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Elizabeth Evelyn Stember

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Meeting Of Tastes
By Elizabeth Evelyn Stember
Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Rated "R" by the Author.

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When Remi gets lost outside an asylum now turned museum, she has to keep on her toe in order to keep her head when dealing with one of the most revered and insane men in history,there is no sex here just language that is the issue. Of course, they meet at a pub that mostly only the dead can see but yeah....

Remi Stember strolled along the graves near the asylum lost in thought about the last words of a deranged yet genius man. Her many lengthed hair reached the middle of her back, restrained loosely by a white strand of ribbon given to her by her girlfriend Selphy. Her blue eyes seemed toned down by the darkness and lazy dusk cloud cover, pale face of many traditional blood lines boasting mixed nobilities and other ancient ranks had become a little rosy from the chill as she shivered beneath her Voltaire hoodie. Under the bulky oversized fabric, she was a thin and lithe figure who had an assertive stubbornness about their presence. Over the hoodie was an EastSport ® backpack full of books, paper, pens, and her recording devices consisting of a video camera and a voice recorder complete with several tapes labeled as either empty or full. Her boots made her seem a little taller than she really was, but as the clichéd chill of mist came over the cemetery her head perked up and looked around.
With a small curse as the mist came over with its humid chill, she set off in a direction, though not necessarily the direction she had originally come from. Remi was not one to deny her bad sense of direction, although she did not announce it to the world either. As it was, she was only following the stronger of the tugs that ate at her insides because of a curiosity that was raised into her kicked into action. It was a curiosity of two things (since to her mind a “woman’s” curiosity was more often presented in men than the gender it was cemented to) that she was raised around: the curiosity of a Role-player and the curiosity of a young Witch. She had picked up both from her mother, who played Dungeons&Dragons ® with her and her friends, and her love to practically devour books on ancient lore and adventure from other worlds. However which way the curiosity would serve her may be revealed in the long run or not.
Remi continued to weave round tombstones and unmarked graves, any that watched (even though she didn’t see them) might have thought she was trying to dance drunk. It would be a few minutes before she would hear the ruckus associated with civilization on a small scale. She picked up her pace until she saw a decrepit looking building where the lights were brightly lit and the shadows passed back and forth; tiny blue lights floated lazily in, as if unheedful of the slight breeze that moved some of Remi’s shorter strands into her face. Though a knot formed in her stomach was constricting, she grit her teeth and squared her shoulders, taking a hold of the handle and opening the door a crack wide enough and slipped inside.
No one seemed that surprised as she entered, though at first sight it looked as if someone with very…no, extremely excellent taste had taken the best of all cultures and meshed it together in a sort of design that didn’t make one place or time seem unwanted but necessary. The wooden support beams had her eyes wide as they resembled roman ionic pillars, splashes of colorful silks and other fabrics on the pillars and along the walls with well made (and most likely) paintings done at the artist’s leisure. The bar resembled a classy old western set up but the counter and tables surrounding had a sort of aged but well maintained finish to them from somewhere in an 1800’s tavern. The barstools were relatively newer, fixated to the floor and revolving much like a parlor or drugstore stool from the early twentieth century. The place seemed clean, or else very well kept, with lanterns and electrical lights giving the interior a very interesting glow and cast of wavering brightness on the many characters dressed similarly in different eras of time.
She cautiously made her way up to the bar and onto a barstool, leaning onto the counter edge with her backpack still on. One leg was jittering slightly as the limb and its twin were bent slightly to rest on one of the rungs on the stool, one of the heels on the inside under of the stool resting on the rung while the ball of the other foot was resting on another part of the rung.
“What’ll it be, darlin’?” the barkeep asked, a middle aged man with blonde hair that was long and tied back, his vest eye smarting green over a pristine white. Not half bad looking for tan man who sounded like he had a Scottish accent. She smiled lightly, looking at his passive seemingly happy face.
“I would like a Coke, nothing mixed in and no ice please,” she said softly, the barkeep only nodding with a kind smile in return as he went to fix her drink. She went into her pocket when the glass was put on the counter to fish out her wallet to pay but a man sitting a few places away from her caught the barkeeps attention. And wearing what to Remi’s eye were the clothes of a Noble of most likely France, she slumped a little as the Noble and the barkeep spoke like old friends. The interfering man’s words infuriated her though.
