Abigail – Member of the Clique – The House of the Orchids
A thick reddish black fluid ingulfed Abigail. She was compelled to contend with the awful ruddy trim before she would be able to sleep or emerge to full consciousness. Much to Abigail’s chagrin, her slumber was tormented by the essence of the harsh curtain, but once up, she would “will” herself to think of other things besides the unrelenting anguish she experienced trying to rest. Each morning she gasped for breath, nearly smothered by the drape.
Such a terrible price to pay every night, she thought as she choked for air.
Abigail scarcely survived her close encounter with “The Knowledge,” over two years ago. She would carry forever or until her death, the torment of coming so close to the terrible insight which had taken countless souls before her. The coldness of complete comprehension was absolute, and the endless screaming and writhing faces held in the drape left Abigail screaming and clammy every night since the encounter. Abigail was broken.
Shortly after her hellish experience the Clique voted in many stalemated rounds whether to retain the new and not so improved Abigail. Eventually, she won the honor to remain with the Clique by one vote. Abigail showed her enthusiasm by passively thanking her sisters and hastily retiring to her elaborate suite of rooms. Keeping her as a member of the Clique spoke to the character of these most beautiful belles, as Abigail’s nightly travails were spiritually shared at various levels by all Clique members. No matter the proximity to Abigail, they all felt her tortured essence, and each suffered in her own way. So, the Clique vowed an unbreakable commitment to be together in the same dwelling every night until Abigail’s recovery. They shared Abigail’s burden without complaint or whimper. Abigail’s nightmares lessened; her tortured mind still passing through the black cold curtain, but it did so faster. It was months before Abigail could hear the thoughts of the other Clique members without the vail of poison from her encounter with The Knowledge.
It was on a bright Thursday morning when Abigail opened her eyes and looked around her bedchamber in pure wonderment. She awakened without passing through the reddish black shroud which ripped life from the living, or, gave life back to the dead, changing a woman forever. Downstairs the other Clique members had already left for their beauty assignments.
Today, her assignment was to head over to Studio A for a series of photographs. She arrived early and changed into her first outfit, graciously offered by Prada. The chief photographer and his team were enraptured by Abigail’s beauty, they stumbled over each over as they took hundreds of photos, instant images displayed on the HVSs gliding through the room. Reluctantly, the lead photographer brought the session to a close. He then allowed his team and pre-programmed HDs to complete the final three hours of the eight-hour session. Abigail’s pictures displayed magnificently on the HVSs.
“My dear, please come by tomorrow to review the selected photos with us.” He spoke dreamlike, transfixed by Abigail’s glamour.
“Sure.” Abigail said, she was happy, but not pleased with the session. I could have done better, allowed more of myself to be shared in the shoot. She thought. But she knew she needed to hold on to a piece of herself; a powerful, unexplored part, unhealed from the knowledge.
That night she and the rest of her sisters slept restlessly. The black curtain had come back and this time it was more vivid. Familiar faces and strangers screamed in agony as they attempted to bite their way through the dark fluid fabric. Abigail could feel the frosty threads pulling on her, refusing to let go. The dreadful thing coiled around her limbs. It then wrapped around her neck and covered her mouth; a corner of the dense cloth began to stretch towards her nostrils. She craned her head backwards. The thick heavy drape covered her eyes from the top of her head. It then began to make its way up between her legs gathered in a hard, black braid that grew stiffer as it approached her sex. She awoke with a start and lie in her bed shaking, the stench of sweat from fear. Her bed linen in knots around her limbs and between her legs.
“Shit! That fucking curtain is back again!! Damn CE for playing such a stupid game with such a powerful force,” she yelled as she jumped out of bed. Her nose was bleeding, and her muscles ached. Abigail ran to the bathroom and washed; the waterfall shower felt wonderful. She had sustained bruising, from what, or whom, she could not, or did not, want to conjecture. By the time she left the bathroom she felt herself again...well, at least half herself.
Abigail arrived at the photographer’s studio a little late. The studio looked closed at first. She pulled on the ornate glass door half expecting it not to open, however, the door opened without resistance and bounced against the stopper with a thud, followed by the throaty vibration of thick glass.
