“Devil’s Revenge”, a novel…Chapter One.

February 5, 2016

Watts_George_Frederic_Orpheus_And_Eurydice[1]

 

WARNING: Sexual content, scenes.  If you are offended by this, don’t read.  Frankly, I understand.  I am offended by misogyny and Pentecostals. 

I started this erotic novel almost ten years ago.  It was only my second novel.  I left off writing it when I started other works.  Recently I came back and reread what I had written so long ago.  It was fresh and funny, and some of the original characters came from the first novel (Heart of the Maze).  That novel was boring and too long, meandering around.  I had fallen in love with some of the characters and didn’t want to kill them off, as the novel demanded.  (Novel writers will recognize this easily enough.)  So I made some of them Devils and just let the characters write this one.  The narrator is not a devil nor demon.  Just a writer who wakes up one morning in an alternative universe.  Happens

Trusting in your characters  makes it easier for an author:  They  tend to do the heavy lifting.  They circle your computer and whisper their lines.  You just type.

I have previously posted random chapters but was encouraged by other writers to begin from the beginning.  We will see.  The people I respect the most and wouldn’t want to offend are now all dead, so the rest of you will just have to take your chances.  Tastes vary, but that is the way of the world.

However, I want to express my sincere gratitude to a couple of writers who stuck with me for many years and encouraged me to trust my own imagination and give it voice.

Bill Penrose, Nick Nicholson, Steve Isaak, and Liras.  These excellent and generous writers, now dear friends, have made learning my craft a lot easier.

Lady Nyo

 

DEVIL’S REVENGE

 

Prologue

I am about to tell a strange tale. Not really a tale, because a tale smacks of fiction. This in any case was not fiction. I felt the full effects of its turnings. And it’s not over. I just have to tread water because each time I open my eyes, after a fitful night’s sleep, I am again locked in a world not of my making.

Well, part of my making, but even my lurid imagination pales with what I have experienced.

Sixteen years ago I wrote a too-long novel, set in the 1820’s. The characters had names from the Dutch families I knew while growing up. Everything was fiction, except the landscape, the characters long dead, figments of my imagination, creation of a writer. Never did I expect some of them to leap out of the pages of that unfinished book and change the course of my life.

I feel I have dropped down a rabbit hole, or flown to some strange alien universe. Perhaps I am mad. In any case, events are spiraling out of control, beyond my control, and now?

I have none. I have given up my will to fate, destiny and I don’t even know what that means anymore.

Bear with me, reader. Understand what I write, what you read– exists.

Bess McShane

 

 

Chapter One

 

One morning I sat upright in bed, gasping in terror. The light was dim, hard to see. There was a fireplace with a low burning fire. An ember must have exploded. There could be no other answer for the sudden noise. Asleep, it sounded like gunshot.

My eyes adjusted and I looked around. An ember exploded? Where the hell was I? My heart pounded and a sickness rose to my throat. Suddenly I knew where I was. Many years ago I had written a novel, still unfinished, and now I was in the bedroom carefully constructed in the novel. But perhaps I was just dreaming?

I felt a sharp constriction around my ribcage and tried to take a deep breath. I was wearing some kind of corset, laced tightly over a slip. No wonder I couldn’t breathe. At least this made some physical sense.

I tried to take deep breaths to get my bearings but no amount of air would calm me.

What had happened from the time I went to sleep in my own bed next to my snoring husband? How did I make it to this bed?

The constriction around my chest did not dull me to the sudden pressure of my bladder. There was a closet in the corner and I knew inside that closet was a chamber pot encased in a stool. I had written that detail into the book and now very glad of it.

Slipping out of the high bed, I padded across the wood floor. It was a strange thing to pee in a chamber pot. Everything was so quiet, even the birds outside still asleep, but the noise of water hitting china was too loud for the morning. It made me self-conscious, even though I thought I was still dreaming. I had to be.

I came from the closet and sat down before the fireplace. The fire suddenly flared and I jumped in surprise. It was almost as if an invisible hand fed the fire. At least it would warm up this cold room. A cup of tea sat on the table, still hot. It was dark outside the window but steam from the tea rose in the air. I was almost afraid to touch it, my mouth dry from fear. There, a sip, and it was just tea.

A dresser stood across the room from the bed, with a small mirror on the wall above. The image appeared to be me, my hair the usual color, my skin the same shade. Yes, me, but I pinched myself, just to see if I was still dreaming. If pain were any indication of my present state, I was awake.   There was a yellow wool dress, thrown carelessly over the back of a chair. A pair of bloomers on the seat. Crotch less, they opened from the front to back. I giggled, a bit hysterically. Like Alice, I had dropped down a rabbit hole.

Nothing now seemed real

Even with the flare up of the fire, the room was not warm. I needed to get dressed. I needed to get my bearings. Stepping into the gown I pulled it up to my shoulders. It hooked in the front of the bodice. I pulled on stockings and garters. They were a lovely silk, soft and delicate, and came to the tops of my thighs. The garters could be tied anywhere, so I tied them above the knees, rolling down the tops of the stockings, hoping they would stay. I held up the split bloomers and tried to determine the front from the back. They could be useful when you wanted to pee. The shoes were another surprise. Made neither a left nor a right, with a thin leather sole and low wooden heel, they tied across my ankles with ribbons. There was a blue shawl, of fine wool, at the bottom of the pile.

Now at least dressed and warmer, I could explore my surroundings. The room was not large, but had a dark beamed ceiling above. There were no paintings or prints on the walls, but above the fireplace, was a shotgun. I recognized it as an old breech loader.

Two long windows looked out upon a dull morning. The wind blew a little sleet against the windows and I shivered. The glazing had fallen away and cold air seeped in. It was still rather dark outside, and except for the blurred outline of trees, I couldn’t see much of the landscape.

Pulling the shawl tighter around my shoulders, I was still cold, or perhaps it was shock. I was not used to awakening in a strange bed, even one born of my own imagination

I still doubted I was lucid, and thought this some weird dream-state. Given a bit more time, I would awaken. But if this were a dream, it was a strange one. I was not given easily to hysterics, but short of hurling myself through the window, there was little I could to do. I would just have to be patient with this ‘dream’ until I  woke.

Trying a door in the middle of a wall, it opened into another bedroom, and inside was a large poster bed, a wardrobe, and another shotgun in the corner by the bed. This must be a man’s room. I had no clue why, accept for that evil-looking shotgun. There was nothing feminine in the room at all, though. I turned back to my bedroom and tried the other door. Outside was a wide hall, leading to the top of a staircase.

I stood at the top of the steps, listening for voices or some sound. The house seemed deserted. I could hear nothing of a normal household. Carefully, trying not to slip in these strange shoes I descended the staircase and walked through a wide first floor hall. There were a couple of rooms but there were no people and no lit fireplaces. The whole house was bitterly cold. It seems this house held no life at all.

My footsteps sounded loud on the wooden floors of the hall, though I tried not to make a clatter. There was a closed door to the left and when I opened it,  a man  was sitting behind a desk.

Something about him seemed familiar. Then I knew who he was. It was a shock to realize I was looking at a character I had created for the novel sixteen years ago. I had named him Garrett Cortelyou.   He looked up, sat back and stared at me, quite rudely. Christ! This looked like trouble.

“Come in,” he said. “It is trouble.”

How did he seem to appear in the flesh? He was just paper and ink the last I thought of him. Can this creature read my thoughts?

“Of course I can. I can do more than that,” he said, scowling.

I fashioned Garrett Cortelyou from a number of sources, and, seeing him before me, I couldn’t help but be pleased. It is one thing to imagine, it is another to see the results. He was a tall man, broad of shoulder, with dark hair, rather long for the 1820’s, actually, now gathered into a ponytail, but I created him to be his own man. He proved to be a stubborn character, and not an easy birth. Clean shaven, he had dark eyes and regular features except for his nose. It had been broken and not set correctly.   He looked pissed off.

