Monday, February 17, 2014
A Recipe for Punch, Chapter 61
"You...you...you're not welcome here." Morgana sputtered at the shade.
"I?" The duchess' spirit howled. "I? I am not welcome?"
Morgana shivered at the horrific sight of the glowing phantasm; at its face--so familiar, so much like her own, yet unmoving. Beneath the rigid face, Morgana could see that the specter was almost transparent. What little she could see of it seemed to hang like wind-ruined tatters.
"Leave here." Morgana continued, as firmly as she could. She recalled what Gamilla had told her earlier should she encounter something evil. Gamilla had said to stay resolute and to command the...oh, what had she called it?
Morgana felt the breath leave her body.
Whatever it was...she was to tell it to leave. Firmly.
"Be gone with you." Morgana said. "Be gone."
"Do you like these rooms?" The vision asked through unmoving lips. "They are red. Red. Red like boiled lobster."
A shrill laugh arose from the shade. "Look at you. I hate to see my own countenance atop such a creature."
"Say the same?" The specter laughed. "Do not try to be clever with me, beast."
Tears welled in Morgana's eyes.
"Have I hurt you?" The duchess asked mockingly. "Tell me, were you always like this? Or did something happen to mangle you?"
"B...b...born." Morgana stuttered. "It grew worse as I..."
"No wonder you weren't wanted. No wonder you were given away. A mistake already, and then--that. I do not blame my father for throwing you away. I would have done the same."
"And you did!" Morgana said, finding both her strength and her tongue in her anger. "You cast away a perfectly lovely daughter just because she was..."
"A mistake." The phantom laughed. "An unwanted trouble. A stain left behind from an afternoon with a rough hand."
"Still a person! And, a fine one. Yet, the daughter you loved...from what I hear she was as much of a horror as you. She, too cast away a child."
"Was?" The motionless visage intoned. "My Barbara is alive and well. That child got what it deserved. A bastard raised by two unnatural..."
"Don't speak of them that way!" Morgana argued.
"You would defend them. You're as much of a monster." The apparition moaned. "With your claws and your rough bark and that leg like a fallen tree. The only difference is that their deformity does not show."
"You are the only monster here, and, you shall be the one who is cast out this time." Morgana snapped.
"Never." The spirit shrieked, suddenly seeming to appear closer to Morgana. "Never."
Morgana's bravery slipped away again.
"I am strong." The spirit continued. "You are weak. You are diseased. You are unwanted. You...you were never even mentioned. Father told me everything. Everything. I knew of others. There are others with our blood in their veins who were unwanted. Men, tilling soil. Men who never knew that they have noble blood mixed with the dirt of scullery maids in their hearts. We laughed about it, Father and I. We laughed about how they would never know. He told me of all of them. Even of the ones from before I was born. Yet, he never told me of you. That is how little you mattered. I did not learn of you until Jackson and Quick brought you here for me whilst I waited in the cupboard. Waited after the indignity of death, the indignity I suffered at the hands of that woman in America who took the life from me. I shall live again. I shall be restored and I shall reclaim what is mine."
Morgana shook her head silently.
"When I do, I shall dispatch them all. That weak, mad son of mine. His lover. That plain, blonde mistake. Julian's beloved, simpering staff--especially that former slave who thinks herself so powerful. And, most of all you--but not until you have served me, Morgana."
"Oh, yes. Now I know why Father never told me of you. It was not shame. He never knew what a horror he produced. It was not his blood which made you a monster. It was the blood of whatever woman he lay with. His blood made the one perfect thing about you--your face. MY face! I shall have it. It is mine to have."
"I shall have it, Morgana." The vision continued. "And, when I have finished with you. What remains will be devoured. I have always loved lobster."
Did you miss Chapters 1-60 of A Recipe for Punch? If so, you can read them here. Come back tomorrow for Chapter 62.