I'll Get You My Pretty - And Your Little Dog Toto Too!
Stay Out You Ugly Broom Rider
The Angel Gabriel blows his horn; To announce the time that we are born; The Angel of Death arrives on time; To claim the life which once was thine.
But what if it isn't your time to die; Do you just walk peacefully along death's side; Or do you protest for another day; Delay your time and decide to stay.
Does time really heal all wounds? Or do they simply fester until they come to a boil and explode into a painful memory? Time is all we have for eternity. It is not a place, but merely a state of mind; the link that connects us to all possible worlds an illusion created by a supreme entity to confuse us. We must make the most of it in any form of any life it cannot be wasted it cannot be toyed with or laughed at. It is all we have. And there is power in time. The power of good as well as evil but which one is the strongest? There are paths to travel upon and we are given the luxury of having the option of which one we shall take. There are only two. The right path and the wrong path. Sometimes our paths are chosen for us and we may, with all good intentions, start down the right one, but with every path, there are forks and turns without signs to indicate which way to go and we misjudge and take the wrong one. Truly it cannot be through any fault of our own, human nature being what it is, we are never wrong. Others twist and turn the signs causing confusion. The soul is everlasting and continues on its path even when the physical body is gone; and who is so smug as to say or not believe that the soul cannot endure even after death precedes it and form a mind and will of its own. The strength of survival is strong within every human being. When our mediocre lives are abruptly terminated, not yet fulfilled, the soul determines it will go on and pay whatever price for its extension. For what are we, if not energy in its purest form. And energy is power.
The innkeeper quietly opened the door to Room 4, then softly closed it behind him.The scent of lavender lay heavily in the air. He stood for a few moments, drinking in the sight of his wife straddled over her lover, listening to their passionate moans, seething with uncontrollable rage.
"There you are you wench!"He barked. Startled, Chatelaine looked over her shoulder, and found herself staring down the barrel of a .45 Pepper Box pistol. "Prepare to pay for your sins my adulterous wife!" "Please, no!Don't do this John!"She pleaded."Please!I beg of you!! don. . ." Gun powder blackened what was once her beautiful face. Cringing with horror at his blood-soaked chest, Chatelaine's lover struggled with undue haste to disengage her from his groin, throwing her to the floor like a tattered ragdoll.Insanely, he began to wipe his chest free of her residue. "Now. . .it's your turn."John gruffed. "And I don't mind telling you, I'm gonna thoroughly enjoy this."His lips formed a hideous grin.His right eyebrow arched.He aimed the pistol. His eyes wide with terror, the sailor scurried from the bed, stumbling over Chatelaine. "Please. . .sir. . .I didn't know she was married. . .she told me she worked here as a woman of favors and server of drinks. . .I thought she was just another wench. . .she wore no ring."The trembling sailor pleaded, crawling away from John. "I paid her! There! See the money on the table," he pointed frantically, "I paid her handsomely."He babbled, nervously. John cocked the trigger. The sailor knelt, folded his hands, and begged. "Please. . .I implore yo. . . ." The bullet pierced his heart.He died instantly. Smoke curled from the barrel of the pistol.Spittle trickled down the corner of John's mouth. He turned to Chatelaine.She lay in a pool of blood her face shards of bone, membrane and flesh. She's gonna be a bloody mess to clean.He thought. He rubbed his three-day old beard with his grimy hand, and pondered the situation. He did not think anyone heard the shots. They were on the third floor, and the bar was noisy with drunken men paying attention only to their liquor and women when he saw Chatelaine leave with the sailor. Unconsciously, he removed a dirty bar rag from his back pocket and began wiping blood from his leather apron. "Why did you betray me again, Chatelaine?Didn't you learn your lesson the first time?Didn't I warn you?" He asked, aloud. He watched her flirt with the sailor in the front parlor tousling his hair laughing, kissing and caressing his neck.It brought back a painful memory. From his vest pocket he removed a silver flask containing his nerve medicine.He swallowed long and hard, then studied the bullet embedded in it.
