They are leaning out for love and they wil lean that way forever.

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A Cheeky 4. Helena Herpentaria

March 16, 2021


If there’s one thing she knows about herself, is that she’s nosy. People never seem to tire of informing her. “Get your own cup of coffee to stick your nose into,” the girls at the office spit, crushing morning into a fine grain. “Don’t talk to me about something I haven’t told you about” the ones at the cabaret are less aggressive, more dangerous. They’ve never liked her much around here. Nine Abadón doesn’t wish to be known, less alone told. Helena rises to the challenge.
As she stands near the flower archway tonight, high heels in hand, she’s practically buzzing. A wedding. The wedding. The salon is covered in white garden roses, and she can smell the disapproval of the bride’s family from her spot. Beautiful Luz smiles as if she doesn’t know what else to do, standing in the middle of the hall like a particularly anxious porcelain doll.
“Herpentaria!” Martina calls out, her smile fat with malice, “Fifty bucks her father shoots the groom by the end of the night,”
“You mean Quevedo? Probably,” Helena positions herself so she’s looking at the bastard of a groom. “But if he kills Góngora, he won’t have anyone else to squabble with”
“Are those their names?” Right. Martina is never around for a long time. There’s no way she’d know.
“It’s what we call them”
Martina cocks her head to the side, and Helena rises to the challenge. As the first ball commences, the violins get drowned out by their story spilling out of the Herpentaria’s mouth. Quevedo and Góngora. Sworn enemies. No one knows exactly when it started, not even the Herbalist, but they’ve been fucking the other over for as long as they’ve uttered words. They grew up a house apart, and to this day it hasn’t been sold or rented. Once, Góngora pissed in all of Quevedo’s shoes. Once, Quevedo broke Góngora’s right arm. He got his left broken in return. Once, they lost their voice for two weeks after arguing an entire Winter night. Once... Once Góngora left the city, and when he returned he married Quevedo’s daughter.
Martina chokes on her drink at this point of the story, she whips her head around to look back at the bride’s father approaching the couple as they finish their first dance. “Holy shit,” the devil whispers, “Helena, he’ll kill him”
As he’s two steps away, Quevedo stops. His fists are clenched. Hell freezes over. He breaks into tears. He kneels.
Luz’ porcelain face cracks. She puts her hands around her father and sinks down to whisper apologies into his ear.
Góngora turns to look the other way. Guilt looks foreign on his face.
“Poor thing, she’ll get her dress dirty”
As they walk home together, they’re silent more or less. Usually, Helena would leave last to make sure she didn’t miss a single detail. To ensure she drank the whole picture. Her glass is half empty tonight, Martina insisted on leaving after the first slice of cake. Said it was too gruesome.
“You really can’t have one boring moment here, huh?” moonlight washes over the two of them, the cicadas are quiet more or less.
“I wonder when they’re getting divorced,” Helena murmurs, “I wonder if Luz will move out”
“If she does, she better go as far as she can. This street is crowded enough as it is,”
“They’re building new apartments though, after last year.”
“What happened last year?”
Martina wasn’t around. There’s no way she’d know. For once, Helena shrugs her shoulders at the truth. “I forgot”

To those that have read Nine Abadón before, Helena Herpentaria replaces Maru (The Herbalist) in this version of Chapter 4. This is because I originally intended to write her chapter instead, but couldn’t bring myself to. Now that I'm republishing it on Prose, I thought I'd share here as well. Maru may come back later though.


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  • March 16, 2021 - 8:24am (Now Viewing)

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