Isabella Guerra

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Historical Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
NOTE: This work contains graphic physical and sexual violence, racial slurs, foul language and generally a dark tone.

The prologue concerning Isabella Guerra, a character from an upcoming illustrated series 'The Trans-Oceanic Adventures of Captain Throatcutter.'

Submitted: June 20, 2017

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Submitted: June 20, 2017

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Love was sweet to those who felt it, and sweeter still to have been loved by their own. But that world is gone. It burned bright, then flickered into the wax.

The Mediterranean was calm but fury rode beneath the surf. Its salty tongue licked the rocks and cast pearly froth on the coarse shore. A trail of kelp like ink poured across the crescent. The cliffs stood tall on the sides of that bay, without thought or feeling or deeper purpose. There just to frame that view across the Earth, their deep granite complexion an affront to the clear blue above and the pale grey below. My mother held me in a bundle, safety in her arms as should be. I know because Marina was watching from the brow. She followed my mother down the craggy path her eyes tracing the steps to ensure I was still in arm.

My mother loved her figure and the grandeur in the life of a Colonel's wife. She loved her clothes and the golden coins with the edges frayed from years of servitude. To see them pile in box and bag, and to drape upon herself the endless luxuries of gold and silver, mined by black hands and sold to us Spaniards. She loved the motionless days of music played in rooms bigger than homes and the long walks between those rooms. The quiet days and the loud nights, when friends and their spouses and lovers flocked from all Andalusia to attend her events laid on by slaves but commanded by her alone. My father despite his love was often at the behest of the other Isabella, that second queen against whom the Carlists pushed, resistant to the idea of a vaginal monarch as if the entire foundations of Spain would crumble as sandstone under the torrents. She loved the soft echo of her own voice between stonewall and oak floor. I was the antithesis to her life and love. Born because without doing so would void all she had accustomed herself to. But at the birth the reality of a role foreign to her as those hands that mined her gold sunk deep into her mind. My father insisted she raised me like all good mothers. Close at the breast and with a loving gentle demeanour, the likes of which was not existent in her in any shape. So with newborn nostril between thumb and index she held me in that froth. It can't have been for more than a moment, until my father running at Marina's behest, snatched me from the surf and tossed me sodden and pale to the maid who held me close like a mother. Then my father beat my mother to near a carcass. Though I couldn't possibly have remembered something as distant, an image forever ingrained itself in me of a woman struck black, the welts and screams vivid in the bay. And she lay there, while the three of us returned.

I never saw her again, and doing so was without purpose. My father wouldn't let her set foot on the grounds, but I doubt she would have tried. But her beaten frame was not in the surf nor on the rocks nor in the sand. Where she went is unanswered. Maybe she walked into that sea but I can't imagine her raising the courage. It is a probability she walked down under the cliff faces and along the shore. To picture her snapped at by men and beasts, trailing her legs on a quest to nothing and nowhere gave me some kind of backwards solace. My father told me and Marina too that it must have been fate. That my mother could have thrown me to the ocean for none to save and that the choice of execution meant I could be saved, snatched from the clutches of that next dark so that I may live a life that my mother couldn't. But I always knew that it was cowardice. To throw me to the sea would elicit screams and attention, not a sure death and release from her matriarchal contract. Only Marina's concern for her charge saved me from the saline.

We lived for some time in that home by the shore. It was pleasant for the most part, when I saw my father he was kind and took the time to teach me a pistol and a sword and how to stand so as a strike wouldn't knock me down but instead give me the leverage to reply. When he was away it was Marina and I and my father's trusted soldiers. Most of them were fine, a pleasant smile but the underlying impatience for coin bubbled beneath the surface. But one I loved since as long as I'd known the vague meaning. Not much to look at but a nature kind in a foreboding world, he talked and helped and appreciated inane stories. He never acted, nor would he on a girl barely understanding the world though of course I wouldn't have minded being as naive as that and not understanding the implications of love and courtship waiting later in life. The nature of that man and his inaction, his respect for my virtue and his friendship endeared me to him further. It was a long time ago now. And by the time I almost reached that age it dawned on us all; La Gloriosa. My father fought at Alcolea in that ill fated meeting with the deposers. In instant we had to make fast plans to flee our home and country and my father through his ties with English lords and generals found a post in a desolate castillo on the coast of disputed West Africa. We packed what we could and ordered the rest to follow but we all knew that as soon as our backs were turned and our feet on the deck those we left behind would snatch our left belongings and take themselves wherever they could, and I don't blame them nor did I ever resent the idea.

