But more than anything, if Ed wanted to marry me, all he had to do was ask, instead of having his bothersome deceased family always harping on the same old story. Dealing with all these superbeings from the afterlife during their joint proposal of marriage was rather necrophiliac, disturbing and tiresome.
I sighed deep. Wifeys came to this great conclusion last summer: I had to be the third wife. And on and on they went.
- It’s so sad to see him lonely and helpless like an abandoned child. –said Ioanna.
- You bear the hallmark of destiny, Leni. –said Lavinia, pointing at my cleavage-.
- You mean that lousy story of the September woman with a black mole on her left breast whose destiny is linked to him? That’s just a bad joke. –I said, looking at my left boob-
- That’s not a joke, Leni, but one of his visions of the future. –said Soren Davidsen-
- It’s the most stupid thing I’ve ever heard. He was probably blasted the day he had that vision. –I replied-
- Ed’s visions always come true –said Soren Davidsen, solemnly-.
I was about to throw a fit of hysterics when a red flash appeared in the middle of the room. It was Hellgirl making a star appearance, as red, gorgeous, elegant and stylish, as usual.
- Well, well, well. What do we have here… –she asked, looking at the ghostly family-. The High Council of the Davidsens on the verge of deciding the future of their last living member and scaring the hell out of this poor mortal woman…
The ghost people stepped back in panic. Screams could be heard all over. It was pretty hard to believe, but it was true: Hellgirl was backing me up! She walked towards the spirit who had condemned me to be fatally ball and chain forever, whether I liked it or not.
- You… Soren. Screwing up? And you, late wives… weren’t you told to stay in the underworld and stop messing with this woman? –shouted Hellgirl-
A tall ghost with a big black hat took a step forward and spoke with a low voice:
- Lilith… please, don’t interfere in the family matters.
- Good point, Markus. But as far back as I remember, I’m in the family too, am I not?
To my huge surprise, Markus weakly nodded and stared into her devilish eyes.
- Lilith??? Is that your real name??? –I asked Hellgirl-
- Of course, silly. What did you think? Hellgirl is just my stage name!
- Ok. And what do you mean, you’re in the family too? -I asked her again-
She turned slowly to face me and whispered:
- I am a late wife also.
- You heard me. I married Markus in 1510. I’ve been his sixth wife until the nutter stabbed me in the heart with a silver dagger, in a fit of jealousy. He mistakenly thought I was cheating on him with his youngest brother, Nils. Then he stabbed Nils, too. And finally he killed himself.
Nils, young and handsome like his oldest brother –Markus the jealous husband- smiled and waved hello from the end of the room.
Man, what a tragedy. Burdish threesomes in the 16th century were really dramatic. This could have been an excellent subject for a History PhD thesis. I now understood why Hellgirl hated men that much. Markus and Nils pretended not to have heard her, after the embarrassing disclosure of their family secret.
- Meet Markus, my widower and proud patriarch of the Davidsens. –said Hellgirl, pointing at him-.
- You mean you’re Ed’s great-great-great -how many times should I have to say it…- great-grandmother? –I asked-
- No, Leni. Hopefully, Markus and I died without issue.
Her eyes threw daggers at the group of male ghosts who stared at her with a defiant look, at the end of the library.
- All of them had more than three wives and survived them. Isn’t it suspicious? Remember King Henry VIII? The one who had six wives and ordered to behead some of them? Think about it, Leni, before it’s too late. –she whispered-.
It gave me the shivers. I saw myself repeating Ann Boleyn’s famous last words “I heard say the executioner is very good, and I have a little neck”. It occurs to me that I have a little neck too! I couldn’t help putting my hands about it, almost in tears.
Hellgirl continued her inspiredly furious speech:
- So dear friends… thank you for gathering here to decide about Leni, but she’s not a member of the family. At least not yet. So let her go. Your offspring Ed has a deal with me and he’s still paying for it, so this is my business also.
Then she said to me:
- Why are you listening to this bunch of moronic narcissistic snobs pontificate about your future? Don’t let them tell you what you have to be. Stay single. You should be living your little life instead of losing your time here.
- They told me it was important.
There was a disapproval rumour on the background.
- Leni, have I told you yet how it goes? Believe it or not, human alchemy proves that love and passion only last three years. Then, boredom takes over. There is no such thing as endless love. Human males are weak, selfish and polygamist by nature. They only want what they don’t have. And when they get it, they throw it away, just because it’s not fun anymore.
I pulled her arm and whispered in her ear:
- Hellgirl, that sounds rather resentful. And you’re getting a bit too feministic, aren’t you? This people won’t get what you’re saying and will go mad about it.
- I don’t give a damn, Leni. This is what men do in this family, and they need to be taught a good lesson.
A fat lady from the underworld approached me and shouted to the audience, with her strident voice:
- Are you sure she will ever have babies? She’s so skinny! –she said, grabbing me hard and pinching me in the arm-
- Oouch! –I shouted, pulling away from her-
Hellgirl stared at the woman, lifted her index finger and sent a fire ray that singed her hair.
- Darling. Your opinion has not been requested for the moment, so split. Now. –said Hellgirl-
I had the warm feeling of another presence in the room and a strong craving for togetherness. I turned back and saw Ed unexpectedly leaning on the doorframe, quietly witnessing the tense scene. He was back from Orsinia. When his dead relatives saw him, an uncomfortable silence filled the room.
Hellgirl, Soren, Markus, late wives, dead kids, ancestors and other spirits scattered all over the mansion.
- Ed… - I stammered-
- You too, Leni. –he said- I'm sorry, but I need to be on my own.
I left him alone in anger and bitterness, just as he wanted.
"19th nervous breakdown"
(Rolling Stones, Soldier Field rehearsals, Chicago - September 1997)