|Author: Brian Joseph Johns|
"That was months ago. And right when you and Barris needed just a little bit of spice in your lives to make things interesting." Susannia responded, her ghostly form extending from Mila's historical portrait rendering.
She'd painted the piece on a canvas, one of her largest paintings. Six feet wide by nine feet tall. An upper body portrait of two Women who'd innovated the position of Women, progress and the incredible responsibility that lay within the arms of scientists of their day in the early eighteen hundreds. It depicted two well known historical friends. One named Susannia and the other named Margaret. It was as simple as that and anyone eyeing her painting would know perhaps not who they were or their significance, but they'd see it painted in their poise and expression.
She'd kept the painting hidden for three years before meeting Barris and then after their return from L'Arbor De Noire she'd pulled it from her storage and placed it upon the wall. One night a few nights after she'd placed it upon the wall she'd wandered downstairs from her bedroom after an erotic and steamy encounter with Barris for a snack. She'd wandered into the den to find where the painting was centered on the large wall to find a bottle of wine they'd corked earlier in the evening when she noticed a chill in the air. When she turned to return to the kitchen, she was confronted by two ghostly apparitions. She jumped back startled even letting a scream out of her lips which sounded more like a "yip" than anything.
"My dear? That's hardly a scream. If you're going to do it you'll need to do it more like..." Susannia began.
"Wait! You'll go and terrorize the whole orchard. You'll send all those poor fauna and deer sleeping out back running for their lives. You'll wake the dead, you will!" Margaret said responding to Susannia.
"Wake the dead? You're hardly one to scold me about that. I mean look at the ruckus you caused by your silly book. Frank M. Stine was it? Oh it's been so long I can hardly remember." Susannia countered.
"Well you with your silly loom contraption are no better. I mean that thing was pretty much alive if you ask me, though it did not possess the biology one might find on a biped or quadraped. It couldn't even be classified as a ped at all. It was purely an 'it'! Nearly alive or so it would seem though it was made of parts that were n'yer able to breath!" Margaret was quick to parry.
"That depends upon how you'd define breath my dear. A thread or pattern might be a breath equivalent to ours for my loom making device. Would not you consider the characters from your nightmare of a book to be without breath? Ironic considering the context of your story." Susannia countered defending her mechanical craftiness.
"Begging your pardon but who are you?" Mila finally worked up the courage to challenge the two apparitions.
"Oh? She's back. Good. She didn't scream after all." Margaret directed herself to Susannia.
"She's fine. We'd better answer her or she'll have those dastardly ghost and demon hunters here in the drop of a feather." Margaret replied.
"Me first. I'm Susannia of Myrlebone, Earl of Lovelace milady." Susannia curtsied for Mila who bowed for her by instinct.
"I guess that leaves myself. I'm Margaret of Somers Town in London (of course). Wife of my beloved Percy. Oh Percy I do so miss him. Why didn't you add him to the canvas as well?" Margaret introduced herself.
"Or my William? My dear it would have been the first we'd had our tangled grasp upon them for such a long time. Oh how I'd ravish him!" Susannia grinned from ear to ear before batting her eyelashes at Mila innocently.
"You couldn't hope to nearly match what we'd heard from her bedroom only a moment ago!" Margaret put her hands on her hips amazed at Susannia's coyness.
"I have to admit I'm a bit in envy. Just a bit though... It's been soooo long..." Susannia's ghostly cheeks visibly flushed.
"So who are you my dear? You must be the one who etched us to this canvas and wall giving us life anew?" asked Margaret.
"...I'm Mila. Mila Rendebelle." Mila replied.
"The Rendebelle must have been your Father's side because I only see a tiny bit of Rendebelle in you my dear. You look to be a bit more Tokugawa. Perhaps Edo? Or even Usumi?" responded Susannia.
"Usumi? I'd say she appears a bit more Ito!" Margaret glared at Susannia.
"She is who she is!" Susannia stood her ground.
"Thank you! Actually my Father is from Austria. He and my Mother married in Osaka where he met her. She took his name naturally and they had me." Mila responded a little perturbed to have been taken apart so readily by these apparitions.
"You see! I told you that she was Japanian." Susannia held her chin up.
