by Chris Bartlett

The sun sat high and fat in the sky as she slowly remembered just how bright and invasive it could be.

She wasn’t at all comfortable being out in the open, even though it was something she’d been dreaming of for… for….Oh Lord, how long was it now…?

She couldn’t be sure….decades maybe? Centuries even….?

Who knew…who the hell even cared…

But hadn’t she been a man the last time…?

Her yellowing eyes blinked rapidly into the hard light.

The Lord she’d worked for went by many names, and this particular week he’d been in an incredibly bad mood, even by his ferocious standards.

Had he realised she’d gone?

An almost imperceptible smile cracked her face…the first in many a lifetime.

She looked across at the black velvet satchel propped against her leg.

Damn and fourth dimensional bugger, why didn’t she just drop it….. she should’ve left it.

…That minute tear in the fabric had given her little time to think, and there would have been a long wait before it opened again…if at all.

She stroked the soft bag, enjoying the sensation of touch again, it really was the simple things she’d missed the most.

Her mouth watered at the thought of being able to eat real food again.

The infernal machine would have its uses of course, unknown sorcery though it undoubtedly was; she’d had several lifetimes to learn its needs and workings.

She was in a world she no longer recognised, and arriving in hallowed ground had been a stroke of pure serendipity.

The sounds here were as frightening as anything down there, and through the gaps in the railings she’d seen the devilled objects moving at ungodly speeds, spewing clatters worthy of old scratch himself.

She’d just have to get used to it, she was an adaptable and amiable enough fellow after all.

The two wives she’d bludgeoned to death had been nagging and hateful harridans, and one she was sure, had been practising the craft of the wytch.

Watching the life drain from her had been particularly delicious.

A shriek cut the air, pulling her suddenly from dark chocolate memories…

She cleared her head….a new start was what she needed… just leave it all behind and walk away, perhaps even a return to the arms of the church one day – They at least had remained untouched amongst all the madness.

Maybe the Lord above might take pity and grant the redemption she’d so long sought, and by now surely deserved.

It would be an unreasonable God who’d argue she hadn’t paid her penances in full, this body was punishment enough, she’d always mistrusted and hated women and now…..

Abandoning the bag, she stood and stretched towards the heavens, sucking in a lungful of fresh air that didn’t burn.

She strode confidently past the headstones and through the arched gateway, holding her head high at last.

“Thou art to be a new man…….”

“…..Polidori”

Dusty memories bobbed and weaved.

That was her name…. wasn’t it?

No mind.

The first thing she’d need was a new set of clothes; these breeches were way too big now.

Lost in long forgotten exuberance, she ripped off the periwig.

“Cursed thing that has made my scalp itch like the….”

“…….like the devil”

A dark dry laugh escaped as she threw it to the ground, enjoying the warm breeze on her thinning hair.

Walking straight into the road, she didn’t see or hear the lorry that ran into her, nor did she feel the rough tarmac surface she eventually bounced onto from a height of fifteen feet, she was too busy being dead to notice.

Now there really would be hell to pay.

 

© Chris Bartlett 2016

 

 

 

 

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