Early evening had come, although by looking about one would never know.
Vincent was in his chamber pacing the floor. Tonight the calm that he usually finds there was gone. Tonight he couldn’t seem to find anything. He couldn't find his patience and he couldn't find that blasted book!
Not being able to find the book had really upset him. Catherine had given that book to him. It had given Vincent much comfort, and especially since his dealings with Paracelsus, he had needed all the comforting that he could get.
"Where is it? What can I have done with it? It is right here last week," Vincent asked himself aloud.
Not finding it on the shelves, he moved over to his steamer trunk. Nearly in a complete rage by this point, He tore open the lid. Rummaging through the trunk, he finally finds what he is looking for. It is a copy of a collection of poems by Dylan Thomas. Thumbing through the pages, he comes to a page marked with a dried red rose. Finding the poem `Death Shall Have No Dominion', he finally paces a little less frantically. Reading softly to himself, he seems calmer with each word.
"Though lovers be lost, love shall not, and death shall have no dominion. Yes, yes, that is it. This is what I must tell her. Even if the worst should happen, our love will never die."
Vincent was so completely absorbed in the poem that he didn’t see Father enter the chamber. Looking around the room, Father is clearly upset by what he sees, and coughs softly to let Vincent know he isn’t alone.
"Vincent, Catherine is on her way down. The sentries just passed the word. Do you want her escorted here or would you like me to entertain her so that you can straighten up a little," Father hints gently.
"Yes Father, I know that she is near. I must speak to her alone Father. I have something to tell her that she probably won't like very much. We will join you when we are finished."
"Very well, Vincent. Can you tell me what is going on? What is the problem?"
No Father, not now. I'll explain everything when we talk. Please don't worry."
"All right Vincent, I'll wait, but I can't promise not to worry.
Seeing Catherine enter the chamber, Father turns toward her.
"Welcome Catherine, you look lovely tonight."
"Thank you Father," Catherine replies distractedly.
All day Catherine has had the feeling that something is very wrong. Turning now toward Vincent, her suspicions are confirmed. "Vincent, what is it? What is wrong? Are you sick?"
"Yes Catherine, in a way I am sick. I must speak quickly because I don't know how long I can contain it this time. It can come upon me at any time and I don't want you to see me like that."
"What can come upon you Vincent? What is wrong?"
"Catherine, you know how badly everything that happened with Paracelsus has bothered me. What you cannot know is how strongly I have tried to keep the full extent of this from everyone, especially you. I knew that you would feel
something through our bond. I had to keep my fears hidden so that you would not worry. I cannot keep them hidden anymore though. The rage that I am feeling is getting stronger with each passing hour. I feel as though I am waging a war within myself. Only now I am beginning to lose the war. It is getting harder to control the dark side of myself that usually only surfaces when I protect you. The dark side is getting stronger. I must go someplace where I can be alone
when the rage comes. I don't want to be near anyone. I must be someplace where I am sure that I won't hurt anyone, especially you, Catherine.
Vincent, you would never hurt me, I know that. I can help you, give you the things that you will need."
No Catherine! I would never knowingly harm you, but when the darkness comes I have no control over myself and I may unknowingly hurt you. I would never be able to live with myself if I had harmed you in any way."
"Please Vincent, you can't just go away and leave me all alone!"
"Catherine, I will come back to you. Will you hold this for me until I return," asks Vincent as he hands Catherine a book?
"Yes of course I will, Vincent. I will wait for you to come back to me even if I have to wait forever."
"Thank you, Catherine. Now I must go to Father. I must explain this to him also. I cannot just leave. Will you come with me?"
Taking his arm and heading for the door, Catherine replies, "Of course, lets go."
Arm in arm, Catherine and Vincent walk toward Father's study. Quietly entering, they find Father at his desk going over some blueprints.
"Father, I have to go away for awhile. I must go quickly, the rage is returning."
"Yes, Vincent, I know. I have been waiting for this. I have been watching you very closely since Paracelsus died. I know that you have had a great many feelings to deal with. The emotions you are feeling have been coming closer to the surface and yet you have been trying to bury them. In some ways it is very much like what happened when you were a child, however this time it is stronger, I'm afraid.
