SURREAL ADVENTURES FROM THE SOUTH SANDWICH ISLANDS

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The third wife (II)

Lavinia floated on the air, holding her little baby. Stoicescu saw her and I quickly said to him:

- She was already leaving to the underworld, so no worries…

It seemed to me that I could convince him not to tell Ed about the presence of his second dead wife in the house. He would have gone mad if he knew she was there.

The mansion was silent and empty. When the butler left, Lavinia headed to the basement door. As a ghost, she simply crossed the wall with her baby. Contrary to common belief, ghosts can grab things and push doors. So she politely pulled the door handle down to let me in. Then, she told me to be very quiet and follow her.

During the days I spent at Cape Hope, I was confined in the second floor of the mansion and obviously, was not supposed to be prowling around; least of all at the cellar. So of course, I felt very curious about that area. Lavinia flew so fast down the corridors that it was quite hard for me to follow her.

I ran behind her, scared of darkness; of getting lost; of never finding my way out of that huge maze of endless corridors and be left there, wandering around for the rest of my life like a lost soul. What would Thumbling the Great have done in my place? Leaving a trace of pebbles -of course- but I had none. So I went back to the running race, trying by all means not to lose track of the ghost lady in white.

A tall man dressed in colourful garments approached us, playing a cheerful tune with his flute, followed by a crowd of mice trooping in. The man stopped and greeted Lavinia.

- Safe paths to Köppen Hill, Mr. Pied Piper. –she answered-

The piper waved goodbye and the mice followed him..

- What will happen in Köppen Hill? –I whispered-
- That’s the place where the mice will drown. In the river. Ed pays the piper in due course to clean the corridors every now and then. You know how the story goes.

Yes, since I was a kid I knew how the mind-boggling story went: if you don’t pay the mice-catcher, he comes back later to lure the children into a cave. Some legends and fairytales hold such an unbelievable amount of cruelty!

The piper bounced his way along the corridors, followed by the mice. I expected to see more fairytelians at any time, escaping from their books, but no. Thank God it didn’t happen. The coast was clear.

We arrived to a small room where Ioana -Ed’s cross first wife- was quietly embroidering a black tapestry. I remembered when she appeared in the car, shouted at me and called me bitch. She scared me to death. If the car hadn’t driven itself, I would have surely crashed right there.

- Welcome to my hideaway, Leni. –she said-
- Hello again, Ioana. And thanks. –I greeted-.
- I’m sorry to have scared you the other day. My sincere apologies for having been so rude to you. At that moment, I didn’t know you were predestined for Ed. I thought you were only fooling around.

Oh, THAT. AGAIN. I ignored her two last sentences and accepted her apologies.

- It’s ok. You gave me the shock of my life, but as you can see, I could survive. –I chuckled-

She smiled softly.

- We’re definitely leaving this world, Leni. –she sighed-
- I hope you mean YOU. Not ME. –I said, pointing at them in distress-
- That’s right.-she laughed-

Needless to say, I felt much better after hearing that.

- I see. Please, excuse my silly question, but… what am I supposed to say now? “That’s cool, have fun in the underworld?” or “What a pity you passed away?”. I’m afraid none of the answers is correct. -I said-

Both Ioana and Lavinia laughed loudly.

- We passed away long time ago, Leni and to our knowledge, the underworld is not exactly fun, but calm and harmony. Eventually, we will rest in peace with our children there. And you will marry Ed. It’s written. -said Ioana-
- And there you go again! –I protested, gesticulating-

Yes, I had heard that before, but it still knocked me out. I could even see the newspapers headlines reading: “Plutocratic Burdish publishing tycoon marries Sandwichian working girl. It was written in 'The book of life and death': Cinderella dreams come true!”

I always had a happy, simple and discreet little life. I was not used to hear that kind of stuff normally, so I couldn’t help trembling with fear. The shivering of my legs must have been so apparent under my miniskirt that she noticed immediately. And she didn’t miss the chance to let me know.

- Come on, that’s not so scary! –laughed Ioana-

That was absolutely debatable in my opinion, but I didn’t really feel like debating at the moment.

Three cute little girls dressed in green velvet, whose age appeared to be between four and eight years, entered the room and hid behind Ioana. The three of them bowed at me, shyly. I smiled at them. I knew I would be hearing soon the soulful story of their short lives, which would certainly touch me and overwhelm me with sadness.

- Meet my children, Leni: Yseult, Elsa and Ada. We contracted scarlet fever in the big epidemic of 1743. Sadly, in spite of his efforts, Ed couldn’t do anything but help us end our lives in a painless manner to have the sweetest death possible. –she said, with two small tears in her eyes-.

I had a lump in my throat when Ioana stopped speaking. I imagined Ed racked by despair and suffering to see his wife and children die. Why is life so cruel and terrible to those deserving better?

