Vincent, Rose Petals, A Secluded Cavern

by Lara Hoyle


Vincent had gone exploring alone after he had read the children their nightly bedtime tale of adventure or romance from the library. He found an old map that Father had started making, dating back to when Vincent was very young. He remembered that when he would call for the dear old man that Mary was there, and Peter, when Peter was able to come down from Above in the evenings. Vincent also had not been Above for a while because Catherine had said she was going to a cluster of meetings at a few hotels in some distant states and that she would let him know when she was back.

A couple of months had passed since they had seen each other, and Vincent had made it to the edge of the markings on the map. He found the faint lettering of "Cave?" painted in large letters by a fissure that was just beyond the crystal chamber where he had found the crystal for Catherine's necklace. He had been widening the entrance to the fissure and was awed at what he found there. The walls were much like the crystal chamber studded with the clear stones shining through the dark rock that embraced them much like his beloved night sky.

Vincent looked around the cavern and found places to attach sconces for torches high up the walls. He also brought some of the men there to help make the place habitable for two lovers to come to when they would need time away from those Below. As he wandered the chamber, he found a hot spring; and he knew he would need to get that burning water cooler somehow, to make a perfect bathing area. Mouse provided the pipes and the idea for something to collect water from the underground river. The room had been made completely habitable except for the furniture that would soon be moved in.

As Vincent began unrolling a braided rag carpet Mary and the older children had made for him, he suddenly felt a calling; and he dropped it by the fissure with a sudden gasp.

"Catherine's home!" The leonine featured man smiled, and then he bolted for the crystal chamber and the passages beyond that would lead him Above to the arms of the woman he loved more than anything in the world.

Mouse had been watching and hiding, waiting for that moment. The blond man whistled a series of notes, and those who had helped with the installation of the sconces and the pipes and the bathing tub, those who Vincent thought had left to go back to their families, or at least their bedrooms to sleep, re-emerged from the crystal chamber. They had gotten some old but well-built furniture and had hidden the parts of a chest of drawers, a bed, a desk, and a couple of comfortable chairs in the crystal chamber while Vincent was up with Catherine. They unrolled the carpet and got everything ready as a surprise for their friend.

Just before dawn, Vincent returned Below, happier than he had been in those months of Catherine's absence. He also had a small bouquet of roses from the rosebush Catherine had on her balcony. He put them in a vase of water and settled himself in for a good long nap.

Mouse and the men were passing Mary going to breakfast, seeming quite full of themselves with a mischievous glint in their eyes.

"We should make a trail, surprise Vincent with something,,,stones, something pretty, "Mouse said smiling at his cohorts. Since they had been in the chamber and then to bed, they had not seen the roses that Vincent had brought with him.

Mary hmmed.

"I can help with that. He brought roses back from Catherine's earlier this morning and went straight to his chamber. "She tiptoed into Vincent's room and came back to Mouse with a couple of small roses, and then, from her room, she got a rose that some Helpers had brought down Below the day before and then whispered to Mouse.

"Make a trail with this. Vincent said he was going to bring Catherine down later today."

"Okay good, okay fine."



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