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Fantasticoe 2000 Contents

The Lover and His Destiny
Sabrina S. Pierson

Part One

     The air of the late October night had turned frigid, and a bone-chilling gale from the north had Erik grasping at his thin jacket, praying for warmth. As he trudged through the dusty gravel along Highway 20, Erik regretted not checking the oil in his tired, rusty Chevy before heading out of town. "How foolish," he thought, as his nearly numb hand reached into his warm pant pocket, fingering the soft, velvet box that lay nestled inside. Instantly his thoughts turned to Nicole, her soft, curly hair, intense blue eyes, and soft, loving lips which should have been pressed against his at this moment. Instead, he was stranded an hour away from her, hunting for a sign of civilization to come to his aid.

     Erik had been on his way to propose to this girl, his true love and savior in life, when his car stalled 100 miles out of his small Minnesota town. Nicole was away at the university, in her last year of psychology study. He wanted to surprise her that night, show up at her door on bended knee, roses in one hand, sparkling diamond in the other, asking her to be his forever. He imagined her beaming smile and a passionate 'yes', followed by an evening of eager, fevered love-making, and waking up in her arms. Instead, the ring remained in his pocket, protected by his masculine hand wrapped tightly around its small box, and the roses lay on the tattered passenger seat of the Chevy, freezing and dropping silky, delicate petals in the cold.

     Erik was awakened from his daydream by the headlights 200 feet ahead, piercing the darkness with their high beams. With one hand shielding his eyes from the blinding light and the other waving frantically at the car speeding towards him, Erik stepped off the gravel-strewn roadside and into the car's path, oblivious to the danger of his actions, trying in vain to attract the driver's attention. The speeding car didn't slow down, and Erik, unaware of the force which drove him forward, remained in the car's path. Erik was suddenly struck by a blinding pain in his legs. He felt himself airborne, head spinning, but never felt the impact of the earth.

* * *

     Erik awoke, lying prone in a bed of lush, sage-colored grass and bright yellow pansies. Groggily, he sat up, dew-dampened jacket clinging to his back. His eyes clouded by a sleepy haze, Erik shook his head in bewilderment at what he saw around him. The old highway was nowhere to be seen, and the barren, flat Midwest landscape was replaced by rolling hills and thick forest. Panicked, Erik jammed his hand into his pocket. The ring was gone.

     "Is this what you're looking for?" a soft, comforting voice called. Out of the brush which surrounded him emerged the angel-like figure of a woman, seemingly surrounded by a glowing aura. She wore a soft, lilac gown, draped by a diamond-studded white cape. Atop her shoulder-length, auburn hair sat a wreath of freshly picked flowers, still glistening with dew. Her ice blue eyes pierced his own, stirring his weak body. In her small pale hand she held the diamond ring intended for Nicole. Vaguely remembering the car and the highway, Erik began to cry. Fearfully, he spoke to the beautiful woman.

     "You're an angel..." he said wistfully, "am I in..."

     "Heaven?" the maiden spoke, and chuckled softly, laughter that twinkled through the air. "I'm afraid not, but hopefully I can be your angel," she whispered, and a smile arose on her lips that shook Erik's heart. His enchantment soon turned to anger, as the oddness and confusion of his situation overcame him. He jumped to his feet, grabbing the diamond ring from the woman's hand.

     "How did you get this, and where am I?" he demanded, delicately placing the ring back in his pocked. The woman ran her silky hand through Erik's wavy hair, and his anger subsided. Smiling knowingly, the woman attempted to explain the situation.

     "The piece of jewelry you have placed back in your pocket fell out on your journey here. I removed it from its box only to examine and admire it," she said, and continued her explanation as Erik's hardened face softened. "You are in Octavia, a small village on the coast of England, in a time much earlier than your own. I brought you here after you were hit by the vehicle, and your body lives on in your time, unknowing." She whispered this gently, as she took Erik into her arms, helping him to one of the two horses awaiting them in the shadows of a moss-covered tree. "I know this must be difficult for you Erik, but this is your home now, and you need to come with me, " she continued. Entranced by her beauty and nature, Erik followed.

     "Why is it that you chose to bring me here?" he inquired. The woman's face grew dark, overshadowing her delicate features.

     "This you will discover in time," she said forcefully, motioning toward the horses, which now paced around them. "Come now. My name is Chloe, maiden of the forest, and I will be your home." Together, they rode through the forest, Erik following blindly, wishing only for a way back home to his Nicole.