“Why are you so angry with me?”

“A year ago you closed your book and abandoned all of us. You told me to ‘cool my heels’. Am I not allowed my anger?”

“It was a metaphor, ‘cool your heels’.”

“I know what it was.”

I was surprised. I had enough of writing and needed time off. This actually happened sixteen years ago, but who was I to correct him? Why argue with something unreal? I put his intended, the character Jennie, in the library. I gave her a cup of tea and a good fire, and she had all the books in the world or at least in this library to read.

“You abandoned us all.

“Life got in the way, Garrett, I needed time to work things out.”

What am I saying? Why am I explaining my life to this creature? Am I insane?

“Come closer. Let me see you better.”

I entered the room and stood across the desk. He looked me over, his eyes running the length of me.   “You look unimpressive. I thought you would be older.”

“Why, did you expect me to be covered with wrinkles?”

One glance at his face and I should have held my tongue.

“You are quick with the words, madam. Let’s see how quick on your feet.”

Like a cat he came around the desk and grabbed me. He was strong enough to lift me like a stick of wood and throw me into another chair. I was shocked at the suddenness of his movement, but amazed he was real.

“You should be. You play with people too much.”

I looked at him standing before me, his hands on his hips, and fear crept up my spine

“You forget I created you.” My voice squeaked.

“And you forget, madam, anything is possible. I can command you as easily as you have me. You now are my puppet. Quite a turn around, don’t you think?”

“You wouldn’t have seen the light of day had I not thought of you!” What am I saying? I am talking to a ghost!

“Ah, you were bored and this scribbling occupied your time. Your night dreams went into all of us. Your poor husband should not have given you a pen.”

“I wrote on a computer, something you would not know.”

“I don’t care how you wrote. Right now, and until I release you, you’re under my thumb.”

“What do you want with me?” Suddenly, I was scared. My spit would not wet my mouth.

Garrett smiled, but it didn’t mount to his eyes. They remained cold. “I can smell your fear, little lady. Come give me a kiss.”

“You are a jackass. You act like an animal. Leave me alone.”

I tried to rise from my chair, but the anger on his face stopped me.

“Will you stop playing the virgin? It doesn’t fit you at all.”

I was beginning to panic. I had created this character, this man before me, and I knew something of his sexual appetites from the novel. I had created those sexual appetites but didn’t expect them to become an issue before me.

He laughed, apparently reading my thoughts. He must be a demon come to life, or I must be still asleep.

You created me? I’m from the slime. I’m a mixture of souls throughout time, with all the cocksure ways of manhood. You created something you can’t control, and now you’re afraid? You should have thought down the road, madam. You should be afraid. You think you know my appetites? You don’t know much, because you don’t know me. Not that way.   You haven’t the imagination to know what I can do. You are too ignorant of life. Here.”

He pulled me up to him, and grabbed one of my hands and placed it on the front of his breeches. He was hard enough.

“There. Is your curiosity satisfied? You knew some of me, but never enough. You have a poor imagination for a writer. We circled each other like cats all those years, but I played the gentleman. A boring and unnecessary role.”

My face was red. There was no denying I was curious. I wondered a bit what he would be like in the sack. Just daydreams, sitting at my desk. Faced with reality, fear was now trumping that consideration.

He pinned my arms behind my back with one hand. With the other he traced my cheek and neck with a finger, his eyes narrowed into slits.   He brought my face to his mouth and kissed me, at first softly – oh the deceiver!- then roughly, forcing my lips with his tongue. He cupped my breast and squeezed my nipple, rolling it between two fingers.   He kissed me hard, bending my head back, crushing me to him.

“There. How do you like being kissed by something you think you have made? Have I met your expectations?”

I caught my breath. “I gave you Jennie, you monster!

This was a rather stupid, but I didn’t have much of my wits after that kiss.

“And I thank you for her. She is a sweet little pastry, but I’m hungry. You look like you could feed me for a week.”

“Oh, let me go, you’re not real!”

He pushed me away and rubbed the front of his breeches. “Is this not real enough for you? Then we’ll go where I’ll show you what’s real.”

Grabbing my wrist, he pulled me out the room and up the staircase. I tripped on my shoes as he roughly jerked me up upwards. I was frightened, knowing that this couldn’t be a dream. It was more of a nightmare. The physicality of his behavior belied any dream.

He strode down the hall, pulling me behind him like a ragdoll and opened a door, He flung me into the room where I had awakened probably only an hour before.   With his back to the door, he locked it, pocketing the key. I ran to the other bedroom, intending to lock myself in, but he was quick. He threw me on the bed. Now, I was frightened. I was panting.

“’I was panting.’” See, I can read you like a book.” Throwing back his head, he laughed, howling like an animal, like a demon. My stomach flipped, and I cringed back on the pillows. He was more an animal and less a human.

He dragged a chair from a wall and sat facing me, one long leg propped up on the mattress.   If I tried to leap from the bed, I would jump right into his arms. He looked at me with half closed eyes, his head cocked to one side.

“Don’t you find it confusing to read Richardson’s “Pamela”, in the middle of writing seduction scenes? Rather you should read Fielding’s “Shamela”….better story, or rather, same story, not so tedious.”

What? How did he know this? How did he know what I read?  

What was I dealing with? Was this a ghost or a demon? The icy sweat I felt down my back wasn’t something I was imagining. I had to get control of this nightmare.

“I can snap my fingers and you will be gone,” I said desperately. I closed my eyes and snapped them.

He remained before me grinning, his tongue lolling out the side of his mouth, looking like a lunatic. “Try again.”

I snapped my fingers. Nothing.   The demon lover was still there.

“Ah…you called me ‘lover.’ Perhaps you won’t resist me so hard now.”

“I called you ‘demon lover’. You’re not hearing that first word.”

“You created me. It’s all in your calling.” He sat back and crossed his arms. He looked  relaxed and in control of the scene.

“That’s right…and I can uncreate you.”

“You already tried. This conversation is going nowhere. I need a drink. Seduction is hard work.”

He snapped his fingers, and a tankard appeared on the table behind him. “Oh, my apologies. One for you?”

“A small one, please.” I shivered. What had I just done?

“A small one it is.” A snap.   Another tankard appeared.

He got up and retrieved the two tankards and reached across the bed, and handed me my drink. I thought of throwing it in his face, and running from the room.

“How far do you think you would get?” I had forgotten his mind reading trick.

“Not far- just testing.

He laughed and drank deeply. He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand.

“We’ve been circling each other for years. Don’t you think it’s time we put an end to this charade? A little carnal knowledge would not be amiss. Besides, I already know you want me, have known it for years.” He picked up his tankard, his eyes glittering across the rim.

“You are a cocksure devil!” I would laugh at his presumption, but he was correct. I had created him from my own secret lust, and spared nothing in the doing.

Perhaps a different approach would give me answers and a hand over him.

“Explain to me, Demon, how you have access to me? You are nothing but some scribbles on paper, yet you appear flesh and blood enough now.”

I was more than curious, I was tumbling with fear and trying to regain my feet. I needed something to wake me up. I needed some logic here, some answers. I still believed I was mired in a nightmare.

He put down his tankard and grimaced. “Sometimes there’s a rip in the fabric of time and all hell breaks loose.   Dimensions warp and ley lines bulge. The usual workings of a universe gone mad.”

“So I’m here in another dimension?” From the 21st century to the 19th, quite a rip in the fabric, I think.

He grinned into his ale. “For as long as it suits me, and as long as you please me.

“What is it you want?” I looked at him, fearing the answer.

“First, I want to know what’s under those petticoats. That will be good for starters. We can work outward from there.”

