IDLE HANDS

IDLE HANDS

Status: In Progress

Genre: Historical Fiction

Details

Status: In Progress

Genre: Historical Fiction

Summary

October, 1746: After the grueling failure of the Rebellion of '45, life in the Highlands is forever changed. In the fallout of the Battle of Culloden, the English occupy the Highlands, arresting and killing any traitors to the Crown. Despite this, Iona Farquharson is determined to defy them at every turn and will fight to keep her family from falling into ruin. However, their will be some terrific challenges along the way, most especially a certain irritatingly cunning Mohawk-English officer who seems to turn up wherever she goes.

Summary

October, 1746: After the grueling failure of the Rebellion of '45, life in the Highlands is forever changed. In the fallout of the Battle of Culloden, the English occupy the Highlands, arresting and killing any traitors to the Crown. Despite this, Iona Farquharson is determined to defy them at every turn and will fight to keep her family from falling into ruin. However, their will be some terrific challenges along the way, most especially a certain irritatingly cunning Mohawk-English officer who seems to turn up wherever she goes.

Chapter1 (v.10) - TURNABOUT IS FAIR PLAY

Chapter Content - ver.10

Submitted: September 15, 2017

Reads: 912

Comments: 1

A A A | A A A

Chapter Content - ver.10

Submitted: September 15, 2017

A A A

A A A

“I warned ye, did I no?” I quip to the man writhing on the floor. He either ignores me or does not hear for he continues to bemoan on and on about his grievous wounds.

Not so grievous as to persist in squalling, apparently.

In reply, my headache increases in its ferocity. An incessant throbbing takes up residence at the base of my neck, its phantom grip unforgiving around the sore muscles. It burrows into the back of my skull, not unlike how I imagine a trephine to feel.

Breathing through the pain, I shut my eyes. Willing for the stabbing ache to fade away, to recede like the tide. After a few lungfuls of air, the sharp poundings are still present but thankfully muted.

Feeling more like myself, I resume my search.

By the faint glow of a single flame, I ransack the man’s desk drawers. The sweet scent of the beeswax candle perfumes the air, so foreign from the gorse infused tallow of home. A twinge pierces my heart at the thought. I smother the sensation. I cannot afford to be distracted. Shoving and scraping items here and there, I attempt to sort through the ungodly mess.

“Slovenly fop,” I mutter.

I scrunch up my nose and swipe aside a half-eaten, rotting apple. The white flesh of it has completely blackened. Its skin has shrivelled and sagged, colonised with an oppressive white-green mould. Some of it has smeared itself on my fingers. Mildly disgusted, I wipe what has transferred onto a few stray papers in the drawer. There is nothing in here save a labyrinth of objects with little to no monetary value.

Empty inkpots.

Coffee stained receipts about purchases of grain.

Vulgar correspondences from a ‘gentleman’ belonging to The Beggar’s Benison.

A rather lonely glass eye.

Drawing the candlestick nearer, I inspect the sad false organ. It gleams, refracting in the dim light, appearing as wet and alive as its lost twin. Subtle red capillaries scrawl and intertwine across the white surface, faithfully and masterfully painted. Painstaking details in the colouration and pattern of the hazel iris are appreciated as well. Only the pupil gives away the illusion. The dark orb is unable to dilate in the presence of light. Despite the gloomy weight attached to the glass sphere, it is a stunning work of art. The Venetian ocularistes certainly ken how to replicate even the tiniest parts of human anatomy.

The maggot — currently occupied with twitching on the rug — confiscated it from a prisoner, most likely. I cannot fathom for what reason except to torture the poor creature still further.

The revulsion and contempt I feel for this cur manage to burn more fiercely. As if the English army hasn’t already taken enough, tortured enough. I pocket the glass eye without hesitation. I may not be able to reunite it with its owner, but at least it will not be in his possession any longer than need be. 

“Did I or did I no say, ‘Stay yer hand and ye’ll not be harmed’?” I insist distractedly. I then dare to keek at the jackanapes.

I am met with the view of greasy, mud brown locks clumping to his sweaty, paling forehead. Gratefully, they obscure most of his bloated, toad-like features. He snarls in retort, spuming like a rabid stray. I roll my eyes at his dramatics, not bothering to smother the perverse glee and satisfaction I gain from the vignette.

For a fleeting moment, I question if these feelings make me a wicked person. Considering the facts, I think not. My conscience is swiftly assuaged by this knowledge.

