House Maid, the novel

Понедельник, 5 Сентябрь 2011, 17:17
Размещено в рубрике English Special и имеет 9 коммент..

Preface to the original online edition

While dumbfoolery was overexploited in the newly found reading fad to the extent of throwing up or a pain in the neck – I was finding myself exceedingly keen on contributing something of standing and wholesome value. The field, alas, has turned as clan  controlled as any other around. Why, even my friend and mentor, Iain Matthews of  Matthews’ Southern Comfort fame, was checked from hiring myself as his long sought biography writer – by presumably his manager who perhaps thought better than letting “a Russian” into the field. My compatriots’ illreasoning however reaches far beyond any imaginable boundary of being one’s own enemy, for that matter. So that was how I struck the idea, the storyline constructed along the lines of The Mind Parasites by Colin Wilson and – aha! – incorporating something else which I’ll save the reader’s sensibility and time elaborating on here. By way of a creator’s kitchen, I let it be known rhythm is by no means the single therapeutic tool to the writing, if at all. I owe the power to a number of sources undisclosed. The action is where you are, and there’s no illustration drawing so your own imagery is encouraged. Enough to say, there’s nothing in there borrowed from my immediate milieu and a lot from well wishing or dreams accomplished. It is therefore believed as beneficent an experience as if it were Colin Wilson meets Matthews’ Southern Comfort. Enjoy!

 

Vladimir Yelbaev

Moscow, Russian Fed.,

Sept., 2011

 

The House Maid

 

 CHAPTER ONE

 

Lena was an easy goer. That much easy she could be a model or TV personality. Well, she wasn’t neither. Never cared to, so the fate landed her modest mid-class career and average living mode in a big city lost on a continent somewhere. Yet, how easy going she was, indeed. The goodness of a child continued well into her girlhood of 25. In a crowd or a congregation (Lena served a UNESCO translator) her persona was breaking across and thru — by virtue of her slender looks, her light-grey wide-open eyes, by the murmur of her voice and countenance. Was she an avalanche on senses. Trust me was written all over her being.

 

God willing, Lena was blessed with small tidy apartment at one of those park neighbourhoods that have the way to dull urban noise with leafy and birdy subdueds. Did she love her cozy recluse. Her flat was stuffed with things, rugs, furniture and figurines so – making it cozier yet, not a bit clogged. Perhaps, decorating home  – and keeping it up — was the one infatuation upsetting Lena’s balance, but then none is perfect.

 

There was Lena sprawling in her newly fit bath, the one from… er, wasn’t it Samuel Heath? – the cuddly insignia flickered at her through the thickness of waterfront. Anyway. She craved the stretch that the extra length’s tub allowed. Brits go to lengths to please, she thought…

 

Lena was doze floating away lost in space and taking in the coolness of the gentle silky water. The glazed cast iron job of the tub was feeling like a cradle – so safe, caring, dependable, masculine, fatherly. Squinting that logo lettering, Lena visualized. She saw herself siding a man in greasy work robe and boots amidst a fiery workshop forgery. The man was busy dipping a clawed metal strip into a viscous liquid bucket at his feet,  and when out and drippy, the thing read exactly the brand of Lena’s tub. Weird, but Lena loved the dream and smiled to it. She was about to dip on into the dream, talk to the craftsman, when suddenly… she was jerked back awake by the doorbell gone off.       

 

Lena braced up in a moment. She rose, stepped out and wrapped around a towel. She opened the door caring not to inquire – never did.

 

There was a stranger, man in his 30s, at the doorstep. Lena’s keenness switched automatically, the image was analyzed in an instant: soft featured, full lipped, fluffy bellied… a teddy bear pansy egoist – she dismissed offhand. Next instant upset the hunch as her curt “Yes?” met with something least  expected, the stranger’s thrust  hand that was pushing the dame strongly back. Growing upon her into the flat’s hall, he stepped in and slammed the door with his body.

 

A robber, a maniac – she was about to panic, and her hand locked around a china vase, a tricky Royal Crown Derby floor-stander in the hall. Unlikely but heavy a weapon, she guessed. The intruder checked Lena with curt “Wait”. He broke out hastily, the personal distance observed: “Sorry for this, say nothing please, keep this till I claim, okay? Now I leave”. He gasped clumsy, shoving some oval object right into the folds of her William Morris towel. She looked: it was a porcelain vase.