"Yes Father, I feel very close to losing myself to it now. That is why I must go quickly. I cannot be allowed to harm anyone. Now I must go. Catherine, I love you. Be brave."
Quickly turning, Vincent runs out of the chamber.
Catherine starts after him but Father grabs her arm, "No Catherine. Vincent is right! This is something that he must do for himself. Nobody can predict what he will be like."
Father, don't you see? I have to go to him. Without him I am nothing. He is going to need someone if it is only for food and water. Father I am going to find him! Will you come with me?"
Believe me Catherine, I do understand what you are feeling. You do have a good point about his needing help, especially medical help. However, we must stay far enough away so that Vincent will have the privacy that he needs.
Come, we will start now."
Realizing for the first time that she is still holding the book that Vincent had given to her. Reading the title, she gasps in horror, "Father, the book! This is the book of poems by Dylan Thomas that I gave to Vincent at Christmas."
"Yes Catherine, he has been looking for that book all morning. It seems to have a special meaning for him."
"For me also Father. The poem `Death Shall Have No Dominion' is very dear to the both of us. We read it often. The message in it seems to describe our love perfectly. The strength of it and how no matter what happens physically, our love will never die. Oh no! Father, Vincent doesn't think he is going to make it through this. He is trying to warn me. We have to go now Father!"
Just about running out of the study, Catherine runs headlong into Mouse. Picking herself up, she stares at him.
"Mouse, how long have you been here? How much have you heard," asks a very worried Father.
"Here a long time. You talk. I hear. I want to hear more so I stay," Mouse replies, shrugging his shoulders.
"Mouse did you hear all of what we were talking about," asks Father?
"I’m here a long time. Heard all. Vincent will come back. Always does. Promised to help."
Sighing Father says, "Yes, Mouse, I know that you want Vincent to come back, we all do. That may not be possible though."
NO!" Catherine and Mouse shout in unison.
"Father, we really should be going before Vincent gets to far ahead to find," suggests Catherine.
"Yes Catherine. I think I know the general area he will go to. It is an area of the tunnels that we have not fully explored. Vincent tried exploring them several years ago but had to stop because of a cave in. That is the only area that Vincent knows that no one will come to, even accidentally.
Turning to Mouse, Father asks, "Mouse will you please go and get my medical bag? Please find Pascal and tell him where we are going. Mouse, Please hurry, we may not have much time."
"Yes Father. Get things. Back soon." He darted out of the chamber and was gone in an instant. In less then 3 minutes he is back and the three of them set off down to the lower tunnels. Not exactly sure where Vincent is, Catherine is letting her heart guide her.
Suddenly Catherine turns and starts running deeper into the tunnels as if the wind is at her back.
"Follow her Mouse! I'll catch up, just don't lose her!"
Mouse starts after Catherine as Father hobbles after the both of them as quickly as he can. Suddenly, there is an anguished roar in the distance that is getting louder as Father nears the entrance to one of the caves.
"Vincent!" Catherine screams and then there is total silence.
Waiting outside the cave, Mouse has gone a ghostly shade of white.
"Father, Catherine went in. She screamed. Now nothing."
"It's all right Mouse. I'll go in and find out what happened. Don't worry."
Trying to control his rising panic, Father slowly walks into the cave, not knowing what he will find. He breathes a little easier when he sees Catherine sitting on the floor holding Vincent's head in her lap. Hurrying over to them he
he asks, “Catherine, what happened? Is he....?"
"No Father, he is still alive, but barely. When I came into the cave he is in a terrible state. When I called out to him he whirled around and for a split second, I thought he is going to hit me. I screamed his name. He seemed to recognize me then. Then he gave a terrible scream and collapsed. he hasn't moved since then. He is barely breathing, Father!"
"I'll take care of everything, Catherine. You just continue holding him. You are the only one who can give him the will to hold on. Talk to him. Keep him with us, Catherine.
Calling for Mouse, Father quickly gives his directions. "Mouse, now listen. I want you to go back to the others. Get William and Pascal. Have them bring a stretcher down to us. Ask Mary to prepare Vincent's chamber with all the medical supplies that we may need. Hurry Mouse, Vincent's life depends on you."