 I shrug and return my attentions to the task at hand with a renewed vigour. Opening the last unchecked drawer, I exhale heavily, shaking my head at the sight. The lack of organisation is as palpable as it is galling. My tidy sensibilities recoil from the view. An almost overwhelming urge to sort it all out bleeds through me. I fight it off, focusing on the objects.

More rubbish, more clutter of useless trinkets. Whittled down graphite sticks litter the space, along with a gaggle of melted candle stumps, a handful of silver coins, a short cudgel with a basket hilt, and an incomplete copy of a sordid manuscript.

They aren’t in here either, the keys.

“Daingead,” I breathe.

Vibrating with frustration, I gather up the loose change and tuck it in alongside the glass eye. It’s not as if he needs it. Much good may it do him. Slamming the drawer unnecessarily hard, the desk scurries away from my touch. A muscle above my lip twitches involuntarily as I clench my jaw.

At this point, my patience is as thin and loosely woven as cheesecloth.

I clamp my lips together, pressing them into a thin, cross line. The fierce effects of sleep deprivation finally overwhelm me, drowning nearly all vestiges of rational thought. It bubbles up inside, overflowing like a burn after a hard rain. My very centre simmers, pulsating with heat as if embers have cooried their way under its snug layers. I can hardly bear the sensation of my shift and wool coat against my fevered flesh.

Feeling as if I am about to lose consciousness, I quickly unfasten a few of the buttons of my mustard yellow waistcoat and loosen the stock around my throat. I nearly rip off a few buttons in my haste.

The actions help considerably. An icy draft knifing its way in through a crack in a nearby pane helps all the more — cooling and tickling the perspiration accumulating on my forehead and pooling at the nape of my neck. I sigh happily in relief as the nippy air plays with the wispy curls hovering behind my ears.

Throwing myself back into his plush armchair, I land on the cushion with an audible thump. My heart thuds wildly inside its bony prison. The pale covering stretched over it juddering with its every beat. In an effort to calm myself, I breathe in the crisp, autumn air seeping into the room. Slowly but surely, it stifles most of the indignation scorching the blood in my veins and fraying my nerves.

Vaguely curious as to the status of my stuck pig, I roll my head to the side. The swine gingerly touches the letter opener lodged in his abdomen, feet sluggishly jerking and thrashing about like a landed haddock. Passively, I observe the blood blooming beneath his hands. The crimson pool mars the sweat-stained shirt and silk waistcoat with a surprising rapidity.

Such a waste.

The silk, I mean. It is embroidered beautifully with intricate floral details, sown with a plethora of time-consuming stitches. I identify the tell-tale patterns of Herringbone and French Knots amongst them. Always a shame to see such fine artisanship desecrated. 

Oh God! Blessed Virgin, have pity on me soul! Oh by Christ’s blood!” The portly fouter howls, face as twisted and flushed as a new bairn’s.

The howls are violent enough that I speculate the corpses lying in the kirkyard outside will awaken if he does not cease his racket. However, I most likely need not worry about discovery.

Most of his soldiers are — in some fashion or another — otherwise engaged. The majority are asleep in the barracks in the building across the way. A handful are half-gone with drink in the Captain’s apartments below. Lively notes from a fiddler performing a rousing air of God Save Our Lord the King faintly reaches our ears.

Only the English can croon songs with blind allegiance about a king who is barely ever in the country, I think as I roll my eyes. At that moment, muffled cheers well up through the stone floor and Persian rugs. The hubbub courteously masks the shrill cries of Fort Augustus’ dying governor. 

Screwing up his eyelids good and tight, the cleg bawls. “JESUS CHRIST! IF YOU SEE FIT TO SAVE ME, I’LL — OH LORD GOD! I’LL NEVER SAY ANOTHER UNKIND WORD TOWARDS ANYONE EVER AGAIN! I WILL TREAT MY FELLOW MAN JUSTLY! BUGGERIN’ BLOODY HELL! O-O-O-O-OH GOD!

I wince, though not in sympathy or a misguided sense of guilt, but in discomfort. The beast’s yowling is unbearably loud and incredibly grating on the nerves. My head begins to throb anew at his shrill declarations. I’m of half a mind to cut out his tongue.

There would be too much blood, I remind myself, recalling my reading of Cheselden’s The Anatomy of the Human Body. If the deep lingual artery of the tongue were to be severed, it would spatter, leaving my stolen coat, waistcoat, and stock to be ruined.

It’s not worth the risk.