He had an interesting concept of seduction. Rather direct, not subtle at all, but intriguing.

By the looks of him, he would be worth the effort. I thought of his kiss, and I grew uncomfortable. My face grew flushed, and his grin told me he knew what was happening between my legs. I wanted him, my sex knew before my head, but I wouldn’t give him the words he wanted to hear. Perhaps I was playing with fire, but a ‘tumble’ would be sort of welcome. Sex hadn’t been on the agenda for a long time. He was too much temptation in the flesh to deny.

Besides, it all was a dream and a wet one at that. I held to that hope as my only window of sanity.

He stood up, stretched, and sat upon the bed. He drew off his waistcoat, one I had embroidered in planning the book, a pretty cream satin with figures. “Flowering” as it said in Pamela. It was just a piece of embroidery I attempted as I thought through the chapters. Here it was a finished piece, and I had never finished any piece of sewing in my life. What part of magic was this? Was this a particular hand of fate?

“You know, you were quite witty in making the links between ‘orchard’ and ‘sex’ in that last chapter. You are my orchard, at least for now. I’ll pick myself an apple.”

Like a tiger he was over me, pinning me down with his weight.   The smell of ale was strong.   I was backed up on the pillows when he began to unhook the front of my dress. I slapped at his hands, and he laughed. He ripped the front of the dress from my breasts

A literal bodice ripper…..

“There. Now, will you lay still and quit resisting? You know what you want from me. Why play the coy virgin now?”

“Go back to your hell, Demon”.   I spat at him, my eyes flashing. He wiped spittle off his face with his sleeve. His eyes shot out a warning I couldn’t miss if I were blind.

“I will go back to my hell, the one you so easily wrote for me. First Lucile cuckolds me then Obadiah sticks in a knife. Did you ever think how painful that was? Finish me off with that dolt Jennie.   Ah, God…give me a dish of woman I don’t have to fight or teach.”

He pulled up the skirt of my dress, and spread my legs with his.   I had forgotten about those crotchless bloomers. He touched my sex with a finger, watching my response. I jerked at his touch, and he dug deeper into me. I bit my tongue to keep from groaning.

“A neat invention, don’t you think? Easy to get to the pearl in the oyster.

He was a vigorous looking man, with well-muscled arms, and a broad chest. He looked formidable.

“Wait until you see John down there, now he’s formidable. Oh, I forgot, you have seen him, or me, or you think you have seen us. But you only saw my cock in shadows. I always thought you could write that scene better.

How? It was only my first novel and writing sex scenes was hard work. And harder work staying detached.

“Here, place your hand on this cock and tell me if you have ever felt a finer one.”

I pinched the head of it hard and he yelled.

“You witch. You should be glad I’m not Obadiah. Perhaps you would like his kind of lovemaking better, though it usually leads to death. But you know that.”

“I wrote that.”

“Yes, and it was kind of sick.”

“You should talk. Obadiah is a pivotal character. He needs to be the negative, the bad guy, but right now, you serve that purpose just as well.”

“That’s scrambled English. Something you’re good at.   Now, lie still and at least enjoy my efforts.”

“Do you like your women like logs? I can be a pillar of salt if you want.”

“Can’t you try to be original? I have a blazing hard-on and I intend to use it.”

I smiled and closed my eyes.   I would submit to his pathetic efforts because I was aroused in spite of this scene of insanity, but I would not let him hear any moan of pleasure. He rose between my legs and pulled me to him, and began to enter me. I grunted with his movements.   He was bigger than I had imagined (“You got that right” I heard him whisper,”) and he took his time. Would he ever finish?

“No…not until I hear you coo like a turtledove.”

I groaned in spite of myself. My mouth opened and he stuck his finger in. I bit down hard and he laughed. He tried to seek my mouth with his but I would not let him. He laughed and squeezed my ass, lifting me easily. I could not take this much longer and I screamed an unearthly sound from my throat. He reached his shortly after, panting loudly, pinning me under him. He wasn’t a bad lover.

“Ah, again, you called me ‘lover’. I like that. You are growing tender.”

“What would you have me do, Garrett? You have what you want. What more can you do?”

I didn’t have the energy to argue. Besides, that orgasm seeped the fight out of me. I knew I had to be awake. This wasn’t a dream. No dream could sustain this. No dream could create that reality.

All of a sudden I thought about Jennie, his intended in the novel. What had he done with her? If he was capable of materializing before me, of transporting me in some unknown fashion, he was capable of other acts.

“She’s nowhere to be seen. Don’t worry.

“I worry. What have you done with her?”

“Do you mistrust me so much, your own creation? Snap my fingers and erase her?”

“Garrett, you have way too much power. I believe you capable of anything.”

“Well, I am capable of another round of lovemaking, my sweet woman, if you would give me a moment. I need to empty this ale.”

“Don’t you dare use the fireplace, Garrett! I’m wise to your ways from the book.”

“I’ll open a window this time.”

 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2016

“Snowstorm”

February 5, 2016

Source: “Snowstorm”

“Snowstorm”

February 4, 2016

My beautiful picture

Not yet, but there is always anticipation.  Maybe next Tuesday.

 

SNOWSTORM

 

There is witchery in the night,

Monstrous ghost trees loom,

Every minor twig blasted thick crystal,

Bushes cold-laden exploded willows

Bending in tired submission

To a transformed ground.

 

The dark of a winter sky

A distant rose-pale glow

As if some drunken Aurora Borealis

Has cast her color, dipped low

Wheeled from her northern skies

And settled in for a night below.

 

Commonalities made fantastic

A jolt from a bare frost-parched season-

Incomprehensible mystery before the eye.

 

 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2010-16

 

 

“Winter Widow”

February 3, 2016

My beautiful picture 

 

The naked trees of winter

Lit by a slivered crescent moon,

Cast thin shadows upon a frigid ground,

Skeletons in the moonlight.

 

A fresh widow

Watched at the window,

Little flesh about her,

Those brittle branches

Now her bones.

There was a time when she was juicy,

Ripe with swelling life,

Velvet of skin.

She lapped at life with full lips,

Embracing passions.

Speared on her husband

She moaned, screamed with laughter,

Sheer joy.

 

Her life had been full,

Overflowing,

Desirable,

Endless-

A portrait of promise.

He died, life turned surreal,

The reason for living gone.

Life’s temperature grown cold,

Like him under the soil.

It started to snow,

A gentle cover of branch

Bush, ground,

A tender benediction,

A white blanket to her pain.

She knelt in the garden

Suddenly grateful to feel anything

Even the cold.

She would live,

She knew this now,

But he must be so cold under the snow.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2014

Winter Widow first published in Seasoning of Lust, Lulu.com by the author

“Let Them Eat Broth”

February 1, 2016

Mimi Cat August

( Mimi, who is showing one of the benefits of Beef Bone Broth:  joint flexibility.)

 

Beef bone broth, to be exact.

A couple of months ago, I started making broths.  Now, this activity has died down in the modern kitchen.  People are too ‘busy’ to attend to such a thing as bone broth, but a couple of generations ago, almost every kitchen had a pot of slowly simmering broth on the back of gas, electric and wood stoves.  They were the stock for soups, gravies and in certain cultures……medicine.

“Bone Broth will make the Dead rise up and dance.”

An old saying in Argentina.  Checking with my doctor, also in most parts of South America.

Bones are something that people nowadays throw away, or don’t know what to do with them.  But bones have essential minerals inside, besides that lovely marrow.

