Category Archives: legend

Conversation Inquisitive (A to Z Blog Challenge)

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conversation

“Conversation Inquisitive”

The Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas

The waiter dropped off their drinks, took their lunch orders, and left the table.

Rovas watched him walk off before turning to his lunch mate, Sargent Detective  Gil Katsaros. “Again, thank you for joining me.” He sipped his coffee. Bitter. “They over-roasted the beans. Again. I think I will join you in sharing this bottle of wine.” He pushed his cup aside, wishing Berrak, his wife, could teach these people how to make a proper cup of coffee. He poured himself half a glass of the red.

“Salute!” Katsaros offered. They clinked their glasses and sipped the wine. “It is a pleasure, Inspector. Far better to meet here than in the squad room. Too much death, too many egos.” He paused, looking at his former commander. “If you don’t mind my asking, what is troubling you? I’ve seen that look on your face before.”

Rovas studied the glass in his hands. Katsaros waited, this process well familiar to him. “It’s the “Old Lace” murders. It is still bothering me.”

“It’s solved, Inspector.”

“Yes, Gil. It’s solved.” Katsaros was taken slightly aback. Rovas rarely called him by his first name.

“The problem is not that we have the murderer in hand, case closed. Fait accompli.” Rovas shook his head.  “It was how it was accomplished. I don’t believe in coincidences, as you well know, yet…here we are. With all that I put into this case twelve years and ago, and then last month, and in the end the damning evidence that solidified the closure was…given to us, by chance. If Micheal Avgoustidis had left his flooring alone, or done the work as the previous owners had set out to do, we would never have had Maria’s diary. Her killer would still be walking around, free.”

“Inspector..”

“Khazarian, please. I am no longer an inspector, nor your chief,
Gil.”

“Sir, I…” Katsaros stopped, noticing the moue on the face across the table. “Khazarian, then. You know more so than I that luck, a perpetrators mistake, sometimes these things and more plays as important a part in solving a case as the amount of investigating we do.”

Rovas nodded. 

“Is there something else that is troubling you? This should be a celebratory lunch.”

Before he could answer, the waiter returned with their food: Salade Niçoise for him, liver and onions for Katsaros. “You’ll die of clogged arteries, the liver swimming in butter like that,” he said, pointing with his knife. 

“Better that then a bullet or a slit throat, I always say. Better to die from pleasure, no?” A large smile appeared after a good sized chunk of his lunch was consumed.

“So you’ve always said” Smiling in turn, Rovas stared at his salad.

“Inspec…Khazarian. Eat. Why is this bothering you so?”

How could Rovas put into words his feelings of inadequacy in the way the case was tied up? He fought the idea of retirement, but at the back of it all, were his better days behind him? Did he retire not just for Berrak’s sake, but deep down he felt that he was not at his best any longer? The fear that his usefulness was truly at an end?

Gil put his fork and knife down, his attention solely on the Inspector. The Inspector. No matter what he wanted to be called, that is what he was.

“Sir, you have solved more cases, been integral to putting away so many monsters. You have given closure to so many families of victims. The others,  and I,  were proud of serving with you. Are proud. We are still proud of that, and nothing can take that away.” He waved the approaching waiter away. “You deserve this time to spend with your wife, deserve the time to finally relax. So much has happened over the years. You need it. She needs it.”

“You know me that well, eh?” Pausing, Rovas made a decision.  “What if I told you that my working on this case was not a fluke? That I have this need to examine some of my cold cases, that I hope to put them to rest? That I feel I must do this?

And..yes, yes. You are right. Things do fall into our laps, at times, or scurry out of the way just as we need them most. I just have always been more satisfied knowing I had more than a passing hand in it all. I hope to do so while I am still here.”

Picking up his knife and fork, the Sargent Detective smiled and answered: “It will be a pleasure “working” with you again. Sir.”

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“The Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas” is my theme for this year. Cold case files for the good inspector to delve into, trying to make sense &/or solve. My plan is to use a variety of genres within this overarching theme to allow me to play and, of course, challenge myself. Some cases might bleed into another case. Most will be stand alone. We’ll see, won’t we?