John was serving under General Winfield Scott in the Mexican War with a man named Hiram Grant.Together, they took Vera Cruz and defeated Santa Ana in 1847.Shooting was what they did best next to drinking and fighting; something they both had in common. Hiram was a clerk in his father?s leather store before the war, and John's father owned a hotel. They became the best of friends. He had won the flask from Hiram during a poker game played in their tent one night as they awaited orders for their next skirmish. When the orders finally came, the men assumed their positions in the pre-dug trenches and waited for the inevitable attack from the Mexicans.The flask saved his life when it caught a stray bullet that ricocheted off a canteen and headed straight for his heart. Hell of a man, that Hiram, John thought. A faint smile momentarily crossed his lips, but soon faded when he realized what had to be done.
The cellar.No one goes down there but me. I hold the only key, and always keep it locked.The floor is dirt the walls are stone and it's cool enough to prevent stench from rotting bodies.
John left the bedroom, locking the door behind him.
"Hey!"Big Sjohn, whe've ya been?" John startled at the slurred voice as he reached for the handle of the cellar door. "We'e all shry, we need shomemore wishkey, pal." John felt a hand land on his shoulder.He turned to see one of his usual customers, Elijah, pupils dilating and body swerving. "Keep your shirt on Elijah!I've got other chores to do around here besides babysittin' you hooligans, ya know!Besides, from the looks of ya, I'd say you've had enough.Why don't you go up to your room and sleep it off.It's late." "I'll be the shudge ifff I've had nuf to shrink. I'm not tirred."Elijah garbled, swaying back and forth. John gripped Elijah's shoulders firmly to steady him, and walked him into the bar.He sat him down next to a table. "Where's Beatrice?" "I dunno."Elijah muttered, almost falling off the chair. John reached out his hand, "steady now mate," and bellowed."BEATRICE WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU?I GOT A MAN HERE WHO NEEDS TENDIN'TO!"Elijah covered his ears. "I'm comin?, I'm comin.!"Beatrice shouted, shoving the saloon doors open with her hips, balancing two bowls of stew and rye bread on a tray. "Hold your damned horses!I only got two hands for Pete's sake!Ya sent me to the kitchen to fetch some more stew, and now you're yellin' at me to do somethin' else!Where's that good-for-nothin' wife of yours? She's supposed to be helpin' me." "You never mind my wife, she's none of your concern!Just get your hide over here and take care of this customer!THAT'S what you get paid to do, NOT to complain about my wife!Bring him a bowl of that stew. He needs food in his belly.And when he's finished, take him up to his room." John ordered.
Elijah's head hit the table with a thump.
"Poor lad," John thought, as he patted his head, "He's a good boy, but can't hold his liquor worth a damn."
Feeling secure in the fact that Elijah wasn't going anywhere for the time being, he ambled over to Beatrice as she placed the stew and bread on the table for two other drunken men. John leaned over and whispered in her ear. "I've got some business to take care of upstairs, and I don't wish to be disturbed.I want you to clear everybody outta here, clean up, and lock the door behind you when you leave." "Oh, sure.Beatrice do this, and Beatrice do that," she complained under her breath, as she placed napkins and silverware next to the bowls, "that's all I ever hear around this joint while your lazy wife does nothin.'As if I ain't got enough to do!" Roughly, John grabbed her by the arm, and roared in her ear.
