Sunday, September 14, 2008

A History Mystery: Day Two / Part One

From the memoirs of Jean Baptiste Morgane

Saturday, October 25th

The need to seek out the object of my infatuation overwhelmed me to the point visions of Morgan Beauchamp invaded even into my daily repose. I know not why this one woman should so intoxicate me. It is as if since sighting her at the nightclub, my soul refuses to rest. I fear my very sanity has been lost to the ideal of her.

Why else would I have sought her out tonight? I know full well the folly attached to such a venture but heedless of the dangers I could do little to stop myself. As I have documented numerous times, after my first brush with her, I’ve made it a point to keep track of her movements. In truth her lecture had a profound effect upon me. She came close to the truth about my disappearance, closer than anyone before her.

My flight from the English fleet to Jamaica had been well documented. Only the incomparable Professor Beauchamp had been able to discern my connection to that sleepy fishing village at the southern tip of the island. Blind luck and my own machinations kept anyone from knowing the full truth of my reasons for being in Santos Regalle.

Sometimes I can almost convince myself the isle was nothing more than a dot on a long obsolete map. Then completely out of the blue, my mind flashes to the last time I looked upon its white beaches. The profound horror of my actions has stayed with me unto this very day. How can I blot the memory of seeing the truth of my villainy staring back at me from the dead eyes of a people I once called friends? What right do I have to forget? None. Nothing can absolve me of my sins.

The sullen streets of New Orleans give me no solace from the pain swelling in my heart. I knew seeing her again, even from afar, would do little to calm the madness digging into my brain. Only the taste of her can cure that malady. In truth I’m not sure a taste would be enough. In the dim recesses of my soul some part of me seeks the impossible, her for all of my eternity.

What a foolish cabin boy I have become. The soft whisper of her name from my lips sent exquisite agony broiling through me as I spotted her nestled among the patrons of the Café du Monde. She sat oblivious to anything, pouring over a stack of papers, idly twisting a pen in the curls of her hair. She had the ebony mane pulled back into a pony tail but the feeble band holding it was ill equipped for the task. How would it feel to run my hands through that silky mass, easing her swan-like neck back to see the pulse of her life flowing through the creamy flesh hid underneath? The thought damn near drove me to madness.

As tantalizing as that sounds, it wasn’t the life giving elixir that held me paralyzed. No, blood was not the prize I quested for. It was her. As I stood in the shadows, the sight of her gently biting her bottom lip, sucking it between her white teeth broke me fairly to my knees. Something about this divine creature compelled me to break all the rules I’ve long lived my life under.

When she brought the porcelain cup to take a sip of the cream soaked coffee, I could no longer hide myself. Moving with a conviction born of desperation, I walked into the outdoor seating area, careful to take a table close enough to her, yet far enough away to keep me from the temptation burning within my breast.

I drank in the heady scent of magnolia and chamomile that washed from her on a passing breeze. A waitress stooped over the table, placing a menu before me. I waved her away with a well placed look. The powers inherent to my kind saw to it she left me undisturbed for the remainder of the evening to drink in what I truly desired.

Unfettered by distractions, I turned my attention back to Morgan. While I had been dealing with the waitress, she had spread out her paperwork across the table. Leaned back against her chair, she massaged the muscles of her neck with one hand while fingering the rim of her cup. Never in my long life had I witnessed something so provocative.

I rose from my chair, knowing if I stayed any longer my actions would be beyond my control. Slipping past her unseen, I made my way toward the crowded exit. Then something miraculous caused me to stop in my tracks.

She called out to me. The words etched themselves forever in my brain. My hand shakes as I immortalize them here in my most private of thoughts.

“Oh, my dear Jean Baptiste, where did you go?”

I nearly collapsed right there on the spot. The sound of my name falling from her lips brought a weakness to my knees. Turning slowly, I saw her grasp a tattered leather tome to her chest. Even in the shadows flickering across my vision, I recognized the volume. It was one of mine own journals from the Gilded Lady. Justian, that blackheart of a first mate, had no doubt retrieved it after my failure to show back to the Lady at the appointed hour. Within those weathered pages lay the road to my damnation. If Morgan could somehow decipher the journal’s code, she could unravel the mysteries I’d worked so hard to conceal. Not for the first time, I wished to have never set my damned eyes upon Diabloque.

My unrequited desire has suddenly taken on a more nefarious turn. I must somehow extract my journal from her. Out of all the women in the world, why did it have to fall in Morgan Beauchamp’s hands? Only she stands a chance of finding the clues to what happened to me within its pages. And she is the last person I want to find them out.

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