As to the Blogging from A to Z challenge, I’ll let the words of Arlee Bird (founder of said challenge) tell you what this is all about:

The brainchild of Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out, the A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April except Sundays (we get those off for good behavior.) And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. On April 1, blog about something that begins with the letter “A.” April 2 is “B,” April 4 is “C,” and so on. You can use a theme for the month or go random – just as long as it matches the letter of the alphabet for the day.

The A to Z Challenge is a great way to get into the blogging habit and make new friends.

So, join me (and the over 1800 other blogs involved) starting on Friday, April 1, 2016 and ending on Saturday, April 30th. Comments and such are always welcome. I hope you enjoy what I’ve got planned.

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Migrating Bears (SIGNS: #AtoZChallenge)

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Migrating BearsKallisto was lost. From the moment she gave into her feelings, and his, she knew she was lost. Did she not vow chastity until death? Did she not mourn what she gave up, while she hugged the swelling, enlarged now for all to notice?

Shunned, shunned, Kallisto ran far from her sisters. Their wrath was still so present in her mind.

She had traveled so far and dropped to her knees, exhausted. Resting, night fell,

Kallisto lay on her back, looking up at the darkened sky overhead. As the twinkling patterns emerged, she wished she could join the stars above.

 

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For the April 2014 A to Z Blog Challenge, you will find a story a day (except Sundays) from me. A to Z: Staring with A on Tuesday, April 1st and ending with Z on Wednesday, April 30th.

Signs is my theme for this year’s outing. Road signs, building signs, warning signs…Signs alert us to a multitude of messages. My plan is to use the alphabet through Signage, but not to stick to what the sign was originally intended to convey. So, the genre of story writing, and styles, of the posts will vary as my mood and interpretation sees fit. Possibly a poem or two. We’ll see.

I’m also trying something more of a challenge: each post will be a Drabble. A Drabble is 100 Words Exactly.

Hope you enjoy the stories.

Chromatic Labyrinth

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Piano-Wallpaper-music-24173621-1280-800Carlo, Prince and Count, imagined his wife in bed with another man. Not just any man, but his friend, the Duke of Andria.  Carlo noticed the Duke’s eyes always found the figure of Donna Maria more than pleasing. He noticed this look too often from the Duke, and he felt that the looks were too often returned . While Donna Maria protested her innocence, Carlo knew, in his heart, that she had already betrayed him…and would continue, this most vile of betrayals.

Unless…

These thoughts assailed Carlo as he pushed himself to compose. Music was his life-he knew that-but it, too, betrayed him.  His madrigals were politely received in court but ultimately…they were misunderstood by most and dismissed, mostly behind his back, but oh, how gossip reaches even the most closed off of ears!

He locked himself in his music room, the only living space he would occupy until he had finished this composition. Receiving food intermittently from his servant,  barely touching any of it, Carlo would not lie down to sleep, only dozing at his piano.  Nothing came out of his demand on the keys, tinkering, chords splitting into discordance instead of magnificence. Four days, and his mind wandered away from the task he set for himself.

Exhausted and light headed, it was on the latter part of the fourth day (although that was later told to him, as time had lost all meaning to him inside his cell) that the visions came. Donna Maria, nude, appeared to him. He stared across the room where she stood, and all his feelings for her rose to a grand level: lust, hatred, love, agony, pain, ecstasy…and rage. Word-paintings came to him. She sprawled, ever  so close, just beyond his reach. He used the keys of his instrument as knives, slashing down, sliding, pounding down until his fingers nails cracked and broke, leaving droplets of red on the ivory.

During all this, Donna Maria cavorted around the piano. She laughed in his face, touching herself, gliding across the room, behind him, leaping over or crawling under his piano. She would reach out to him, then pull away, her long black hair fanning out over the keyboard where he would try to grab a hold, only to have it whisked away. She twirled, and he played, and lost himself in his fury.

Every path he took drew him in deeper. He would sidle into a melody that would change, taking him in a new direction: most of them ending in a frustrating blockage, where he would only be able to retrace what he did, and go another way. And another. And another. Lost, in a place where meter and structure had no more sense, no meaning, and left him more desperate with each stroke of the keys.