Actually, they are sometimes pretty hard to find….dem bones.  The internet is full of praises and suggestions for bone broth, but there is also a decided snobbery about bone broth. “Only make bone broth with grass-fed beef bones, not grain fed.”  Well, that is all to the good, but it is hard to find these sort of bones:  In Whole Foods the other day, looking for this, the butcher behind the counter vaguely waved towards a cabinet.  Of course, no bones.  It seems you have to get up pretty early in the morning to get them and then??? You will pay a hefty price for these bones.(no meat, just bones remember)

Since I generally avoid the Church of the Whole Foods, (I’m stealing this bon mot from my friend and fellow blogger, Liras),  I had to find another supply.  A small grocery close to my neighborhood had beef bones.  And they were reasonably priced, too.  They were USDA bones, so if not grass fed, they probably would be ok.  I don’t care now, I am hooked on beef bone broth.

Benefits I am told about Beef Bone Broth: (you can make broth from chicken bones, the carcass of a roast hen, etc., fish bones, lamb but I don’t know about pork bones…I’m sure you can, but I don’t eat pork except in the summertime when we gorge on barbeque ribs)

Heals Leaky Gut:  Apparently it’s a condition that most of us have:  tiny, microscopic holes in the gut, where food leaks out into the body and causes inflammation.

Gelatin: this from the simmered bones:  Cures chronic diarrhea, constipation, other nasty stuff.  If you have enough bones and don’t dilute too much with extra water, when your broth really cools, it sets up as jello.  It’s delicious, too, but just unnerving a bit.

Helps strengthen immune system: with this ready shot of minerals and good stuff you can see why it would.

Stronger Teeth and Bones:  phosphorus, magnesium, calcium.

Joints:  Glucosamine, the same thing we buy for creaky knees, but in a much more absorbable form.  Chondroitin sulfate also prevents osteoarthritis.

And…..it helps in weight loss.  And hydration.  I have never realized how dehydrated I was until I started drinking (at least 4 time a day) this beef bone broth.  Now?  I sleep better, and though this is just me….my A1c has dropped, my cholesterol dropped to normal range, and my blood sugar is pretty normal.  All with drinking this beef bone broth daily.  Sometimes I just don’t want dinner, so I make a good cup of this and it is fine for a meal.

Mileage varies I am sure…..

Beef knuckles, oxtails, chicken necks, creepy chicken feet, all these things can be crammed into a crock pot and simmered for 12-24 hours.  I don’t do anything but beef bone broth, but I will adventure out to do other bones….but not those creepy chicken feet.  I have hens and these packaged feet look too much like folk around here.

So, find dem bones and be prepared to get hooked.  I’ve even given up coffee in the morning.  A nice, hot mug of beef bone broth does wonders for my temperament in the morning.

Recipe:

I bake my beef bones in the oven for about 40 minutes on 350 oven.  Makes them brown and also makes a darker broth, with a deeper flavor.

Cram them in a crockpot, set on low….add two glugs of Apple Cider Vinegar (or lemon juice, or white wine) just to acidify the bones: makes them give up their minerals faster.

cover with water.

I use garlic (rough chopped…with skins) celery, parsley and that is about all.  Onions can make it a bit sour.  Salt and pepper corns.  (a few of them….I had to throw out a pot because I was too liberal with the pepper.)

You can easily make it in a large pot on the back of the stove, but then you can’t leave the house.

My 8 cats and 4 dogs and other stray cats I feed get this on their kibble daily. And, you can give the softened bones to the dogs.  They look good, and I am trying to get my husband to drink this, too.  So far, the dogs are winning over him.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Devil in Paris, Chapter Four

January 30, 2016

untitled

Chapter Four

 

John Garrett was standing behind Mlle. kneading her temples when Madame Gormosy entered the room.

“Ah!– Oh no! What have you done to Mlle’s hair, John? All the work and effort of my hairdresser! Ah well, it can’t be helped now. Would you like me to leave?”

Madame’s voice cut into the silence and Mlle. Luciern jumped from her chair. She had almost fallen asleep, her face showing her distress.

“Oh Madame! Forgive me! My head was pounding and I thought I would be sick with the headache. Monsieur Garrett has saved me from my pain. Please, I beg you, I am very sorry about the hair.”

Madame cocked her head at Garrett and raised her eyebrows. He just smiled and closed his eyes like an owl.   He did this many times with Madame. It was his way of signaling he would not answer her questions. He could be as stubborn as Madame was persistent.

“Well, Mlle.,” she said with a sniff, “if you are recovered, perhaps we can salvage this morning with a lesson.” She would put aside her annoyance and continued with Mlle’s instruction, but gave Garrett a withering glance first.

“Perhaps we can start with “The Art of Seduction”. Do not laugh M. Garrett! Do not dare laugh. These are important lessons I impart to Mlle. Her future happiness rests upon honing what she has been given naturally. We must polish the apple some more until she can attract the fruitful nibbles.”

Garrett almost groaned aloud. Louis was stuck in this apple cart.

Madame sat down across from Mlle. who had hurriedly twisted her hair into a chignon.

“Attendez-moi! Seduction by a man is his act of attaining the affections of a woman, of becoming deeply enamoured, and applauding her for her generosity and attention.”

Garrett moved to the window where he could look out at the street below and listen to Madame. When he heard her definition of seduction, he almost guffawed. Ah, Madame, he thought. You meant to say that the great art of seduction is that of gaining a woman’s affections under pretence of being enamoured, when you really despise the woman for her vanity and weakness in playing your game. But of course, your pigeon will know no better.

Again, whether there was an unseen current between thoughts, or Garrett actually did laugh at Madame’s words, she whipped her head around to look at him, her mouth tight against her teeth.

“Ah, Mlle.”, Madame continued. “Seduction is a little game between a man and a woman which leads to great results. Do not be discouraged by what the moralists think or say. Seduction is the engine that drives amours. Amour leads to marriage and to happiness in the future.”

Mlle. Luciern nodded her head, seeming to attend carefully to what Madame was saying. She appeared to be a diligent student.

“Now, consider the fan. A woman can make a great conversation of love with just the flick of a fan. Regardezmoi.”

Garrett watched Madame picked up a white silk fan from a little table by her chair and opened it, holding it just beneath her eyes. Isolated by the fan’s whiteness, her eyes glittered like diamonds. Mlle. Luciern’s own eyes widened at the effect.

“When you put the fan’s handle to your lips, you are saying “Kiss me.” When you twirl the fan in the left hand, you signal: “We are being watched.” Fan held over the left ear means: “I wish to get rid of you. Allez!” Fanning yourself slowly, ever so slowly means, “I am married.” Fanning quickly, “I am engaged.” Hiding the eyes behind a fully opened fan, like so, means “I love you.” Now, Mlle., you show me what you have learned from my efforts.”

Mlle. Luciern took the fan from Madame’s hand and did as she was told. She hesitated on a number of turns, but Garrett thought that was to be expected.

Eh bien! Now, we will extend the lesson. With the flick of the fan like so—“ Madame started another lesson of the fan, when she noticed large tears collecting in the eyes of Mlle. Luciern. Suddenly Mlle. burst out crying and threw herself dramatically onto the floor, clutching the skirts of Madame Gormosy.

“What in Hell’s name—“. Madame forgot her manners and looked with surprise at the young woman now sobbing into the fabric of Madame’s dress.

“Oh, Madame Gormosy, I can no longer deceive you! I am already engaged, though my maman does not know of this. She suspects something but she would die a thousand deaths if she knew all!”

Madame Gormosy stood up suddenly and moved from the clutches of the young woman as she would a grabbing beggar. She looked down at her, a cold sneer on her face.

“Ah. So, my time and efforts are to be wasted on you? Well, who is he, this great beau of yours? Is he a groom? Your maman’s steward? Who, girl, out with it. Do not defy me!”

Mlle. Luciern stayed on her knees, her face streaming with her tears, her hands clasped in supplication before her.

“Madame, my maman did not deceive you. It was I who deceived you. My dear maman thought it was over for I steeled my heart and hid my emotions behind my books. I was determined to give him up, my Etain, but it is too late. I am expecting a child!”

