Your Book Social Media Profile Awaits
The constitution of a man is not always defined by his destiny but occasionally by the circumstances of the life he has lived.
Revel DeMarquis stood watching as the waves lapped against the shore depositing copious amounts of shells and seaweed now that the storm had lessened. The sun was beginning to rise as he lifted the window allowing the salty scent of the ocean to fill his room. The air was heavy and dense as it rolled through Royal Street and into the French Quarter, nearly so thick it was difficult to breathe. The heaviness of the waves had ceased and was replaced with the placid rolling of the inward bay. Beams of the breaking dawn shed their light across the caps coloring them with tinges of red, crimson, and orange.
His moment of bliss, enjoying the city as it was meant to be enjoyed, was broken by the harrowing screams of Remy Broulette.
It was common and occurred every morning with the same result. Revel hastened his pace, picking up a towel before exiting his room, to walk the long corridor to the room of his friend.
Remy stood in the corner gasping for air. His eyes were wild, nearly feral, as they swept the room. The full length of his hair was dripping with sweat. It was a scene Revel DeMarquis had witnessed a million times before. Remy seized the towel from his hand and stormed out of the room, slamming the door to the lavatory behind him. The sound of water was not enough to drown out his angry screams.
Revel walked to the end of the corridor and stood at the top of the spiral staircase looking at the fortune they had amassed during their lifetime.
“It means nothing without your happiness and peace remaining elusive,” Revel whispered before descending the staircase and meeting their butler at the base of the stairs.
“Ambrulle, please make Master Remy his usual breakfast.”
“Yes, sir, and what do you wish for breakfast this morning?”
“I will have the same as Remy, if you please.”
“Certainly, Master Revel; do you wish me to bring it to his room or will you be serving Master Remy this morning?”
“I will accompany you to the kitchen. It is not necessary for you to bring our morning meal upstairs.”
“As you wish sir,” Ambrulle replied courteously.
Revel followed closely until they reached the kitchen where he chose to sit at the small table that was usually reserved for the servants.
“How long have you been with us now, Ambrulle?”
“I cannot say I have tallied the years, sir. My life with you and Master Remy has been a pleasant one. The years only need be counted when the memories are unhappy ones, sir.”
Revel reached across the table, laughing loudly, and set the percolator on the silver breakfast tray.
“Is it French Roast this morning?” He asked.
“No sir, given how much alcohol Master Remy consumed last evening, I made the choice to brew coffee that is a bit more robust. It is recently arrived yesterday from Jamaica.”
The aroma filled the kitchen with a hearty bouquet that was somewhat pungent and slightly sweet. Royal Street was beginning to bustle as the city awoke. The sounds of women chatting as their laundry was hung on the balconies filled the air along with the scent of fine cigars being smoked by their husbands as they stood outside.
Ambrulle placed two linen napkins on the tray before handing it to Revel.
“Thank you, Ambrulle, I do not know if it is said enough, but you are our family.”
“Thank you sir, I shall be along with Master Remy’s suit in an hour.”
Revel’s thoughts drifted while ascending the stairs, considering how much longer they would remain in the French Quarter. It seemed they had outlived their welcome in the heart of New Orleans and were now nothing but relics. Few of the people they had once known were still alive, even fewer had stayed on in the city since the outbreak. Notwithstanding all that had transpired in their lives, New Orleans was their home.
When he reached Remy’s room, he had yet to exit the lavatory. Revel placed the tray on the small gaming table in the corner of the room and pulled open the heavy velvet drapes to allow the morning sun entry.
Remy emerged wrapped in a towel with his long, black hair hanging over his shoulders. The complexity of the meaning behind Remy’s hair and the depth of the color was still somewhat a mystery to Revel. His hair could appear as black as a moonless night or could shimmer like that of a raven depending on his mood.
The light shining between the curtains illuminated the haunting color of Remy’s eyes as he walked toward the table.
“Are we having the usual fare this morning?” He asked, handing a napkin to Revel.
“This morning is the same as every other, Remy; poached eggs, artisan bread, and coffee.”
He muttered something indistinguishable as he opened the liquor cabinet and returned with a bottle of Absinthe.
“Is it necessary to begin each and every day that way, Remy? If it were not in my better judgment, I would say I believe you wished to kill yourself.”
“Well, since we both know that is not possible, perhaps you should let me drink in peace and eat your breakfast.”
Remy placed his egg in the center of his bread but could not bring himself to eat.
“You know today is the first day of Mardi Gras.”
“Yes, Revel, I am quite aware of the date.”
“Are you not the least bit curious as to whether this will be the year she returns?”
“Not in the least. Perhaps, DeMarquis, you should consider focusing your attention elsewhere. I have given myself to failure and understand Dominique Moran is not a woman who wishes to be found.”
“Still, it would not hurt to see if Miss Moran has chosen this year as her return year to New Orleans.”
Very rarely did Revel see the darker side of his friend. It had happened on only a few occasions in the time they had been together. He realized as he looked across the table at Remy, he understood the coldness behind his unusual green eyes. There were details about Remy’s life he had not revealed to anyone, including Revel. The truth was he knew very little about Remy or his family except that his mother was a Choctaw and his father was French. That small piece of information summed up what he knew about Remy Broulette in a nutshell.
