The Silent Sentinel
There is a saying that, "A friend in need is a friend indeed."
In the heart of Emerald City, Halloween was an annual tradition. Despite tales of witches kidnapping children and other superstitions, the city's residents never ceased the celebration. They donned masks and costumes to escape their everyday identities during the occasion.
October 2022 was no exception, the entry to the month brought an extra layer of both excitement and mystery to the city's atmosphere.
A young passionate girl stood out among all in this city; where everyone seemed to have a penchant for peering into others' lives.
She had an unassuming yet captivating appearance. Her curly hair framed her face in loose waves, cascading gently to her shoulders. Her hazel eyes held a quiet, thoughtful depth, reflecting both her inner strength and the longing in her heart. She possessed an understated beauty, which, when paired with her genuine smile, was suppose to draw people in but rather it drew them away.
Mary's life was distinct from others, primarily because she lacked friends, despite the routine and predictability of urban living.
Sixteen years prior, Mary and her single mother had settled in the city, where rumors painted her mother as a witch, casting unfounded accusations about her father's identity.
"Mary's mother must have conceived her from sleeping with wizards," gossip echoed through the streets of Emerald City.
This left Mary in a profoundly lonely state. She felt isolated, with no friends to confide in, except for her mother, who, too, sought refuge in solitude.
Her mother, burdened by the weight of societal judgment, often shut herself indoors, unable to bear the stigmatization she encountered whenever she went outside.
"I curse my past!" Mary's mother cried out in her room.
"You and your unborn baby will never find happiness, unless your child finds the affection of true love." the Queen of Elmor yelled at pregnant Julia.
This spell cast on Julia was a punishment for getting intimate with the King who had died a month ago.
Being a maid servant at the Elmor palace, it was barbaric for her to bear the King's child.
"You have to leave now!" Julia's silent friend spoke for the first time after she had given birth. It came like a nightmare to her. But she listened and packed her things, leaving Elmor for good with little Mary.
Back to the present, Mary's life grew darker day by day. Her workplace, a quaint coffee shop, offered her little respite from the loneliness she endured.
Her colleagues showed no genuine interest in her as a person, leaving her to navigate the chilly atmosphere of indifference.
She yearned for a world where she could be free from the cruel whispers and pointed fingers. She dreamed of a time when her mother would step out of the darkness and join her in the light, where the burden of stigmatization could be cast aside.
She wanted a dream come true, that would fill her home with much happiness like it happened in novels.
Despite the challenges she faced, there was an air of resilience about her that shone through in her every expression.
There was one peculiar aspect of Mary's life that set her apart from others-the presence of a constant companion that filled the empty spaces in her heart.
A companion whom Julia introduced to her when she was five years old.
Mary explored the streets and alleys of Emerald City, always accompanied by her silent and loyal friend, who would appear at her feet. While this might not have been particularly unusual in itself, what set this companion apart was its unwavering loyalty.
No matter how fast she walked or how far she went, it was always right there, mirroring her every move.
Mary often marveled at the consistency of Lily, as she named her.
In a universe where everything seemed to be constantly changing and evolving, Lily was always there for her, providing her with a sense of security and comfort.
Days passed steadily, akin to a hidden river beneath the city's surface, carrying with them both dreams and destinies, along with the mounting anticipation for Halloween. It was just a week until the main day. For Mary, one Tuesday afternoon ushered her in a change she had never expected.
It was the return of the city's familiar face that set the wheels of transformation in motion. Surprisingly, it was the first time Mary laid her eyes on him. She became acquainted with his appearance through the murmurs of the girls in the city, who couldn't stop talking about how infatuated they were with him.
The son of her employer had come back from Canada to join in the Halloween festivities.
As she observed him from behind the counter at the coffee shop which was decorated with Halloween designs and pumpkins, she couldn't help but fall in love with his calm demeanor.
"He's so handsome and looks composed," she muttered to herself, unable to tear her eyes away from him.
Her heart skipped a beat as James walked toward her, running his hand through his hair.
"Hey, what's your name?" he asked, his attractive blue eyes locking onto hers.
His voice was a sweet melody that filled Mary's ears, and her heart raced at the unexpected attention. It was not just any notice; it came from James Harper, the new, coolest guy in the city.
"Look, he's talking to her," one of the workers at the coffee shop whispered to another, pointing at Mary and James.
