I sat in my quarters and sat comfortably on my bed. I pushed off my crystal sandals and took down my hair. I loosened my bodice and sprawled on my bed. My sisters were no doubt amusing themselves with petty games that only teach numbers and letters. I pitied my siblings for their limited intellect not to see the dullness of their time. Perhaps, I thought, I should seek out lost souls; perhaps for Liza to practice her own torturous powers on. My trade was to take what I called “lost souls” from the human populous just to watch them suffer. Death appealed to me. It was an obsession. With every new soul I performed a new means of death upon them. I had done it all and Liza wanted to follow in my footsteps.
This was when the Robert Michael character came to mind again. He has to be weakened enough for her to handle. I stood up from my bed and sat at my vanity before my mirror. My violet blush had faded. My curls seemed to be separated as well. I prayed I appeared more presentable at super than I had then. But no matter. Now I had to search for the mouse. I searched through the window that was my mirror. It was a gift my grandmother had perfected and taught to us. We merely had to look into a mirror and think of what we wanted to see or find and there it would appear for us as if we were looking through a lucid window or even no window at all. We could focus on what we wanted and change the angle to see something better. It was all in the control of our minds, a vital lesson in life.
My own beautify reflection faded out of the glass and a primitive living bunker appeared. Four young men resided here. The other three were surrounding one of the four. He sat confused. He held his throat as if being choked. One of the three, an innocent with no anger in his soul-poor clean heart; never did live fully with a heart that pure-took their bright red communication device with a grip and expression of terror. He spoke to someone at the other end quite fretfully. Unfortunately, as was one of the drawbacks to this spell, I could not hear what he was saying. Another, a small fellow with the ego as big as hearts he had broken, conversed with the third, a clown of sorts with nearly an evil bone in his scrawny body. They seemed pathetic in their mangy and wretchedly inexpensive abode. Probably too cheap to get a haircut, I thought as I smiled at the sight of their long disheveled hair.
What perplexed me most was the care they had for their own poor souls. No humans that I had met cared enough for their souls what with clogging them with smoke and unknown powders. Obviously the absence of their companion’s voice concerned them but the dread and worry they had as well was nothing I had ever seen. I began to wonder had the act of the pilfering of this lad’s voice been brought out in vain? I know not to deal with the innocent unless in dire need and Cylia--young vulnerable Cylia-- should know better than to fish in the sea of the innocent prematurely.
I “turned off” the image from my mirror and stood from my vanity to prepare for the next event of the evening which was, of course, the history reading. But one thought continued to run circles in my head: what would become of all this? Why was I drawing myself into this? Obviously, had this been serious, I would be followed by the pleas of my sister and especially Cylia. There were plenty of lost souls out there and none of these were lost at all. Something inside me told me that this was not about this boy or Cylia or Liza at all. This was all about Diana and I had to warn her before it was too late...
It was that time to assemble before the history reading, another dull social gathering where one of us would read a passage from the family bible and we could learn another ingredient to our family. This night was my turn to read. All the young ones enjoyed my presentations for I had the most life and visual beauty while reading. You could not tell them from curious kittens or mortal children if we all did not remain at a youthful appearance that was predestined by our mother. She ordained we would not age over our twentieth year of life in appearance as only my mother could. The minds, however, had varied among generations and some had not aged above their fifth year of life. I felt blessed to be the most beautiful of my sisters as my mother always praised. I was the brightest and most learned as praised by my family. But I always had the time to read the words of my family. My family came first as always…
I was a poor girl. Phoenix was what I was called. I never knew how special I be until I met my first love…
…and my last.
His name was Michael or at least so I was told. He seemed pleasant but you cannot judge a book by its cover, as they say.
My cousin, Veronica-one who conversed only with the wealthy and well off-aquatinted with Michael at a formal ball. It was a magnificently gay event. The crystal was at its most lucid and the wine flowed like a forest spring. Veronica invited Michael back to her room and locked him in. She inspected him, examining his every crevasse inside and out. They did not immerge until the next morning.
Veronica offered him passage home but he seemed reluctant to accept but my cousin made sure the moth would follow her luscious flame. I greeted Veronica on the threshold in my dress of rags and soot. It was a tradition to meet my cousin and her lover of the evening. This one that she brought home was beautiful, more so that the others, the poor fools. He was petite in face and body and his gorgeous locks shown black and reflected the sunrays with smoothness and beauty. I felt myself falling in love with the mortal. I prayed Veronica would give this mouse to me when the cat had finished with him.
