One of Us
“What’s troubling you, Charles?” Orpha asked. “Why don’t you advance upon me? Why don’t you cleave me in two?”
Charles stared at Orpha. He stood close enough that he could touch her. From behind him, he could hear Gerard coming forward. Charles dropped the cleaver to the floor where it fell with a piercing clatter.
“Come with me, Charlie.” Gerard whispered, putting his hands on Charles’ shoulders.
“Coward.” Orpha smirked. “I always knew you are a coward.”
“I’m no coward.” Charles shook his head. “Killing you would only unleash more evil into the world, like opening Pandora’s box.”
“That’s what I was going to call Marduk if he’d been a girl.” Orpha grinned. “Pandora.” She stroked the hair on one of Marduk’s heads. “Still, I’m glad he is what they are. You’ll never know such greatness, Charles. You’re weak…cowardly.”
“Don’t speak to him! You’re the coward, you bitch.” Gerard stepped forward. “You hide behind your monster!”
“No one my call them a monster except me!” Orpha barked.
Suddenly, Orpha lunged forward and grabbed Gerard by the arm, lurching him toward her with startling force. He could feel the strain on his still-healing side and he yelped.
Before Gerard could fight the woman off, she’d managed to get his other arm with her free hand. She pressed his wrists together and held them in an unhuman grip. “Now…when you feel the skin break, don’t flinch. That will only make it more difficult for my little darling to feed.”
Gerard bellowed. “Let go of me!” He pulled free. “You lunatic! You ought to be locked away! You and your beast! You’re unnatural!”
He quickly retreated, taking Charles by the elbow, and rushed away from Orpha.
“Oh? You want to know what’s unnatural?” Orpha laughed. “A white man marrying an African!”
“What?” Gerard spun around. “You? You’re one to judge, you are. A woman what mated with ‘er own brother.”
“I knew what the result of that union would be. What will be the result of yours? Perhaps you’ll have your own little brood of monsters.”
“Shut yer gob, witch!”
“Tell me, Gerard. When you kiss your dark darling, does she taste like coffee?” Orpha howled with laughter. “How does your sweet Gamilla taste?”
“You’re not fit to say her name!” Gerard roared.
“Gamilla…such a queer name, too.” Orpha continued.
“Don’t you see what she’s trying to do, Gerry?” Charles yelped. “Don’t let her. You were right; let’s go!”
“Yes, Gerry. Do listen to your companion.” Orpha said. “You wouldn’t want me to say anything about your jungle goddess.”
“Sow!” Gerard screamed, leaping forward as Orpha shrieked with laughter. The baby’s two heads began to scream as Gerard picked up with cleaver from the place where it had fallen on the floor.
With one swift motion, Gerard raised the cleaver about his head and brought it down quickly. The force of the blow knocked him to the floor and as he looked up, he saw first a growing pool of crimson, and then…Orpha’s hand.
“My God!” Charles gasped coming for Gerard who just stared at Orpha’s severed hand.
Orpha, meanwhile, stood quite still, as if she didn’t feel the injury which had taken her left hand.
As her face grew increasingly pale, her smile broadened. “My child…they will eat well tonight…”
Gerard scrambled backward, assisted to his feet by Charles.
“She…she…she spoke of Gamilla, Mate. I…”
“You didn’t mean to do it.” Charles said quickly.
“We must go for Dr. Halifax.” Gerard wailed.
“No.” Charles said firmly. “Leave her…”
“Mate, I didn’t mean to…” Gerard moaned.
They both looked at Orpha who stood, unchanged as scarlet ribbons sprang from her wrist.
“Let’s go!” Charles said quickly.
“We gotta get ‘er help.” Gerard pleaded.
“She doesn’t need it.” Charles replied. “She doesn’t deserve it.” He wrapped his arm around Gerard’s waist and pulled him toward the door, walking right into his own brother, Giovanni.
Giovanni entered the room. “What is this?”
He was followed by Ulrika, and…Fern.
“Miss Fern!” Charles gasped.
Fern looked at the increasingly thick pool of blood and at the severed hand on the floor. A glaze of absence passed over her eyes.
“Orpha!” Ulrika groaned. “I knew it! I knew this bit of juvenile trickery must have been to get to you. Oh, darling, your poor hand. If it wasn’t all so beautiful, I could cry.” The American giantess hurried to pick up Orpha’s hand. “We’ll preserve it for you. Yes. That’s what we’ll do. And, when you’re restored by your very greatness, it will be waiting for you.”
“It’s bedlam!” Charles gasped.
With one arm around Gerard’s waist, Charles moved forward…quickly using his free hand to grasp Fern’s arm. He pulled both the girl and Gerard from the house as his brother, Giovanni, screamed after him. “Come back! Now, you’re one of us, Brother!”
Did you miss Chapters 1-284 of Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square? If so, you can read them here. Come back tomorrow for Chapter 286.