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    Goldi: Out of the Woods, Into the Fire

 

 

Goldilocks ran until she couldn’t run any more. Breasts heaving with her every gasp for breath she bent over trying to calm her racing heart. Lord she’d cut that one real close this time. She hadn’t really intended fall asleep, let alone for the Bears to find her still in the bed, but the morning had been so warm and breeze drifting lazily in through the open windows had lulled her into a blissful doze.

“Fuck Me!” She said between gasps. When she could breath again she consulted an ornate watch she pulled from the pocket of her gown.

“Wait a minute, they shouldn’t have been back yet! It’s only 9 o’clock! What the hell happened to Red?”

“If that stupid little bitch has been fucking around with the Wolf again I’m going to kill her!” Red was supposed to keep the Bears out until at least 9:30 by directing them to a secluded berry patch.

From around the bend in the path Goldi heard the murmur of voices and the sounds of shuffling feet, not waiting to see if it was the Bears she dove into a convenient bunch of nearby bushes. Before long she saw a scruffy looking Boy talking to himself as he walked along, wait, no he was talking to a cat. The cat in question actually appeared to be listening to him. Goldi almost snorted, imagine, talking to a dumb animal! Then to her surprise the cat stopped in the middle of the road and began to speak.

“Your father always took good care of you, and in his will he left you me, his most prized possession, and this is how you wish to repay him? By wanting to eat me and to turn my fur into a hat?”

“Although I must admit my gorgeous fur would make a most dashing sort of a hat I must protest.” As he spoke the cat began to groom himself, not bothering to see if the Boy was actually listening.

“I never asked anything of your father, save that he not poison the rats and mice who ran through his mill (it sours the taste and gives me terrible indigestion you know), but in return for that simple favor I brought good fortune to him at every opportunity.”

The cat ignored the question the Boy obviously wanted to ask and continued, “When he knew he would die soon, he requested my presence at his death bed and asked my advise on whom of his three sons he should leave his mill, for he knew that if he’d left it to the three of you together it would cause nothing but quarrels and death.”

“Now, I counseled him as such, that the mill itself should go to your eldest brother, and the ass which carried the burdens should go to the middle Boy, and that he should bequeath only myself to you.”

“Mind you this was a simple act of generosity on my part as of course your father really did not have the right to give me to anyone, but I chose you for a reason. I know from careful observation that you are indeed the type who has aspirations to a higher station in life, am I right?”

Again ignoring the Boy’s attempt to speak the cat continued. “I have a plan which will not only get you a better life, but the King’s favor, maybe even his Daughter’s hand in marriage.”

Finally he looked up at the Boy who was laboring to comprehend the cat’s last few words, and rolling his eyes he said, “Yes Boy, the whole Princess, not just her hand. It’s just a phrase, you see, oh never mind. You really are an idiot, and your stupidity could be the ruin of us both, but if you just keep your mouth shut, and say only what you’re told to say we’ll be fine. Now, what can we do with you? Hmmmm.”

He appeared to study the Boy for a moment then said. “You need to get me two things, a fine pair of boots, and a good quality velvet bag about this big” The cat stood on his hind legs and put his front paws apart to show the size of the bag.

“Where m’I going to get shit like that?” the Boy mumbled sullenly, “I ain’t got nuttin but You.”

“Idiot, you steal them, there’s a charming little house down the road a piece, owned by some bears, they usually are gone for a morning constitutional between 8 and 9 am, stupid things keep making the porridge and expecting to eat it right from the pot. Anyway, get yourself over there, go in when they’ve gone, and take the baby bear’s boots, they should fit me nicely; and take one of the mother’s satchels, that’ll be good for what I want to do.”

“Then what?” The Boy thought this was starting to sound too much like work, he hated to work, preferring to lounge by the warm fireplace all day.

Goldi had started to get drowsy and bored waiting for the cat and the Boy to move it along when the cat’s next words brought her awake with a jolt.

