Tuesday, March 4, 2014
A Recipe for Punch, Chapter 70
"Chum?" Punch whispered in Robert's ear, gently moving a curl of his companion's dark hair with his index finger. Listening to Robert's deep, steady breathing, Punch knew that he was asleep. As quietly as possible, he rolled out of bed so as not to disturb Robert. He knew he couldn't get past Dog Toby's watchful eyes and ever-alert ears. From the foot of the bed, the terrier looked up quizzically. Punch shook his head. "Sorry, little fella. Go back to sleep."
Toby continued to stare at his master.
"It's somethin' I gotta do." Punch shrugged. He looked over as Robert stirred slightly, rolling over and burrowing deeper into the down of the bed.
"I can't talk 'bout it anymore." Punch whispered to the dog. "I know I keep sneakin' outta bed. This'll be the last time. It's...it's theater, little one. That's all."
Punch crept to the over-stuffed chair where Charles had left his dressing gown and silently put on the garment as he slipped his bare feet into his soft, red velvet night shoes.
Dog Toby continued to stare.
Punch shook his head. "You stay." He mouthed as he slowly opened the door and bowed into the passage, closing the door behind him with barely a sound.
Instead of looking forward into the dark labyrinth of the passage, lined as it was with grim portraits, he looked at the ceiling--studying the intricacies of the vaults and the painted patterns. He recalled how Julian would sometimes hide amongst the pedestals and busts in the galleries and copy those patterns in his sketch books as a boy. Some of the very first brooches he'd every designed repeated those patterns. Those were the ones he had most hated--they had most hated.
"Better watch where I'm goin'," Punch muttered to himself as he started to veer toward a long, low console. Still, he thought, bumping a knee was better than seeing that door. He loathed the approach of that door--the door to Julian's old rooms.
Nevertheless, he knew he had to go.
He knew she was waiting there for him.
That was why he'd gone when they first arrived at Fallbridge Hall. That was what had led Gamilla all the way to those rooms--rooms she'd never even known before. Gamilla had known that something wicked was there, something was waiting for him. Then, it was just the hint of something horrid. Now, she'd been released.
How many times had poor, unsuspecting Julian walked into his rooms to find his mother waiting for him--fuming? Slightly drunk? Irrational? She'd fly into a rage and pounce.
This time, the same body was going, but he wasn't Julian. He was Mr. Punch. This time, he wasn't unsuspecting.
Yet, she was waiting. He knew it. After all, she had yet to appear to him, and, wasn't he the one she most wanted to destroy? She had no cause to haunt Lennie. Not really. The duchess had given Lennie away at birth. They'd never met. Similarly, his mother never knew Morgana. Taunting Robert, Charles and Gerard--that was just the sort of amusement the duchess would enjoy. Yes, that made sense.
However, her grand return from the dead wouldn't be complete without a scene with her most despised child, and, Punch knew he had to make his entrance.
Did you miss Chapters 1-69 of A Recipe for Punch? If so, you can read them here. Come back tomorrow for Chapter 71.