Madame’s breath sounded like a rasp in her throat and her face appeared blackened with rage.

“You little devil! You little whore! You come here, instill yourself into my tender affections and you have deceived me! Where is your honor? Where is your breeding? You are no better than a gutterslut! You mother will know what you are, why am I wasting words upon you? Out of my house, you whore, you little—“

Madame raised her hand and was about to descend with it across the face of the stricken-looking and pale Mlle. Luciern, but Garrett had crossed the room at the first words of Madame. He had seen her temper first hand and knew her for what she was. He grabbed Madame’s hand and held it firmly so she could not strike the young woman on the floor before her. Madame whirled around, her face distorted with her anger and she hissed like a snake. At that very moment, she did appear like a viper, with her cold, glittery eyes, and suddenly her tongue snaked out of her mouth, a forked tongue like a snake! He had seen many tricks of Madame before, but this was a new one. Later, when he had time to reflect, he realized that it was not a trick, but very much a part of the nature of Madame. After all, he thought, the serpent figured in the story of lust, and Madame Gormosy was, after all, the Demon of Lust.

Whether it was because of her passion or because of her tight corset, Mlle. Luciern’s eyes rolled back into her head and she fainted away. It was a mercy for then Mlle. would not witness what happened next.

John Garrett kept a hard grip upon Madame’s arm, raised up in the air, and Madame continued to hiss at him. He knew devils could use greater or lesser magic against each other, and what to do Garrett was not clear. But he knew enough to put distance between them, and dropping her arm, stepped fast behind a sofa.

“You have lost, Louise, she is of no benefit to you now. Let the girl go with your blessing. Play the generous Madame and let her return to her mother and her fate.”

“You!” Madame’s voice came back to her. She no longer hissed like a snake. But Garrett observed there was no cessation in her rage.

“You would stay my arm? You, who is not even a proper Devil? The Archduke Abigor only knows what you are, yet you would counter my behavior to this little slut? Do you know what I can do to you? I could turn you to cinders right now along with your little friend here.”

“But you won’t dare, Louise, because of what Abigor will do to you. Do you want to try his humor? Do you want to find out what Abigor will do to you and all you know? Is this little woman before you, now senseless, worth the risk that you take? And, knowing Abigor’s affection for me, you know what fate will befall you. There will be no fire of Hell hot enough to punish you. Abigor will cook up his own punishment. Don’t chance it, Louise. Think about your beloved camel.”

Garrett knew Louise Gormosy on a better day might have thought of her camel, but today she was in an inconsolable rage. She couldn’t stand that Fate had frustrated all her fun.

It just wasn’t fair.

But Madame Gormosy could not contain her anger, for it was consuming her before Garrett’s eyes. Her face began to darken, and she began to stamp her foot on the floor. Within seconds she was jumping up and down, and suddenly she was on fire! Before Garrett could move, she was nothing more than a cinder herself, and black ash floated down to the floor, to collect in a puddle of soot.

Tant pis, thought Garrett. She will be back. She always came back.

 

A fortnight later…..

 

Garrett heard gossip Mlle. Luciern was sent home to her mother with a considerable fortune. He heard from impeccable sources this was to appease the mother but also to allow Mlle and her beloved to start life together.

The money went a long way to sooth Madame Luciern’s passions over the circumstances, but what could she do? Etain d’Aubringe did not have a fortune, but he did have an old name, and with the money given by Madame Gormosy, Madame Luciern had her satisfaction. Her daughter was married, supplied with a fortune and Madame had the prospects of a grandson.

*************************

That spring, a strange sight was seen in the fashionable boulevards of Paris. A woman, heavily veiled, with a golden girdle surrounding her waist and a crescent moon headdress, was seen leaving Paris on a large camel. Behind her walked her household, a collection of dark-skinned little men and women, who left sooty footsteps behind on the cobblestones. Paris had never seen such a parade, and this one passed in utter silence.

Except for the camel. She complained loudly with groans and spat upon all she could reach. But those who saw her– the camel, not the veiled rider– would long remember the intelligence that gleamed from those eyes.

The End.

 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2008-2016

(the original “The Devil in Paris” was published in “A Seasoning of Lust”, Jane Kohut-Bartels, Lulu.com, along with other short stories of such nature.)

 

 

 

 

 

“The Devil in Paris”, Chapter Three

January 27, 2016

Continuing the short story….

Mlle. Margot Lucern, Devil in Paris

Perhaps Mlle. Luciern…..

John Garrett Devil in Paris

Perhaps John Garrett…..

Gormosy 2

Definitely Gormosy.

-thanks to http://www.itstheworks.co.uk

http://www.thepragmaticsostumers.wordpress.com

Chapter Three

 

A week later, John Garrett was shown into Madame’s apartment by an old servant. He glanced at the dark and wizened man and smelled brimstone. Madame was known to choose her servants carefully. Life could be a subterranean maze in Paris. He knew other demons in the city and all were not friendly devils.

 

“Ah, John! Bonjour!” Madame was drinking tea with a young woman, one Garrett did not recognize.

 

“You remember Mlle. Luciern? What changes we have wrought! Such an elegant young woman. What man in his right mind could resist her! Could you, John?”

 

Ah, thought Garrett. Madame is up to her old tricks. She insists in making me part of her plan for this young woman.

 

Madame’s eyes glittered as she turned to look at the young woman sitting across the tea table. Garrett bowed over the jewelled hand of Louise, and then stood back to look at Mlle. Luciern.

 

Madame had indeed worked her magic. Mlle. was coifed and gowned like a young, elegant Parisian matron. He admired her hair, piled high on her head, with many curls and loops and one long curled tendril, a thick sausage over her shoulder. At least Madame’s hairdresser had forgone the powder and her natural color was preserved. Mlle’s complexion was good but now she had some bloom in her cheeks. He knew this was all art, for Louise was an expert with faces and makeup. He saw Mlle. had only two black satin patches on her face, one near the left eye, and one near the mouth to draw attention to her painted lips. They did look alluring to him, like they were stung by an amorous bee.

 

Garrett cocked his head to the side and let his gaze travel down her figure. Her morning dress was of light blue silk. Ruffles framed her breast. Garrett let his eyes linger only a second, but Mlle. did present a lovely bosom to onlookers. He knew this was due to more of Madame’s magic – this time with pads in the corset. Round, delicate mounds above and the merest of rouged nipples appeared like little mouse noses peeking over the tops of the corset. Such was the fashion for seduction. He wondered how far Madame had corrupted her student.

 

“No, Madame Gormosy, no man could resist such a beautiful young woman.”

 

Garrett was surprised to see Margot blush so deeply. At least Madame’s instructions had not destroyed this vestige of virtue in the girl.

 

“Mlle. is an good student, John. She learns fast and takes an interest in her future. Her mother will be proud of her. We will get her matched up with the proper husband soon enough. But as I have told Mlle. Margot, there is plenty time for an engagement. Now is to be given to sharpening her feminine skills. That way she will attract the best prospect for her future happiness. Mais bon Dieu!   She is still so young and innocent. We must hone her wit and deportment. Nothing like the polish upon an apple to attract the proper bites.”

 

Garrett stared at Madame Gormosy. He could easily see through her designs, but of course, the young woman was too naïve to understand what was happening right under her nose. She was a pretty morsel, and it was hard to take his eyes from parts of her. The swell of her breast, how gently it rose with an almost imperceptible movement. He could feast his eyes on that tender piece of flesh all morning. How much more alluring she would be if she were panting, he thought. A sly smile appeared on his face.

 

Ah, Madame Gormosy was full of devilry this morning, and it was infectious.

