“Devil’s Revenge”, Chapter 14

Rachel Brice doing her thang...

Rachel Brice doing her thang…

This is a short chapter, mostly about belly dancing. There are a couple of words that come from this culture, and I have forgotten some of them myself, but so it goes.

DEVIL’S REVENGE, CHAPTER 14

Oh! I am writing at a furious pace! I am trying to finish this book. Actually, I am trying to kill off a character, Obadiah, but today, I could kill them all, especially Garrett Cortelyou. Now I’m told what has just happened has nothing to do with me. But! Had I not delayed, procrastinated, and plain farted around, perhaps things would be different.

It is a pretty morning and I am sitting at the little table before a bright fire. It is winter, an endless winter, and I have been told to stay in this house. I am a prisoner of this room. Fearful enough, I stay indoors. I can see the distant fields from my window and I see a hawk fly high up in the sky. I have watched this bird for a while now. It’s questionable that this hawk is only a bird of prey. Garrett, the resident Demon, thinks it might be another, the Demon Arachula, an evil spirit of the air. It watches the lay of the land, and hunts its prey in the woods by the house.

I am writing with frequent pauses to read what I scribble. I hear a very faint sound of bells, a tinkling of brass somewhere in the distance. It could be outside, like the clinking together of milk cans, or the sound of sleigh bells, but there is no snow on the ground. It grows closer, and suddenly, the Demon appears in the room. He is grinning like a Cheshire cat, and has something behind his back.

“Goedemorgen to you”, he says grinning broadly. He speaks excellent Dutch. He sits down in his usual chair and I hear the sound of something clinking together. He pulls up his hand, and there are my zils.

“How did you get my zils? My Turkish zils?” He’s wearing my finger cymbals on four fingers of one hand. Suddenly I know where he’s been!

“You Bastard! Still up to your old tricks! What else have you stolen from my bedside?” I can’t believe the nerve of this demon!

“You know demons are thieves. It’s a failing among us. We are like magpies and crows. Can’t resist the shine.” He sounds my zils with a clap of his hand, and holds them out of reach.

He tells me he visits in the night and apparently last night he was there. He claims he is bored and appears at my bedside, where he watches me snore. I think he is lonely. I have already told him my husband keeps a shotgun in the corner, but he doesn’t care.

“I have found something else”, he says, pulling out my coin scarf from his sleeve.

“Insufferable monster!” I can’t believe this, but then, what should I expect? .

“I like your underclothes, too, but only the silk ones. I will bring some for you here, though I think you will freeze. I like the sweet smell of woman in them.” He grins, his tongue lolling out of his mouth, detestable devil.

So he goes through my drawers and clothes…

“Oh, I do much more, sweetheart. Helps me know who I’m consorting with.”

“Devil! Is their any decency left in your nature?”

He laughs, his voice sounding like a bass fiddle tuned low. “Ah, darling! The short answer is — “no”. And before you go at me for my nature, how come this is the first time I find you dance in a harem. Makes a devil wonder what he has bought.”

I sit there and think. Since he reads my mind when he wants, I have learned to parse my thoughts when near him. At times it works but he has a way of getting what he wants for he’s tricky…

“Oh you ignorant devil! What would you know about such things? They are two worlds apart. Nothing alike.”

“Well, dance for me, and let me judge.”

Hah! That is one thing that I would not do. I’m not married to him, it’s part of a code, but I won’t tell him ‘the rules’.

“Tell me what? Think of me as a Pasha, and let me tie this scarf around your pretty hips.”

I sit there wondering how I am going to avoid dancing for him. He gets what he pleases, but I am learning ways around his whims. Perhaps I can interest him the in the history of this dance and he—

“No, you can come here now and dance. I know more than you think.”

He usually achieves what he wants. Through persuasion or magic, he gets what he’s after.

In a twinkling of an eye, I was parked between his legs, the coin scarf around my hips. He pulled my skirt low and patiently placed my zils on my fingers like I was a child.

“How can I dance? I need music for that.” He snapped his fingers, and faintly I heard the sound of a slow piece of music. I recognized the song, a Turkish one. Hypnotic with its Karsilama scales, I hear it and my body couldn’t stay still. I sigh. He has played me again.