We arrived in that place in the winter of '58. It was barren and cold in the heat. Almost pointless towering on an empty shoreline, three cylindrical towers in a triangle connected together by thick walls with high ramparts. It had been French many years ago but time and attrition handed it to British hands and some Spaniards too. Formally a prison for soldiers and thieves of the jungle but darker things prevailed in those cells. Most time for me was spent up in my father's chambers, looking out across the sea and reading what little I could get my hands on. I practised my skills.

 

I met that English colonel not a month after we arrived. He was to be the new command, taking over from that old grizzled Pelican that died of some tropic born mystery in his yellow sheets. The Colonel though, not a pelican but as close to one of those beastly creatures from the sea that you could imagine a man to be. Beady marbles set deep in blubber peered out with malice and hunger. Hands more like flippers squeezed together and limp fat lay dormant across his whole being. His mass of chin crusted with bristles like the short hair on a fresh slaughtered pig's belly and hair on his balding crown greased back with that same blubber that must of constituted his body. I knew from the first sight, that horrible glimpse of him that that man would rape me. He said to me almost nothing in the coming years just peeked out over the wreckage of his flesh. In any case I was high in that tower behind solid doors away from those red coated soldiers and wayward Spaniards and prisoners from all reaches of the Earth. I saw hundreds come to that place. I saw a man who wore a bag over his head at all times, I saw a one eyed Hindu in rags, I saw niggers from across the entire spectrum of the race, those who stood tall as can be and whose speech was indeterminable from that of an English born and then those whose tongue was impossible to consider a language, crumpled and bent from the years of toil and whip. I saw white men break black men break white men break women. The constant din of suffering was all around even deep beyond the bricks. Slaves and traders and lords and generals and natives and sailors; there was no reason I could identify.

By the time the mutiny came there was not much to be done. My father, the righteous soul had attempted to maintain some order as the world around us all fell to dust. As the seas raged horrors had come to land not just at night but by day now too. Men and women that once carried a sliver of something decent were no different to the buzzard. And what to do in such a world? My father believed that decency should prevail and that those who support it will eventually victor, however many generations away. That one I loved told me once that 'in a world like this, you must have the biggest teeth and bare them the most often'. I agreed with his sentiment the more I saw the fabric of what was once called humanity ripped apart by lust and greed and insatiable desire for destruction. Maybe somewhere beyond those walls there was a place that didn't stink of human waste physical and philosophical. Maybe but unlikely. Those who had followed my father were bought out or out numbered. Forced to that chamber we held for a day or two while blunt force cracked those doors day and night. Few remained breathing in there when the door came down. I saw that one I loved gut shot and groping a kidney between bloody digits launch himself at the front line. A solid stock struck him square on the brow and he fell to his knees. A wake of vultures surrounded him and beat him over and over and over with their stocks. I saw it. I saw him between the dancing legs of those mutineers who smirked and laughed as they cracked his skull like eggs on a skillet. What little was left of him was a mess and at that moment anything that was left in me resembling belief or hope evaporated. To see a man of such character be turned to nothing, to mess in barely an instant solidified it. That there is nothing to hope for or believe in. That in the end, beyond all facades of light or dark there is nothing but a mess. No mystery beyond the organism.

In the next moments everything was decided for me. My father, with his Lefaucheux down to three shots, stood in front of me in a vain gesture. The Colonel made it simple for him; turn me over and himself live in the cells with those others, or both of us submit to the end. In that moment, when all black thoughts that could be imagined filled his mind; hopelessness, anger, resentment, despair, regret, fear, anxiety, heartache, confusion, dread he could take none of it, placed the barrel in his mouth and blew those thoughts across the wall. I tried to pry the revolver from his fingers to follow him but I was quickly subdued. I was beaten before I was served.