“Put the young lady’s drink on my tab,” he didn’t command it, more like a suggestion, but the barkeep hopped to as if threatened with a lashing. He sipped on wine as he was nodded to by the bartender with a small smile, as if he did something that she would be thankful for. Quite stuck up in demeanor.
“Th' chiel paid fur yer bevvy, quinie, sae there's nae need tae gie th' bunsens it,” the barkeep said thickly, nodding to the man.
“Thanks,” she said with a smile before slipping off the stool as if she were raised to it, book bag not making any impact on her landing as she took her drink and went off to a table that was in a more secluded corner from everyone else, quite put off about the recent event. That prissy dressed jerk made her seem like some poor damsel in distress that couldn’t pay for a drink. Pulling out a chair with a foot, she slid her bag to the floor then swerved herself to land with a partial flop in the seat, noting that if someone came in she wouldn’t be noticed immediately. Once comfortably sitting, she pulled out a spiral notebook and a pen, opening up to a page already half full of her handwritten work. Nowhere near the talent of Terry Brooks, Clive Barker, or Tolkien, but it was a lengthily amount of symbols with meaning all the same.
“What're ye writtin', quinie, faerie stories?” someone called across the room, Remi’s eyes lighting on them.
“No,” she said lightly, leaning back in her chair in a sort of slouch, her non-pen arm up and over the back of the chair, lazily writing as she looked at the work again, “Just adding to the lists of insults that would make some sadists blink in shock. Of course, the threats that can go with them could make some weaker sadists blanch and leave the room.”
“Yeah, an' auld jack th' ripper's a hen!” was the scoff of disbelief, a round of laughter echoing as if the laugh of victorious kings.
“Actually,” Remi started when they’d calmed down, “When I told Jack if I even thought I saw piano wire or a scalpel I would emasculate him with is own fingernails, he stopped in midstep and started laughing much like a woman would.”
The silence was short, but it was one of shock that had Remi tallying it as a win for her. It was petty, she mused, to lie about such an incident especially since when she accidentally tripped into 1888 a few years ago and was nearly mistaken for a prostitute she was pretty sure she had met “Jack” at some point. However, they were making assumptions about her, and she was using them as an outlet for her anger at someone else’s assumption about her. They didn’t deserve it, but then again, they could have just kept their mouths shut.
Remi sat forward over and partially covering her work as she began where she left off, not pausing when someone with a wine glass sat across from her. They were patiently sitting there, as if waiting for her to initiate the conversation.
She looked up at the face of what she took to be one of the most obnoxious mugs she had seen in her life, smiling in a warm way but was no way making her drop her guard. She raised an eyebrow, adding a harsh tone to her voice as she demanded to know what he was up to with a simple yet curt:
“Can I help you?”
He was only too happy to dive into the snippy open-liner. “I doubt any sadists would take an insult or threat from you seriously, little lady,” he chuckled as he prepared to take a drink after saying, “Just so you know.”
His eyes were dancing as if anticipating her reaction. Remi waited until he was in mid-sip before she went into a more detailed threat (including not only the former mentioned threat of emasculation with fingernails but a heavily bloody object rape that he could not enjoy since he would have no erection that would rise after castration) that had him choking and sputtering on his wine, coughing so hard he nearly beat on the table to breathe. He had actually started laughing in the middle of the degrading threat and she finished with barely a straight face before laughing at him. How utterly ridiculous with a ruddy face and eyes half out of his sockets.
He looked her over with an appraising eye, carefully posing the question, “And why would you threaten someone with such a violent end?”
“Why not threaten someone with it?” she countered while shrugging, shivering as she took a swallow of her own soda, the carbon drink still cold. “It’s not a usual threat and if the supposed hypothetical victim is not int sodomy than it’s an insult as well. Either way, it does the job of cautioning people or plain and simply warning them to just fuck off.”
He almost snarffed again, though this time it was surprise. The detailed threats he had chalked up to practice and heat of the moment combined with modern schooling and some literature. The swearing caught him off guard with how easily the vulgarity rolled out of her mouth and seemed to stand in the air defiantly as if daring a challenge. Her threat had no foul language, though a vivid description, and that had him fooled. As it was, however, he decided a small suggestion would suffice. “Language like that is unbecoming of a lady.”
