The Newcomb Mansion sat atop its own private hill, just outside of town. By Hollywood standards it wasn’t a mansion at all—just a very nice, large house. But to the small-town people of Coreyville it was a mansion.
Ellegora Newcomb enjoyed peering out the window, imagining the common town folk down below, living their meaningless lives—mere ants, working for pennies, eating scraps, struggling to survive. The thought of their suffering almost brought a smile to her sour face, which at age 54 looked decades older.
The townies could only dream of being rich like her. One day perhaps some Joe Blow would win the lottery. Then he’d have lots of new friends with endless wants and needs. In no time, he would have blown his wealth—certainly apropos for a guy named Joe Blow. Then he would be sad and poor.
But Joe would get over his sadness and go back to a normal life. Ellegora never would.
It hadn’t always been this way for her. She had once been the princess of Coreyville. In those days, she and Nigel would take the limo into town regularly, and the peasants were always thrilled to see them and bow down to their pseudo-royalty.
Nights were filled with food and wine. Even the fanciest Coreyville restaurants were reasonably priced, which frustrated the wealthy young couple to no end. They made up for it by ordering the most expensive wines in quantities that even they couldn’t drink. The commoners were always standing by, eager to lap up the leftovers.
The dancing and carousing went on for hours until they finally passed out. Servants would carry them away and take them home. Everyone loved Nigel and Ellegora. Everyone wanted to be them. Those were the glory days.
But then, right after the birth of their only child, Nigel’s life was cut short. One moment he was the proudest daddy in the world, anxious to give his son everything money could buy. The next, he lay flat in the street—plowed down by a bus. All the wealth Nigel had inherited from his father meant nothing. The most expensive doctor on earth could not have brought him back to life.
Ellegora took her revenge the very next day. The bus driver was fired—even though he had done nothing wrong. She tried to have him charged with Criminal Negligent Homicide. Nigel had wandered into the street drunk, waving a handful of cigars. There was no way for the driver to avoid hitting him. But none of that mattered to Ellegora Newcomb.
She turned away from the window and took another sip of tea, admiring a picture of her son, Navy, standing in front of his first car: a brand new red Camaro Super Sport convertible. He had totaled the car two weeks later—but what a handsome young man he was.
Forty-seven pictures of her son lined the walls of The Navy Room—creating a twenty-five year time-line of his life. He spoke out to her from those pictures, sometimes all at once, depending on her blood alcohol level. She often talked back. It was the one place where she could see beyond the grave.
Ellegora’s morning ritual was to sit in The Navy Room, drinking her hot rum tea while revisiting each and every picture. Per her instructions, Patsy gradually increased the concentration of rum in each cup of tea until lunchtime. Then she switched her to wine. By late afternoon, Ellegora couldn’t walk a straight line.
Navy had been such a sweet child. Then came the drugs, alcohol, girls in his bed, stealing a car for a joyride—you name it. Her son had given her ample justification to become a full-time drunk.
However, Navy had finally been getting his act together. He would have become a wonderful man, just like his father—he just needed more time. It was the one thing she couldn’t give him. His life was snuffed out at a young age—just like his father’s. The one thing that could have restored her faith in life and her joy of living had been taken from her in an instant.
All her sweet Navy had done was to eat a cake—a small breakfast cake. A poisoned cake. If he had not eaten that cake he would have still been alive. She could have been holding him in her arms right now. Ellegora felt the tears begin to well up.
No! She would no longer grieve for her son. It was time for revenge—Ellegora style.
“Patsy!” Her voice carried through the open door and echoed down the long hallway, bouncing off the stone floor and the dark mahogany walls. “Patsy, where are you?!”
Patsy hurried in, with a fresh cup of hot tea and rum.
“Where have you been?”
“I was preparing your tea, Ma’am.”
Patsy and the other servants were Ellegora’s only remaining loyal subjects—mostly because they were paid to be. The townspeople had lost interest in her after Nigel passed. Eventually her crown went to someone else—an unworthy wench.
“Where is the respect, Patsy? I get less of it from you every day—and after all I’ve done for you,” she said wagging her finger. “You were living in the streets when I found you. Everything you have is from me. What’s it been now, thirty years? Yes, for thirty years I’ve given you a wonderful place to live.” She stopped and stared at her for a moment. “Without me you’d be nothing. Dirtier than dirt. Smellier than a skunk. Do you hear what I’m saying, Patsy? Do you get it?”
“I’m sorry I was late with your tea, Ma’am.”
“It’s not just about the tea. It’s…never mind. Just get out of here. I can’t stand to look at your ugly disrespectful face.”
Patsy scurried out of the room.
Ellegora sucked down the entire cup of steaming hot tea, hoping the rum would kick in fast. She looked up at Navy’s last picture. “Don’t worry, Son, she’s gonna pay for what she’s done. Queen Ginger is gonna pay dearly.”
End of Excerpt
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