|[Original Fiction]: YAVNC, Chapter 11
||[Sep. 29th, 2008|01:00 am]
Up to 10,300 words now. I'm not sure I've ever got any story to keep going this long before.
Many thanks to a_treitell, who, inadvertently, whilst talking about television viewing, provided me with the inspiration for Deanna the Doggy Dominatrix.
"You're welcome to come inside," Dermot said when they pulled up next to his house. "But I'll warn you, it's messy."
"It's no worse than my house, I'm sure," Stanislava said. "Unless something happened last night?"
"Dad spread his maps out over the kitchen table again. He thinks he's got a new lead on the location of the lost Shawnee silver mine."
"That doesn't sound so bad," Ashley said. "Unless he was using one of the more exotic divinatory rituals?"
"No," Dermot said. "Dad experiments with dowsing once in a while, but that's as far as he goes. Cold hard science, you know? Even when he's looking for something that may have never actually existed."
"I cannot express metaphysical certainty," Ashley said, "but I'm inclined to think it did exist. There are sufficient personal accounts, yes?"
"I suppose so," Dermot said.
"Uncle Osis is a bit skeptical," Stanislava said, "but that may only be because he has to be skeptical about something."
"Why?" Ashley said. "There are so many far more interesting things to be skeptical about. I, for one, am extremely skeptical about the historical existence of Jim Presley. Does it not seem more reasonable for him to be a fertility myth?"
"Or perhaps a modern rendering of Dionysus or some similar deity."
"But there are photographs," Stanislava said.
"Which can be faked. Or, more reasonably, we might surmise that a ritual celebrant took on the role at fertility rites which were presented to the uninitiated as concerts and recording sessions."
"My Mam and Dad went to a few of his shows. I think they would've noticed if it looked like a different mec," Dermot said.
"Perhaps it was the same ritual celebrant, over and over again," Ashley said. "Some ordinary, prosaic man, with an ordinary, prosaic name like Jean Boudreau or Jack Gow, who served as the incarnation of the spirit for a term of twenty-one years, before participating in the final ritual, marking the "death" of the incarnate spirit and his passage from physical form into the minds and hearts of believers, then retiring into obscurity."
"You know," Stanislava said, "she has got a point."
"I'm afraid you're right," Dermot said.
"Any road," Ashley said, "I think you have a lovely house, Dermot. And a very handsome cat. Yes, I'm talking about you down there who are chewing on my boot."
"Murphy! I'm sorry, Ashley, he's usually shy around new people."
"Don't be," she said. "I love cats. And my boots are too new, and could use some help being broken in." She bent down gracefully and scratched behind Murphy's ear.
"So," Stanislava said, "shall we go to collect the cittern? Or stand here until Murphy has chewed us all barefoot?"
"Sure," Dermot said.
"‘Sure, we'll stand here til Murphy's chewed us all barefoot'?" Stanislava said.
"‘Sure, we'll go to collect the cittern.'" Dermot said. "Want to come upstairs with me?"
"Without a chaperone?" Ashley said. "Well, if you trust us with your virtue..."
"Of course I trust you," Dermot said. "I even trust Stani."
"You probably shouldn't," Stanislava said. "Err... metaphorically speaking, of course."
"I have an instinct that we all should trust each other," Ashley said. "And my instincts are seldom wrong. So... shall we chaperone each other upstairs?"
They did. Dermot hoped he'd remembered to pick up last night's laundry, not to mention that he'd put away the Stellar Quest novel he'd been reading, the one where Captain Athanasius Godunov and First Officer Maureen Yamashita were forced to confront their series-long romantic tension head-on when they found themselves not only married, by an obscure alien rite, to the Warrior Queen Masha t'Lorcallion of the planet Tarquinia but ordered by their superiors in the Confederation Star Navy to consummate the relationship for the sake of galactic peace.
Not that he minded Stanislava knowing he would read such a thing–-after all, she'd lent it to him–-but somehow he couldn't quite face the thought of Ashley seeing it. She was so delicate, so shy, so refined and almost Victorian. Stanislava met his eyes for a moment as they climbed the stairs, and somehow he knew that they shared the same fear.
He breathed a quiet sigh of relief when they opened the door. All underwear and socks were properly tucked away, all gratuitous books and comics were neatly shelved. The Deanna the Doggy Dominatrix action figure Stani had given him for a birthday gift when they were thirteen was out on the desk, but at least she was the properly dressed version.
"Oh, how lovely," Ashley said. "You have a wonderful room, Dermot."
He blushed. "It's nothing special, really." His room was under the eaves, in what had originally been an attic. In the Twenties, when the house had been about eighty years old, a professor at Dacre College had finished the attic and and made it his study, with dormer windows and built-in shelves.
Seven decades later, Dermot had claimed the former study for his bedroom. There were a few prints hung on the walls, a ship model and a couple of brass and wooden horses sitting on the shelves, along with all the books. A model Zepplin that he and Stanislava had built the summer they were twelve hung by fishing line from the exposed ridgepole. She was the USS Beacon Falls, complete with a biplane hooked to her trapeze. Stani had her sister ship, the USS Houma; that was the only one of the Navy's Zepplins to not crash. For some reason it had seemed important to Dermot that his friend should have the airship that survived.
"Well, I think it's very nice." Ashley walked over to the desk. "Oh, lovely, you read Deanna the Doggy Dominatrix! She's one of my favourite characters in all of comics. I was so happy with the last issue, where she and Ursula finally kissed. I see you have the dressed figure; I got the nude one, as those heels just looked so uncomfortable. And it's not as if she hasn't got fur. I don't think I would wear clothes much, if I had fur all the time."
Dermot and Stanislava looked at each other. They couldn't help it. They burst into giggles.
"Should I ask?" Ashley said.
"Sorry," Stanislava said. "It's just... somehow we didn't think you would read Deanna."
"But why wouldn't I? She's so cute, and so sweet, and so... innocent, really. Even if she does like to use a whip."
"True," Dermot said.
"I was only a little surprised," Stanislava said.
"Was it a good sort of surprised?" Ashley said.
"That's nice. I hope I can continue to surprise you. Pleasantly, of course."