Feeding time again and we'e serving up a feast from Kilmo. We offer "Marrow", which is packed with juicy creepiness and sure to satisfy.
In Kilmo’s twenties, he lived in vehicles and caravans on the continent as part of the European travelling/ squat/ teknival scene. To cut a long story short - he writes now. He’s brought it from squatting in Bristol, to a pub car park, to here: piratefrequencies.wordpress.com
The suite could have swallowed a dozen ballrooms with space to spare, thought Godfrey as his mouth puckered like he’d bitten a lemon. He straightened his dress shirt, brushing imaginary dust off the sleeves; it was hardly his responsibility if the place smelt bad now was it? It would just take some getting used to that was all. His pinstripes had become etched so deep he counted place settings in his sleep.
The lock snicked shut, but Godfrey was more interested in looking around. In forty years this was the first time he’d ignored a palace order.
‘I’m better off without them, if I’m not allowed to do my job properly what am I here for?’
Godfrey's footsteps paused; he’d leave Palace employ this evening. For the first time in his adult life he wouldn’t have a job. A noise came from the room’s depths.
His mouth snapped shut as echoes rang through the dust. He knew he shouldn’t have drunk so much.
‘Besides, they shouldn’t keep things hidden from me.’
The room that had swallowed the trays he’d passed through its door for decades had been growing in his mind ever since they’d given him the news.
Godfrey sighed, he should have expected the dismissal he supposed, there was nothing in his contract that said they had to keep him going forever. His guts sloshed, at least he was pissed enough to cope.
‘I'm not dead at sixty-five, you hear me?’
The echoes were swallowed by the room’s corners and Godfrey felt his skin crawl.
He went another step, one hand held in front of him in case the darkness decided to grow teeth.
‘They could at least open the curtains once in a while.’
Godfrey sucked foetid air between his teeth as his feet kicked through the garbage, and he pulled the drapes to one side. Weak sunlight leaked through windows that hadn’t seen a cleaner’s touch in years. He took a step back with the dust billowing round his feet.
‘What the Hell are you?’
Godfrey never swore, but what he could see on the wall caught the light like a mountain range, except nothing as mobile as that was made of rock. He’d seen similar under the attic eaves; little gifts left by spiders, but this had to be the mother of them all. It stretched from floor to ceiling. For a moment he thought about touching it. No doubt it was some sort of vermin; there were thousands in a building as large as this, particularly in the unused wings. A voice stopped him.
‘What are you doing here, Godfrey?’
He made himself turn round slowly.
‘Ma’am? I was looking for the new cleaner. She’s an agency girl.’
‘Don’t lie to me; I can smell it on you. You thought you’d have a little look before you left, didn’t you? You know this room’s off limits. But, it’s your last chance to take liberties. How unusually brave.’
‘My apologies, Ma’am, I was just leaving.’
‘No, I don't think so, not yet. You're curious, and we should see what can be done about that. Locked doors always get that result in the feeble minded. You do get curious, don’t you?’
‘It's not necessary, Ma'am, really. I shouldn't have come here. It was just the footman...’
Godfrey stopped aware he was babbling, the voice sounded so close to his employer’s it made him shiver. If it hadn’t been that he’d put her on the plane himself, he’d have thought it was her.
‘May I have the pleasure of knowing who I’m addressing, Ma’am?’
‘The head of the family, Godfrey, who else?’
Godfrey felt a flicker of relief. There was nothing to be frightened of then if that was the case. The blow had already fallen; there wasn’t much else they could do that would hurt him. But he hadn’t been aware of any relative older than his Monarch. He felt his shoulders drop, after all, who cared? It was wasn’t his responsibility any more was it? The only thing was…Godfrey's thoughts slowed.
‘But, Ma’am, that’s not possible the Queen’s...’
‘Hush, Godfrey, every family has its little secrets even one’s trusted retainers like you don’t know about.’
‘Of course, Ma’am.’ Godfrey thought about the trays, and the bottles of pills before deciding it was best to change the subject. He pointed to the thing on the wall. 'What’s that?’
He could barely see his finger.
‘That? Something I’ve been looking after. A little present to take care of things when I’m gone.’
‘Would you like it removed, Ma’am? Should I call for help?’
Godfrey wished he’d made more of an effort with the curtains. There was something wrong with the way she was sat for a start. He felt his stomach lurch again.
‘I said come closer.’
He shuffled forward, careful not to sway too much until the figure in the high-backed chair brought him to a halt.
‘You always were obedient weren’t you, Godfrey?’
The occupant of the chair’s chin nearly touched her chest, it looked like the furniture was the only thing holding her up.