"Mind your tongue woman!My wife is MY business. You'd better be watchin' what you say from now on, or you'll be findin' yourself back on the street, beggin' for your next meal, the way I found you five years ago. Now get on with ya, and go get that stew for Elijah like I told you!" He shoved her towards the kitchen, causing her to lose her balance and stumble. She grabbed the nearest table to keep from falling on her face.She watched John stalk toward the cellar door, his heavy boots shaking the bottles of liquor on the shelves. John loosened his collar, rolled up his sleeves, struck a match, and lit the oil lantern hanging on the peg. Beatrice yanked Elijah's hair, and placed the stew and bread in front of him. "EAT, you damned drunk!"She cursed. Elijah squinted up at her as she placed a spoon in his hand.He slouched over the bowl, his long, brown hair skimming the edges, and began shoveling the stew into his mouth. "Sgood!Sgood, Beatrice."Elijah said, gravy dripping from his chin. "Glad you're enjoying it lad."She answered sarcastically, watching him slurp the stew with one hand, and dunk the bread with the other, shaking her head in disgust. From the corner of her eye she noticed one of the customers stretching over the bar, reaching for a bottle. "You there!Keep your pants on!No reaching over the bar.I'll get yer drink, just hold on!"
When John reached for two empty potato sacks to put the bodies in, he noticed a large mason jar filled with ten dollar bills.
"What do we have here?A private stash Chatelaine?Ha, ha.I guess you won't be needing it now not where you're going!"
He crunched the bills into his pocket, collected the sacks, and headed up the stairs. He stopped at the bar to grab a bottle of whiskey and tell Beatrice to hurry up and send everyone home.She wondered why he was in such a hurry, and what he planned on doing with the sacks dangling from his hands, but thought it best to keep her mouth shut and to do what he said.She did not want to incur his wrath a second time.She began ushering everyone out the door.
The floorboards squeaked beneath John's boots as he unlocked the door to Room 4.Blood was seeping through the cracks of the floor where Chatelaine's crumpled body lay.For a brief moment, John panicked, but when he remembered that Room 3 below was not occupied that night, he relaxed, and opened the bottle of whiskey.He sat in the chair next to the window, drinking, staring at the two bodies, and waiting for the inn to empty out before disposing of them.
An hour passed.The whiskey was almost gone.He had not heard the door close in a while and assumed the bar was empty.John opened the door, and walked to the end of the hall.He stood at the top of the stairs listening watching. He saw Beatrice, her night shawl over her shoulders, pocketbook on arm, heading towards the door.
The drawstring secured on Chatelaine's sack, John repeated the act with the sailor, remembering what he had said about the money on the table.Snatching up the two ten dollar bills, he noticed one of Chatelaine's disembodied eyeballs lying beside it.He closed his eyes in disbelief, and stuffed the bills in his pocket. Dragging them out the door, John realized the dead duo were heavier than he expected.Even though Chatelaine and the sailor were slight of stature, and John was a man of enormous size; arms like anvils, fists like hammers, beads of sweat formed upon his brow, and his breathing was heavy and uneasy.
Dragging them down the stairs would never do, he thought, so he hoisted both bodies over his broad shoulders, giving a grunt as he did, and steadily descended the two flights of stairs. Chatelaine's sack was already bloodsoaked.Twice he paused, looking behind him, checking for blood that had dripped or smeared the walls. John balanced the bodies on his shoulders to open the cellar door.Panting, he clumsily hurried down the steps, dropped the bodies on the dirt floor, then went back upstairs to fetch a tub of water and clean clothes.After placing the water on the dirt floor and his clothes on a chair next to a shovel standing against barrels of beer, he ran up the steps to latch the door. John began to dig Chatelaine's grave in a small, obscure section of the cellar (next to another grave less than three feet away). He thought about Chatelaine while he dug. . .
