More Crossroads

Rossetti's Pandora

Rossetti’s Pandora

‘And how does she look?’

            ‘Like me once, but not anymore. She’s a mass of burns and rotting flesh.’ Bethany shrugs. ‘Gods know, she may be dead already. If so, then I’ll pay your fee just to bring me the news.’

            ‘That’s very generous, Madame Lawrence. So generous, in fact, that it makes me ask who she is and why do you hate her so much.’

            Bethany hesitates, then shrugs, thinking it cannot cost her anything to tell. ‘My sister, once. She’s a thorn in my side, has been for years. I want her dead. When she’s gone, there’ll be only memories and those can be destroyed easily enough.’

            Ella examines the woman. Part of her wants to say No, they cannot. They can be neither burned out of your brain, nor torn from it, nor drowned in any amount of alcohol. They are part of you as surely as your hand or hair or eye. They are a torment and a blessing and they will never let you go.

            But she remains silent for she has ever found that silence draws forth confession.

            Bethany continues, ‘I know your price. There will be gold and flesh.’

            ‘Ah,’ says Ella. ‘Flesh.’

            ‘Gold first, flesh later?’

            ‘Flesh first, gold later when I succeed,’ answers Ella, and rising, dropping her hood over her face. ‘Now. Show me the goods.’

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