“You’ll be the Marquis de Carabas; and we, my Boy are going to be RICH!”

“Mmmmm,” thought Goldi, money, something she never had enough of. Lord knows she could use some, what with those stupid bears being so danged poor and all that. She and Red had been planning this little heist for weeks, watching the Bears and getting their schedule down pat. They thought there would at least be a stash of gold somewhere in the house, how else could a family of Bears afford to live so well in the middle of the woods. But no dice, Goldi trashed the house looking for their stash, even checking the porridge bowls, chair cushions, and under the mattresses. Nothing, and all she had to show for her trouble was the watch she’d found under Father Bear’s pillow. As pretty as it was it wouldn’t even fetch enough to buy ribbons for her hair.

But this cat sounded interesting. If a cat could talk and get a scruffy looking Boy like that in the position to marry a Princess, well there had to be something in it Goldi could use. After the Boy and cat continued on their way, Goldi crept out of the bushes and followed them to the Boy’s hovel. She listened some more at one of the structure’s many cracks and found they planned on going to the Bear’s house first thing in the morning. Goldi grimaced, she wouldn’t be caught within a mile of the Bear’s house, but she knew exactly where to find them again so she went home.

On the way home she passed Gram’s house, sure enough the old lady and her girl Red were entertaining as usual. Goldi couldn’t resist peeking in the window, yep, there was the Huntsman giving his piece to Red; while the Wolf and Grandma frolicked in the bed.

“God,” thought Goldi, “I can’ believe Red likes working for Grams. They’re freakin animals!”

She’d contemplated telling Red about the Boy and his cat but seeing her playing with the Huntsman’s gun decided the matter. If Red was going to choose going to Grandma’s House over helping her, she’d just pay her back by not telling her about this cat business. Any profits would be hers and hers alone.

The next day Goldi waited in the same place she’d first seen the Miller’s Son and his cat. Sure enough before long they came running along the path. In the distance she could hear the roaring of the enraged Bear family. The Boy carried a satchel over his shoulder with a fine pair of red boots poking out from the opening.

The two of them stopped running and fell to the ground on a convenient grassy patch opposite Goldi’s hiding place. The Boy was panting heavily and he looked as if a few years had been scared out of him, the cat looked as if he were laughing. Goldi guessed the Bears were being a bit more vigilant since her visit, but it appeared, not vigilant enough to prevent this latest theft from their home. “Serves them right” Goldi thought, “living in a house like they was human or something.”

“Here.” The Boy said thrusting the satchel & boots at the cat. The cat took out the boots and put them on his hind paws.

“Oh yeah. This is nice, like they were made for me!” He said, and then he took the satchel and started off toward town.

“Hey” the Boy called after him, “when do we get rich?”

“Just as soon as I get the King’s attention with a few gifts m’Boy, now go back to your hovel, er, I mean house and I’ll be back in a while.”

Goldi followed the cat who proceeded to catch and kill several plump rabbits, and partridges. Then taking the satchel full of meat, he went to the king’s castle on the outskirts of town. Goldi couldn’t follow him into the castle but she waited outside biding her time by flirting with the guards, one of which was more than happy to pay her a bit of coin for a quick romp around the corner in an alley way.

She’d just finished straightening her skirts when the cat re-emerged from the castle, stepping smartly along in his bright red boots, and it seemed as if he had made friends in the castle as he was now sporting a jaunty cap with a sweeping ostrich feather.

Goldi followed him back to the hovel and listened to their plans. The cat was going to keep his young lad in the King’s mind by constantly presenting the King with gifts of tasty game (the King did love his food). He’d been able to convince the King that he was a special envoy from the Marquis de Calabas, and that said Marquis was rich, elegant, and above all handsome as the day is long. This of course piqued the interest of the Princess, as the cat, who called himself “Puss”, knew it would.

