Her Heart of Glass

She stepped into the impeccably neat room, eyes strained in the half-light. White, muslin curtains billowed from cast-iron rails at the large windows set into one wall, giving the whole room a slightly ghostly feel to it. The bed, pushed against the wall opposite the windows, was in the same style as the rest of the sanitarily clean chamber; floaty white drapes hid a faux-gothic four-poster.

"This is just like my sister," she thought as she moved over to the stark white dresser. For a moment she considered sitting on the cushioned stool, but a glance in the beautiful framed mirror reminded her of reality and she decided against it. She drifted instead to an open sash-window, gazing at the moody Spring sky for a while. The grey seemed somehow gaudy compared to the sheer whiteness of the room; even the windows were framed outside with lilac blossom, whose scent mercilessly intruded in her nostrils. A gust of air produced a tinkle from above and she saw wind-chimes swinging lazily in the breeze. The tubular bells were black metal, suspended from an intricately wrought plate of the same, and hanging between them was the hammer, a cut-glass heart.

She reached to knock it, to repeat that beautiful, delicate noise, but as soon as her fingers came in contact with the crystal, she was mesmerised by light and sound. Her mind filled with a dazzling whiteness, conversations between people she felt were familiar seemed to speed past her at thousands of miles an hour.

As suddenly as it had started, it left her. She was exactly as she was, but when she tried to turn back to the window, she found herself bodiless, only her mind aware of the surroundings. Outside, the sky had darkened and flakes of white snow fell from oblivion.

Looking back towards the door, she watched as a young woman entered, her long black hair casting ragged shadows against her pale skin. She placed the candle she carried carefully on the dresser and moved to the window, drawing each curtain labouriously. As the fabric brushed against the wind-chime, she clasped the heart to stop it ringing in the silence. Opening her hand enough to see the face of the shape, she spoke quietly.

"Remember me, Crystal. Remember my soul when my tissue heart has failed me and I've left you here. Remember it all, in crystal vision."

And the sound and light again filled her concious mind, until she felt it would explode. Instantly, there was silence, a deafening silence that lacked everything. She brought her hands to her face, massaging her forehead with clenched fingers until the intensity subsided. When at last she opened her eyes again, she was looking at the chimes. With a deep breath and a resolved mind, she unhooked them from the curtain-rail and folded the whole thing into her pocket.

At the door, she took one last look at the room and whispered, "Rest peacefully Candida. We shall not forget you", before pulling it gently to a close.

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