Cormac’s bride, Serena, sat by his side, just as petrified and ashen-faced as she’d been at their wedding a little over a year ago. Her mind was almost but not quite as susceptible to the takeover of dark forces as Loch Raven’s had been. And so Serena was ever fearfully watchful, yet preposterously so, because she really was bereft of any ability to do anything about it, to save herself from even the whims of another person let alone the powerful forces of mental darkness. Yet it was this very architecture of her helplessly splayed-out soul in conjunction with her striking beauty and intelligence that made people want to rescue her, just as they felt compelled to try to rescue Loch Raven.
Cormac and Serena met in the town library. And although it was far from love at first sight, they were both in need of companionship so defaulted to seeing each other regularly. Soon they’d fallen into a convenient pattern that colored over the reality of their situation. Cormac had begun to think Serena suited him nearly perfectly, although he hadn’t thought to analyze why. Serena, for her part, thought Cormac’s big, blank love would camouflage all her imperfections and she couldn’t imagine ever wanting to get out from under his undying loyalty. Naturally, they decided to get married, never mind that it’d only been three months to the day and hour of their meeting at the library.
The wedding had gone as awkwardly as one might expect the joining of two virtual strangers to go. It took place outside Cormac’s rickety old house with a handful of family members present. Serena looked her petrified and ashen-faced self and the guests looked bemused. Only Cormac and Loch Raven looked the kind of joyous one would expect at a wedding. Loch Raven was positively glowing. She was perhaps the only one of the three that saw clearly how much she had in common with Serena and therefore why it was that Cormac was marrying her.
Serena had not been as equally enthused. In Loch Raven she saw every thing in herself that she despised. She was more in tune with this strange girl than she felt comfortable with and she could feel the sickness that heavily clothed the girl. It wreaked all too familiarly of the demons that tried to suffocate her own mind from time to time. And in her opinion, a twenty year old should be out in the world making her own way just like she had been forced to do by her father. So when Loch Raven had tried to involve Serena in her life, to comment on her artwork, to listen to her music, to help her settle on a career, and that sort of thing, Serena had been genuine and forthcoming but had mostly shied away from interaction.
Serena remembered now how the two had discussed the blankness of Cormac’s love and how it rendered him powerless to be of any help to either of them. Loch Raven expressed her concern that the falling down house was haunted and was controlling them, trapping them all, and would hold them hostage until they died. She said she felt that as long as she was under her father’s care here, she would come to ruin. She’d asked what Serena thought she should do and Serena had recommended what she, too, wanted to do but felt powerless to do under Cormac’s roof. Serena had held Loch Raven’s shoulders firm, looked deeply into her eyes, and told her to run far away, to just do it, to seek out a community of like-minded people, of artists, of musicians, and to let the common desire of this community fuel her desires to be and to do all the things she wanted to do and be.
Now Serena sat in a sorry, cheap plastic folding chair in front of the closed casket that held Loch Raven’s mutilated body and she understood with perfect, unrelenting clarity why she had killed herself. She saw everything with perfect clarity now, just a little too late. She saw that Loch Raven had held up blind faith that she would be a bright spot in her life, that she’d be an inspiration to her. She’d hoped that since they were both artists and musicians that they would become allies and start something up together. She’d hoped they’d band together and break free of the spell in their heads, the spell in her father’s house.
Serena looked up at the portrait of Loch Raven that sat atop the casket and an unforgiving bolt of realization ramrodded her body. She knew the baton had been passed and that she was next.
Missalister’s “Diminuendo,” copyright © 2008, was spun off the Sunday Scribblings prompt “#130 – Wedding.” Click here for more on prompt #130 from other Sunday Scribblings participants