“My head hurts too much to argue with you this morning.”
“You are the only Indian in the history of man who could drink an Irishman under the table, Remy Broulette, so do not tell me a blatant lie.”
Remy filled his coffee cup with Absinthe and ignored the comment of the only man he trusted with his life.
“Do you ever grow weary of this life we have chosen?” Remy raised his cup to toast his friend. “I know I have. Were I a man of wisdom in my youth, before this happened to us, I never would have believed an existence like this could be real. Yet, here we sit, two men, who have outlived everyone we have ever known.”
“Are we a trifle melancholy today?”
“It is not melancholy, Revel, but sensibility. No man is a God. No man is meant to live forever. Immortality is a curse. At least if we were like the other immortals we have met, we could say we were part of something bigger on some far grander scale but we cannot. Our immortality came from a curse and will never be broken. You want to search for her each year in the hope she will return. I can tell you with all certainty Dominique Moran is long gone.”
The remaining few bites of egg lost its appeal as Revel stared at Remy. He had grown so bitter, so lost, over the last seven years Revel could hardly believe that same man sat across from him.
“I mean to find her, just as I promised you I would the day this all began.”
Remy stood from the table allowing his towel to fall to the floor. He stumbled naked to his bed and fell into it.
“Are you going to be like this all day?”
There was no response. Revel DeMarquis stormed out of the room slamming the door behind him. “It could be worse. We could have become those who are immortals truly cursed. Count your blessings, Remy; at least we are not Nightwalkers.” Revel screamed from outside the door.
Ambrulle was ascending the staircase and paused to look at Revel.
“No sense in taking that suit up to him. I doubt he will move from that damn bed all day.”
“Master Revel, you are going to search for her, aren’t you?”
“Might I accompany you, sir? I prefer to not be here when he is wallowing in his own self-pity.”
“I would welcome the company. Give me a moment, if you would, and I shall meet you at the Garden House.”
Revel DeMarquis stood before the Venetian mirror considering how long it had hung in that exact spot. His image, his reflection, had grown faint over the years and was nearly an echo from days long gone when gentlemen walked with canes and wore a topcoat and hat. The amulet around his neck still glistened brightly and had not diminished with the passing of time. Before tucking the talisman inside his shirt, Revel held it to his ear and listened closely.
“Still beating away, I see,” he whispered. “How grateful I am for you.”
The door closed behind him jingling the chime that hung atop the door. The walk to Garden House was not a long one but was nonetheless enjoyable. The restoration and detail that had been invested in New Orleans held a certain amount of reverence in Revel’s heart. It was where he had been born. Over the centuries, the city had gone through many changes. She had been occupied by the Natives, the Spanish, and the French; the latter two of three by force. She had been witness to being the port of call for slave traders unloading their human cargo and selling flesh until gaining her independence from France and becoming part of the great American Colonies. The very essence of her history was reflected in every piece of architecture in New Orleans. It filled Revel DeMarquis’s heart with a near overwhelming sadness to know how greatly the city had suffered yet somehow had endured.
Ambrulle sat poised and proper on the park bench outside of Garden House, one of the more popular homes in New Orleans. Thousands flocked to leave flowers along the walkway in memory of Antoinette Moran, one of the most prominent women to ever inhabit the city, despite the fact it had never been her home. Revel sat next to Ambrulle watching those who passed by.
“This house brings so much pain to him. Why does he maintain it? Would it not bring Master Remy closure to be rid of such heartache?”
“He cannot bear to let it slip from his grasp. I can only assume Remy keeps the estate in the hopes one day Dominique will return even though he would vehemently deny it if you questioned him as to why he cannot let it slip from his fingers.”
“Were it within my power, sir, I would burn this infernal place to the ground especially after what she did to you.”
“What she did to all of us, Ambrulle, what she did to all of us.”
“My fate, sir, was long sealed before you and Master Remy were ever part of the equation. There should be no guilt on your part over the life I willingly accepted. Death is what all men fear. I was weak, unable to admit that I too would fall to the same fate as all men; that I would wither and die, my bones crumbling to ash beneath the stones of some mausoleum. I willingly accepted her request to be the recipient of what she and her mother had begun in you and Master Remy. The only redeeming moment of my life was the day I found the courage to resist her and took my place with you, Master Revel.”
“You are a man with a heart as good and great as the sea is wide, Ambrulle, and should never feel remorseful over the events that transpired. Any man, no matter his stature in life, would gladly accept the opportunity Antoinette presented you. There was no way for you to know Dominique would continue what her mother began.”
Revel looked over his shoulder at the mansion. It had changed little despite the amount of time that had passed. The trailing vines of wisteria that had once been only budding plants were now aged vines nearly six inches across which scaled the entire side of the mansion and wound their way across the second level balcony. The white teacup roses bloomed in their large iron decanters on either side of the stone stairs. Fragrant thyme grew between the stepping stones leading toward the flower gardens behind the estate and released their delicate scent with each step taken. The mansion possessed the same life it had the first day he had paused before it nearly a hundred years before. His head fell between his hands in anquish...