Monday, October 20, 2008

A History Mystery: Day Seven / Part Two

The Personal Journals of Morgan Victoria Beauchamp

Thursday, October 30

Dearest Papa,

This is my week for ups and downs, wildly swinging emotions that put my preteen years to shame. He loves me, he loves me not. I might as well pick daisies and shred them with the pitiful nursery rhyme for company. If Mattias has his way, he’ll lock me away while Dagmar and company lead the torch bearing masses down upon Jean Baptiste’s head.

It seems my enterprising assistant has unknown depths. A detective cousin in the NOPD, a sister in the county courthouse with access to all sorts of records, and a niece who practices voodoo. Specifically against vampires.

Discounting the last associate, since my baleful glare was enough to tell him my powers of imagination had been stretched quite enough, he locked the two of us in my office this afternoon and laid out reams of “evidence” against Jean Baptiste. And how did he begin his search for this information? By skulking outside my home all last night and then following Jean Baptiste. That alone was enough to raise the hairs on the back of his neck, he told me. Apparently Jean Baptiste has no need of cars or cabs to get around town. Apparently he should try out for the next Olympics as surely he’d do the marathon in fifteen minutes. Tops. Apparently he has super human speed.

When I asked what symbol Jean Baptiste wore upon his superhero cape, Mattias glared instead of grinning. That was when he laid out the paperwork.

Ah, paperwork. The blood of my lifework. The fuel to my fire. I think you get the drift. A little paperwork doesn’t intimidate me. No sir. I live for paperwork. I know how to skim it for pertinent details. Printed out on fresh clean paper with sharp toner, typed up in easy to read fonts, I was able to process the information with speed that surprised even me, as tired as I was.
What strange malaise has taken over me this week? I crave sleep all day only to find my energy growing with each dark hour. Even so, I was able to glean the important details of where Jean Baptiste sequesters himself all day. A small house in Faubourg Marigny. Rundown to the point of almost appearing abandoned. No business license under the name John Morgan. Not even one under the name of Jean Baptiste Morgane. But the house and property on which it sits was registered under that name. With no record of any previous owner. Surely there was some glitch. Probably a record or two was lost somewhere along the line. Hurricanes have ravaged the city long before Katrina. I’m sure there’s a clerical error there somewhere, merely lost in paper records that disintegrated before the age of computers.

Sensing my sarcasm, Mattias sometimes does his best to fight it, he proceeded with the police findings. While police had never been called to that address, over the years neighbors had reported strange sightings, odd noises that sounded like wounded animals inside, and generally believed the house to be haunted. And the sounds were always in the deepest part of night. On occasion, a dark shadow shaped somewhat like a man would emerge and disappear into more shadows, but never in living memory had a live person been seen coming and going. Odd, yes, but in this city, odd was more normal than elsewhere. Hermits abounded the world round and I doubt all of them have records at the local city hall.

Mattias tried other theories to convince me my new lover was a vampire. Somehow he made the leap and suggested that my Jean Baptiste was in fact, the undead, and very real, Jean Baptiste Morgane of history.

Undead. Oh how fiction has made that term so very common these days. I know Mattias is a great fan of vampire fiction. He’s passed me the works of Sherrilyn Kenyon – quite an entertaining and inventive author, I highly recommend her by the way – Bram Stoker, Anne Rice, even Mary Janice Davidson. I’ve read them all and found the more frivolous the better I like them. I’ve told him to keep the gory ones to himself. The fact that this evening as he fought to convince me I was on the verge of joining the undead – where does he get these ideas? I blame the media – tells me he believes in what he’s saying. And here I thought I’d taught him the difference between true history and fiction. What a failure of a teacher I must be.

Vampires. The stuff of nightmares used to frighten misbehaving children or to provide a thrill of horror for those who don’t have enough horror in their lives. Trust me, a dissertation committee provides enough horror to satisfy me for many lifetimes.

And of course, he used Jean Baptiste’s nighttime appearances, and non appearances such as night before last and tonight, as further proof. I yawned and that only launched him into the physical appearance of my newest boyfriend. Skin untouched by the sun, pale as moonshadow. As mine was beginning to appear over the course of only a couple days. I explained that lack of sleep had been known to make me pale. He wasn’t amused when I followed that statement with a long, sensuous stretch. I’m sure he had more to say, but I watched as he gulped, his eyes on my body the way they had been only last Friday when we’d danced. Silly boy.

I waved him off. Whatever odd perfume he was wearing was making me sneeze and my eyes water. When I asked him what it was, he pulled a large clove of garlic out of his pocket. Now I like garlic, but this was too much. It had the potency of a huge raw onion. My eyes watered and I went through half a box of tissue before I convinced him to toss it out. In his trash can, in the outer office. Why must I be surrounded by amateurs? In the end the only thing he convinced me to do was to go home and get some sleep.

When I reached home, I found my second wind. The sunset was lovely and I toasted it with a glass of red wine, then opened my laptop to read the pages of the journal I’d scanned and was pleased to discover I was adjusting to the handwriting and the twisted use of languages. Enlarging it on the computer helped immensely. I could almost read it as easily as you can read this journal. Or rather, if you were alive and could physically read this drivel. Why did you ever want me to keep a journal? Such and annoying habit I have now.

So here it is. Jean Baptiste’s journal preserved in pixels. I hope Mattias’ friend doesn’t take too long to complete the authentication process. In reading tonight, I’ve learned Jean Baptiste made it to his destination, a small village wiped off the map decades ago by a hurricane. This is where the horror sets in. He mentions a b… obviously something Diabolique did, but the word is obliterated. Her action angered him so greatly, he strangled her and tossed her body into the waves pounding the shore.

What could she have done? In the journal the reading becomes difficult, some of it erased by water damages. Smeared. Written by an unsteady hand. Tears falling on the page? Or damage from the storm? I can’t tell. I can feel his rage and pain on the page. Did his mistress feel betrayed and in turn attacked him with an even greater betrayal? At least he cared enough to return and tell her in person. Have the grace to let him go. But no, this woman was vindictive and treacherous, enough that Jean Baptiste felt the need to defend himself by killing her.

Despite the help of modern techniques, the reading is difficult and slow. I’m at the end of another sleepless night and I can hear the early Halloween celebrations winding down. Tomorrow the city will be in full costume, including me.

Jean Baptiste called and we have a date to meet here for dinner and then we’ll go out to one of the many balls. Which one he has tickets for, I don’t know, but I’ve decided to dress as Constance, as I imagine she’d look if she’d ever worn this ruby necklace. Had Jean Baptiste returned from his trip, I imagine he would have given her such a gift, so strong is the passion for her I feel coming from the pages of this diary. Strong enough to give me a twinge of jealousy, and how silly is that? Alas, there are no further entries. History tells us later that night, a hurricane hit the island and the Gilded Lady was lost with all hands on deck.

I look forward to tomorrow night. I can hardly wait for him to see me in my costume. I arranged it with Carlo the other night and he swears he has just the dress for me. I can only hope it stuns Jean Baptiste into speechless wonder when I plan to take advantage of him. Every single inch of him.


Maithe said...

Oh man, that Mattias is such a troublemaker!

Hmmm...wonder what will happen on Halloween...

Nice job guys!



Morgan2x said...

Thank you, Dahlink!

Next week is it... we have installments for each day. Start thinking about Will She or Won't She and let us know what you think she should do!