Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Heroine Finds True Love

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, before I share today's story I'd like to say a very sincere thank you to all of you - my readers, story contributors, commenters, and general all-around good people who read this little blog. Thank you for being such great writers, readers, and listeners, and for keeping this site going.

And now, in the spirit of the blog, some fiction! Today's story comes from Samantha Memi, a writer living in London who is sharing an excerpt from The Heroine Finds True Love. In the author's words, it's about "a heroine who doesn't like the book she's in. This story was also included in Samantha's first chapbook Kate Moss and Other Heroines, published this month. Enjoy!

The Heroine Finds True Love
By Samantha Memi 

I was the heroine of a romance novel and I was so upset when my lover, the dashing hussar, Sergeant Trew, was seduced by his sinful stepsister, I fled to seek my fortune elsewhere. The only place I could find was a detective thriller, and no sooner was I a character in the book than I was arrested for the murder of my lover’s wife, and thrown in jail.

In my cell I heard a voice calling, “Caroline, the love of your life is waiting for you.” I looked up and, from a high window, a rope fell. I summoned the strength to climb but sadly, on reaching the window, I found someone I did not know.


“Don't you recognize me, Caroline?”

“No.”

“I am Patrick, Sergeant Trew's manservant. My master searched for you everywhere in Secrets of the Heart, but you had escaped. He’s heartbroken to have lost you and begs your forgiveness. Squeeze through the window and I will take you to him.”

“Why should I?”

“Because you love him, and he loves you.”

My heart fluttered. Was it true? Did he love me?

“Where is he?”

“In an unfinished novel called A Love Sincere. He's in the arms of Princess Beatrice, who wants him to lead a rebellion against her father, King Vlad and her evil stepmother, Erzsebet the Cruel. But such is the faithfulness of my master, all he thinks about is you.”

A horse was waiting for me, and we rode as swift as the wind straight into the pages of A Love Sincere. But, as we neared the king's palace, where the traitorous Beatrice wickedly manipulated the goodness of my beloved hussar, we were waylaid by a band of ruffians who demanded gold and treasure. I had nothing about me but my modesty, and I was much afeared advantage would be taken of my innocence. Strangely the leader of the ruffians seemed friendly with the man I thought of as Trew's manservant. I overheard them speaking.

“She's a pretty one all right, what do you reckon we'll get for her?” said the deceitful manservant, with half an eye on me and half an eye on an imaginary pot of gold.

“Pretty heroines in romance novels are ten a penny, but if she can fight and use a sword she might be worth something,” said the ruffian, and he walked over to me and asked, “Can yuh fight?”

“No sir, I cannot.”

He took out his sword and pointed it at my throat. The other ruffians eyed me with lust, thinking how they could tie me up and take turns debauching my body and torturing my soul.

“I’ll teach yuh,” and he took a sword from another ruffian and gave it to me. I gripped the sword in my hand and the very feel of it brought back ardent memories of a role I’d played as a highwayman’s moll in a novel where I was the best swordswoman in the whole of England.

“On guard,” said the ruffian and, as he thrust his sword at me, I parried, clipped the sword out of his hand and slit his throat in one easy movement. His gang gasped and cried out. Their leader's blood fed the Earth and, as he gurgled his last few incomprehensible words, I walked over to the manservant.

“So you thought you’d deceive me.”

“No, it wasn't like that, I know where Sergeant Trew is.”

“Where?”

“In the castle yonder, captured by the King and his evil wife, Erzsebet, who will torture him for plotting against their kingdom.”

“Who's with me,” I called, “to relieve the king of his wealth”

To a man the ruffians cheered and held up their swords, then I sliced open the throat of the false retainer as his terrified eyes begged for life.

I quickly found a ruffian who resembled the manservant and had him dress to replace the traitor. Under cover of night I told the ruffians to hide in the bushes at the foot of the castle walls. In the early morning my fake manservant and I arrived at the castle, and I beseeched entrance as the love of the captive hussar. As soon as the gates opened the ruffians swarmed in and overpowered the guards. I rushed to the bedchamber of the Queen and found my love debauched and besmirched, spread-eagled on the bed while his torturess, half mad with lust for him, excited herself with love potions.

“Cut him free,” I ordered, but the madwoman flew at me like a vulture. I thrust my sword straight through an eye socket and killed her instantly. I cut my hero free and we embraced.

Later, with chests laden with gold and jewels we rode off into the sunset, or sunrise, I can't remember which.

A Love Sincere ended with me, six months gone, marrying Sergeant Trew and leaving the church joyously happy with bells peeling and crowds cheering. Talk about sentimental tosh. I just hope the next book I’m in gives me the chance to kill a few blackguards and maybe have a lesbian princess fall in love with me and, after a torrid affair, marry her brother, become Queen and chop off lots of heads. But who knows what our chances are in novels or in life. Look at me now, relegated to a measly little story of a thousand words. Could anything be more degrading. No handsome prince to seduce and leave heartbroken, yearning for my love, no kindly father-in-law to poison and ridicule as I rob his treasure chest and strangle his children while his wife, who loved and cared for me, begs for mercy.

If I had my way, I'd grab this miserable writer, shove her head in a bowl of bat’s blood, spit in her face and scream, “Next time you use me as a character make me wicked, comprende, wicked.”

I ask you, dear reader, for a heroine like me, what kind of a story is this?

5 comments:

  1. Fun stuff. Happy Thanksgiving!

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  2. Loved it! The title almost made me skip it--I tend to shun romantic fiction--but something in the voice... Very nice! Thanks for sharing.

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  3. Thanks everyone, and special thanks to Sarah.

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