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  • madeleinedejean


In the ballroom, music signaled Rex had one hour before meeting Komus.

“Do you know who I am?” His familiar voice floated over the music, and she looked in his blue eyes.

Marguerite kissed him on the cheek.  “I love dancing with you, Uncle Robert.”

“Your fifth year attending Rex,” he kissed her hand and put a little gift into it.  “You always recognize me despite my disguises.  You’re as beautiful as your mother.”

She was excited.  Her tiny watch read 11 p.m.

Marguerite signaled her friend, Anne, who was returning to her seat in the ballroom.  “Going to ‘powder’.” Anne nodded as she adjusted her mask.

Racing past the attendants, Marguerite reached the exit door.

“May I?” a familiar voice whispered.

She turned to thank the mask of Isaac Newton.  Her heart raced: it was her darling Maurice in carnival disguise.

“Run!” he took her hand.

“Where?  Why?” she inquired.

Tossing his Newton cloak over his shoulders, he propelled them faster.  “We only have thirty minutes. “We must be back for the midnight meeting. Quickly.”

She felt they were flying. The night was cool, and her diaphanous gown spangled with stars shimmered in the lamp lights and set the misty streets glistening.

‘Ti Marie picked up the bucket full of water, added the brush and picked up cloths in her other hand.  She turned her back on her front door and began the twenty-minute walk to her destination.  As she rounded the first corner she counted back to the first time, with her mother:  eighty years.  Since she never missed one year. She had been alone doing this for the last fifty-six, so she had to forget any foolish aches.  “Think what He suffered for you, Marie.” She turned another corner.  Not far now.  From Rampart Street she entered the French Quarter.  “Not far.”

Ellis grabbed James.  “You ain’t gonna chicken now!  faster!  We gonna get there before they are jammed together, getting in their cars.  Grab the necklaces and run.  What we saw on ABC News sure is encouraging.  That ambassador’s wife!  Such stones.  She’s mine; I’m gonna get her.” He flashed his knife as his heels flew.

“Don’t worry.” James straightened his mask.  And felt for his knife.

Into the night they sped, away from street lights, alert for cameras.

Ti Marie sighed; moved the bucket to the other hand.  Almost there.  Two blocks, then the tunnel. At the stroke of midnight she had to be there to wash His bloody feet; He, who suffered and died for her.

Maurice sped up.  One block, and then the tunnel.  He felt his pocket. It was there.

Marguerite felt his excitement, and it fueled her faster.  Suddenly, in front of them, the dark of the tunnel.  She tingled all over.  This is where, nanny once told her, all the delaMorrendier men proposed.

James stopped.

Ellis turned back. “Hurry!”

“Why this way?  I won’t go through that tunnel”

“Scared?  That’s just an old children’s story.  Faster!”  And off Ellis flew.

But James stayed stopped. Not for all the diamonds in the world would he enter that tunnel.  The other side was more spooky, that huge bloody crucifixion.  “NO Way.” he turned back.

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