* * *

     Alone in her small, rustic cottage, Chloe paced in front of the silver mirror which hung on the oak paneled wall. Frustrated, she stopped directly in front of the mirror, gazing into its glossy surface. The mirror reflected not the delicate features of her own face, but rather the strong, masculine lines of Erik's handsome face. Chloe had given him some chores to perform in her fields, jobs which she could have taken care of on her own, with the help of her magical powers, but chose to distract Erik from dwelling on his life back home. She was in love with this man, and had been watching him painfully for many years in his home land. She had used her powers to bring him here, hoping he would fall for her. Chosen because of his undying faithfulness to love and family, Chloe knew Erik was the partner for her. Chloe knew of his connection to his long-time love at home, but also knew that she could break this connection. Chloe had chosen not to use her powers to force Erik's love. She had longed for many years for a passion and romance that was true, and from the heart. Erik, however, had not yet responded. He remained ever-faithful to his Nicole. Glancing once more at the beautiful, charming, passionate man at work in her fields, Chloe decided to take matters into her own hands.

* * *

     Erik had begun to adjust to life in his new home within Chloe's cottage and farmland. He remained, however, reluctant to fully participate in this life, still hoping to return home. Because of this, he remained faithful to his dear Nicole. Perhaps Chloe would find him a way home. Or maybe she intended to keep him here. His jumbled thoughts poured through his mind like rain as he spent his days in the field, performing chores assigned by the maiden. His mind was often focused on the absurdity of the situation. How was it that one day he was a young man working a desk job in the 21st century, and the next a mere peasant serving his master hundreds of years earlier? His master, the powerful Chloe, treated him well, as her equal, and despite his efforts to find a way home, Erik found himself falling for the woman.

     At dusk of a long, arduous day working in the dry fields of Chloe's home, Erik returned to the cottage, eager for the comfort of a warm home. This cottage, which Chloe had taken care to preserve, had a quaint, comforting feel which wrapped around him like a blanket whenever he stepped across its threshold. Hand-woven curtains hung lazily on each of the three-paned windows in this one room home, and lanterns sat on beautifully carved stands, lighting the room with just enough candle flicker. Walking in the large, heavy oak door, he could see a change in the cottage's decor. Candles of various sizes and shapes lined the room, and an assortment of wines sat untouched upon the hastily made carved table. Out of a dark corner, Chloe appeared, cape gone, dressed only in a sheer satin robe. Mouth gaping, Erik approached her, unsure of what to say.

     "I can see that you have been unhappy, my Erik, and I aim only to please you, as was my goal when I first brought you here. I have prepared a large feast and a relaxing evening for the two of us..." she breathed, as she wrapped her slender, soft arms around his neck. She drew his face to hers, and with her mouth only inches from his, Erik pulled away angrily.

     "What is it that you think you're doing?" he accused, dreadfully aware of her intentions. "Even though I am a lifetime away from my beloved, Nicole, I remain faithful to her and the love we share." Erik held up the diamond ring that now hung on a small rope around his neck. "I will return to her someday, whatever it takes!" he stated forcefully, now regretting ever having feelings for Chloe, as the guilt rose up in his throat.

     "You are a very foolish man," Chloe began, "to think that you have any home but the one here. This Nicole, your true love, as you call her, is not who you think she is. She is a liar and a cheat who does not deserve a man such as you..." and with this explosive accusation, she removed the small silver mirror that hung on her wall. "This mirror has the power to show me any time period, any place in the world. Would you like to see what your sweet little Nicole was up to the night you were brought to me?" she said, shoving the mirror into Erik's crumpled, angry face.

     "Your accusations are false. Your only intention through this is to keep me here, away from the woman I love. You can prove nothing." He stated, eyes boring into hers. Chloe took this opportunity to show Erik the secret his Nicole had been hiding from him. With a wave of her small, sculptured hand, a vision appeared in the mirror. A couple, embraced in the waves of passion, appeared on the clear surface of the mirror. Looking closely, Erik could see Nicole in the arms of another man. He grabbed the mirror, throwing it forcefully to the ground, and watched it shatter into pieces. With one swift move, he took Chloe into his arms, kissed her with an angry passion, and together they moved to the bed.Part Two

     Pale morning light shined softly through the woven curtains which lined the frosty window, and flicks of sunshine scattered themselves around the room of the well-kept cottage Chloe called home. Careful not to disturb Erik, the man who slept peacefully and enchanted in dreams next to her, Chloe crept slowly out of bed and padded softly across the cold wooden floor. She approached the aged hutch which stood stately in the corner of the cottage and quietly slid open a drawer. The musty stench of a drawer unopened for many months wafted out of the its opening. Buried beneath piles of linens and rags lay her magic mirror, untouched since Erik became hers.