She was the only child of Margaret and Joshua Claren, Iowan farmers.Her home had been fiercely dominated by her father, a religious man who preached constantly about the Lord, but did not practice what he preached; his vile temper was renown.Because Chatelaine was given to a rebellious nature, she was often disciplined with his ever-ready rod. One Sunday morning after one of her father's ?lessons? on backtalking, she decided she had had enough.She was on her way to bible class, but she turned back to pack her paltry things. When she opened the door, she heard moans coming from her father upstairs, and screams of agony from her mother. Slowly she crept up the stairs, pausing in front of her parents' bedroom.Quietly, she peered in.Quickly she brought her hands to her face to stifle the horrified scream she felt brewing in her throat. Her parents were naked on their knees, her father bent over her mother, his hands on her back, pumping furiously. "Stop please Joshua.It hurts so."Her mother begged repeatedly. "Stifle yourself, woman!It is your duty as my wife to give me worldly pleasures and do whatever I desire.It says so in the bible.It is God's law."Her father insisted. Chatelaine did not understand what was happening, so she observed intently, and the more she observed, feelings began to stir within her feelings of sexual desires she was unaware of. She unbuttoned the top of her dress fondled her breasts reached inside her panties and begun massaging herself. The more her father moaned with pleasure, and her mother screamed in anguish, the more excited Chatelaine became.She stroked herself harder and faster until she climaxed, the same time as her father. Her mother collapsed on the bed, and curled up into a fetal position after her father dismounted. Quickly Chatelaine composed herself and eased the door closed.Quietly she tiptoed to her room, gently closing the door behind her. After gathering her clothes, Chatelaine opened the door carefully to see if her parents were still in their room.She heard her father's snores, and her mother's muffled sobs. Lightly, she tripped down the stairs, rushed out the door, and ran down the dirt road.Catching her breath, she was able to hitch a ride with some folks in a horse-drawn wagon headed towards Galena.
Arriving in Galena before sundown, she thanked the couple and waved goodbye as they rode along.She started down the street, then paused when her eye caught a cardboard sign in the window of Grant's Leather Goods:
BARMAID NEEDED:Lodging, meals and a fair salary.Apply at: The Manor House 666 Boothilier Road (Corner of Main Street and Boothilier) John McCleary - proprietor
Chatelaine asked a passerby where The Manor House was located.The man told her she was already on Main Street, so all she had to do was walk up the street about four blocks.She could not miss it.It was right on the corner.
When John opened the door, he was awe-struck by Chatelaine's beauty.Flaming red hair, aquamarine eyes, and a petite figure, made John melt like butter. He glanced at her bruises for a moment, then invited her inside.She inquired about the barmaid position.He questioned her age. When she answered 16, he turned away, and began to stroke his beard, an unconscious habit he fell into whenever he needed to think.She was so young.The bar got rowdy at times, and the men were crude, they were sure to toy with her. But when he turned around and looked into her eyes, he felt pity upon the frail young lass dressed in rags, and decided to give her the job.Business was more prosperous than last year, and he desperately needed the help. After a few weeks, John began to court Chatelaine. It was difficult to ignore the great beauty she possessed.Not being able to help himself, he proposed. Six months later, Chatelaine began her adulterous life with John's customers.The harsh manner in which he dealt with her misgivings, the bullying, and most of all, the lack of intimacy, drove her into the arms of willing and lonely sailors.She would disappear from the bar for long periods of time unbeknownst to John, until Beatrice began to complain.His male ego assured him that the beating he inflicted upon Chatelaine a few months ago, when he accidentally discovered her adulterous life, had put an end to further liaisons. He closed his eyes and shook his head.They had celebrated their second year of marriage three days ago.
It was midnight when John paused before shoveling out the last mound of dirt to wipe away beads of perspiration from his forehead, and streams of sweat dribbling down his cheeks, despite the coolness of the cellar. No one would miss them he was sure of that.The sailor was unknown in these parts, and sailors went AWOL all the time.And, as far as he knew, Chatelaine had never contacted her parents. He was safe.
Chatelaine's grave was finished.John jammed the shovel into the ground, gathered her up, and threw her body in the freshly dug grave.He began to shovel the dirt over her. After patting it neatly and smoothly, he placed a barrel on top.He pulled out his flask, found it empty, reached behind him, and grabbed a bottle of whiskey off the shelf.He uncorked it, took a hearty swig, and conjured up the story he would tell the townsfolk when his wife?s disappearance was questioned, rehearsing it aloud. "Well, I found a note one morning saying she'd run off with some sailor fella, that's all I know."
