William Doonan

I write books and stories.

The Mummies of Blogspace9: Chapter Thirty

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July 11, 2011
Rota, Spain
Hanson       http://www.historyismine.blogspace9.ex

There was, of course, nothing written on the scrap of paper the girl gave me.  The girl…how I can still refer to her as that I don’t fully understand.  But she was at some level still a girl, though her humanity was only porously intact.

And there was no tunnel under the house.  Her words were for the benefit of our attackers who came swiftly, crashing through the doors and windows as she tucked me into a crawlspace under the flooring.  And from that meager damp prison, I watched in horror through the cracks and warps and wormholes.

The girl, mummy though she was, smiled coyly at first, flirting as the first men came into the room.  She has an extraordinary appeal, as I mentioned, and I confess I nearly called out with desire. The first two men fared poorly when they approached her, their weapons falling to the ground in afterthought. 

The men who entered through the back door (and mind you, the wormholes in the floorboards were so comprehensive, that I could even now faithfully diagram each actor’s movement) fared somewhat better.  They were older, wiser perhaps, and they had the good sense to look away when she locked eyes with them.  Unfortunately, they were still looking away when she smashed their heads together with enough force to fill my mouth with ancient dust.

Five more came poking around, but they didn’t dare enter the house. My protector, which I reluctantly admit she was, sat cross-legged on the floor, mere inches above my face, gnawing on the longbones of my assailants.  And when one or another of those gangsters, or whoever they were, set their minds to entering the house, she had only to toss an ear or a lung their way, and their resolve softened.

“How long will you keep me here?” I asked, as she sucked the marrow from a tibia, cooing with delight.

She laughed, and her laugh did not give me comfort.  I waited another six hours under the floor, dying of thirst, until I dared ask again.

From somewhere she produced a heavy jar, which she tipped over, letting the wine trickle through the floorboards.  Having no cup, I did my best to capture each drop, to drink deeply.  “If you’re hungry,” she said, “I’ve plenty to share.”

“No,” I said it louder than I intended.  And she laughed.  She laughed like a girl, like a carefree girl, and it unnerved me.  “Let me out,” I called.  “You’ve no right to keep me imprisoned.”

She spent another hour on her meal, and she twice tipped that wine jug, sending a respectable stream through a respectable wormhole.  “The book, you said,” she told me finally.

“Say again?”

“The book, you said.  I asked you to choose between the gold and the book, and you said the book.”

I didn’t know what to say, half mad with thirst, half drunk from dry wine.  “The book, yes; the Malleus Momias.”

She was licking her fingers when I looked up through the cracks in the floor. 

“The last time a man came to me asking these questions, he chose the gold.  Two hundred years ago as I mentioned, he was a beautiful man, a kind man, a pistolero who promised me the world, heaven even, if I would help him.”

“And did you help him?” I called up with a cracked parched voice.

“I told him the same thing I told you.  I told him there was time only to answer one of his questions.  And he asked about the gold.  I told him I’d help him if he made magnificent love to me, a sorrowful kind.  I told him it would mean nothing to me if he came to me willingly, if he had nothing to lose, no remorse.”

“You wanted him to regret it?”

She nodded.  “I wanted only to recapture something of what I’d lost.  I wanted once again to know the love of a man who tried in vain to hold onto his virtue, his promises, his assurances, his very soul, but who in the end could not.  You see, it’s the only love I’ve ever known.”

“Sebastiano.”

She pried up a floorboard, the nails screeching as she pulled them free.  “Yes.  Padre Sebastiano, my only love.”  She held out a hand, and I climbed up onto that floor, littered with bones, viscera, and hair, the horrors of nine worlds but I had no eyes for that.  Only for her.  She was beyond compare.

“That pistolero did his best.  He took me with some heartfelt measure of abandon, for which I gave him credit.  And in return, I promised him I’d reunite him with that gold hoard one day.  Segovia was his name; he loved the feel of silk.”

“Segovia,” I repeated.

She turned to me as she retrieved a short rib from the floor, discarding it only when she found it to be already clean.  “And yet when I put the same question to you, you asked not for the gold, but for the book.  That was something quite unexpected.”

“I’m just beginning to make sense of it all,” I told her.  “I think Sebastiano is still walking.  I think I met him in a cold room some weeks back, in the company of two gypsy thugs.  I didn’t know at the time that it was him.  I want to help him.  I want to help him finish what he started.”

She drew me into her arms and kissed me deeply.  “Don’t worry,” she said, when I could do nothing but quiver and yearn.  “I’ll offer you the same thing I offered the pistolero.  I’ll promise you the book if you make the same kind of love to me.”

“But I have….I’m engaged to….”

The finger she pressed to my lips was neither mine nor hers, just one of many strewn about the floor.  “Promise me,” she said, as she tore at my belt, “promise me you’ll regret this until your dying day.”

I promised her, Laney.  I’m sorry, but I knew even as I kissed her that I was lying.

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Written by williamdoonan

June 7, 2012 at 8:38 pm

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