     Chloe's shaking fingers slid across the mirror's cool, glossy surface, and her eyes clouded in pain. Erik had once shattered this mirror, her link to other worlds. Many months earlier she had shown him the image of his girlfriend, Nicole, in the arms of another man. Hurt and angered by the scene set up before his eyes, he threw the powerful mirror to the ground and took Chloe in his arms. As he slept that evening, she had worked endlessly to repair it. Now she kept it hidden, so as Erik could forget the pain the mirror had caused him, and they could get on with their lives together. Chloe had begun to feel guilt over the past few weeks, for keeping this foreigner, Erik, from his homeland. It was against the Code of the Sorcerer, she knew that as a sorceress she must obey all laws, yet her conscience remained clouded by love.

     Her fingers trembling, Chloe waved her hand in front of the mirror with a graceful ease. The image in the glass stirred, and the stark, unfriendly walls of a hospital room came into view. Erik's body lay motionless in a stiff bed, the movement of his chest the only sign of life. A young woman, Nicole, tired and full of despair, clung to his lifeless hand, thick tears pouring down her red face. Feeling too much guilt to watch more, Chloe placed her hand over the image and the young couple disappeared. The diamond on Chloe's trembling finger, once intended for Nicole, shone with brilliance against her creamy skin, its glimmer a reminder of the connection Erik and Nicole once shared. "What have I done?" Chloe cried, and placed the mirror back into its hiding place, its surface streaked with tears.

* * *

     Erik awoke with a familiar feeling of anger and jealousy. He had been dreaming of Nicole again, her sweet face begging him to come back. The image of Nicole with the other man remained burned into his mind, a constant reminder of her betrayal. Her mistake was the reason he had not asked to leave Octavia, as he could not face Nicole again, for fear that he would break down and forgive her. Erik rolled over and watched Chloe's silhouette glide across the room with the grace of an angel as she breezed from the hutch in the corner to the window across the room. Erik had grown to love Chloe over the past few months, but it was nothing like the connection he had once felt with Nicole. He still felt a shadow hanging over the cottage, as though Chloe had not told him everything. With this last thought, he climbed out of bed, shivering in the cold morning air. It was the kind of cold that penetrated every inch of his body, and burned his chest as he breathed in the new morning air. He pulled his heavy robe off of the chair that sat next to the bed, and walked to Chloe, who was starring blankly out the frosty window.

     "Good morning love," he said, and began to place his arms around her. Startled, Chloe whirled around.

     "I'm sorry, my dear Erik, but I was lost in thought. How was your sleep?"she inquired, though seemingly uninterested.

     "I slept well, but I noticed you sneaking out of bed rather early this morning. Why the rush?" he accused.

     "No reason," she smiled sweetly. "Just eager to greet the morning. Why don't you go out and collect some wood so I may start a fire? The cottage seems unusually cold this morning." Shivering more out of nervousness than cold, she urged Erik out the door. With a kiss, he disappeared out to the wood pile. Only minutes later, as Chloe began to dress for the day, removing her nightdress and choosing a new gown from the clothes chest, a frigid breeze blew through the cottage, brushing against her gown and sending chills over her bare arms.

     "Erik, please shut the door, its much too cold to..." Chloe turned around, throwing the gown hastily over her bare shoulders. She realized the door was not open, and Erik was nowhere to be seen. Throat beginning to tighten in fear, Chloe tensed as the dark figure emerged from the corner in front of her. She pulled her gown tighter around her thin body in fear, and synched it tightly at the waist, hands moving slowly out of cold and timidness. The man's silver cloak dusted across the floor as his heavy steps brought him closer. A jeweled hood shrouded a weathered, wise face which was darkened in anger. He brought with him the smell of power and magic which made Chloe's nostrils flare in intimidation.

     "Andreas," Chloe's voice shook, and with a trembling body weak in fear, she bowed in his presence. "My lord, I was not expecting you..." she felt his eyes glued to her own as she spoke.

     "Silence, Sorceress. You know all too well why I have come. Did you think I would continue to ignore your misdeeds? I gave you fair time, in hope you would realize your dire mistakes, and correct them on your own. Soon you will come to understand your powers are second to mine, and will pay for breaking our laws." Andreas' hand came down softly on her bare shoulder, giving it a fatherly squeeze. "I had such high hopes for you, Chloe. You were to take over as lord of this land, but your mind was clouded by love and passion; a mistake that a ruler of all magic cannot afford to make. Do you understand this?"

     "Yes, lord. I kept a foreigner in a land that is not his own. I know this was my mistake, but did not know it was a misdeed so dire that I must be punished." Chloe begged.

