Read The Contrary Tale of the Butterfly Girl: From the Peculiar Adventures of John Loveheart, Esq., Volume 2 Online

Authors: Ishbelle Bee

Tags: #Pedrock, #Victoriana, #butterfly magic, #Professor Hummingbird, #Boo Boo, #Fantasy, #John Loveheart

The Contrary Tale of the Butterfly Girl: From the Peculiar Adventures of John Loveheart, Esq., Volume 2

BOOK: The Contrary Tale of the Butterfly Girl: From the Peculiar Adventures of John Loveheart, Esq., Volume 2
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ISHBELLE BEE

 

 

 

The Contrary Tale of
the Butterfly Girl

 

from
The Peculiar Adventures
of John Loveheart, Esq,
vol. II

 

 

For Tom x

 

REVENGE

SHOULD HAVE NO BOUNDS

 

William Shakespeare,
Hamlet
, IV.vii

 

 

 

butterfly

butterfly

Butterfly

Butter-fly

BUTTER
FLY
FLY
FLY

butterfly

b
u
t
t
e
r
f
l
y

 

Prologue

 

 

1407 AD

Temple of Butterflies, Mexico

The Angel-Eater

 

 

My name is Izel. I am a warrior woman.

My soul is a butterfly.

I am the last of my people.

They were sacrificed to a mad sorcerer; hearts ripped out, beating in his hands. He ate them, one after another.

What did they taste of, I wonder? Something sticky, something hot. Put them in a pie, arrange them on an altar. Line them up on display. Red after red.

Does he lick his fingers or wipe them on his robes?

Does he know I

m coming for him?

I am a collector of heads. I

m going to put his on a stick. Stuff his mouth with the names of my people.

They say a butterfly is the soul of a warrior. They say when I am dead I will fly over this beautiful land, spread my wings. Glide on ghost wings.

Give me a good death; give me some meaning. Let me write my name in blood across his temple, smear it into the walls. Leave a hand print; five fingers of a star. Mark him.

I wear a butterfly tattoo of the Angel-Eater: black wings, red eyes. It is a predator; for it eats its own kind. It was carved on my back by a priest. He told me,

This will hurt. Revenge always does.

He chanted over my body, said prayers at my feet. Entwined animal bones and exotic purple flower-weeds in my hair. Charms for protection; help from the gods.

The mad sorcerer

s black temple of butterflies is soaked in blood. So many steps, they reach to the gods. My people

s bodies rolled down those steps. Bounced to the bottom.

The sorcerer wears a mask of butterflies, lightning blue and gold. Five hundred acolytes kneel before him: black robed with curved silver daggers. Hypnotised by his magic. They pray at his temple, mad-eyed, their mouths full of star shapes. Galactic poison seeps in their veins like plant tendrils, shifts and coils beneath their skin.

I am unique for a woman, for I am six feet tall; taller than any man.
My hair, which is black, reaches to my bottom; it is entwined with tiny animal bones and feathers. Around my throat is a necklace made of the skulls of hawks. Their claws pierced through my ears.

My body is brown muscle and scars; for I have battled all my life.

There are five hundred of his mad-eyed priests. There is one of me. What are the odds? Who will the gods gamble on? Roll the die. Place a bet on me.

I have two blades which have been blessed in the Temple of Moons. They curve, decapitate heads easily. I prayed in that temple; I knelt on the stone floors.

Make me a weapon,

I said.

Zap!

The gods answered with a lightning bolt. Struck me down.

I woke

dragonflies dancing in my head on the temple floor. The butterfly tattoo on my back was moving, shifting under my skin. Its wings were beating.

I spun, my blades in my hand. They whirred like a hummingbird. Fast as magic. I pounded my foot on the temple floor. A crack appeared, zigzagging. Wobbling the temple pillars.

POWER

What does it feel like?

There are five hundred of them. There is one of me.

Pity them.

 

I walk through the valley to the Temple of Butterflies. The sun above me frazzles, bounces off the earth.

Those five hundred black-robed priests bow down before the mad sorcerer. Chanting, swaying; saliva drips from their tongues. Fever hot. Devil roast. Watch them move like waves of black water. Surround him in worship. Drown him in it. Under their robes, the flash of a silver dagger; under their smiles, a beautiful nothing.

The Magician holds an ebony staff; he sits on a throne of skulls overlooking his world. I hope the skull of my ancestor bites his bottom.

Butterflies are painted throughout his temple, dazzling from top to toe. A shimmer of wings in every shade of magic.

The gods peer down from their heavens. I am within their theatre. I am part of the entertainment.

I raise my blades. I shout,

MY NAME IS IZEL AND I WILL AVENGE MY PEOPLE, DEMON SORCERER!

The Magician rises from his throne, his butterfly mask glints eye-blinding gold.
Wet tongued, his acolytes turn their heads and examine me. Googly eyes, demented.

The Magician laughs at me. That

s his first mistake.

I shout,

YOUR HEADS ARE MINE!

I run into his acolytes, the black-mass of them. I chop them into pieces. I am twice the height of most of them, crush one under my foot, pull a head off another. Kick one up the backside

they fly half a mile into the distance.

Easy peasy.

I pick up an acolyte and throw him across the temple as if he were a pebble. I grab another by his legs and spin him round, screaming. Turn him into a whirlwind.