"Ok good. Ok fine. Go now. Be real fast. Get help. Back soon."
Watching Mouse go, concern shows vividly on Father's face, but as he turns towards Catherine, his face takes on the calm mask of the physician that he is.
Looking down at her, Father can see that she is whispering something to Vincent. Struggling to hear what it is, Father smile when he recognizes it.
“Though lovers be lost, love shall not, and death shall have no dominion. Vincent, please hear me. Hear what the words are saying. Hear the meaning behind them and the love that is flowing from my heart to yours. Feel my love,
Vincent. Death shall have no dominion over us. Nothing can take away our love. It is too strong.”
Sitting down gently next to Catherine and Vincent, Father softly says, "I've sent for help Catherine. They should be here soon. Keep talking to him, it seems to be helping."
"Father I can feel him. I know that he is still alive. I don't know what happened to him. Is this like what happened before?"
"In some ways it is, only this time it is much more severe. I have never seen him in this kind of emotional state. It's like all of his nerve endings are exposed."
The sit and wait, both willing Vincent to keep breathing with everything they have. After about 30 minutes they hear a noise in the distance. Soon Mouse, William and Pascal can be seen rounding the corner of the tunnel, approaching quickly.
"Ah good, you're here. Quickly now, we must get Vincent back to his chamber where I can look after him properly."
Managing to get Vincent on the stretcher the four men each grab a handle and start walking back towards Vincent's chamber. Catherine catches up and gently lays a hand on Vincent's shoulder as they walk along. When her hand slips off, he begins to moan. Placing it back on his shoulder, he relaxes. Just her touch, seems to have a calming effect on Vincent.
Quickly buy steadily walking, the group is soon back at Vincent's chamber. Carefully placing him on his bed, Mouse, William, and Pascal quietly leave the room. Although they have a million questions going through their heads, they will have to wait until Father has time to answer them.
The doctor in Father takes over and he is already checking Vincent's vital signs. Concerned only for Vincent, he has forgotten that Catherine is in the room.
"Father is he going to be all right," Catherine asks softly?
Startled, Father looks up, only now remembering that Catherine has not left the room. "I don't know Catherine. He came through this once before but he is a lot younger then and it wasn't nearly this severe. There is nothing we can do except watch over him and pray. He must want to come out of this. Maybe that is why you are here now. To give him a reason to live."
"I will be here for as long as it takes Father. Can we have one of the helpers get word to my office that I'll be out of town on a family emergency for a few days. I have to at least leave a message or Joe will have the army out. We certainly don't need that too!"
"Of course Catherine. Are you sure that you don't want to go home for some clean clothes?"
"Yes Father, I'm sure. I don't want to leave Vincent even for an hour. I have borrowed things from Jamie before. I don't think she will mind. She has told me before all I have to do is ask."
As Catherine watches Vincent sleep, Father watches the both of them for a moment an then turns and leaves the room. Although not going far, he wishes to give them some privacy.
Vincent was very confused. He is walking down a long corridor but this doesn’t look like any place he’s ever seen. There is a bright light all around but not coming any one place in particular. Sudden realizing that he is in the
tunnels, he begins to wonder.
"Where is everyone? Where are the pipes? Why can't I hear any of the messages? Where are the sentries? Surly Father wouldn't allow the tunnels to go unguarded?"
Suddenly he stiffens. Catherine! The bond is not there! Walking quickly he comes to the entrance to Father's chamber. Father is seated with his head held in his hands and doesn't see Vincent enter.
"What is it Father? What is wrong?"
"You don't know, do you?"
"Know what Father?"
"Dear Lord, how do I tell you this? Vincent, can you feel the bond that you share with Catherine?"
"No Father, I cannot. I cannot feel Catherine but I know that she must be all right or I would have felt that."
Vincent, I don't know how to tell you this. The bond that you shared with Catherine has been a gift. A gift that came unasked for and now has been taken away with tragic consequences."
"What are you talking about Father? What has happened?"
"There is an accident Vincent...."
