Black Petals Issue #92, Summer, 2020

Death in the Round Room

Home
BP Artist's Page
Mars-Chris Friend
Misty Page-A Game of Chess
Sean M. Carey-Chilled Bones Under Lovely Skin
Roy Dorman-Death in the Round Room, Part IV
Lael Braday-Magical Perspective
Matt Spangler-Master Smasher
Lena Abou-Khalil-The Nowhere Man
Grace Sielinski-'Port
Gavin McGarvey-The Black Petals
Marc Dickerson-Theater is Dead
C. S. Harbold-The Whispering
Dean Patrick-Vincent's Warning
Doug Park-We Get Him Together
Joseph Hurtgen-Worlds to Conquer
Mickie Bolling-Burke-The Bringer of Darkness
Aaron Hicks-The Last Days
Cindy Rosmus-Out of Juice
Matthew Wilson-Endless Men's Hate
Michael Steven-Hell Rift
Sean Goulding-Hypnagogic
David C. Kopaska-Merkel-In the Land of Giants
Loris John Fazio-The Thing in the Woods
Loris John Fazio-The Beggar Knows
Richard Stevenson-Peg Leg
Richard Stevenson-The Alkali Lake Monster
Richard Stevenson-The Green Man

92_bp_roundroom_hlyon.jpg
Art by Hillary Lyon 2020

DEATH IN THE ROUND ROOM

Part IV

The Conclusion

By Roy Dorman

 

It has been fifteen years since Rory, Angelika, and Edward fled Nice, France to avoid Adriana’s murderous plots. They had been in a half-dozen large cities, from Rome to Mexico City, always keeping one step ahead of her. Now Rory has decided it’s past time to confront Adriana and accept his duties as the father he has never been. Adriana has set up shop with her staff and Rory’s daughter, Alese, in New Orleans, a city she has known as home before.

 

     It’s a large, round room with a thirty-foot ceiling and ornate buttresses on the walls from floor to ceiling every ten feet or so. The purple floral wallpaper is faded and has pulled away from the walls in a few places along the wooden baseboards.

     There are two entrances to the high-ceilinged old ballroom. The main entrance has massive oak doors, while directly across the room from this entrance is a smaller entrance, or possibly an exit, without any doors at all.

     The floor is of high-quality oak, and though it’s no longer polished, at one time it had probably been beautiful.

     The room reflects the influence of the first French settlers in New Orleans.

     A decorative crystal chandelier hangs from the ceiling. It appears that with some dusting and a little vinegar and water, it would brighten the room as it once had.

     A teenage girl walks to the center of the room and stands under the chandelier, craning her neck to look up at it from that angle.

     She shudders when the thought pops into her head that the chandelier could choose that time to let loose from the ceiling and come crashing down on top of her.

     It has probably been up there for a hundred years waiting to kill her.

     “Damn, get a grip,” she mutters under her breath.

     “There you are,” said a voice from the main doorway. “We were told you might be here.”

     The girl turned toward the sound of the voice. A rather handsome man and a dangerous looking female ogre stood smiling at her.

     “I’ll find out who gave you that information and have them killed,” she said

     “It appears she’s her mother’s child, Rory,” said Angelika. “How sad for her.”

     “I’m nobody’s child and I don’t need your pity,” she said. “As to whether my mother influenced me, that is probably true; I had no father figure to learn things from.”

     “I’m your father, Alese, and I’d like to be part of your life,” said Rory.

     “A little late, aren’t you?” sneered the young woman. 

     “It’s only recently that your mother has given up on trying to find us,” said Rory. “I know I should have returned before this and confronted her, but I felt we would be no good to you dead.

     “But I am going to confront her now and damn the consequences.”

     The young woman pulled a dagger from a sheath at her waist and walked toward the pair.

     “I don’t think you have the right to confront anyone,” she said.

     “I don’t fault you for thinking badly of me,” said Rory. “I won’t stop you from using that knife.”

     Rory closed his eyes and raised his head to the ceiling, exposing his neck to her. He heard an intake of breath and then the thumping of a body falling to the floor.

     He opened his eyes to see Angelika standing over the body of his daughter.

     “What have you done?” he screamed.

     “That was not your daughter, Rory,” said Angelika. “That was the mother, your wife, Adriana.”

     “How could you be sure enough to kill her,”

     “I have known her far longer than you have,” said Angelika. “I could read the signs.”

     Just then, they were interrupted by a voice from the large doors.

     “Who are you and what — Oh, my god! Is that my mother?”

     Blood had pooled around Adriana’s head where she lay on the floor. A cockroach of some variety stepped into the blood while scurrying across the floor. It stopped, seemed to taste the blood and then flipped cockroach-style onto its back.

     “I’m so sorry, Alese, but it is,” said Rory. “I’m your father and this Angelika.”

     Ignoring Rory’s introductions, Alese brushed tears from her eyes. “Why does she look like that?  She looks like …., she looks like me.”

     “Her plan was to get close enough to me to kill me,” said Rory. “Angelika saw through her manifestation.”

