Only In Our Dreams
We stand across the room from each other. I stare at you. You stare at her.
Of course, you stare at her. She’s the princess after all. The princess with long locks, perfect skin, and invaluable crown. Princess Delia. And I? Well, I’m the pauper who put on a fancy dress and strolled into the ball, uninvited. Thankfully, no one has noticed. I’ve camouflaged myself as royalty and no one has batted an eye.
I see you cross towards Delia. You offer your hand to the fair lady and she accepts. You two walk towards the middle of the ballroom floor. Her long skirt brushes the floor, demanding the attention of the room. Two by two, the eyes of the crowd obey and watch you and the princess become the centerpiece of the party. It’s inconvenient for what I am about to do, but I’m glad I’m not the only one staring.
The small orchestra in the corner take notice of the commotion and play accordingly. Some romantic waltz in which I’m too uneducated to recognize the composer. Disgusting. Whispers fill the room as ball guests admire the lovely dancers, you and Delia. I roll my eyes.
I feel a small twinge of jealousy fill my chest. For a moment, I feel one hand in mine and another on my side. You tell me, “This could have been you.” I shake myself back into reality, reminding myself that our moments together are only in my dreams.
It’s time to start a war.
I’ve heard the voice in my head for a while now. Really since I started having dreams of you. I ignored them for as long as I could, but now they were too loud to brush aside. Whoever or whatever it was, they were determined to see your end.
“When everyone’s watching?” I respond back. I’m not quite sure if I said that out loud, but the ball guests beside me were distracted by you and Delia.
The best wars aren’t started in private.
I shrug, “I guess so.” I’m not sure why I want war, but I know it’s a desire I won’t be able to control much longer. Might as well and get it over with while I still have control over my actions.
I approach a handsome man my age and drag him to the center of the ballroom with me. We waltz.
“Quite bold of you to assume I wanted to dance with you,” the man says with a cute attempt at a wink. He holds me close as we dance. A little too close for comfort, but I reassure myself this is just getting me one step closer to you.
I match his flirtatiousness, “Are you complaining?” The man smirks. I smirk back before taking a quick glance at you. I see your eyes look to me as well. For a moment, I see you contemplate my existence. Is that familiarity I see in your eyes? Do you know who I am? Do my dreams hold a sense of truth? But then you look away. I linger for a moment, surprised by this possible realization.
“Oh, so you’re just using me to get closer to the king?” the man asks. I snap back to my dance partner. He’s correct; I am trying to get closer to you, but I need to keep him in my trap just a little while longer.
I avoid his accusation, “What’s your name?”
“I’ll tell you only if you tell me yours first.”
“Isn’t it obvious?” he lets go of me for a moment and gestures to what he’s wearing. A king’s guard uniform. Drat.
Of course, I chose the king’s defense to be my waltz partner before I try to kill you… the king. It’s unfortunate, but not impossible. My mission just gained a new objective, that’s all. Kill him, then you.
I must admit: I have never killed anyone before. I have never really wanted to kill anyone before. But the voices told me they would go away if you were gone. The voices are all I hear now, so I have no other choice but to obey.
“Verona. Verona is my name,” I tell the king’s guard. I search up and down where I was to strike him with the knife hiding in my glove. The back? No, too obvious. The heart? Too brutal. The throat may do, but I feel as that make a little more of a mess than I would want to leave. Who am I kidding? Two people are going to be on the floor dead in five minutes. There’s going to be mess either way.
“I am Samuel. Pleased to make your acquaintance, Verona. From which kingdom do you hail?” Samuel bows low.
So I pull the knife out of my glove and before Samuel can lock his eyes back onto mine, I slit his throat. He falls immediately. His mouth opens, trying to scream. Nothing he says can be heard.
The whispers of the crowd turn to shouts. They have noticed my crime.
Ignore them. Your mission is almost completed. War is on the horizon.
I look at you next, but you’re already staring at me. Your dark skin has gone pale. Your lips quiver. You take a step forward. I see the familiarity creep back into your eyes.
“Uriah?” It’s the millionth time I’ve said your name, but the first time I have ever said it outside my dreams. I see the familiarity creep back into your eyes. Tears creep up in mine, “You know who I am?” You nod your head. My dreams weren’t real, but they weren’t falsehoods either.
You smile. You take a step forward, with your arms out. Delia protests, but you don’t listen. I step forward, accepting your embrace. Your strong arms rest on my back. I hear guards approach and feel one of your arms lift up as you tell them to retreat.
“Verona, it’s you.” Your voice shakes. I can feel your heart beat.
“Oh, Uriah. I thought… I thought that-”
“That they were just dreams?”
I say nothing in return, only holding you tighter.
You let go and look in my eyes. Your expression is stoic, not full of love. Like you’ve just realized something. “You have to kill me, don’t you? Because of the voices?”
I step back from you. “How did you know?”
“I’ve heard them too, but they’ve told me to find you and kill you. Then, they would leave me be. No longer torturing me with the desire of war.”
I sputtered, “But that’s what they told me.”
We never lied to either one of you.
We look at each other at the same time, with the same realization. By the end of this interaction, one of us will be dead and the other will be stuck with the voices. Forever
I look at the knife and then you, “Don’t hate me for this. I love you.” Just like Samuel, I slit your throat.
You scream, but nothing comes out. Nothing but a faint, “Thank you.”