3 Weeks Later

Goldi had waited impatiently for this moment, but after carefully observing the miller’s son & Puss for the last few weeks she’d finally hit pay dirt. Puss came home from his latest gift giving visits to the King all excited, saying their opportunity would arrive via the King’s coach tomorrow morning. The King and the Princess were on their way to visit the Marquis himself at his castle Puss had described to them during his numerous visits. The castle and lands actually belonged to an Ogre with magical powers. The Boy was afraid of angering the Ogre, but the cat told him not to worry, that he’d take care of that minor detail.

The cat had already threatened several workers & villagers along the route with pain and death if they didn’t say the land they worked all belonged to the Marquis. The plan was to act as if the Marquis had been set upon by brigands who not only stole his clothing but also forced him into the river to drown. After ensuring the Boy was rescued by the King’s men, and ensconced in the coach with the King and the Princess, the cat would then go on ahead to the castle and take care of the Ogre living there.

Goldi didn’t wait, she ran to the next town over where the Ogre lived and got herself a job as a maid within the castle. The next day, just before lunch, the cat came in as bold as can be and ran a con on the Ogre that impressed even Goldi. After the cat had eaten the Ogre by tricking him into changing shape into a mouse; he ordered everyone in the household to obey him in all things or he’d turn them into mice and eat them as well. Just after the cat finished instructing the servants the doors to the great hall opened and the King, his Daughter, and a dripping wet Boy wrapped in one of the king’s own robes entered the hall.

The Marquis de Calabas entertained the King and the Princess for over a week. During which time it became more and more evident that the Princess was bound and determined to snare the Marquis with a wedding ring. Goldi was able to blend in with the household easily, and was even able to get by without doing any actual work, which was of course essential to her perfect skin and nails. With little trouble Goldi managed to convince everyone that she belonged there at the castle, those who’d been there for years thinking she was with the Princess’ party, and the Princess’ people thinking she was a relative of the Marquis.

Goldi used the general confusion about her status to insinuate herself into the Princess’ confidence. When she and the Princess were “friends” she began to whisper in the Princess’ ear about how the Marquis was previously engaged with another Princess some leagues hence but that the Princess’ family was of the old fashioned sort that wanted proof of his lineage and such before consenting to give their daughter’s hand in marriage. It was a heartbreaking moment for the Marquis that when the time came to provide the royal birth certificate the unfortunate Friar selected to make the delivery died a tragic death involving a dragon.

“Broiled and eaten, and the Royal Birth Registry along with him my Lady, so tragic. The Marquis had offered in its stead letters of credit, reports and accountings of all his wealth, but to no avail, the fickle Princess turned him down since he could not prove he was of royal blood.” She went on to infer that she knew the King and his Regal Daughter currently in residence were of course of a more modern sort, so there shouldn’t be a problem looking at the Marquis as a man of worth and royal bearing even if he couldn’t produce the necessary documentation.

The Princess went immediately to her father and made sure that there was nothing and I mean nothing that would stand in the way of her marrying the Marquis. The king was already thinking in this way, but as is the way with parents of occasion was loath to let his daughter know he felt the same way. In his gruffest voice he grumbled and groaned, but then finally “allowed” himself to see the light and agree that with all his wealth, er, in view of their obvious affection for one another that The Princess and the Marquis were a perfect match. The very next day he broached the subject to the Marquis himself, who instead of rejoicing as the King had hoped, said he must discuss some important issues with an advisor, then abruptly left the room without another word. The cat in anticipation of the king approaching the Marquis about marriage to his Daughter had coached the Boy most thoroughly for this very moment.

Puss was rubbing his paws together in glee, “Now you’ve made him nervous, and a bit upset in rushing out of the room without even discussing the marriage proposal. We can use this to our advantage, I guarantee you before this day is out the king will be begging you to not only marry his daughter but to accept half his kingdom as well.”

