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M. R. B.

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Slice of Life
By M. R. B.
Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Rated "R" by the Author.

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Recent stories by M. R. B.
· The Transcendental Visitor
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Beware: This is dark adult fiction rife with risque' content, both sexual and gruesome.



             SLICE OF LIFE
11:14 p.m. October 12, 1877, Gotham City

aslight reflections bounced off the glistening cobblestoned
street as the persistent rain seemed determined to clean old
Gotham City of sin, soot and the grime of too many people living
and dying in such close proximity.

In spite of the cold drizzle, the old city never seemed to close
down and like any other night, rain or shine, the streets were
jammed with horses pulling everything from simple carriages and
ladies phaetons to double broughams. The night was alive with
humanity in all it’s sorry guises. This particular evening, on this
particular street there was a theater and an opera house, both
brightly lit with gaslight as both were in full production for the
evening as strains of music, song and laughter reached the ears
of a well dressed gentleman standing in the shadows of a
habadashery just down the street. There were several pubs,
grocers and little shoppes in between. The street was alive with
a grand mixture of well disguised avarice and naked (and
probably drunken) joy walking hand in hand, exchanging
greetings and laughter as the evening progressed.

The man was watching and waiting, exactly for whom, he wasn’t
sure, but would know as soon as he saw him or her or them. He
stood back in the shadows and if you weren’t looking for him,
you wouldn’t see him for he faded almost completely with his
shadowy background in his long black overcoat that covered his
equally black clothing. His dark, charcoal hair, combed straight
back landed at his shoulders, was tied with a blackened leather
thong. But this was hidden when he pulled his hat down low
covering his face except his thick, dark mustache that hid full,
sensuous lips.

While he waited, scrutinizing each person on the street, he
thought about Jazabel, his exquisite Jazzie, at home, fire blazing
at the hearth, cognac and snifters laid out and waiting along with
her for his arrival home after a long day at work. Work. As far as
his Jazzie knew he owned offices of an import/export business
which often required strange and late hours, something she was
not thrilled with perhaps, but was made to cope with the lavish
gifts he brought home with him when his hours stretched beyond
her endurance.

Then he remembered the unique gift she’d given him a fortnight
ago, exquisite little cuff links of gold, each studded in the center
with a black pearl and surrounded by perfect yellow diamonds.
And when he lifted an inquiring eyebrow, her answer was the
same as always, with the inheritance her grandfather had left
her, she wanted to shower him with beautiful, expensive gifts
that expressed her undying love and devotion for him, her
husband. And he boasted many such gifts from her given over
the last six months of their new marriage. He just hoped her
devotion and love continued, even if her gifts eventually stopped,
as they surely would when her inheritance ran out, as it surely
would, for these cuff links as well as the rest of her gifts were
quite valuable.

Just then the tinkling laughter of a tipsy female reached his ears
over the muffled aria from the opera house and the bawdy
laughter from the theater and pubs along the street. Tipping his
head forward ever so slightly to see if he could catch a glimpse
of the owner of the laughter without exposing the pale of his skin
to the yellow beams of the nearest gaslight, he saw a lady and
gentleman slowly strolling towards him under an oversized
umbrella held by the mister. Strolling towards him, away from
the business of humanity further down the street.

They appeared to be a prosperous couple, well groomed and well
jeweled. She, tiny, with hair as black as a moonless night
boasted a diamond broach attached to the front of her evening
jacket, which was partially in shadow from the umbrella, but
what reflections from the gaslights it picked up sent blue
lightening straight into his eye as he watched them approach.
The gentleman, blond and tall as she was dark and small, pulled
a gold pocket watch, attached to a fob, from the pocket of his
flannel trousers to check the time, so to reassure his lovely
friend it wasn’t too late to walk off a late dinner for propriety’s

The man could hear their undulating voices clearly as they came
closer and could tell they were both slightly inebriated, which is
what he’d hoped for. Inebriated folk have slower reflexes, slower
response times and often he will have come and gone before
they understood exactly what had happened, and just as many
never understood. Which is probably just as good.

7:22 p.m. October 15, 1877, After Dinner, Home of
Sebastian and Jazabel

They’d just finished a lavish dinner of rosemary seasoned
pheasant stuffed with wild plums and decided to retire to the
drawing room to sit before the fire and sip a dark, rich cognac
the color of Jazabel’s hair. Sebastian lifted his snifter to the fire
and admired the amber heat and brilliance that glowed from the
glass. Turning to look at Jazabel he murmured, "I’m sipping you.
Each drop burning your fire down my throat."

Jazabel’s laughter came to his ears like crystal wind chimes on
the back of a zephyr. How he loved that sound.

"You’re such a romantic poet at heart, my darling."

