“Mr. Batchelor, I most certainly will not choose you at the auction, nor will I hesitate to report your premeditated malfeasance to the Director…and I’m going there straight away!”
“But, Madame, there is no criminal act intended. Mine is the inspiration of a purloined heart. And, besides, let’s allow Director Finch his morning tea and croissant without interruption, shall we?”
“Oh, please. The Director eats crumpets every morning which he takes with bilberry jam, prepared for him by those witches, the Hawkins sisters. And, to whom do we owe our gratitude for nicking your heart, Batchelor–if you have one, that is?”
“Why, you, of course, Madame. Had it not been for Julian Canard having been pushed into your well, making you a widow, you would not now be available to me. What, dearest lady, are you looking around for–a rock to bash in my head, perhaps?”
“The thought had occurred to me. This entire conversation is nonsense. You are aware of the results of the Inquest and the entire grueling experience took place nearly two years ago. What has taken you so long to insult me with such loutish presumptions, you…boorish man?”
“I have loved you from the first time I set eyes upon you, but Canard had more land, more money, more influence…there are certain guidelines for the courting of a widow, Madame.”
“Enough of this pointless conversation. I will not break the rules. Good day!”
Lily Canard pulled the mare’s reins away from the formidable figure of Reginald Batchelor standing on the walkway, but suddenly reined in the horse and motioned to Batchelor to come closer….
“You could find someone at one of those Inns you frequent in Cumbersome Moss, Roman Springs, Six Penny or any of the other quaint villages along the coast where, perhaps, you could avail yourself of a woman friend for hire who would attend the auction and win you with a hefty bid–from your own purse, of course. This would be the solution to your uncertainty over being won by someone unsuitably sincere.”
“Excellent idea, Madame Canard. Once a woman of avarice and susceptibility has won me, there would be a short courtship and quick marriage. The well where your late husband met his death is not boarded up, is it, Madame? It would be fairly easy to push a slight woman into the well. Are you still bedding Coroner Luther Farewell–who coincidentally declared your late husband’s death as accidental?”
“You are a heathen, sir. Your flippant and discourteous manner will ironically end with your headstone on Black Widow’s Peak.”
“Madame, I besiege you to consider my proposition. Soon will come the auction and those chosen will be safe from the lottery for the Winter King who in time, will be executed, or, “sacrificed”, so that the county may continue to prosper. There is no doubt about it, is there, that the county fathers have decided to continue that obscene, pagan ritual?”
Lily Canard leaned her head down towards Batchelor’s and whispered, and turned her mare–cantering out of town. Once the aftershock of Madame’s whispered words dissipated, Reginald Batchelor sort out his stallion and set out for his estate. His nostrils were flaring as much as his swift stallion’s. The evil grip on the county would be difficult to sever. The seduction of Madame Canard, however, would be even more challenging…now….
Inspiration Monday: Friend for Hire
Prompts: Friend for Hire, Black Widow’s Peak, Aftershock
Word Count: 556
Thanks to Stephanie Orges at Be Kind Rewrite for hosting Inspiration Monday
Yes, Stephanie, I am back from the brink. For awhile, at least. This is late but it is the first challenge I have done in a few months. I have been preoccupied with 3 surgeries on my knee and nearly 2 months in a Nursing Facility. It’s good to be back.