Sit Ubu sit, good dog.
To the Nines Award: Part 1
I sat piled in a heap on the floor. My head resting gently on the cooled metal of the fireplace at the Inn; my face streaked in mud, dust and blood. The room was eerily silent, probably due to the fact that I was surrounded by mutilated corpses. Blood oozing and dried was splattered around the place, covering everything; as if an overzealous painter had used explosive paint to decorate the room. Entrails too were strewn haphazardly around, laying prone on tables and hanging from chairs. I had seen many a gutted animal in my day, but this was overkill.
The twenty or so lifeless bodies, their faces contorted in pain and fear lay in almost comical positions, as if arranged for my personal viewing. In fact, that’s probably exactly what it was. The owner lay face down on the bar with his arms tucked neatly under his head, the two waitresses were arranged on a table with strange men dumped unceremoniously across them, depicting what foul pigs they had been. The other patrons, well most had died in the seats they had chosen; but if not for the gore and blood, could look as if they were drunkenly sleeping. Some like the owner, resting on their arms, others leaning back in chairs, their head hanging limply in front. A few had even been stood up once rigor had set in, the bodies balancing against each other as if waiting for the music to start.
I breathed slowly, the smell causing my stomach to churn, but still I sat there, unmoving. He said he would come back, whether he did however, was anyone’s guess. He could be very forgetful. I had been waiting for him here in this small town for nine nights to no avail. I’d actually intended to leave this morning; however during the night, I was awoken by being thrown unceremoniously out a window. The shattered glass that pierced my back still ached. I could feel the pieces scraping against my organs, sawing at me with every breath. Thankfully, I was harder to kill than that.
The man that had thrown me out the window was not the man I waited for; but another nameless assassin the princess had sent after me. He was now strung up by his intestines to the rafters above. The dripping had mercifully stopped a few hours ago. He was like an endless dripping tap, the noise reminding me with every soft splash that I was the only creature who could possibly hear the deafeningly dim sound. If a tree falls in the woods, and no one is around, does it make a sound? A question that had been put to me as a child; one I had contemplated for days. But now sitting in this inn, with all of these fallen trees dripping and smelling as they were, remembering the night before, oh yes, they had made a sound.
I thought back to the simpler days, before the creature that followed me and before the princess’s assassins. I was a simple farming girl. Ok well that’s a lie, but that is what everyone thought of me. A pretty small town girl, with a flair for danger. Well that danger had certainly escalated the day the princess came through town; her pet tied to a barbed leash being dragged behind a cart. He spotted me as he went passed, and in that moment, he decided that he belonged to me. Or I belonged to him, he was never clear which.
Regardless, that night he escaped from his mistress and I woke to find his hideously scared face grinning manically above me. I had never felt so scared in all my life. I lay their frozen, unable to think or speak or move. The grinning went on and on, and soon I realized he meant no harm. So I packed my things and ran; and he followed. The princess had a temper, and I had inadvertently stolen her pet. Now I was on the run, and not for the first time, I sat surrounded by people this creature had killed, whether out of boredom or my protection I wasn’t sure. But looking at the assassin above, the rage that had torn him apart. I could guess which.
Suddenly I heard footstep approaching the inn. My heart beat faster; hoping and fearing who it could be. Had my pet remembered me? Or was I about to join the rest of the fallen trees?