SERVANT OF THE SCORPION – Chapter 10, The Conquistador

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SERVANT OF THE SCORPION – Chapter 10, The Conquistador

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            The next morning we were bounding down to La Antigua in Irma’s Rover.  I sat up front next to Irma.  I did not look her in the eye.  I pretended to study the hills rolling by in the sunshine as I tried to glimpse Lucas and Esmeralda in the back.  Lucas was turned toward her saying something and smiling.  I could see that she was looking down and smiling.  I almost bit my tongue off.

            Irma parked on a cobblestone street near the town center.  Lucas and Irma headed off up the street.  Esmeralda said to me “We’re early.  There is something I want to show you.”

            She led me up another street lined with little shoulder-to-shoulder buildings each painted a different color.  We did not hurry.  I wanted time to slow down even more.  I begged the sun to stand still for this perfect morning.  I didn’t have anything interesting to say to Esmeralda so I just asked, “Do you know Irma very well?”

            “You could say that.  She’s my sister.”

            Esmeralda must have seen my eyes bulge.

            “I don’t tell everyone that.”

            I was shocked and flattered at the same time.  Esmeralda just opened up to me.

            “Our family lived in a bad zone of Guatemala City.  Irma is my older sister and she was abused by my father.”

            “When Irma ran away from home at fourteen we heard that she had become a prostitute to make money.  We didn’t really know for sure.”

            “My mother took me and went to the United States.”

            “Itza is my mother’s sister.  She told us that Irma had joined a mara, a violent gang.  When my father disappeared Itza assumed that it was Irma’s gang that did it.  We don’t really know.

            “But I returned here with La Paloma Blanca Ministries and Itza and I found Irma.  The Ministry helped us a lot.”

            “Irma said she was desperate to get out of the gang so the Ministry got her a job at the Mudéjar orphanage, far from her gang.”

            “Irma has been quietly dedicated to the orphanage ever since.  She can still seem pretty intense at times even now, I know.”  Esmeralda became silent.

            I thought to myself, “You still don’t really know, do you?”

            I became emboldened and blurted, “What about Lucas?”

            “Lucas?”

            “He doesn’t seem much like an apprentice pastor.”

            “Oh?  And what does he seem like?”

            “He seems like someone that a pastor would be counseling abstinence to.”

            Esmeralda looked at me and covered her mouth as she burst out laughing.  She laughed until tears ran down the faint gold crosses on her cheeks.

            “I’m going to short-circuit” Esmeralda sighed as she wiped her eyes, “It’s a good thing we are here.”  We stopped in front of a white-washed building with deep set windows.

            “What is this place?”

            “A little museum.  Come inside.  I think you will like this.”

            Esmeralda paid the woman sitting inside the doorway.  I followed Esmeralda as she headed directly to a specific lantern-lit alcove.

            “Here we are.”

            “What is this?”

             She began to lecture me.

            “These are personal possessions taken from the Mudéjar estate before it became an orphanage.”

            “The estate was given in 1527 to one of Pedro de Alvarado’s conquistadors as a reward in the conquest of Guatemala.”

            “The conquistador’s ‘official’ name was Don Gonzalo Contreras but he was actually a Spanish Moor named Abdul Aghrab who volunteered to fight in the new world for a chance at wealth.”

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            Esmeralda was mesmerizing me with her story.  I began to feel light headed.

            “Are you alright?” she asked.

            I felt like I was going to throw-up.

            “Alonzo?”

            “Esmeralda,” I saw her name come out of my mouth as if off of a diving board and my mind just ran and jumped.

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            “I love you, Esmeralda.”

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            Esmeralda finally took my arm, “Alonzo, you have a lot of bad habits.”

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WHISPER YOUR NAME INTO MY HEART (2)

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Chapitre II ~ Dans La Forêt De Vieux Hommes (In the Forest of Old Men)

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i enter the council chamber of the King my father.  Herein is the forest of old men with their voices rustling above me saying ~ Why do we concede such tribute to Hrolf?~ and another saying ~ Even the great heathen army of Hrolf could not take the Île de la Cité ~ and another saying ~ He piled the bodies of executed prisoners into La Seine to fashion a shallows over which to attack the Tower ~ and another saying ~ The twelve in the Tower fought to the death and still Hrolf could not take the Île de la Cité.~

        And yet this day I learned that I have been pledged to this heathen Hrolf The Walker in marriage.

        From across the chamber I see the King my father and the Queen my mother sitting.  And standing between them is Mafeo, the Venetian advisor to the King my father.  I call him Mafeo The Motherfucker.  He festers with all the cunning and deceit unpossessed by the King my father.  It appears that cunning and deceit are required in order to rule men.  Mafeo whispers into the ear of the Queen my mother.

