Charity’s Ball
By Daisy Jones
Date: July 15, 2016
Ch. 1414

“Oh ladies, please may I beg your pardon for my lack of social grace. Last night’s events still have my head spinning,” he stated while winking suggestively at his blushing wife. Please may I introduce the lovely and talented, Miss Charity Adams to the one and only, the marvelously beautiful, Mrs. Delilah Brown,” Jesse said with total command of noble pomp and circumstance, while bowing gentlemanly through the formal introductions.

The two women giggled with amusement over Jesse’s entertaining repertoire. With the help of Charity’s cider, a plunging neckline and a black cape, Jesse and Delilah had awakened untapped desires that neither had experienced prior to last night’s character transformation. The impassioned middle-aged newlyweds felt the effects of uncontained love as a result of their combined six servings of Charity’s cider. At times they would abandon social protocol to sustain their mutual admiration. After the Monster’s Ball, no one really minded their public displays of affection and in fact, they set the new standard for romance in Proctor.

“Give me your cider or give me your kiss!” The familiar voice crept up from behind Charity and whispered suggestively in her ear.

“James!” Charity spun around and exclaimed.

“I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed dancing with you last night, Charity.” James smiled with his handsome clean shaven face, still void of grime.

“Why thank you, James. Yes, I can’t recall the last time I’ve danced that much. The evening was….um….quite memorable, to say the least.”

“Charity, I was wondering….,” James muttered while staring down at the ground. Charity sensed what he wanted to say and decided to help him along.

“James, why don’t you come by for some tea this evening? I’ve got a new recipe for pumpkin pie I’ve been meaning to try, and…..”

“I’d love to,” he replied before she could finish the sentence. “But, perhaps we could have some more of your wonderful cider?”

“Sorry, James, I’ve been explaining to folks that the cider is all gone. There’s not a drop left.”
“Then tea it is….until next year.”

Charity just smiled, considering the residual effects Sarah mentioned the night before as she made her way back home. There wasn’t much analytical data to process. The findings were conclusive. Her father’s ingredients and the magical apples had lingering residual effects on the citizens of Proctor. Charity finally managed to achieve a level of perception that superseded all of her expectations. She didn’t expect it to happen again; at least not anytime soon, and not without a degree of risk and uncertainty. Based on the extreme conditions that led to her father’s disappearance, Charity considered herself quite lucky by comparison. She was still alive and better from the experience. As far as she could tell, so were many other people.

Questions & Answers
(Past, present & future)

Before Charity could put recent events or her past to rest, she needed to make a pilgrimage to Josiah’s Mountain. Her mother had always warned her to stay away with little explanation why, but now Charity realized that was just Sarah’s ill-conceived attempt to keep her a safe distance from the place that claimed Josiah.

She cautiously marked her path with brightly-colored bits of yarn to ensure her safe return, knowing she could easily find her way back home. Despite her father’s infamous past, he was still the same loving man that took her on countless picnics and specimen gathering expeditions and always made her smile. She came upon the familiar row of massive cedar trees, standing like soldiers guarding a castle gate. Her petite frame appeared dwarfed in their shadows, highlighting her vulnerability to the surroundings. She approached the flourishing mountainside with awe and reverence, while repressing unacknowledged feelings of animosity over the sudden and early loss of her beloved father. All of Charity’s questions had been answered to her satisfaction, except for one. What really happened to her father on that September day twenty-five years ago? Sarah said he was in another dimension, and therefore inaccessible to both herself and Charity. Yet Josiah used this very mountain top as his portal. Charity rationalized she could climb to the top of the mountain and observe the terrain for the sake of scientific research. She had no magic potion like her father, nor did she desire to leave this earth for other worldly dimensions.

With the same tenacity that fueled her quest, Charity ascended the mountain top in less than an hour. She followed a carved-out path that allowed her to retrace her father’s footsteps with eerie perception. Once at the top of the mountaintop clearing, Charity stood tall and fully scoped the panoramic view. She was immediately struck by the visual circumference of lush vegetation that emanated from the very point she was standing and extended in every direction as far as the eye could see. Within that scope, she felt the enormity of her father’s accomplishments and was honored to be standing in a place of such importance. There was no judgment on her part. She removed the element of parental desertion from her mindset and replaced it with sheer curiosity about his motives and intentions. Did he really relinquish his life for a chance to surf the galaxy on an endless quest for answers to questions most people don’t even know how to ask?

Charity spotted a level rock close to the center point and decided to sit and rest on it before heading back down. As she approached it, a shiny object lodged at its base captured her attention. She removed a cluster of clover to reveal a glass jar with a metal rim and a hand written note folded and tucked neatly inside. This was it! This jar had to contain the answers she was seeking. She reached down and dislodged the well-stashed vessel. No amount of tapping and twisting would release the weathered seal, so she carefully rapped the glass directly against the stone hard enough to shatter the brittle glass. As she cautiously removed the contents, it became obvious that the message was in Josiah’s own handwriting.

Charity’s hands quivered as she unfolded history and read the words out loud.

“To My Dearest Wife, Sarah and Beloved Daughter, Charity,
If you are reading this, then I have succeeded at closing the door to a world that is not ready for mankind’s opening. It is with great regret I have become privy to certain facts during my previous experience atop this very mountain on the day we vowed never to speak of or repeat. It has been revealed that my venture into the universe has violated a sacred boundary and I am now duty bound to set things right. This requires my immediate presence in order that I might permanently close the now unguarded portal to another dimension. It is my sincere desire that you will forgive my transgressions in pursuit of things that mankind is not yet ready to receive. You are both the lights of my life and I will carry your torches with me into infinity. One day this will make sense to you. I hope you will be able to forgive a foolish man who exceeded his grasp while pursuing the brass ring.

I have left my most valued possession buried in the garden shed floor, confident that when Charity is ready, she will recover it. It is my wish that she will use the collection of ancient wisdom to help quench mankind’s thirst for knowledge without losing sight of her own personal identity or values. When and if she studies my journals, my detailed notes will help her to avoid the pitfalls that I succumbed to. I have taken great care to remove information that is questionable in source or motive while leaving the rest intact. She can and will succeed where I have failed because the secrets of our existence are beyond our wildest dreams and worth pursuing.

All my love, always,
Josiah Adams
2 September 1887

Font size
Font color
Line spacing
Background color