     "You are forgetting, Chloe, your other mistake. You tricked Erik into believing his true love is in love with another man. Using your mirror for such purposes is strictly forbidden. The mirror must only be used to show truth, not lies. You interfered with his true Destiny. For this you will be forced to send Erik back, and will lose all of your powers..." Andreas was interrupted by the slamming of the cottage door behind him. Erik strode in, dropping the firewood to the floor. His face, scrunched in confusion, turned to Chloe for an answer. He had heard the accusation of Andreas, whose voice boomed outside the house as Erik walked back from the wood pile, and could not believe his ears.

     "Chloe, tell me this is not true. How could you betray the trust I gave to you? I have lived here for three months, all in a lie?" he screamed. "I gave up my true love for you, gave myself to you, all for nothing?".

     "I'm sorry, Erik, but Andreas tells the truth. He can speak no lies. I have betrayed you. Nicole has always been faithful. I needed a way to convince you to stay here; otherwise I would have been forced to send you home. I love you too much to lose you." Chloe cried, and took Erik in her arms. Erik resisted, shaking in fury. Just as he began to pull away, she placed her lips to his, overcoming his strength for one last kiss, one last good-bye. Erik shut his eyes, trying to pull away, but unable. Chloe had overcame him, possessed by never before seen strength. Angry, he opened his eyes to protest, but found not the pale face of Chloe, his former master in Octavia, but the sweet, sun-kissed face of Nicole. It was Nicole's lips which now lay softly on his own.

     "N, Ni, Nicole..!" He stuttered. "Was it all a dream?" he wondered out loud. Octavia, Chloe, the Sorcerer? Could it all be a dream?

     "Oh my God, Erik!! You're awake! Oh my God!" Nicole exclaimed. "You've been in a coma for three months, baby. You were hit by a car..."she said, as she grasped and squeezed his frail hand. "I've got to go tell the nurses!" Nicole yelped, and ran out of the hospital room. Alone in his uncomfortable hospital bed, Erik felt confused and bewildered. If his life and experience in Octavia had not been a dream, how could he have been transferred back to Minnesota? As Erik pondered the possibility, Nicole ran back into the room, a nurse dressed in crisp, blinding white at her side.

     "Why, Erik, its so good to see you back with us. You are aware you have been in a coma for three months?" the nurse inquired, as she slipped the blood pressure cuff around his shaking arm.

     "Yes, I realize that. How much longer will I have to stay here?" he asked, eager to get back to everyday life and forget about the past three months which he still felt were a dream.

     "You will need to remain for another week, just to be sure everything is all right. Nicole will be back to visit you tomorrow, but for now we'll leave you alone. You need your rest. I'm sure waking up like this is a terrible shock," the nurse said gently, and removed the cuff from his arm. She walked briskly to the door, casting a sidelong glance at Nicole, telling her it was her time to leave.

     "Erik, I'll see you tomorrow, sweetheart. Get some rest," she leaned over him, her curly tendrils of hair brushing his face as she planted a gentle kiss on his forehead. Nicole walked out the door, blowing a kiss as she disappeared around the corner. Erik rolled over in his bed, left to sleep alone for the first time in three months.

* * *

     Erik, who awoke laying on his side in this strange bed, rolled over to his back, uncomfortable in his new environment. Morning had dawned earlier than he was used to, and he was greeted only by a nurse with needle in hand, insisting he needed some medication. As Erik tried to become comfortable, he squirmed restlessly on the hard mattress. He then felt an object pressing against his back. He reached under the sheets and under his sweat-drenched hospital gown and pulled out the small velvet box he remembered having before the accident. Erik opened the velvet box slowly, and found the beautiful diamond engagement ring nestled inside. Also inside was a note, folded neatly into a small square. He opened it cautiously, and read the neatly written message to himself.

My Dearest Erik,

     The time we spent together will last forever in my mind. I'm eternally sorry for the pain I have caused you. Nicole is indeed your true love, the woman you will spend your life with. She is your Destiny.

Always, Chloe

     As Erik finished the letter, it slowly dissolved in his hand, the last particles disappearing as Nicole entered the room. She sat on his bed, tears welling in her eyes. "I missed you, baby." She said softly. Erik pulled her down onto his bed. He slipped the diamond ring onto her finger, and whispered in her ear, "You are my Destiny. Say you'll be mine forever..."

     With her lips curved into a shining smile, Nicole gave him her answer. "Yes," she cried, and the two began to plan the rest of their lives together.

Acknowledgments: I would like to thank my entire creative writing class and Terry Heller for their help in revising and adding to this story. Most of all, I would like to thank my mom, Susan for her creative ideas which helped me create this piece. Thank you all!!

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