‘Ma’am you need a doctor. I’m going to get one of the staff.’ The woman sighed, and Godfrey stepped back. She stank worse than roadkill. ‘I’ll return directly Ma’am.’
‘I’m afraid not Godfrey.’ Her chuckle bubbled on a lot longer than he liked, ‘It’s a bit late for that, and to be honest with you, I’m more than a little fond of them. I’m sure it’s only natural after so long. They might get damaged. You on the other hand, well you’re much more suited to playing host than me now.’
‘I don’t understand.’
‘Of course, you don't, Godfrey, but my darlings are going to be very hungry, and they’ve a lot of growing to do. Don't worry; it won't bother you long.’
That chuckle was back, and Godfrey thought about running, but of course he couldn’t. He hadn’t been given permission yet.
Instead, his eyes were drawn to the thing on the wall; it was struggling now, rippling, as what it held crawled below its surface. The woman sat opposite was moving too, wet ends of bone slid through her chest as her spine felt air. Godfrey watched the dust motes; he knew where the rest of her had gone now. A sun beam found its way to the sac on the wall and the ribs holding it in place.
‘Something wrong? I imagine I look quite a state, not what you’re used to is it?’
He couldn’t answer; anything with that mess where her sternum had been shouldn’t be able to talk, let alone crack jokes.
‘Don’t say anything, Ma’am. I’m getting help.’
Godfrey heard the words leave his lips, but what help a doctor could be he didn’t know.
‘Ok, Godfrey if you insist. Hurry back. I’ll be waiting.’
What he hoped was a mouse, or at worst a rat, skittered through the darkness.
‘What was that?’
‘Oh, an early riser I expect. I imagine some of them are already on their way out into the great big yonder.’
Her voice had become as soft as the wind he could hear whistling through the cracks in the window’s broken panes.
‘I’d leave if I were you. Not that it will do much good. It doesn’t matter how far you go.’
The sac surged as tides pulsed through its flesh, and a fissure opened in its side. Godfrey saw legs shrink back as they met the air for the first time.
‘The army, the police….’
‘Ah yes, our security services, I’m sure they’ll be very helpful.’
‘What do you mean?’
‘Well, the world’s a service industry; one designed for us. My little darlings will be glad of the assistance.’
‘Godfrey, you’re a Butler, shortly to be an ex-Butler. Don’t try and think. You’re put here for our benefit, and you’ll give everything you’ve got, not only that you’ll thank us for the pleasure. We’ll make sure of it.’
‘You don’t know what you’re saying, Ma’am.’
‘Of course not, heaven forbid. I’m an old woman. Still, I think I’ve made enough to make all your problems go away. Why not meet them? My children will explain everything in words even you can’t mistake. After all, they’ll be using your mouth to do it with.’
Godfrey felt something touch his foot, but his eyes never dropped. The last thing he wanted to do was look down. He never wanted to look down.
‘People will fight.’
‘Of course, they will, Godfrey. It wouldn’t be entertaining otherwise. But, they’ll behave soon enough. My darlings will sit in the centre of their heads like fingers in a pie. You, however, will be dead.’
The light penetrating the room was dying as the sun fell; taking her words with it.
‘Goodbye, Godfrey; you’ve been a very good Butler, really, first rate.’
Godfrey began to back away. The door wasn’t far. If he could… if he could just… but her offspring were at his legs, slim, and inquisitive. The first was already squeezing its way inside his uniform, gently, like it didn’t want to damage him yet.
We hope you have enjoyed this week's feeding, help yourself to an after-mint; better yet browse the other stories we have to offer in our ezine section.
*Marrow © Kilmo
For more from Kilmo:
‘Happy Valley’ - CC&D magazine November 2017‘Herons’ - CC&D magazine October 2017‘Satan’s Girls’ - Dark Fire Magazine July 2017‘Closest’ 100 Voices Anthology - Centum Press Sep 2016Acceptances‘Tic’ 100 Voices Volume Four – Centum Press‘Fifth Dimension Thirst’ – to be read by Mortis Media‘Full’ December 2017 issue of CC&D magazine‘Redman’ January 2018 issue of CC&d magazine‘Vanish’ Blood Moon Rising – issue #71 Jan. 2018‘Fortunes’ Blood Moon Rising – issue #72 April 2018.‘Well’ Blood Moon Rising – issue #73 July 2018‘Big Country’ in Hell’s Talisman is scheduled for release on February 1st, 2018 with Schreyer Ink Publishing‘Cost’ to be published in WiFiles Magazine (date unknown)