"Because you expose it, my love. My heart cannot keep the
words from my lips when I’m in your presence." He looked at
her, sitting in her chartreuse, velvet overstuffed-chair. He knew,
she knew the effect the green had on her amber, golden hair,
which hung to her waist in thick waves, curling at the ends. Her
eyes, half closed, sultry emerald, like a satisfied cat, stared
back at him. He wanted her. Now. But he knew that to prolong
his desire now would heighten his satisfaction later.

"Darling, wait here."

Rising from his chair, she admired his long, powerful stride as
she watched him leave the room. Jazabel had not always been
Jazabel, but Sebastian was unaware of her dark past because
by the time she’d met him, with the money she’d supposedly
inherited from her grandfather, she’d moved across the country
to the east coast and remade herself into the Lady she’d always
knew was just waiting beneath her skin but not having the
means to make it so. Now she was someone worthy of a man of
substance. Now it doesn’t matter who she was before. All that
matters now is who she is when she’s with Sebastian.

She’d met Sebastian the year before, one evening at the opera
and almost immediately the fat lady sang for them. Her escort
had mysteriously not reappeared after intermission, but as
Sebastian had been smote by the mighty thunderbolt of lust he
never questioned such a thing. As they say, after that, the rest
is history. After an intense six month whirlwind courtship in
which they wined and dined and bestowed upon each other
extravagant gifts, they wed. Jazabel had never been happier in
her life and she would do anything to keep her world exactly as it
was. Absolutely anything.

"Here we go, darling. I’m sorry to keep you waiting." Sebastian
entered the den, startling Jazabel from her reveries. "I have
something special for you."

He strode to the chair where she sat with her head tilted back,
the firelight dancing in her hair. Taking her hand, he pulled her up
from the chair and enclosed her in his arms, burying his face in
her hair. He noted she smelled like roses and vanilla beans.
Looking down in her eyes, he brought his mouth to hers. Feeling
her teeth nibble his lips, he growled low in his throat and pulled
away. Not yet.

Laughing he said, "You are a wild, wanton wench, you are, my
love, and we have time enough for play after I give you this." And
he handed her a round, black box tied simply with a silver ribbon.

Her jade eyes looked up inquiringly. "What’s this? Have I been a
very good little girl?" She laughed.

"You are always a very, very good little girl, Jazzie. Open the
box, love."

Her long fingers gently pulled the tail of a silver ribbon to release
the bow and the ribbon fell away. Opening the lid of the black
box, revealing blue fire from within as the flames from the hearth
played over an exquisite diamond broach laying on the
cushioned black velvet.

"Oh." The sibilate sound came out like a breath or a sigh. "Oh,
my!" She looked up at Sebastian, green eyes wide with wonder
and awe. "This is the most exquisite, most stunning gift, you’ve
given me. Oh, Sebastian." She breathed his name.

He chuckled. "You always say that with every gift I give you."

"That’s because they each one out do the one before. You are

Sebastian took the broach from her hands and pinned it to that
part of her bodice where her breasts came together making deep
mysterious shadows.

"I’m just going to have to remove it before sleep."

"That will be such a pleasure to watch, I assure you," he said
just before tracing her bottom lip with the tip of his tongue.
Taking her mouth in his, he kissed her deeply while his long,
slender fingers slowly undid the clasps on her dress. Hissing to
the floor in silken folds, the dress fell away from her golden skin,
exposing mounds and curves for his eyes to devour.

Now. Now it’s time. Picking her up in his arms, he strode
towards the stairs, stopping at the bottom step to gaze down at
the lush, womanly body in his arms. He could take her right here
on the stairs, the blood throbbing through his body certainly
declared that was so, but knew greater pleasures awaited him at
the top of the stairs. And so ignoring the heat in his loins for a
moment longer, he took the stairs two at a time. The broach long
forgotten by them both.

12:41 a.m. October 21, 1877, Gotham City

The seven inch blade sliced through the skin and muscle of his
belly like a knife through a fat, ripe melon permanently etching
abject terror on the man’s face as he fell forward onto the
garbage that was typical in a Gotham City back alley.

Wiping the blood off the blade, closing it up and tucking it away
in its sheath tied to her ankle, she chuckled at how easy her
mark had been. Like a typical male sniffing at the opportunity for
a little forbidden sex, his guard was down at a most crucial
moment, where being alert could have saved his life.

After repairing her bodice, making it more modest, with some
effort she flipped the man over on his back, staying clear of the
gore pooled around the body. Riffling his pockets, she found a
nice wad of money in his trousers.
He must have planned a wild
night if he brought this money for whores.
Pushing the money
down the front of her dress, she opened the man’s coat and felt
around in the inner pockets and gasped when she pulled out a
handful of jewelry. A man’s insignia ring of some note, a bracelet
of what appeared to be rubies, a pocket watch and, oh my, a fob
of what most certainly had to be diamonds.
He must be a thief!
Well good riddance then!

Putting the jewelry away in her brocade reticule and pulling her
hooded cape around her face, she decided to call it a night. She
had what she wanted.