 

Louise Gormosy spoke with excitement. “Today we will work on the great science of “coquetry”. Non, M. Garrett, do not laugh, for women have their own science. Let the men work with fire and chemicals. We women have our own fire and it is called “La Passion”

 

Garrett winced and hoped Mlle. Margot would forgive the bad prose of her patroness. But Madame would press her case.

 

“Surely Mlle. Margot has higher aspirations than to be a housewife to her husband. It is a most contemptible and unfashionable position for any women of breeding, and has no social standing except for a parson’s wife or a lowly farmer’s. Ah Dieu! Mlle. is made by nature for much finer things!”

 

Garrett wondered if the word “God” did not burn the inside of Madame’s mouth, but since she was an old devil, he imagined she would have a mouth immune to heat. Still, he had heard this speech before, but he could not remember when. Perhaps it was another time in another century, while attending Madame under similar circumstances, that she had used these same words. They seemed familiar to him in any case. He heard her drone on.

 

“Now, Mlle. Margot, advice today is seen as ridiculous to be given, and even more ridiculous to be taken, but your dear maman would want you to listen to me very closely. Alors! She has given you into my hands for more than to fluff your beautiful hair and plump your fine bosom. It is her choicest desire to prepare you for entrance into the best of society and this is the path to catch the eyes of a husband. Have you read Madame d’Effine’s letters? Non? Pity. But I can supply you a copy of her book. Or better yet, I can give you the benefit of my long experience.”

 

Garrett could not stop a smile creeping across his face. Mlle Margot would have no idea just how long that experience really was. Yes, Mlle Luciern, it goes back a long way. Whether Madame could read his mind, which was standard fare amongst devils, or she caught a glimpse of his sly smile, she turned around suddenly and gave Garrett a vicious look. His face went neutral and he closed his eyes in compliance. He would not interrupt her behavior. Besides, it was entertainment for a morning’s visit.

 

“Now, Mlle. Margot. Virtue is all very fine and good, but to get a husband, or any admirer, a woman must use what attributes she has and develop more. A fine voice, the ability to cut to the heart of a man’s desire just with the cast of your eyes, the flutter of your fan, ah! There is so much to learn, but we will persist. Now, M.Garrett, please attend to Mlle. and lead her around the room, s’il vous plait.

 

Garrett stood and offered his arm to Mlle. Margot. They walked around the large salon, Mlle  Margot only as high as his chest. He was a tall and well- built man, with broad shoulders, and Mlle. petite next to him. He observed her blush as she placed her hand on his and looked up into his face.

 

Entertaining as Madame was, he was beginning to have his doubts about her plans. He believed this young woman to be innocent. He rarely, now that he thought of it, came across a woman so – uncorrupted, and certainly not in Paris. The thought crossed his mind: Quelle dommage, as Madame liked to say. Perhaps he would have his own plan for Mlle. Luciern. What was a little competition between devils? They had shared tender morsels before in their long history.

 

Eh bien! Attendezmoi! John, give me the advantage of your eyes. Tell me what you think are the best points of Mlle.’s figure. Does that style of dress, the color suit her the best, mon ami? Speak out loud what her beau would say, and let us see how Mlle. reacts to such praise!”

 

Ah, it was clear what Madame’s plan was now! Madame was a terrible devil this morning, and she would have her fun at the expense of the painful blushes of Mlle. He decided to turn the game to his own advantage, and perhaps spare Mlle some pain.

 

At that very moment, the old devil servant of Madame Gormosy slipped into the room and approaching quickly, whispered into the ear of his mistress. Madame cocked her head towards his mouth, and though she did not take her eyes from John Garrett and Mlle. Luciern, Garrett saw they grew dark with concern. Muttering some curses low under her breath, she rose and went with her servant from the room, forgetting her two guests.

 

Garrett took the time of Madame’s absence to lead Mlle. Luciern to a chair and to sit down across from her. He observed Mlle. sink gratefully into her seat, and with a motion beneath her skirts, kick off one shoe.

 

“Ah, Mlle, does your foot hurt?”

 

“M.Garrett, I can not get used to these narrow shoes Madame makes me wear. I am not used to this fashion. And if you would know further, I am not used to these headaches. They are from my hair pulled from my head and pinned so tightly. And I can breathe only a little. Madame demands my corset be laced tight.” Mlle. blushed, but Garrett could hear the distress in her voice.

 

“Ah! I sympathize. Perhaps you think what Madame does here is far off the mark?”

 

“I don’t understand what you mean, Monsieur.” Another sharp kick under her skirts and off came the other shoe.

 

“Mlle Luciern. Forgive my blunt words, but Madame is an “old fogey” as we say in England. She means well, but she is generations behind in her thinking.”

 

How many generations Mlle could never guess.

 

Tears formed in Mlle. Luciern’s eyes, and she shook her head. Garrett could only sympathize.

 

“Here, Mlle. Let me do something for your comfort. I will take all the blame, but tant pis! I am an old friend of Madame’s and used to her ways.”

 

He stood and moved behind Mlle’s chair. With practiced movements, he removed the pins from her hair and spread them from their high peaks and down her back. With gentle hands he massaged her temples and she groaned in relief.

 

“Ah! Bon Dieu, Monsieur. That feels so good. My poor head was about to explode. Madame means well, but she does not seem to suffer pain like the rest of us. I saw her put on a hat the other day and plunge a long pin into her head. Mon Dieu! She said she did not hit her skin but her hair, but to me, ah goodness! To my eyes, it seemed to go through her head!”

 

Garrett smiled from behind Mlle’s chair. In fact, he had seen Madame do this before and other such things and had warned her if observed her game would be over. Madame had laughed, she had been doing such tricks for centuries. Besides, the winds of Paris were strong and her hat would blow off if she didn’t get a good layer of skin beneath her hat pin.

 

“Madame has a thick skull, Mlle. Luciern”, Garrett said drolly. “She is used to all sorts of torture for fashion.”

 

Garrett looked down Mlle. Luciern’s bosom and watch the gentle curves rise and fall with her breathing. Too bad his plans for Mlle. did not include a seduction. He would like to savor those two young mounds in his mouth. But it would be a passing fancy and his plans for Mlle. Luciern’s future did not include this fleeting pleasure. He had a more lasting pleasure to savor.

 

And his good friend Louis would be the poorer for it.

 

Jane Kohut- Bartels

Copyrighted, 2008-2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Madame Gormosy…..

January 26, 2016

Devil Overlooking Paris

 

A bit of where “The Devil In Paris” came from…and a little bit about writing.

 

From the novel, “Devil’s Revenge”:

Epilogue:

“D’accord, mes ami….you want to know what really  happened?

That silly Bess was almost dead in the clutches of  the devil Obadiah and how can she give a full account of it?

You want to know the full truth of the matter, oui?  I, Madame Gormosy, will  tell you.

looked almost dead in the bushes, but you can’t kill a devil named Gormosy by crude means, and Obadiah  forgot.   I was playing opposum just to see what would happen next, but as I have told Bess over and over, these devils are stupid.  Not only they do not hold a good  hand at faro, they can’t kill right, either. Well, most of them…

But to give this Devil his due, our friend Obadiah was a bit preoccupied.  He had, as they say, too many irons in the fire.

But is it the truth I was playing opposum? Non, and I will tell you what happened. You must remember that I am still a tricky devil and I will lie to you.

Just for amusement and to see what happens, non?

That stupid Bess thought she saw me in the bushes with my feet sticking straight up like a watered witch, but she was not seeing the truth. I was no where there, at least then, no, not I, Madame Gormosy. Bess was seeing a little troublesome piece of magic of that demon Obadiah. Oui, she was seeing him cast a spell, or conjure a trick of a pile of stones. Hah! That demon has little imagination. He made those field stones look like moi. See? No imagination.

No, he was trying, (and he succeeded) to lure that stupid girl downstairs and out of the house. And it worked. Even though that girl knew she would be in danger, I am touched to the heart. That I, Madame Gormosy, should inspire such affection  she would put her own life and limb in danger to run to her friend, well.

