The Cats of Istanbul: Chapter Thirty-Seven
Izabel before the Void
Izabel, prize of the prince of evil, had been treated somewhat better, but what she was subjected to was far beyond the realms of happiness. She existed somewhere between drugged, dream-like confusion and semi-conscious anguish.
Whilst unable to exert sufficient energy to direct her own mind, her imagination was haunted by the cast of leading characters from her life thus far.
Her mother: 'Izabel, how could you give yourself to that ugly urchin Respectable? Have you no shame? Did we not bring you up to know better?'
From this she recoiled. She had fled, but been captured, and now she was lost.
Her father: 'You must escape Izabel, before it is too late. You cannot marry that cat or all will be lost.'
And so she ran through her own mind, but the exit shrank ever further into the distance, always eluding her flight.
Longshanks: 'It is all your fault' he roared at her. 'If only you had done what I said, we might have stood a chance. I had a plan, but you with your vanity and pride, you ruined everything.'
She clawed at his face as he shoved into hers but no matter how hard she fought he only moved closer in.
Izmir: 'I love you, please save me.' 'I do not love you, I could never love you, you are an empty-headed brat. It was all a trick. I am the servant of Mr Respectable.' 'I love you, please do not forget me.'
Oh why she moaned, why did you let me hope? How could you betray me? I hate you!
Myself, Esma, now Sultana of Turkey: 'I'm going to get you Izabel. I've sent out my men to hunt you down. If you show your face in Istanbul again I'll have your head chopped off and set upon the palace walls.'
You too! Must all my hopes be dashed against the rocks? Is there nothing strong enough to stand up against this evil?
Eventually she would awake, and there, despite the numbing haze that held back her mind, she tightened like a bow, ready to let loose upon the world set against her will. She insisted, no matter what, she would not marry Mr Respectable, she could not do it, she would rather die. Such a thing would be a betrayal of her own physical truth, the thought alone made her feel as though she would first explode.
It would only take a moment she promised herself, no matter how long she was required to wait, as soon as the chance presented itself, she would end this madness once and for all.
Then, exhausted, and returning once more to sleep, the horrors of her troubled history rose up once more to occupy her mind. She was struggling against Mr Respectable, who was trying to strap a gold collar around her neck. She was struggling against the secret security guards of Nadir, who were dragging her from my chambers in the palace. She could hear the sound of drumming. She could hear the sound of screaming. The world of cats she knew was at war. She could see Izmir leaving, but he would not look back, although she called for him desperately. She could see me crying, once more staring from my bedroom window, looking out across the bleakest morning that Istanbul had ever known.