5:45 p.m. October 25, 1877, Dining Room of Sebastian and Jazabel

Myriad prisms of light reflected on her porcelain skin as she
raised the crystal wine glass to her lips. Candlelight sparkled
and glimmered, bouncing from the silver platters laden with
mounds of a sumptuous feast to the crystal goblets holding a
blood red Bordeaux, bathing the room in a sensuous, lambent

"We should get a kitten." Sebastian slid the blade of his knife
through the rich, tender flesh of his leg of lamb. "That way you
would have amusing company with you when I have to go out of
town on business." Taking a bite, he closed his eyes as the
warm juices slid down his throat. "This is exceedingly delicious,
darling. Besides a cat becomes you. We should get one the
color of your hair."

"Oh, Sebastian, I don’t want a cat. I just want to go to
Philadelphia with you." She pouted impishly, knowing the pretty
picture she was making, hoping she could melt Sebastian’s
resolve that she stay home.

"But, darling, I told you already, this is a trip of business, not
pleasure. I’m picking up a precious cargo. Where I’m going is no
place for a lady of your breeding and stature." Taking a sip of the
Bordeaux, he swirled the wine around his mouth and sighed in
pleasure as it slid down his throat. "Besides, you would be so
very bored, my love. Very bored, indeed. I’d have absolutely no
time to be with you as you deserve."

"Then send one of your lackeys to pick up this cargo."

He looked at her across the table and chuckled. She was
stunning. A rare work of art. A masterpiece blend of sensuality
and beauty. He imagined clearing the table with one sweep of
his arm, sending everything crashing and clanging to the floor.
Then ripping her dress from her body and taking her on the table
not caring which servants saw them.

"What are you smiling about?" She recognized that wicked
gleam in his eye and knew instinctively what he wanted and she
knew she had him where she wanted him. When she was
finished with him, she would get to go with him on his business

"I’m just thinking how absolutely delicious you look right now
and what I am going to do to you in the next few moments."

She could feel the heat rise in her blood and knew she was
blushing, though not from embarrassment, but from anticipation.

Rising from his chair, she watched him walk toward her, eyes
never leaving hers and reaching down he pulled her to her feet,
enclosing her in his strong, warm arms. Looking down in her
green eyes, reminiscent of wild jungle cats in heat, he
whispered, "First, I’m going to rip that dress from your body and
then I’m going to ravish you all night long until you whimper and
beg me to stop." He nibbled her ear lobe, trailing little kisses
down her neck. "Then in the morning, before I leave, I will ravish
you again and then again when I return home to you." And before
she could respond his mouth was on hers. He picked her up and
carried her to their bedchambers for an evening of carnal

11:42 p.m. October 27, 1877, Philadelphia

She was such an exquisite young filly and he truly loathed
having to destroy such beauty. His eyes traveled down the
length of her nude body stopping at her pert young breasts the
color of ivory egg shells tipped with pink rose buds now streaked
with the crimson red of her blood as it gushed from the gaping
wound at her throat. He hated the sucking noise she made as
she died. It was such an ugly, offensive sound, definitely not
becoming to someone so lovely. And, she had been so lovely in
every way.

His eyes searched across the room to the dressing table and
what lay there, his for the taking. Stepping around the beautiful
dead body on the bed, he quickly walked to the table and picked
up one of the earrings and held it to the light. Five yellow
diamonds dangled sending spears of golden light through his
eyes. Picking the other one up and the matching necklace he
put them in an inner pocket of his jacket, safe from potential loss
and prying eyes.

Walking over to the exquisite form sprawled dead across the
bed, he leaned down and cupped a breast, then trailed his
fingers down her belly, marveling at the silkiness of her skin.
Such wasted beauty, he thought. Such sorrowful loss, he

Looking about the room, satisfied that he was not leaving
anything behind that would betray his identity, he quickly walked
to the large windows opening to a ground floor balcony and
slipped out into the embrace of the night. Walking rapidly the
several blocks to his waiting brougham, with his business trip
concluded, he told his driver to return to Gotham City. Make

9:34 p.m. October 31, 1877, Halloween, Home of Sebastian
and Jazabel

Above the sound of crystal clinking, laughter undulated across
the room in waves of gaiety as the Halloween party revelers took
advantage of the unusually balmy evening and the top-shelf liquor
Sebastian had provided for this evening’s gathering.

Jazabel and Sebastian enjoyed entertaining and often held
dinner parties, dances and gatherings of friends for a night of
social drinking, gossiping and a reason to wear dresses with
plunging necklines and cleavages adorned with diamonds.

Standing at the doorway to the sprawling drawing room,
Sebastian surveyed his domain with the pride of a man who
expects the very best and usually gets it . The men did not retire
to the study for cigars leaving the women to gossip and admire
each other by themselves at Sebastian’s soirees. Everyone
mingled and held interesting discussions on various topics of the
day. The excellent liquor, of course, helped to loosen tongues
and in some cases certain bodices which made Sebastian’s
soirees the talk of the city and many people coveted an invitation
but only certain people received one.

