Monday, August 10, 2009

Blood is Thcker than Water: The End of Shalimar

When Doyle came to, what seemed like seconds later, both he and Simpson were strung upside down, hands trussed behind their backs, like beef carcasses in a warehouse. Shalimar and Marcus watched them wake up.

“Are we conscious?” Shalimar purred. “I’m so glad you are. You see, I want you to be conscious for most of your death.” She twirled a lock of Simpson’s hair around long fingers.

“Leave him alone!” Doyle said. “He needs medical help!”

“You both will, soon enough,” said Shalimar. “No doubt, you can imagine that I’ve devised an unpleasant end for you. I intend to drain the blood from you slowly, to see the life force ebb out of you. Marcus and I will drink it as we collect it, just as it has always been good to drink the blood of one’s enemies. Of course, once you are close to death, we shall allow you to witness the death of your assistant in a most violent and bloody fashion. I want you to be conscious for all of this.” She put her hands on either side of his head and drew him close to her own face. “I want you to be extremely conscious, to feel your life flow away. You are quite conscious, are you not, Mr. Simpson?”

“I shall be quite conscious long after you are dead,” Simpson replied.

Shalimar smiled. “Such bravado. Can you keep this up all the way to the end? I wonder.”

Marcus handed Shalimar a thin dagger. Simpson gritted his teeth and his forehead beaded with sweat. She cut him across the artery, and the blood dripped down his neck, down his head, slowly, into a large goblet. Shalimar picked it up as soon as she had collected enough for a drink. “Your health,” she said, toasting the detective. Shalimar took another sip.

Doyle noticed that Simpson’s skin was tinged blue, and his eyes were glazed. Simpson began to gasp, raspy and hollow.

The goblet slipped from Shalimar’s hand and clattered on the floor. “What is wrong with me?” she gasped.

“Silver,” said Simpson hoarsely. “I have made you drink silver.

Simpson had silver poisoning! Of course! He had all the symptoms.

“What have you done?” Shalimar said.

“I have injected myself with a silver compound, and well, as you can see, it doesn’t agree with your kind.”

Shalimar sank to her knees. “I’m no vampire.”

“You have the same blood craving. You serve the same dark forces. This shall serve for you as well. Silver is a cumulative poison. You have drunk silver three times, thanks to me. The tea we served you was full of agyrol, a silver compound. The chicken you used tonight was injected, as was I. You are done for.”

Shalimar’s skin wrinkled, becoming the same tinged blue as Simpson’s. “This will weaken me,” she said, “but I still have plenty of strength to kill you.”

“No, my queen. I’ll make sure you won’t.”

Marie LaVeau stood in the doorway. “I am mistress of New Orleans once again. You will cause no more trouble here.”

“Marcus,” Shalimar gasped. “Please help me.”

Marcus stood between Marie and Shalimar. “No further, slave. No one will cause the queen further pain.” He picked up the slim dagger. Marcus knelt and drew Shalimar into his arms. “Have they hurt you?”

“I will live. Kill her.”

“I’ll take care of us all.” Shalimar felt Marcus plunge the dagger into her chest. She clutched at the handle, her face an unasked why.

Marcus cut Doyle down. He stared at Marie LaVeau. “My sister has been avenged. You will not hear from me again.” He left via the window, just as the rest of us burst into the room.

Doyle crawled over to Simpson. “You and your heroics,” he said. “Whatever shall I do with you?”

“Put this down on paper,” Simpson coughed. “It has a very emotional ending. Your readers should like that.” His eyes closed and Doyle looked away.

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