I am touched. But I am not pleased. The story would not have ended in such a way IF she would have listened to both her demon’s advice, commands actually, and my wiser advice.

Mais….she did not. She got ahead of herself and ran downstairs and out that door and into the garden where M. le Demon Obadiah was waiting with a gun and she fell into his trap.”

—From “Devil’s Revenge”, not exactly finished yet.

At the end of 2006, I had finished my first novel, which I ditched because it was something I had started in 1990 and my tastes had changed.  It was too long, dull, ponderous and I just hated it in the end.  But I loved a few of the characters and couldn’t kill them off.

What to do? Write another book, with these same characters and expand them.  Before they were Dutch colonialists in the early 19th century (probably part of the dullness…) so now what?

I made them demons….or most of them.  The narrator was a woman who wasn’t, but she was still dull to my senses.  The demons were much more interesting, and this character, Madame Gormosy was the most interesting of all.

She came from Hell, on a camel, she was the Demon of Lust,  and she was either female or male depending upon her whims and circumstance. She cheated at cards (faro) but overall she had so much the human about her that she won my heart.

I wondered about that.  In a culture where women are still second class citizens, perhaps being both male and female is a good trick.  Madame Gormosy became Louis Gormosy with a shake of a powdered head and a rise in the front of her dress (she wore court clothes of the 1770’s).  She would stand second in a duel, she could teach etiquette to a fumbling girl,  decipher the outlandish behavior of other devils.  She was a good devil to hide behind in a fight.

Writing stretches the imagination, but it also can be frustrating, complex, tedious, all this trying to bring to life a character.  Madame Gormosy must have been waiting in the wings, because she popped into life with all the bloom of a devil who has been listening for her clues and frankly, she took over the book.  Well, she was there when the plot got bogged or trouble was brewing and she came forth with common sense and some outrageous opinion.

I became enchanted with her.  I found she naturally fit into a couple of short stories, “The Devil in Paris” for one, and she also pushed “Devil’s Revenge” onward.  In fact, towards the end of this novel, where there is a long stretch of her not there….the book was not settled, was in alien territory.  Madame Gormosy’s hand was desperately needed.  Her lack of presence, her wit, her charm, her wisdom was missed.  At least by me the writer.

Rereading this part, which is probably 10 chapters, I started to realize that Madame Gormosy was essential to the novel.  So much needed her leavening wit and her controlling hand.  I have decided to ditch those 10 chapters and I hope that Madame Gormosy is pleased:  Mostly she doesn’t rattle me because she stays ‘female’ and I can relate somewhat to her antics.  But I have come to admire, even had affection for her, and she is one of the best characters I have created since I started to think of myself a writer.

We will see.  Madame Gormosy is up against some terrible devils.  But as she repeatedly tells me, demons are stupid.  Perhaps she is right.

Lady Nyo

Copyrighted, 2o16

“The Devil in Paris”, Chapter Two

January 23, 2016

untitled

 

John Garrett was standing at the window when he heard the knock by a servant. He watched Louis cross his hands over his breast and shake his head violently. Louis became Louise again. Voila! Her high coifed powdered hair, the satin dress, the tight corset and breasts returned. As many times as he had witnessed the transformation, it always took him by surprise. Louis was one tricky devil. A snap of Louis’ fingers and the door unlocked.

Garrett watched Madame and Mlle. Luciern enter the room, Madame a clipper ship in full rig. She was a short, plump woman, middle- aged, with powdered hair now showing the effects of rain. Her dark, plum satin gown was ten years out of fashion. She wore little face powder. There were honest wrinkles and age-spots to signify Madame was no longer young. Kissing Louise on both cheeks she shook herself, rather like a hen ruffling her feathers. Louise gestured for her to sit.

Garrett listened to Madame Luciern introduce her daughter to her hostess. Louise took the young woman’s hands in hers, studying her carefully and called for him to come be introduced.

Garrett bowed over Madame Luciern’s hand and watched her face color. She might be of middle age, no longer a beauty, but she still was a woman. Mlle Luciern had no such reaction. Her face remained expressionless.

Taking a chair across from Mlle., he listened to Louise Gormosy ask the mother questions about their trip from the countryside. The two older women were soon lost in chatter and he had a chance to observe the silent young woman.

His first impression of Mlle was favorable. She was slender, with an underdeveloped bosom, a fine complexion and a pretty mouth.   She did look like a bookworm, he thought with a chuckle.   She had a serious demeanor, with pale gray eyes and dark brows that did not arch in the necessary fashion. Fine brown hair pulled into a simple unadorned bun exposed a slender neck.   He was curious. He had his fill of coquettes and fashionable young women in Paris. They were of a general order, all schooled in manners to attract a man’s attention and hold it captive for an afternoon. Their charms passed through him like water. How bored he had become with the women of Paris!

In Mlle. Luciern he saw something different. Something intriguing and virginal, but virginity had little value in Paris. He laughed to himself. Virtue was good for children but pointless in an attractive woman. Already the gloom of his mood was lifting in the presence of this rather mysterious young woman.

The two older women were lost in conversation and twittering with laughter as old friends do. Both her mother and Louise seemed to forget Mlle. Her face was politely blank, trained to assume a mask in company, but Garrett could see she was not empty of thought. Her fine eyes narrowed as she listened to her mother and Louise rattle on and a pained look cracked the mask.

“You have been in Paris before, my dear?”  Garrett’s voice was low enough to not disturb the chatter of the two older women. Mlle. Luciern turned her gray eyes to his and answered his question quietly, but with little interest in her voice.

Oui, Monsieur, I have visited Paris before, but not recently. I was a girl when I was last here.” Her voice was almost husky, and the pitch of it surprised him. Most young women were taught to have ‘musical’ voices in company, to laugh as affectedly as a tinkling bell. Mlle Luciern was unspoiled by such affectations.

He did not have a chance to question her further, for the sound of Mlle’s voice made her mother remember her.

“M. Garrett”, said Madame with a bright smile. “Margot-Elisabeth was a little girl the last time we were here, only about twelve. She is now in her nineteenth year, and a stay with Madame Gormosy will bring some color to her cheeks and hopefully polish to her manners. Ah, Bon Dieu! The countryside is good for virtue but there is little opportunity were we live to make her a wife!”

Mlle Luciern’s face flashed distress at her mother’s words. Garrett saw how Madame Gormosy’s eyes glittered.

“Ah, my dear Marie,” Gormosy said to the mother. “We will polish the apple and find her a mate. She has promise, but is too pale in the face. Perhaps a bit of rouge and the labors of my hairdresser?”

Madame Luciern laughed out loud. “Bon chance, Louise! I can barely get Margot-Elisabeth to brush her hair!”

Poor Mlle. Luciern blushed at her mother’s words and Garrett suppressed a smile. Margot meant ‘pearl’ and this one would need quite a bit of polish to catch a husband in Paris.

Garrett tried to make small conversation with Mlle. but she was now as shy as unpolished. The two older women chatted away without stopping for breath and the conversation was  about Margot-Elisabeth, unconcerned with her growing discomfort.

Garrett heard the amount of funds pledged by Madame Luciern to Gormosy, and almost whistled aloud. A dressmaker would be sent for immediately.

“Ah, Louise,” said Madame Luciern with a look of gratitude. “You work your magic with Margot-Elisabeth. In your competent hands I am sure she will bloom.”

Garrett wondered how much ‘magic’ would be needed by Louise, and how her mother would react if she knew the source of Madame’s….ah….magic.

How droll it was! Mother Luciern to leave her precious daughter in the hands of a devil. All the rosaries in France would not amount to a hill of shit once Louise got her claws into the prey.