Searching the room, Sebastian could not locate the object of his
desires and wondered just where she could have disappeared to.
Walking between groups of people as he searched for Jazabel,
Sebastian picked up snatches of gossip that slithered
throughout the room like a snake in the grass. It seemed
everyone was talking about the same thing: The Slasher, a
murderer who had been stalking Gotham for the past year. It
seemed there was a monster afoot, slashing the throats of men
and women and leaving them to bleed to death in back alleys
after stripping them of their money and jewels. The rumors
circulating seem to say the Slasher victims are being gutted as
well. He shuddered, wondering who could be as ruthless as that.
He should warn Jazabel to be especially careful until the
madman was in custody.

Hearing that familiar, crystal-windchime laugh, he turned and
there she was in all her golden glory. She wore a pastel saffron-
yellow lace dress whose neckline plunged deeply revealing two
honey-cream orbs of quivering flesh. The lace of the dress fit her
like a second skin, making him wonder if she wore anything
beneath and knew he’d find out later. Amber, golden hair piled
high on her head, he could see the long dangles of yellow
diamonds swinging from her ears, while the matching necklace
encircling her slender, swan neck, like tiny suns, hung between
those creamy orbs. He couldn’t take his eyes from her ethereal
visage as he imagined ripping the lace from her body until all she
wore were the diamonds. Sebastian could feel the heat rise in
his blood. Later.

"Darling," he kissed her neck, "I’ve been looking everywhere for
you." The scent of musky jasmine rose from her hair.

The people with whom she’d been speaking with glanced at each
other and discreetly moved away to give the couple privacy.
There was, at times, an aura that surrounded Sebastian and
Jazabel that wouldn’t include anyone else.

Jazabel looked up into the dark eyes of her lover, seeing him
devour her with his gaze, her heart quickened. How she loved
this man. How she wanted this man to ravish her and with that
thought she wished this party over.

"Make everyone go home." Her voice was throaty, dusky,

"Your wish is my command, beloved." Keeping his gaze locked
on hers, his arm encircled her tiny waist and pressed her to him
for emphasis.

11:42 p.m. October 31, 1877, Halloween, Bed Chambers of
Sebastian and Jazabel

Limbs entangled, flesh rosy, sweaty and partially satiated, the
lovers lay back on down pillows gazing at each other. He, with
his dark eyes mysteriously shadowed by lashes thick and
feminine. Hers, a tawny green gaze, like a cat after a fulfilling
repast. Gazes, still feasting, still hungry with wanting, still
lusting, soaked up the beauty before them. Sebastian ran his
hand down to her waist and up over her rounded hips to caress
her firm, full, curvaceous flesh. The candle light covered her
naked skin in a honey glow and his lips found her breasts. She
closed her eyes and allowed his mouth and hands to do
wonderful things.

Later, in the languid afterglow of passion with the flames of fire
and candles painting an amber lambency on the air, Sebastian
poured a glass of cognac the color of Jazabel’s hair and handed
her the crystal snifter.

Sipping the amber liquid, Sebastian said, "You’ve heard the
recent news of this Slasher? What do you make of it?"

Startled at his words, she glanced at his face, wondering why he
chose to speak of such a distasteful subject after their
passionate play.

"I want you to be especially careful when going out and about.
Make sure you are accompanied with others, a group of friends
when you are not with me. People you trust. This Slasher
doesn’t seem to strike at groups of people. Just please stay
close to home until he is caught. He’s gutting his victims now,
as you know."

Looking into his eyes, she murmured, "Of course. This Slasher
has become rather frightening."

Sebastian gathered her into his arms, pressing his naked,
adamantine body into her soft roundness.

"I could not bare to lose you. The mere idea sends my heart into
catastrophic palpitations." Looking down at her exquisite
upturned face, he whispered, " There is nothing, nothing, I would
not do for you. There is nothing I would not give you. Nothing
else matters except for how you make me feel."

Nothing else matters except for how you make me feel.

3:42 a.m. November 1, 1877, All Saint’s Day, Gotham City

"C’mon babe, you know you want me." The drunk man
staggered against the building. It was late, almost morning, dark
still and the drizzling rain made it murkier. Even the rats, who
are the real rulers of the alleys, were few to be seen. She just
wanted to go home. But this man had something she wanted
and she intended to take it.

Leaning against the wall, she pulled her bodice down revealing
her breasts, full, voluptuous with dark pink areolas. "I think it is
you who wants me."

The man fell on her, suckling a breast between his fevered lips,
never feeling the blade enter his guts until they fell to the dank
alley floor. Falling away, holding his belly, trying to scoop his
intestines back in place, he looked at her with horror,
comprehending fully that within the next few moments he was a
very dead man.

