Sunday, September 06, 2009


"Shall we set the tray down, first?" Gilet de Sauvinage asked Alice. It was a bit awkward with the two of them holding on to either side which held them immobile in the doorway.

"Just as you say," Alice agreed, more intrigued by the thought of the mysterious story of the apparition than even with the idea of breakfast, although her stomach rumbled an appreciative reminder of the importance of that meal.

After some awkward fits and starts, Alice at last relinquished the tray with a sigh and retreated into the room so de Sauvinage could place the tray on the small table. The repast, once uncovered, proved to contain no kippers or even kedgeree, so Alice sighed and began to eat some of the toast.

"Now tell me of that apparition that haunts the hallways of this villa," Alice demanded, pouring herself a cup of tea with the beginnings of a cross look etching into the furrows of her brow. If she had seen this furrowing, doubtless Alice would have been worried that such furrowing would lead to later wrinkling, but she remained blissfully unaware of that physical development, instead turning a severe eye upon her capture as she chewed her breakfast. It was impossible to see if that were having the desired effect, cloaked as he was by his mysterious disguise.

However, his words seemed to suggest that her look had prompted him to mindfulness. "Yes, of course, miss. It is a strange and wonderous tale that may frighten you."

Alice shrugged. A most unladylike gesture, but she had so far fallen form gentility on this journey that she failed to even notice the common tone of her body's movement. Her mother would have been shocked indeed, so it is just as well that she was not present to see Alice's shrug.

"I don't wish to frighten you," de Sauvinage continued, now seeming more than a little reluctant to begin, which only increased Alice's irritation.

"I have been kidnapped and sailed with pirates," Alice said, more than a little crossness slipping out between her lips with not a few crumbs of toast. "I hardly thing I will faint away at the mere story of a haunting."

"As you wish, then, miss," de Sauvinage said, his words and manner somewhat stiff.

I believe I have offended him, Alice thought, and smiled quietly to herself. It was quite enjoyable to have the whip back in her hand, so to speak. "I do," Alice said, feeling rather smug and superior. "Tell on, please." She stuffed the last bit of toast into her mouth and chomped it with satisfaction.

"Many years ago, in this very place," de Sauvinage began.

Alice returned to the habit that annoyed her governess so, and immediately broke in for an explanation. "In this very place, meaning this very room?" she asked somewhat pedantically.

"Well, I don't know for certain," de Sauvinage said, nonplussed by her interjection. "I--I believe it was in this wing, though perhaps in a different room. I cannot be too certain."

"I think it would be very distasteful if it were this very room and I would have thought it odd of you to choose to sequester me here," Alice said enjoying the use of this very important word, which had welled up from her admittedly spotty memory. "Go on."

"It was, in a word," said de Sauvinage with a dramatic pause, "murder!"

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