Friday, October 10, 2014


Fortified by the blood, Tomas slid under a door into a dark service-way. All great houses have them. Arteries enabling the staff to soundlessly flow through the manor without being seen until necessary. Smooth slate floors... rather inexpensive marble wainscoting and pale grey polished plaster above that...although at this hour shrouded in complete darkness.

Tomas proceeded with caution, quite the necessity when only two inches tall. He couldn't rely on vampiric abilities. This universe wasn't his universe and that caused some sort of space/time interference. Thus his usual talents flickered in and out... magical 'static' if you will. 

Now there were doors along the way. One led to the housekeeper's office. Musty, old upholstered pieces from elsewhere in the property.... Another fronted a storeroom for pots and pans. Tomas didn't need much. Momentary flickers of enhanced olfactory ability provided more than enough information.... a metallic scent... sachet.... onions and potatoes.... Ah! onions and potatoes... That must be the kitchen... There, up ahead.... Dim, watery light leaked out from beneath the door. He squeezed under. Apparently this one was hung with more precision. 

A tiny bit of light washed in through the huge wall of windows.... leaded glass, from counter height to ceiling. Odd that this world had a moon so much like our own. He looked about. How vast this space was, more akin to a catering hall than a private home... Neat, hexagonal, white, tiled floors... Avenues of drawers and cupboards topped with cold, flat, granite. He knew that, because bull-nose edges protrude a bit and he could see them,

Then he smelled it... a human tang... strong, salty, dense and sulfurous. He sniffed. Where was it coming from? Scents echo in cold, hard rooms like this. But as he progressed, it grew stronger. There! Up above... on the counter... Live humans... But how would he get there? Tomas tried to dig his nails into a cupboard door. Perhaps he could climb up that way. Yet the lacquer was too hard. Then he saw it... a broom... an old style, rolled, corn broom, such as Cinderella would have used.... carelessly forgotten, it leaned against the edge of the counter maybe a hundred and forty steps down.

He ran to it, a two inch tall mountaineer, in the land of the giant collies (and Alsatians and Husky-Wolfie things). It looked rustic. Probably made on the estate. But the broomstick looked smooth, though not too smooth... easy to climb, once passed the witchy looking business end. He scrambled up. Then he felt it move. Not really move, but shift a little. The broomstick, being round was sensitive. He'd have to go slow... and he did, inching up through the silvery darkness.

He stepped off. The counter top was cold and empty.... everything in its place... nothing lying about. Aristocratic establishments were like that. But up ahead, against the tiled wall, sheltered from the moonlight by overhanging cupboards, was a fish tank... or a terrarium... smooth, clear sides, rectangular in shape, with black metal seams. Tomas ran over, put his face up against the glass, shading his eyes with his hands, the better to see through the reflective surface, and peered in. A thick layer of excelsior (shredded paper) covered the bottom, perhaps as high as his knees, or a bit above his knees. The human smell was so strong. He rapped on the glass... Nothing... He rapped again... This went on about four or five times.... Then they started to move. There, back near the far side, the shredded bedding began to shift. Heads peeked out. Tomas saw them. Scared, sad eyes looked back, glistening in the shadows. He couldn't be one of them and they knew it. He was clothed. Humans never wore clothes. Where would they get them? How would they make them? That's what excelsior was for... burrow in and huddle together. It worked... sort of.

And Tomas remembered the dinner. Had to be eight hundred humans. Where'd they all come from? There couldn't be more than maybe a hundred and ten in there. 

No one moved. Those in the tank knew. They knew what would happen. No one ever came back. This was the end. They'd never see another night again... or even another afternoon... Breakfast fare, they were. Destined for the griddle... Scrambled with eggs. How fine and crunchy their bones were. Huge canine muzzles had no problem with that.

Tomas wanted to talk to them. He didn't know the particulars. He couldn't sense their thoughts. He didn't know their language. OK, maybe he'd drain a few. That's how he was now. But, if they could communicate, some would probably live, at least for a while... If they could get off the counter....

That's when he felt it. That's when he heard the CRASH, as the broom slid down to the floor.

Every little head ducked back into the bedding and he was left there, exposed and alone on the wide, cold, stone expanse...

But what else heard the noise?...


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