Wiping the blood from her, she pulled her dress up to cover her
breasts as she watched him die. Quickly, she opened his jacket
and pulled the silver-plated Derringer with ivory grips from the
leather holster she’d seen earlier at the pub when he opened his
jacket for his money book.
Damn, fool should have used it when
you could. Now it’s mine.

Throwing her cape around her shoulders and pulling the hood to
cover her features she left the few rats alone with their
unexpected repast.

8:03 a.m. November 1, 1877, All Saint’s Day, Bed Chambers
of Sebastian and Jazabel

Sun flirted with his eyes while his hips moved of their own
accord, not quite sure what was happening, he thought he was
dreaming. Then his seed exploded thunderously and he opened
his eyes. Lifting his head he looked down and saw Jazabel smile
at his wild gaze.

"Good morning, darling."

Dropping his head back to the pillows, groans escaping his
throat, he ground his hips a few more times.

"My God. My God."

Jazabel lowered her head until his hips were still.

Then rising from the bed, she moved to the windows and parted
the drapes until sunlight flooded the room.

"Rise and shine, beloved."

Moving around the bed, she went to the table against the wall
and picked up a tray carved from mahogany and inlaid with pearl
and precious metals and brought it to the bed. Sebastian sat up
and leaned against the head board.

"What’s this, my love?"

Jazabel blushed and turned her face, amber hair tumbling in
waves hiding her rosy cheeks from his eyes. Reaching out he
brought her face to meet his gaze.

"You moved me so with your lovemaking last night. I wanted to
surprise you."

Her coyness and shyness always touched him. What man did
not love his wife as a lady in public and a lascivious whore in his
bedroom. His Jazabel was such a one.

He looked down at the tray as she moved the silver domes off
the platters. The first bearing potato pie and rosemary. The
second with custard pudding surrounded by exotic fruit and
cheeses. The third he stayed her hand.

"I can’t eat all of this."

"I’ll feed you."

She picked up a red succulent strawberry, dipping it in the
custard pudding, she brought it to his lips.


He took.

After he partook his fill of rich, juicy fruit, he noticed a silver tray
still covered with its dome.

"What’s this?" He gestured to the dome.

"Close your eyes."

He closed his dark eyes.

He could hear the ring of silver chiming against silver as she
raised the dome from the platter.

"Open your eyes."

Lying in the middle of the platter on velvet the color of blood,
obviously arranged purposefully by Jazabel, was a silver-plated
Derringer with ivory grips and a diamond watch fob entwined
within its trigger and barrel.

He looked up at her. His beautiful Jazabel with the breasts of a
whore, the eyes of a cat and the hair of an angel, his lovely
Jazabel. Then picked up the diamond fob.

"Jazzie, this is... well... I am at a loss for words. It’s stunning,
my love."

"I was so worried you might have thought it too gaudy, too..."
Hand waving in the air, she groped for a word, found it and said,
"Ostentatious. "

He looked at her, "Never." The diamonds burned in the bright
sunlight, dancing, sending out blue and red flames. "Gorgeous,"
he breathed.

His eyes fell on the gun. "What will I do with this?"

Leaning back on the pillows, she whispered, "Use it on me."

12:12 p.m. November 1, 1877, All Saint’s Day, Breakfast
room of Sebastian and Jazabel

The tinkle of crystal roused him from his reveries. Looking up
from the Gotham Daily News he’d been reading he reached over
and casually sipped from his coffee.

"Did you know the Slasher struck again last night while we were sleeping?"

"No, darling, I’ve not had a chance to peruse the papers. What
do they say?"

"Nothing really, just that another body, a male, in fact, was found
in an alley. Gutted. "

"Oh Sebastian, how horrible! I thought he was slashing throats.
Now, as you pointed out, he’s gutting his victims. There could be
two Slashers. What do you think?"

Sebastian had long wondered the same thing and was, in fact,
positive there were two Slashers at work in the City. But did the
police know?

"Yes, that’s entirely possible, sweetheart, but more than likely
it’s only one sick puppy doing the slashing. Even so, that’s all
the more reason for you to heed my advice and be extremely
careful when you are out." He didn’t want to unnecessarily
frighten her, yet due to the possibility of a gut slashing madman
the city, he needed her to be alert.

"Well, it seems this Slasher strikes at night when I am usually in
the arms of my lover. Besides, what about you? You’re not any
safer, my darling, than I am. This latest victim was a male, after

"True enough." Opening his jacket, he removed the derringer and
laid it on the table between the crystal bowl holding clotted
cream and the silver platter of scones.

Raising his dark eyes, they met her green gaze and he saw the
heat rise in her cheeks and knew she was remembering earlier
that morning. He’d had no idea there were other much more
pleasant uses for a gun than killing someone. He wondered
where she came across the idea.