"Father, WHAT HAS HAPPENED?"
"Vincent, I'm so sorry."
"NO!! Father you must be wrong!"
"Vincent, I'm sorry. Your bond has failed you. Catherine is dead," Father whispers gently.
"It is an accident. Catherine and Peter were walking when a car swerved to avoid another car that had stalled. The car struck Catherine. By the time Peter got to her there is nothing he could do.
With a roar of pure agony, Vincent lets out a scream of NO!!!!" and collapses to the floor.
Rushing over to him, Father gently puts his arms around Vincent's great shoulders.
"Cry Vincent, it will help. I know the pain that you are feeling right now. I am here for you if you should need me."
"Numbly walking over to a chair, Vincent doesn't answer. Silent tears start to fall down his cheeks. Vincent just sits lost in his grief. Suddenly his head snaps up and Vincent asks, "Father, what of the book? Where is the book that I gave to her?"
"What book Vincent?"
"The book of poems by Dylan Thomas. The collection with the poem 'Death Shall Have No Dominion'. I must find that book, I must."
"Vincent, she had no books with her. The only thing that she is carrying is her handbag.
Jumping up, Vincent runs to his chamber and begins searching for the book. Not finding it on the bookshelves, he starts looking through his trunk. Finally finding it he thumbs through it. Stopping at a page marked with a dried red rose, Vincent starts reading.
Entering the chamber, Father finds Vincent reading.
"I see that you found it then."
"I don't understand Father. I gave this book to Catherine earlier today."
"Its all right Vincent. You are upset. You aren't thinking clearly under the circumstances."
Sitting on his bed, Vincent is reading softly to himself and doesn't hear Father.
Though lovers be lost, love shall not, and death shall have no dominion. Though lovers be lost, love shall not, and death shall have no dominion."
Softly walking over to the bed, Father gently squeezes Vincent's shoulder.
"Vincent, I understand what Thomas is saying. Although Catherine may be gone from you physically, the love that you shared through your bond will last for all of eternity. It will always be there to give you comfort and strength."
"Father, how do I go on? How do I live without Catherine within me?"
"Vincent, you go on because you know that that is what Catherine would have wanted. You must give to other people what Catherine has given to you. Love. You must love the way that she did, totally and freely."
"I don't know if I am strong enough to go on without her Father."
"You were strong enough to love her, Vincent, you will be strong enough to get through your grief. It will take time. There will be times when you will feel as though you cannot go another step, but you will. Let the grief take a hold of you. Let it crash over you like a wave. Give in to it and in time the pain will begin to fade."
"I need to be alone now Father. I need time to think."
"Of course Vincent. If you should need me, just call. I won't be far away."
Cradling the book in his arms like a baby, Vincent lays down and curls into a tight ball. He has never felt as alone as he does right now.
Leaving Vincent's chamber, Father turned and looked back at him. A look of sadness and love pass over his face as he slowly turns to leave.
Lying on his bed, his mind racing while tears stream down his cheeks.
"Catherine, dear Catherine. We had so much and yet I never could tell you just how deeply I loved you. You can never know what you did for me. How you made my life so much richer just by knowing you. You wanted our relationship to be so much more, but I is afraid. I is afraid that you would never truly love me a I really am. I didn't want to hurt you and yet I didn't know how to make you happy either. I wish I could have been able to give you the things you so rightly deserved. Please forgive me Catherine. I love you.”
Emotionally and physically drained from the news of the last few hours, Vincent falls into a very deep and dreamless sleep.
"Look Father, he seems to be breathing much more regularly now. I think his fever is gone too. What do you think will happen now?
"Catherine, I don't know what to tell you. I have never dealt with anything like this before. He could wake up and be fine or...."
"NO! Don't say that! Vincent will be fine. I know that he will. I can already feel a difference in myself. A new calmness."
Stirring, Vincent is starting to show some movement for the first time in days.
"Father look, he is moving," Catherine cried with joy as she rushes to the side of the bed.
Slowly opening his eyes, the first sight that Vincent sees is Catherine's worried and beautiful face. Startled, Vincent cries, "Catherine, you're alive!"