The first year was hard. Every day the same subjection to men of the isles and their unending lust. A thirst for release that torture and beating of prisoners could not quench. With so many hands from every corner of my eye, to fight was pointless. And what did they do here now that they owned the Castillo beholden to none of rank bar that dreadful sea cow? The shipments still came for some time, and the soldiers here posed as Spaniards too and gave illusion that the prison still ran as it once did. A drop off for supplies and fresh scum for the cells and somewhere to rest on land for the crews having spent so many waking nights drifting the shore of that unknown continent rife with buzzing terror. But of course when those crews came through the gates the truth was dropped to their heads like the bludgeon when they saw depravity and smelled a stench ungodly at the least. Some joined the ranks and the others were now primates for the cells. What did they do here? They held fights in the courtyard between cripples and niggers and they raped and murdered and drank and foul mouthed they spat at the floor and in the eyes of the destitute souls that they prodded mercilessly with years of pent-up anger and dissidence. No crown would stop this riotous time and the one who would lead did so because he was the most depraved and thereby encouraged the darkest acts to be enacted. It was a commune if anything. All treasures and spoils and food was shared amongst those once soldiers as if they were all kin. And that thing cooked down there in the kitchen was forever boiling pans of endless meat and gravy made from blood and butter.

And every day remained the same. Until one of those beasts on two legs thought it 'were right good fun' to smear his testicles across my face in a parade of obscenity. A savage counting coup against his victim, his story displaying his manly nature. They all laughed and drank. Slapped each other's backs as fatty meat dripped from their gullets and they as crows circled me getting closer closer. I would take no more exhibition and sank my teeth into his right testicle with such force that it was separated from his body in a mere instant. The room was silent. Every cock swinging cunt in that place stood aghast in their foul odours, dumbfounded at the audacity of the act. They couldn't believe it; a woman, a spoil, who unmanned her better in the most decisive of ways. And through that blood and seminal fluid I managed something. A smile. A bloody teeth baring grin to see them all wince and gasp and choke on their ale. I spat that filth out and readied to stand as surely now was my end. But the next sound was that of roaring laughter from that creature of the depths, the Colonel. He couldn't contain it, the spectacle of the girl he thought nothing but a rusting prize embodying the spirit of ruthlessness and cruelty. The others readied their paring knives to carve me as fruit. DON'T TOUCH THAT WHORE YE STINKING CRETS. THERE'S SOMETHING IN THERE. My invite to the captains table come from the biting of a scrotum. I was alleviated from the passing from man to man to the Colonel's personal vice. He encouraged me to fight him though. Liked the challenge he said. And it was a challenge for us both. I knew now that I had something in me resembling resistance but the sheer size of that man and his body all but fat made it near impossible for me to hit anything vital. And so we danced our perverse several times a day in his chamber, we both were black and blue by the end. Yet between I had relative freedom to walk the castillo. He didn't fear my escape for where would I go? Into that green abyss where the very shadows moved with gnashing teeth and crude branch spears? Into that ocean black where creatures tentacled and distantly human swelled and gargled and moaned for living food? No I walked inside those walls and thought about how not to escape but to murder every last one of those men. I thought long about what I would do when my time came. I began to speak with that one eyed Indian I saw enter this place some years ago. I happened past his cell and almost as if we were both still human we began to converse. Not a bad type really and intelligent despite his racial handicap. He told me of a friend he had somewhere across the seas, on the outside. A friend he was sure would come and tear this pit apart. Nice to hope, I told him, but hope is delusion manifested.

I went too far once apparently, chopped and cut deep into his shoulder with a shard of hatchet head I'd found in the courtyard and stuffed into a gap between the stonewall. Damn thing wasn't sharp enough and though it went deep it wasn't severed, nor was that walrus incapacitated, instead he flew into a furious typhoon and cut me across the face in all directions with it. Any blood born diseases he must have contracted while trawling the depths would surely be mine to share. And he stripped me and left me stripped. An iron neck piece cranked around me and chains I was barely able to lift held me to his oak desk that itself was heavier than even that barely mammalian colonel. Disappointed he told me. Thought we were understanding one another and that something truly special could have been ours. Perhaps I would have been his pinniped queen, to sit on a rock and bark with him whilst slapping our flippers together in the salt water slurping fish maw and proclaiming ourselves the rulers of the marine. But I sit there on the floor still, naked and all shades of colour, chained and near starved.


© Copyright 2017 A. Meryl. All rights reserved.

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