Wave after wave of fat, sloppy tears race down his bacon-fed jowls, slithering into his ear canals. He snorts viciously in an effort to retract the excess of snot currently oozing out of his flared nostrils. Regrettably, he isn’t very successful. A vein pulsating in his temple throbs dangerously, looking as if it’s about to rupture.

I exhale sharply in exasperation, rolling my eyes once more at his crocodile tears. His contrived act of remorse has gone beyond the realm of ludicrous and into the utterly pathetic. Anyone can plainly tell from one look that his sorrow is for him and him alone.

“Lawks, man,” I exhale sharply, tiredly kneading one of my temples with two fingers. “Have some dignity, will ye? And fer the love of all that is good and holy, haud yer wheesht!” I snap.

The toad flinches back, beady eyes shimmering in the low light. Shrinking into the rug, he curls in on himself. An action that unbiddenly reminds me of a small child snuggling into his mother’s side for comfort. It stirs up memories within the dark recesses of my mind. Memories I wish I could blot out of existence. I shake my head at the irregular comparison, willing the thoughts to scatter from my skull.

The ogre seems resigned somewhat, snivelling only in choked spasms.

Rubbing my forehead slowly, I struggle to ignore his exaggerated sobs and focus on my task. Leaning further back into the cushioned chair, I assume my pondering posture: arms crossed, one hand cradling my jaw, fore and middle fingers pressed to frowning mouth, thumb under my chin.

It may be a mite daft, but the presence of my hands to my mouth sharpens my concentration. Thoughts shift and cocoon themselves into a cloudy chrysalis, growing and metamorphosing into shrewd ruminations.

The keys aren’t in what I imagine are the usual places and are not on his person. He can’t be that canny. The man stabbed himself for Christ’s sake.

 My mind scrambles, tugging at any loose thread of possibility it can grasp. Spinning faster and faster, it mimics the tales I’ve read about the whirling dervishes of the Mussulmans. Their cloud-white hirkas twirling in unison, fluttering out like some unknown winged creature as they strive towards religious ecstasy. To observe it with one’s own eyes it is said to bring an inexplicable sense of calm over the viewer, akin to how many imagine it would be to gawk at the visage of Himself. Enshrouding them within a cloak of an inner peace, one can never hope to achieve such a thing again, no matter how persistent their efforts.

I’m startled out of my puzzlement when an animal like cry overwhelms the room. At first, I mistake it for a red deer bellowing outside the fort’s walls. The unnerving grate sounds again and I realize it to be my unwelcome companion.

His screaking suddenly changes pitch, sounding disgustingly similar to the cacophony of cats mating. I grimace, plugging my ears with my forefingers. Who kent it would take so long for a man to die from such injuries? The governor’s been lingering on for nigh on half an hour for pity’s sake.

 I am well aware he is dying. It is difficult not to be with that deafening, unceasing din. Moreover, his religious interjections are a bit much as well when taking his character into account.

He didn’t take these same cries into consideration on several, separate occasions when he signed the death warrants of countless fathers, husbands, brothers, and sons. Shamelessly tearing families asunder, he pressed them to starve on the street — condemned to a wretched existence of penury. Poor souls whose eyes have no more verve than those mouldering under headstones roam the glens in droves.

Hunger pales the cheek and sinks the eye. They conform to the framework of bone underneath. Skin is dry, waxen, pulled so painfully thin across skulls. Stark collarbones and frail arms stand out in dire contrast, appearing otherworldly. The phrase Death’s head upon a mop-stick comes to mind when one has the misfortune to view them shuffling about.

Visions of scant-fleshed skeletons roving the Highlands plague my thoughts, when a shiny brass stand gracing the desk captures my curiosity. Dropping my fingers from my ears, I cock my head to the side in interest. Snatching it up, the cold metal singes the skin of my palms. I quickly read its pompous lettering: THE HONOURABLE HEROD RADCLYFFE III, ESQ.

“Humph, honourable,” I mumble under my breath.

Leisurely, I turn the object within the frame of my hands. How à propos that the Herods of yore and present are so similar in disposition.

Herod the Great, a king who ordered the ruthless slaughter of thousands of innocents.

His son, Herod Antipas had Saint John the Baptist beheaded.

The honourable Herod Radclyffe the Third, Esquire, a lowly lord who with a swish of his quill’s nib murdered hundreds of Jacobites and their families by proxy.