 

Before she moved to speak, her eyebrows raised, the stranger puffed out “Val is the name”, and turned to the door to fumble the lock open. Alas, the fine Samuel Heath lever resisted the rudeness – and as Lena reached to help, shouts behind the door startled them frozen, both. However dense, the apartmental Brookman door let discern the words. “He’s here. He went in here!” followed by “Quick, break” order snapped. “Run!”, the stranger cried, and before Lena knew it, he was tugging her through the hall, through the room, to the window. A bomb explosion hit them from behind. Smashing the flat’s front wall (not the door!), the bomb paved the way for the pursuit. As some mean shady figures broke in and rushed after them – Lena and Val jumped the height of the apartment’s window. Lena lived on the ground floor, so the jump was nothing. She was, all mummed numb and dragged on, still looking back into the noise and smoke of this sheer madness…

 

Lena stopped, groggy now. Reeking her place loomed still ambiguous to believe, while reeking her body was not a concern. Her mind was diverting safe from trying to analyze the latter developments. The mind switched to safer signals like her feet being unhurt on the park’s gravel alleyways (as she was luckily wearing slippers) and her body unbruised (the thick long towel was tucked tight).

 

Lena and Val glanced where they reached. It was a shady Summer alley of the park that overlooked her house. They panted silent, both struck. Lena limped down on a bench. She finally tried to think. She sized up her fatal new companion. Val was wearing a face of terror, yet his persona somehow endeared Lena. This, she felt, was no chance acquaintance. She was feeling part of an interactive computer game of sorts. She was even amused, rather than shocked. After a few minutes of recovery she was finally strong enough to raise hell of a scream for the police – just to be checked sternly again. Val shifted over to his side, meeting her eye to eye. What he said next, about explained everything.

 

“Just because there’s no water in the collector – doesn’t mean there’s none under the fridge”.

 

She was prepared for a redemption, a movie hero monolog, whatever – but not that. Hardly aware, she burst into hysteria of sobs. Wrapping around her curdling body, Val felt he was having her ear now alright. And he used the momentum to feed the info in there:

 

“The thing that’s been tucked in your towel is called The Holy Grail. The priceless one, you should know. What you don’t know – it’s absolute power and it’s destined yours. The thugs out there are mean, evil and… (he gulped and glanced over the park’s pond all quiet and still)… exactly, they’re after the power of the Grail. You bet they control the police, the Society, the setup. Me, I’m the friend from now on. You can’t help the happenings, can you? As for going back home – you just can’r ‘cause they’ll tap you. We better retreat, regroup and reappear. The goal is sourcing and benefiting by Grail’s power, and it’s no Matrix movie, it’s real and very personal. Think of this as changing your life pattern for the good.  You with me?”

 

Her curdle still now, her moods braced and the head nodding affirmative – he went on, poised and sharp:

 

“Must move on now. Okay, here’s the focal part. You are vested Grail Charmer by your  genetic code, the natal properties, the personal chemistry – those specified in sacred books. Mine was Mahabharata. Me is arts reviewer on The Daily Tribune, my pleasure”,

 

Val let Lena go and he bowed, still clumsy on that bench. He resumed, even sharper and quicker.

 

“Look. I followed the geo bearings taking lead from the Epic’s key episode. The Cup of Poison offered by Demon to God Shiva before both  clashed. The 24th spear of God Shiva’s missed the aim and hit the Earth. I was the first one to investigate, it appeared. I arranged for a reporter trip to Pondicherry, South India. To the actual spear falling spot. The spear was Lord Shiva’s way to mark the Cup. Emptied of its deadly brew, the Cup became the Holy Grail, though each religion has own story line for that.  The Grail is a cup or a vase, not a bowl. “

 

“Anyway, as soon as I entered a hut in that Indian neighbourhood, I caught sight of the Cup. The Cup is detail described in the Epic  so the contender won’t falter. There It was shelved at a lone mid-class household where I introduced myself as research journalist. The occupant knew nothing of the inheritance, just kept it. He gladly swopped it around with me. I kept money out of it lest the powers got destroyed, you see. The divine dislikes money, and here’s the implication at work on spiritual plain… okay, never mind the theory.”

 

As he was having the most engrossed audience now, Val took a breather and went on driving the point, keeping looking about though.

 

“At that point, you Lena, an arts addict and Collector Guild member, came into picture. Reading up on the possession of mine, I saw many false reports – like one time Grail Bowl hit France, then Germany and even one church in Minnesota. The dupes! The only place that Grail ever left India for was Isle of Avalon in England, circa 12th century. I dished out from XVth century scriptures of poet Kyot Provençal: Lancelot, a Knight to Avalon Order and  The Original Bearer of Grail to King Arthur, hailed from South India. Lancelot’s divine mission was actually to endow England with divine power. That over, Grail was transported back to its original spot. And Lena, tracing your heredity back to 12th century, you are Lancelot’s great-grand-grand… well, let’s call it 20th generation kin.”

