joseph dearly, "Ginger continued. "He died when he was 19. I was 18 at the time. He had proposed to me only a month before. We were going to be married here, in this garden. The doctors could not tell what had caused the death. At the time it seemed that fate did not agree with me."

"Fate has its own pride. It holds every single living person in its hands. It uses the fate of people around you to bring misery to your heart," Fate poured its unloving words out of the image's mouth.

"No!" Ginger screamed out, waving her hands wildly.

Fate had her in denial. She was running again from her past, from the truth. However, this was not the direction Fate had her headed for. Oh, no, it had barely begun its deed. This was but the first step of torture. Now, it knew, she must really call out for her memories, all of them, even the bad ones. This would be the climax of Fate's dealings with her.

"Leave me alone!" Ginger repeatedly yelled.

The image disappeared, but Fate did not. It held its grasp firm.

Ginger sat quietly now, echoes of the past surrounding her. The wind softly blew her once dark, brown hair. What little sunshine was left shined in her deep blue eyes, and the smell of burning firewood brought a strange grin to her face.

Fate whispered in her ears, telling her dark things that made her frown. She knew Fate surrounded her, she knew Fate twisted her thoughts, she knew she had no choice. The past was prying into her heart, her very mind. Like the sly lioness seeking out her prey, Fate crouched low and made its attack. Her past revealed itself. Fate had made its call to Past. Past also enjoyed playing with the mind, sometimes for good, other times for bad. Pride, too, does this, along with Death, Life, Fear, Pressure, and Dreams. However, whatever their powers, Fate is the master of them all.

The orphanage was a dirty, terrible place. It was surrounded by fields that went on and on, fields that never turned green and seemed to be the very earthly image of death. The only place nearby was an old cemetery, but a mile away. It was death; no one dared step foot onto its grounds. The place held mysteries unknown to many. No one had been buried there for years. At night the dead seemed to wail, but the mistress of the orphanage warned the orphans that it was just the wind, and if she heard any more complaints there would be no dinner the next day. Still, there were rumors of the horrors it held. Some said that Fate and all that went about doing its will lived there. Whatever the truth was, no one took to it; the rumors were too entertaining to ignore.

Ginger’s final year at the orphanage was almost good, but Fate hardly plays the role of good; rather, it uses good to make evil even more torturous.

It was spring time. Over the years the Mistress had softened. She was much kinder than when Ginger had first come to the orphanage. They had become friends. The mistress had given Ginger permission two years before to plant a garden. The garden, now finished, was peaceful and relaxing. It was the lone place of beauty in a world without sign of life, the one place the orphans actually wanted to be.

Joseph, once his final year was up, had stayed an extra year to wait for Ginger. He was a sweet, gentle, good, young man. He had taken up a job at the orphanage helping with various tasks. It was not much of an income, but it kept him close to her, and it was an opportunity to stay and wait for her.

This was the special day he had planned very thoroughly. It would plan out to either a good or bad result, hopefully good. It would all take place in the garden.

“Ginger,” called the Mistress.

“Yes, Mistress,” was Ginger’s calm reply.

They were in the kitchen cleaning dishes, one of Ginger’s daily chores about the orphanage. Ginger did not always have to do her chores. She had completed her studies two years before that; there was no more school work to be done. Sometimes she would serve as an aide in the classrooms; other times she would do various chores about the orphanage. There was not much else to be done about the dreary, uncheerful place. This was how she filled her time. She could not legally leave the orphanage until she was 19.

“Ginger, we are almost finished with the dishes, and there is not much else that needs to be done, why don’t you go for a walk and enjoy yourself a bit,” the mistress said.

“Nonsense. I could not well leave you here alone, now, could I?” Ginger replied.

“I keep good company by myself, child. Now get along with yourself. Have a good day and whatever comes with it. And see to it that Fate toys not with your mind today, for there are good things ahead for ya’. I can sense it,” she lectured.

“But...,” Ginger protested.

“Off with ya’. I won’t have you hangin’ round here all day near the dirt and rags of an old lady and her dishes.”

The mistress was a kind woman. She had not always been, but being around children had softened her heart. Ginger had made an effort to see into the woman’s dark, hate-filled eyes. She had been successful and found her way into the lady’s heart over the years, as had many other of the orphans. The days she had spent at the orphanage had been harsh and hard at first. Joseph had come when she was about the age of 11. They had become friends at once. She was his personal tour guide about the old, musty place. Ginger had brought cheer to the orphanage. Even with the bad memories of what had taken place there, it had been worth the effort to soften the mistress. Now all that was once sad and dreaded, had become the very light of love. The surroundings and settings of death did not change, but there was enough change to add a bit of happiness to all that was there.

She left the room after giving the mistress a small hug, and headed for the garden. As she sat on a small bench within the peaceful place, she could not help but look all around her. However, something strange seemed to draw her attention to the old, lifeless grave yard that layed less than a mile away. It seemed to call to her: Fate was calling her there.

“Surprise!” came a starling voice from behind.

“Joseph! What gives you the nerve to come up behind me and startle me like that?” Ginger questioned, turning around to see the young man with his handsome, green eyes and dark, black hair.

Joseph stood tall. Although he had a scrawny figure, he was still very strong and a sight to see when he was proud of himself. He chuckled a little and then came around to where she sat and took a seat next to her.

“I have every right to scare the girl I love with all my heart,” he said with laughter.

“Oh, if that is how you feel about me,” Ginger scolded, turning away from him, also giving a short giggle.

“So what are you doing out here all alone?” Joseph inquired.

“Well, I came to get some peace and quiet, if you do not mind!” she told him with a smile on her face.

“Alrighty then, I guess you don’t want this.” Joseph revealed a small rose that was just a bud. “Open the bud,” he gently ordered.

