Juliet French glanced at the clock tower as she frantically paced up and down the empty platform.
It was half past one. The train was late. Or perhaps she was early? She didn't know. It didn't matter.
Oh Romeo! How much longer must I wait?
She nervously looked around the deserted station. Not a single soul in sight. Was that good or bad? She did not know. She had only one thing in mind.
Soon he will be here.
A cool breeze blew in from the west. With a shiver, she pulled her coat tighter. She was not used to the cold. To be honest, she had never set foot out of her home this late. But today was different. This was for Romeo! And this was for her love!
Her right hand went to her coat pocket. It was still there. She couldn't wait to give it to him. Her hands trembled with excitement. A smile lit up her face as she thought of that moment. She thought about the welcome she would give him. He would never expect her to be waiting here like this. No. Not after all these years.
Her left hand clenched the heart shaped pendant around her neck. Her lover’s last gift. She remembered those blue eyes tingling with joy when she had accepted his humble present.
How long had it been? Ten years. Ten years since that fateful day. Life had never been the same again.
She still remembered the day as clear as the full moon that was watching over her tonight. It was the day before their wedding. When she heard the news, she was in the spotless white wedding gown, rehearsing for her big day. Rosaline had been the one to break the news. There had been a brawl in the market and Romeo had stabbed Paris. Paris died on the spot. And Romeo got ten years.
She had wept all night. Her wedding gown was all soaked in tears. The wedding ring lay lifeless on the floor. This was not how it was supposed to be.
She glanced at the clock tower again. A quarter to two.
Any minute now.
She remembered how her mother had persuaded her to marry again. But she knew that she wouldn’t be able to love anyone like she loved her blue eyed boy. She knew what she would do. She had made up her mind. She’ll wait for Romeo. And so she did. Waiting, day after day, year after year... preparing for the day when she would finally meet him. And then when it was over, she would embrace her lover and find her peace.
“Need any help, lassie?”
She turned around to see a shabby young man approach her. The pungent stench of rum oozed from every cell of his body.
Just then the dark clouds choked the moon in their deathly hold, draining away the celestial light. An eerie darkness filled the platform.
Where are you, Romeo? Come fast!
“Don’t you know it's dangerous out here for pretty little girls? Why don’t I take you to a safe place? Whatcha say?” asked the drunkard with a goblinish grin.
Juliet tried to ignore the loafer and walk past him. But he caught her by the arm and pulled her towards him.
“Let me go, you scoundrel!” she said, as she tried to push him away.
But the harder she tried, the stronger he gripped. For a moment, a deadly thought crossed her mind. She dismissed it immediately.
No. Stay strong, Juliet. Soon he will come.
And just then, like an answer to her prayers, a sound pierced the veil of silence that enveloped the station.
The train! It has arrived at last!
“Seems like your lucky day,” said the ruffian as he let loose his grip and sunk into the shadows.
The clouds eased their stranglehold and a faint ray fell on the platform.
The train halted in the station. Juliet watched with bated breath as the passengers got down. An old lady got out first. Probably Miss Balthazar who had gone to the city to visit her grandchild. Then a family of five whom she couldn't recognise. Soon, the other passengers flocked out of their coaches and made their way towards the exit. But there was no sign of him. No sign of Romeo!
Juliet’s heart sank.
Did Romeo lie to Father Lawrence? Was he never going to return to his hometown? Would her wait be in vain?
She took a deep breath and glanced at the clock tower once again. It was two o’clock. The train would leave any moment now. The platform was fast turning empty. Behind her, she heard the sneer of the ruffian.
Should she leave while she still had the chance? Or should she stay holding on to that last ray of hope?
Her heart was racing. Dark thoughts began to penetrate her mind. How had she not foreseen this? She tried to control her emotions but tears began to well up in her eyes.
The clouds began to smother the moon again, leaving the platform in complete darkness.
Juliet closed her eyes and said a silent prayer as she heard the train chug away from the station. She heard a chuckle from behind. The ruffian was amused.
“Maybe the day isn’t as bad as I thought,” he jeered.
Her hand went into her coat. A tear traced its path down her cheek. This was not how she had imagined it. Her fingers brushed against the gift that she had saved for Romeo. All these years, she had polished it, day in and day out, waiting for this day to come. So that she could give it to him as soon as he arrived. And now when that day had finally arrived, she felt so helpless.
“Come, come, Missy. It’s time to leave.”
She opened her eyes. The train was gone. And there was no sign of Romeo. She felt the ruffian’s hand on her shoulder.
“Come quietly,” he whispered. “We don’t want to create a scene, do we?”
And it was then that she saw him. Behind the pillar...lighting a cigar. Her heart skipped a beat. She couldn't believe her eyes! It was him! Surely it was him. He was finally here!
“Romeo!” she called out.
The gentleman turned in disbelief. Clearly he wasn’t expecting anyone. The ruffian’s hand left her shoulder.
The mistress of the sky admonished the little clouds and they withered away like dry leaves. The moon’s smile lit up the platform driving away the forces of darkness.
Yes! It was Romeo!
He seemed to have put on some weight and had even grown a beard. But it was him. And that was all that mattered.
She walked briskly towards the one she had been waiting for all these years. Her hand firmly gripping the gift that she had in store for him.
“Romeo, don’t you remember me?” she asked, her voice trembling with excitement.
His chestnut eyes met her pitch black ones. He gazed at her for a moment, trying to swim past the waves of the last ten years. And then his eyes widened with realisation.
“Ju-Juliet...is that you?” he asked in bewilderment.
The gunshot shook the station like a thunderclap. Romeo collapsed to the ground like a man struck by lightning. His eyes looked at her in terror, as she stood there like an Angel of Death with the moon forming a perfect halo around her head.
"Romeo must die," she whispered.
“No! Pleaaase....don’t...,” he whimpered.
Juliet knew no mercy. Not tonight. She had waited long for this day. This mad dog deserved to die. He had ruined her life! She imagined the pain that poor Paris would have felt when the knife pierced his heart. She pointed the pistol at Romeo’s head. She had been planning this moment for the last ten years. It was the only thing that had kept her going. The law may give this scumbag another chance. But not her!
The bullet pierced his skull, splattering the brains on to the concrete slab. His sightless eyes stared from their sockets into the night sky where the moon smiled her approval.
Was it worth the wait? Definitely!
Juliet wiped the blood from her face and watched the motionless body that lay before her. She allowed herself a moment to luxuriate in the culmination of a decade’s worth of planning.
The ruffian stood rooted to his spot, unable to process what he had witnessed. He gulped as Juliet turned towards him with a ghastly grin.
“Why don’t you take me to that safe place you were talking about?”
The man scampered without taking a backward glance, thanking his mother’s prayers for having saved him from the devil’s clutches. Never again would he set his eyes on a woman.
She could hear the sirens closing in.
The law was coming! The law! She scoffed at the thought. Late as always!
Her left hand went towards the heart shaped pendant, opening it to see her beloved Paris one last time. Her right hand held the red hot pistol against her temple.
“My love, the wait is finally over,” she said, staring into those deep blue eyes.