Truth – Ep. 10 of The Marquis

Engaged with the Marquis against her will, Saphira tried to escape, but has been intercepted and witnessed her best friend’s house burning. After a talk with the girl’s mother she’s drawn the conclusion that her best friend’s fate was the Marquis’ work – as a warning to her, among other things – and now, once again in the Marquis’ power, she must face him. But this meeting will reveal another side to the story that Saphira didn’t expect.

***

From fire-fighter to cop to nurse I get transferred back to Zed’s hands, who drives me back to the Marquis’ manor in silence. I’m dizzy and coughing and convinced that the man Mrs Grant referred to is the Marquis, and that Vivien had discovered his secrets, which put her in death’s way.

I’m shaking as Zed escorts me to my chamber in the tower and seals the door behind me, pulling three heavy locks from the outside. In a fit I take off my soot-smeared clothes and brace myself, rubbing my arms up and down nervously and chewing on my lower lip until I taste blood with ash. Curling between the cold pillows on the bed, feeling dirty and drained, I stare at the ragged canopy hanging over me as my mind spins around Vivien. My head snaps to the door the moment it creaks open, and the Marquis enters the chamber.

I retreat to the bedhead and brace my knees, but lose control of my shaking as he approaches. My lips are dry and cracked, yet the tip of my nose drips sweat. Those black eyes, demonic in his pale face, scare me to death, but for the first time he doesn’t try to numb me with his hypnotic powers. His neckline is open, revealing part of his marble-like pectorals, lean but strong and smooth like serpent muscle.

“You really believed you could elude me, Saphira?” His voice is calm and slithery. I can’t bring myself to speak. My vocal cords seem stuck, and my arms lock painfully around my knees. I wouldn’t be able to let go if I wanted to, I’m so afraid.

“There’s no way out of this for you but the one I provide,” he says and stops still, staring hard at me. For moments he looks a statue of marble with eyes of coal, a deceivingly handsome monster.

“What will you do with me?” The question comes out of my throat in a hoarse whisper. I think I recognize a shade of hurt in his eyes.

“Why Jeremy Simmons of all people?” He demands.

“He –” I cough and lock my fingers into my wrists. The marks left by the cuffs hurt, distracting my attention from the fear and restoring my ability to speak. “He was the only one who offered an alternative.”

“And did you consider the consequences in case his alternative went wrong?”

I ponder. “I didn’t.”

“You didn’t.”

He walks around the bed and stops by my side. I sink my fingers deeper into my wrists, but can’t keep down the fear anymore. He’s too close now. I expect him to grab my hair and pull my head back, then push his serpent tongue deep through my mouth to my inner organs and rip out my stomach like he did Pukov’s, but what he does is sit by me, a humid coldness emanating from his body. I know he’s warm in his human form, so he must be in an intermediary state between man and serpent. I shudder with horror.

“A few weeks ago, your friend Vivien Grant began seeing a myserious man,” he says, his voice dazzling my senses. “They met only at night. Always around the lunatic asylum, according to what the police discovered by now, but he kept cloaked and hooded, and no one other than Vivien ever saw his face. Last time they saw each other they also entered the asylum. The place is as fortified as a high-security prison, as you sure know, so Vivien must’ve used her good relations to some of the personnel – which is what the mysterious man needed her for. After he got what he wanted he tried to dispose of her and any proof of their relationship, and caused the fire. The girl’s mother was probably supposed to die in it as well, but managed to escape.”

He looks into my eyes, the blackness of his gaze chilling. I can’t imagine how I could ever accept his closeness while “sober” of his hypnotic powers, he’s such a perfect blend between man and beast, so unnatural. His beauty is of a rather fantastic than human nature, and it’s hard to put up with for a normal person. “He has you mesmerized,”He has you all fooled,” Mrs Grant’s words come back to me. He must wield immense power over the psyche.

“Mrs Grant says Vivien didn’t trust the ‘mysterious man’. So she couldn’t have helped him,” I manage.

“He must’ve found some way to persuade her. Blackmail maybe?”

“No way. Vivien is – was – as clean as an angel.”

“Then maybe threats? Against her family, her friends?”

“You should know,” I hiss between my teeth.

“Saphira, I never lied to you. I don’t have to, you see, because I’m in a position of power. So believe me when I tell you – I’m not the mysterious man.”

***

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Enjoyed this? Stay tuned for a new episode on Tuesday and check out the prequel, Saphira, in the Christmas Story Book for Adults, available here.

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11 thoughts on “Truth – Ep. 10 of The Marquis

  1. Excellent.

    And at that point if you wanted to inject a little comedy into the story, you could have the Marquis shaking his facial jowls, holding up both his arms in V for victory salutes and saying in a Richard M. Nixon style voice, “I am not a crook.”

  2. Reblogged this on Hyperion Sturm and commented:
    This is Episode 10 of Ana Calin’s story, Marquis. You can read the other chapters of this captivating dark romance on her website. Don’t forget to take some of the quizzes while you visit to find out more about yourself.

  3. The Marquis is more and more Saphira’s Svengali. There are more twists in this story than a 12 strand rope and each episode broadens the scope of possibilities. I like how the Marquis knows when to go heavy and when to lighten up on Saphira. It’s a classic technique for breaking a person’s will. Excellent job, once again creating suspense and mystery that holds my attention like a bear trap.

  4. I spoke too soon assuming that it was The Marquis who burned Vivien. I enjoyed the interaction in this chapter between Saphira and him – his stunning ability to manipulate her is one of the most frightening things about him. I do wonder who this mysterious man is!

    1. Yes, The Marquis might be tough and rough, but he isn’t one to murder women, especially innocent. He picks on villains his own size, and even his way of “using” Saphira in the beginning was never meant or supposed to hurt her physically. He tried to be an @$$, but he ended up having feelings for her. And it gets even better 🙂 I “saw” the final scene of the story this morning (even though due a while from now), I should write it down LOL. Thank you so much for reading, dear Sara, I’m so glad you enjoy it!

      1. Yes, I was actually surprised at first when I thought it was The Marquis who murdered Vivien. It didn’t sound right – but then I thought- ok he must be THAT evil. But I am happy to read it wasn’t him. He does have inner values that he would never jeopardize despite how rough he can be.
        I like how you put it that he never meant to hurt Saphira physically, despite being very tough.
        That’s awesome that you saw the final scene of your story! It’s always an exciting thing to experience that part of the creative process!

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