Love Poison No. 13by Jon Jacks / Fantasy / Historical Fiction
Other New Adult and Children’s books by Jon Jacks
The Caught – The Rules – Chapter One – The Changes – Sleeping Ugly
The Barking Detective Agency – The Healing – The Lost Fairy Tale
A Horse for a Kingdom – Charity – The Most Beautiful Things (Now includes The Last Train)
The Dream Swallowers – Nyx; Granddaughter of the Night – Jonah and the Alligator
Glastonbury Sirens – Dr Jekyll’s Maid – The 500-Year Circus – The Desire: Class of 666
P – The Endless Game – DoriaN A – Wyrd Girl – The Wicker Slippers – Gorgesque
Heartache High (Vol I) – Heartache High: The Primer (Vol II) – Heartache High: The Wakening (Vol III)
Miss Terry Charm, Merry Kris Mouse & The Silver Egg – The Last Angel – Eve of the Serpent
Seecrets – The Cull – Dragonsapien – The Boy in White Linen – Porcelain Princess – Freaking Freak
Died Blondes – Queen of all the Knowing World – The Truth About Fairies – Lowlife
Elm of False Dreams – God of the 4th Sun – A Guide for Young Wytches – Lady of the Wasteland
The Wendygo House – Americarnie Trash – An Incomparable Pearl – We Three Queens – Cygnet Czarinas
Memesis – April Queen, May Fool – Sick Teen – Thrice Born – Self-Assembled Girl
Text copyright© 2017 Jon Jacks
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Those born under Ophiuchus the Serpent Bearer, when the sun takes nineteen days to travel from Scorpius to Sagittarius, are infamous for being impervious to poisons, or for being as supple of mind and body as the serpent.
Now the former of these can make surprisingly successful careers as food tasters for king or queens (of which none alive today can fault their skills). The more industrious amongst them, however, take up either the administering or manufacturing of these very same poisons, ensuring the Serpents of Ophiuchus will always be gainfully employed.
The trade in poisons is remarkably vibrant, for who amongst us hasn’t, at some point, wished to rid ourselves of some pestilent fool?
It could be a matter of business, of politics, of nothing more than sheer envy, or, indeed, even a necessary defence – the first to strike first being almost invariably the victor.
Now many of the people who have found themselves unwillingly having to resort to such undignified means have also invariably found themselves following the directions of a well-meaning friend of a friend of an associate who, although wishing to remain nameless, has nevertheless provided invaluable information regarding a Master Caputo of a Lane Without Name.
It is on the Lane Without Name, of course, where you will find the providers of wares you will now and again direly need yet erroneously believe to be unavailable, for they are deemed unsavoury by those in authority even though they are the lane’s most regular patrons. Unlike most of the many winding, narrow lanes running like minor veins around the city, it has no obvious landing stage from which you can alight from your gondola but, rather, appears to be the entrance to just one of many similarly dilapidated buildings lining this particular canal.
The door, however, opens up not onto the expected room, but a dark cleft running between the other buildings, one so damp and wet it could reasonably be mistaken for the slenderest of tributaries running off the canal.
Master Caputo’s shop lies almost directly opposite a supplier of stilettos that can be easily hidden about your person, and next to a purveyor of the most universally approved love potions. There is, somewhere quite nearby, also a seller of the most pleasurable kind of artefacts, ones designed to secretly adorn the body, for the gratification of both wearer and observer.
On your first meeting of Caputo, he may seem abrupt, rude, moody, gruff; but don’t be dissuaded by this most unfortunate attitude that he takes with all newcomers seeking his wares. He needs only reassurance that you are in genuine need of his remarkable products. He abhors the merely curious, who are a waste of his precious time. He loathes those who are indecisive, who are bizarrely in two minds about removing an irritant from their lives.
It is not for him to help you come to a decision.
Yes, he can make your goal easier to achieve than you could possibly imagine.
He can help you assuage any fear of being caught.
He can make the death relatively swift and painless for the victim, if that is your preference.
Or he can make it long and drawn out, describing with the aid of detailed diagrams the various degrees of agony suffered after taking a particular poison (taking into account, of course, weight, build and gender).
But feelings of guilt; how can he possibly be held responsible for that?
So, if your mind’s unclear about what you’re hoping to achieve, then it is best for you that you stay away from his doorway.
Professionals rarely suffer fools gladly.
Now the man we catch alighting one night at the doorway to the Lane Without Name is no fool; he is wealthy even by the terms of wealth used within this city of the fabulously rich and the equally fabulously poor.
Tonight, of course, he is not dressed in a way that displays this wealth. Rather, his garment is dark and old, shabby and threadbare.
It’s not the place, not the area, to be seen wearing anything worth stealing.
Even the gondola is an ancient one, unvarnished, and soon to be of no use to anyone. He controls the boat himself, with difficulty naturally, for even as a youth it would have been ridiculous to describe him as lithe and healthy.
He has always liked his food, his drink, his women.
But now, like many a man, he realises that his happiness hangs on the attention of one particular woman, and one woman only.
Yes, the Impresario Guilfo is in love.