I promised that I would write to you regarding the disturbing events that have caused me to seek solace in my new hobby. I have no wish to revisit these events. Indeed, I actually fear to do so. As you no doubt are aware, the privacy and sanctity of your covers have recently been violated. Is nothing safe for me, anymore? May no thought be private? May no action go unscrutinized?
I half wish that Mr. Plutonian would throw me in prison, already. I can stand this suspense no longer. At least in prison I will not be surprised by ill treatment when I receive it. I shall have no more privacy to rob. I shall have no trusted friends by whom to be deceived. The horrors and deprivations of prison life are to be expected. If I am fortunate, I may be shipped abroad. If I am still more fortunate, disease or hunger may quickly rescue me from some of the penal system’s more brutal ravages. I am sorry to express so undignified a desire, but there it is. I am just so tired. So very, very tired. If the axe must fall, I wish it would fall swift and strong.
My new ally, my so-called uncle, has proven yet one more struggle to be endured. He has knowledge of sorcery sufficient to enable him to shift into the form of a lion. He is crafty, capable of sneaking into nearly any social milieu. His anger is quick and sharp, his ardor even more so. Experience of the world renders him familiar with laws and contracts. Of any man I know, Mr. Robonaught is best prepared to offer protection from Mr. Plutonian.
But who, dear Diary, shall protect me from my protector?
He believes himself entitled to know every possible detail of my existence. He asks the most impertinent, indelicate questions! I blush even to mention them in your pages, let alone to repeat them. And when my back was turned, this so-called ally poked his nose between your covers! My one solace, my last remaining private area… stripped from me by someone of whom I had hoped to think better.
We quarreled, of course. I do not remember the particulars of the argument, only that our words were quite heated. He had the nerve to accuse me of compromising both of our safeties by writing about his condition. I admit to having made a mistake when I left my diary out on my desk rather than locking it in my safe. That was very thoughtless of me. But a diary is an article of the most personal manner. The fact that an enemy may happen upon it does not give Mr. Robonaught the right to take a preemptive strike, as it were, and examine it first. He betrayed my privacy and my trust. I did not scruple to tell him so in the most vehement possible manner.
Much to my enduring shock, Mr. Robonaught refused to be chastened by my just reprisals. Rather, his anger grew in direct proportion to mine until we were both incensed. His reaction was inappropriate, to say the least. I hesitate even to write it, so humiliating is the truth. Suffice it to say that the brute put his hands on me. I fought desperately. I kicked. I screamed. I implored and reasoned. I demanded that he release me. His stamina exceeded mine, however, until I eventually lost the battle. Then, he beat me as one might beat a child. I suspect he did so in order to gratify his lust, as he very pointedly refused me the modesty of pantaloons. Oh, diary! The beastly man! I am certain that my parents would never have approved. He left me, bruised and but half clothed, to recover alone in my room. Never has be apologized.
Then, today, he cornered me in the unfinished room upstairs. We spoke, briefly, about New Babbage, Steelhead, and other environs in which I spend my time. He asked about the Cookie Girls. He asked if I had compromised my reputation in any other way. I replied that allowing him to remain under my roof, especially in light of his less-than-chaste affection for me, compromised my reputation more than dancing for charity ever could.
Somehow, the encounter ended with him kissing me. I do not understand him, Diary, and I told him as much. I said he could not profess a paternal care in one moment and a man’s lust in the next. It is not fair! It is not right! But now I am afraid… if I displease him, will he beat me again? He calls me “dear” when he feels gratified by my reactions and “girl” when I do not think or act as he might wish. He upsets me and then he comforts me. When I turn away, he puts his hand on my shoulder. He excites passions I do not wish to feel, relaxing me by massaging the knots from my back and then kissing me as soon as I begin to feel safe.
What can I do? If I refuse his advances, he may flame out. What if he beats me again? What if he leaves, as he sometimes threatens? Who will protect me from Mr. Plutonian, then? I do not know which of these two evils is the worst. It is said that one must fight fire with fire, but I doubt my ability to manage two such hot tempered men.
The worst part is that I question my every action and reaction. Why did I allow Mr. Robonaught to abuse me? I have defended myself against zombie, air kraken, and even one unfortunate lunatic (God rest him). This one-time uncle of mine is a strong man, to be sure, but he is no larger or more nimble than an air kraken. He is no more determined than a mad man. He is no more immune to injury than a zombie. Why did I not reach for a weapon?
I know the answer to that; I did not want to take another life.
But the kiss… why did I allow him to kiss me? I do not love him. In fact, I fear him.
This man exhausts me. I returned to my room quite fatigued. He is a mass of contradictions, always flying from one extreme to the other. Would that all men were like Michael Mr. MacBeth; he is uniformly charming. All is ease and enjoyment with him. And I doubt he would ever hurt or humiliate me. Perhaps I should run away to the quiet little island off of Austral.
It is all for nothing. Mr. Robonaught has made sure that I feel too guilty and too embarrassed to confide in my dearest friends. I would not dare to tell either Mr. MacBeth or even Danyell what has happened. Nor would I care to rob myself of the one ally who may prove as evil as the demon. If someone must go up against a demon on my behalf, I would prefer it to be Mr. Robonaught. I wish no harm to anybody, but I find myself less hesitant to throw Mr. R. to the tigers than I am to risk Danyell or Michael. That probably makes me a very bad person.
So do you see, Diary, why I wish that Mr. Plutonian would just allow events to come to a head? I cannot juggle so many conflicting interests. I long for escape. At least in prison, I shall be anonymous. I shall have no reputation to protect, no honor to uphold, no pride or prudence or any worthy traits to which to aspire. My ruin will be complete. In prison, my enemies will not appear in the guise of friends. There are no friends in prison. I have this fantasy in which I am able to withdraw deep into myself, like a child indulged in an extended daydream, whilst facing whatever I may face there. I hope I can convince myself that nothing matters. I hope Mary will fare well in my absence. I hope I can render myself somehow insensible, as cowardly as that may be. Most of all, I just hope for rest.
Excuse me, Diary. For tonight, at least, the Dragonlands call. I can torture myself no longer for one evening.