• The Opera Lively Serial Novel Project - Chapter 8

    Chapter 8

    Linda struggled to loosen her corset as she paced around her prison.
    Her captor had taken her wig and hairpins while she slept, but otherwise
    she still remained in costume. Upon further inspection of her quarters,
    she noticed a plain wardrobe partly hidden by the flowers.

    Shoving the flowers aside, and ignoring the crash, she riffled through
    it. Nothing but elegant evening gowns; even what she suspected to be
    pajamas were floor-length silk numbers. She rolled her eyes. Sighing,
    she pulled out the plainest of the dresses. Anything’s better than a
    corset, she thought. She had just zipped up when a little knock sounded
    at the door.

    “Linda, my dear, are you decent?”

    “Yes,” she said absentmindedly. The dress she wore had been tailor-made
    specifically for her. He had her measurements? She shuddered.

    “I just came to—Ah, how lovely! I see you’ve found the clothes I
    prepared for you. I just came to invite you to dinner.” He was beaming
    underneath his bandage. Linda just stared at him. He was "inviting" her?
    Trying to give me the illusion of control more likely, she thought.

    “Shall we?” he asked, gesturing grandly towards the door.

    “Yes, lets.” She walked past him into a long stone tunnel. Glancing to
    the right, she saw a wooden door at the end and quickly suppressed the
    urge to run for it. It would be locked, she knew, and it wouldn’t be
    worth getting on this man’s bad side. No, she would play along for now,
    and lull him into making a mistake. Well, that was the plan, anyway.

    “Right this way.” He lightly pulled her arm to the left, before letting
    her pass him. As they reached another door in the tunnel, he held it
    open and gave her a graceful bow. Humph, the man fancies himself a
    gentleman, she mused; Linda swallowed her distaste and even managed a
    polite smile. This seemed to please him, which made her regret it.

    This new room looked much like her bedroom, except for the long, ornate
    dining table resting in the middle and several candles lighting it. He
    pulled out a chair for her—at this point she was expecting it—before he
    began to serve their meal.

    Red wine, roasted pork, apples, boiled potatoes, steamed vegetables,
    and fresh bread. Linda’s stomach betrayed her by growling loudly. He
    chuckled and winked at her.

    “Dig in! You must be famished!”

    She looked at her food, unsure. What if it was poisoned, or drugged? He
    seemed to guess what she was thinking and frowned.

    “I promise there’s nothing sinister in the food—see?” He then took a
    bite of everything and washed it all down with the wine. Linda slowly
    began pecking at her plate, which seemed to mollify him.

    “Can I ask…how did you know I was in danger?”

    “My dear, I have been following your career for a long time. You
    intrigued me even before you became well known. I believe I first saw
    you as Susanna—your first Susanna, if I’m not mistaken—and I’ve been
    under your spell ever since. So naturally, I’ve been keeping a close
    watch on you, and when I began hearing rumors about the killing of opera
    singers, I thought it a good idea to investigate. You see, I have only
    your best interests at heart.”

    “But you’re positive I was the next target?” His story sounded a little
    too convenient. How did he really know?

    Before he could respond, Linda heard the sound of a door open and close
    out in the hallway. Heavy footsteps echoed down the long corridor. It
    couldn’t be another prisoner; it sounded as if it was one person
    unguarded. Her captor smoothly got up and closed the door before the
    unknown person reached them.

    “Come now, no more talk of that nasty business! Let's talk of opera.
    Tell me, why have you decided to retire Constanza? You are simply the
    best for the role!” he said as he took his seat. The footsteps had
    passed them now and were fading.

    “My voice will be changing quite a bit in the near future; it was
    time,” Linda said, slowly sliding her knife up her sleeve.

    “Ah…yes, that’s right…the baby. My dear, please tell me—and be
    honest—who is the baby’s father?” He was staring into his wine and
    clutching the glass so tightly his knuckles were white.

    Linda froze. A man like this—once he knew—would not just let that
    information gather dust. He would find the father and do something
    terrible. She watched him and didn’t say a word.

    “Linda. Darling. I want you to tell me. It’s all right, you can tell me
    anything. Did he trick you? Did he force you? I just know you didn’t
    choose this.” His look of concern was…off. Linda was just beginning to
    get a sense of how unstable this man really was.

    “It doesn’t matter anymore. I—”

    “Doesn’t matter? Did you mean to have this…man's…child?” He was
    becoming more agitated by the second.

    “That’s none of your—”

    “IT IS! Are trying to protect him? Hmm? You did want his child, didn’t
    you?” He was standing now; the wine glass shattered and his hand began
    to bleed. He took her stunned silence for affirmation and began to walk
    towards her.

    “I knew it, I KNEW! You're nothing but a filthy WHORE!” He was standing in front
    her, both hands on her armrests, leaning over her. She was a little
    fuzzy on how he had gotten so close; he was fast.

    “No, I—” Linda was cut off as he slapped her across the face. Pain
    exploded behind her left cheekbone, and when the stars cleared, there
    was her captor crying in her lap. He looked up at her.

    “Linda, I’m so sorry. I was wrong, I see. You would never. You’re
    innocent; I shouldn’t have doubted you. My goddess, my nightingale,
    please forgive me. You just get me so riled sometimes.” He was
    whispering to her, his hands hovering over her face, but he didn’t touch
    her. His face was wet with tears as he backed away from her and applied
    pressure to his hand with his handkerchief.

    “Darling, why don’t you finish your dinner in your room.”

    Linda quickly got up and ran down the tunnel, not stopping at her room.
    She couldn’t wait for him to trust her; he was too suspicious, too
    possessive, for that. She crashed into the door at the end of the tunnel
    and yanked it open. The stranger she’d heard must have left it unlocked.
    She was stopped, however, when a rough arm grabbed her wrist and twisted
    it behind her back. He pulled up on her arm and she gasped at the pain;
    her shoulder was screaming.

    “STOP!” The white-haired man yelled, rushing towards them. He stopped
    a few feet away and glared at the man with a shaved head.

    “Careful, John. You stole her from me, remember? You don’t give me
    orders, and if you forget that, I might just take your little toy here.”
    The man chuckled at the pained look on John's face. He turned Linda
    around and gazed at her. His grey eyes were cruel. His smile made her
    skin crawl.

    “And what’s this? Tsk tsk, John.” He held up the knife he’d felt at her
    wrist. “You should take better care of your toy,” he said, wiping John's
    blood from Linda’s cheek, before shoving her back to him. He chuckled
    again as he left.

    “Come dear, pay him no mind,” John whispered as he gently pulled her to
    her room. “Try to get some sleep,” he said, closing the door behind her.
    The lock turned and clicked into place. She listened to his footsteps fade.

    Linda waited until she was certain she was alone, then pulled out the
    set of keys she had lifted from John's coat pocket.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: The Opera Lively Serial Novel Project started by Amfortas View original post


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