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The Reek of Wrongness

The Stepford Renata

The Stepford Renata

There’s this brilliant book by Diana Wynne Jones called The Tough Guide to Fantasyland. It’s a dictionary of terms you’ll find in standard fantasy novels, like you’ll always find people eating Stew and there are Adventurers in the Tavern, and Horses can run forever, and Villains always wear Black. Well, one of the terms is The Reek of Wrongness, which suggests that evil basically smells bad, and you can tell you’re in a bad situation when you smell something that has the Reek of Wrongness.

Yesterday, I found Renata pruning the roses in the sithen garden. As if she were enjoying it. When I spoke to her, she was polite, well-spoken and calm. I kept hearing DANGER DANGER in my head, so I asked her how her session with Dr Muircastle had gone. She said it was very successful, that he’d held her hands and she felt much better afterwards. When I pressed further, it became clear to me that he’d given her some kind of post-hypnotic suggestion. Which could seriously backfire, if I remember my undergraduate psych classes. And now I have to feel responsible, since it was my suggestion to Blaise that made this whole thing happen.

She’s just not right. She’s not OK. There is something terribly, terribly wrong with her, and it definitely does not smell of roses.

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