Saturday, April 13, 2013

Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square, Chapter 303

Chapter 303 
With Delight 

Darling,” Ulrika cooed to Giovanni. “Would you be a lamb and fetch a bowl from the dining room?”

“We ought to have servants.” Giovanni muttered.

“Really, you know we can’t, darling.” Ulrika sighed. “Most of them just wouldn’t understand. Now, would they?”

“No.” Giovanni grunted.

“There’s a lamb.” Ulrika winked.

Alone with Orpha and the Baron Lendsown, Ulrika smiled. “I just love reunions, and, really, this one is the most delicious I’ve ever seen. Brother and sister. Lovers. Enemies. It’s too wonderful.” She looked at Orpha who stood in the doorway, still supporting herself with her one remaining hand.

“Can I help you, dear?” Ulrika asked.

“No, I can manage.” Orpha replied weakly.

“You know…I almost asked if I could give you a hand.” She tittered. “Wouldn’t that have been too, too cruel? Really?” She sighed. “Orpha, I meant to tell you, dear, we’re keeping your hand in the larder. Giovanni is going to make you a new one. He’ll sculpt it from something deliciously white and cadaverous and use your old hand as a model.” She paused. “Are you sure I can’t help you.”


“Does it hurt much?” Ulrika asked.

“No.” Orpha repeated.

“Oh.” Ulrika sighed disappointedly. She looked back and forth between the baron and Orpha. “Should I leave? Am I intruding?”

“Stay.” Orpha replied, releasing her grasp on the wall and staggering to the settee across from the baron. Settling in, Orpha inhaled. “Why does it seem so long since I’ve seen you? It’s not been long at all. The first time we were separated was decades longer, and, yet, that time seemed to pass so quickly.”

“Are you really my sister?” The baron asked.

“Yes, Victor. You yourself have noted many times how much we resemble one another.”

“Many also noted how much you look like the sister of the Duke of Fallbridge.” The baron answered plainly.

“My name is Hannah.” Orpha replied. “You abandoned me.”

“You’ve also claimed to be Ellen Barrett.” The baron replied. “You’ve claimed, previously, to be the sister of the Duke of Fallbridge, why should I believe you’re my lost sister?”

“Not lost. Abandonned.”

“Wonderful, really.” Ulrika licked her lips.

“If you knew I was your brother, how could you…”

“Easily.” Orpha smiled weakly. “I knew what it would cost you and what it would profit me.”

“You’re disgusting.”

“Says the man who has taken to his bed a variety of women and men from stable to stateroom.” Orpha growled.

“I love it. I just love it.” Ulrika leaned in.

“You know I am what I claim.” Orpha continued. “You can feel it in your heart.”

“I feel nothing in my heart.”

“That doesn’t surprise me.” Orpha snapped.

“This is just too marvelous.” Ulrika smiled.

“Would you please be quiet!” The baron shouted.

“Now, why couldn’t you have shown some of that spirit before? Really, Orpha, he’s been terribly dull. He has none of your fire.”

“He was also dull.” Orpha mumbled. “Even as a child. While other boys would play and laugh, Victor say studying the leaves of trees and arranging his collection of pebbles in a small tin.”

“Dear God…” Victor’s eyes widened.

“You see,” Orpha shook her head. “I am who I claim to be.”

“What do you want of me?”

“May I?” Ulrika chimed in.

“Of course, you are my benefactress.” Orpha nodded.

“Well, you are the mother of our messiah.” Ulrika bowed her head.

“What is this?” The baron asked.

“Just now when you exclaimed, did you know that you were referring to your own son?” Orpha coughed.

“That…that creature?”

“Oh, you’ve seen him?” Orpha raised her eyebrows.

“I know, it is disappointing.” Ulrika shook her head. “But, it couldn’t be avoided.”

“What do you think of your child?” Orpha asked.

“I think it’s hideous and should be destroyed.”

“Now, now. Really…that’s no way to talk about the messiah.” Ulrika clucked her tongue. “Especially since you helped give him life.”

“I want no part of it.” The baron barked.

“Well, that can be avoided.” Ulrika shook her head. “You are part of him. And, you will continue to be part of him. In fact, you shall see to it that he grows in size and power.”

“I certainly will not.” The baron replied, trying to raise his hand, but remembering they’d been bound.

“You don’t have a choice.” Ulrika grinned.

“Just as I had no choice when you left me to die in the workhouse.” Orpha added.

“What do you intend?” The baron asked nervously.

Ulrika squeaked with pleasure as Giovanni returned with a large silver bowl. “You’ll soon see.”

The baron’s face flushed.

“Look…he’s ripe.” Ulrika howled with laughter. She turned to Giovanni. “Darling, do you have the blade?”

“Yes, my dear.” He nodded, retrieving a large knife from a nearby table.

“Delicious!” Ulrika squealed. “Orpha, would you like to do it?”

“No. I’m too weak. Besides, you should be Marduk’s proxy.”

“I’m honored.” Ulrika inhaled sincerely. She took the blade from Giovanni and walked toward the baron.

“Now,” Ulrika continued. “Do be sure to keep your eyes open…no matter what. This is going to be very, very painful, really. I’m beside myself with delight.”

Did you miss Chapters 1-302 of Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square? If so, you can read them here. Come back on Monday for Chapter 304. 

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