the hangman’s daughter

The Hangman’s Daughter- Chapter 32

CHAPTER 32: BETRAYAL

 

She stood there for a few seconds, and then fell to the floor like an avalanche.

No!!”

He was by her side in a second.

“Jeda? Jeda!”

“Please, no dramatics.” Mabus snorted “She’s not dead.”

It was then that Virgil noticed the dart sticking out of her head.

“What did you shoot her with?” he hissed at Mabus.

“You know, I remember you being taller?”

“What was in the dart?!”

“Did it hurt?”

“What?”

“Becoming a Time Ghost?”

“I am not a time ghost!”

“I know! Isn’t it bizarre? It’s just, I considered becoming one for a time, you see.”

“Good. Go do that.”

“Oh no, my dear boy. I’ve come up with something much better.”

“What did you do to her?!”

“…Virgil?”

She was looking at him, her voice was weak.

“Jeda? Jeda, you’re alright!”

“Yeah. About that. Why is there a dart sticking out of my head?”

“He shot you.”

“He didn’t!”

“Yeah. He did.”

“Well.” she said “I’m just going to have to kick his…oof…”

She tried to get to her feet, but her arms gave out from under her. With some difficulty she managed to grab a hold of the dart and pull it out.

“Ow!”

There was very little blood, but a single bead of red swelled in the centre of her forehead like a bindi.

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The Hangman’s Daughter- Chapter 31

 

CHAPTER 31: THE FIRST LESSON

 

“Now that’s a question, isn’t it?” said Virgil with a grim smile “Would you kill someone to prolong your own life? And I know what you’re thinking: “Course not. I’m a good person. I could never do that.” Well. Lot of good people find that when they’re really up against it that they’re not so good after all. So don’t be so sure you wouldn’t. Because the greatest man I ever knew took that test and failed.”

“So. You wiped out these “Lepers”?” Eamonn  asked.

“You killed them?” Marie asked.

Virgil looked at her. She had gone quite pale.

“Yeah.” he said quietly “’Fraid we did.”

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The Hangman’s Daughter-Chapter 30

CHAPTER 30: DROP IN THE OCEAN

 

 

He was flying, and in front of him, black as ebony, was a mountain to dwarf Olympus.

He could feel himself speeding towards it at great speed, but the mountain didn’t change size. It simply rested, irrevocable.

Flying? Why was he flying?

He fell asleep for a few seconds.

No, not a dream. The mountain was still there. He was still flying.

He was cold. The air was freezing.

He couldn’t breathe.

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The Hangman’s Daughter-Chapter 29

 

CHAPTER 29: THE LEPER COLONY

 

“So.” said Milo “Mabus recruited you into the Nine to fight these mutated Temporals.”

“That’s right.” said Virgil “But then, you knew that, didn’t you?”

“I knew a little.” said Milo. For all his mild nebbishness, there was a warning in Milo’s eyes.

They don’t know I’m one of the Nine. Let’s keep it that way.

Virgil’s seemed to respond; Or else what?

“So. What happened?” Kathy asked gently “Did you go to Stalingrad?”

“Yes.” said Virgil “More fools we.”

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The Hangman’s Daughter- Chapter 28

CHAPTER 28: A MEAL IN PARIS

“Ah, the great warrior rises.” said Mabus as Virgil and Jeda came downstairs.

The house which he had been brought to was a pleasant, unassuming semi-detached  in a leafy Berlin suburb circa 1970. It was this innocuous dwelling that Mabus had selected as the base for a war spanning all of space and time.

“How are you feeling, my boy?” the old man asked kindly.

“Well.” said Virgil “Very well. I owe you my life.”

“I will not be slow to collect the debt, you can be sure of that.” said Mabus, and although he wore a half smile, it was clear he was quite serious.

The kitchen was bright and attractive, and around the varnished wooden table sat Aodh and a tall Ugandan who was introduced to Virgil as Baako.