Carlo was later told he unbarred the lock on his room and flung himself into the main foyer. Glassy eyed, he stalked past his ever waiting servant. Down the hall he  went, banging open the door to the armory, coming out with a saber in one hand and a gun in the other. The servant tried to talk to his master but was gutted, as witnessed by one of the maids who had come out to the main hall at the noise being made.

Cowering behind one of the marble columns, the maid heard her master rush up the stairs, a door bang open, and then another series of bangs as the gun went off, and screams from her mistress. She recounted that she heard sharp swishing noises, too many to count, her mistress’s cries loud and piercing, then fading, and then nothing.

Someone had summoned the constables, and the Sargent Major, known to all as a stable and strong man, could not report what he witnessed without feeling ill for quite awhile. Yes, he had seen battlefields, but the frenzy of the Count was like unto a butcher’s den. The Countess Donna Maria, and the Duke of Andria…

Carlo, Prince and Count, would stand trial for what he had done, but, in the end, he was freed. Money and ranking took care of that. He exiled himself from the city, trying to leave blood feuds and vendettas behind him. He withdrew more into his music, more into himself, and while he was lost in a complex labyrinth of creative madness, he composed.

And Donna Maria…she twirled around him for a very, very long time.

Nyctophilia: #defythedark contest

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Well, I’ve been away for over a month. During that time, I’ve started writing a number of things, but all of it was working towards story ideas I’ve had rolling around for a bit. All of them are in different stages…and almost every piece is for a future novel, or novella. Hence, not for Tale Spinning.

My SO brought a Figment contest to my attention that actually intrigued the two of us: the Defy the Dark New Author Contest. I had given up on submitting anything to Figment because of the usual  “heart (like) my story & I’ll like yours” mentality, which rarely ever translated into the merit of the story. Yes, I did that last year with Birdsongs: The Virtuous War. I learned my lesson and stayed clear of that type of “whoring” for votes.

What’s different about Defy the Dark New Author Contest? The likes/hearts don’t mean a thing: there is an actual YA editor (Ms. Saundra Mitchell)  who will read and judge the work on its merits. This is for eventual publication in an anthology by HarperCollins. Combined, the two things got me writing a just under 4,000 word short story entitled Nyctophilia.

FYI: Nyctophilia, as defined by Dictionary.com, is: a love or preference for night, darkness.

My description/”blurb”:

On the coast of the British Isles lies beautiful Bournemouth. At the turn of the 20th Century, it is a quiet, peaceful destination. A retired London Chief Inspector makes his home there with his wife, their house cared for by a local towns girl, Miranda. By day, most agree that the views of Bournemouth are spectacular. By night, the Spectacular views Bournemouth in an unsavory way…an old “friend” of the inspector comes to visit, and he  very much prefers all that the night has to offer.

Please CLICK HERE to take you to my newest story, Nyctophilia. If you with to leave comments, you can do so either at Figment or here on Tale Spinning.

Lisa Vooght entered the same contest with an extremely compelling tale called Rain’s Gonna Come.  Very powerful, a story you will be glad you read.

Thanks one and all for sticking with Tale Spinning. I hope I’m not gone another month before posting something new.

Right! What you know!

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My Dear Inspector Abberline,

I forward to you this, in abstentia, my congratulations and best wishes on your retirement from the infamous Pinkerton National Detective Agency. You have had my utmost admiration for your tenacity and perseverance, and while you did not reap the true reward you sought for for so very long, I hope you do take some consolation that I stopped way before you did.

As far as you know.

This missive is a parting gift, if you might take it as such, as you retire to chilly Bournemouth with that delectable Mrs. of yours, the former Emma Beaument. It is a pity that she and I never met, but, really, she and I would never have had the opportunity to cross paths. Straight and narrow, inspector…straight and narrow.

