13 May 2011, A New Novel, Part 221 You Finally Awake, Deary?
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 Catholic Church inquisitors have arrested Aksinya. Aksinya collapses in the street in front of Sacré Coeur...
Aksinya awoke with a start to a persistent chill. Her hands were cold and her feet were cold. Her ears and nose were cold. She tried to pull herself into a ball. The surface where she lay was hard and freezing, and she had nothing under her or to cover herself.
Her teeth chattered. The room was filled with gloom. She scrutinized the place. It wasn’t so dark that she couldn’t make out anything, but there was an almost permanent twilight. At the top of the high wooden walls a frosted pane allowed a degree of light inside. It wasn’t much light, but the day, Aksinya remembered, had been bleak.
She lay on a hard wooden bench. It was just long and wide enough for her to lie flat, but would be very uncomfortable for a normal sized man. She rose up on one arm. A putrid smell came to her through the cold still air. She peered under the bench. A chamber pot lay under it. The pot wasn’t very clean. The walls of the very small room were close. The space was so small the bench completely filled one end.
Aksinya sat up the rest of the way and stared around her. The walls behind and on either side were uniform dark wood. In front of her was a wide door made of a thick wooden lattice. The wood looked very sturdy. The lattice was open but stout. The lattice door meant she had absolutely no privacy. Anyone who entered the hallway outside the door could observe her.
Aksinya stood. Her legs almost buckled, and she took an involuntary step to keep from falling down. The floor was stone. It was freezing through her thin shoes. She regained her balance and stumbled to the lattice work door. She gazed out into the corridor. She couldn’t see very far, but beside the door sat an old woman in a thick habit. The woman was sewing. She didn’t look up at Aksinya, “You finally awake, deary?”
We know generally where the inquisitors took Aksinya--the Cardinal's house in Wien. Aksinya was cold and now she's colder. They put her into a cold cell in the basement. The cold isn't so unusual in this time or in this place--the fact they didn't leave her with a blanket is slightly cruel for the same time and especially the place.
There are no electric or gaslights for prisoners. The cell is dark. Notice, I haven't referred to it as a cell yet. I give you a scene setting for the time--note Akisnya guesses it is the same day. Then I give you a picture of the cell itself. I bring in all your senses. You know the feel, the light, the smell (there is a chamber pot--that's the way prisoners went to the bathroom). The historical importance of details is found in something as simple as a dirty chamber pot.
Do you remember how private Aksinya is (was). Even in the Ecclesia, she had her place. Now she is in a place that is not private at all. Then Aksinya stands to investigate her prison. I don't need to tell you she is weak. Her keeper sits right outside the door and addresses her. Tomorrow, a conversation with her guard.