“Do lift your chin and close your mouth garcon” she remarked to one compact yet non descript lad, and to a rather “Slightly over done” length of humanoid charcoal. Both did so, and all fly catching dangers were averted.
Neither spoke, train wreck fascination overwhelming the unlikely pair, not quite fully understanding this occurrence, yet gluing all eye’s to her through some warped form of a grim tractor beam locked them to the spot. The net result being that neither could look away if they tried.
Again she closed her eyes, taking time to take stock of her body. No obvious breaks, some superficial scratches and bruising, pulse still racing but slowing steadily, breath returning and slowing also, did manage not to wet one’s self in the terror of the last five minutes. Clothing still mostly covering my body, skirt has not ridden up, undies have not fallen down, shirt damp though not wet enough to draw more attention from the compact lad and his odd cross dressing friend than would be appreciated, hair still firmly tied back in her achondrite hard and shaped bun. Perspiring more than is lady like but willing to “live” with, ha ha, and feeling as though I have rolled in a dry creek beds worth of dirt and grit. This will suit me most admirably.
“I take it Messieurs have seen a lady before?”
John had always taken that the inability to blush was something of an advantage of the crispy state he had maintained these last 580 odd years. Something that he had never quite cottoned on to however was that ‘blushing’ wasn’t just reddening of cheeks, but a whole bodys’ worth of movement and mannerism giving away more than any reddening of cheek ever could. In Johns case it was a girly foot wiggle and minor tilting forward and to the right with his head.
Mini, a far less complicated gent, blushed the colour of unwanted beetroot in a late night burger, and turned a full180°, his back facing her, lips pursed, eyes diagnosing a crack in the ceiling.
With the aid of the one kitchen chair Mini possessed, she tentatively drew herself from the floor until she was upright, back ram rod straight.
“I wish nothing, especially the inconvenience of you, however, I find myself in somewhat of a pickle right now, and I am also in no little disarray. So, am I able to impose upon you some little while, until I have returned myself to a fit state?” the first direct question from a female Mini has had that he can draw from memory.
“oui” Mini’s brave retort.
“Good grief!!! Is that wee white beastie glaring at me a ferret?” further foot wiggling follows with a “oui, oui, c’est mon furet.” from Mini.
“Interesting. Right, one of you two light the copper, and the other go and draw water from where ever one draws water around here. I should like to bathe, and I should like the loan of a fresh towelling cloth and clothing to cover myself with, until I have been able to scrub these clothes, and get them dry.”
John and Mini make to move “hold on the pair of you. My name is Olivia St. Jean Melamare. You may call me Liv or Mademoiselle Melamare. And you are?”
“It is my pleasure Vieux John, Mini. Now away with you, and fetch my bath”
After discussing hot and cold taps, and that it was called a “shower”, and being handed the requested towel and garments, Liv disappear into the bathroom, only to extend a hand through a crack in the door, passing out her damp and dirty clothes.
All consuming terror filled Mini. This was the first time he had actually held women’s clothing before, so, holding it at arms length like a full nappy, Mini spirited it away to dump them unceremoniously into his state of the art, more memory than Apollo 11, washing machine. After two minutes of internal debate, he ‘did’ add softener and set the dials to ‘Extra Heavy – Maxi Wash – Warm”, closed the door on the white front loader, pressed “on”. The running washing machine did not affect the water strength or temperature. Another of Mini’s celebrated gifts from the God’s.
“Ummm…..old Coque, when was the last time you had a lass in ‘ere?” old John seeing fully the inside of Mini’s properly for the first time.
“Never.” such a simple statement.
“Oh, ummm, ok.” vieux John deciding it an easier conversation avoided than had.
She stepped out of the bathroom radiant, scrubbed and refreshed. Towel wrapped around her hair in that uniquely feminine manner, whilst, braless, Mini struggled inwardly with this, doing his best not to look. She wore a slightly too large white Toulouse FC top, a pair of Mini’s old blue tracksuit pants and a pair of dinosaur feet slippers.