"I suppose your newest gift will come in handy should the
Slasher deem me worthy of his knife." Seeing her eyes widen,
he leaned forward and took her tiny boned hand in his large ones
and squeezed gently. "Have no fear, my darling. I do not intend
to find myself in such a situation where I could possibly come in
contact with this Slasher."

Leaning back in his chair, he reached for his coffee, sipping, he
gazed across the table at Jazabel. She was dazzling in her
apple green morning gown, with her copper hair tied back with
green ribbons radiant with glimmering gold threads. Her exquisite
allure enchanted him like nothing else could.

Nothing else matters except for how you make me feel.

The sound of thunder brought his attention away from Jazabel.
"Rain! By god, it was sunny earlier this morning!"

"Yes, another day of rain. Grey rain." Sighing she continued, "I
think I’ll stay in for the day. Come to think of it, the Slasher
would probably not venture out in such weather either."

"Gotham never closes down."

"True enough."

"Which reminds me, I must go to the office."

She abruptly looked at him. "Must you really?"

"Yes, I must and more than likely will be quite late. I’m sorry.
You need not wait up for me, my dear." He reached for a scone,
avoiding her green gaze.

"Well, this certainly does change things. It’s just not the same
without you here. And with the incessant rain I just may sleep all
day. Then I’ll be able to wait up for you. How late is rather late?"

"Well, my love, it all depends on when my shipment arrives, but
I’d say well past midnight."

Murmuring she repeated his last words, well past midnight.

Reaching out with a long slender finger, a smile playing on the
ends of her lips, she stroked the barrel of the derringer lying
between them on the table.

12:18 a.m. November 2, 1877, Gotham City

Standing in deep shadow, in the alley across the cobblestoned
street from the Fox and Hound, an exclusive men’s club, she
waited and watched the broughams pulled by large horses come
and go. The rain still fell, though misty and drizzly, rather than a
downpour. Fog played in wisps around the feet of the horses
waiting, playing tag in shadows and along the edges of the
street. The gaslights reflected like quivery little suns in the
puddles of water along the cobblestones. Still she waited
knowing he would eventually leave the club to go home. Late as
it was, it was merely a matter of time.

She’d seen him arrive hours earlier as she watched from her
hiding place in the alley. She saw the gas flames reflect on the
diamonds and gold he wore in abundance.
Fool dandy. Didn’t he
know there was a Slasher about town?
It wasn’t her concern
what he knew or didn’t know. There. She could see him emerge
alone from the entrance to the club. He stood there and pulled
on his gloves and opened his umbrella before turning away from
her and strolled down the street to his brougham standing under
a gaslight.

She walked out of the alley, fell to the cobblestones and called
out to the man. Stopping, he turned to the voice that had cut
through the mist and seeing a woman lying on the wet cobble
stones, he ran to her.

"Madam! Madam! Are you alright?" He squatted down beside
her. "Here, madam, allow me to help you up and let’s get you
warm." He helped her to her feet. Looking down at her, he saw
the front of her bodice appeared to be ripped and a round, ripe
breast was exposed in all its feminine fullness to the eyes of the
night and to his own shocked gaze. She stumbled backwards.

"Madam, you’re exposed..."

She took another step back and stood at the mouth of the alley.
She stumbled and he rushed to her to keep her from falling never
feeling the keenly honed blade enter his body and slice up
through his belly before falling forward dead. She held him up
and walked him a few steps into the dark of the alley, his guts
dragging behind them, before his dead weight could collapse her.
Dropping the body to the wet, rancid alley, she stripped him of
his money, gold, jewels. Repairing her bodice and wiping away
the blood and gore as best as she could, she drew closed her
cape and pulled the hood over her hair.

Taking one last look at the dead eyes filling with water before
leaving to seek other prey she muttered, Fool dandy.

2:22 a.m. November 2, 1877, Gotham City

He was extremely annoyed. The one he wanted slipped away. It
seemed this gut ripping Slasher has everyone on their toes. His
quarry had managed to stay within her group of friends and did
not stray far enough for him to grab his chance. But, oh, what a
lovely filly she was, though not as lovely as the beauty he had in
Philly the week before. This one was dressed in rubies for the
evening instead of yellow diamonds. Pulling out his watch to
check the time, noticing not for the first time that evening, the
diamond fob attached to the pocket watch glittering in the dark.
It seemed it could find the smallest droplet of light and turn it into
a roaring flame.

It was late and while the city never sleeps, there were fewer
people walking the streets. The pubs and clubs were beginning
to close down only to reopen in a few hours when dawn lightened
the sky. He knew he didn’t have much time to find what he
wanted before having to call it a night and go home. Which
reminded him of who was waiting for him and knew he could not
go to her empty handed. Reaching inside his jacket his fingers
caressed the smooth barrel of the derringer that had given them
both fervent, salacious pleasures just that morning.

