Grand Guginol

“You’re supposed to obey, not think!” the Father said. “We need these music sheets to find the rest of the set and that damned lich. Now go!”

Me stomach started tying itself inta knots. If that last piece a’ music was the same one the manager hadn’t found, then Phillips had been swimming wit’ bigger fish than he knew. Maybe enough to get him killed. Brother Lemur was gonna have to give up the goods for me to be sure.

I creeped up to the side of the stairs an’ gave Brother Lemur’s ankle a good yank on the fourth step from the bottom. He hit the floor wit’ a thud an’ I knocked him out wit’ a couple a’ punches. The Father shouted something down while I grabbed the valise Lemur dropped. I ran as fast as me stubby legs could carry me.

I knew that they wouldna carry me far enough. No goin’ back to the apartment, no horse or steam carriages this time a’ night…the only choice was to hide. There was a horse stable right next to the tenement wit’ a good sized manure pile used for heatin’. I dove right into it and kept it out a’ me eyes so I could see out. The Inquisitors didna give it a second glance, but I stayed in there for a couple a’ hours after they left. Then and only then did I dig me way out and go home.


I spent the rest a’ the night cleaning meself and me clothes. Just when I thought I had every last spot a’ the manure off me body, I’d find another clump stickin’ to me elbow, twixt me toes, over me eyebrows. It was e’en worse for me hair and beard, long an’ thick as they are. There was a couple a’ times that I seriously thought a’ dunkin’ me head inta the bleach me clothes were soakin’ up in the bathtub. I settled for soap and shampoo once I drained out the bleach an’ got the clothes out. I didna bother cleanin’ the valise. Once I got the sheets out, I dumped it in the sewers.

It was nearly dawn when I got me first look at the sheet. Like before, I recognized the music scales as the same, but couldna make heads or tails a’ the language a’ the lyrics. Probably that Qanya, I thought as I felt me eyes begin to droop. I put all the music sheets together and slipped ‘em into an oversize envelope that I kept under the mattress. Me head barely hit the pillow ‘fore I was out.


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