More open mouths. One stern look. Mouths closed. Lives of passing winged insects saved.
“Now, whose apartment am I in. Yours Vieux John, or is this your residence Mini?”
“Good. Now Mini, you haven’t made an offer of water, or coffee, or pastry. May I have all if they are available to me. My escape has taxed me more than I realised.”
“Now charcoal man, you have an air of familiarity I cannot place about you. Are you old?”
Questions and demands asked in a most refreshingly direct, yet non-offensive, manner.
“Is it dark outside now?”
“What time is it then?”
“10 o’clock of the evening Liv”
“Blast. I shall have to stay here then.” replies Liv, much to the butterflies wings of boy girl related fear.
Mini first brings water in a jug and a stolen pint glass. He the finds food in the form of packet biscuits, and makes a pot of coffee, locates a bottle of milk, sugar, tea spoon, and mug, and places all before her.
Liv smiles and thanks him then sets about demolishing all.
With washing machine quietly whirring in the background, and a minor mess of biscuit packet and coffee apparel in the foreground she strikes up conversation.
“So, mini” snoring from old John getting louder by the minute from the couch behind them, “how long have you been here?”
“Death cut my necrobilical cord a day and a half ago. Only found my old flat today.”
This surprised Liv somewhat. “what, you’ve only just got her, literally?”
“Oui Mademoiselle Melamare” he liked the way her name ran over her tongue. He was also having serious issues in the ‘eye to eye’ department, and the fact that the absolute epitome of femininity was seated opposite him. And the epitome of all femininity was talking ‘to’ and not ‘at’ him. The fact the even from the perspective of a Frenchman, she had a rather deep and robust northern French accent.
Plus Liv spoke well. She was direct and matter of fact, but she also spoke with a smile and from the heart. She was either completely unaware of the her beauty and her body, or, she didn’t consider them outwardly something worth skiting about. Either way she had paralysed Mini.
“Now Mini, I know of you. What do you wish to know of me?”
“Why are you here?”
Initially and inwardly perplexed, Liv took a full 30 seconds to reply, and then “but Mini, didn’t you save me from the beast?”
“I ran and ran and ran and when I knew it was all over. The next thing I was laying on your floor, I opened my eyes, and I saw you. You saved me didn’t you?”
“I don’t think so. One minute I was just getting back to my flat, then there was a crash, and a beautiful wo….., sorry, a woman was laying on my floor. If I did save you, I am very pleased I have, but I have no idea how.”
Moonless as the night was, the darkness held no fears for the beast as it slunk around doorways, through woods and patches of scrub. It swam a creek at one stage, and finally picked up the scent it had been seeking, then twenty minutes later, cloaked in darkness it shook itself in the manner of a wet hound shaking water from its body. Then its hellish form changed into the shape it was forced to hold around in the public eye, and those souls that had nothing to concern themselves with as far as he regarded. The dull red pupil of his left eye, and the equally dull green pupil of his right, were the only two things that did not change form or shape of his. He liked that.
Change in form now complete, he shrugged under a slatted house gate, barked twice at the beast of a cat peering from the front window of the neighbour’s house, gave his collar a scratch, had a piddle on the lawn, did a quick security conscious round of the yard. Barked loudly just for the thing of it, then entered the two storied terrace via the dog flap at the back door.
Inside, he had a quick look around down stairs, and was content that all was well, and trotted off to his water bowl which he emptied.
His food bowl was far more interesting. There was half of the soul of an adulterer, the torn left leg of what was most likely a five year old white child with rickets, lastly the still warm liver of a child damaging priest. He devoured the lot in the space of a minute. He relished the soul most of all, licking all traces of it from his bowl.
Mr Darcy wandered upstairs, into the lounge room, and plonked himself wearily at his mistresses feet.
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