Huffing a bitter laugh at such a garish display of arrogance, I promptly chuck it into the crackling fireplace. The flames briefly jump out, eagerly curling around the new fuel source. An acute satisfaction blossoms within my chest as I watch. Entranced by the lively undulation of the fire and the degradation of the brass and wood, I let myself get lured into its hypnotic dance.

“YOU BRACKET-FACED BITCH!

My eyebrows scrunch upward in mild surprise as a delighted laugh bubbles up from my throat. I was beginning to wonder when he would direct his impassioned ravings towards me.

Reluctantly, I peel my gaze from the hearth and peer down at the sallow toad. The corpulent rolls of his face have since flushed in ire. A pervasive grey lingers underneath his skin, opaque. A particular tint one only wears at the prospect of impending death. I cannot help but think he wears it well.

I flash him my most dazzling smile and cross my arms over my chest. “So much fer kind words,” I say.

 The scrub’s eyes seem to bulge from their sockets in protest. His left eye is twitching spasmodically. “I shall have you arrested, whore! Strung up like the Scottish savage you are! They’ll —” My loud snort cuts him off effectively. His expression quickly sours into a humorous cross of astonishment and the wrath of God.

I flick my gaze towards my nails, deliberately ignoring the dirks he’s flinging at me with his blood-shot eyes. With indifferent interest, I study the ink embedded into the lines of my skin. The dark iron gall ink perfectly outlines the nails of the first three fingers of my right hand.

“My revoltin’ Mr Radclyffe,” I admonish mockingly. “That is no way ta address a lady. And after all yer, heartfelt protestations tae the Almighty about yer betterment should ye survive this encounter.” I tut, clicking my tongue against the backs of my teeth and sigh.

“’Tis a sin ta lie ta God, ye ken.”

Fuming silently — looking to be nearly bursting at the seams — his complexion currently matches the fine maroon drapes of his four-poster bed. “I’d hardly think of you as a lady, you brazen cunt,” he spits, saliva shooting and frothing from his lips. Weak pre-dawn light glints off the foaming bubbles now tainted an unhealthy red. “You service the cock of the Devil! Murderer . . . Thief . . . Blaggard!

I shoot him a particularly impish grin. “Aye,” I acquiesce, pushing up from the chair and walking towards him. “I am a thief. And I’ve probably committed dealings that would be considered questionable in more civilised company.”

I slowly crouch down, kneeling by his balding head and unsheathe my sgian-dubh from the leg of my riding boot. His eyes widen comically at the sight.

 Immediately, he attempts to crawl away, frantically grasping at the rug for leverage with his pudgy fingers. His frenzied movements call to mind the image of an anxious, endangered slug. Innately, the slug kens he needs to move or die. And yet, it has the capacity to carry out only one action — and not very well.

He hasn’t gained much ground when I grab him. Clutching him by the scruff of his meaty neck, I pin him down so he cannot squirm. The warm, heady bouquet of newly minted halfpennies hangs in the air. Blood always smells this way.

 I lean forward, levelling my face to his, nearly nose to nose. The putrid odour of his breath is continuously released from the foul cavern of missing and rotting teeth. It has me scowl, aiming my head to the side to put more distance betwixt us.

“But do not call me a murderer,” I whisper coldly, narrowing my eyes into slits as I brandish the tip of the dagger against his skin. “For in order tae be that, ye’d havta be human first.”

From the corner of his eye, the trow warily follows each tap of the blade against the lobe of his ear, wincing in time with the flicks. Amused, I take notice of the reflection mirroring myself and my blade in his glittering tar-black pupils. I cannot deny it gives me a truly profound sense of pleasure to personally dole out a taste of the suffering he has inflicted upon others.

Turnabout is fair play, or so they say.  

I confess . . . I toy with the idea of cutting off his ears. A favourite pastime, just so it happens, to be torn straight out of the pages of Radclyffe’s playbook. A grisly hobby kent all too well by Fort Augustus’s neighbouring towns and communities. In villages even as far and remote as Drumbeg, he is known as Gèir an Ear. The infamous necklace of tanned, mummified lugs currently lies on his bedside table.

Though I relish the thought, at this rate, it would be an exercise in futility. He’s already on his way out the door and by his own hand no less.

Ultimately, I decide against it.

What would I do with the ugly, hairy things anyway? A new sporran, mayhap?

I smoothly return my dagger to its hiding place as I rise. Casually sidestepping his half-hearted swipes at my ankles, I say, “And besides, I’m nae the one who ran himself through with his own letter opener.”