“Shit! I nearly broke the door!” Abigail said as she stopped the vibration of the door by touching it.
In an unintentional act of contrition, she slowly guided the door back to its closed position, and the door came to a perfect stop as it was intended, confirming forgiveness for her over physical exertion. She looked around the room and glimpsed a figure from the side of her eye. As her eyes adjusted to the dim light, she could see that he was not alone, but stood in the center of a group of eclectically dressed individuals.
“Come in.” He said as he stared at her.
“Who are you?” She asked as she walked across the room. Suddenly, all her muscles began to hurt something fierce. As she neared the group she came to a stop.
“Barrett of the Blueblood.” Abigail half whispered with recognition. No retort was provided by the powerful Elder Immortal. The only sounds were the mechanized clicks of the hovering financial calculators; the bizarre one, that only subtracts worth. The calculator that added value, hovered silently with no clicks, nor blinking lights. None of the others spoke, they only stared at the emotionally and physically bruised beauty.
The worlds of beauty and money are seldom apart. Abigail and Mr. Blueblood knew one another. During all of their prior wonderful social exchanges, the hideous counting machine to his left had never so much as uttered a single click or flashed an intruding light. Back then, only the refined calculator to his right clicked and glowed unceasingly as it tallied the immeasurable assets of this Clique member. However, something about Abigail’s intrinsic worth had been altered. Barrett’s hard unmoving eyes reflected the clicking of the gruesome calculator.
“Your beauty is undeniable, but it is somewhat changed.” Barrett said.
True to form, neither calculator clicked, ticked, shined, or flashed when Barrett spoke or moved. Barrett sauntered toward Abigail reducing the others to silhouettes.
“Your luster has been diminished for some time. Initially, I was unaware as your sisters’ extreme beauty hid your depreciation in the margins. But the numbers of the Clique have not balanced as they always have. So, I figured I needed to review this investment for myself,” Barrett continued. As he approached closer, the calculators remained mute.
“Tell me, how did you come to this place?” he asked.
“What place Mr. Blueblood?” Abagail asked, slightly taken aback.
“It is Mr. Blueblood, Sir, or Barrett of the Blueblood to you little one…you’re diminished. How did you come to this place?” Barrett repeated the query, his tone even.
“CE played a game with a creature of immense power called “The Knowledge.” The game cost CE her life and placed me here, bruised, and tormented. But I am alive gratefully.”
“Are you? Are you truly alive like you were prior to this ‘Knowledge’? My calculators say no, or maybe, at best.”
“Bare…Mr. Blueblood, Sir, I’m getting better, I have been for some time.”
“No, you really haven’t,” an unknown voice spoke. The silhouetted people partially surrounded Abigail and Barrett in a horseshoe shape.
From out of the group, a voice boomed out rudely, “This message is being recorded in an attempt to collect a debt.”
The silhouetted people began to ask questions.
“Are you Abigail?”
“Yes, I’m Abigail, Abigail of the House of Orchids!” Abigail answered annoyed, how dare these ugly beings question me. She thought.
Another asked. “Has your residence changed?”
“No, it has not.”
And another spoke. “Are you still employed by the Clique?”
“Yes, I am, are you really that common?” Abigail angrily replied.
And another, “What other debt do you possess, or have you acquired any new debt, above the obvious?”
“No, I have not, you hideous beast.” Abigail hissed.
“When will you be whole again?”
“I don’t’ know! Maybe when you’re more attractive!” Abigail screamed.
Another voice demanded, “When can we expect you to pay at the Clique levels?”
“Don’t expect it!!” Abigail answered.
“Can we call you tomorrow?” Another asked.
It was then Abigail noticed the frantic clicks and flashes from the left calculator.
Before Abigail could speak another word, Mr. Blueblood whispered.
“Maybe you should stop talking little one, your worth is critical. I would run to see Isa and never leave her side.” Blueblood said, as his cane moved seemingly on its own, given animation by the glee of the Epi, they sensed a reclamation.
Abigail ran, screaming.
Credit for artist’s rendering I found on the web. This drawing comes close to the essence of Abigail I would like to offer the artist an opportunity to create a rendering of Abigail or of another one of my characters.