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The Hangman’s Daughter- Chapter 27

CHAPTER 27: THE LEPERS OF ST ROCHELLE

 

It was in in the autumn of 1627 that Virgil, Vicomte de Aurais, arrived in La Rochelle to partake in the great siege being conducted by His Majesty, Louis XIII and his noble eminence, the Cardinal-Duc Richelieu against the Huguenot insurgency.

And he was loving it.

Finally out from under the boot of his father, Virgil proceeded to enjoy himself as much as one could enjoy themselves during a savage military campaign. Which, as it turned out, was a great deal, and when not on duty Virgil was rarely found far from the taverns or gaming houses of the garrison. Virgil would never want for friends; he had wit and courage, which endeared him to men, beauty and charm, which endeared him to women, and a great deal of money, which endeared him to both.

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The Hangman’s Daughter Chapter 26

CHAPTER 26: THE COUNCIL  OF THE TEMPORAL ADEPTS

 

Every muscle in Mariana’s body had turned to iron wire. The voice carried on regardless.

“You will bring her to the place where this message was left for you, exactly one year later. Do this, and I will take your actions as a gesture of loyalty and capitulation, and you will live. Do not, and I will take her. And Nine shall become None. I await your answer. My blessing on you all. Ave Mabus.”

 

The needle was plucked from the record with a squeal. There was silence.

Marie thought she could hear herself sweating.

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The Hangman’s Daughter Chapter 25

CHAPTER 25: THE NINE UNKNOWN MEN

 

It was, Virgil thought to himself, a thoroughly miserable room. It was small and cramped, the walls painted a shade of grey that was a close cousin to black, the thick curtains not so much screening sunlight as suffocating it in heavy dusty folds. His translucent eyes could pick out the motes of dust dancing through a single ray of sunlight and that was all. Then Mariana reached out and tugged the curtain to one side, and the room was swallowed in darkness.

Virgil, standing right beside the table, heard the gust of air and the tiny gasp that told him someone had shifted into being just under it, hidden by the green table cloth. He smiled to himself, and glanced briefly around to make sure no one else had noticed it. The senses of the people in this room were very acute to such things. That was why he had decided to stand near the table. He knew they would not want to talk with him, or even stand near him. In this way, he gave Marie the best chance she could have of not being discovered.

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The Hangman’s Daughter Chapter 24

CHAPTER 24: THE LADY IN THE LOBBY

 

Marie opened her eyes and took a long look at herself in the mirror.

She took her comb and slowly pulled it through her hair. Slowly, because it had become so thick and curly that one wrong move could result in a painful tangle, or even worse, the comb drowning in her hair, never to be found again.

No greys, she noted. That was good.

She checked her face for wrinkles. Under the eyes, through the forehead. Nothing

She certainly didn’t look any older. She still couldn’t believe that she was thirteen. Back in St Anne she had known thirteen year old mothers. She still felt so young.

She opened the dresser and took out a small silver pendent that Mariana had given her the night before when they had celebrated her birthday. It was beautiful, tiny and intricately engraved with the words “Be forever free.” The face had a tiny engraved picture of a tower. She held it in her hand, while in the other she held the bone comb. The comb was yellowing and crudely carved, it’s design rapidly fading. Two very different gifts, from such different worlds.

“Marie?” Mariana’s voice came from downstairs.

“Coming.” she called, putting the pendant around her neck, and the comb in the pocket of her jeans.

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The Hangman’s Daughter- Chapter 22

CHAPTER 22: THE GREY STONE SKY

 

We will move past Thomas searching Groethuis’ body, gazing with a puzzled eye over the curious, dark room, full of plastics and strange smells and weird constructs that he does not have words to name. We will skip over him pushing open the heavy steel door and stumbling down the dark corridor with walls made of what feels like granite, his legs screaming blue murder as they fizzle with pins and needles. We will instead move ahead to Thomas reaching the door at the end of the corridor and finding that it opens not into a room but onto a balcony. And as he stands on this balcony he sees that he is in a great tower, and as far as the eye can see …

People.

Hundreds of the… Hundreds? No.

Thousands?

Millions?

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