One by one I end them.

Heads are flying off, bouncing down the steps. They circle me in their black robes, try to fold me into their space.

I
make them into a massacre. Chop chop chop chOP chop
CHOP CHOP
CHOP CHOP

U
p the steps I climb, a river of blood flows. Behind me a mountain of body parts.

At the top, sizzling gold, the demon Magician waits for me on his throne of skulls, amused by the spectacle.

He squirms, considers me for a moment.

Perhaps we could come to some sort of arrangement?

I am saturated in blood. It has become my skin. I have no more words for him.

He raises his staff and casts a bolt of black lightning at me which fizzes and crackles. Achieves nothing.


Stupid bloody thing!

He curses his staff and tosses it down the steps of his temple.

What is that I can smell? Under the mask I smell fear. Under the mask I smell shit and the stink of cowardice. Under the mask I smell
you
, little sorcerer.

I decapitate him in one swoop of my blades; hold his head aloft to the gods and then boot it into the air. It frazzles up in the sunset.

I sit on the throne of skulls, on the heads of my grandfathers. I use the headless corpse of the Magician as a cushion for my feet.

Part One

June, 1889

Houses of Parliament, London

Yes, Prime Minister

 

I am Zedock Heap.

The prime minister of England.

A cannibal.

A killer of women and, of course

A DEMONIC
MULTI
-
TASKER.

I gaze at your little London. The vein of the Thames throbs. The ooze glistens. Is that a bloated corpse floating past? Beauty they say is in the eye of
the
beholder.

SO BEHOLD!

What beauty is this! What filth, what wondrous sludgy intestines. Underneath you are blood-works, pus and a slippery quivering squash of brain. Wretched amusing creatures you are: flopping, eaters of shit. Criminally incompetent. Turds in top hats. How you ever survived this long is beyond all reason. Beyond all stars.

London, London, London. I hold your heart in my hands, my love.

I
SQ
UEE
ZE
YOU.

The framed picture of a map of London explodes behind me under the pressure of my love. Pieces of glass ZOOM th
r
ough the air: impale the wallpaper.

I

m shuffling paperwork on my desk, thumbing through a catalogue on dungeon equipment.
Sigh.
Aha! A spiked Iron Maiden, a horse whip with an electrical current running through it (how inventive!). And on the very last page, my favourite, a simple garrotte. Slice a salami with it. A foot, perhaps?

TORTURE EQUIPMENT. TORTURE EQUIPMENT. Torture equipment. TORTURE equipment. SAY IT IN AS MANY WAYS AS YOU WANT. It always boils down to the same thing.

You invented it.

You make me smile and you make me so very, very sad.

What use is there for devils like me, when you are so keen to DISSECT one another?

HELL is under your feet. It has always been under your toes.

Oh! A knock at my door, and it creaks open. An eyeball peers through; a nervous shuffle.


Ah, Mr Evening-Star, do come in
.

He enters smiling nervously,

Morning,
P
rime
M
inister
.

I close the catalogue of torture equipment. Shut the lid on your toy box.

How can I assist you?


Erm, well it

s about tonight

s
preparations
.


Yes?

and I lean back in my chair and put my feet up on the desk. I

m a big man. My feet dangle off the end, knock off the paperweight. Mr Evening-Star throws himself to the floor to retrieve it.

I can

t conceal my smile, it spreads. Reveals teeth.

He puts the paperweight back on the desk, restores the balance within the world.

We have a little problem,

he squeaks.


Which is?

and I stare into him. Apply pressure to his ribcage.

He trembles. Forces the air out, squeezes out the words,

Please

stop.

He falls to his knees. I

m fascinated by the noises he makes, the possibility of a
crunch
.

The violence in me bubbles; it is a form of weird alchemy. If you peel the skin off me I am a landscape of hell underneath. I WOULD MAKE YOU MELT INTO ME. I WOULD INGEST YOU into my terrain. Come, put your finger in my mouth; feel the sizzle. Feel things from my point of view.
Take a vacation. CROSS OVER THE LINE
INTO ME.

I let him go; he collapses to the carpet on his knees. Shuddering, he finally stands back up, adjusts his spectacles.


Get to the point, Mr Evening-Star;
I am, after all, a very busy man. I have an appointment with the Queen later and if you think I

m a challenging employer, SHE WOULD REALLY UNHINGE YOU.


The women,

he stutters,

One of the women escaped, jumped out of the window.


That is unfortunate,

I sigh.

Those cages really aren

t up to much are they?


No,

he agrees and shuffles backwards a little. Subconsciously. It

s quite endearing really.

I

I could speak to a welder?

I burst out laughing and take my feet off the desk, stand up and pat him on the shoulders.

He actually squeaks, flinching violently. Mutters,

It was only the one, I will make sure it doesn

t happen again, sir. We have plenty of them for you to

eat.

His lips quickly press into a submissive line.

I pluck my hat and coat which hang on a hook by the door. Liquorice-black fur and top hat with a silver sash. I gaze at myself in the looking glass while he fumbles nervously behind me,

I am
magnificent
to look at.

The mirror cracks down the middle.

Makes me a zig-zag.

BOOK: The Contrary Tale of the Butterfly Girl: From the Peculiar Adventures of John Loveheart, Esq., Volume 2
10.91Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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