"Open! Open!" Igor bounced up and down, pointing at the corridor floor. "Hole in floor is openopen!"
"Let me see!" Boris rushed over with the lamp. "Oh, Hell!"
The trapdoor had been activated. The girls must have fallen through.
"We'd better get down there fast!" he barked. "They'll be eaten alive by the rats!"
"YesYes! Quickly! Food is for Master, not for cuddlies!"
Igor dived head-first into the hole. Boris almost followed him, but thought better of it and ran for the stairway.
He hurtled down the steps, nearly falling several times, and barely saving the lantern; but he had to get down to the sub-cellar before too much harm was done. The incredible luck they had had at finding four humans for the Master to feed on was in danger of being reversed, and the Master's fury would be immense!
He barreled out into the cavernous catacomb, his lantern doing little more than forming an aura around him in that huge open space.
In the distance, beneath the opening for the trapdoor, he could just about make out Igor's legs, wriggling frantically in the air, his body buried to the waist in the bones of past victims.
"Iggy, you idiot!" he whispered, through gritted teeth.
The rats must have fled to whatever hiding places they could find at Igor's arrival; so his lunatic enthusiasm had done at least some good.
Boris scanned the area, struggling hard to find signs of the girls.
Close to Igor's legs on the bonepile, there was a flash of bright red.
He ran over, to see how much damage the vermin had wrought.
One! Only One!
There were no signs of any other recent bodies!
Only one of them must have taken the deadfall!
Boris heaved a sigh of relief as he grabbed Igor's legs and pulled him from the foul heap, punching him in the balls to stop his wriggling.
"Where is food?" Igor blurted, spitting teeth from his mouth – other people's teeth. "Did cuddlies eat Master's food?"
"Looks like they only got one of them," Boris said heavily, standing over the bloody mess that had been Scary Spice. "We'd better bandage up what's left of her, and take it to the Master."
Leaving the lantern on the pile of bones, they struggled away in darkness with the flayed singer's body.
"See what we get for following your directions?" nagged Victoria. "We're bleeding lost!"
"We're bleeding lost because we followed your bleeding directions in the first bleeding place!" Emma snapped back at her. "At least I'm bleeding trying to find us a bleeding way out, rather than just bleeding bitching about it all the bleeding time!"
"Are you calling me a bitch, you little fat cow?!"
"Are you calling me a fat cow, you saggy-titted bitch?!"
The two squared off at each other; teeth bared, claws flexed...
The voice was so tiny that they barely heard it.
"Did you hear that tiny voice?" asked Emma.
"Barely," Victoria replied.
"I think it came from this way," said Emma, leaning in the direction of the sound and pointing
"Oh, so we're following your directions again, are we?"
"Oh, shut up!" Emma told her. "Which way do you think it came from, then?"
"Murph murph." Muttered Victoria, embarrassed.
"Pardon?" sneered Emma. "I didn't hear you!"
"Oh, all right!" huffed Victoria. "I think it came from the same way you do!"
"help me..." The voice came again.
Emma looked down the corridor, seeing nothing beyond the veil of light from their candles.
"Shall we go and see who it is?" she asked.
"Might as well. We're going nowhere, standing here; and he might know the way to Melanie's room."
It was done.
The beast had been impregnated with his seed.
The door of its room closed behind him as he left the beast panting on its bed.
"Wow!" He heard it say. "So that's what it's like!"
He floated through the halls to his laboratory.
Boris and Igor were waiting outside, with the body of a food beast which had been wrapped head-to-foot in bandages.
"What is this new thing you bring me?" He asked.
He spoke gently. Given that they had found him a virgin with which he could breed, the Master was of a mind to be generous with his slaves.
"It's, ah... Um..." Boris could not find words.
"Is food!" yelled Igor; desperation in his voice. "Cuddlies have eaten food!"
The Master waited patiently for a comprehensible explanation.
"The, ah, the girls left their room," Boris stammered, "and one of them fell into the waste disposal," He was trembling badly.
He had no reason to fear.
The Master was pleased.
He had given the virgin food beast the gift of immortality, to allow it to survive the birthing, which meant that he had drunk deeply. Drunk it dry. He would relieve it of that immortality by destroying it in a few short days, once his offspring was born. He had no need of such competition.
For the moment, though, his thirsts had been sated. It had been a long time since he had tasted such young, fresh blood, and in such quantities.
"How badly is it damaged?"
"It... It is dead, Master."
The Master stared at the mummified form.
There was still life there. Still a spark within the fibres of the form, even if all life had left the beast's brain.
Such a body could still have its uses.
He put his hand out, and lifted it, palm upward.
Boris and Igor jumped aside, as the dead food beast also lifted, floating from the cold floor at the touch of the Master's invisible strings. The laboratory door opened, and the Master silently ordered the body to enter and take a place on the granite slab.
"Tend to the other food." He said, as he followed the body inside.
He ordered the door to close behind him.
"That's where it's coming from," said Emma. "One of those cells, over there."
"Yeah," agreed Victoria. "Let's go see who it is."
They edged cautiously toward the cells.
"help me..." The voice repeated.
"That one!" Victoria announced, pointing.
They crept up and peeped through the bars.
"He looks a bit of a mess," said Emma.
"I'll say!" agreed Victoria. "Green shirt with blue jeans! He should be arrested and thrown in gaol!"
"Um... Think for a minute," said Emma. "Where is he, exactly?"
"Oh," Victoria put her hand to her mouth, giggling. " See? There is justice in the world!"
"Help me... The flies... I cannot reach the flies!"
"He says he can't reach his flies," said Victoria.
"He looks a bit familiar," Emma frowned. "Do we know him?"
Victoria peered hard at the weak, stick-like body of the man within the cell.
"I don't think so," she said. "But he looks a bit like Tom Waits."
"Tom Waits? I don't like him. He does that stuff on his CDs. What's it called again? Um... Oh. I know. It's called 'music'."
Victoria squinted at her.
"'Music'? That's disgusting!" she grimaced. "Why can't he do pop, like people what has got brains do?"
"Dunno." sighed Emma. "It's a strange world. Shall we get him out of there?"
"He's chained to the wall. Are you any good with locks?"
"Me? No. I can't even comb my own hair properly."
"Well, fuck him, then. Let's hurry up and find Melanie's room."
"A pussy... A pussy..."
"Fuck him?" queried Emma. "But it's not my turn as 'Courtesy Girl', this week. It's Mel's."
Victoria looked shocked.
"Mel's turn? So when is it My turn?"
"Not 'til week after next."
"Oh, shit!" Victoria grumped. "I thought it was next week. I've been looking forward to it!"
"No, it's me, next week. We can go two-ups, if you like. Most blokes don't mind that."
"Really? Thanks! I hope we get a lot of visitors!"
"What about this one, then? Shall we do him, then let Mel have one of ours, next week?"
Victoria grasped the bars of the cell door, and rattled them.
"Can't get in," she said, sadly. "We'll have to leave it."
"Who could refuse me a pussy?"
"Well, Mel's not having one of ours, then! That'll serve her right for him being locked in there!"
"Yeah! How dare she demand..."
Victoria cut short her tirade, as a bestial growling noise came from behind them...
A Loud bestial growling noise...
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