“Now, I’ve been hearing this peculiar rumor about you, and I don’t know how it got started, but it fits in with my plans perfectly. Seems you’ve been engaged before and now that princess has had a change of heart and wants you back, you will explain your sudden departure by stating you’d just finished reading her heartfelt letter begging you to forgive her and marry her after all. Nothing this King hates more than competition from another King, he’ll agree to just about anything to ensure you marry His Daughter.” Then Puss led the Boy back to the receiving room where the King was anxiously awaiting his return.

The king’s roar of anger and dismay at the Marquis revelation concerning the “other” Princess could be heard for miles. After Puss efficiently had calmed the King, the Marquis made a great show of proclaiming he did truly love the Princess in residence, it was just that he wasn’t at all certain if the political and other aspects of the other match weren’t more advantageous at this point.

Before the King could have an apoplexy Puss gently suggested that perhaps the Marquis was incorrect in his assessment of this King’s political connections. He’d heard that the King was able and willing to re-issue the destroyed Royal Patent proclaiming the Marquis to be of royal birth and that alone was a priceless gift worth considering, at least for the sake of his future children. The Marquis appeared to consider this information, while the King agreed wholeheartedly that not only was it in his power to proclaim the Marquis of royal lineage, but that he’d bestow half his kingdom upon the happy couple as a wedding gift to seal the bargain.

2 Weeks Later

Goldi thought the way Puss had integrated her little rumor into his scheme was flawless. She was becoming more and more impressed with this creature every day. And he certainly cut a handsome figure in his hat and boots, not to mention the exquisite sword and belt he’d recently added to his ensemble. She couldn’t believe she was actually admiring an animal for acting human. Maybe after all this was over she’d convince him to hook up with her, between her looks and his cunning they’d really go far. But that was for later, now the wedding was two days away and it was the perfect time to enact the next part of her plan.

After following him to his room Goldi waited a moment or two, long enough for him to get good and comfortable before bursting into the room. Sure enough there he was seated amongst the warm ashes in the hearth, staring at her as if she were a demon come to devour him. Goldi closed the door gently behind her and leaned against it in what she knew to be her most seductive pose.

“Bonjour, Monsieur Marquis.” She purred, putting a touch more emphasis on Marquis.

“What do you want? G’way!” He sputtered rising from his sooty perch.

It was just as Goldi expected, he was as helpless as a baby without his suave Puss around. She heaved a sigh calculated to draw attention to her well-proportioned bosom.

“Oh now we can’t have that now, after all we’re going to be such great friends.”

“Don’t need friends.” He muttered without taking his eyes from her heaving breasts.

“That’s right,” she said advancing toward him like a lioness stalking her prey “you don’t need friends, you have Puss to take care of you don’t you?”

Tearing his eyes from her cleavage the Boy looked at her warily.

“Puss is my most trusted adviser.” He said tonelessly.

“Puss is my most trusted advisor,” she repeated mockingly. “You’re just like a freaking parrot you know? No scratch that, more like a puppet, a stupid lifeless puppet. Your Master’s got you trained real well don’t he?”

“What’re you talking about? Puss isn’t my Master! It’s the other way around. I’m the Marquis de Calabas!” The Boy’s face grew red and he strode away from her angrily. Good, if he was angry he wasn’t thinking. All the better.

“Give it up Boy! There’s no fooling me! I know all about you and Puss, Miller’s Son!” She retorted triumphantly.

The kid staggered back at her words and looking wildly about him.

“Don’t fret yourself looking for your Puss to tell you what to do; he’s otherwise occupied with the Persian Kitty traveling with the Princess’ party. Besides we don’t need him to complicate our relationship anyhow. And speaking of relationships, we need to have a little chat about my finances and their relationship to your upcoming nuptials.”

An hour later Goldi left the Marquis’ room feeling very satisfied with herself. She’d gotten everything she wanted; in exchange for not telling the King his true identity she’d receive a generous income and a château all for herself.

To make certain he wouldn’t double cross her she told him how she’d written letters to the Marquis’ brothers and left them with someone who would send them out if anything untoward happened to Goldi. The letters told them the true identity of the Marquis de Calabas and his newly enriched life, facts certain to bring them running to claim their shares. She’d also written the same to the King and to the Princess. Before she left she made the Boy swear to keep Puss out of their agreement, the last thing she needed was that crafty cat from spoiling her plans.

