Disclaimer: None of these characters are mine. They belong to the creator of The Serpent's Kiss. I'm just borrowing.

Write the letter? Write the letter? How am I supposed to write the damn letter?! I squirm in my hard, wooden chair as I stare down at the cluttered desk in front of me. No matter how many times I try to bring quill to parchment, I can’t make myself write. I sigh and look over at my ever-watchful guardian. He’s snoring in the windowsill, making the shutters rattle. So much for keeping an eye on me.

I glance back down at my parchment and let my mind wander. How did I get myself into this? It wasn’t supposed to be like this. I was supposed to come in, give a magnificent performance, build a garden, and disappear. The money I received would go to Fitzmaurice. Then I would never see him again. Unfortunately, nothing is going as planned. I thought I would be cold and distant. Instead, I find myself becoming emotionally involved.

I hear a small scream from the room below me, and I wince. Thea. What they’re doing to her is wrong. She isn’t crazy. They would see that if they would just talk to her. She’s a dreamer, a bit different, and a bit like me. I didn’t know she’d be here. In fact, I had no clue that Julianna had a daughter. She’s here, though. She was the first person I saw when I got out of the carriage. Her dark eyes had dared me to enter her house, her world. I loved her then because she was so daring. She’s so beautiful, and yet I can’t bring myself to tell her how I feel, much less the truth.

I tap the end of the quill on the side of the jar. It creates a small, bell-like sound that echoes throughout the room. I quickly glance over at my guardian and see that it hasn’t disturbed him at all. My guardian. He relishes his position; I know he does. It gives him the illusion that he has power over me. He thinks he can tell Fitzmaurice anything about me and that I would be gone without a second thought. He’s hated me since the day he met me, and he would thoroughly enjoy it if I did something wrong. The faster I’m gone, the faster he gains his own freedom.

I hate this prison. I lost my freedom the day Fitzmaurice walked into my life. It would have gone so smoothly without him there. I wasn’t stealing or anything; I just needed Chrome’s name. That was it. That wasn’t how Fitzmaurice saw it, though. He saw a bribe, a quick way to get money. Most of all, I was a quick way to get his precious Julianna.

My eyes travel to the floorboards beneath me, and my thoughts return to Thea. I’m not the only one in a prison here. They’re torturing her right now. I know they are. It’s going to kill her to see the empty sand outside. She had a place of her own, and I went and tore it down. I must be a monster in her eyes. How can I make it up to her?

My eyes wander across the desk and land upon her book of Andrew Marvel poetry. I’ve never read any of his poetry before so I curiously pick it up. I thumb through it and read a couple of the poems. They’re actually very beautiful and rather calming at the same time. I continue to look through it until I land upon a poem called “Bermuda”. As I glance over it, I begin to smile. That’s it. That’s what Larousse’s letter should say. Inspired, I immediately start to write the words as fast as I can. They pour out of me before I even realize what I’m saying.

I’m almost finished when I hear my watcher stir. “The girl’s out there,” he mumbles, disinterested.

My head shoots up. “It’s too soon!” I answer, worry quickly replacing my momentary joy.

Oh, no! Thea. I have to stop her before she has a break down. I quickly sign the letter, fold it, and race out of the room without a backwards glance.


© 2002 Crimson Idealist