Movement caught his eye and he saw a woman, dressed darkly,
a few blocks down from his spot, walking on the other side of the
street. She was alone which at first startled him, as it was late,
drizzly, but he pushed the thought away when he saw she
carried a reticule just aching to be taken from her. Just then a
carousing group came through the doors of a pub and she
crossed to his side of the street. Smiling, he stepped back into
the shadows and waited. The group staggered off down the
street the way the woman had come, away from him.

2:27 a.m. November 2, 1877, Gotham City

He wanted to do this quickly and with as little sound as possible
as any noise would carry on the semi-quiet street, especially a
woman’s voice in the throes of terror. To underline his thought he
could hear her footsteps echo on the cobblestones as she came
closer to where he was lying in wait.

Moving ever so slightly he peaked around the wet brick wall of
the alley to see how far along she was and noticed she was of
small stature, much like his lover waiting for him at home but
more importantly, much easier to take. He could see nothing
else of her, for the cape and hood completely enclosed her
within their mysterious shadows, all except for the reticule which
she carried in front of her, held close to her chest. She was very
close now. It wouldn’t be long before he could go home with a
gift for his enchanting, amber lover.

The woman’s footsteps echoed off the brick of the alley just as
she came into view. As quick as a snake striking its prey he
reached out and pulled her into the dark mouth of the alley.
Holding her screams in the palm of his hand as he covered her
mouth, he brought the stiletto blade to her neck giving her a
smile from ear to ear. She collapsed immediately in his arms as
her life’s blood gushed from her dying body and he lowered her
to the dank, wet floor.

Reaching for the reticule that dropped as soon as he grabbed
her, he opened it and was astounded with what it held. It was full
of jewelry and wads of money. Looking over at the tiny, fallen
body, he saw where her dress and cape had fallen away when
he’d lowered her to the alley floor exposing feet and tapered
ankles. Looking closer, he saw a knife strapped to one ankle.
The jewels in the bag and the knife could only mean she was a
thief, a whore who stripped her johns of more than she was
worth. Careful not to get blood on him, he moved over to the
small corpse and pushed back the hood.

2:30 a.m. November 2, 1877, Gotham City

Gasping, he staggered to his feet and grabbed at his heart.

"No." The sibilate sound came like an explosion of breath.

"NO!" The scream bounced off the brick walls of the alley. NO!

Looking with abhorrence at the pale face, draining of color, laying
on the rancid alley floor, framed in copper golden hair becoming
sodden with blood, he fell to his knees, gasping for breath. This
can’t be! This just can’t be! Not his Jazabel. Not his darling
Jazzie. His beloved amber goddess. The wild woman of his
heart. What had happened? What had gone wrong? What in
God’s name has he done?

Rocking to and fro as the cold rain puddled around him, he
realized that while he knew he’d not been the only Slasher
terrorizing Gotham City, she’d been the reason for the change in
the Slasher’s modus operandi. He couldn’t figure it out at the
time and he remembered she’d only just mentioned the change
that morning. He sliced throats. She gutted her victims.

As was his custom, he hadn’t intended on staying in Gotham
City after the first few victims gave him choice prizes and
substantial funds but he’d met Jazabel and his fate was thus
sealed. When he was struck blind by her beauty, he knew he
wasn’t leaving. He’d just hoped old Gotham was large enough for
his unexpected prolonged stay. It may well have been, but he
will never know.

What he did realize was the City wasn’t large enough for the two
of them. It was apparent to him the brimming reticule held the
treasures of more than one victim. It would have only been a
matter of time before she’d been caught. It was just incredibly
inconceivable that it happen this way.

It had all been a lie. Their lives singly and collectively had all
been a lie. They weren’t the stylish and clever nouveau riche
couple Gotham society thought they were. No, they’d merely
lived from one slashing/theft to another slashing/theft, much like
the lower classes who lived pay week to pay week.

Their glittery lives, the hedonistic living, the extravagant gift
giving, the popular soirees and dinner parties, the jewels had all
been made possible with the blood of innocents. He knew their
souls were eternally cursed for what they’d done.

There was no inheritance from her grandfather anymore than
there was an import/export business. How could she have not
known? How could he have not known? They had been so
entranced, so obsessed, so extremely beguiled with each other
they noticed nothing outside the mingling of their auras. They
had never questioned or doubted each other, believing everything

He had believed her grandfather left her a substantial inheritance,
which made it all that more important to him to be able to give
her extravagant gifts. She had believed that he dealt in imports
and exports and was a man of substance. Neither of which were
true . But at least their love had not been a lie, of that, Sebastian
was sure. It had been truly authentic. And if he had known his
Jazzie was slashing would it have mattered?

Nothing else matters except for how you make me feel.

Looking at her cape, he realized he’d never seen it before, nor
did he recognize the reticule, or the knife. Where had she kept
these things? Who was this woman who called herself Jazabel,
his amber lover, his wife for life? A woman, he realized, he didn’t
even know. Just then, he felt her presence so strongly he looked
about the dismal alley expecting to catch a glimpse of her spirit
before it disappeared for eternity and saw nothing except rain
slicked, stained brick walls embracing filthy cobblestones.

