IN THIS EPISODE: …Vincent puts Paul in a very bad spot as the full moon looms…
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CHAPTER 33 – Prepared for Sacrifice
Vincent Duprix – The Waxworks
Wednesday: First Night of the Full Moon
Vincent wiped the sweat from his brow and took a deep breath. Moving the mummies of Sethotep and Queen Bastiti from the Chamber of Horrors into the recreated tomb in the waxworks—and doing so without being noticed by anyone—had been harder work than he’d anticipated.
At first, he’d thought he might have to dispose of Topaz, who’d been lingering in the recesses of the chamber after hours. Fortunately, just before he might have been forced to strike, she’d left via the front stairway—off on some girlish errand, no doubt.
Perhaps to see one of those doltish boys who are always hanging around, Vincent thought.
No matter the reason, her exiting had cleared the way for Vincent to complete arranging the most vital part of tonight’s ceremony—placing the mummies in their proper positions: Bastiti, where she could be revivified, and Sethotep where he could direct Vincent in the needed spells and incantations.
Or maybe that was only the second most vital part. The first had been procuring a victim for the ritual.
That had proven easy enough, though. Fortunately, Vincent had the perfect subject right on the premises.
Paul Shaw lay strapped to Vincent’s specially prepared altar—a perfect replica of the one from Bastiti’s tomb. Victoria’s lover remained insensate, thanks to a clever blow to the back of the head.
“Too bad, Mr. Shaw,” Vincent gloated. “You almost got away with it—even packed your bag for a timely escape. I wonder, though… Was Victoria going with you? Oh, well. Time enough to find out—and deal with her—later.” He turned to the mummified architect, standing in his sarcophagus nearby. “How soon, Sethotep? I can barely stand the waiting.”
“Soon,” came the unspoken reply. “Very soon, the moon will rise, and my queen… our queen will live again.”
In his mind, Vincent imagined cutting Shaw’s wrists and draining his blood, revenging himself on his wife’s lover. Even the idea felt glorious! Better still, once the deed was done, his new paramour would arise… Queen Bastiti in all her youth and beauty. And then…
The thought of having a new lover triggered something else in Vincent’s mind; a half-remembered notion flickered to light in the back of his head.
“Lily,” he said aloud. “I was supposed to meet her tonight. She’s probably upstairs in my room, even now.”
For just a moment, thoughts of his Egyptian Queen were pushed aside in his fevered brain by memories of Lily Carlson’s soft white body, her golden hair, her sensuous lips… Oh, what fun they’d had! And right behind Victoria’s back!
“That pale piece of meat is unimportant,” Sethotep cautioned, reading Vincent’s thoughts. “Tonight, the moon is full! Tonight my… our plans will at last come to fruition. Bastiti will live again!”
Vincent turned from the altar and its trussed victim to the upright sarcophagus holding the mummy of his Queen.
Even wrapped in ancient linens and desiccated by the aeons, she retained a sensual, womanly shape. Vincent’s imagination overlaid the lovely face from her sarcophagus lid onto the mummified form and, in his artist’s mind, she came to life once more.
Bastiti stood before him, night-black oiled hair glistening in the light from the recreated chamber’s torches, her naked body tanned and curved in all the right places, her skin smooth and soft, her lips warm and inviting…
He could almost taste her!
Bound to the altar by leather straps and still unconscious, Paul Shaw moaned and stirred slightly.
In Vincent’s mind, Sethotep chuckled—a low, pitiless sound.
“Don’t worry, Mr. Shaw,” Vincent whispered to his prey. “You won’t be in pain much longer. In just a few moments, your adulterous soul will have the honor of restoring my queen to life!”
TO BE CONTINUED…!
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