“Then put your hands around me and you can feel the movements of my hips.” Most men would like that…

Dancing in such a constricted space was very much like the Eygptian style. Such dancers made very little rotations with hips and torso. In fact, the torso remains above the pelvis, barely moving. The arms are more pronounced, but the shimmies were generally the same. Just more restricted. The Turkish style, the one that I studied and loved the most, was danced with broader and more joyous movements. The torso leans back and tilts the pelvis forward. Turkish dancing is based on the Romany, or gypsy styles, and since I am half Hungarian, this style suits my blood. The music is developed from the Ottoman rakkas, similar to the raggis of India. The drumming feels like the beat of blood coursing through my veins.

The music swells with a beat that follows a rhythm of 9/8, and other pieces of the body come into motion. Where he is holding me, I can only move slightly, with hips in figure eights and a kick of the hip on the upbeat. I can do the ‘snake arms’ movement, which is lovely viewed from the back, as it is led by the elbows upward and a flip of the hand at the apex of the movement above the head.

Ah! The music swells, and I have to step out of his arms. I have just learned to use the zils, and it gives such structure to the arms. It was hard at first to isolate the different parts of the torso, all in movement at different parts of the beats, and then to gracefully, with beautiful, lyrical movements, try to move the arms as a frame for the body. The zils helped because they extended the flow of the beat.

I am dancing to myself, not a dance of seduction for he who watches me silently, carried as I am by the music. I am seducing myself, making love only to me. I make the birth movements of the downward hip fling, with the pelvis flung to the sky, and I make the ‘habibi’ movement, which is a rotation of the torso forward and around, with the pelvis straight. I am fully possessed, my eyes closed, my blood beats a counterbeat to the rakka. He has somehow picked the music used by the Turkish badladi, the form I love best. I can drop to my feet, not on my toes now, and can use my heels in another counter rhythm. Ah, primal, sensual movements that bring forth the evening wind in the desert, the sounds of hunting hawks above, hooded hawks on dark arms below, the trickle of precious water, and the smell of woodsmoke!

Somehow I make my way back to him, drawn by the pulse of the dance, the piercing, haunting sound of the desert flute. Finding myself between his legs I place my hands on his chest, palms gently on his warm skin like a blessing of love.

The music stops and I am glossy with sweat. My hair is in tangles over my breasts, my breath drawn in pants. He is silent, more silent than I have ever known him to be, and stone-still. Dazed, he pulls me to him, breaking the spell of the music. He breathes my scent deeply and picks me up in his arms. He moves to the window with me as his prize.

I am exhausted and limp in his arms and we look out over the landscape. He is smiling at something and there is an expression I have not seen before. He is looking at the hawk, the hawk who hovers over the field and his face is defiant!. Ah! He is challenging the shade of Obadiah out there in the trees. He is showing what he now possesses. Obadiah will have to kill him to take me.

Nothing can match the intensity of his expression. Here in its fierceness is the stare of the lion. He will fight for what is now his and he will kill with an appetite honed through the ages. All the gloss of the 21th century drops from my mind as I see his rapture in his challenge. Men or Demons, like wolves, have a heart beat that stretches back to the hunt. They glory in its primitive urges. They glory in the gore they will spill.

Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2006, 2008, 2013

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3 Responses to ““Devil’s Revenge”, Chapter 14”

  1. Tania E. Duffy Says:

    Ah! The music swells, and I have to step out of his arms. I have just learned to use the zils, and it gives such structure to the arms. It was hard at first to isolate the different parts of the torso, all in movement at different parts of the beats, and then to gracefully, with beautiful, lyrical movements, try to move the arms as a frame for the body. The zils helped because they extended the flow of the beat.

  2. 行動電源 Says:

    行動電源

    I am Going to have to return once more whenever my course load lets up however I am taking your Feed so i can go via your website offline. Thanks.

  3. Luis V. Sanchez Says:

    Zill suppliers, like Saroyan and Turquoise International, are listed on the Costuming, Etc. page; videos/Musicians are listed on the Media page. Re: Zill size, I prefer to work with my Nefertitis (Saroyan). I believe that they are about 2 1/4″. This size seems to work well for most venues. For learning drum rhythms, I highly recommend Michael Beach’s [of Brothers of the Baladi, a musician group] video, Basic Middle Eastern Rhythms Vol. I.

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