I could still hear from afar the echo of the Pied Piper flute’s soft music and the mice choir screams. The three girls stood in a ring, bounced and sang:


Ring around the rosy
A pocketful of posies
”Ashes, ashes”
We all fall down!

They laughed and clapped their hands. Their rhyme cheered us up.

- Ed needs a woman beside him and he loves you. -said Ioana, determined-
- Wait a second! Everybody here seems to take our marriage for granted. I wonder if my opinion counts! -I said-
- Oh, yes, of course it counts! It doesn’t necessarily have to be tomorrow. But don’t proclaim your singledom loudly, or by the time you want… you will have past your prime. -said Lavinia-
- Listen, ladies. Obviously, we come from different sets of circumstance. Marriage is not my goal in life. It’s neither the key to happiness nor a prerequisite for cohabitation in the 21st century. -I complained-

They gasped, very shocked.

- Yeah, we know how flighty women are nowadays. –said Ioana, annoyed-
- Hey, don’t judge me with your old standards. Times change. –I spoke back-
- Anyway… as I said before, it’s your fate. Let me show it to you. –insisted Ioana-.

She took me to Ed’s working room. The “Book of life and death” –a thick volume whose front and back cover were carved in black wood- was placed on a lectern. Ioana opened it on page 110969, related to the year 2008 and started reading:

“In the month of June, in this Year of Grace, my own destiny and fate will be determined by a young foreign woman born with the sun in Virgo. I will recognize her by her jet black hair, brown eyes and a peculiar body mark: a dark mole on her left breast. But her mind and warmth will bewitch me hopelessly, rather more than her outstanding beauty. I will marry her and we will live happy together for the rest of our lives”


WHAT??? OUTSTANDING BEAUTY??? FOR THE REST OF OUR LIVES???
GIVE ME A BREAK!!!

Ioanna closed the book. I had spotty visions. In other circumstances I would have laughed real loud, but I now couldn’t. I was so paralysed with fear that I could hardly move.

I was getting dizzy, quick black-out and fainted, collapsing on the floor.




"Hayling" (FC Kahuna feat. Hafdis Huld)

To think about all those things you fear... just be glad to be here.

7 comments:

Ghost Particle said...

hi Leni! :) i love reading you.

the blogger followers widget is exactly like a feed reader+technorati+sitemeter. I guess while site meter gives visitors data, Followers let you know who is following you All the time. provided of course they add you to the reading list as well. :)

Leni Qinan said...

Hi Ghost Particle! Welcome!

I found you at Homoescapeons blog and I also like reading you and the beautiful pix you're posting these days -and of course your funny rants with Nahuatl, haha-.

Actually, I was very curious about your Salvation Day, and visited regularly until the mystery was unveiled, lol.

Thank you very much for the information about the followers widget -I can't wait to try it-. It's nice to get techy advice from blogger friends! :))

max said...

Hi Leni!

Oops... seems like it's getting serious now... I hope you didn't hit yer head when you collapsed on the floor. You're being silly enough, lol.

Take care, sweety.

Leni Qinan said...

Very funny, Max.

Yes, it's getting very serious now.
And no, I didn't hit my head.
I'm silly at times, you're right. But thank gawd, not as much as your Lilly. ;)

Ghost Particle said...

H-E connects all of us together, i love him alot! hehehe Nayans the funny guy...i jst try to follow his style. hehehehe.

yah, salvation was hard, painful actually. :) bt its all for the good I hope.

hehehe...im jst taking the tips from the buzz site. theyre doing very good things, hopefully will make less ppl jump to wordpress. im a loyal blogspot dude. :P and im a translator too...now blogger is in 35+ languages. reaching more ppl.

hugs and have a nice weekend Leni.

Leni Qinan said...

Hi Ghost Particle!

Yeah, H-E is a very nice and sweet dude! it shows well, he has a faithful readership and he takes good care of all of us! I'm always back there, and I bet you're too!

Nayan's veeeery funny, right (I like it when he goes cranky, even his pic is so impressive!) but I like him. I'm a silent witness of your talks. You too are so fun.

About salvation, dear Ghost... transitions and changes are hard, and you're at a very important moment of life, starting to take decisions and build your future. It will be for the good, I'm sure of that.

Wow you're a translator too??? I'm impressed!

Blogger and me... have a love-hate relationship (probably I'm too thick to learn everything and make the most of it. But now I know whom I can ask if i have a doubt or experience a problem, ;))
Anyway, it's the most powerful way to create a blog, we agree on that!

hugs and nice weekend to you too!

Grass said...

that was really creepy.. being told of your future by two strange ghosts! Take care sis.. They seem serious about the book and they might do anything just to have you and Ed get married..LOL


xxx