Whispers of a new Dawn

The early morning fog clung to the cobblestone alleyways of London as Eleanor Bennett strolled the familiar way to the small and secluded park. The year was 1892, and the city was covered within the calm of first light. Eleanor’s strides resounded delicately, the sound mixing with her pensive thoughts.

Eleanor came to a worn wooden seat underneath an old birch tree and sat down, her gloved, warm hands resting in her lap. She closed her eyes and let her memories surge through her. It had been half a year since James, her beloved, had died in a devastating accident. His absence created a void in Eleanor’s heart that seemed impossible to fill.

They had been together since their paths first crossed each others’, and in that time, James had brought light and bliss into Eleanor’s life. He had energized her desire to paint and bolstered her dreams in a world that regularly smothered women’s desires.

Despair had expended Eleanor, and she found herself incapable of seeing a future without James. The thought of proceeding to live without him was agonizing. She had chosen that today would be her final day. As beams of daylight punctured the morning haze, she knew she would not see another day break.

Eleanor stood and strolled gradually toward the stream that bordered the stop. The water’s surface was calm, reflecting the quiet colors of the sky. She came to the edge and looked down, the cold, dull profundities calling to her. As she took a profound breath and arranged to step forward, a delicate wail caught her attention.

Turning, Eleanor saw a youthful lady standing some paces absent, her face covered up in her hands. The lady was dressed in a simple, but beautiful outfit, and her shoulders shook with relentless sobbing. Something within the woman’s actions resounded with Eleanor, pulling her back from the brink.

Are you okay?” Eleanor inquired, her voice delicate.

The lady looked up, her eyes ruddy and swollen from crying. “No,” she answered, her voice trembling. “I‘m not okay at all.”

Eleanor drew closer to her carefully. “I’m Eleanor Bennett. What’s your name?

The lady hesitated for long before replying, “Charlotte Whitmore.” Her frail voice still quivering.

Eleanor sensed a familiar soul in Charlotte—someone who caught on to the depth of losing hope. “Would you like to walk with me for a while? Sharing our burdens can make them a little lighter.”

Charlotte gestured, and the two ladies started to walk along the riverbank, their steps moderate and uncertain.

As they walked, Charlotte shared her story. She had lost her family in a house fire, leaving her alone and without reason. The torment of her misfortune had driven her to the stream, looking for a conclusion to her suffering. Eleanor tuned in eagerness, her possessive disheartedness reflected in Charlotte’s words.

They went through hours talking, finding solace in each other’s company. As the sun climbed higher in the sky, Eleanor realized that she had not thought of ending her life since meeting Charlotte. There was an unusual consolation in knowing that somebody else had caught on to her torment.

Days turned into weeks, and Eleanor and Charlotte’s relationship developed. They met in a very routine fashion, sharing their stories and supporting each other through their darkest moments. 

One afternoon, as they sat together on the bench beneath the old oak tree, Eleanor brought a sketchbook. She had not drawn since James’s death, but something about Charlotte inspired her to pick up the pencil again. To her, at this moment, Charlotte was akin to sunshine on a gloomy day, like a fragile rose, fragrant and beautiful but with thorns she didn’t mind being pricked by. 

May I draw you?” Eleanor asked, her voice hesitant.

Charlotte blushed but nodded. “Of course.”

As Eleanor sketched, she felt a sense of calm she had not known in a long time. Charlotte’s image took shape on the paper, her delicate features and expressive eyes captured in each stroke. When she finished, she handed the sketch to Charlotte, who gazed at it in awe.

It’s beautiful, Eleanor. Thank you,” Charlotte said, her voice filled with emotion.

Eleanor felt a warmth spread through her chest. “You inspire me, Charlotte. You give me hope.

One rainy afternoon, they sought refuge in Eleanor’s small, dimly lit apartment. The sound of the rain tapping against the window created a soothing backdrop to their conversation. As they sat on the floor, surrounded by sketches and paintings, Charlotte picked up a canvas that Eleanor had painted of a serene landscape.

This is lovely.” Charlotte said softly. “It feels so peaceful.”

Eleanor watched her, a lump forming in her throat. “James always encouraged me to paint. He believed in my talent even when I didn’t.”

Charlotte set the canvas down and looked at Eleanor, her eyes filled with empathy. “And now, you have a reason to paint again. You have a new muse.

Eleanor’s heart skipped a beat. She reached out and gently took Charlotte’s hand. “You are that muse, Charlotte. You’ve brought light back into my life.

