Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Recipe for Punch, Chapter 45

Chapter 45

Robert and Punch gasped, both startled.

"How are my dear brothers?"  Lennie smiled as she entered the pantry.

She paused as the two men chuckled.

"Oh, dear."  She laughed.  "I didn't mean to frighten you."

"I'm sorry, Lennie."  Robert replied.  "We're both a bit on edge."

"Ah."  Lennie answered.  "I can understand that."  She waved her hand in front of her face.  "I see the...scent...has not dissipated since I've been upstairs."

"No, we've found the source of it."  Robert pointed to the cupboard.

"Me chum here just forced open the lock, he did.  Like a proper criminal.  Used to pinch biscuits, him and Cecil."  Punch said proudly.

"Not all the time."  Robert blushed.

"You had to break the lock?"  Lennie asked.  "You didn't have the key?"

"No."  Punch shook his head.  "Jackson just so happened to leave that one off of the ring."

Lennie nodded.  "I see."  She sighed, pointing the the pantry door.  "There's something in here that we're not meant to see, I'm sure.  Miss Blessum is pacing just outside the door."

"Gregory, too?"  Punch asked.

"No, he's at the center of a small mob in the servants' hall."  Lennie explained.  "You should have heard the hushed whispers as I walked by.  They all rose, as one would expect, but the suspicious looks...you'd have thought I was the Inquisition."

"Gregory's stirring."  Robert shook his head.  "We should have let him go.  Ivy as well."

"I don't disagree.  Still, we do need them both for awhile longer.  They may have information that could be useful."  Lennie shook her head.

"Just 'til we figure out what Jackson was 'tendin' to do with Auntie Morgana.  By the way, how is she?"  Punch asked.

"I left her with Violet and one of my tea gowns.  Violet is arranging her hair and the two of them are having a very nice conversation about Auntie's life in the side show.  Auntie is recalling some of the more...colorful and interesting people she knew whilst there and Violet seems quite enthralled by it all.  Furthermore, I believe this is the first time Morgana has ever had anyone tend her hair.  The poor dear is quite overwhelmed by everything.  She was  especially emotional when I told her of our intention to have a wardrobe prepared for her.  Did you know Gamilla had introduced herself to her?"

"No."  Robert shook his head.

"I'm not surprised."  Punch smiled.  "Ain't it just like our Gamilla to welcome a new member of the family?  Will Auntie Morgana join us for breakfast?"

"No, she prefers to take her meals alone.  I think she's rather...shy...of eating in front of others.  I believe she has difficulty manipulating utensils."  Lennie replied.

"Oh, poor thing."  Punch sighed.

"Which reminds me, Robert, I need you help in devising some sort of shoes for her to wear."  Lennie said, unclipping the scent flacon from her chatelaine and holding it to her nose.  

"I hadn't thought of that."  Robert coughed.

"It's gettin' unbearable."  Punch exhaled.  "We're all avoidin' it, but we know we gotta see what's in that cupboard."

"Oh, how bad could it be?"  Lennie said as brightly as she could.  "Jackson is peculiar, and rude, but he's not...not a ghoul."

Robert and Punch were silent.

"Go on, then."  Lennie walked toward the cupboard.  "Let's open it."

"No."  Robert stepped in front of Lennie.  "I was going to do it.  I'll carry it through."

"Chum, it's...best I do it.  It's because o' me that you're all here."  Punch said.  He walked forward and put his hands on the cupboards handles.

Inhaling, he pulled open the cabinet doors.

The three of them stared for a few seconds, unsure that what they were seeing was real.  

"Robert..."  Lennie whispered, "Is that...what I think..." 

Robert managed to reply "yes," just as Lennie fainted.  He caught her before she hit the floor.

Punch stood--wide-eyed--in front of the cupboard.  Without turning he asked, "Is Lennie all right?"

"I've gotten her to a chair."  Robert answered.  "Dear Punch, come away from it."

"Chum..."  Punch whimpered.

"Come away from it,"  Robert repeated.

"Is it really...?"  Punch asked.

"Yes."  Robert said gently.  

"How?"  Punch asked.

"I don't know."  Robert replied.

"This is my mother's corpse."  Punch coughed.

"Yes."  Robert nodded.

"My mother's corpse."  Punch repeated before vomiting violently onto the floor.

Did you miss Chapters 1-44 of A Recipe for Punch?  If so, you can read them here.  Come back on Thursday for Chapter 46.  We will be taking the day off tomorrow.  

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