Ragtag Daily Prompt: Crow

Sobbing so convulsively that she could not speak, Tata Sous-sus hugged herself as she rocked back and forth on the stool. Just a few hours earlier, the palace guards had conveyed her to the North Tower of the Old Castle “for further questioning.” The real reason was because of a concern that, if left alone, she might make an attempt on her own life. In order to secure her safety, three women in eight hour shifts were sent to her cell as “companions.”

The women were chosen for their empathetic natures, and each attempted (in vain) to encourage her to eat. They sought to divert her attention from her fate by offering to play cards, or to read to her, but they failed in these endeavors also. Tata’s fear was understandable because while many were taken to the tower, few ever left.

Because some of the guards referred to her as the “old crow,” her codename was Crow. Her female companions were charged with the duty to submit daily reports to the Captain of the Guards of what she said and did. These reports were reviewed by the Captain, who abstracted them. Whatever was considered relevant was and whatever was considered relevant to the case (of the murder of Lady Greenmeadow) were sent to Queen Pirouette for her personal inspection.

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Melancholy

When Tata Sous-sus saw the expressions on the faces of the Captain of the Guards and his lackeys, her heart began to beat so rapidly that she found it difficult to draw a breath. Indeed, it felt as though that little pump was beating against her chest. As she rose from her seat, she knocked over the cup of tea. She emitted a little cry, “Oh! Oh, my!”

“You needn’t worry about that. When I leave, I’ll ask your maid to clean that up,” said the Captain, annoyed.

“Murder?” Replied Tata. “What would I know about any murder?”

“It has come to our attention that the Baroness was in possession of some information that could seriously damage your standing at court.

“N-n-n-no!” Sputtered Tata. “I’ve no idea of what you are talking about. Information? What kind of information?”

“Come now, your ladyship. I needn’t remind you of that melancholy day from the past. Hm?” His eyes narrowed to veritable slits. “You know exactly what I’m talking about! I already know the answer, but I want to hear it from your mouth. Out with it!”

“What is the question? I’ll be happy to answer anything.” She clasped her hands together as if in prayer.

“Very well,” said the Captain. With his snub nose, and rather pointy ears, poking out from his plumed helmet, he looked very much like a pig. Tata was alarmed at how quickly his face turned turned a crimson shade of red. “Did you or did you not know that the Baroness was well aware of the fact that you gave birth to an illegitimate child- a child that was immediately taken away from you and put up for adoption?”

Tata was shocked speechless. She bit the back of her hand in an effort to suppress a scream.

Butterfly

Another Buckeye. This one was captured on September 18, 2021 in front of the Annapolis Branch Public Library. This photo is about twice its actual size. Given its size and the pristine condition of its wings, it has probably just emerged from its cocoon, also known as a chrysalis.

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Adversary

Pirouette is Maxwell’s pillow of choice.

Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil walketh about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Paul 5:8

Tata Sous-sus was sipping tea and gazing out the window of her little room on the ground floor of the palace. “It’s more like a broom closet,” she’d complained when she first saw it, but now she found it cozy and warm with its big fireplace that took up almost an entire wall of the compartment. There was a knock on the door, a rare occasion, that made her jump.

“Come in,” she said without even thinking. Damn! She thought. I just want to be left alone.

She was not so lucky. When the door opened, the Captain of the Guard entered with two underlings. “Greetings in the name of the Queen,” said the Captain gravely. “Were here to ask you a few question, my lady.”

“Concerning?”

“Concerning the murder of the Baroness, Lady Greenmeadow.”