“What? Is there another scary surprise in it?” she asked.

“Just open it,” he ordered again.

She looked down at the small bud and slowly opened it, careful not to ruin its beauty. Inside there was a shining ring that had a jewel shaped like a flower on it. The ring did not consist of a genuine jewel or of real gold, but it was beautiful.

“Once we start make a liven’ for ourselves, I will be able to afford a real ring. I hope this is enough for now,” he told her.

“Are you asking me to marry you?” Ginger questioned.

“Sure I am,” he answered.

“Yes, of coarse it’s enough! It will last us a life time!” she cried out.

It was a happy moment for both of them. Her smile shined brightly. When she returned, everyone in the orphanage could tell what had happened. They knew it would happen sooner or later, but now it had.

They had planned to hold the wedding two months later in that very same garden.

However strange it may have been, there was still that calling to go to the graveyard. The calling replayed in her mind continuously: that feeling she had had right before Joseph had surprised her. The cemetery called to her. It had been Fate. It was her turn to be taken hold of by Fate, her turn to have her life ruined.

The graveyard was a smelly, gruesome place. It was death in every possible way. Ginger wandered about looking at the gravestones. Each told a story of the person buried there. The stories were all very similar. This seemed strange to her.

“May I help you, young lady?” A strange, unknown voice asked. It sounded like the voice of Fate itself.

“I was just observing all these gravestones. They hold much history,” she replied.

“Yes, the history of criminals can be very interesting. That is why I took up this job. I am the caretaker of this graveyard. I am a lonely man myself. Not many take to my hobbies, so I live a comfortable life out here doing my job,” the old man that had now appeared told her.

Ginger, already having been in a fearful mood, did not think to ask him any further questions of what he used the money for if he never left the place, or where he got his food from. None of these questions or even the thought to suspect something crossed her mind.

“Criminals?” she inquired.

“Yes, criminals. All buried here, away from the respected, good people. Suppose they deserved it. Somethin’ bout this place spooks me in wonder and awe. Sometimes I think they haunt the place with their ghosts, but I’ve never seen em’,” the crooked man mentioned.

Fate had entered her life for good at that moment. It had beckoned her there to show her where her fate in many ways lay.

A sudden shadow had come over her at that moment that made her want to leave immediately. She knew that she had to, but how? The old man seemed crazy and out of his wits.

“I really must go. They are waiting for me back at the orphanage,” she told the man kindly, but with a distinct tone to her voice that made her sound tense.

“So soon?” the elderly man asked.

“Yes. It was nice meeting you,” she told him, and quickly ran from the place back to where she knew safety was.

As she arrived back at the orphanage, a chill came over her. One of the younger orphans ran up to her mumbling words at a fast pace that she could not understand.

“Slow down, child,” she said, putting her hand on the child’s shoulder.

“We don’t know how it happened so quickly but...” the child paused to catch her breath.

“Yes, what happened?” Ginger said anxiously.

“Joseph, he has come down with an awful temperature, Miss Tucker. He is very sick. The mistress has called for a doctor, but seein’ that we be so far away from any place with medical resources, it will be a day or two before we can get any help,” the child finished.

“Take me to him,” Ginger said, “at once.”

The doctor came three days later. They did their best, but within the month, Joseph had died of an unknown cause.

“We have no money to bury him all fancy and like,” the mistress told Ginger.

They were sitting in the hallway outside of the room where Joseph’s dead body lay.

“Not even anywhere nice and full of life. I am sorry Ginger,” the mistress said.

Tears rolled down Ginger’s face. Her eyes no longer had happiness in them.

“Mr. Drob, who lives down at the old cemetery has offered to bury him there.” The mistress knew this would not make anything better.

“Buried with criminals. What history would lie on his gravestone? Here lies Joseph, a good man, not a criminal. But not rich enough to not be buried with such terrible people. May his ghost haunt with them forever!” Ginger yelled out.

“At least then he’d be buried. His corpse is no thing to be left to disappear in the wind, nor placed upon fire to burn to its crumbs of ashes,” was the remark of the mistress.

“I will not see him dishonored by those criminals!” Ginger’s tears doubled now.

“I am sorry Ginger. I know you love him, but this is the best thing there is. I know it will torture you to see him buried among such others, but just as much as to see his body burn in flames.” The mistress leaned over and gave Ginger a hug. “Ginger, you have brought love and life to this dead, forsaken place. Do not let the loss of Joseph ruin your life forever.”

Ginger had eventually consented to the deed. She had known in her heart that it was the best thing. However, she could not dwell on her memories forever, and when the chance came, she had left the place, intending to never come back. She had run.

Now she sat in that same garden near the orphanage that was filled with so many memories. She did not dare visit the place because it scared her to let herself dwell on her past once again. She had let her past get to her, she had cried out for it, and now Fate held its grasp tight over her life. The graveyard stood within walking distance. She could make out the very gravestone which stood above the burial place of Joseph, the man she had loved for so long. Fate had made her remember. That was enough for her. She did not wish to go any closer to the haunted cemetery which contained her beloved.

“No!” she cried out, screaming as hard as she could.

The image of her younger self appeared once again. She could see the child, so innocent, so brave.

“Go away, do not let Fate get you, too!” she yelled.

All was a blur now. She could not see well enough to distinguish what anything was.

Then came the silent pause of a moment or two. Not long afterwards, the image said in a low, evil tone, “Are you mad? I am Fate.”

Ginger screamed. The image changed shapes and circled in her mind. Everything was changing shape and colors, and Fate revealed itself to her now. Continuously she screamed. Her cries could be heard from miles away.

“I am Death!” she cried out louder and louder, “Fate has entered my life and will not let go!”

There was a sudden silence. Fate had lost its grasp.

Ginger fell to the ground in shock. She was dead.

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