"Yes of course I am. Whatever make you think I wouldn't be," asks a very puzzled Catherine.
Noticing Father, Vincent replies, "Father, you told me that Catherine is dead! You said it had been a car accident!"
"That can't be Vincent. You have been unconscious for the last three days. You had gone to the lower chambers to deal with your dark side. You collapsed there. Thank God that Catherine insisted that we follow you. She found you
and we brought you back here. You have been unconscious ever since. You have been so sick that we were afraid that you were going to die. That is when Catherine noticed that you were saying something and figured out that it is 'Death Shall Have No Dominion'. Catherine has been right by your side ever since you collapsed. She barely has allowed us to feed her."
"Then it must have only been a dream. It is so real. I feel as though I have really gone through the pain of losing you, Catherine. I can feel the pain in my heart still."
"Vincent, as soon as I realized what you were reciting, I knew that you were reaching out to me. I felt your struggle through our bond. I have also felt a great pain that until now I didn't understand. I haven't left your side since we brought you here. I wouldn't leave. I couldn't leave. I had to keep you from going away. I could feel how close to going you were."
"It is as if I had lost all hope Catherine. Without you there is nothing for me. I didn't want to go on. You cannot know what I thought I had lost."
"Yes I can Vincent. Through the bond, I felt you slipping away. I felt it when you lost all hope. I felt you start to leave and I pulled you back with all the strength that I had. I thought that I had lost you too. Our bond is so much stronger now. I can feel your heart beat as if it were my own. I can feel the joy that you are feeling right now as well as the puzzlement. What do you feel from me.?"
"I feel determination and strength. I feel joy radiating out from every part of you. And most of all I feel LOVE. I feel love as we have never had before coming from every part of you. It is all but bursting from you."
Suddenly filled with a joy and peace that he has never known, Vincent gathers Catherine into his arms with such enthusiasm that at first he is afraid that he has hurt her.
As if she is able to sense the very thoughts within his head Catherine replies, "It's all right Vincent, you haven't hurt me."
Bending his head towards her, Vincent softly kisses Catherine on the lips. Terribly happy, she smiles up at him.
Realizing that he has now been totally forgotten, Father starts toward the door to the chamber. Turning to look once more at Catherine and Vincent, his hopes for a happy life for them soar. Maybe it is possible, he muses as he walks out
"Are you sure this is what you want Catherine? What if something should happen and I should....?"
"Yes Vincent, this is exactly what I want. We can go at whatever pace feels right for you. And as for hurting me, Vincent, you never would."
"Catherine, I would never knowingly hurt you but what happens in the heat of passion is something we cannot guess at. I would never forgive myself if I had hurt you in any way."
"I know Vincent. I know that most especially in your passion you will be tender. We will also have the bond to guide us."
"Catherine, I love you so much that sometimes it hurts me. I want you to be with me always. I wish that you could stay and never have to go back to the world above. I understand though. That world is your home and I would never take you from it."
"I would gladly come any time that you asked me Vincent. I would do anything or go anywhere to be with you. I want to share your life. Without you I would be nothing. Please Vincent, let me stay with you forever. There is nothing to tie me to the world above and a million things to keep me below."
"What about Joe? What about your job? How will you explain that you are leaving, never to return?"
"Vincent, Joe knows that I have been involved with someone for a very long time. I never gave any details but I made it clear that I is deeply in love and would somehow find a way for us to be together. Joe knows that as soon as
we are married I will not be coming back. Sure, he'll be a little upset a first, but once he understands that this is what I want he will be as happy as I am. Joe is a good friend. Besides there is no reason that I can't go back for visits."
"Can this be possible? Will you give up all of your life as you know it to be with me?"
"If I had to Vincent, I would give up life itself for you."
Looking into her eyes, Vincent asks, "Catherine will you become my wife?"
"Yes," she replies softly.
Holding her a little tighter in his arms Vincent says, "I never dreamed that I could be this happy."
As he softly strokes her hair, Vincent begins to kiss her again. Softly at first and then building as their passion for each other takes hold. Both are feeling the emotions of the other as they never have before and they are soon lost in the first embrace of total love.