This might help.
The two lackeys attending Charalambus remained crouched at his side, with their heads bowed and Josep was reminded of a picture he had once seen of a noble lord: A God of the old times. Pictured flanked by two strange looking animals that were described as being representations of a mythical creature. He now wondered if they had been referring to the mystical Wolf-Dragons he so wanted to learn more about. Josep was distracted by the fawning of the old crone who seemed to be imploring Charalambus to put down his under shirt, lie back on the massage couch and allow her to continue with her ministrations. She looked desperate and was almost in tears. Her deep set, red rimmed coal black eyes were wild and from the corners of her toothless mouth, spittle ran through the dirt encrusted creases of her red veined, broken face.
‘Please master.’ She pleaded. ‘Do not go. Let me finish. I will do anything you command. Ask of me whatever you will. Please my Lord.’ She reached out her hands in supplication and tried to prevent Charalambus from moving toward his freshly laundered clothes. He seemed to glide past her and in one smooth movement had swept up his clothes and stepped behind the shabby modesty screen. The crone brought both hands up to her mouth and slowly crumpled into an ungainly moaning mound. As the wailing began to fill all of the available space in the small room Josep fought the desire to cover his ears and hastily stepped behind the remaining screen.
‘If you are so keen to do all that I ask stop your noise now. Do you heed me? Cease your prattle this very instant…’ Charalambus hissed with words so sharp they might have cut the old crone’s throat like a knife. She held both hands tightly to her mouth and was immediately silent. ‘I do not want to hear you draw even one breath.’ Charalambus commanded. ‘Do you hear me you withered old bag?’ he thundered. After a couple of heartbeats without a reply from the lackey Charalambus seemed satisfied, ‘Now that is much better you pathetic old bag of bones.’ he hissed and apparently unconcerned began to whistle a strangely haunting tune, as he pulled the silk blouson over his bony head.
After one moment of absolute silence Josep took the opportunity to glance over the top of the screen and was just in time to witness the dilapidated old dear collapse into the arms of her colleague, who emitted a long piercing horrified scream. The crone’s hands were still clamped over her mouth and her once crumpled face was swollen tight and suffused with bursting blood filled vessels. Her eyes were wide and bulging. The pupils were dilated and the tiny capillaries were leaking their precious cargo into the salty tears that streamed down her bloated blue face. The terrified lackey shook her friend roughly. ‘Breath Mary Breath!’ she screamed as Charalambus whistled obliviously on.
Josep pulled up his breeches quickly, ran out to join the tragic tableau and tried with all the strength he could muster to prise the old crone’s hands away from her mouth. No matter how hard he pulled he failed to dissuade her bony claws from their murderous intent, even though he was sure he had broken at least two of her ancient arthritic digits. He could see the light beginning to leave her protrudent eyes and the panic within him grew in its intensity. ‘Charalambus Sir,’ he screamed in desperation, ‘please. You must tell this woman to breath or she is going to die!’ Josep could hear his words and understood their significance but could not fathom how such a thing was possible. What could have convinced this poor woman to stop her mouth so successfully? Was it purely the thoughtless whim of a callous stranger that had put her life at so much risk? ‘Surely she must breath.’ He thought aloud. He could not believe she would allow herself to suffocate, but there she lay cold and silent, the life all but ebbed away. ‘Please Charalambus. It is you who must command her to breath.’ He implored, his voice almost lost beneath the tortured screaming of the old crone’s companion.
If he could have observed himself from above he would have seen the intense fire that burned in his eyes and the staccato of crackling electrical energy that popped and surged around the tragic trio. He would have wondered at the unflinchingly cheerful Charalambus as he continued his menacing whistling drone, whilst in the furthest corners, in those hard to reach areas for the rooms two barely lit old paraffin lamps, grotesque shadows danced and tiny dust particles combusted in random spontaneity. Without any discernible change in his intent to dress and leave, Charalambus let out a long slow breath and as Josep continued to wrench helplessly at the old woman’s rigid fingers, hissed coldly. ‘Why would you assume I would have the power to influence this wicked old creature’s inane practice? She can do as she so desires, can she not?’ With that he stepped smartly and fully attired from behind the screen. Had anyone cared to look, they would have shivered as his form shimmered and shifted with each slow blink of his pale eyes. ‘Oh pity me,’ he sighed. ‘For the sake of peace and harmony and the conscience of our innocent young whelp here, cease this provocative charade, desist this self delusion, regain your lust for life and fill your shrivelled lungs without delay. Come now, quick smart. I have no time to waste here!’ He clapped both hands together and turned sharply away, threw several coins into a platter on the shelf and walked briskly to the door. ‘Hurry my boy let us leave this sorry creature. This is no place for a boy such as you.’