Monday, April 14, 2014

A Recipe for Punch, Chapter 92

Chapter 92

"What's all the shouting?"  Mr. Quick nattered as he descended the ladder.  "I can hear you all the way in the kitch..."  He stopped mid-sentence as he Ivy standing over William's quivering, naked, bleeding body--his alabaster torso marbled with blood.

"What have you done?!"  The vicar gasped.

"I've done what we had planned to do all along, one way or another."  Ivy snapped.

"Not now!"  Quick replied.  "Not now!"

"What difference does it make?"  Ivy shrugged, wiping the knife on her apron.

"Tremendous difference!"  Quick bellowed, forgetting his own warning to keep quiet.

Suddenly coming to his senses, he climbed the ladder again, partially, and closed the trapdoor.  Descending again, he stood menacingly over Ivy.  "Have you any idea what you've done?  The skin must be fresh!"

"He's not dead yet."  Ivy poked at William's sputtering body with the toe of her boot.

"Don't!"  George shouted.

"Keep your voice down, boy."  Quick scolded.

George took Morgana by the elbow and started toward the ladder.

"Don't try it."  Quick shook his head.  "Causer and Hargrave are both up there.  They'll beat you both mercilessly, and do worse to the Lobster Woman, if they see your faces."

"Scum,"  George growled.

"Do you think you intimidate me?"  Quick laughed.   "Snarling like some beast--like a wolf or a bear?  Do you know what you are to me right now?  You're a poor, naked little boy at my mercy.  You, this dying lad and your monstrous female companion.  Now, you could overpower me and try to escape, or, you could rely on me to help you."

"Help us?"  George barked.  "You're going to skin us like fish!"

"Quiet!"  The vicar warned.  "You make it sound so cruel.  "When truly, it's an act of kindness.  Look, boy, you're just a servant.  You and this sick, little man here.  And, we even need to address all that's wrong with Morgana?  We will liberate your souls so you may reside with the Lord and your bodies will be put to better use.  It's a kindness, you see.  It's a blessing.  You should be thanking us."

Quick inhaled deeply.  "Now, Ivy, please help me stop William's bleeding so that we might keep him alive until we can perform the procedure properly."

"It's too late."  Ivy smiled.

Quick frowned.

"While you were talking about the Lord, the lad gave up the ghost."  Ivy laughed.

"This won't do."  Quick stamped his foot.  "He's useless now."

"We can get another boy."  Ivy shook her head.  "Or better yet, a girl.  There are some lovely girls at the Hall.  The mandrake Duke brought some pretty ones from London."

"Don't you touch them!"  George shouted.

"We cannot use a girl, not for the skin.  I've explained this to you already, Ivy."  Quick spat.

"Well, then, we can get one of the farm lads."

"Too rough."

"Oh!"  Ivy's eyes brightened.  "There's a visitor.  He brought a man.  He's young."

"Of course..."  Quick nodded.  "I saw him.  He'll do.  I'll have Causer get him tonight.  Don't think, Ivy, that this absolves you of the sin of your mistake."

"Certainly not."  Ivy scoffed.

"Jackson will not be pleased by this."  Quick continued.

"Doubtlessly."  Ivy smirked.  "Mr. Quick, you've not even asked about me.  The lad knocked me over.  I've been injured.  I'm a sad old woman, you know."

"I know."  Quick nodded.  "And, I am concerned for you, Ivy.  This is why I've decided to take your continued safety in consideration."

"Have you?"  Ivy leaned in.

"Yes."  Quick replied.  "You shall stay down here with your dear Morgana and this lad...and this dead one.  That way, we'll have no more trouble.  And, you won't have to harm yourself climbing up and down and up and down."

"You're going to leave me here?"  Ivy hissed.

"As an act of mercy, yes."  Quick nodded.  He turned to walk to the ladder, pausing to add.  "Jackson has just returned from the crypt.  We have him nicely tucked away.  He managed to...well, let's say he managed a surprisingly poetic stab at the forgotten daughter.  However, now, the fey Duke will be all the more incensed.  He and his mary-ann are, at present, at the crypt, no doubt, wailing in grief.  Given the proximity, we must be quiet--you understand.  They're sure to be stopping by for explanations and questions etcetera.  We mustn't give them any more than is necessary.  So, Ivy, I leave the management of your capably bony hands."

"You can't leave me here."  Ivy pleaded.

"It's an act of mercy, as I said."  Quick smiled.  "For all of us."

Did you miss Chapters 1-91 of A Recipe for Punch?  If so, you can read them here.  Come back tomorrow for Chapter 93.

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