How fitting that my “final” prize, Mary Jane Kelly, for “Fair Emma” was indeed worthy of my skills. Inspector, she was a beauty, and fallen as she was, it was a pleasure to make her acquaintance. Mary was tall, slim, fair, of fresh complexion, and of attractive appearance, but…you only met her after my work was done. I doubt you found her very appealing once you came upon her, prone and vivisected as she was, but trust me, Frederick (I do hope you don’t mind I call you that), she was very attractive.

Very attractive indeed.

How puzzling the insides of a woman are, the extra parts, the bits and pieces that make up the female form. I hope you appreciated the aesthetics of the beauty I left,   the abdominal cavity emptied of its viscera, the displacing of the bosoms, the flaying and intricate incisions that transformed “Fair Emma” into a work of art…a work of art I left for you and the stalwarts of Scotland Yard.

All these years later, the cases still open, and you now in retirement…are you still pondering why? I know you think you know the who. It wasn’t poor mad Georgie, I’m sure you realize now. Yes, he did poison those young ladies (of which you only pinpointed three; he had a much higher count) and paid for his “crimes.” Not mine, Frederick, not mine.

Why? I must admit, I loved them all, in my own way. Especially Mary. I keep her heart with me, always.

There were others before, and many, many after those attributed to me. Each throat cut, ever organ removed, every slice given live with me even now, Frederick, and while you wile away your time by the sea shore, think on this:

You were never, ever close in catching me. Pity. It was fun.

Hug your Emma, Frederick, but never worry, for she is as safe from my knife as the purest child in the church of the lord our God. Love her, as I love mine. I shall be enjoying the rewards of my memories, and those that I still come to know.

With fond regards,

“Jack”

The Roaring Cascade (Writer’s Platform-Building Campaign part two)

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“Did you hear the whistle of the ghost train? Did you feel the rumble from the wheels, metal screaming, the ground shake? Jim, did you? Jim, open your eyes. Please.” The boys lay in the underbelly of the Andrew Jackson Bridge; Jim’s leg was bleeding.

Both had been bored. Watching Jim’s brother kick his ball around did not interest them, so they left before Jim’s Ma could stop them. At the rock quarry, examining the debris of past explosions, they found perfect skipping stones and filled their pockets.

Lunch time long past, hungry, Jim and Pete stole one of Mrs. Tompkins’s pies. She saw them right as day and yelled down hell and damnation on them as they sped away. Pete laughed, with Jim right behind.

The pie was a lark, but in their haste they were not careful. Jim snagged his foot on a root by the bridge and went tumbling down, landing smack against the rusted bridge support. Pete followed after, losing his footing in the mud, head going into Sugar Creek. Leaning against the pillar, Pete tired in his attempts to wake Jim up.

The water picked up speed, rising. The flood of 1913 was upon them.

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Author’s Note:

The above is my submission for the Second Campaigner Challenge (of my Fourth Campaign, February 2012)

Found at Rach Writes, this is the second piece I have entered (first one was Wednesday’s Child). Rachel gave us a LOT of prompts and choices to use for our writing. It’s way too much to post here; I’ll just let you in on what I used:

Prompt 1:

Two people are sitting together under the remains of a concrete bridge. Their backs are against a rusted bridge support. One person’s leg is cut. The other person has wet hair.

Prompt 2:

Prompt 4:

And the following:

Write a short story/flash fiction piece of less than 200 words based on the prompts and as added difficulty:

  • Complete at least three of the above activities and tie them all together with a common theme (feel free to either state the theme in your post or leave us to guess what it might be)
  • Write in a genre that is not your own

 

So…you tell me if I succeeded or not. This is more, in my mind, YA or younger, adventure and period piece. It also has elements of historic fiction.  Not my usual genres.

Too Much, Succubus (The Obsidian Journal)

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The Obsidian Journal (part one)

It Was a Bad Day (part two)

Manifold Destiny (part three)

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Too Much, Succubus (part four)

Journal Entry:

~Lilith Entry~

Aw…you ARE using the journal I gave you. You shouldn’t just leave it around, you know. Go off to cause mischief of one kind or another, and leave your Lilith all alone in bed? Mmmmm…I’ve read through what you’ve written so far.

You really think that, of little o’ me? ~~~sizzling smooch, you old devil.~~~ I mean, Devil. Sir, yes SIR.