"She wants to bring him bad luck," the other worker replied.
"You two, quit gossiping and get to work," the on-duty worker exclaimed.
Meanwhile, Mary struggled to find her voice to respond to James.
"I'm, I'm Mary," she stammered, looking down at the floor.
James tenderly tilted her chin, his touch intensifying the rapid beat of her heart, as a sudden gust of wind swept through the entire city.
"Don't be shy," he said with a grin. "I'm just an ordinary guy. My name is James, by the way."
"Yes, I know," Mary replied, her fingers fidgeting with her hair as James smiled at her.
"Nice to meet you then," James said, extending his hand for a handshake.
She grew light-headed immediately she gave in and almost fainted to the floor, but James swiftly caught her in his arms.
Their love story began to unfold amidst the enchantment of Halloween, capturing the city's attention.
Opinions about their union varied greatly.
"I think she must have cast a spell on him," a shopkeeper speculated.
"Their love was clearly made in heaven," a bus driver mused.
"I feel sorry for those who have nothing to do but gossip about other people's lives," a shoemaker remarked.
But James and Mary paid no heed to what others were saying, their love was as vibrant as the city on Halloween nights.
James had succeeded in convincing Julia to step out of her self-imposed isolation, becoming a beacon of hope for both women.
Their life-altering tale was an unforseen one, at least in Mary's eyes. As she gazed at Lily, she said to herself, "I never thought, after several years, to find a companion even stronger than you."
On the central day of Halloween, the rising sun marked a turn in Mary's love story.
"James," she said with a soft smile, "What about us? What about our love?"
James clasped her hands and reassured her, "I promise, Mary, our love is strong enough to withstand any distance. I must return for an emergency, but don't worry, my heart will always be with you."
Mary nodded, her eyes reflecting both love and sorrow.
With days morphing into weeks, and weeks seamlessly flowing into a month, Mary diligently tallied the moments until her reunion with James. Her resolve solidified, and she boldly confronted any negativity that arose from people who still harbored ill feelings towards her and her mother.
She focused on her work, being the senior worker at the coffee shop, and found solace in the knowledge that Lily would follow her, be by her side, no matter how swiftly life unraveled.
"James left me but you're still here for me." she murmured, staring at Lily.
One day, as the sun splashed the sky with shades of orange and pink, a letter arrived. It was a message from James, brimming with love and aching longing.
"Dear Mary," the letter read, "My travels are coming to an end, and I can't wait to hold you in my arms again. I'm coming home, darling."
Tears of joy filled Mary's eyes as she read those words, her heart racing with anticipation.
As the day of James's homecoming drew near, Mary strolled through the city with a revitalized sense of determination, her step notably lighter. She remained in the Halloween spirit, donning a yellow pumpkin-themed t-shirt.
She knew that soon, her love would be by her side once more.
And so, on that day, as James returned, he found Mary waiting for him at the airport, a joyful smile on her face. With Lily standing by her side, it casted its presence as a witness to their togetherness.
James approached Mary, took her hand, and said, "My love, I'm home. I missed you every moment I was away."
Mary replied, her eyes shining with happiness, "And I missed you, James. Welcome home."
James's eyes sparkled with excitement. He clapped his hands together, saying, "Since I couldn't make it for Halloween, the celebration isn't gonna be over for us. We're gonna make ours extra special!
While they held each other in their arms, Mary's devoted friend remained close, a silent sentinel to their reignited love.
The city changed from a hub of rumors and chatter into a place where love overcame judgment. Its pulse became the backdrop to their love story, reminding that amidst life's uncertainties, certain things endure; such as the loyalty of Lily, Mary's shadow.
Mary's tale showcased the enduring strength of love and the insight that in life's journey, be it as a noble or a commoner, affluent or destitute, there will be times when nobody will be there to hear your voice, even the one who once brought joy to your burdened existence. Nevertheless, keep in mind that your shadow remains by your side, no matter how swiftly you move, on any day and at any time.
I'm Reindolf Owusu Ofori
18 years old. I'm from Ghana, West Africa. I completed high school last two months.
I prefer writing mystery and teen fiction books. I currently have one completed book on Wattpad and two ongoing books there. (@reindolfwrites is my
Wattpad username). My books are for 13+ people.
I love to read and write a lot because it takes away my worries.