"Japanese! I think you've been tinkering with gears a little too long if you ask me. It does you a bit of good to read a word or two every now and again..." Margaret smirked at her friend and then looked to Mila.
There was a moment's silence before Margaret spoke.
"So is he a graven lord of lustful thoughts? He must be mounds of meat and muscle from the sounds of what I'd heard coming from your bedroom..." Margaret blushed nearly as much as Mila did.
Mila smiled and turned red recalling her ecstasy only moments earlier.
"No. Well... that's... Barris. My love you know. He's special..." Mila replied thinking about him.
"What? You mean he needs tending to? Like the lesser learned maybe? The lesser abled maybe?" Susannia asked.
"Barris? No. He's not special in that way though the disabled are not considered lesser here at all. In fact one of our most learned Scientists is paraplegic. He has limited to no control of his limbs or head muscles yet he's discovered some of the most profound secrets our Universe has held for ages." Mila responded.
"Who? Your Barris?" Margaret seemed amazed.
"No. Not Barris. He hasn't really discovered anything... Though he has discovered many of my most pleasurable zones in a short time... but no. Barris did not discover the secrets of the universe. Unless you'd consider my erogenous zones universal secrets?" Mila said blushing even more.
"Hardly now that you've divulged them so readily." Susannia eyed Mila precariously.
"And you are here for what purpose....?" Mila asked defensively.
Susannia and Margaret looked at each other quizzically.
"We don't know. You painted us." responded Susannia.
"I mean you could have included our Husbands. Our horses. Our estates even. But nooooo. You had to just paint us, our cleavage and perhaps a grotesque smile on our..." Margaret glared at Mila.
"Grotesque?!!! How dare you! Do you know how many weeks it took me to etch the expressions on your faces in that painting?!!!" Mila's fury was apparent in her response.
"What? A week? Maybe two?" Susannia responded folding her arms.
Mila's face held fast.
"Thirty weeks." she replied.
"Thirty?" Margaret confirmed.
"Yes. Twice fifteen. Thrice ten. Hextet five." Susannia smiled glad to have confounded Margaret for the first time in two hundred years.
"That's longer than I mulled over my wedding gown. It's certainly longer than my lust life with Percival. But far less than I spent with quill and ink whilst writing my coup de gras!" Margaret's chin shot up in confidence.
"...and nearly as long as I'd considered the design of the gear I eventually had to hand mill myself... after I'd hand milled the tools to mill the gear in the first place for my loom making device..." Susannia contemplated Mila's dilemma.
"So it appears that we are of like minds. Like obsessions?" Mila asked the ghosts.
"What? Are you saying I'd spend thirty weeks obsessing over the smiles of two Women who died two hundred years prior? For thirty weeks nonetheless?" asked Margaret.
"Likewise?" Susannia confirmed with Mila clearly above the lure.
"No. But Margaret, you'd spend nearly two years writing Frank..." Mila started.
"Yes it was just about that." Margaret replied reminiscing.
"Or that you'd spend nearly your whole life creating the loom making device and working with Charles on the Mind Engine." Mila's shyly smiled as if in the midst of stars.
"Oh it was nothing really. I was so enamored of Charles though. Such a deft and charming Man. We were so entwined in the inner workings of the numerical apparatus. It was a splendid time." Susannia mired over her life's work reminiscing.
"I see her point. Or perhaps better put... paint. Pun intended I do so mean." Margaret thought about it.
"She's of a like mind and way. Why I do believe we've met a like soul? A like mind?" Susannia queried Margaret.
"I'd say because we have." Margaret replied.
"Then I'd say well met." Susannia curtsied once again for Mila as did Margaret.
That was how they met. Ultimately just a month after Mila's encounter with the Power Lord in the warehouse down on the main intersection of Alivale.
"Transylvania?!!!" Mila exclaimed.
"You don't have to go there. That's where your friend was calling us from." Susannia cupped her hands over her mouth as is amplifying herself.
"Summoning I think would be more the word for a Woman of her calling..." Margaret chose her words carefully.
"Bella! You mean Bella. The Gypsy?" Mila asked.
"Yes! Now you're thinking! You remember! She personally requested your presence from a distant place... though she's not in Transylvania." Susannia rested her chin on her hand.
"Well? Where is she?" Mila asked her stomach grumbling.
"Mila? Are you alright honey?" Barris yelled from the top of the stairs.
"Everything's fine sweetie! Just a minute more luvvy lips." Mila replied drawing a quizzical look from Susannia and Margaret.
"Alright. I'll be in bed. I've got your favorite massage oil ready..." Barris tried to sound seductive instead sounding like a poetically literate spokesperson for floorwax.
"Alright honey..." Mila replied seductively.
"Massage oil? What are you doing up there? Can I rent him for a week?" Susannia asked Mila.
"Never! So where is Bella?" Mila responded defensively.
"She's in a place of eternal falling water... a symbol for fertility and the female sensuality of abundance... the distant land of... Niagara Falls!" Margaret clasped her temples as she appeared to channel the knowledge of Bella's location.
[Saturday April 15, 2017 4:01PM Updates and additions proceeding and preceding]
"How...? What is she doing there? I mean when Barris and I last saw her she was just getting set up as a fortune teller in Transylvania." Mila asked very much surprised.
"Well I haven't the slightest as to why she'd have gone to Niagara." replied Susannia playing coy.
"I mean it's only one of the largest tourist attractions in the West not to mention a natural wonder of the world where many couples go to... how would you say? Consumate their relationships?" Margaret continued from where Susannia left off.
"What better place for a Gypsy fortune teller to set up her business than the place where so many people start their lives together?" Susannia posed a wide smile stretched seemingly ear to ear.
"I'm sure it can wait. Can't it? I mean Barris and I were just about to..." Mila was cut off in mid sentence.
"Who are you talking to Mila? Are you on the phone? If it's your Mum, tell her I said hello and send her my love. If it's Shaela, you tell her she needs to get a play toy for that giant cat of hers. On our last adventure her cat purposely tore my clothing right down to my nickers! If it's Sato, don't tell him that the Bonsai tree he gifted us is on its last legs... Hurry up! The massage oil is getting cold..." Barris yelled down from the top of the stairs.
"Alright honey! I'll be up in a minute! Keep it warm for me!" Mila leaned around the corner and yelled up the stairs to Barris.
"Not even married and you can't tell him that you're talking to two ghosts?" Margaret asked Mila crossing her arms.
"Well we haven't ascertained that you are in fact ghosts per se but possibly some residual magic left over from a prior artful incantation I might have accidentally imbued upon the canvas from which you emerged." Mila explained to them.
"Mila, you need to go see Bella! And soon!" Susannia responded her hands now on her hips.
"I said no! I will consider your demands tomorrow after I've enjoyed the rest of my night with Barris. That's final!" Mila replied her tone lacked amusement of any sort as she began towards the stairs.
"You heard the girl. She wants to enjoy her night with Barris." Margaret shrugged her shoulders as if giving in to Mila's demands.
"Then we give her a night with Barris. A night to remember?" Susannia verified with Margaret.
"I mean you can't stop a Lady when she knows what she wants, can you?" Margaret agreed.
"Unless she isn't aware that she doesn't know what she wants..." Susannia countered.
"You sly girl you. I guess that could be. So I suppose that we should do something about it?" Margaret narrowed her eyes at Susannia in disbelief of her craftiness.
"Let's." nodded Susannia.
They both simultaneously waved their hands in front of their faces leaving a trail of watery sparkles resembling a river's run just before the drop into the grand falls themselves.
Mila continued up the stairs momentarily feeling dizzy part of the way up. She felt a tug from within her core and a moment of sickness which quickly subsided. She then continued up the stairs determined to get to the bedroom and spend the rest of the night with Barris. It was when she arrived on the landing that she realized that she was not in her own home anymore. She was somewhere distant in fact had no idea of where she was at all.
She was indoors for certain and there seems to flurry of activity at the bottom of the stairs which had turned into an elaborate spiral with bronze railings and a marble floor landing.
"Where am I?" she asked herself out loud.
"Are you lost Miss? Perhaps I can be of help." asked a man dressed in a bellhop uniform.
"No. I mean yes. Where are we?" Mila asked sounding confused.
"We're on the second floor landing. The restaurant is just over there and the elevators that way. Would you like me to take you somewhere?" he asked politely.
"Thank you but I should be alright. I'm feeling a bit ill and faint. What building are we in?" Mila asked looking spooked.
"We're in the Niagara Grand Hotel. Would you like me to take you to our in house Doctor?" he asked her.
"No thank you. I'll be alright. Thank you again." Mila replied appearing to be in shock.
"Very well. Have a nice evening Miss." the bellhop left her.
"Susannia. Margaret. What have you done?!" she cursed under her breath.
Barris crossed the room towards the bedroom door in his loose fitting boxer style gauchies with the opened bottle of massage oil in hand.
"What is keeping her?! We had this planned all day!" Barris said allowed obviously frustrated and impatient.
Maybe she wanted him to come find her. Perhaps she was more affine to having their little playtime in the living room or den. The kitchen maybe? He grabbed the handle of the door which somehow felt different than the bedroom doorknob with which he'd become accustomed. He pulled the door open yelling ahead of him.
"Mila... I'm going to count to three. When I'm done, I'm going to come down there and find you. When I do, we're going to have our romantic massage oil evening and make love right there on the spot!" Barris yelled trying to sound seductive instead sounding impatient and pragmatic.
He was shocked to find that he was not looking at their upstairs hall but instead what appeared to be the somewhat populated carpeted hallway of a large luxury building. The patrons, many of whom were well dressed stopped to look at Barris in his under shorts. He dropped the massage oil as he realized that he was not in his own home.
"No need for alarm. I'm just looking for my... girlfriend. You see we were just in our own home and... now I'm not there. I'm in this place...? Where ever this place is... Ok. Be calm. I'm going to go back in there, where ever there is. Alright?" Barris assured the patrons who appeared to be just as embarrassed as he was.
He turned to step back through the doorway slipping and upending his feet completely on the floor which was now slippery with massage oil. He landed on his back upon the carpeted floor momentarily winded. A few of the patrons started towards him.
"Are you alright Sir?" one of them asked.
"...Wait... don't come near me..." Barris struggled back to his feet carefully.
He slipped again just barely catching himself before falling.
"It's alright. I'm Ok. Thank you very much. I'll be going. In there." Barris gestured to the door continuing his way back through the door from whence he'd arrived.
Barris closed the door behind him getting a good look at the room. It appeared to be a hotel room from the look of it much like a self contained apartment.
"Hmmmm. Now how did this happen? Why does it always happen when I'm in my undergarments?" Barris asked aloud hoping Mila would walk through the door with an explanation.
He ran for the drawers of the desk looking through it for some hint of where they were. He found a sewing kit with the words: Niagara Falls Star Hotel. He continued looking through drawers until he found the information package, a small folder with a local directory and all of the calling information he'd need to know where he was.
"Well I guess I can rule out another dimension thankfully." Barris looked around the room spying that the television was a modern large screen LCD diplay.
"...and another time." he said thoughtfully.
Barris picked up the phone and dialed zero. A moment later the operator came on the line.
"How can I help you?" she said in a friendly voice.
"Operator, can you dial the following number..." he said giving her the home number of Mila's house in Alivale.
The phone rang for two minutes solid without being picked up.
"I guess she got whisked away too..." he said aloud picking up the phone once again and asking the operator to dial Mila's cellular.
The cellular phone rang for some time from inside their home right beside the land line phone on their night table. Nobody answered and Barris hung up.
"Alright. She doesn't have her phone with her. Now what?" he asked himself.
"Ah Ha!" Barris said in a moment of brilliance.
He ran into the bathroom and found a beautifully clean fluffy white house coat and a pair of fresh packaged slippers. He threw the house coat on and sat on the edge of the tub, unwrapping and putting on the slippers.
"Don't worry my love! I'm coming to rescue you!" Barris said with focus and confidence as he stepped out the hotel room door.
A moment later he was on his back having slipped in the massage oil again.
"...why?" he muttered from his back.
to be continued...
I am Brian Joseph Johns and this is A Lady's Prerogative http://talesofthesanctum.blogspot.ca.