He sputters angrily at the gibe, choking in a fury on the blood and spittle seeping from the corners of his mouth. “I’ll have your neck for this, you buffle-headed slag! Mark me! I’ll be wearing your pretty little lugs around me neck! Aye, you’ll scream for the sweet mercy of death by the time they’re done with you!”

He pants labouriously, heaving in great mouthfuls of air. The yellowish-whites of the letch’s eyes pitch and roll madly in his sockets. They sweep the room as if demonic apparitions are lurking in the shadowy corners — waiting to fittingly drag him to Hell in a wheelbarrow, no doubt.

This session of cursing and blethering has gone on long enough for my taste. “God’s teeth, gie it a rest already!” I growl, strolling over to warm myself by the dying fire. Vigorously rubbing my hands together, I will some warmth into my stiff fingers. The friction helps a bit, inciting the blood to flow back into my frozen joints.

I sigh quietly to myself as I go over the ensuing state of this morning’s affairs. Things haven’t gone quite as well as I’ve intended, but what plan does?

Tracing the wild curves of the flames with my eyes, I take a moment to brood over all of the aspects. Nothing could’ve been done differently. Well . . . they could’ve, but I’m finding this version of events much more entertaining.

Now, I have always thought of myself as having a goodly amount of patience. Taking time to reflect with compassion and understanding the position of another individual. Even imagining myself as the stranger living their life to gain perspective. Having a trying little brother thrusts such an invaluable virtue upon one’s self at an early age.

Howbeit, on this morn — with this monstrous scunner — I am thoroughly convinced otherwise. No amount of patience exists in the entirety of Scotland to deal with such an odious hector. I am sure of it. Perhaps, I am persuaded, in the entirety of the Earth itself. Hence, our earlier disagreements, resulting in skewering himself through like raw mutton.

I’ve never been one for believing in the Lord’s Plan, Divine Intervention, or really, the Lord Himself. My guides have always been common sense, science, and reason. Notwithstanding, in this instance, I am willing to make an exception.

The toad’s moans have softened, but are stunningly still present. I exhale a short, hard breath, half in awe, half in irritation. “I dinna believe I’ve ever had the displeasure of waitin’ so long fer man as vile as you to perish . . . Although, now that I think of it, a slow death is better-suited fer ye.”

In rebut, a harsh, rattling sigh is the only response I receive. Discerning the drawn-out breath for what it is, warm relief rushes throughout my body.

“Thank Dia!”

I don’t trust I could’ve endured his presence for much longer.

Now, back to the hunt.

I take a quick turn about the spacious, luxuriously furnished quarters, pondering hiding places. At the sight of a collection of shouldered decanters, I linger. I could use a drink after dealing with Herod the Horrible for nearly forty-five minutes. Mulling over the choices laid before me, I eventually snatch up the one filled with what appears to be whisky. I pull out the octagonal stopper and inhale the strong, burning aroma into my lungs. Lifting a matching port glass from the stand, I pour myself a stiff dram. The pure, clear ring of glass against glass penetrates the pregnant stillness of the air. I appreciate its sweet clinking.

Raising the glass afore me, I align it with the glow emanating from the hearth. The test of a good whisky — other than its taste and smell — is its colour. I admire the bonny amber, all of its shades and tints of gold. Leaping with the fire, it gilds the room through its distorted lens.

Sipping my drink, I savour the rich, oaky notes washing over my tongue, running smoothly down my throat. The governor was a right churl, but damn him if he didn’t have superb taste in whisky.

Continuing my exploration, I gently run my fingers over all of the departed governor’s gimcrackery. Each lavish item touches the whisky-warmed pads of my hand.

Glittering fluted candlesticks resting on the fireplace’s mantle.

Sparkling cloth of gold tapestries line the walls, gifts from King George the Second for Radclyffe’s ‘great loyalty and service to the Crown,’ most likely.

An intricately carved rosewood desk, bursting with wee lions and unicorns — symbols of the House of Hanover — lining its edges with twisted legs leading down to beasts’ paws.

Polished keys of the black lacquer and giltwood harpsichord gleam under soft firelight; the sight of it, dark and narrow, akin to a fine casket.

 I pause there, peering down at where my hand rests. A niggling sensation claws at me, urging me to look here.

“Could it really be that simple?” I ask myself, scoffing at the mere idea. It couldn’t hurt to look, I reason.