        The Queen my mother speaks saying ~ Hrolf and the great heathen army have seen that we live a better life.  Always have we given the heathen army tribute to go away.  Now we offer land and title and power in the service of a Christian King.~

        A man speaks saying ~ Can we really believe that Hrolf will kiss the foot of the King?~

        The Queen my mother answers with a smile saying ~ His lips shall relish the foot of the King the way he relishes our food and wine.~

        There is laughter.  I speak loudly saying ~ And so Mother you will offer me to Hrolf like a piece of cheese?~

        The King my father pounds his chair saying ~ Giselle!  Insolence!~

        The Queen my mother speaks bitterly saying ~ Giselle, you have always been spiteful and ungrateful.  And all know that I nearly died to give you birth.~

        The Queen my mother feigns weeping.  I speak saying ~ What difference to me?  I have always been dead to you!~

        The King my father pounds his chair with both fists and rises up roaring ~ You shall dare not raise your chin thus to the Queen your mother!~

        My eyes boil in tears and I speak saying ~ If Hrolf may kiss the foot of the King, oh, Father then the Queen, oh, Mother, may kiss my ass!~

        I stomp out of the chambers and the forest of old men is as impotently silent as are felled trees behind a passing storm.

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A TASTE FOR LIFE

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A TASTE FOR LIFE

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        Trotty Wilde rides her bicycle (named) Kardashian up and down the slopes of the Coyote Hills trails at night. In these wee hours, Trotty enjoys being the only bicyclist, illuminating her own path with that 400-lumen LED headlight.

        Trotty swoops out of the trail head and onto the public street that circumvents Coyote Hills. She pedals furiously up the incline in a triumphant finale to her workout, focusing only ahead, savoring the deep muscle burn, the rapidly chilling sweat, and the bicyclist’s endorphin high.

        Suddenly a large dark automobile, without headlights, comes up from behind Trotty and side-swipes her. Trotty is flung away sideways onto the sidewalk, bouncing off of her helmeted head and rolling like a rag doll.

        Trotty can feel as she impacts and tumbles but the sensation is not yet pain, only knowledge of what pain must come.

        She faints as the deluge of pain now quickly engulfs her.

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        Trotty awakens. The pain closes upon her consciousness like water upon a hole in water. She sees a blurry figure above herself.

        Trotty hears a man saying down to her, “I have called for an ambulance. Can you hear me? You’re going to be fine.”

        Trotty faints again.

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        When she again awakens, her first conscious thoughts are of dread at being conscious. Her jagged world is pulsing with a red light. She realizes there are now other figures above her.

        Another voice is saying, close to her face, “We’re going to lift you into the ambulance. We’ll give you something for the pain when we stabilize you.”

        Trotty faints as she is lifted onto a gurney.

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        She awakens laying inside an ambulance with two medical technicians moving around her, touching her, prodding her, pulling her, saying, “We’re leaving your helmet on for a little while longer, just in case….”

        Trotty cries out from the pain. One technician says, “OK, here you go. You’re going to feel something in one second…”

        The pain now falls away like a robe. Trotty exhales. Her vision is still blurry as if under water. She watches the two pale young technicians.

        One of the technicians says to her, soothingly, “Welcome back. You were a hit.”

        Trotty giggles at the bad joke.

        The other technician says, “She’ll be marinating in happy juice now.”

        Trotty is sentient enough to realize that she is now strapped naked under a blanket. She drawls with effort, “Where are my clothes?”

        One technician says, “He knocked the shit out of you. Understand?”

        Trotty mumbles, “Yessir.”

        The technician continues, “We’re leaving your helmet on until we are sure.”

        His partner mutters, “These bicyclists. How stupid are they to insist on sharing the road with automobiles? That’s like swimming with sharks.”

        Trotty begins to mouth the movie JAWS’ ominous theme music, “Dun-dun-Dun-dun-Dun-dun…” and she splutters, giggling.

        One of the technicians says, “Don’t marinate her too much. She’ll be bitter.”

        The ambulance stops. The technicians throw the back doors open.

        They are not at a hospital.

        As they lift Trotty out of the ambulance she has a disconnected observation that they are in a dark park. Her gurney is bumping over uneven grass.

        Trotty becomes aware of a small crowd around her. She tries to focus on them. They seem to be a mix of young and old.

        One of the ambulance technicians lifts her head tenderly and removes her helmet. At that moment she realizes that all of the different people seem to have the same pale face with sunken eyes.

        The ambulance technician snatches Trotty’s blanket away. The cold night air is sobering upon her nakedness. The pain medication is diluted with a fierce shock of adrenaline but she can’t make her throat scream. She squirms desperately in her straps upon the gurney.

        The ghouls now surround her closely and begin to press their hands and lips upon her flesh, murmuring with lust and craving.

        For all ghouls have a taste for life.

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WHISPER YOUR NAME INTO MY HEART (1)

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Chapitre I ~ Journées Indésirables (Undesirable Days)

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     chapter 1 whisper- crop1      am called Giselle, fourth daughter of the undisputed King of France.  Of age I am fifteen years.  This day I am pledged in marriage to Hrolf, The Walker.  Rather would I journey directly from my window down onto the stones of the courtyard far below.

        Magge is my nurse and my tutor, my confidant, and to me she is as a mother.  For my birth-mother, the Queen, conjoins the King, my father, only in ambition.  Magge teaches me to read Holy Scripture.  Secretly she teaches me to write.  She teaches me the Secret Places of women so that I might instruct a husband.