Charlotte’s eyes glistened with unshed tears. “You’ve done the same for me, Eleanor. I was lost before I met you.

As the rain continued to fall outside, Eleanor and Charlotte shared a tender embrace, their connection deepening. The boundaries of friendship began to blur, replaced by something more profound and intimate.

Their friendship grew into something deeper as the weeks turned into months. They began to spend more time together, exploring the city, visiting art galleries, and sharing quiet dinners in cozy cafes. Each moment they spent together strengthened their bond, and they found themselves drawn to each other in ways they had not anticipated.

One evening, as they strolled along the riverbank, the setting sun casting a golden glow over the water, Eleanor felt a surge of affection for Charlotte. She stopped and turned to face her, her heart pounding in her chest.

Charlotte, I don’t know what I would have done without you. You’ve given me a reason to keep loving my life.” Eleanor confessed, her voice trembling.

Charlotte took Eleanor’s hands in hers, her touch gentle and reassuring. “And you have given me a reason to keep going, Eleanor. You’ve shown me that there is still beauty in this world, even after all the pain.

Eleanor’s eyes filled with tears. “I’m in love with you, Charlotte.

Charlotte’s eyes widened with surprise, then softened with a tender smile. “I love you too, Eleanor. I never thought I could feel this way again.

They embraced, their hearts beating in unison, and in that moment, they knew they had found something profound and true.

As the days turned into months, Eleanor and Charlotte’s love bloomed. They moved in together, finding a little house on the outskirts of the city where they could live a peaceful life. Their days were filled with happiness, love, and a deep sense of feeling at home.

In any case, their recently discovered bliss was not without challenges. Victorian society had inflexible and strict standards, and the bond between Eleanor and Charlotte was something rather forbidden. Talk started to spread within the neighborhood, and they found themselves progressively ostracized.

One evening, as a storm raged out of their house, Eleanor paced the floor, her uneasiness mounting. “Charlotte, what are we getting to do? People are beginning to notice. They’re whispering about us, and I’m scared of what might happen to us.

Charlotte stood by the window, observing the rain lash against the panes. “We can’t live our lives based on others’ conclusions, Eleanor. We have to be true to ourselves. But perhaps we ought to consider moving someplace more accepting.

Late one night, a gathering of townspeople, fueled by doubt and noxiousness, gathered outside their little house. The glinting light of their torches and lanterns cast ghostly shadows as they yelled accusations and threats.

“Eleanor Bennett! Charlotte Whitmore! “Witches!” he screamed. “Burn them! Burn the witches!“” The leader of the senseless and unaccepting horde howled.

They call us witches, Charlotte. They will never leave us alone. They want to tear us apart!” Eleanor said, trembling in fear.

Then we will not give them the satisfaction of tearing us apart.” Charlotte said with a fierce determination. “If we are to die, we do so on our own terms.

For a brief moment, Eleanor’s heart was in conflict, but then she realized that no matter where they go, or what they do, they will forever be hunted. She knew that there was no escape for them. Not here, not in this world.

The two of them hurried to gather whatever they could find to set their plan in motion. As the mob began to break down the door, the couple headed for the attic. Eleanor poured oil around the attic while Charlotte was ready with the matches, ready to liberate themselves.

The villagers surged forward, their eyes gleaming with a cruel, sadistic glee. Eleanor and Charlotte exchanged one last, loving glance. They knew there was no escape, but they would not let the mob have the satisfaction of seeing them beg or cower in fear.

Charlotte dropped the match, and the flames roared to life. They felt a strange peace envelop them, as they held each other tightly, their bodies trembling but their spirits unbroken. 

As the flames started to engulf the entire cottage, the mob realized what was happening. They tried to escape, but ultimately failed, as it was too late for them. The fires spread to the nearby cottages, and eventually set the entire village aflame. 

We’ve come so far, Charlotte. Despite everything, we’re still together.

Charlotte smiled, her eyes glistening with tears. “Because our love is stronger than any flame, any hatred. I love you, Eleanor.

I love you too, Charlotte.” Eleanor replied, her voice steady and sure. 

They spoke their last words, and sealed their love with a tender kiss, as the flames kissed them.  

Beyond the ashes of the old world, their spirits found freedom. Their love enduring beyond all the hatred and darkness. Perhaps, they would now be able to live freely in the place that lies beyond. 

Perhaps, the whispers of a new dawn they had always dreamed of, finally rose. 

Feeds NITT

The official college magazine and media house of NIT Trichy.

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