The Wife has taken the motor and driven to Kokomo. She often bemoans the fact that I have ":moved her to a place that doesn't even have a Walmart." I am in my recliner, content with my book, which in this instance is a Hiaasen novel geared to the teen set. Yes, I am no doubt in my second childhood, but this is just the reading I need. Keeps me entertained, doesn't make me work too hard.
As I open to my bookmarked page, I glance up and note the dolls on the balcony. They are always there, ever keeping watch over the premises; and I seldom so much as notice their presence. The Wife is a collector, and among the large assortment of arts and trivia and gimcracks that she amasses, she has a collection of dolls. It is not a large collection, numbering perhaps ten or a dozen, but they are nice dolls. Porcelain heads and hands, wonderful human-like hair, and gorgeous, well-made clothing, as you would expect of an item in The Wife's collection. I am not referring here to the sixty or so "Expressions" dolls she owns. That is a whole other collection.
The Bride and her Maid of Honor, as I said, are in their places on the balcony. Why their names popped into my head as I opened my book is beyond me, but there it is. The bride is Elizabeth. Her dear friend is Annaliese.
I am in dire peril with Carl’s protagonist, and as the boat slips its moorings at the height of the storm, my head drops back onto the cushion and my book slips off my lap and falls to the floor As my head snaps forward and both eyes pop open, I think it was the sound of the book hitting the floor that awakened me. But in the same instant, the delicate, ivory hand of a young woman pushes violently against my chest as Elizabeth says, "Cinch it tighter. We want nothing to go wrong here."
"Gotcha," says a voice behind me, as the hempen strands are jerked harder, binding my arms against my sides and my body against the chair. I am tied. Annaliese steps around front of me and stands beside Elizabeth. "Now," snarled the pretty bridesmaid (how could such vicious sounds emanate from the delicate cherry red lips of such a beautiful woman?) "Now, you will pay."
Trembling, yes, but not yet terrified, I asked, "Pay for what? I have never bothered you in any way in the fifteen years you have been here."
"You are a man, and all men are evil. You will pay for their sins, and especially for what Ward did to Elizabeth."
Okay, I'll let the charge of "evil" pass for the moment, because my curiosity has been piqued. "And just what offense did this Ward commit?"
Now Elizabeth starts to howl as though in agony, keening as she wrings her hands and sobs, "Oh, Ward, Ward, how could you?"
"Knock it off," growled Annaliese, "we have work to do. Here. You must take your vengeance. It is your retribution to deliver." Annaliese handed a cane to the bride. I recognized the cane as one from my collection that stands in an urn at the foot of the stairs. This particular item was fashioned from a sapling that had been entwined by a wild grape vine, and as it grew a wonderful spiral pattern was embedded into the stick.
The first blow was not terribly hard, but it caught me just above the left eye, and before a second blow struck me viciously square atop my head, there was blood trickling into my left eye. "Don't knock him out yet!" cried the red-haired vixen. "I want him to feel this," and she lashed my right cheek with a short length of hemp rope. She struck again "This one is for that stinking Ward, who left this angel standing at the altar on her wedding night." Hit me across the chest. "And this is just because all men are lice." Across my thighs.
"Dirt!" cried Elizabeth. The cudgel hit the left side of my neck. Hard. "Scum!" she spat yet again. The blow landed I knew not where, for that one put out the lights.
I did not hear the car turn into the driveway, but something, perhaps the closing of the car door, awakened me, and I was shaking my head and looking around the room through the fuzziness of first-awakening sight. The front door opened and The Wife stepped into the room. "Hi, Hon! Did you miss me?" As I tried to focus on her, I saw from the corner of my eye the two witches in their wedding garb standing at their regular posts on the balcony.
"Oh," I was moaning. "I did. You have no idea."
She stepped in front of me, bent to give me the kiss I always receive when we've been apart for a few hours. "What th'? What's been going on here? she asked. I flinched as her finger ran lightly across the cut over my left eye.© 2014 David W. Lacy