        This day Magge weeps.  She tells me that Hrolf is called The Walker because he is a warrior so immense that some horses cannot carry him.  She weeps that he will split me like a log.

        Magge’s tears fall upon my bare neck.  She embraces me and kisses where her tears are fallen.  She fears to soil my dressing gown so gently she slides it from my shoulders.  She grasps under my arms to guide the gay cotton slowly over my breasts.  Her thumbs pause at my nipples and there she bows forward and she fastens her lips so soft and warm and moist.  I tremble as always I do.  Her gentle hands guide my dressing gown down from under my breasts to below my purse.  My dressing gown therefrom descends in a halo around my bare feet.  She opens my purse with caressing thumbs.  She kneels down before me and kisses my open purse and reaches inside with her tongue to polish my sacred pearls.

        I swoon onto the bed dancing for Saint Vitus.

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CLICK O’ TREAT

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CLICK O’ TREAT

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“The_Wolf_Who_Cried_Boy”

        A_YOUNG_WIVES’_TALE_-_”Palmdale”

        CLOSING TIME

       THE POUNDING OF NAILS

HIDING OF THE FACE

JUST GHOST TO SHOW YA

VENGEANCE IS MINE

        EUPHORANASIA

THE CRUISE

ANNA SYBILLA

        TWILIGHT IN PARIS

        DINNER WITH MY MENTALLY ILL BROTHER

        THE EDEN REUNION

        THE GRAVES OF LOUIS GAROU

THE PILLARS OF HEAVEN

        ETHANAC, MARGARTH, AND THEDA

        THE SPIRIT OF AMOS GODFREY

                THE PANTRY

DID YOU HEAR THE ONE ABOUT THE WITCH AND THE WEREWOLF?

THE FALL LINE

                        RUBBERTA

        TWYLA BELLEGRAVE

SUGAR SKULL

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THE LOVE ZOMBIE

Exhume me no more.

I am yet undead to you,

With a zombie love.

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But, the most ancient scrolls are kept on: THE TABLE OF MALCONTENTS

 

SERVANT OF THE SCORPION – Chapter 9, The Guardian Angels

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SERVANT OF THE SCORPION – Chapter 9, The Guardian Angels

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          I heard soft commotion in Irma’s room.  I heard the door open and shut.  Then I heard quick steps toward where I huddled in the wood closet.  Both closet doors flew open in Irma’s hands.  She still wore the torn dress and so I was staring at her tattooed breasts.  She pulled her dress together.

          “Get out” she said with no shame.  Carlos was gone.

          I got up quickly and hit my head in the wood closet.  I hurried past Irma without looking at her again.  Stepping over the fallen religious objects I went straight to the door.  I opened it peeking both ways down the corridor and exited gratefully into the twilight.

          Afraid of what I had seen and heard I hurried to the cloister.  There Esmeralda and the other apprentice pastors were standing in a circle holding hands.  They faced each other with eyes wide open.  Alternately one or another would say something that I could not hear.

          “Amen” they all said in unison and disbanded.  They hadn’t noticed me.  Esmeralda and the apprentice Lucas strolled away together toward a fountain.  I didn’t like the looks of that.  I crept along the corridor toward the same fountain.

          Esmeralda and Lucas talked close together.  They seemed intent on each other’s words.  But Lucas saw me, “Hey, pervert…”

          Esmeralda turned, “Alonzo, stop spying and come over here.”

          She smiled but they had embarrassed me.  I could feel my face getting hot.  “Why do you all hold hands in a circle like that?”

          “That’s how we communicate.”

          “To God?”

          “To our Guardian Angels.”

          “Your Guardian Angels?” I derided, “Isn’t that for little kids?”

          Lucas snapped back, “I’m thinking you’ll be needing your own guardian angel real soon.”

          Esmeralda frowned at him.

          I thought “Alright!”

          Then she turned to me, “Alonzo, we need you to come with us back into La Antigua tomorrow.”

          “Who’s ‘us’?”

          “Lucas, Irma, you, and me.”

          “Why?”  I thought of Irma and I was afraid again.  “Is this about those tourists who got killed?”

          “Lucas and Irma are going to find out more about that.  But, La Paloma Blanca Ministries is participating in Semana Santa and we still need to make certain arrangements.  You will come with me.”

          “Why me?”

          Lucas interjected impatiently, “Would you rather dig out the toilets in the orphanage?”

          “I’d rather dig shit than listen to shit.”  I was losing control.

          “Alonzo!” Esmeralda admonished me like a child.  Then the way Esmeralda gently said, “Lucas” really pissed me off.

          Lucas grinned, “How cute, Esmeralda.  You have a jealous puppy.  Listen, tough guy.  Figure it out: Rita thinks you’re bad for morale.”

          “Lucas, please.  Alonzo, that is not true.  I asked Rita if you could join us.”

          I wanted to tell them all to fuck off.  I wanted to run away into the jungle.  But I wanted more than anything else to just be with Esmeralda tomorrow.

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