Cialden and Kytris

Submitted into Contest #185 in response to: Write a story about someone who doesn’t know how to let go.... view prompt


Romance Sad Fantasy

Cialden and Kytris died eight years apart. Kytris was the first to pass on, as Cialden was much more robust and healthy. Mixed in with caution and a passion for life, it was always expected to be the way of things. 

Kytris never really left, and Cialden knew so. He heard her when he was alone in bed. He heard her when the kids came to visit. He heard her in the peculiar way the house-maidens described the eerie feeling of being watched. 

So it was no surprise to Cialden when his heart gave out one July evening that his beloved was waiting for him in the afterlife. Together they haunted their haunts, cleaning dirty dishes, lounging in their comfy chairs, reading the same dozen books they had fallen in love over together in life. 

As they were in life, they were in death: inseparable. Until one day…

“Cialden, dear.”

“Yes, darling?” 

“I’m thinking of passing on.” Kytris said it plainly, as though she’d planned to go for a night stroll. Cialden’s ghostly figure, in the shape of his prime as a young man, set down the book he’d died reading. 

“I’m sorry, dear. I think I must have misheard you.” Her incorporeal form blinked slightly. 

“Cialden…” As always, she wore her favorite dress. Even in the ghostly constellation of her being, Cialden could make out those glittering jewels she had buttoned into the trim and linings. Sparkling emeralds shone like ghastly stars hanging from her supple ears. “I don’t know how, but I think it is time.”

He shook his head and placed the book back on the shelf. Or tried to anyways as the book slipped through his hand and crashed upon the floor at the base of the shelf. Somewhere in the house, a light turned on.

“You know, Kyte, I think you’re having one of those dreams again. You know, the ones where you still think we’re alive? The…” he scratched at his face, “oh damn, what was it called… aha! —a de ja vu moment!” 

She turned to face him, her form blinking again, only this time more noticeably. “Oh, Cialden. I know we’re dead.” Somewhere down the hall came the creaking of footsteps on the stairs. Cialden wished his son had gotten around to fixing those things. 

“So… what are you saying?” He dreaded the desperation in his voice. 

“I’m saying…” She disappeared. 

The room became dreadfully cold as the woman Cialden had loved in life and in death faded away forever. 

The creaking across the steps finally reached the third floor, on which the study resided. The door creaked open and the beam of a flashlight shone into the room. It swiped back and forth, passing over Cialden and shining right through. He stood as still as his corpse lay in the cemetery outside. 

“Funny,” said the voice of the intruder. The beam landed upon Cialden’s favorite book on the floor. “How the hell did that end up there?” 

Cialden stared at the last place Kytris had stood. He hadn’t felt this kind of pain since her first passing. But at least then, he could still feel her presence. 

“Gee, it’s damn chilly up here. Might ought to turn up the thermo—“

“DEAR GOD, SHUT UP FOR A BLOODY SECOND!!” Cialden raged unlike any he’d felt before. 

The books came flying off the shelves. Papers from the study's desk twirled in midair in a mini tornado. 

The renter, as Cialden was sure that he was, screamed and ran out the door, carelessly flying down the stairs. 

Cialden floated after him, his fists clenched. The twisting pain from Kytris’s absence multiplied into anger. “How could she… why would she…?!”

Cialden tore the house apart. Furniture flew and crashed, china fragmented, doors and windows slammed open and shut. 

Cialden watched as the intruder, the renter, flew out the front door and into his bean-shaped carriage. Magnificent starlight the colors of red and gaslight dashed away from the manor, down the road. 

Suddenly, with no one left in his home, Cialden felt tired. He fell into a deep, exhausted slumber. 

* * *

“Cialden Bartelow, Kytris Bartelow… call upon your name… answer me from the… beyond.” 

Cialden awoke to a particularly obnoxious voice. 

“Please speak… priest of Diabellos…”

“Oh give it a rest,” said Cialden. 

The new intruder blinked. Cialden studied the woman. She wore a cardigan over a simple, conservative outfit. 

Again, they were in the study. The room where Cialden had died. Where Kytris had left him. 