Yeah, that was good, he thought, gulping more whiskey.It would explain the disappearance of both of them.Who would question him further.
John took one final swallow before starting to dig the sailor's grave. "They could sleep together for eternity now," he chuckled to himself.
Another barrel went over the sailor's grave, and John looked at his work, satisfied. "Maybe I should say a few words for the dearly departed."He said aloud. "Goodbye Chatelaine.You weren't the best wife in the world, but you were all I had.A wife is supposed to be true and faithful to her husband, and since you weren't, you got just what you deserved.As for you young fella, well, I guess you were just unlucky.If it wasn't you, it would've been somebody else, I'm sure.Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, you're in these graves because of your lust."
Laughing hideously to himself, John removed the handkerchief from his back pocket and wiped the sweat from his brow once again. He paused to catch his breath before taking off his apron and bloodstained clothes to bath himself.After he donned his fresh garments, rolled them into a ball and placed them in a sack to be burned later, he sat a spell to ponder on his deed this night, making sure he had thought of everything and left nothing to chance, while finishing off the whiskey.
Confident that he had taken care of everything, he walked up the squeaky cellar steps with his sack of soiled clothes, unlatched the door, and flung it open. John tumbled backwards at the sight he saw. Beatrice was crouched, with her ear to the door, listening. "What the hell are YOU doing here!?"John questioned angrily. "I wanted to tell you. . ." He grabbed the same arm he had before, and twisted it almost to the breaking point. "Don't try lying to me woman!"He yelled with a snarl on his face."I saw you leave hours ago.Why'd you come back?And why didn't you knock?" "I-I-I was about to wwhen you opened the the door."She stammered. "I didn't see no knuckles next to that door Beatrice I saw ears!What did you hear?"He growled, tightening his vise-like grip on her arm. "Nothin'!I swar to God!I didn't hear nothin? John!"She cried, shaking her head. "You were snoopin,' weren't you Beatrice?"John asked, sinisterly. "No. . .no. . .I. . .wasn't honest John!Please, you're hurting me!"Beatrice squealed. "I'll bet you weren't!"He shoved her against the wall."If I ever catch you stickin' your nose or ears where they don't belong again, I'll cut 'em off!Do you understand me?!" "Yes, John. I'm sorry. I didn't mean no harm."She replied nervously, soothing her tortured arm. John stalked into the bar, Beatrice followed.He threw his soiled clothes behind the bar.
"Now, tell me why you're here!"He demanded. "I started to do some sewing when I got home, and as I sat and sewed, I remembered I left Elijah passed out on the table.I thought I'd better come back and get him to his room because I knew you'd be mad at me if I didn't."She answered. "I thought I told you to put Elijah in his room after he ate?"John asked annoyed, stomping towards Elijah. "I tried, but he wouldn't wake up."She whimpered. "I was gonna ask one of the men to help me, but then customers started yelling at me to fetch their drinks, and I told them they had to clear out and go home, and by the time I finished arguing with them, and shooed them out the door, and cleaned up, I plum forgot about Elijah.And then, when I came back, I heard noises in the cellar, and I thought it might be a burglar, and you said you didn't wanna be disturbed and. . ."She rambled. "Alright.Alright."John interrupted her, irritated. "Let's just take care of Elijah."He fumbled through Elijah's pockets. "Where's his key?"John asked. "He doesn't have one because he didn't check into a room when he came in."She moved behind the bar to get the key to Room 3. "Here."Beatrice answered, holding the key for John. "No."John said calmly, not wanting to show his alarm."I think I'll put him in Room 2." "But John, I didn't have time to ready Room 2." "Never mind.Just hand me the key." Trembling, Beatrice handed him the key to Room 2. John wrapped one of Elijah?s arms around his neck and took ahold of his waist.He started to carry him upstairs, paused, then turned to Beatrice. "Goodnight Beatrice." "Goodnight, John."Beatrice moved toward the door.John locked it behind her.