Mmmmm…we didn’t have much time for talking when I got back from my little trip topside. You were having fun in your Diablo, and me? I was have big fun in my ride. On my ride. Under my ride. All ways, as you well know.

Should I tell you about how I went dancing around the world, wearing that way too short black dress you like so much, killer boots with heels (well, boots made in Hell…what else were they supposed to be?)…and yes, that’s it…and I attracted the attention of some club roving predators. Both sexes, and them not knowing they were not the top of that particular food chain? Tsk Tsk! They got on my bus with a whimper, but oh…they roared, later. :::smirk:::

Should I tell you about being pulled over by  six state troopers in upstate New York? Sillies…they first stopped me from speeding, then they wanted to arrest me for “Indecent Exposure”! They joined the party celebration on the bus. You could say they had Cop-ulation!

Should I tell you about how I came this close to getting a button pushed, how it would have spewed death and destruction across the orb you and HE play so many games across? How it would have ruined many of YOUR plans? How things would have gone too far in such a very, very short time? (It’s more fun-for now-just letting you know I could have.)

Do you want to know about how easy it was to raise lust in so many mortals? Do you want the details, oh Lucifer…oh, my dark Lord? Do you want to know how they would do anything, and I mean anything, I asked of them so they could “please” me?

Oh, Father of Lies; oh, Abbaddon, oh Morning Star, Mr. Scratch, Old Nick, Son of Perdition, Mephistopheles, Father of Murder, oh…Satan. Oh,  my wicked one…

You left me alone in bed, and I’m bored. I think I’ll go incite some more pleasure for myself.

Bite me, Lover.

Again and again and again…

Lilith

Manifold Destiny (The Obsidian Journal)

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Journal Entry:

My Lamborghini Diablo VTTT was purring in idle, waiting to eat the levels of hell. Tricked out with a Demon Carb and T9 turbochargers , pushing the already powerful V24 block, the blood red monster  gleamed and was raring to roar. My perpetual mechanic minions worked themselves to death-literally-their inner ichor draining off while they whistled while they toiled.

I hate whistling!

Of course, nothing stays “dead” in the land of the dead. Damnit! One of those things HE and I disagreed on. Oh well…their eternal servitude brought them back to their feet as I vaulted into the drivers seat. It felt delicious, as I shimmied around on the real Corinthian leather, made out of real Corinthians.  Two of the flunkies were corporeal enough to close the vertical Lambo door for me. They got a sneer and a snarl for their duty.

Rolling out of the Manifold Destiny garage, I noticed Lilith had a large Suku-Bus in for repairs. Damn good idea, she had; it got a lot of rides. More souls for less. Makes me almost smile.

Almost.

Outside, and it was pedal to the metal! The full turbo boost of the monster lept into action as I smoked down hell’s boulevards. Most got out of the way. Many did not, and the squeals and suffering were musical afternotes to my ears. The odorous mélange of the ever changing landscape wafted through the car’s cabin, and I felt a dark smile reach my lips as the double Diablos (I laughed at that one!) rocketed out of my domain…doing 355 per mortal hour, if memory serves me right.

Shooting through The Seven Gates of Hell in York, PA (you just have to admire that designation), we screamed through the land of  sleepy night heads. I stopped here and there to tip some cows over, leave some alternate hexagons in place of the Mennonites symbols, and picked up a hitchhiker. 

Really? Was he kidding, thinking of pulling a gun on ME? He was an amusing plaything for all of five minutes. I should check to see if the farmer enjoyed his new scarecrow. I know the crows enjoyed their meal.

I tooled around Hellam (my type of town), thumbed my nose at you-know-who as I  breezed through Mt. Zion and Paradise, and stopped for a time in Intercourse. Along the way I found sinners of all cloth, and dealt with them accordingly. My glove compartment (gloves? really? Hell, remember?) was full of deals signed in blood (the rubes), with “promises’ to come for their souls.

The thought of those promises did make me laugh on the road, causing a bit of a tumult. I saw that another flock of birds were found dead the next day: news at Eleven. C’est la mort! Promises…after all, I’m not the Prince of Lies for nothing.