Garrett laughed to himself. Tant pis! The bargain was struck. The Devil would have his due.

 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2008-2016

(“The Devil in Paris” previously published in “A Seasoning of Lust”, Lulu.com, 2009) 

The Devil in Paris, Chapter One

January 21, 2016

imagesOWARHI3U

 

Madame Gormosy is a Devil. She can change her gender at will, from Louise Gormosy to Louis Gormosy. John Garret is also a Devil, but not so powerful. They have known each other for centuries as devils generally do. The scene is Paris, in the 1770’s.

 

THE DEVIL IN PARIS

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

Madame Louise Gormosy stood by the tall window, looking at the rain-slicked street. Paris was cold and dreary this spring. Wood had gone up in price, and a timely delivery was a matter of bribes. That should be the concern of her steward, but he had disappeared. Already her servants were breaking up small cabinets and chairs to burn in the main salon and kitchen. She could hear the smashing of wood somewhere in the large apartment.

Madame shivered for the room was chilly. Ah, she thought, if ever I see him again, I will make him pay with his life for my discomfort. I will tear his stomach open with my nails and eat his liver.

She had a visitor, a sullen-looking Englishman, now with his large frame stretched across her settee. John Garrett was a friend of many years. He was an easy-going devil and good company when in proper temper.   She cast her eyes towards him, a smile forming on her painted lips. Patting her high-dressed hair and smoothing the gray satin front of her gown, she wondered what had put him in such a mood. She remembered he was quite a wit when not bothered with serious thought. She hoped he would reform his manners, for she wanted nothing to spoil the afternoon. The rain could not be helped.

“John Garrett!”   Madame’s natural voice was low pitched but now showed her exasperation with a rise in key. “Are you going to continue your gloom and sour my day?”

Garrett, his eyes drawn slowly from the low burning flames, looked up at her. He stared for a long minute, a sneer forming on his handsome face

“We are alone,” Garrett said quietly. “I know you better as “Louis”. Why behave this way amongst friends? “

Madame did not answer.   She walked to the double door, locked it and threw the key into his lap. For a moment she stood there, with her head cocked to the side, an elegant older woman, dressed in the latest fashion and only a sharp rise in the middle of her skirt gave warning of what was to happen.

In an instant, “Louise Gormosy” was “Louis Gormosy”. Gone were Madame’s satin overdress, the high coifed and perfumed hair. A bit of makeup remained, but it was the current fashion among Parisian men. Louis laughed at the expression on Garrett’s face. He now was a slight-figured man, above middle age, with powdered hair and white silk stockings that sagged around thin calves.

John Garrett shuddered slightly. He knew his friend was not just any man in Paris. He was a demon, an important one– the Archduke Demon of Lust, with sixty legions under his command

Louis Gormosy had ridden out of Hell on a white camel and long tormented the earth. It could not be helped; it was his nature. It was his ‘calling’.

Ah, Louis thought, I miss my camel… along with my legions, but tant pis! Paris’ cobblestones were hard on her aging hooves.

His guest, John Garrett, was also a demon, but not of the same stature. Louis Gormosy was not sure of Garrett’s actual position in Hell, but knew him to have the patronage of the powerful Archduke Abigor, close to the throne. With friends like that, even the powerful Demon of Lust had to watch his hoof.

Louis Gormosy chuckled at his guest’s expression. “Oh come, John, surely you are getting used to my little trick? Non? Well then, I have another reason to invite you here, besides parlor tricks. This evening I am expecting some guests, and I have reason for you to meet them.”

John Garrett sat up, stretching his legs. “Are you planning a little entertainment this evening? You know, Louis, one never can tell with you.”

Louis Gormosy lay a finger aside his nose and winked. “You have come at a good time, John.   I expect a young woman, a girl actually. She is the daughter of a neighbor in the country. She is around eighteen and her mother is anxious to have her married.”

“I am almost afraid to ask, Louis. What part do you play? ”

John Garrett looked at his friend from half-closed lids, like a cat settling in for a long story.

Monsieur Gormosy walked to the window and looked out at the still pouring rain. He turned his head slightly and gave Garrett a nervous smile before peering down at the street, watching for a carriage to stop at his door.

“Madame Luciern is a silly woman, a bit more stupid than usual. She has a daughter on her hands she complains is a ‘bookworm’. Ah! Bon Dieu! So the young woman will educate herself with novels and newsprint. Tant pis!

Louis Gormosy threw up his hands in disgust. The words “Good God” had a strange sound in his mouth, just shy of a gurgle.

“You still don’t tell me what your part is in this affair.”

Gormosy turned and looked at his friend. “Better you ask me what your part is.

John Garrett sucked his breath in sharply, and let out with a soft “Oh no, Louis!”

Louis gestured with his hands outward, all Gallic charm, and continued his appeal.

“What is a little fun amongst devils, neh? You have certain…ah…attributes that I unfortunately, do not have.”

“The starch issue again, Louis?” Garrett’s words rattled Louis and he winced.

Quell dommage! I don’t know if this is a little trick of Heaven or Hell, John…but it persists. I begin the attack, a few thrusts with the sword, and even with one parry, I wilt.”

And, thought Louis sadly, it always came down to what devil had more ‘reach’. It always came down to a measurement. Here on earth the length of the cock, and in Hell, the amount of control.

“So, what is your plan and why should I care?”

Monsieur sucked on the side of his thumb, thinking how to present his case.

“I have not seen the young woman. Her mother keeps her well hidden in the house. If she is a bookworm as the mother says, perhaps any attempt here in Paris to marry her off will be impossible. Perhaps she is ugly!”

“Or perhaps she has no bosom,” said Garrett from his seat, eyes wandering back to the fire.

“Or perhaps she has a harelip!” said Gormosy. “What do I know? I have not seen the poor girl.”

With a grimace, Gormosy shook out his hand. He had bitten deeply into his flesh, and blood spurted from his thumb.

Garrett asked, “Does she have a good fortune?”

Non, unfortunately not. Madame Luciern is a widow and her estate is lessened with the behavior of her oldest son. That young man has no sense at cards…and worse luck! I would give him some pointers in faro, but I do not cheat at cards.”

What a lie, thought Louis, laughing silently. There was honor amongst devils but not at cards. What was the worse that could happen? A duel, you die, you come back fresh and new, with another chance to cheat life. And at cards.

“But!” continued Louis, raising a finger into the air for dramatic emphasis. “She has an honorable name! That is worth something, I think.”

“Hah,” said Garrett. “Perhaps of worth to mortals. But it is something.”

The blood continued to spurt from Gormosy’s thumb. “Merde”. He pulled a sooty handkerchief from his pocket and wrapped his thumb.

“So, what do you intend to do with Mademoiselle? Do you have a cuckold in mind?”

“Why would he be a cuckold, mon ami? I have all intention of marrying her to someone worthy and with a good fortune.”

“And if she is not marriageable due to this harelip or flat bosom? What do you intend then for Mademoiselle?” asked Garrett.

“I intend to make her a whore.”

There. It was out, thought Gormosy. Let him chew on that. There was profit to be made here, and he, Louis, would take the advantage

“Why do you need me?” John Garrett’s eyes half closed again as he looked at his friend who was grinning broadly.

“If I can not obtain an acceptable offer, I will need your –ah, efforts, John.

“Meaning? Come Louis, do not make me beat it out of you.”

“You will seduce her. You will make her more pliable for her gentleman callers…I, of course, will revert back to Madame, for this is all her mother knows of me, and you will play…”

“Hold on, Louis. Do you or don’t you intend to get her a husband?”

“How should I know?” Louis Gormosy shrugged his shoulders and presented his palms upward.

“I don’t know if she has a harelip or an unfortunate bosom. We both, my old friend, will find out this evening.”

 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2010-2016

 


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 108 other followers

%d bloggers like this: