Punch's Cousin, Chapter 245

Monday, May 16, 2011


What are you doin’ back, Chum?” Mr. Punch asked as he walked toward Naasir.

“I still have an obligation, Sir,” Naasir smiled.

“Thought you passed over,” Mr. Punch continued.

“No one ever really passes over completely.” Naasir shook his head. “Not when he’s still tied to this realm.”

“So, are you some kind of spirit?” Punch asked.

“Mr. Punch, Naasir is only here—within us. No one else can see him,” Julian explained. “He’s part of us, isn’t he?”

“I ‘spose.” Punch nodded slowly. “I reckon that’s why he’s in here with us.”

“That’s correct,” Julian nodded.

“Is he always here?” Punch wondered. He looked toward Naasir. “Are you always here in me master’s body with us?”

“I am just one of many who inhabit this space.” Naasir grinned proudly.

“Coo!” Punch grunted, sitting down in lavender silk chair across from Julian in the little, ornate, phantom room. “Gotta say, it all confuses me.”

“You should not be bothered, Sir,” Naasir shook his head, walking closer. “Every man has thoughts. You are quite fortunate in many ways. You are able to see your thoughts more clearly than most. The arrangement that you share with His Grace allows you greater and freer access to your thoughts than most men. It’s a blessing.”

“I imagine so,” Punch nodded.

“Naasir wishes to speak with us,” Julian interrupted.

“’Bout what?” Punch asked.

“I want to tell you a story that my mother told me when I was a boy.” Naasir said.

“Ain’t got time for stories,” Mr. Punch chuckled.

“This one will assist you greatly,” Naasir replied softly.

“I’m listenin’, Chum.” Mr. Punch sighed. “Go on, tell me…”

At that very moment, Charles made his way through the crowded streets of the French Quarter. The rain had subsided a bit, but the streets had begun to fill with a thick mist which reminded Charles of times spent in Venice with his family. In his right hand, he tightly clutched the note which Cecil had given him for Adrienne and Robert, hoping that the combination of the mist and his sweat would not smear the ink.

He squinted into the fog, looking for some kind of indication of his location. Then, he spotted a sign—“Dresses by Routhe.” Glancing up at the building, he spotted a lamp burning in an upper window.

“Here we are,” He muttered to himself. As he stepped forward, but found himself being pushed backward.

Blinking quickly, Charles became aware of a pair of strong hands on his chest.

“Where are you going, Brother?” A familiar voice hissed.

As the fog cleared, Charles saw his brother, Giovanni staring back at him—a large bruise blackening on his forehead.

“Let me go, Giovanni.” Charles demanded.

“My poor brother, the footman.” Giovanni chuckled. “Since you like to take orders, let me give you some.”

Did you miss Chapters 1-244? If so, you can read them here. ads

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