The Devil & dame Renard

The Devil & dame Renard

Horror – Novella – Anges Ross – A – 25MAY2014

“Agnes had been strolling door to residential Fremantle door, handing out cheaply produced leaflets to everyone she encountered willing enough, politely enough, to lighten her load. Few were interested in the spiel that went with it, but at least they had something to enlighten them as to the injustice of society and a government precluding women from the vote.

At twenty two years of age Agnes was bestowed with long fiery red locks, which were currently tied into a bun firm enough to crack rocks on, tied up on the back of her head. Bearing more freckles than is considered appealing; Agnes Ross, had been in Australia a little over five weeks, and stood five feet seven inches in stockinged feet. Dressed in a navy blue ankle length skirt, white blouse buttoned to the neck with tie, calf high button down boots, green eyes, and a willowy body; Agnes looked every part the Victorian era lass that she was. The only hiccup she had encountered thus far on her rounds, was her heavy Glasgow accent, causing trouble among those less receptive to her lilt.

Agnes’, back ramrod straight and head held high, opened the front gate to an elegant house.

Closing the gate behind her, she took in the beautifully manicured lawn either side of the path she walked. Roses of varying shades of red stood in beds before a wooden decked veranda. Taking the three steps in two paces, she delighted in the heady aroma the roses cast over her. Opening the fly screened door, Agnes politely tapped the front door to the quaint house with a brass door knocker, cast in the shape and size of a carrot. Within a minute she heard a door slam somewhere toward the back of the house, and the sound of the apparent residents footfall increasing with each step they took.

Swinging inward, the face looking back at Agnes was one of a plump, smiling, forty-something year old lady; hair pinned back, and apron covering her.

“Good morning Ma’am, my name is Agnes Ross and I am here………………….”

α

”Indeed dear. Sorry, Miss Ross was it? I’m Mrs. Fox, do come in.” she said in a thick east end London accent.

Agnes followed Mrs. Fox down the short polished floor board passage. Taking in those things that people adorn walls with as she did so, yet nothing was so eye catching that she slowed her progress for further examination.

Mrs. Fox continued into a comfortable sitting room, and offered Agnes a chair, which Agnes gratefully took. Poised, prim, and ramrod straight as she did so.

Accepting Mrs. Fox’s offer of tea, Agnes sat quietly, waiting for Mrs. Fox’s completion of tea related preparations, and her return with the tray.

The absence of noise within the sitting room gave cause for her to pick up every small sound coming from beyond the well-appointed room; she could hear Mrs. Fox humming as she walked around her kitchen collecting the tea item’s. Birds and crickets made bird and cricket noises outside. Cocking her head to the left, Agnes felt more than thought there was a vague sound, as though someone was screaming from quite some distance away.

The sound dull in her ears.

Tea was served, and Agnes silently gave thanks to God that the milk was still fresh; the weather being as warm as it had been recently. Removing herself from such trivialities, Agnes got down to business. Mrs. Fox was enthusiastic about all Agnes had said, to the point that she asked if she could relieve her of the plethora of pamphlets Agnes had set to one side of the table.

“I will pass these gems to my ‘Thursday Afternoon Ladies’, when we next meet. I am sure they will be as excited as I, if not more so.”

Mrs. Fox then stood, stating the leaflets would be all but forgotten, should she not put them with her ‘Thursday Afternoon Ladies’ articles for future discussion.

Feeling rather impressed with herself, Agnes continued to sip her tea, finishing the macaroon before her as she did so.

The muted screaming continued just on the farther reaches of Agnes’s hearing. Yet she dismissed it as something beyond her control, and geographically outside of her reach should aid be required.

With spectacular suddenness, exquisite sharp pain and immense pressure threw Agnes forcefully onto the table. Tea cups, macaroon’s, and tea spoons leaping into the air in a rare defiance of gravity. A sharpened length of wooden curtain rod extended vertically by two and a half feet from Agnes’s back; impaling her through the left shoulder blade, lodging deep within her chest.

“Hells! I am terribly sorry Miss Ross, but it would appear I am off the mark so to speak.” laughed Mrs. Fox. “I will have to try to be somewhat more accurate this time. This won’t hurt me a bit.”

With a booted foot firmly placed against Agnes’s chair back, the curtain rail was powerfully torn from her back and body. Still laughing, Mrs. Fox dragged Agnes from her chair, dashing her onto the polished floor, leaving her face up. Pain and fear stealing all sound from Agnes’s lips; her eye’s slowly losing focus.

Once more Mrs. Fox’s boot pinned Agnes, allowing for a single vicious thrust, destroying Agnes’s heart in the process. Blood leaped from Agnes’s broken body as the stake completed its heinous task.

α

When ‘Death’ found Agnes, her white blouse was bloody and ragged. Standing now, staring through the ether Agnes saw herself in horrific disarray on the floor of Mrs. Fox’s sitting room. Her eyes in death wide, staring at nothing but the afterlife.

After severing Agnes’s necrobilical cord, freeing her soul from her body, ‘Death’ gazed at Agnes over her horn rimmed spectacles and said, not unkindly, “Agnes Ross, I have a job for you before you go any further.” With that she explained to Agnes what had to be done, and that she would not release her until her task was completed. With that, ‘Death’ collected her spectacularly sharp secateurs that had replaced her less practical scythe a millennia ago, and vanished.

α

A sense of utter joy and contentment washed over Mrs. Fox. Her smile only leaving her face to be replaced by lips pursed, allowing her to whistle a jolly tune.

Agnes was carefully disposed of as per Mrs. Fox’s unique routine; cleaning finished and mops bleached, buckets washed, apron laundered, knives put over the whetstone, and life was good.

Mrs. Fox dined at the theatre that evening; ‘le danse macabre’ filled the air and covered the boards. Actors, actresses, and orchestra the best she had ever seen in this foreign land. Revelry complete, Mrs. Fox returned home, changed into her nightgown, crept into bed, and ‘Chased the Dragon’ with the finest opium money could buy; followed by her special something, reserved specifically for days as wonderful as this. Laudanum stirred through Absinthe, three drops of local honey crucial to the mix.

Life could not get better for Mrs. Fox; it had been ten days since she last felt this good.

α”

An opening I believe to a series of events. Not particularly nice events, but events nonetheless. One may even consider it a ‘Prologue’ for more to come. This the unedited first draft.

Do click upon the associated image above, what follows? Well who knows, but I do implore you to examine it closely. Robert Johnson and an unwelcome visitor to grace you with.

Hamish

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