William Doonan

I write books and stories.

The Mummies of Blogspace9: Chapter Fifteen

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June 19, 2011
Seville, Spain
Hanson                http://www.historyismine.blogspace9.ex

Eavesdrop: disabled

GPS: disabled

Every other fucking goddamn app: disabled (by Bruce Hanson who is angry)

Laney, it’s me.  I wish I could talk with you.   I asked for a phone, but I’m told that’s not a good idea.  Apparently all cell phone traffic in Europe is recorded, and it wouldn’t be a good idea for you to be in contact with me right now.  Because you see, Laney, I am a wanted man, a murderer if you believe the police.   They have made my “confession” public.  I read about myself in the newspaper today.  My mother always told me I’d be famous, and you know what?  She was right.

I can’t reveal where I am, of course.  But I am among people who I now, for reasons of having no goddamn choice, consider friends.  It’s now two in the morning; I slept most of the day.  I suspect I was medicated, but I don’t really care at this point.  I’ve just consumed three frittatas and three liters of beer, so I think I’m up to the task of telling you about my rescue.

Melchor Sacramonte, remember him – the old gypsy who shoved me into the room with the dead man last week?  Well, he’s my new best friend.  I asked him if he wanted me to keep his name out of this, and he just laughed.  He’s accustomed to police harassment, he told me.  And if the police want to come around his place talking some nonsense about some lunatic American claiming he met with him, he’ll deny it straight away. 

But it was he who had me rescued.  He sent his trusted associate Baltazar, who is my new second best friend.  Do you know where I was being held, Laney?  In the Alcazar itself, the old palace fortress of the Moors, right in the heart of old Seville, not a hundred yards from the Archive.

When Baltazar came through the door of my cell, I was terrified, but little did I know that my terror was only going to get worse.  We ran out through the servants’ quarters, through parts of the palace not visited by tourists.  And not visited by anyone for decades, I’d wager.  Dusty hallways with scuffed tiles and centuries of paint curling up along the walls, the smell of mildew was overpowering. 

Escape proved to be a time-intensive activity as Baltazar dragged me from one shadow to the next, smashing through door after door while rogue policemen searched frantically.  You’d think that would be loud enough, smashing through door after door, but it wasn’t.  The doors were thin, and the wood so damp and worm-laden that you could push a finger straight through without much effort at all.

We climbed more stairs than I thought possible, tripping more often than not on loose or broken tiles, nearly tumbling to my death on several occasions.  Finally we came out onto a little garden, the likes of which I have never seen.  It was completely overgrown.  Vines hung everywhere, dripping with moisture, and weaving in and out of the eye sockets of the hundreds of skulls that littered the ground.  The decapitated enemies of the Caliph, Baltazar told me.  I didn’t remember that part from the audio tour.

I heard footsteps all around us.  The policemen were near, and I didn’t know which way to go.  Baltazar grabbed hold of my arm and swung me through a door.  It was by far the most solid door we had yet encountered, and it nearly cost me a rib, but buckle it did.  We pushed through and found ourselves in a long hallway.  I started to run but Baltazar held me back.  “At this point,” he said, “you must keep moving.  Do not stop for any reason.  Do you understand?”

I nodded, and we sprinted the length of that hall, turning the corner and entering into the private recesses of the harem, where the Caliph kept his 800 women.  “Keep moving,” Baltazar spat at me, pulling me along, but I could not.  My legs betrayed me.  My mind betrayed me.  I thought I might die before I took another step.

It was already growing dark, but there was ample moonlight to see the stirrings in the harem rooms.  Curtains were being drawn, intricate carpets were unrolled on tile patios.  Chairs were dragged outside, and tea was being poured as the concubines awoke and began to move around.  Even with just the moonlight, Laney, it was clear that they were long dead.

“I’m leaving now,” Baltazar spat.  “If you’re coming, come.  If not, you can stay here.  The police won’t dare enter, but the ladies will soon notice you.  And they’ve been lonely for a long time.  I’ve seen what happens when they take a concubine of their own.”

I moved as fast as my rubbery legs would carry me.  We passed through a maze of dim dripping hallways before we crashed through a door in the fortress walls.  A car was waiting.

We found Don Melchor Sacramonte at this flamenco restaurant that he owns.  It doesn’t look like much from the outside, just a hole in the wall.  But inside, it’s painted every color of the rainbow and then some.  It was packed to the rafters.  It’s some kind of dinner theater where dancers act out dramas for the diners as old gypsy women carry trays of steaming food from table to table.

I followed Baltazar through a surprisingly tiny kitchen and into Sacramonte’s office.  He was alone, sitting at a carved desk drinking brandy and playing with a pair of dice. 

“I just saw eight hundred dead women walking around,” I told him.

Sacramonte frowned.  He turned to Baltazar.  “That many?”

Baltazar shrugged.  “I didn’t stop to count, but still, I’d say no more than two or three dozen.”

“See, it’s not as bad as you thought.” Sacramonte came out from behind the desk and hugged me. “Don’t worry, payo.  We’ll be fast friends, you and I.  We have much to talk about.”

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Written by williamdoonan

February 12, 2012 at 10:50 pm

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