A New Novel, Part 190 Thank you, Matushka
For those who haven’t been following this blog, let me introduce it a little. I am currently blogging my 21st novel that has the working title Daemon. The novel is about Aksinya, a sorceress, who, to save her family from the Bolsheviks, called and contracted the demon, Asmodeus. Her family was murdered anyway, and she fled with the demon from Russia to Austria.
The priests and Matushka Ekaterina in the Ecclesia in Wien discussed what to do about Aksinya. In the morning, she wakes...
Aksinya didn’t wake until late the next morning. The pain in her chest finally overcame even sleep. Her eyes opened to a dark windowless cell. She lay on a cot. Her hand went to her breast. The crucifix was still there and so was a deep stinging pain. Her eyes felt oddly damp. She wasn’t certain what that meant. Perhaps it was from straining to see in the darkness.
Her clothing had been changed. She felt the fabric. It was very coarse and thin. Her eyes were well enough acclimated to the darkness that she could make out much of the room. She sat up and set her feet on the floor. She sat on a cot. A woolen blanket had covered her. She was cold, and she needed to go to the toilet. There wasn’t anything else in the room.
Aksinya wanted to make some light. She knew exactly how, but she consciously stopped herself. She was confessed, and she intended never to do sorcery ever again.
Aksinya stood. She was a little wobbly. She staggered to the door and tried the latch. The door was locked. She tapped on it.
Almost immediately she heard a bar raised and a key scratch in the lock. The Matushka from the Ecclesia pushed open the door. She smiled at Aksinya and began to curtsy. Aksinya grabbed her shoulders and pulled her up. Aksinya tried to speak, but her throat was raw, and she couldn’t squeeze even a squeak out of it. She shook her head. The Matushka took Aksinya’s hand, “Come with me, Countess. I’ll show you where the outhouse is and where the bathroom. Then we can go to breakfast.”
The Matushka kept very close to her. They went out the door at the back and to the outhouse behind the rectory. She waited for Aksinya then took her to the bathroom. The water was tepid, but it wasn’t cold. The Matushka stayed right beside Aksinya.
They went to the kitchen, and Aksinya sat down. The Matushka served Aksinya tea and a bread roll. She sat down opposite Aksinya and sipped on a cup of tea herself. After Aksinya had drunk half her tea, she tried her voice again. Her throat was still raw but she forced out in a hoarse whisper, “Thank you, Matushka.”
At last, the climax of the novel is complete. We are beginning the falling action. In most of my novels, the climax is near the end of the book. In this one it is not. We are not finished with Aksinya or with her very significant problems. This calls for a strong sequence of falling action and indeed a secondary climax to round out the novel. I will not reveal this to you now, but you might guess.
Aksinya has confessed, but how has the world changed for her. Perhaps, like most of us, the world itself does not change, but our actions, priorities, and responsibilities become different.
Aksinya wakes to a dark and very bare room. The pain of her burned chest wakes her. Her eyes are oddly damp. Don't miss this, it will become important later. She attributes this to the darkened room. With this technique I show you how dark the room is and I draw your attention to her damp eyes. I don't want you to miss this. She is dressed in a coarse dress. She has only a woolen blanket and I show you again that the room is bare. The room is cold.
I don't remark this directly to you, but it should be obvious that Aksinya has gone from the highest of the high to the lowest of the low. Before she had heat and fine clothing in a fine house with fine servants. Now, she has nothing, she is nothing.
She stops herself from doing any sorcery, and I tell you empthatically, she doesn't want to do sorcery ever again. The door is latched. Note her change of thought. Before, Aksinya might have made a spell to open the door. Before, she might have railed against the door or demanded to be let out. Instead, she taps on it.
The Matushka was waiting for this. She opens the door and makes a curtsy. Aksinya tries to prevent her. Aksinya can't speak. The Matushka takes her to the outhouse and to the bathroom (note they are different). Aksinya has in some ways returned to the very beginning. Do you remember, her house in Russia was not much different than this. The water is a little warm. It is the left over water from the use of the household. The Matushka stays close to her. Remember Father Dobrushin's warning--they must watch and keep Aksinya safe. They don't want her to run away from the Ecclesia.
In the kitchen, we see again the contrast from before. The meal is tea and a roll. Do you remember all the wonderful food Aksinya liked at breakfast. She always liked a hearty breakfast. This is very different than her usual beginning. We know Aksinya is kind to those who serve her. Her first words are thanks.
There is a lot in this short section and we will see more of the contrast and actions of Aksinya tomorrow.