Rent

Lady Beatrice whispered, “Magda can’t find out.”

Lord Bertram pulled her thigh closer to his lips. “Never.”

Then the world rent open with a piercing scream and a jagged hole in the wall. Lord Bertram threw Lady Beatrice onto the bed. A crier shouted, “To arms! To his majesty’s chambers!”  Bertram scrambled into his breeches and a tunic and ran to answer that call.

And then he reappeared in the wall’s hole, but it wasn’t him at all. This man looked exactly like Bertram, but he wore a mud leather helmet and a strange mask. Instead of a tunic, he had a short coat and strange breeches.  He carried Magda’s body in his arms, and then he dropped her.

Forgetting her nakedness, Beatrice ran to her dead sister. Only just as the man was not really Bertram, the woman wasn’t really Magda. Her open, vacant eyes, were brown as the man’s muddy helmet, and her hair was dark instead of golden.

“Who are you?”

“I’m his majesty’s bombardier and gunner, and I am your lover, Lady Bea.”

“Where is my sister? “This isn’t Magda!”

“This Magda is the only one who matters to us.”

“ Why is she dead?”

The bombardier looked over at the bed Beatrice and Bertram had so recently vacated. “She stabbed her own Beatrice in vengeance, then took poison.”

“No!”

“Your sister  is coming now.”

“She would not kill me.”

“She is the paladin’s wife, and she will.  Death settles every score. None can ask reckoning of the dead.”

Then he reached for her. “But she need not find you. Where I come from, you are wholly mine now. Your living sister can have that Bertram forever. Will you return with me through the hole?

Beatrice understood his truth as she heard her sister near to  the bedchamber. “Oh Bea!” Magda’s voice was laden with despair.

Beatrice reached back to the bombardier. She took his hand and he pulled her close. Together, they stepped through the hole to forever.

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This is my second submission for Trifecta’s 33rd weekly prompt. This prompt is a bit more traditional. Well, as traditional as anything ‘Trifecta’ gets. We’re being asked to take off on the third definition of ‘score’.

About jesterqueen:
Jessie Powell is the Jester Queen. She likes to tell you about her dog, her kids, her fiction, and her blog, but not necessarily in that order.

Comments

Rent — 19 Comments

    • This was one of those that begged for more than 333 words, and boiling it down has either captured its essence or rendered it tough and indecipherable.

      • I fell into the tough and indecipherable part. Near as I can tell (in it’s present form) the story has too many characters for me to follow without an introduction. It felt like I was dropped into someone’s fever dream and I didn’t have anything to hang on to.

        You’re a creative woman with big ideas, Jessie. I bet you could plot a thousand books if you didn’t have a million things to attend to (like most of us do.)

      • No. I think the reader doesn’t have enough lead in to totally understand what’s happening. More a constraint of the prompt, because you could totally expand it. It’s an interesting premise with characters I already care about.

  1. I’ve read it over at least 4 times and I still can’t follow it. I’m wondering if you used a characters name in a wrong place…it definitely needs to be expanded to be fully appreciated 🙂 Or at least an author’s note to clarify it a bit…

  2. That 333 word limit is a killer sometimes, isn’t it?? I was also a little confused about who the characters were, but I hope you develop this into a longer story.

  3. Actually, I followed the action fairly well; but then I’m a sucker for the “alternate universe” trope. I will admit, however, to missing the “score” connection. But I’m slow on the uptake sometimes. Either way, the piece is well-written and interesting,

  4. This was definitely enough to pique my interest, and I would read more. I love being dropped into the action like this. I did have trouble following what was going on. I think a few throwing a few names into the dialogue would help (“Beatrice said”). Will you expand it? I’d really like to read a longer version.

  5. I agree with Eric. I didn’t have a hard time following this, but I’m a huge fan of Fringe and have contemplated creating a series of stories involving quantum universes. So, good job. This is well-written and very intriguing.

    • That’s good to know! I kind of wondered if it wasn’t the bizarre sci-fi that was throwing folks a little. A longer piece would have allowed more backstory or discussion and reaction to the sudden hole, but I think I might still have lost some folks.