Mr. Darcy’s failure, the first in over a millenia, left Death to re-evaluate Black Annis in a certain amount of professional awe. In accordance with ‘Horsewomen of the Apocalypse – Standard Operating Procedures – Vol. IV: Annex C; Naughty Beasts of Horsewomen – para. 325’, Death had grievously, excruciatingly, harmed the only friends Mr. Darcy had known and loved. The very same beasts come pets of the other horsewomen of the apocalypse. Professional and personal standing poles apart.
She quite liked the other three. Heathcliff (Pestilence), a no nonsense goose, Scarlett (Famine) the ginger cat, and Tea Time (War) the rabbit had been a part of her life for as long as Mr. Darcy (herself, Death) had. She knew the laws of reciprocity would be harsh after all she had dished out to them, and she knew not one of them would bat an eyelid at her treatment of them. It was part of the job for them as much as it was for her, yet deep down, unsaid, and to eternally remain so, she did feel a pang of regret. Acknowledging that there was one so wiley as to out fox the inscrutable abomination being Mr. Darcy, was most likely no fault of his whatsoever. More likely, the foul hag, Black Annis, was of such cunning, that on even terms it was likely she herself may well have had the devil’s own time in dealing with her. Resultant, she went to her immense library, and moved directly to the section relating to ‘The Then’, wandered past the stacks containing every ‘Womans Weekly’ ever printed, and located the shelves labelled ‘Immortals 😊’. Then she began to dig.
An hour or so later, and after dismissing deities, the undead, beasts, and demons, she happened across a footnote. The footnote held a single sentence, and the single sentence held a single name. A single name that generated the evilest of grins.
Laughing wickedly in delight, Death strode to the wooden framed window, slid it up, opening it. Rollers in place, she stuck her head out of the window and yelled, “Maude, start the bloody car!” It was time for her to pay a visit to The Then, and bring Bast to The Now. From the front seat of her clapped out 1967 VW beetle of indeterminable colour, in a cloud of blue exhaust smoke, she disappeared from her cottage and home.
Maude sulked the entire way.
One of my all time heroes lays a click away behind the picture above.
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