John laid Elijah down on the bed, took off his boots, and covered him up.He walked over to the fireplace, started a fire to ward off the night's chill, blew out the flame from the oil lantern, and left. He fetched a pail of soap and water, a mop, ladder, and plenty of clean cloths from the back room. He went upstairs to clean the mess that he made of Chatelaine and her lover.
The fire that warmed the lovers had dwindled away to embers.John tossed several logs on the grate to roar it up again. He removed the bloodied sheets, curled them into a ball, and threw them on top of the victims' clothes that were lying on the chair next to the bed.He took clean sheets out of the drawer, turned the mattress over, and remade the bed, making a mental note to purchase a new mattress in the morning. Something wet fell on his cheek.Wiping it off, he winced when he saw what it was.A fragment of bloodied tissue.He looked up to see shattered remnants of Chatelaine's face splattered on the ceiling her other eye, staring at him.Shuddering, he turned away. Climbing the ladder with a wet cloth in his hand, John removed the eye and stuffed it in the pocket of his apron before cleaning the ceiling.When he finished, he put the eye that lay on the night table in his pocket as well.Next, he got down on his hands and knees to scrub the pine floor.The blood had already stained it. Gathering up the sheets, clothes, and blood-drenched rags, he walked over to the fireplace, threw them in, and watched the flames consume the evidence, making sure that every last speck of it disintegrated. When he slipped his hands into his apron pocket, he felt the eyeballs of his former wife.Tossing them into the flames, he announced, "Burn in Hell you wench, and use your eyes to see the damnator of your soul!" He trudged down to the bar to retrieve his clothes before cleaning Room No. 3.
When the puddle of blood was no longer visible, John returned to Room 4, and burned the last of the soiled rags, including his own clothes.As the flames heartily ate the last one, he went down to the bar.It was over now, and relief washed over him.
The cellar was dark and ominous, and for the most part, quiet. In the pit below the beer barrel standing upon Chatelaine's grave, there was a rumbling.Earth worms and slugs emerged from the dirt; ants and beetles were running frantically to and fro over the body that invaded their home, excited by the prospect of the large quantity of food that had been placed in their domain. But the food was not still and the earth quaked and the jostled creatures scurried off in confusion.The cavity began to vibrate.Chunks of dirt were clawed aside.
Two shots of whiskey later, John pumped water into a basin from the kitchen, and carried it upstairs to Room 4, along with a towel and washcloth.The fire had nearly exhausted itself ingesting the grisly remains John had fed it, so he tossed in a few more logs, and waited for the fire to blaze once again.He warmed his hands for a time, then went to the basin to wash up once again.He still felt unclean.
The barrel shifted and rocked and the earth tremored.
As he dried his face and hands, he looked into the mirror and thought about what had transpired this night.Although he knew what he had done was wrong, he felt totally justified.
Splinters shot out from the barrel when it exploded.Dirt fell into the crater.A bloodied arm reached out.
Removing his clothing, John shuddered.A sudden cold chill penetrated his blood, and a fleeting thought came to mind.He heard no he felt something.Passing it off as nerves and too much whiskey, he lay down naked, not bothering to pull the covers over him, for the fire he had made warmed the room sufficiently. He locked his arms behind his head and unconsciously stared at the ceiling until he drifted off into slumber.
At five o'clock in the morning, the sun began to rise casting an eerie shadow.Standing at the foot of John's bed was Chatelaine seething with rage. John sniffled in his sleep.Chatelaine steadily crept closer.The heat of her fury warmed the room to an intensity far greater than any fire could ever do. She leaned over him, breathing heavily through the endless tunnel of hate and emptiness that was once her face.Pieces of bone fragments and flesh dripped onto John's heaving chest.He stirred.Sensing the unearthly presence, his eyes fluttered open. The dark room took on a ghostly orange light.It encircled Chatelaine's silhouette. John's eyes darted toward the fire.His body jerked when flaming tongues reached out for him.
