Welcome to Hector’s little hell hole, people!
It took me two days two write this and, frankly, The Boyfriend is a little surprised that I managed to write at all today.
I have had a fair number of public appearances in the last couple of days – shopping, therapy, my daughter’s dance competition – and my head is basically full of acid coated cotton batting. I have a major migraine and my thinking is not where it should be. You don’t want to know how much backspacing and cussing this is taking. *chuckles ruefully*
Thank you, MCS.
Speaking of my daughter’s dance competition: I am so proud of GirlKid! She won first overall in her age group and category for her solo! She did amazingly well for her dances. Tomorrow morning is the third and final for the weekend.
MCS is not easily defined but here goes: Chronic multi-system disorder, usually involved the nervous system and at least one other system. Persons with MCS “react adversely” to chemicals and whatnot in the environment. Adversely. That means we lose our ability to think, to communicate, we get violently ill, we get extremely tired. It’s crap.
Nevertheless, I managed to finish Hector, largely thanks to a conversation with The Boyfriend and Girlkid. Sometimes talking it out helps the process. Hector’s eye – her idea. Actually, I have to give her credit for that whole last bit (which needs written better, perhaps I’ll attempt that tomorrow). For now, I’m going to be a vegetable.
Muah! PS Count to date?
History Hath More Fury
Hector Heirro studied the email and sighed sadly, expressing his opinion of the sender’s intelligence, and replied with exaggerated care.
As I have told you before, I have a Masters in History and Classical Studies. I also teach. The 80 Years War was the subject of my thesis and I developed a theory that I would like to prove.
The thought that he could possibly disprove it never crossed his mind.
I wish to study Her Majesty Elizabeth the First’s jewels as I believe one of them holds the key. I am well aware that the ones in the museum dedicated to her are paste and I have asked for permission to access the actual jewels.
You have already implied the permission is granted. My flight will land at Heathrow tomorrow morning at 9:38 am Greenwich Mean Time and I will arrive at your museum precisely two hours later, allowing for the customs process and traffic. I have enclosed a picture in a previous email so that you may be sure of my identity but I will be carrying further identification with me.
I require unlimited and unrestricted access to these jewels. I assure you, I know how to handle them carefully. I am paying a great deal of money for this privilege and I expect it to be fulfilled to the letter.
In truth, he was only interested in a single piece. It is a brooch given to Elizabeth I by the King of Spain, Phillip II. Rumours have told him that the piece opens like a locket. She denied accepting it many times and sent it back to him each time. Each time, he would send it back. Hector believed that they were exchanging messages.
Elizabeth I was purported to be supported the Spanish Dutch rebels against King Phillip II and yet she was in league with the king. It would change the world view of history if he could just prove it was true. It had taken exhaustive research and he hundreds of thousands of his family’s fortune but he didn’t care. He’d been all over the world, especially Spain and the Netherlands and gathered all kinds of information, suspicions, rumours and secrets. The one that had kept cropping up is the brooch as a locket. He pursued it ruthlessly.
Hector walked from through the penthouse apartment and out to the pool enclosure for his last swim for the next few days. The pool itself is only ten feet long but has a motor that produces a current of varying speeds that allows him to swim in place. He was fanatical about his health, ate well and swam for about forty-five minutes every day he was at home. He was rather vainly pleased with his body. It was, he thought, too bad there was no woman to admire it.
Twenty-four hours later Hector was in a vault deep in the Tower of London, staring at Elizabeth I’s personal collection of jewels. The real ones. He almost rubbed his hands together in glee. Instead, he turned to his companion. “Thank you, Mr. Singh. I appreciate all your time.” His tone was clearly dismissive.
Mr. Singh, who runs the biggest bank in England and carries the responsibility of protecting the royal jewels, was not used to being dismissed like the family butler. He opened his mouth, closed it then opened it again. He turned away from the young man and headed out. At the door, he paused and gave Hector a single finger salute then walked back into the main bank, whistling happily.
Hector waited until he heard the door lock then indulged himself with a gleeful hand rubbing. “Okay, Hec, let’s get to work.” There was no real description of the brooch-locket so he began at one end of the table and started picking them up. He logged each with a description.
