Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The First Circle - The Lustful

So, Dante and his friends have made it to the people who correspond to the first circle of hell - the lustful. It's the first scene built directly on the corresponding Inferno scene - they meet a doomed woman who has committed adultery and is unrepentant for it. It was a scene that didn't require as much embellishment or change, since there really was nothing supernatural or other-worldly about the Inferno original. What I did tinker with was how to work in sexual language, not just for describing sex, of course, but for describing the woman's suffering. This is what I came up with for the central part of the scene:

The chuckle changed into full-on laughter, then hideously transformed into deep, barking coughs and wretching. The heaving bent her over the table, repeatedly banging her head against it as it wracked her whole body. She would lurch forward, then draw up slightly, as one moment her body would try to expel its diseased fluids, then the next moment it would try desperately to get breath and life back into her drained, broken frame. When the convulsions finally stopped, she remained facedown on the table for a moment before sitting up. There was a puddle of bloody spit and bile on the table, and for a second, a long, pink thread stretched from the table to her bloody mouth, before she spat, licked her lips, and then wiped them on the blanket.

Her eyes glistened, so wet and red that Dante could barely look at them, for fear they would begin to ooze out all over her cheeks, draining what was left of her into a pool of mortality and sadness. “I didn’t know I’d think that was all so funny, now, at the end,” she continued. “But I suppose it is. My husband walked in on us. And he most definitely was not alive when he did. It’s funny, the dead usually make so much noise, you can hear them coming. Well, it’s probably my fault, I was making a good bit of noise, too.” She started to laugh again, but held it down this time, lest the convulsions finish her completely.

She shrugged. “Well, even if he had been alive and snuck up on us, Pavel and I would still both be dead now, I suppose. My husband was a big man, a hunter, very strong, very angry, very violent. Pavel was on top, so he got him first. Got him from behind. Tore his neck open with his teeth. Blood all over me.” She ran her fingers through her long hair, pausing and tugging when they caught on the knots of dried blood. “I’m sure most of this is his. It gave me a chance to get away. I got a knife, but he was on me before I could stab him. Bit me twice. Horrible, burning pain, into my heart, down to my stomach, with my big, gross, dead husband tearing my breast off with his teeth, making me as dead and loathsome as he was.”

For those of you who prefer one-eyed roosters (get it? cocks? teehee) being spit at by pubescent girls, you'll have to let me know how this use of expelling fluids and bending people over stacks up.

The other thing I did was add one, teensy, little embellishment. Since I have a woman, Bogdana, along for the ride, and they were talking to a female sinner, it made sense for them to interact, rather than just let the boys pass judgment on a woman. And since Bogdana is (basically) a much more earthy, carnal version of Beatrice, it let me cast her as the voice of Divine (but Incarnate) Love rendering its judgment on a sinner whom It still loves, but who doesn't reciprocate. But, I'm being a tease, since I'm not going to post that part of it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am terribly interested in your concept now. Is this just a WIP or do you already have a buyer for it?

3:19 PM  
Blogger KPaffenroth said...

This will be done in August and I am actively looking for representation for it. Failing that, I'm sure I can place it in the small press easily enough. (I know my comfort zone at the moment.)

5:19 PM  

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