The Witch's Banquet
Act One: Scene One
Louis, along with the other guests, watched Katy Belle as she walked out of the room, and let out a slow sigh. Like the others, he had a measure of distrust in the intentions of the girl, yet part of him wondered if such a timid, young, creature would prove capable of the vicious acts she alluded to. Now she was out of the room, the businessman fell into his own thoughts wondering what she was up to. He was even quite certain that the girl had not once mentioned a thing about hurting anyone, but let the implications grow with her vague statements. A smirk showing on his face the moment he put the pieces together in his head. What a genius little girl to drag their attentions towards her, rather than keep them focused on Alice. Let them all think she wouldn't hesitate to kill them all, and then leave them hanging. Granted, Louis was more than certain that she knew she had less to lose in this situation. The witch liked her the most, after all.
"She'd cut out our hearts to please the witch."
Mr. Dearling's words cut through Louis's thoughts like a knife and drew his attention to the nervous man. He was more than likely correct, but Louis didn't picture Katy Belle being actively capable of cutting anyone's hearts out. Now, Claudia or Carol he could picture doing just that to keep in the good graces of the witch if everything ran amok.
"Nah," Started Louis, "she'd rather rip our throats out than our hearts. I'm sure we'd suffer longer, and in turn greatly amuse the witch on Miss Katy Belle's behalf."
"You really think she would do that?"
Louis offered a shrug of his shoulders in response to the timid creature while Claudia stared down upon her husband. That businessman's stare refocused itself upon Carol who seemed to just remain in that center of calm. Offering a smile to him, the ancient creature made the hair on the back of his neck stand on end, and made his thoughts turn to ones of unease. He knew well enough the actress could not read his mind, yet there was that voice of doubt that told him otherwise. He just gave her a look accompanied with an acknowledging nod before looking to the Dearling couple. Louis had failed to notice Richard staring at him, and Claudia pampering herself with a bit of foundation.
"Yes, I'm quite sure she would, but on the same note I wonder if she would be capable of it. She's only thirteen at best, and barely half the size of anyone here." While he spoke, Louis paced over to the living room's exit. His eyes fixed themselves on one of several windows, when he reached the threshold between spaces. "It's going to storm tonight. I shall find Ophelia or Johnathan and find out what the room accommodations are. I'd like to get comfortable before dinner is done so I can think about this matter. Perhaps even prepare for the worst case scenario, yes?"
The others said nothing in reply to his rhetoric, thus Louis figured it was safe to leave the room. Once he stepped past the living room's threshold he felt the tangible change to the air from one of a stressed nature, to one that was calmer. Perhaps Richard's nervous fits were really stacking up on such a small room? It was quite possible. That man shook so bad sometimes you could hear his vertebrae rattle.
Deciding to hang a right, the French man ventured into a hallway he was certain would lead somewhere meaningful. It helped that the Annette Estate wasn't that large. There were at least three floors not including the basement and attic levels. The first floor itself was made up of the biggest of the rooms, which included the study, dining room, kitchen, and living room. Then there was the second floor that was five bedrooms, and the third which was a music room coupled with a few more bedrooms. It was quite odd that the third floor was where the music room was, but it had been a layout the witch had planned. This fact alone made it no surprise.
Before this get together, Louis had never before been to the estate. All his knowledge of it had been limited to the correspondences with Katy Belle that laid out all sorts of details. It was thanks to her that he better understood the depth of the bargain with the witch, especially the part about being a disciple.
"The flow of the power is a two way street." He remembered her saying. "Our belief in her gives her power in return for the favors she gave to us. In return, some of that power trickles back to us in the form of talents along with the gift she gave us in return." It had all she really said on the topic, but the moment he became aware of it was when he started to notice things. Like how he could pick up on the slightest shift in events going on around him. It allowed him to better use his bargain with the witch because all he had to do was sniff out the moment a strong event would occur, and shift it into his favor. This even worked with people as well, but he had to admit it was a hard task trying to understand the girl who had taught this to him. "It's because I'm probably stronger than you are." Had been her response when he asked about it, and Louis had been content to leave it at that. Now, however, he was having his doubts.
The businessman stopped at the end of the hallway just before the stares. He stood there looking at the reflection of himself. Indeed he was dressed up nice, but something about his posture made him think he looked rather distressed. There was no way the character in the mirror was the same as he, but he would be silly to think otherwise. It was peculiar how he felt like he was being pulled into the sense of ominous dread that Katy Belle had enchanted them with. All that attention had been turned upon her in an instant only thanks to the way she had spoken earlier.
"Eh now old man, no reason to cave into the girl's game. You know she's harmless." He scolded himself while ruffling his hair with his own hand. "How can little Katy Belle be capable of killing us for her own sake?"
"I wouldn't be so sure of that, Mr. Antoinette."