Nothing else matters except for how you make me feel.

Tears streaming with the rain down his face, he reached into his
jacket and removed the derringer she’d given him wrapped in
diamonds. Running his hands over the cool, silken barrel, in his
mind’s eye, he saw her tawny skin glowing in the amber
candlelight and the myriad expressions of titillation that played
over her features and he knew what he had to do. The last thing
Sebastian saw with his living eyes were her dead eyes pooling
with water.

Then he brought the gun to his heart and pulled the trigger. 



"That man is truly good who knows his own dark places."
– Robert Nye (Beowulf: A New Telling)



2004 MRD
Revised 2005


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Reviewed by Muhammad Al Mahdi 3/26/2009
Very well written, with its fascination with the dual nature of eros and thanatos, its suspense and exposure of a "petty burgeois" world of delusion. An excellent and very readable text.
Reviewed by Barbara Terry 8/12/2007
I need to read more stories. This kept me reading until the last line. The drama, the sensual, erotic love they both had for each other, the scenery, the dialogue, the images of the people, are all so authentic, it was like I was really there seeing all of this. The secret lives of this couple remind of the movie Mr. & Mrs. Smith. The action in this story is fast paced, and deserving of a book length novel. Thank you Mari, for sharing, and I really enjoyed reading this murder mystery. You have really outdone yourself.

May the Lord Jesus bless you, and those whom you love, and be with you always, and at your side constantly. With much love in my heart, joy to the world, peace on earth, & ((((((((((MANY WONDERFUL SISTERLY HUGGGGSSSS)))))))))), your little sister, Barbie
Reviewed by Charles O'Connor III 9/28/2006
Very atmospheric and hauntingly, disgustingly great with a good ending.
I loved it.

Thanks for sharing,

Charles D. O'Connor III "Check out my new short story 'Mabels Grave'
Reviewed by Nordette Adams 10/26/2005
Hiya, Mari. I'm up late tonight back to my vampire ways. Don't know how I missed this one. LOL. Truly exceptional, and take that from someone who's read a lot of horror over the years including Poe, Anne Rice, Stephen King, Shirley Jackson, plus mystery novels, etc. Not to mention my share of erotic bodice rippers. Hehehehehe. Your writing here is rich and detailed, imagery vivid. Heart pounding erotica, lady. What a treat! ~~Nordette
Reviewed by Jerry Bolton 7/19/2005
Well, it seems that I am late reading this, but better late than . . . Well, you know. First-rate writing went into the construction of this wild and wooly tale of double-cross, hoever inadvertently, is still double-cross. the fact that you took this story and put it in the 1800s gave even more aplomb to the story. You wove the intricate plot very expertly and carried the tale inch, by incriminatly inch, to its cresendoing finish. Well done. Three cheers. Take a well deserved bow.
Reviewed by April Smith 7/19/2005
This captivated me from start to finish. Good story. Thanks for sharing, APril
Reviewed by Regis Auffray 7/15/2005
Completely captivating from start to finish. Well done, Mari. Thank you for sharing. Love and peace. Regis
Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado 7/15/2005
wow! well done! brava, mari!

(((HUGS))) and much love, your friend in tx., karen lynn. :D
Reviewed by Roger Ochs 7/14/2005
I enjoyed the way you placed this in time with appropriate language. i agree with Aberjhani about the echoes of Poe but would add that there is a bit of Frank Harris here as well.
Reviewed by Aberjhani 7/14/2005
An exquisite literary nightmare worthy of a collaboration between the pens of Edgar Allan Poe, Patricia Cornwell, and Ann Rice. This dark feast of suspense and irony is rendered with as much attention to the damaged souls of the painfully deluded beautiful villains as it is to the details of the historic period in which it is set. Writing horror that genuinely entertains is a worthy accomplishment--writing horror capable of showcasing the most humane within us even while it shoves the worst within us directly in one's face is something of a small miracle, such as we have here, in this sinfully tasty bittersweet SLICE OF LIFE.

Reviewed by Andre Bendavi ben-YEHU 7/14/2005

I would call it, "The Encyclopedia of Emotions and Imagination".

"Slice of Life" is art of applied imagery, lexicon of diamond words,
(Not for Hardness, but for sparkling.) and a true FLOWER of the literary garden of the twenty-first century.

The Board of the Pulitzer Prize won't need to think twice to elect this piece for 2005.

I enjoyed this "Slice of Life".

Thank You for showing the world how the
greatness of America is made of, and for sharing Your jewels.

Long healthy life.

Andre Emmmanuel Bendavi ben-YEHU
Reviewed by George Carroll 7/13/2005
You wove this story to its final conclusion, and a just one it was. Daring and sensual. Well done Mari.

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