The following preview is of “Chimera”, the third chapter of TIMELESS KEEPERS, the newly published third volume of our quantum fiction/magic realism quintet, THE TAMMABUKKU CHRONICLES.
While my personal life is serene, aspects of my professional life have become maddening. On the surface, Cressida’s fixation on me makes no sense unless she’s the ultimate masochist. I believe her obsession is a continuation of my karma with her as Nathara, and the beings that empowered Nathara’s dark schemes are the same ones empowering her as Cressida. She believes she’ll win—she always did—and draws her strength from users and profiteers who support the lies she tells herself. I threw the torn pieces of her vulgar photo in the fire when we got back to Beak’s End, and have managed to burn the image out of my mind. For an infinitesimal second, her body, or more specifically that insatiable look in her eyes, did evoke the unbridled carnality of Vericus. Nathara was once my partner in debauchery, and even though I would have preferred to keep those memories buried deep in my psyche, it seems they have to be brought to the surface one last time to confront and discard.
Gino investigated and found out Cressida was having an affair with one of the record label executives and he believes that’s how she got hold of the label gift wrap. She’s one of the most seductive recording artists in the world, but when I look close, I see her starting to fray around the edges. To the world, her image is impervious and cold, seemingly devoid of emotion except in her scorching songs. Apart from me, that is. When it comes to me, she is emotional even to the press. Fans on both sides don’t know what to think, as she consistently implies there is something between us while I tell the truth. She hints I have a dark side that the world doesn’t see and that my marriage is in trouble. After I turned down her “reconciliation offer” to sing “Chimera” live with me in Los Angeles during the tour, she snarked about me to the media.
Rumors, which have been since traced to her camp, circulated that she’d likely join me for either a Madison Square Garden or Wembley concert. She was livid when my backup singer, Nevaeh, who sang the song in every city along the way, sang it with me at the Garden as well. Cressida made it known that she’d be in London at the time of the Wembley shows, but Nevaeh also performed the song there. Julian remains one hundred percent behind me. Cressida tried to seduce him, too, but he didn’t go for it. Gino loves Cressida’s voice but never liked her as a person, calling her an accident waiting to happen. The record label construed my feud with Cressida as a personal grudge and was not pleased, but they changed their mind after the “gift” incident.
I tried to take the gentlemanly route, saying I’m in love with my wife and monogamous, but Cressida took it as a challenge, promising heights of pleasure I couldn’t conceive. Her lack of respect for Lia and unrelenting selfishness disgust me. This is worse than anything I went through with Madison or any other girl. It’s more than lust, the obsession to win, or the lure of forbidden fruit. Over and over, she tries to cast lust spells on me, but instead of resulting in arousal, they only deepen my revulsion. I sense the same thing happened with Nathara, but not at first. There was a time she had Vericus under her spell.
Sabre implied that one of the reasons his relationship with Cressida was short-lived was her involvement with the darker aspects of the occult, which he hates. He admitted that although he’d been hotter than hell for her, something about her made him feel tainted. I understand what he means. The energy behind those misfired spells Cressida tried to put on me resulted in erotic dreams that left me feeling soiled and violated. Cressida tries to burrow her way into that part of my brain like a tick, convinced she’ll eventually reach her intended destination.