The monotonic notes of the maid had startled Louis into a near heart attack. His hands had even come right out of his pockets to get himself ready to defend himself. Directing his attention over his shoulder, Louis saw the five foot eight maid in that modestly styled uniform. Those skirts were long, and her outfit didn't let a single ounce of provocative flesh be seen, which was polar opposite to the stereotype he knew of. He blinked a few times and returned to his more reserved posture. Even his shoulders straightened out, and he stood more upright. Louis's expression altered from surprise to a contemplative one as eyes settled to studying the maid much more closely.
"What do you mean by that, Miss?"
"The name is Ophelia, sir." The maid said with a bow at the waist. Her hands remained together in front of her. "And what I mean is that I would not doubt that Miss Katy Belle would be capable of the things implicated by you earlier."
Standing there, staring at the maid with that appraising gaze, Louis felt his jaw slacken and tense in a rhythmic pattern as if his brain was trying to utter a response that his vocals had yet to gather the words for. There was even a choking sense that slowly invaded his mind at the maid's words, yet he did the best to dismiss them. His thoughts already spiraled in circles wondering if the little girl could be capable of much more than he had thought. It had been convenient, as well, that the maid had popped up in such a fashion to reinforce the possibility that Katy Belle, all innocent and sweet looking, could muster thoughts as bloody as the ones that had just been spoken about. In fact he was certain the maid had not been within the living room either, while they had talked. He would have noticed a woman that looked like her.
Not to mention, what he had said earlier, the businessman figured, had all been in jest. Yes, that's right, it was all done in jest to further raise the tension in the others, but whether it was effective or not was another question. Now Louis had the sole maid of the estate standing before him and telling him it was a fact. Now even his nerves felt a little stimulated, and not in the good sense.
With his nerves feeling aggravated by the maid's words, Louis closed his eyes and tried to refocus himself and remember his original purpose for leaving the room. Those contemplations, that had once threatened to run wild with thoughts of the caretaker torturing them, diverted to the maid who was part of his goal. So with his mind back on track, he decided to take care of his original intentions first.
"Look, I'm not concerned about Miss Katy Belle's designs on us and the witch right now." Louis inserted. "I just wish to know what room is mine so I can relax a little before dinner is prepared."
"Of course, let me show you the way then, sir."
Ophelia turned on a doll shoed heel before walking to the stairs, and Louis only stood there waiting a moment. His eyes couldn't help but fall and observe how she moved. It was a vice, being drawn to the shape of women, for the businessman. Each different creature, made of soft flesh with curves that begged to be touched and held, called to that part of him that craved such things. Louis had always done a good job of holding it back, yet there were moments when it leaked out like right now. The perceptive, coal colored, eyes took in the way the maid moved without so much of a suggestive, natural, sway of the hip. A creature, such as Ophelia, was a vexing sort that lured men like Louis into traps just by the fact they hid every ounce of their sexuality. There was nothing sensual about the young woman, and that alone created the spell that made him want her all the more.
Without so much as another thought on the matter, and having forgotten about previous concerns, the Frenchman began to walk after the maid. He had only let her get at least six paces ahead of him before her followed. It was a decent enough distance to continue to admire her, while not losing sight of her for too long. Even as they moved up the stairs he found his observations transfixed upon her backside in order to detect the slightest shake to unshakeable hips.
The trek, however, had to end eventually. Ophelia stopped and turned to face the businessman who walked up towards her. Louis knew what he desired to do next, and so, when he approached her, he enclosed the space between them to an intimate degree. The sound of a soft thud of her back against the bedroom's doorframe was heard, yet her face did not alter its stoic expression.
"Sir, your room is here." Her tone of voice was light, airy, and aloft. It was not what Louis had thought to hear, and part of his mind translated the nature of those syllables into a different meaning. "I hope it is to your satisfaction."
"My satisfaction," His words, distant and distracted, slipped from his lips. "I could think of a way in which you could make it much more," he paused as he lifted a hand to touch her side, "pleasurable." That appendage of his brought his palmar surface sliding down to her hip as he leaned into her. That maid's body turned pliant in the slightest, yet she was not giving in either. "What do you say?"
With expression still distant, Ophelia remained still while her mouth worked the words out for her to confirm what her body language said. That singular word of denial upset Louis to the point that he froze and stepped back from the maid. She gave that polite bow, and some words of parting that Louis did not hear, before she walked away from him and down that hallway. It was quite possible that she was going downstairs to the dining room to see to the dinner with the only other servant. Would she tell Katy Belle or the boy butler what he had been up to?
"Quite possibly." He said out loud to his own thoughts.
His steps were slow and almost lifeless before he reached the minibar within that room. A display of glasses was already out with a crystal bottle of some nameless bourbon brew sitting at the head of the line. At first he poured out a glass before taking a sip. That rich, spicy, taste rolled down his throat and hit his gut to fill it with palpable warmth. The relaxation it brought was only temporary until the rage hit him like a mac truck smashed a deer on the highway. It cared not at all about his sanity before it wrenched the thoughts from his mind and launched them into a red flurry. That glass flew from his hand, contents and all, as a rather vulgar collection of French curses went following after it.