Long red hair brushed his face.His eyes bulged with terror when he turned. "John,"Chatelaine hissed through her gaping maw, "you shan't get rid of me that easily." "What the devi. . ."were the last words John managed to utter before pain exploded in his chest.The enraged Chatelaine, possessing a strength unsurpassed by any human, plunged her fingers deep into John's body with brutal force.Blood squirted through his eyes when she squeezed his pulsating heart until it popped.She twisted and yanked it free; tumbling John into oblivion. She held the mushy membrane in her hand for a moment, imagining it still beating, then hurled it into the cackling flames. Turning towards John once again, his face frozen in a gruesome death pose, Chatelaine relished her triumph and continued to feed her insatiable vengeance. She ravaged John, tossing his body parts into the hungry flames, enjoying the sizzling sounds they made.Her heinous laughter echoed through the halls. She turned to face the fire, arms spread.
"Eyes of mine that feel flames of fire; Leap into thy sockets so that I may see. Face that once melted hearts; Return and fill the void in me. Free me Savior of my untimely destiny; Restore my beauty, body and light. My soul will be yours for eternity;
This pact I make here with you tonight."
She trembled with adulation and expectation as the fire intensified.The flames reached out as fingers each one with a gift for her. The room vibrated and breathed as if it were alive.The flames united into a monstrous ball of fire that rushed into the room towards Chatelaine.It engulfed her body as if it were making love to her, singing in a ghoulish litany, until she was complete, then moved toward John.It hovered over his corpse before crashing down and turning his eviscerated carcass into ashes.
Chatelaine stood smiling, looking as beautiful as she did in life, but something was different.She no longer possessed the loveliness of one of God's creatures; this new beauty was dark and sinister. The ball of fire that ravaged John, separated into flames that resembled imps from the bowels of Hell.They spoke to Chatelaine. The room grew dark and still.The only sound was the cackling of the gleeful flames that surrounded Chatelaine. The hush was broken by an eruption of a new fire developing deep below the fireplace walls. Blue, raving flames ascended from the dark, bottomless pit.Faster and faster they escalated, until the entire opening was a burst of cobalt blue. The mantle scorched.The paint melted from the walls.The oil lantern shattered.And all that remained of the chairs and tables were blackened bits of burnt wood. The fire danced around Chatelaine, whispering in her ear. She watched the luminous blue flames part, and stretched her arms outward to welcome the devil that gave her life again.The sweltering heat mounted all around her. Floating upward through the flames was The Princess of Fire.As she glided towards Chatelaine, her blue gown made from persecuted souls swept behind her.The Princess reached out her long, blue fingers, and cupped Chatelaine's cheeks in her hands. She brought her forward and kissed her lips.Her black hair and dark eyes sparked as she spoke.
"Welcome Chatelaine.Your untimely death has been spared by me, the Princess of Fire, as a token of my appreciation for the soul you sacrificed a year ago.Now, this new sacrificed soul has allowed you to reclaim a second chance with life.This is why I have allowed myself to come to you, my servant.You belong to me now.In return for the two souls which you have given me, I shall grant you 130 years of pleasure with your new body but I shall want and need more sacrifices for the Kingdom which I rule, and when your time has passed, you will belong to me forever, unless you can find a mortal body to possess."The Princess released her hold on Chatelaine and drifted backward into the parted blue flames, beckoning her imps of fire to follow her. A piece of parchment, and a black feathered quill appeared magically in the air.It hovered until Chatelaine reached out.She pricked her arm, drew blood, and signed the contract sealing her fate. And before the blood was dry, the paper ignited, and disappeared into a puff of smoke. The flames witnessed the signing of their new sister before leaping merrily, one-by-one, into the bowels of Hell. They danced and laughed.Chatelaine danced and laughed. She glided through the door and drifted down to Room 2 to sample her reclaimed body and spirit and to make the first payment on her debt. The pact was made.