Winding my way around the trenches of this so called life was exhilarating for a short while, but…boredom comes so easily after so many years. I put the Diablo on auto-cruise, sat back to watch the too little devastation in my wake (got an early morning buggy to do five 360’s!) and soon found myself through The Seven Gates of Hell (figuratively and literally).

Wheeling into Manifold Destiny, the ame damee surrounded their Diablos, taking good care of both.

Lilith’s Suku-Bus was gone. Good. She’ll have a tale or twelve to tell when she comes to bed later.

My "Baby"

The Golden Princess: An Un-Fairy Tale

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Once upon a time…King Midas touched his daughter and she turned into gold.

His despair was genuine, as was his outrage, all swiftly turning into self-loathing and shame. He fled his court, wailing at the travesty brought upon him by his golden touch. He never returned.

The Golden Princess was left behind. The hand that had reached out to her father in his anguish was still outstretched. Her still face reflected the the concern she had for him, her shoulders slightly hunched; all immobile. Except…

She was aware.

Aware of all that went on around her. The King’s advisers tried to keep decorum, waiting (in vain) for Midas to return. That lasted only so long. A bloody power struggle for the rule of the land ensued, as the only true heir was a lovely gold statue.

Whatever gold items that had been left behind were taken: either to support the efforts of the warring factions, or stolen to create a new life somewhere else. The Golden Princess was the last artifact of The Midas Touch remaining in one piece.

She was aware of all the plotting, the treacheries, the betrayals. She heard her father both cursed and praised, although the praises were for the gold he created. She heard grief about her own loss, from servants and from lords, and she heard some of the tales of those who wished they had bedded her…and more.

Awareness was a curse unto itself.

Time passed. Long giving up counting the days and nights, she knew not how long. Moved around now and then, new faces appeared, new voices heard. They long since stopped calling her Princess Marygold. The Golden Princess became her own legend.

The worst, or so she thought at the time, was being placed into a dark room. Hearing the bolt and lock clack and snick so loudly, she remained in darkness for an uncountable determination. She screamed and cried and wailed and keened…all inside her golden self.

No one heard. No one heard anything of her for a very long time.

Voices. Loud yells…and screams. Clashing of metal on metal, explosions shook her, waking her out of her stupor. “I’m here. I’m here!” she wanted to bellow. She wanted light, freedom, release. It had gnawed at her.

She was aware of the sound of the lock being broken, of the bolt driven back, of the door flung open and torch light coming in. The joy she felt at these things, taking in the unknown faces. The men, battered and bloody, whooped and grinned when they saw her. She heard shouts of “The Golden Princess!!” from these men and then outside of her imprisonment.

Lifted up and out, with great effort, the men brought her up to the throne room. Or, what was left of the room. She was aware there was blood along the way, bodies strewn. Damage…damage to the walls, stairways crumbled, light streaming in from what had been the west wall of the hall.

The Golden Princess was placed down in a shaft of light that streamed in from the gaping wound of the castle. The men talked continuously, starting at her, running their hands all over her. All over her. They stopped only when one man yelled to them, as he walked over and they parted for him, going to  knee.

“Please,” she thought with urgency. “Please, find a way to release me.”

In a language she was unfamiliar with, he spoke to his horde. They brayed in unison at times to his speech, the rest of the time they were rapt in attention. When he was done, as one, they stood, and cheered, cheered, cheered!

If she could have shed tears, a dam would not have been able to hold them. She did not know these people, but to be in the light, to not be so alone…

They removed her from her castle, her home and prison of so long. She was aware of being put on a cart and moved, screaming inside when a covering was placed on her, again hiding out any light. She was aware of the voices, the animal noises, the movement of the cart, then being hoisted off the cart and brought inside.

She was aware when the covering was taken off, and she was equally aware of the immense heat around her. A cauldron, large and blackened, fire raging underneath it,  took up a good part of the room. New men surrounded her, black with soot and grease and sweating.