“That’s weird.” He examined the small brooch in his hand. It was vibrating a little. The longer he held onto it, the longer he focused in on it. The world spun around him and he was suddenly standing in the Queen’s Privy Chamber with half dressed women screaming in fear and outrage all around him.
Hector dropped the brooch and he was suddenly standing back in the vault. He stumbled back against the table and rubbed his eyes. “What the hell was that?” He looked all around the floor for the brooch but couldn’t find it. He gave up after a long, fruitless search. There was absolutely nowhere for it to hide so he got up and resolved to get back to work.
There, in its original spot on the table, was the brooch. “What the hell?” Hector snatched it up to examine it. Immediately, it started vibrating again and he quickly dropped it on the table. He rubbed his hand on his thigh and stared at it once again.
“You know, Hec, I don’t think that’s the brooch after all. Time to move on.” He made a couple of notes, (like don’t ever touch that again!), and moved on to the next in the line.
It was too small, he thought, but he looked anyway. It had gems in varying shades of red all over it and a small silver axe. He couldn’t figure out what it was for. Hector closed his fingers around it and paced as he tried to figure it out. The brooch vibrated and he found himself facing Elizabeth I and her favourite torturer. The former looked at him with surprise while the latter dropped the small hammer he had been using to pulverize the small hand bones in the person they were questioning. The woman in the chair screamed in fear as soon as Hector appeared. Hector embarrassed himself by screaming in response.
The queen gave a command Hector dropped the brooch and the world spun crazily around him. He found himself on his hands and knees staring at the vault floor, the brooch nowhere in sight. He pushed himself to his feet and looked at the table. There it was, gleaming dully in the vault’s soft lighting, back in its spot.
Hector pushed shaking hands through his hair. “What is going on? Where am I going?” He was part frightened, part intrigued. “This could be a great way to study history! But what if I get stuck? Or injured?” He shuddered. He was suddenly more afraid than intrigued and involuntarily took a step back. Then another. He was almost at the door when he caught himself.
“No! I’ve worked too hard to find this proof to give up now.” He marched back to the table and looked over the brooches before selecting one at random.
It was pretty, almost the size of his palm and, to him, looked like it could open. It had an angel on the front that was set upon a shield with crossed swords. Perhaps it was given to her as a symbol of God’s protection, he mused. He was so intent in trying to find a miniscule hinge that he never noticed the vibration begin.
It wasn’t until he smelled the sweat of hot, overdressed horses and the acrid scent of gunpowder smoke that he even thought to look up, so involved was he. He slowly moved his eyes from the brooch to the muddy ground. His eyes traveled slowly to the left until they came to the silver and gold plated armour on a horse’s leg. Up, up, up he looked.
Straight into the face of Queen Elizabeth I.
“You!” she cried. Her horse danced in place with her agitation. “Bring him to me!” she said imperiously.
Hector stumbled back, his hand reflexively tightening around the brooch. Arms grabbed him from behind and dragged him forward. “No!” He struggled.
She pulled her sword and pointed it at him, resting the tip under his chin and raised his face to hers. “Who are you?” He shook his head, scraping the underside of his chin against the back of the blade. She pushed his head back further. “Who. Are. You?” she asked again.
When he still refused to answer, his eyes wide with fear, she moved the blade to his shoulder and pushed it into him. Slowly. He screamed in pain, until a stinky, gloved hand covered the lower half of his face. Elizabeth stopped pushing the blade in and asked again. “What is your name?”
He had tears flowing down his cheeks and he was slowly being smothered by the leather glove but still he shook his head. She twisted the blade and he remembered to let go of the brooch. Instantly, he was back in the vault. He stumbled back and hit the table. It tipped over as he fell, raining the bits of metal and precious stones on him.
Instantly, each brooch began to vibrate. Pieces of him were transported away to another time. A hand went there, a piece of torso here. A large, fancy brooch landed on his face, right over his eye. His eye went to Elizabeth I’s court, in the middle of a party. The last thing he saw was a man’s leather pump lowering down on top of him.
Mr. Singh found him some time later, the body mangled, the table upright with the brooches in place, gleaming smartly.