Thursday, June 20, 2013

Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square, Chapter 342

Chapter 342:
The Bargain

"He said what?"  Orpha bellowed, grabbing Marduk from Ulrika with her one hand and placing him in his bassinet.

"The doctor said that Marduk was going to die, that he was riddled with diseases and that his heart wasn't strong enough to support...two bodies.   He said Marduk is two children somehow fused together...and, really, this is the most ridiculously and insulting part...that, well, really, I just can't even say it."

"Say it, you bitch!"  Orpha snapped.

"That Marduk is mortal."

"Moral?"  Orpha howled.  "Mortal!"

"That he would die and that it was our fault."

"Is that so?"  Orpha narrowed her eyes.

"He went on and one about what we were feeding Marduk and how we have weakened him."  Ulrika continued.  "Really, just nonsense."

"You didn't tell him, did you?  You didn't actually tell the man what we feed Marduk?"

"Orpha, really.  Do you think that I was going to say that the boy has had a steady diet of rats and his own father?"

"Of course not."  Orpha muttered.  "I'm sorry.  Just thinking about that man makes my blood boil."

"Really?"  Ulrika's eyes widened.  "What a delicious thought."

"To say that our beautiful Marduk is mortal.  He'll pay for that."  Orpha growled.  "Still," she turned to look at the conjoined twins.  "He has been weakened.  I think we must make another sacrifice to The Fifty.  That will renew his strength!"

"Oh, how lovely."  Ulrika clapped her hands.  "Who shall it be?  Maybe that grizzly servant...Donnan."

"No, he's of no consequence.  It must be someone whose death will cause great sorrow."

"Giovanni!"  Ulrika volutneered.  "I'll gladly give you Giovanni."

"Thank you, dear, but I don't think so.  You'd miss him, of course.  But, I think you'd also enjoy it too much."

"True."  Ulrika nodded.

"It must be someone for whom tears will be shed.  The agony will fuel Marduk."


"No."  Orpha shook her head.  "No one likes her.  Besides, we need her for Marduk's bride."

"Someone for whom tears will be shed?  I can't think of anyone readily available."

"Preferably a woman."  Orpha continued.  "The last few have been men.  It's nice to have variety, don't you think?"

"A woman..."  Ulrika pondered.  "Oh!  What about the Duke's sister?  He'd be absolutely prostrate with grief.  He actually seems fond of the woman.  Really, can you imagine?"

"Nothing would give me more pleasure than to kill Ellen Barrett for all the trouble she's given me.  However, I must confess, that by giving me her name, she allowed me the freedom to find my brother to sire Marduk.  As you would say, sacrificing her would be, 'delicious,' but it's best that we have no personal connection to the individual."

"You're so wise."  Ulrika grinned.  She snapped her fingers.  "The African!"

"The Duke's girl?"

"Yes, what's her name?"

"Gamilla."  Orpha smiled.  "A perfect idea."

"According to Fern, the woman is to be married to the doctor's valet."

"Yes, yes, I know.  He's the bastard who took my hand."  Orpha grunted.

"Oh, of course, dear."  

"Is the marriage nigh?"  Orpha asked.

"In fact, I think the wedding is this week.  The loss of her would be utterly, wonderfully tragic.  Think of it, Orpha.  Marduk would surely improve, feeding upon the tears of the bereft groom-to-be, the  pair of mandrakes, all those simpering servants, even...even their infant son."

"All the more tragic if we were to do it on the day she's to be married."  Orpha chuckled.

"Oh, Orpha."  Ulrika sighed contentedly.  "I must confess my utter admiration for you, my dear.  You're just perfection, really."

"You're too kind."  Orpha waved her stump.  "I'm just a mother wanting to do the best by her son."

Did you miss Chapters 1-341?  If so, you can read them here.  Come back on Monday for Chapter 343 of Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square.  

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