If looks could kill the glare he received would have sent him through the final layer of hell and he would still be traveling. Remi’s reply was nearing acidic touch.
“Lady only in blood, middle class by birth. If you haven’t guessed already: I’m an American. And to be quite honest, ladies are mythical creatures of purity while those that claim to be such are two-faced whores,” she snapped, not letting him get a word in edgewise and the finality of her tone had him speechless. Cheeky little chit. A few people around them had fallen into silence, but that may not have necessarily been caused by Remi. The door had opened just as she finished her verbal jab.
The woman that entered had on a crimson red dress with a black cloak thrown back behind her shoulders, a head tucked under her arm and missing from atop her neck. Her hair was from strawberry blonde to red, and despite the blood was pale in skin tone. The neck looked as if they were training a new butcher on a human being, slash slash and not a very good after effect. Work that was from a time much before the guillotine, since only a human could be that incompetent. Remi was wondering if the executioner that day was completely foxed till the wee hours of the morning. However, the lovely face was that of someone in the prime, and the fading hair color was as if it was a visual timeline of what happened days, months, even years before she died. Remi groaned as she recognized the woman, head face down.
The man that had interrupted her writing had jumped up and hurried over to the newcomer, the words “Sweet Mary, so good to see you” seeming to mock Remi as she tried to calm herself down. Looking around through the bang curtains, she saw everyone else in the place had stood up, bowing and saying “your majesty” and “your highness” while the bartender was already making a drink for her. The voice that came from the decapitated head was sharp and aimed at Remi.
“You, the urchin at that table,” a hand with long white and elegant fingers indicated at Remi, “why do you not stand in the presence of your betters?”
Remi froze. Her betters? Did that mean…Mary didn’t recognize her at all?! This was too good to be true .
Remi’s head leaned to a side, locking on Mary and staying there as her head continued it’s revolving up to the far back her neck would allow it, then snapped forward as if coming out of a daze. “Sorry, sweety, were you talking to me?”
Mary was in a state of shock, a frown creasing the face under her armpit, and stubborn determination that faintly showed quite faintly in Remi’s own face moments ago. “I am a queen, not your ‘sweety’, whatever that is,” was her dead Highness’s response, “but as I do not recognize you I will allow that to slide.”
“Don’t bother, sweety,” Remi replied, as if she wasn’t given a pardon, slowly getting up and looking at her, “Though I am a little put off you didn’t recognize me and still don’t. Think about two or three years back, in mortal time.”
Mary frowned, then widened in recognition, “You! Oh God in Heaven, child, what have you done with your lovely hair?!”
Remi gave a weak laugh, shrugging, “I got bored with it, decided it needed a change. I grew it out though, which should be a plus in your book.”
“It looks lovely dear,” Mary said, sighing, “Are you still with that…?”
“Selphy, and yes, I am. I know you’re not used to it, but in modern days it’s perfectly alright,” Remi assured her, smiling.
“So long as you’re happy then, I’ll leave you to what you were doing,” Mary said, smiling as she looked at everyone, “As you were everyone.”
Remi sat down as her ancestor sat at the bar in the corner, chatting excitedly with the bartender…and seemed quite close. She chuckled at that, watching as her earlier table lurker sat in his previous seat.
“You were treading on thin ice with that sass talk to-” he began, but Remi interrupted.
“Mary Stuart, Queen of the Scots. I know, trust me, we’ve met before,” she said, her voice sharp and hinting at attempt (and failure) to ignore him.
“Well then, dear child, since you know her name, may I ask what your name is?” he asked, leaning back and picking his glass up by the bottom of the lute near the base, taking a small sip.
“Isabeau is what you could call me, or do you want another? I have so many since that’s the nature of what I am,” she said, sarcasm dripping.
“Besides an upstart?” he suggested, eyebrow raised. He got a chuckle out of her, which was some start at decent conversation.
“That too, but I was hinting more at a Role-player,” she replied, omitting that she was a pagan as well.
“Well, Isabeau the role-player,” he teased; smiling with her though hers was small and slightly fixed, “I am Donatien Alphonse Francois de Sade.”