The next two days were filled with frantic activity as the castle and its inhabitants prepared for the wedding. Goldi kept herself within view of the Marquis close enough that he was certain to notice her increasingly close relationship with the Princess. The Princess thought she was cousin to the Marquis who had been so kind to take her in when her family had perished during the last plague. Goldi was so caught up in the preparations and feeling so pleased with her soon to be acquired wealth that she didn’t notice Puss looking her way with a calculating air.

The day of the wedding Goldi rose early to begin her toilette, she planned on outshining the Princess, etiquette be dammed, this was really her day. The Marquis had taken her aside yesterday and promised to provide her payment just prior to the wedding. She pulled the cord for the maid and waited impatiently looking out the window until a soft knock came at her door.

Without turning from the window she snarled, “Get in here you lazy wench, its nearly sunrise and we’ve got a lot of work to do.”

“I apologize fair lady, but your maid is otherwise occupied with a groom from the stables.” A voice purred from the door.

Goldi froze, and then forced herself to turn around as if she hadn’t a care in the world.

“Why Master Puss, you honor me. But shouldn’t you be attending to our Lord the Marquis? This is his wedding day after all.”

He knew, somehow the little bastard knew, well she wouldn’t let a little thing like that stop her. Her information was still her source of power and there wasn’t a damn thing he could do about it.

She started nonchalantly for the door; “I guess I’ll have to find another girl to help me get ready; I’ve much to do before the wedding, if you will excuse me please?”

She opened the door and nearly screamed, standing on the other side were two huge brutish looking men. They shouldered their way in pushing her back into the center of the room. Between them they carried a small trunk, which they dropped to the floor before her.

“You and the Marquis had an agreement I believe? Puss inquired in his irritatingly smooth voice.

Goldi was loath to admit it, but she had started to feel a bit nervous when the thugs had pushed their way into the room, but this trunk, well obviously Puss had seen there was no way out but to pay her off so he was giving her the money she and the Boy had agreed upon. Taking a hesitant step toward the trunk Goldi stopped and looked at Puss critically.

“How did you find out about me anyway?” she asked

Dropping his suave demeanor for once, Puss waved his paw at her, “Oh please babe, don’t hurt yourself trying to think now, the kid ain’t got half a brain remember? Did you really think he’d be able to get all that cash and line up the house for you without me finding out?”

Puss took off his boots and jumped to the top of a nearby table, “He was a gibbering idiot after you left him, freaking out because he simply did not know how to give you what you wanted without telling me, and you told him not to tell me, so he thought he was as good as dead. I came to his room that night to find him packing to hightail it outta here. After some coaxing and very large amounts of wine I was able to get the information from him, so here we are.”

Puss arched his back and stretched as if her were completely bored with the whole situation, “Now, are you going to accept what’s in that trunk as your payment or are we going to have to get serious? He gave a subtle nod to his hired hands now standing on either side of him.

“Wait a minute!” Goldi sputtered, “Just because you found out doesn’t change a thing, we have a deal, I get everything I want or I go to the King himself, and if you try and stop me the King is still going to find out as my letters are just waiting to be delivered if I don’t see my associate at certain times every day!” she crossed her arms and tried to look defiant despite the fact she felt nothing but sheer terror inside.

“Oh, I think if you look in the trunk you’ll be happy to walk out that door and forget we ever existed my girl. Go ahead and look, and if you’re still not satisfied, well then I’m sure something can be arranged to suit all of our needs.” Puss proceeded to groom himself right there in front of her, which for some reason terrified Goldi even more than the implied threat of the two guys beside him.

“No!” thought Goldi, “I can’t let him do this to me, he’s just trying to scare me, and I won’t let him, I won’t go back to whoring and stealing, I won’t!”

