Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Recipe For Punch, Chapter 93

Chapter 93
A Promise

"Come to me."  The Duchess called to Lennie.  "Come to me, and, all your pain will be over, Ellen."

"I do not answer to that name."  Lennie replied.  She blinked to focus her eyes, but could only see her mother's now familiar face as it seemed to float in a bluish haze.

"Come to me."  The mask repeated.

"What is this place?"  Lennie snapped.  She tried to move, to look around, but found that she was immobile as if her head was fixed in place, caught in some kind of vice.

"Never mind that, Ellen."

"I shan't tell you again."  Lennie replied.  

"I could almost like you."  Pauline answered through unmoving lips.  "You are sharp.  You inherited some of my fire.  You remind me a bit of myself.  It's a pity you're so plain."

"I am nothing like you.  I have nothing of you in me."  Lennie answered angrily.

"You have much of me in you.  You are half me, and half of that Scottish Brute.  I think that is where you've gotten your unfortunately broad nose and chin.  Pity.  What's appealing on a man is not so desirable on a woman.  Now, Barbara--the daughter that I kept--she's a beauty.  She's got the fire, too.  She lacks, however, your intellect.  If only she had gotten that, she wouldn't have fouled everything up so dreadfully and I'd still be alive.  I cannot help but blame her for my having been insanguinated and hanged by that terrible woman in America.  Ah well, these things happen!  It shall soon be rectified.  You can be part of it, Ellen, if you come to me."

"Do not refer to me by that name!"  Lennie screamed.

The specter continued to ignore her.

"Believe me when I tell you this, Jackson's little fairy tale reenactment was not part of our careful plans.  Still...it could work to our mutual benefit."

"Answer me--where am I?"

"The Romanists would call it Purgatory, I think.  I don't know.  Theology never interested me.  You are not quite dead.  Limbo?  Who knows?  You are in that blissful state between life and death, Ellen.  The decision is yours to make.  You can join me now and save yourself a great deal of suffering, or...you can wait..."

Lennie laughed.  "Do you truly think I would follow you anywhere?"

"I am your mother."  The vision chuckled.

"You're as much of a mother to me as a rock."  Lennie growled.

"Have you any idea what they're planning on doing to you?"  Pauline's phantom continued.  "I can hear them.  Your dear, dear, lunatic brother and his lover?  Just now, they've carried your limp body to the house--they and that Italian valet--and they're talking about draining your blood from your body and replacing it with the blood from your brother's own living body.  It sounds positively grotesque."

"You are one to judge what's grotesque."

"You see?  You are sharp."  Pauline continued.  "Ellen...spare yourself that indignity.  I can release you.  I can make you whole.  All you need to do is make a promise to me.  A simple promise."

"I would burn in Hell first."

"That can be arranged."  The Duchess answered.

"You are nothing but smoke and noise."  Lennie replied.  

"As you are so fond of telling me."  The strange face hissed.  "I've tried to be kind to you, but you've given me no choice.  Now, I must make your decision for you."

Did you miss Chapters 1-92 of A Recipe for Punch?  If so, you can read them here.  Come back tomorrow for Chapter 94.  

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