Skip to main content

Fleur du mal

I awoke to the sound of commotion, and my mind juddered with panic. I stumbled to my feet from the floor whose filth was revealed in the early morning light, my tools surrounding me, a damp, dirty rag stuck to my elbow.

M. Giraud was shouting. I moved to the top of the stairs to watch in horror as policemen shackled him and dragged him to the door. His protests were as vehement as they were meaningless. He was a criminal, and I had dreaded this day when my life would once more become upheaved and uncertain.

As an officer glanced upward, his eyes blue and sharp in the gloom, I ducked, but too late. He alerted his comrades to my presence, and they were thundering up the stairs, those remaining, while M. Giraud was out of sight and out of earshot.

"Mon dieu, he's keeping a girl. Look at this waif. Poor creature."

I trembled and hulked in the corner, kicked at their advancing shins shrieked when arms came around me.

The officer who held me had not a cruel or biting touch. M. Giraud had never touched me. Before coming to him, I had been rudely pinched, poked and pressed, astute at eluding grabbing hands as a wild thing is expert in self-protection though witless in all else.

His arms around me were warm and solid, and the temporal melding with a fellow human took some of the fight out of me.

I gazed up at him warily.

"Is the painting secure? The painting?" Someone else was coming up the stairs. The tone was guttural and fierce.

The woman to whom it belonged appeared in a shaft of sunlit dust motes. She was dressed in a tailored brown skirted suit and hat. From beneath its flat brim were visible ebony tendrils. Her forest-green eyes penetrated mine.

"Who is this girl?" she asked abruptly. Her lips moved with sudden pity as she investigated my tattered form.

She swept beyond me to the gilt-framed painting, approximately half the size of herself in subject and peered face-to-face with what seemed her own image. Though I had spent all night restoring the decades-old painting and recognized the colors, technique and costume as distinctly Napoleonic in style.

Popular posts from this blog

Burke Cemetery

This cemetery was near Waterside. We wandered there after dinner. The first, and oldest, grave, mentioned in the historical marker.

Studying with Dolls

In the afternoons, I usually take my laptop or a book to the bed and study, and a doll for company. Gertrude is sitting on my bed desk. I got her in 2015 from the Korean doll company Dollmore. She's a "Flocke" sculpt. Willow is sitting with my headphones. She's made by the Chinese company Angel of Dream. I got her in 2013. She's a "Qing" sculpt.
Two older entries I edited tonight re-posted today's date. However, the original month/year is still visible in the permalink. Looking back on the past often makes me cringe, especially when I remember my own behavior. However, re-reading these entries makes me feel the past is accessible in the sense that I am still holding on to many of the same dreams and desires. This week, for comps, I read two early gothics, James Hogg's The Private Memoir and Confessions of a Justified Sinner , and Charles Brockden Brown's Edgar Huntly; or, a Sleep-Walker , which were very much along the lines of the books that absorbed me from 2005-2007, most of which I read on my Treo from Project Gutenberg. Looking back upon my interests and desires of that time sustains me now, when I have to tap into my reserves every day to keep reading.