The crowd gasped and murmured as Charity made her entrance. Her dress was as white as pure snow so delicate and fine that it floated and waved as Charity walked down the isle. Her face was veiled in a shield of transparent white. Charity walked alone, doomed to give herself away. She wanted no one else to have to feel the guilt of this day. Her flowing white train was held aloft by 2 angelic girls of 4. Charity looked on the amassed horde, witnesses to her day of everlasting bondage. Her vision narrowed to a slit. The isle seemed as long as a mile. All she could see was the Baron at the end of a long tunnel. Every step she took carried her away from freedom. Time moved so slowly. One step felt like a hundred. It was all she could do to will herself forward and not faint. Step by painful step she made her way.
Outside the clouds thick and black no longer could contain their moisture. Rain fell in heavy horizontal sheets. The noise of the rain was deafening. It poured without mercy. It was like nature herself was attempting to forestall this egregious tragedy. As Charity moved closer and closer the deluge raged even more. Painful white light penetrated the stain glass windows as lightning skewered the sky. The thunder boomed and reverberated throughout the hall. “Do you lady Charity take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband” Charity heard the priest say, it was unreal, to whom was he speaking these words. She looked about dazed the long walk had hypnotized her; realization hit her like a blow to the stomach. When it was time to give her answer that would complete the ritual and seal the deal, she spoke the words and heard them like shackles binding her soul. The Baron drove home the key to Charity’s shackles fixing them tight with the simple words “I do”. The priest responded “In the eyes of the Lord I now pronounce you man and wife.” The Baron hiding not at all well his sneer, of the sacred event thought “God who is that? I carry more power in my purse, than all the gods in heaven. It is I who pronounce us man and wife, the bond is as only strong as I will it.” The Baron smiled brightly in his thoughts. The priest announced the final words required to fulfill the observance. “You may now kiss the bride” The Baron’s face lit up like a dog sniffing a bone. His forehead was shiny with perspiration; he licked his lips slowly, his fat pink tongue slithered across first his top and then bottom lip. Turning, the Baron’s drooping cheeks pulled into a wolf like grin as he moved towards the new bride.
Charity Stood transfixed in the same manner a bird will do when confronted by a snake, seeing the enemy but helpless to move. She felt the veil being lifted her last and only shield from the oily lips of the Baron. He bent forward his lips puckered, Charity fixated on the lips which grew larger and larger as they came closer. Her visual world was crowded out by the fat puckered lips. The Baron came within a fraction of an inch of her lips, his breath smelled of meat rank from age. In the instant before the kiss an earsplitting boom broke the silence. Glass fell like shrieking spirits burning in hell around the dais. Eyes burned with the afterimage of white hot light. Lightning had struck the great window above the dais. Wind howled in pure outrage, rain poured in from the broken window. Then came the scream a high blood curdling yell. A woman stood with her finger pointed in accusation, and outrage at the priest. The priest’s neck was skewered by a piece of falling glass. Blood the color of high red cherries squirted from his severed artery. The gash was squeaking and jutting blood every time the dying priest heart beat “Swit, Swit, Swit.” His eyes rolled wildly in his head like a horse smelling smoke. He staggered drunkenly towards Charity. Her gown grew pedals of blood. Bright red splotches sprouted like open sores on a syphilitic. The world twirled, sights and sounds become one to Charity, at the edges of her vision she saw blackness. It was sweet and comforting, the blackness. It promised to wipe everything out. As the blackness grew the last thing Charity felt was hitting the stone floor, which to her numbed body felt like clouds of pure silk.
The Baron was a presence in the room. He was the hunter and those around the prey. Charity lay on her sick bed, eyes unmoving. The Baron looked upon Charity not with sadness and despair, but rather with scorn, scorn at being cheated on his wedding night of his trophy. It had be hours since the accident and all attempts to wake the fair lady had failed. “Use the smelling powder again!” shouted the Baron. He prowled around his prize like a wolf. If the Baron had his way and a free hand he simply might have put her toes to the fire that would be sure to wake anyone up. The Baron had known for a long time pain was a wonderful thing to get people to do what you want them to do. However, the kings own physician was in attendance, he would never allow it. The doctor tried using the powerful salts again that burned the nose and usually brought consciousness back to the sleeping. However, Charity made not a reaction. The doctor stood adjusting his glasses on his eyes “It is all very strange indeed, her body is perfectly fine, by all accounts her head hit the floor gently. She breaths normally and reacts customarily when I pinch her at her nerve junctions.” Removing his glasses the doctor pulled a cloth from his pocket and rubbed the lenses, doing this more for time then to clean his spectacles. Finally speaking “It is her nerves the shock of which might have damaged her brain; in body she is as healthy as you or I. But her nerves are quite unhealthy; I know not when she shall awake.” Charity’s mom who had been in attendance the whole time gasped. Charity’s maid placed a hand on the sullen mother. The doctor continued “She could awake today, tomorrow, or never one never knows”
Now it must be told the good doctor knew all that he said was a lie. After attending to the priest and being quite sure he was dead, the doctor tended to Charity. To be sure when he first saw her she was in shock and still unconscious but, even then she began to stir. The doctor told her at her own peril she should not move and fain unconsciousness. Charity listened. The doctor took Charity to an empty room where he convinced all he must see her in private. The good doctor could simply not allow this fine girl to be despoiled by the evil Baron. He had a plan it might work or might not but he had to try. He told Charity he was going to give her a powerful sleeping powder that would make her sleep for hours. In this way she could pass for being unconscious by the inspection of the finest doctors. He told Charity how he would tell everyone that she might sleep forever, that her brain was damaged by shock. The plan you see was simple, by the laws of the land a wedding is not official until it has been consummated. So Charity and the Baron were not completely mar
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