Remi froze, eyes wide as she looked up at him with her jaw slightly ajar. There was no way in hell that this was the…Remi felt the pit in her stomach drop. She wasn’t believing him for anything, “You fuckin’ serious?”
“Yes, I happen to be just that, though usually turning ‘serious’ into a little bitch who seems to through the years rarely take it from anyone but myself. Have you read my works, little one?”
“Eh...” Remi began, then rushed, “No, not yet, but it’s on my things to do before I die list.” She shrugged, as if the genius madman of France’s literature wasn’t across the table from her, mind racing. How damn awkward could this get, he probably thought she actually carried through with the threats, but she only used them for shock value.
“I wonder if you’re scared of me,” Donatien began, the assumption coming out before he even thought of it, “It’s not that common, since many wouldn’t blame you if it’s true when one hears about all the things I’ve done in my-”
Remi interrupted, shooting straight to her feet while slamming her hands down palm side flat on the table, fingers splayed, half growling and half yelling so the entire bar heard her as she restrained herself from plain launching herself over the table at the man and wringing his neck out, “I honestly don’t fucking care about the shit you’ve done, since all you really did was break the mold on the fetishes that were only open to your rank. Despite the fact you weren’t high enough in the line to get the protection the higher ranks got; you still did as you pleased and lived as you wished as often as possible. However, can I just say that beyond that you are an insignificant sack of rot that was practically normal besides the inbred shaft that constantly tries to slash a hole in your badly stitched trousers! Now, Marquis…give me one good fucking reason that a man as insignificant in the much grander and yet more deprived scheme of things would really make much of a damn difference? One damn reason as to why I should be frightened by what is nothing more than a pure and simply twisted fuck such as yourself?!?!”
Everyone was quiet, even Mary was wide eyed at the young lady shaking in anger and sighed, saying something quietly to the barkeep. He only nodded, raising his voice a little, “Miss, aam gonna hae tae ask ye tae lae.”
Remi looked up, “Don’t worry, I was just going to.” She proceeded to pick her things up, put them in her bag then slung the bag onto her left shoulder, fitting the other strap onto the other arm, her heels making a solid clack on the floor as she reached the door. She paused, than calmly and deliberately made challenging steps with a feminine flair heels force on her body, bending down to his still sitting form, face to face. Her breath wasn’t minty, but it wasn’t too horrible either with lip gloss. “One tiny question before I go: were the shadows of secrecy you were forced to inhabit so horrible, or unbearable, or that dull you felt you had to expose yourself like a mother throwing her legs open and letting the wolves devour her child while it was part out only to then dine on her less than delicate flesh?”
She stood straight and threw over her shoulder almost carelessly, “If you ever want to answer, Mary has my address so you can write me a letter.”
Everyone started chatting as soon as Remi left, soon going from a roar to a small hum, when the masked figure entered. “You will not believe the foul mouthed little child I just rode past,” he murmured, a whiskey placed in front of him which he knocked lifted the mask while hiding his face and knocked the drink back, placing the empty glass on the table with a firm slam, fitting the mask back then nodded to Mary. “I swear, she could be as stubborn as you, no offense your highness.”
“Its fine, Erik. Why do you look like you’ve been riding hard?” she inquired, a frown furrowing her face. He turned to her; face entirely masked, his red glowing eyes seemed a little dim.
“My dear lady, would you believe me if I told you I’m looking for a Remi Stember? I overheard someone who was looking for her and she seemed quite frightened for her friend. I heard that someone matching her description came in here,” he replied, ever since his death Erik had always been a sucker for a pretty face, always wearing a gentleman’s suit of his time, late eighteen hundreds, and a top hat combined with his mask made for a somewhat tall dark and handsome look that disappeared once the mask was gone.
“Well, my descendant just left here, you just missed her,” Mary replied, patting his cold bony hand comfortingly, “Donatien was talking to her before she blew up and stormed out. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her quite so angry.”
“Thank you my dear,” he said, picking her hand up and putting his forehead to her hand, then smiled under the mask though she couldn’t see it. He walked over to the now stewing Donatien at his table. “Marquis, what can you tell me about the girl you were talking with?”
“She’s a complete viper,” he replied, snarling as he drank the last of his wine.
