SURPRISE! Due to the success of Fiction Frenzy it has been extended for another week.
WARNING: Freyja talks dirty.
Sometimes the best laid plans come back to bite you.
London – 1841
‘That was very clever of you, Little Red,’ Freyja said, close behind me.
Half my wine splashed on the floor leaving a red stain of the rug. I glanced around then so check if anyone had noticed then edged forward so the hem of my dress covered it. Freyja stepped in front of me, she was wearing a burgundy dress that made her look like a gothic heroine who’d jumped off a bridge and come back to haunt someone. Oh wait, she’d come back to haunt me.
Nobody seemed to have noticed there was a woman walking around with teeth and nails like black glass and the complexion of a corpse. Some strange things happened at society parties but that was a bit much.
‘They can’t see my true face.’ she said then pointed at herself. ‘Just look at this, sure way to get chased off with pitchforks. It can be fun but it gets repetitive.’ She smiled showing her black teeth. ‘That’s how Seers got their name. They see the truth of all things, so the textbooks would have you say.’
‘Of course there’s magical textbooks,’ I muttered wondering if it would be bad manners to stab her.
‘Oh, yes, book learning’s very important for the younglings these days. Not like when I was your age and education was getting jabbed with pointy things.’ She laughed. ‘Aye, suppose you’d know all about that. Where is the little pervert?’
‘Isn’t that a bit like the pot and the kettle?’ I asked.
‘You’re no fun.’ She sighed. ‘You know, all these people.’ She gestured with her wine glass at the people milling around or dancing. ‘They either hate each other or they’re bed hoping.’ She stuck out the grey tip of her tongue. ‘Mmm, taste that sexual tension.’ She flicked the tip of her tongue at me.
I arched my eyebrows.
‘Aye, well, I should’ve known you’d be hard to shock.’
I opened my mouth to ask what she was doing then realised she might count that as answering one of the two questions she owed me so I closed it again.
‘I like to get out occasionally, see what the civilised people are doing. Same as always.’ She sighed dramatically. ‘I used to love a party. What was I saying? Oh, yes. Very clever of you to trap me in my word of honour.’
‘I’m not sure I believe that Fae can’t break their word,’ I said.
‘Oh, Fae can so I wouldn’t be trying things like that on them.’ She tapped the end of my nose.
I twitched my nose and rubbed it.
Lady Arton returned from whichever grand dame she’d been annoying with her existence. We were not popular amongst the upper-class wives, we didn’t have the breeding but we had the richest husbands.
‘Hello, lovely,’ said Freyja and gave her the once over.
‘Lady Deacon?’ Lady Arton said. ‘This is a surprise, I didn’t think you’d come to our soiree.’
‘I was hoping to catch Brandon O’Connor getting his dick sucked but was bitterly disappointed.’ She looked at me. ‘You’re simply not a bad enough influence on him.’
Lady Arton stared at her. While we could talk filth all day long, it was not the done thing for rich ladies to declare anything with such frankness. Frankness was actively discouraged, which might be another reason I was unpopular.
‘Oh, well, the night is young though I am not,’ Freyja continued.
Lady Arton cleared her throat. ‘Do you know Mr O’Connor well?’
‘When I first met him he was a wee slip of a boy. Such a shy little awkward thing he was,’ she said. ‘Not much change there.’
Lady Arton frowned at Freyja, of the two of them Bran looked older, by a ways. ‘You knew Mr O’Connor when he was young?’ she asked.
‘I do look spectacular for my age,’ Freyja replied. ‘So, anything interesting planned?’ She shifted from side-to-side peering at the gathering. ‘Some gambling, a little blood sport? You humans used to be good for blood sport. The first time I saw The Saracen was in the arena.’ She pursed her lips. ‘What were they calling him then?’
‘The Saracen? Is that a magician?’ Lady Arton asked.
‘A good one. His best trick is making a spear disappear into a lion.’ Freyja winked.
‘This was an interesting conversation,’ I said and grasped Freyja’s elbow. ‘But there’s someone you simply have to meet, Freyja.’ And I dragged her away.
‘Charmed,’ Freyja called back towards a stunned Lady Arton. ‘Pity about the wedding ring,’ she added to me.
‘People are going to work out what you are,’ I said, pulling her through the crowd.
‘If there’s one thing that humans have a marvellous capacity for it’s explaining things away. Or blaming someone else. Back in my younger days they were always coming to me wanting me to fix everything for them but it was never their fault. Life’s not like breaking a vase, you can’t just put a bit of paste on it and hope for the best.’
‘You don’t talk to people much.’ I caught myself before I turned it into a question.
‘Not if I can avoid it,’ she replied. ‘I don’t know what you’re worrying about, I’ve been at this along time and it’s very rare anyone tries to kill me. For that.’ She grabbed my shoulder. ‘Do you know what else that boy is good at making disappear? His dick, must’ve fucked half the nobles in Rome, I swear. Probably more than half.’
I swung her round to face me. ‘Be quiet.’
‘Oooo, I see why they like you. Assertive.’ She mimed cracking a whip.
‘God, you’re worse than before.’
‘You see, what you didn’t figure into your little binding plan is that I might be bound by honour to do you no physical harm until I’ve answered your questions but I can annoy the shit out of you ‘til you ask. How am I doing?’
I sucked my teeth and said nothing. If she thought I was going to waste my questions she was wrong. So far I had two questions to ask an old supernatural to help me find a way to kill Richard, unless she caved first and asked more questions to find out about me.
I wasn’t going to give in first.
‘Personally I find the old cock and balls drab but I’m sure The Saracen could take someone more inclined, like you, to unbelievable places, multiple orgasms. Ever taken the train to that stop?’ She did her exaggerated wink again. ‘I can’t see The Priest managing that but people can surprise you. Well, not me so much, what with knowing their inner most thoughts.’
‘Yes, I have,’ I said. ‘Three questions.’
Her step faltered.
‘The deal is you can ask anything about me to work out what I am. That was a question about me whether you meant it as one or not,’ I said.
She pulled her arm free. ‘Oh, you’re a cunning one, girlie.’ She licked the side of my face leaving a wet trail. ‘There’s magic in you, I can taste it.’
‘Still not asking.’
‘Damn it.’ She clasped my face. ‘Not even one tiny question. You have three.’
‘Well, I was wondering…’ I frowned at the ceiling. ‘No, it’s gone.’
She laughed. ‘Oh, Little Red, we shall have some fun.’ She slapped my backside. ‘Just not that kind of fun, eh?’ She did another exaggerated wink. ‘Anyhoo, this has been a fun night out, let’s do it again, must dash. Toodles.’ She pulled her arm from my grip and strode in the direction of the coats and the door.
I stood there in the middle of the crush of people staring at where the path she’d cut had already closed.
That was one strange woman.
Part of Jesse’s Studio’s Fiction Frenzy there will be a new episode of Victorian Mistress everyday until 24th June 2017.