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The Autobiography of Calista Antoine

by Mark Bondurant

We were stranded in Brussels, practically thrown out of music school even as we first walked in the door. They wouldn't listen to anything except the newspapers and the British. "The scandal" they moaned. So we were stuck thousands of miles from home and six months until my parents return. What were we going to do? Do what we set out to do of course, go to music school - this time in Paris! But then the Institution, damn them, blew up Vic.


Inside, through large sliding wooden doors, we faced a large lantern lit room with several desks and file cabinets, an open office. But leaning against the walls were stacks of paintings, most seemingly unfinished or neglected, and shelves and the floor piled with a bewildering array of junk. Things like stuffed birds and pieces off of statues. A large block of stone sat on a pallet in the middle of the floor with a table cloth draped over it. On top was a punch bowl and an eclectic mix of cups and mugs.

In for a penny, in for a dollar, I thought. I walked up, several young men stepping aside, to reveal the woman manning the ladle. She stared at me, stopping halfway into a pour.

I held out my hand. “Bonjour, I’m Calista Carmichael. Henri told me there was a party here.”


“Really?” She was blinking furiously.

“Yes.” I looked at her with what hoped was sincerity. I mean, why would I lie?

“Really.” She put down the ladle and shook my hand carefully. “Émile Sabouraud. This is Tony, Robert, and Jules.” They shook our hands.

Then she poured me a mug of punch and asked, “Did you really bang Leopold?”


The Belle Epoch in Paris was a playground for the creative and intellectuals of the world. What better place for adventure? And who better to drop in the middle of it that Calista? Add some organized crime and of course, the British, and you have the best and brightest time in Calista's life. It was the moment when she truly engaged with the world, cementing both her career and her relationship with Lucien, her future husband.

About the Author

Mark Bondurant is an alternate history author.