“Kytris? Cialden? Is that you?” asked the woman. 

“Kytris won’t be coming back,” said Cialden glumly. “This is Cialden.”

“Oh,” said the woman. An amulet across her bony chest glowed with jade light. “And where has she gone off to?”

Cialden collapsed on the couch and lifted a wooden puzzle box, idly playing with it. “Goodness knows, my lady.”

There was a tense silence for a moment. “Are you—“

“Tell me, what are you doing in my study? Where is the renter?”

“The… oh, Mr. Constellos is my employer. He alerted me to poltergeist activity and I am here to expel you,” said the priestess from Diabellos. 

“Oh, expell away then,” he said. The damn puzzle box was giving him a devil of a time. 

“Cialden,” said the priestess. “You are aware that you’re… expired?”

He sighed, “And here I thought this was an ordinary conversation with the town clergy. Of course I know I’m ‘expired.’”

Again, they sat in awkward silence. 

“Look, do you need something or are you just here to gawk at a phantom?” 

The priestess folded her twiggy arms, “Poltergiest, actually. Renters won’t pay good money for a poltergiest roommate.”

Cialden rolled over, finally giving up on the puzzle box. “It was one time. I am not a harm to anyone.” He made to place the box down, but instead, it shot out through his fingers and blasted out the window. A carriage alarm went off outside. 

The priestess quirked an eyebrow. “Look, something has got to be done. It’s beyond time for you to… pass on.”

Pass on. Those infernal words were the last things she’d said before leaving him. All alone in this house. All alone in death. 

The room became dreadfully cold. The priestess tighetened her cardigan and pulled a scarf out of the bag she’d brought in with her. “Cialden, please!”

“No!” He growled, “No! I will not pass on like some… some dandelion in the wind!”

The priestess remained still, pressing her arms tightly to her torso as the paper tornado did its rounds across the room. 

But it was only for moment. Then everything was still again. 

“All done, Cialden?” 

He looked across the study to see she was seated at the desk. Despite her hair being upheaved into an absolute mess, she appeared unharmed and unimpressed. 

“I’m sorry,” Cialden said after a time. “I don’t know what that was.”

The priestess placed the puzzle box before him, the puzzle solved. In it was a little ring. Though it was dainty, it dazzled with diamonds and rubies. 

“Kytris moved on, yes. And she did so without you.”

Th papers on the floor stuttered. 

“But,” the priestess continued, “It doesn’t mean she didn’t love you. Death comes in its own time, for each and every one of us.” 

Cialden stared at the ring and moaned. “It is… it is so lonely.” 

“I know,” said the priestess. Her eyes were telling; Cialden knew she had felt loss as well. “But we have to forgive. For it is the nature of things.” 

He met the priestess’s eyes with his own. “But without her, what is there to pass on to?”

The priestess shook her head, “Hope. Hope that in the mystery of it all, you two may be reunited.”

Cialden sighed. His phantasmal hands shook, no longer with anger, but with fear. “Will you stay with me until the end?”

She reached her hand out toward his. Though they couldn’t touch, her warmth carried over between worlds. 

“Of course,” she said. 

He nodded. He suddenly felt so very tired. “What is your name, priestess of Diabellos?”

She smiled, “Reverie.” 

For one last time, he smiled back, “Reverie,” he said, caught up in his own flashing memories. “I had a grand daughter named Reverie.” 

“I know,” she said, those knowing eyes looking sweetly into his. 

Cialden’s smile vanished. As well as his entire form. 

The study was once again left with only one occupant. She gathered the papers back onto the desk and exited the premises of her grandparents’ estate. 

February 12, 2023 07:22

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Abril L
02:18 Feb 14, 2023

I love this! The ending made me cry a lil.


C.B. Chribby
23:19 Feb 14, 2023

Thank you, Abril 💚💚💚


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Khale Irey
08:57 Feb 14, 2023

These short stories are a wonderful break from the longer novels I’ve recently been reading. Keep it up!


C.B. Chribby
18:53 Feb 14, 2023

Thank you buddy!! I’ve got more on the way! 💚


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