That was my mistake…
The mouse was a rat. He played with my feelings, teased me in song, and squeezed my heart dry. Veronica lost all interest in him far before I-she was always the wise one. He constantly mocked me as he road by on his stallion and I, knee deep in filthy earth and mud, cried. I would see him laugh and call on Veronica just to insult me. I knew he had no emotional intentions with a woman. Perhaps he was blind to Veronica’s hints of disinterest and he would not stop taunting us so it was up to me to stop the treachery.
I retreated to my attic of solitude and retrieved mother’s spells. My powers were weak but still present within. I borrowed Veronica’s silken scarf specially concocted with various toxins of choice. I brought up the image of the weasel. He was sitting as his fire no doubt wallowing in his own self. I threw the scarf about the image’s neck as if he were truly there and tightened the grip. I could see him grab his throat though he was only grabbing at air since he knew not what was choking him. I could feel his heart race and a chill run through his body as the mysterious attack was killing him. Then I could feel his heart stop and his limp body suspended from the phantom scarf. I released him and allowed his lifeless body to fall to the ground. I cackled hard as the image faded knowing he was dead and the poor maiden killed him; the maiden he ridiculed so did him in. He who passes me and laughs has signed his death wish.
“Where is Antie Veronica’s cursed scarf?” Liza inquired as I closed the volume to replace it in the bookshelf once more.
“In the possession of her successor, no doubt,” I answered. “Old cousin Phoenix did not have the courage to keep it from her after that.”
“Who is Auntie Veronica’s successor?” a young one, Virginia, inquired.
“Cylia,” I called, “do you still possess the scarf or have you traded it in for something of less importance?”
“I still have it but I have not found how to use it,” Cylia answered. “The instructions have been lost for decades.”
“Perhaps they are among the papers,” I said. The “papers” referred to our sell books and documents not within bounded literature in the library but rather collected dust in the attic. “I’m sure someone will help you find it.”
“But be careful, Cylia,” Annalisa proclaimed. “That scarf is one of the most powerful and most deadly to our name. Use it with caution, dear, and do not use it in vain.”
“It will not work directly on a mortal,” I explained further.
“And so Miriam will bore us with her infinite wisdom of deadly devises,” Diana interrupted rudely. Liza turned to her face and shushed her just as rudely.
“Continue, Mir,” Liza said.
“Thank you, Liza,” I cleared my throat and continued, “I was just explaining that as stated in dear Phoenix’s passage, she had to use it on a concocted image. This, I’ve surmised, is because the toxins only work on the souls and not the body.” An “image” is merely a three dimensional projection similar to that on a mirror only this projection is of the person’s soul shaped and even clothed as the being from which it resides. It is a simple trick and very useful when it comes to poisoning, internal tortures such as holding lungs shut to prevent respiration, or even internal healing. But when it comes to torture of the soul, an “image” is the only effective way.
“And we all know soul torture is your specialty,” Diana interjected once again.
“Diana, please,” Annalisa scolded. “Your sister is speaking.”
“If Diana cares to leave, I will not be offended,” I spoke grinning at my sibling. And thus she stood. With a similar motion as she portrayed in my room, she stormed out of the study being followed closely behind by youthful expressions of awe and wonderment. Diana despised my gruesome knowledge and when I would use it for entertainment or enlightening purposes. I had tolerated it for years so it was not uncommon for Diana to storm out like this.
I continued to explain the lethal powers of our namesake scarf. What I purposely neglected to reveal--so as no to frighten the young ones--was its effects on our kind, one aspect of this weapon that gave the scarf such a legacy. The potions and toxins used to create it do no harm alone but together they have the power to stop the immortal heart of a sorceress such as the family of its creator.
I watched the young ones’ eyes. Only one stood out above the others and to my surprise, it was not Liza, but rather it was Cylia! Perhaps it was the name Michael used in the story--similar to the Robert Michael of whom she had just stolen the voice. Perhaps it was because the scarf in question was ordained to her and would be in her possession until her hapless end. But my intuition told me I had a new pupil.
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