 

Dramatic pause set in as Lena soaked the message. Strangely enough, she was neither abashed, nor baffled or mesmerized – or uneasy. Her mind was clear and senses awake. Fact was she lost her house, was risking her health and life, was stranded in the middle of nowhere with some nut. What was she to do? Scream murder?

 

As if reading her mind, Val snapped up soberly:

 

“Wrong. You’re most likely the Grail Bearer Vested, and this is The Grail by God Almighty. And anyway, the object is genuine antique… come feel the material… and it is worth any number of posh mansions. If it were otherwise, the Cabbalist Order wouldn’t be on your heels like they are. Or you got a sober explanation to raiding your place, of all things, in plain daylight? No police in sight, either?”

 

She unfolded what he was referring to all the time. The vase or cup shaped thing was sure odd – uncertain shifty colour, porcelain-glaze-meets-cast-iron body and an ornament embossed. It fit her hand “like a glove” and sure felt good. It felt like one of those fancy guns of Terminator, Rambo or Neo, Lena’s revered movie heroes. Handling the object, she was aware of acute freshness. Like she were overcome with frenzy and  Spring-time blossom of the park. Not a bit uncomfy or sordid in her next-to-nothing apparel.

 

She thrust her hand as if aiming the vase’s opening – first, at Val. Then out there at the gang of her home’s raiders. She pretended to shoot a round of deadly grenade.

 

“Nope,” she heard him say. “To make the Cup work the Bearer must be in the state of love. Some special gene and brain discharge that sets the reaction. Books say it’s like new Big Bang under your thumb. That’s why you’re done if they catch you. They need you just to turn the Cup on once, and not again. They will make you, rest assured. They zombify governments, personalities and crowds by the score, what with a single naive young girl.”         

 

Lena dropped her “arms” at that. She brooded another moment, uttering her first words with him: “Just suppose you ‘aven’t been staging show with apartment storming and all. Suppose you are sane, at least. Am I the circumstance toy and you my macho man? Do we set out now to save the world from its future like another Sara Connor? What’s the big idea? Who are you to wreck my home and my life and… ”

 

She checked herself. Whatever said and done, Lena was finding herself yet more  amused and even entertained now. This sure made  a whopping difference to her daily routine. Her self just refused the idea of the damage caused, like there was really none. Then she could not mistake her intuition — her life’s guidance. The moods, the expectations were caressing her within like a tide of friendly big ocean wave upon Spanish beach at her Summer vacation. Oh yes, she was going to let it happen, to see this thru while she could. Was entire thing someone’s practical joke? A matchmaking agency’s idea for the  romantic date? If yes, she was grateful for the choice. Whoever that Val guy was, he was making strides at befriending her.

 

She and Val rose on their feet, and strode away by the alley to where the street traffic was. They could be taken for freak-out honeymoon couple, safe for Val’s tense face and about-gazes. Luckily, there was none at this hour when they reached the road and Val pulled over a cab to take them both to a lady dress shop. From there to “one of those  no-questions-asked” hotels. On all instances Val was paying from his Visa – no words minced. Val, she learnt, meant business.

 

Over the night he insisted The Cup be carried about her, all the time, no deposit or safe. For this they bought Bosca Neo Hippie fine-chain white leather bag which went sensational with felt buttoned designer shorts, Gretchen Peasant white satin blouse and hi-heels. Lena was dressed up for that evening. Val was rough black trousers and plain white shirt. The contrast setting for the pearl, he joked.       

 

As they were – later by night, shower refreshed, napped and attired – seated at a hi-rise restaurant verandah overlooking the big city (and Lena’s forlorn house somewhere out), without conversing, Val ordered a dinner of her secret dreams. The deep crust fried fish, barely cooked inside and crunchy outside, the way she never mastered back home by the recipe. The Basmati rice masala. All set off to that great mouth-dry red they always supply to better eateries. The band performed Sinatra’s “The Only Couple On The Floor” – another her favourite – as if she were treated to an imitation Matrix experience indeed. Matrix the movie happened to be Lena’s major infatuation and life pattern, after the home interior.      

 

Val said — no telephone calls, no former contacts, no help summons, no side confiding, no betrays of self identity, if she stuck to his plan. Plan was to go places of “blank reflection for the all-pervading Cabbalist brain scrutiny radar”. Those were spots, habitats and Societies dominated by human kindness, positive mentality and healthy sensibility as different to the rule of greed, evil, gross injustice and, above all, human cases of “evolution errors”. So Val said, and she strangely took for granted.

 

Val had long realized he was the “marked man” on the map of his ominous  pursuers. Then he succeeded in persuading The Trib newspaper boss to designate him a “permanent field reporter”. Val’s duty now would be updating the Editorial Board on art from  selected parts of the world. Val opted to cover travel expense from the basic pay, no promotion ever asked for. That gave him freedom to move. Val needed that badly. His first destination on this crusade was a way-off city to reach for the stranger girl who would mean if they both live or die. Live it was now, Val learnt. Coming to know her a little, Val was certain she was “the chosen one”. Her DNA test to serve almost a formality. 

