Tuesday, October 14, 2014


A few hours later, when the kitchen staff came in, Tomas was ready, but he didn't know what to do. Two females, the cook and the head-pincher-offer from before plus a little, Boston Terrier looking errand boy. Every big house had a runner and he was it. They did have a bell system... little brass chains hanging from a plaque on the wall. But 'the master' likes quiet.

Sunlight streamed through the large windows flooding the place with winter light. The granite counters reflected like mirrors... the white cupboards... the white hexagonal tiled floors.... cream colored crockery. If Martha Stewart was a giant dog, she'd have loved the place.

Then they fired up the stove, a great, wrought iron and brass, coal burning affair. The pathetic naked humans hiding in the rectangular glass tank knew. They had to know. But there was no sign of life. The shredded paper layer at the bottom was still. Tomas watched everything from behind the tank, wedged into the narrow space between the glass and the wall. He crouched down, as low as possible. Vampires don't cramp, not after a few hours anyway. On some level he enjoyed the sunlight. Apparently this sun was different than his sun, or whatever hand stirred the celestial pot created different ordinances for different places. Here humans were morsels, shrimp sized tidbits adding goodness and flavor to a multitude of recipes.

The cook said something to the errand 'boy' sitting half asleep on a stool by the counter. Canine dialect was highly inflected.
Pitch and tone are everything. He roused himself, pulled a shiny metal bowl from a deep drawer and began to pick people out of the tank. That's when the straw-like bedding began to move,as the doomed humans piled into a corner. They always run toward the back, usually the right hand side, as far away from the stove as possible. Bruising didn't matter. There were fractures too. They made little mewling sounds. Noise was bred out long ago.

The Boston Terrier 'boy' (in his navy wool, short sailor suit and black stockings) raked them up with his somewhat humanish, evolved, doggie fingers. He had to shake them off into the bowl. Heads cracked. Skin ripped. Some died. They were the lucky ones. The kitchen girl deftly picked up a person and pinched off its head, just as she did to the three during the night, only this time she didn't eat any. Not with her boss around. She knew better than that. Cook dredged them, one by one, in a flour and egg mixture before dropping them into a big, black, sizzling skillet. Sometimes the kitchen girl forgot to pinch off a head. She worked so fast, after all. But those sorry souls were pan fried two... burnt little heads with 'o' shaped mouths, eyes shut tight and knees drawn up. Tomas saw it all. One young girl, perhaps fourteen or fifteen years old, survived the culling. She dug down deep into the excelsior, her cheek pressed hard against the glass, eyes shut tight as the people in the pan. Tomas looked at her through the glass. What would she gain? They'd find her tomorrow. Did she know the people in the pan? Could she smell them? Could she pray?

An omelet they made. More like a big frittata (crustless quiche) with peppers and onions and helpless slaughtered people. One hundred and nine souls served up in this cousin to a pizza. Cook plated everything just so. Then two formally attired Doberman footmen came in to carry it out. After that they assembled simpler fare for the staff.

Tomas watched. He studied everything with keen vampire eyes. Cook wore a long, full, starched white apron, still surprisingly clean. It had pockets, but they were neatly pinned shut. She never used them. Too fastidious for that. Trained in the old ways and proud of it. And she bustled about the kitchen, working here at the counter, or turning to face the sink. Kitchen girl was a long way off polishing silver. Not the good set used for dinner, but a casual collection seen at luncheon, or tea. And the errand boy was long gone, off to fetch shawls for chilly Greyhound aunts, or a forgotten pipe for the old master.

If I can reach the apron strings - Tomas thought - I can climb 'round and slip into a pocket. She must take a break before luncheon. Tomas knew something of baronial domesticity from his days in Restoration England. So he watched and waited. But it proved easier than he thought. She came over to the counter and reached up high, straining to return a sugar bowl to its place. Her pocket was right there. So he darted out from behind the tank, raced to the edge (almost falling off) and slipped inside. The pathetic young girl in the tank saw him go. Imagine what she thought.

After a time, some of which he spent pressed tight against various bull-nosed edges, she returned to her quarters where she took off the apron and hung it from a hook. Then she eased herself into a chair and dozed. Tomas waited till the snores were loud and regular. Those with experience in the matter know dogs snore too. Then he poked his head up out of the pouch looking for a means of escape. One apron string fell down to the floor. Rapunzel's braid offered no finer road. So he climbed out and made his way down ( equal to a ninety foot drop in his world), scampering off to hide beneath a commode. Eighteen heartbeats later he thought better of it. What if she relieved herself? What if she emptied it? She'd see him then. No, the commode was no good. The graceful, little cut-out at the bottom of the legless dresser was better. So he raced over and dived in, cool and secure in the welcoming darkness.

No spider here. He was grateful for that.

Then he fell into a vampire nap and dreamed of Old Kashmir.

<more next time>


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