Goldi strode over to the trunk her eyes blazing with fury, a stupid animal trying to outsmart her! Well she didn’t care if all the jewels in the world were in this trunk, she’d still say it wasn’t enough just to spite the little shit. He’d get his all right.

“He’ll get his,” she was thinking as she opened the trunk and looked inside. Then she fell to the floor in a dead faint.

When she came to she was lying on the bed, Puss was sitting on her chest, as cats are wont to do, although this particular cat on her particular chest was not what she wanted at this particular moment. She tried to sit up only to find she was tied spread-eagled to the four bedposts.

“Feeling better?” Puss inquired mildly. Ignoring her attempts to heave him off of her chest, he began kneading her breasts with his claws, causing pinpricks of blood to rise up whenever he flexed them back in. It hurt like hell, but she wasn’t going to give him the satisfaction of knowing that little fact.

The two thugs were standing on either side of the bed, and the trunk was sitting propped at an angle on a table beside the bed, its top open so she could see its contents staring her in the face.

There were three heads in the trunk, two of them were men she assumed had been the Boy’s brothers, and the third was the head of her friend Cindy the kitchen maid who she’d given the letters to. In her contorted mouth Goldi could see the remnants of the aforementioned letters.

Puss noticed her staring at the trunk and its grisly interior. “Satisfied?” he laughed.

She spat at him, “What makes you think those were the only letters and my only proof Puss? That’s why I’m not dead like them right? You’re afraid there’s more evidence out there and I’m the only one who knows where it is!”

“Come now dearie, do you think me as dumb as our miller’s Boys? Don’t you know we cats enjoy playing with our prey before we kill them? And I don’t care if you do have more letters, the idiot King can’t read anyway!”

With that he raked his claws across her chest ripping long bloody ribbons into her breasts and leaped to the table holding the trunk. The thugs moved in swords flashing as they pulled them from their scabbards. Two sword thrusts later Goldi was dead. Puss cleaned his fur of Goldi’s blood before straightening his hat and pulling his boots back on, he then went out to the hall and began yelling for the guards, screaming that fiends had attacked the Marquis’ cousin.

After a brief battle with the confused thugs who hadn’t even had time to collect their scattered thoughts the killers were dispatched and all was set to rights again. Puss explained the horrible contents of the trunk as the killers were collecting the heads of those they killed as souvenirs. It seemed only right to bury the heads with Goldi’s body since there was of course no way of knowing whose bodies they were. If the Marquis seemed shaken and pale after looking within the trunk, well no one could blame him, it was enough to turn the stomach of even the most hardened of soldiers.

Puss convinced everyone that the best thing to do was to continue with the wedding as planned, “Goldi would have wanted it that way.” He said.

The Princess agreed, and insisted the wedding was to take place immediately; she wasn’t taking any chances of something else preventing her from marrying her Marquis. Secretly she was glad Goldi was dead, it saved her the trouble of discretely getting rid of her herself, she couldn’t stand for anyone more beautiful than she to be within a hundred miles of her.

The wedding was beautiful, the Princess the fairest of them all, and the groom, while not Prince Charming was the richest man in the entire kingdom. Supposedly they lived happily ever after; at least that’s what Puss says.

As for the Bears, well the following fall Puss presented a neighboring king with 3 splendid Bear rugs on behalf of his new protégé the Earl of Decat.

“And that my children is the story of how to get yourself killed if you don’t what?” an elderly woman said to a crowd of children gathered at her feet.

“Mind your own business and stay out of houses that ain’t yours.” A chorus of children’s voices rang out.

“Right, now get your asses to bed before I whip em all soundly.”

“Good night mother!” The children cried as they scrambled to their room in the toe of the shoe.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah, g’nite g’nite, now go to sleep! Shit there’s too many of you little buggars, I just don’t know what to do!” Actually she did know what to do; she picked up the phone and called her friend, “Hey Ginger, you hungry?”

The End

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Copyright © 2006- Teresa Rothman