Crippling cries griped Albert in slow, steady and painstaking waves, his mind and body were a battlefield, abandoned in his surrender to this apex of grief. His fingers were cold iron bars pressed up against his temple, as he buried his face. Rocking back and forth in perfect coordinated timing with his choked inhales and exhales, his tears carved their routes down his countenance as they chilled their existence forever on his face.
The thin shifting panels of sunlight that had been able to infiltrate into the room, by finding passage underneath the curtain had vanished, dissolving into shadow, the warm steady glow from the fire, eventually dwindled down and brunt itself down to its last drop of vitality, and was no more. The mangled wax mess holing the small spear headed flame, set in the wall just above him and parallel to the mirror, was nipped out of this world in an instant, just as suddenly and silently as it came, its wick running short. Darkness descended and warped her arms round Albert once more.
Beyond the door, into the red room, barred and guarded by the doctor and his nurses, lies his wife, while Albert himself, is helpless to do more then look on. The world is tearing itself apart and collapsing to the ground, into oblivion, like a mere rag, what use to be the brilliant tapestry of his life and caves in onto his shoulders, for him alone to bare and he is the fool still grasping at the seams, as he struggles to keep the familiar and the loved in place.
He can't help but think bitterly to himself , while in such utter dismay, that, that door appears to almost be severing him from his wife, in what could realistically be her final hours, the final moment, the final breath of her precious life and they were keeping him from her.
The weakness of her heart had been an utter mystery until then, for all the greatest virtues the world had bestowed upon her, it was his jest in the end, his mere jest, the kind he often creates in the very spur of the moment, which has made that dear beloved heart, which he loves more than anything else in the world, stop beating.
Inside, she lies sprawled weakly upon the bed, shaking , shaking, shaking and sweating. Cold, she is so breathtakingly cold, so numb, so cold and numb and shaking. The palpitations of her heart throb deafeningly inside her skull, her vision swims and she looks up blindly and grasps nothingness. A queen of her own isolation, trapped on her small crumpled island of white bleached bed sheets. The smell of disinfectant sickens her to the very core of her being.
They had been concealed, hidden from him in the same small black, velvet box that he had presented them to her that day. That one day had been the beginning of all this, he realised, it was the start and now, he was the end. That morning of sunlight had sheer, unprecedented joy, had inadvertently lead to this very moment he was in the mist of. Albert Smith on his own, lost in the shadows and never to be found or reclaimed.
Their wedding rings, a twin pair, yellow gold. He remembered thinking how the sheer beauty of the ring mirrored, the sheer and boundless beauty of the woman he had bestowed it to. The warm gold, it reminded him of how her laugh sounded, and of the warmth that , that laugh would spark in his chest, every time he would be blessed with the opportunity to witness it. On top of that all, gold was the colour of the autumn leaves, then piled around the grounds of Lorraine castle, when she was taken.
Albert beheld the small precious token; gold was the colour he would see her face reflected in. Those obsidian eyes, that rose petal mouth, that utter loss.
There one moment , gone the next, just like the woman he had promised it to.