Their rough hands brought her to the edge of the cauldron. She was aware of their laughter, their horrid, filthy jokes. Vile, vile men, they handed her with no care. They dropped her on the floor, and her outstretched hand…her outstretched hand…one of them took red hot glowing pincers from a smaller smoldering bin, and she was aware as he took great care in separating that hand, at the wrist, the thinnest part.

She was aware of the noise it made as it hit the floor.

Great peals of laughter surrounded her now. The hiss and noise of the fire and cauldron goo mixed with the glee of the men. Many hands now were on her, and again she was aware she was lifted. A count started; they all joined in, and what she assumed was three, they tossed her.

She was aware of the hands letting go. She was aware of the short flight in the air. She was aware of the horrible heat. She was aware of the splash she made, and the sinking down, and the melting away, and she was aware, aware, aware…

She was aware…they found a way to release her.

 

Beginnings: The Abysmal Dollhouse

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The priest drove the blade deep into Amunet’s chest. The suddenness of the attack shocked her as much as the pain that followed it. This action was repeated by five other priests with all the house slaves in the Mastaba, the final resting place of her master. She saw the others die. This priest’s blade was not true, not penetrating her heart on the first strike. But still, it caused her impending death. The time she had left, though, was enough.

Amunet locked eyes with the priest, old and sand scarred. The pain she felt was mixed with hatred.  Amunet howled a curse as he pulled the knife out of her chest. The priest was  holding the blade’s handle, a tinge of fear on his face, then anger for not having struck a death blow.  Before he could react, Amunet grabbed the hilt, reversed it, and slashed the priest’s throat. In a gurgle, then a gush  he fell to the ground, dying at her feet.

Behind his corpse was a mantle, and the relics that were to be entombed alongside the dead. Amunet stumbled towards it, her life memories, short and brutal, unfolded as she bled out. She held onto the ceremonial knife.

First step: a different life, a different name. A Greek girl, blonde and often praised for her beautiful skin; kidnapped along the coastal shore of her village. Bound and bagged, dropped in a hold with other young girls.

Next step: stripped, passed around from pirate to pirate throughout the voyage. Beaten, starved, raped. Other captives died along the way. They were tossed over the side. She helped toss some over the side.

Fumble step: Only the beatings ended as they announced land in a few days. No scars, no marks on her beautiful skin. Fed more, and passed around even more.

Stopped, panting, holding onto the wound, blood seeping out between her fingers: Naked, auctioned off like cattle; poked, prodded, fondled, pried open. Bought by her “master”, not knowing the language, then. He took her that night, and nights after. Gave her her name. Amunet, the hidden one. Beatings, never at his hands, until she came into line. She was a novelty, with her skin, her coloring, and her master enjoyed sharing his treasure with others.

Two half steps closer: Watching him clutching his arm, then his chest. He tumbled off his chair in front of her and the other slaves. Only one slave moved to his side. Not her. Never her. She smiled.

Collapsing on the mantle: Amunet clutched the doll, the one to protect her “master” in his next life. It’s hair was of sun-baked clay strung on flax thread. The doll’s  body was of wood in the shape of a woman, symbols of fertility etched into it. She held the doll to her chest; she cursed the men who stole her, she cursed all those who used her, she sent out waves of anger and primal hatred. Her blood soaked into the wood carving, the flax thread, stained the sun-baked clay. Her battered life unfolded into the doll.

On her knees, grasping the doll, her head bent over it, laying her curse, she took the knife that she held and stabbed the doll.  Another priest came behind her and rammed his blade into her back. This priest’s blow was true. Amunet fell forward onto the doll.

Her spirit of rage became the doll. A knife became her weapon. She took others through the ages: just, unjust…it did not matter to The Unfolding Doll. For centuries, her revenge glistened on her knife’s edge over and over again.

She grew careless, once, and was trapped by a mage whose son she had taken. Too strong to be destroyed, he did what he could. Caught in his daughter’s room, he fought her and won, binding her spirit in the child’s dollhouse. The mage sold it to a very special shop. He knew he could not stop her completely, but limit the murderous spirit? That he could do.

Be careful when entering The Abysmal Dollhouse. There lies the hidden one, the Unfolding Doll.