Setting my drink down on the harpsichord’s lid, I lower myself onto its bench. Starting at the left-hand side, I play each note, ebony and ivory alike. When at the seventeenth ivory key, it makes a dull plunk. I wiggle it, seeing if it might pry loose.

No such luck.

I exhale a disappointed sigh through my nose. I’m over thinking this. Perhaps, more accurately, I am overestimating the governor’s intelligence. Perhaps, it’s just a defective key.

No. The coincidence is too much.

Rising from the bench, I shift my drink from the lid to the seat.  Opening the lid, it creaks eerily in protest, solidifying the coffin likeness. I find the polished wood of the lid stick with acute familiarity. Lifting it into place to keep it propped open, I dive a hand inside the shadowed mouth. My fingers clumsily fumble through the innards of the instrument until I hear the tell-tale jingle. I brush my hand over the spot once more, finding cold, smooth metal.

“Ha!” I bark, resisting the impulse to dance a jig. “Ha! The key is the key. An’ I thought my hidin’ spots were terrible.”

Curling my forefinger around the ring of metal, I lift my arm out of the harpsichord to reveal a set of iron keys. I toss them up and recapture them in my grasp, revelling in the sensation of victory. Pleasant chimes from the longcase clock jolt me out of my self-congratulation.

I count five.  

Jesus Swivin’ Christ.

Birling around, I peer at the timepiece’s face to confirm. Five o’clock on the bloody dot. Time sure is swift when you’re breaking and entering.

Experiencing a new rush of urgency, I stride to the window facing the northwest. Beyond the square panes, a dusky burgundy hue warms the horizon. There is just enough light to glimpse the dark waters of the loch. Ruby flecks twinkle fitfully on the choppy, murky waves of Loch Ness. The waters slosh a galley moored at the adjacent dock, battering it against it to-and-fro. Dense clouds move rapidly across the slate sky spanning far beyond the silhouettes of steep forested hills. A fierce storm is brewing.

“‘Red sky at night, sailor's delight. Red sky in morning, sailor's warning,’” I recite as I grimly regard the beginnings of a fiery sunrise.

I cannot decide if this will hinder or aid me. It invokes something I once read that resonated with me, an old Chinese proverb. The message came down to its chorus of sorts: ‘Good luck, bad luck. Who can say?’

I’m not quite sure whether I believe in luck or not, good or bad. What I do ken for sure is this:

Dawn is immanent within the hour.

Promptly, I turnabout on my heel and am met with Death. It confirms what I had already known: the honourable Herod Radclyffe the Third is dead.

He is as ugly in death as he was in life. How fitting.

His skin is now ashen and mottled. Crooked teeth peek out from behind his chapped, blood-stained lips, mouth gaping. The blood that had spilt from the corners almost appears to have carved claret-red gashes into his jaw. Trickling down, they join the puddle formed by his mortal injury. Inflamed eyes are forever open in a glassy stare as empty as the false eye resting in my pocket. The pupils have fully dilated, leaving only a sliver of his watery, sickly green irises visible.

I’ve seen this expression on far too many a person’s face in my short life. Each one no different from the last. Thinking, praying, hoping they’ll be one of the few to escape.

To cheat Death.

None of them succeeds, of course. For it is an impossible task.

They believe themselves to be the exception and when proven wrong —eternally appear to be struck dumb at the arrival of their own demise.

Death is the final, impartial judge, more than willing and capable to snatch up anyone and everyone. No matter their sins, age, creed, colour, sex or wealth, Death comes for all. As strange as it may sound, I find a certain bit of comfort in that dogma.

Drifting upwards into my nostrils, the pungent scent of hot pish and shit suddenly permeates the atmosphere. It comes from Radclyffe’s body. I always dread this part — the involuntary purging of the corpse’s bodily fluids. Repulsed, I keep my mouth shut to prevent tasting it in the air and further exacerbating the situation. I cough, gagging at the unavoidable smell invading my nose. My stomach revolts. The tortured organ twists, squeezing and knotting in on itself.

Stepping over his empty soul case posthaste, I down the rest of my whisky, hoping it’ll settle my roiling gut. The sparking flush of alcohol shivers under my skin, dulling my plucked nerves. I stay still, allowing the sensation to wash over me. Looking around, I search for a place to rest the empty glass.

Debating where to place it, a wicked thought suddenly wanders into my head. A wide, satisfied grin slowly pulls at the corners of my mouth.

 


© Copyright 2019 Haylie Ryann. All rights reserved.

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