     “I’m sorry to have been the one to slay your mother,” said Angelika. “It grieves me to cause you pain.”

     “Her hunger for power and the things she could do with that power had grown to dangerous levels recently,” said Alese. “She was evil, I knew that from the time I could walk, but she was still my mother.”

     “I tried and failed to temper her lust for the dark side of things,” said Rory. “She was stronger than I, and after failing to convert me to her ways, she had decided to settle for doing away with me. And without Angelika’s and Edward’s help, she would have been successful.”

     “I need to sit down and think about all of this,” said Alese. “We can go through that back door to a sitting room.”

    “Rory, look,” whispered Angelika. Standing in the great doorway were two burly guards, each holding one of Edward’s arms.

     “Will Adriana’s guards accept you as their captain now that she is dead?” asked Rory. “Can you win them over?”

     “You jest, of course,” said Angelika. “With but a look in their direction, they will join us.”

     Angelika stared at the two guards in the doorway. A look of puzzlement came over their faces and they released their hold on Edward.

     “My thanks, Angelika,” said Edward, as he walked into the room. “And this is Alese?  So happy to finally meet you.” Looking down at Adriana, he added, “And I regret it has to be under these unfortunate circumstances.”

     “We were just going to someplace quiet to discuss things, Edward,” said Rory. “Could you and those two guards please remove Adriana’s body to a secure location and then meet us in the room behind the small door?”

     “Certainly, Rory. I’ll have everything taken care of.”

***

     Later, sitting at small table in what must have been a powder room in earlier days. Rory, Alese, Angelika, and Edward talked about their plans for the future.

     “I’d like to stay in New Orleans for a few more months, but then I’m open to wherever you think would be best, Father,” said Alese. “I have things to finish up and people to say goodbye to.”

     Rory’s heart ached when he heard the word “Father.” It was the first time Alese had addressed him as such. He had missed all those years when she would have called him “Daddy.”

     The two guards who had earlier held Edward stood at attention in the doorway, hoping to be seen as loyal and useful. They were fearful that a “changing of the guard” could mean their deaths.

     “I’m sure we have time to spend in New Orleans, Alese,” said Rory. “Take all the time you need.

     “And, Angelika, I’d like you to explore the possibilities of a new home for us. I’ll be happy to let you choose our final destination. You’ve earned the right to choose where you would be most happy.”

     Angelika grinned at the compliment and Alese was taken aback by that grin, but to Rory and Edward, that smile told them that maybe this story would have a happy ending. 

     Angelika was capable of using The Dark Door to take them anywhere in the world and to keep them safe from anything that came their way.

“Your father is the Ferryman, Alese,” whispered Angelika, taking Alese aside.  “When we are in our new home and have gotten settled, I will tell you of the Ferryman’s history.”

“Will I like what I hear?” asked Alese.

“Yes, you will,” said Angelika.  “The Ferrymen have always been good people …., except when they weren’t, of course.” 

 

THE END



Roy Dorman, roydorman@yahoo.com, of Madison, WI, who wrote BP #90’s “The Return of the Ferryman” (+ BP #89’s “Orphans at the Dark Door”; BP #88’s “Blood on the Riviera”; BP #87’s “The Sepia Photograph”;  BP #86’s “New Orleans Take-Out” & “Not This Time”; BP #85’s “Door County Getaway” & “The Gift”; BP #84’s “Goodbye to Nowhere Land” & “Nobody Should Be at 1610 Maple St.”; BP #83’s “Door #2”; BP #82’s “A Nowhere Friend” & “Foundling”; BP #81’s “Nowhere Man in Nowhere Land” & “The Box with Pearl Inlay”; BP #80’s “Andrew’s War” & “Down at the Hardware Store”; BP #79’s “Cellmates” & “Get Some Shelter”; BP #78’s “All Is as It Should Be”; BP #77’s “Essence of Andrew”; BP #76’s “Flirting with the Alley”; BP #75’s “The Enemy of My Enemy…”; BP #74’s “Doesn’t Play Well with Others”; BP #73’s “A Journey Starts with a Flower”; BP #72’s “The Beach House”; BP #71’s “The Big Apple Bites”; BP #70’s “Borrowing Some Love”; and BP #69’s “Back in Town” and “Finding Good Help…”), is retired from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Benefits Office and has been a voracious reader for 60 years. At the prompting of an old high school friend, himself a retired English teacher, Roy is now a voracious writer. He has had poetry and flash fiction published in Apocrypha and Abstractions, Birds Piled Loosely, Burningword Literary Journal, Cease Cows, Cheapjack Pulp, Crack The Spine, Drunk Monkeys, Every Day Fiction, Flash Fiction Magazine, Flash Fiction Press, Gap-Toothed Madness, Gravel, Lake City Lights, Near To The Knuckle, Shotgun Honey, The Creativity Webzine, Theme of Absence, The Screech Owl, The Story Shack, & Yellow Mama.

Site Maintained by Fossil Publications