 

Lena, she saw the adventure’s nice points immediately. She was to travel and live off Val’s expense. He was asking for it, wasn’t he, after all, and the dinner finalized Lena’s decision. She decided to have her shocker about at any moment, just in case. But that very eve Lena did something else as well. She called her UNESCO office and took an urgent leave “on personal grounds”. She said perhaps she was getting married. They could not possibly deny her the right. Lena also called her insurance company agent entrusting him to examine her house and advise Lena on damages claim… if any.

 

Somehow Lena was right. Honeymoon it had to be – to check Val’s claim of The Bearer having to be in love to set the power ablaze. Lena was not giving that a thought. She was still keeping all options open. She was risking less than she was already gaining. Val’s way of keeping their itinerary secret only added excitement. For once she was feeling careless and cared for. Like a pretty doll.  

 

They traveled incognito so long their visas, passports and local rules permitted. The couple of Irish newly weds, billed as Lena Zavaroni and Val Doonican (!), checked in  at Ritz Carlton, London, for a romantic night. The couple left with the afternoon train then to Inland England’s Stock-on-Trent. Here they rented a village mansion of separate bedrooms and small well-stuffed kitchen.

 

They adopted the rhythm of province from word go. Them became part of local scenery, day in and day out. Val was sending out news items about local porcelain and ceramic tiles – and The Trib was publishing. Neither of them attempted to handle the Cup for even once. Nightly, Val was “tuning Lena’s subconscious” with talks on the divine, psychic, on sorcery and mythology – and on himself. They were clearly establishing the rapport, and he was going to have her blood tested – when one day things went sour at Stock-on-Trent.

 

(end of Chapter One)

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9 коммент. к “House Maid, the novel”

  1. Melta Kasim, Jakarta, Indonesia пишет: Понедельник, 12 Сентябрь 2011, 1:39

    In the street we handed out a hundred copies of The House Maid by Vladimir Yelbaev in print and were phoned back much positive. Thank you very much.

  2. Hughes Carey, "The London Inquirer" пишет: Понедельник, 12 Сентябрь 2011, 1:52

    I never thought the 19th century belles letters were alive. Never heard of the name though, 5 years on the staff. Who the heck is Yelbaev? For a movie scenario a tad heavy, but quite credible if published. Contemporary feminine romance stuff to sell in 100,000 or whereabouts. Ahoy, Pinguin!

  3. Binaca пишет: Понедельник, 12 Сентябрь 2011, 1:57

    Needs editor’s hand. The part on Krishna discipline sucks, dialogues overblown to me, but I do find it engrossing unfinished as it is. I understand the 2nd chapter won’t happen any time soon. Imitators will, provided sponsors pay them the way. I hear Vlad Yelbaev was extended a US permit or stuff but they should have provided a writer status’ support. I used to be on The Moscow Trib and I would vouch.

  4. “Johannesburg Evening News”, Gore Pacherien пишет: Понедельник, 12 Сентябрь 2011, 1:58

    What modern literature misses is a buildup and inner vision. Their action is phony, characters are cardboard whereas The House Maid has the scene brushpainted strong and bold. Now that’s the fiction I fancy authoring myself. I guess same drove Vladimir Yelbaev onto the job.

  5. Larry Egan, PSC/BC, Vice-Chairman, Audiencey Award Committee, Writer Academy Dpt. пишет: Понедельник, 12 Сентябрь 2011, 2:14

    I am pleased to inform the revered public and the Author that Audiencey Award Int’l Committee has just accepted The House Maid online Chapter One edition for their consideration. In our estimates, over 200,000 readers world over have already voted or otherwise expressed themselves “in favour” and committed to buy the work in full printed paperback format when available at A grade price. We shall further undertake to keep the public informed via own and this here media.

  6. duartituamy пишет: Среда, 9 Ноябрь 2011, 19:25

    Which came first? chicken or the egg

  7. yelbaev пишет: Пятница, 18 Ноябрь 2011, 1:05

    To duartituamy: Can't stand «chicken» so possibly deprived of «the» being the first to an egg (obviously, yeilding more than one «the egg») . Pity the poor chicken... Someone does read me, hell!

  8. buy viagra пишет: Воскресенье, 3 Июнь 2012, 4:09

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  9. yelbaev пишет: Воскресенье, 3 Июнь 2012, 14:43

    This site's staff won't be held responsible for the odd comments' links and their credibility. We may reproduce those... damn, just 'cos there's not much more to reproduce as we are filtered on the web.

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