The Messenger – Ep. 24 of “The Marquis”

I sit frozen in my black dress with palms joined on my lap. The funeral unfolds before my blank eyes, and so do the days after. I count them by the number of times Jeanie Simmons – Jeremy’s curly-haired, rosy-cheeked, fluffy younger sister and my dearest friend – enters with food. I nibble just enough of it to keep me alive, but my appetite is as dead as the monster who fathered me, and who now lays two meters beneath ground level.

“Are you still seeing Joyous?”

Her hazel eyes dart around, as if the walls have ears. “You know I can’t answer that, Saph.”

Of course, he’s the Marquis’ ‘cousin’ – in truth one of his fellow seprpent-killers. I lower my voice and grab her elbow. “If you are, you need to help me, Jeanie. I need to get back with the Marquis.”

Jeanie’s hand covers mine that I now realize is so clenched around her fluffy elbow that my knuckles show.

“Something must be terribly wrong with you, Saph,” she whispers.  She looks me in the eye with a curious expression. “You haven’t spoken at all since you saw Mr Lothar dead in the study, and now that you do open your mouth it’s to talk about the Marquis. Is that a way of dealing with your grief? I mean, Gunnar Lothar is dead, your own –”

“Don’t even say it,” I cut her off. “That man was a monster, a . . . Whenever I think about him I want to rip the flesh off my bones for being his child.” On a second thought I shrug. “I suppose I must be grieving, and anger makes it all more bearable.”

Stomping up the stairs makes Jeanie’s mouth close before she can say another word. The door opens and Jeremy enters the attic in a confident prance, his muscular physique barely making it through the doorframe. The police officers who came with him remain outside the open door. He walks straight to the window with a triumphant attitude.

“I’ll make this short, Saphira,” he says, staring proud out the window. “The coroner called. They established Mr Lothar’s death was not suicide.” He turns to assess my expression as he gives me the news, cocking an eyebrow. “He was murdered.”

He lets moments pass to allow the information to settle in.

“Do you happen to know anybody who had a reason to kill him?” He continues mockingly. “Someone who wanted revenge, maybe?”

The Marquis’ words from the day we went to the asylum come back to me. “Would you consider that I hurt you, if I took revenge on your father?” And yet he wasn’t the only one with a motive.

“I also know of someone who goes to terrible lengths to keep his real identity secret,” I retort. “Someone who set Vivien Grant’s house on fire to kill her. Someone who’s put her mother in the lunatic asylum and has the poor woman so terrified that she won’t talk. I’m sure the same person hung Gunnar by the chandelier too – Ivan Basarab. Gunnar knew his true identiy. Ivan Basarab is terribly dangerous Jeremy, and despite what you might think, you can’t control him.”

Jeremy’s cocky attitude turns to anger. His face goes red.

“The whole town will believe it was the Marquis, Saphira,” he barks. “They’ll burn down his manor like peasants did haunted castles back in the Dark Ages eventually.”

Jeremy’s hatred of the Marquis fills the room like floating poison. I remember how the Marquis twisted his arm behind his back at the asylum, keeping him in check despite Jeremy’s big muscles and violent struggles, forcing down his ears the information that his own father had been a rapist, a monster.

“You hate him for having told you the truth.” I hold Jeremy’s gaze, defiant.

“Maybe, a little. But, most of all, I hate him for having taken you away from me.”


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Enjoyed this? Please let me know your thoughts in a comment, I’m always ecstatic to read from you. Stay tuned for a new episode on Tuesday and check out the story from the start available here (Part I – Saphira), and here (Part II – The Marquis.) Enjoy!


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29 thoughts on “The Messenger – Ep. 24 of “The Marquis”

  1. I accidentally skipped ahead two chapters (How? Only my half wit mind knows, really) but I am glad that I went back and found where I left off! I am in awe that Gunnar is not Saphira’s father. It would be a strange thing to mourn someone you had grown to loathe for being such a monster only to learn that he was not even your father. It was excellently written on how Saphira was processing all the different feelings and new pieces of information.
    Also, I enjoyed the interaction between her and Jeremy at the end. It really is all about Kieran taking her away from him, in the end.

    1. It is indeed about Kieran taking her away from Jeremy and Northville’s curse. That is in truth the sense of the story, Saphira discovering what it was that she always sensed was wrong, and falling in love with a man despite knowing him in his scariest form (Kieran as a serpent). I deeply appreciate your insightful comments, dear Sara!

  2. OMG! My brain just jumped out my ear and bounced off of my shoulder. I suspect the ancient Egyptian Vampire Set and his butler Athelstan are involved somehow. I’ll know for sure if that rascal shapeshifting hamster-human Renfield R. Renfield pops in for a cameo. 😉 I do like how you are able to provide all of the clues and new twists through dialog.

    1. Hmmmm, indeed, dear cuzz, this could be the hand of Set… Maybe he posed as an Arts student from Germany to seduce Saphira’s mother himself, and then returned to his duties like Zeus 🙂 Many a great name was honored this way, such as Europa. I’m glad you enjoyed the dialogue, and hope you’ll love what’s coming next too :*

      1. It’s interesting that you mentioned Set posing as an Arts student from Germany, Ana.

        Because in my brief biographical flashback sketches of Set’s life in the 20th Century (after his tomb was opened in Egypt on November 11th 1918 at exactly 11 AM Greenwich Meridian Time) that I mention on occasion throughout my vampire novels, I did mention that Set lived in the decadent 1920s Berlin of the German Weimar Republic where he attended cabarets and nightclubs and associated with artists and filmmakers and lived with a sexy and voluptuous blonde Berlin dominatrix.

        So maybe he did later pose as an Arts student from Germany. LOL !

      2. Very good, dear Chris! 🙂 So indeed it can be that Saphira is the daughter of the great Set 🙂 As Joyous, her deranged-looking half-brother.

      3. And of course once Renfield R. Renfield was genetically created in mad scientist Dr. Cadbury Rocher’s lab down at Set Enterprises, then whoremongers were at work as well. 😉

  3. Wow, so Gunnar is not Saphira’s father.

    This story has more twists and turns than a soap opera or a car driven by Teddy Kennedy just before he goes off the bridge at Chappaquiddick.

    Can’t wait to discover what happens next.

    1. Thanks, Chris! 🙂 If this story looks like a soap, hopefully a good one, LOL. Poor Saphira suffered a lot for being the daughter of an evil man, so I thought let’s relieve some of her pain. Going over to check out your latest posts, they go wonderfully with the morning coffee *Hugs*

      1. Not until the coroner turns out to be Gunnar’s true lover and the Marquis and Saphira have twins who get separated at birth and find each other after 100 years in a bunker in Siberia. LOL, just kidding, not going to happen. Thank you, dear Chris 🙂

    2. Chris, please send me a link to your blog again – the good one. I’m trying to reach you and read some but I can’t, I’m always directed to the Journal Space blog.

      1. I forgot to mention, Ana, if you click on my image next to Likes (as in people who like your posts), it will take you to my Gravatar profile page which has direct links to my WordPress blog.

        Of course if you click on the Image in the Comments section, it always takes you to my now defunct Journalspace blog 404 page equivalent.

        I wish WordPress had a really good Help section where I could go and find out how to correct that.

      2. A link won’t help, because it would lean inside my wordpress account, which you don’t have access to, but here are the steps:
        Go to WP Admin
        Right side up corner click “Help”
        Left side under “Overview” click “Get help”
        Chat starts; they say “Howdy, How may we help” and under that “Start typing your question.” 🙂

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