“Sounds like the bitch I met riding here,” Erik said, sitting down, “Now, if only that Selphy girl had talked about her precious Remi’s description, I’d have more to work with.”
The Marquis paused, looking up at Erik. “Who?”
“Selphy. Why, do you know her?” the masked man asked curiously, almost hopeful.
“The brat I was telling you about talked about someone named Selphy. She just left…” he trailed off, the two jumping to their feet and racing out the door, though for two different reasons. Erik, because of the hope that he could find the girl that was so rude to him and take her back where she belonged, and Donatien because he had a feeling she had lied to him and this was a proof to that feeling.
Dashing outside, Donatien went to the stables, getting his horse while Erik dashed to his horse Caesar, the stallion under his opera house, cutting off Napoleon so sharply upon his horse the poor bloke lost his seat. As he sat cursing, Erik leaped up into his seat and galloped off after the last place he saw the girl, head bent low so he wouldn’t loose his hat to the wind. So low, that from a distance, he looked like a headless horseman. Donatien followed a few strides behind him on his own horse, the pair soon sighting a figure in the road. Having the lead, Erik reached down to catch her.
Remi looked back, eyes wide as she saw two riders, one missing a head. “Oh shit, I don’t want to end up like Ichabod!”
She started running, soon feeling a small pull at the back of her collar and the sensation her feet were no longer on the ground as she was forced on the horse with both legs on one side and an arm tight around her as a hand made the horse stop. Was that the smell of decaying flesh? The Marquis stopped besides the white stallion, looking squarely at Remi, livid.
Remi only looked up at Erik, blinking, “Did I do something wrong, officer?”
“Just a missing person’s report, young one,” the Marquis replied, his tone not as agreeable as the sentence. Remi tossed a lifesaver that was in her pocket over and into his head, a solid thwack as the wrapped candy hit a solid target made her feel like she accomplished something besides assault. So much for gratitude, Erik thought. “I did tell you she was a viper, didn’t I, Erik?”
“Viper is better than some compli…What did you call him?” Remi perked, looking up at Erik, head cocked to the side as she realized he had a mask on.
“Erik,” Donatien said simply as he watched the head turn towards the Phantom of the Opera, her eyes widening as if she was struck before she suddenly launched a hug on the man tightly, a sniffle barely heard.
Erik was stunned at this sudden affection, not really knowing how to deal with it, carefully petting his hair. De Sade was vocally complaining about the scene in front of him, but Erik isn’t sure how to answer the other.
“If you had any idea, Marquis,” that one word still had contempt in her voice, “you wouldn’t have to ask because you would know already.” And that was her final word. Erik cleared his throat uncomfortably.
“We should go.”
Remi nodded, “Back up a bit Erik, I’m not riding side saddle.”
“As if you can ride at all,” Donatien scoffed, Remi glaring at him.
“I have, your Pompusness, and I assure you that I can sit the way a man does. And I’m wearing pants, so it’s not like I’m flashing any leg if I sit astride,” she snapped back. Erik was beginning to have second doubts about if Selphy really wanted Remi back, but he wasn’t going to leave this half finished. He allowed her the position she wanted, and as they rode on with Erik holding her close so she couldn’t escape, he did a small inquiry.
“Why did you tell Donatien your name was Isabeau?” Erik asked, not expecting the answer to be so simple when he added that the other thought she lied.
“It’s my middle name,” she said, “Now let me tell you what happened between the Marquis.”
Erik had given the Marquis many a suspecting glance as they rode, though the other couldn’t see it under the mask. Though he wasn’t sure if he wanted to praise or punish Remi after hearing what she did.
At the asylum that Remi had originally set forth from, Erik let Remi slide down to the ground and run over to a young blonde girl and hold her tight, going so far as to pick her up and spin her around happily. The other looked as if she had been worried, Remi only looked to Erik and Donatien and the blonde was wide eyed.
“Are they…?”
“On the one horse, with only a wig for head cover is the Marquis de Sade,” Remi said, “And the other is Erik, Phantom of the Opera.”
Selphy looked at Remi, holding her tight. Remi smiled at them as they turned and left, and she could definitely say that there was a definite meeting of various tastes in everything tonight. Smiling and taking Selphy by the hand, Remi lead her to the car to tell her all that had happened.

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