Fish, Potatoes and Peas

58 10 4

"Hubert, come downstairs! I've made your dinner!"

"In a minute, Mum," Hubert called out of his bedroom. How was it that even just when she was making him dinner, she managed to annoy the crap out of him?

He looked at the card in his hand. It was called "Gus", a 2/2 creature from the latest Magic set. Hubert had decided he didn't like Unglued. It wasn't the concept of the set - far from it; he would have thought that a Magic set that was designed to be funny would make him laugh, but it didn't. It just made him sigh. School boy American humour wasn't funny. Not proper funny. Not Brass Eye funny.

"Gus comes into play with a plus one, plus one counter on it for each game you have lost to your opponent since you last won a Magic game against him or her," Hubert read aloud. To be fair, that's like a 14/14 for three against Doug. He placed it on the bookshelf.

Still not funny, and the silver borders offended his sense of uniformity. 

"Huuuuuu-bert!" came the call from the downstairs.

"Commmiiiiinnnggg!" he shrieked back.

She really was so annoying.

At fourteen, Hubert was just about ready to leave home; university couldn't come fast enough. He was only at the start of his GCSEs, but they were no problem and he didn't see how A levels could really add that much in terms of difficulty. A maths degree, or something revolving around computers, and he'd be off earning hundreds of thousands of pounds somewhere exciting. Perhaps a high London flat, with wide windows and pristine black furnishings. He'd drive to work in a 911 or maybe an XJR with leather seats and an inbuilt CD player.

He opened the door and stepped from the bedroom to the landing. "I'm just going for a piss!" he shouted down the stairs. He could hear his mother's "I didn't need to know that!" following him into the bathroom.

The goat stared at him, creepy bloody picture. Hubert finished his urination and left, forgetting slightly on purpose to drop the lid and flush. It pissed his mum off and sometimes that was reason enough.

"Can I have the ketchup?" he asked his mum as he sat at the table. The fish, peas and potatoes were her usual mix of boring and tasteless crap that she liked to serve him as an evening meal. They never got to have pizza. He didn't look up at her as she passed him the bottle.

"Planning on anything nice for the weekend?" she asked.

"Doug's coming over. We were just going to play Magic a lot. The new set's out and we want to see if it's any good."

"Is that the funny one? You've been looking forward to that, haven't you."

"Yeah. Only it's not funny, it's shit. It's filled with jokes that appeal to no one. No one with any sort of a sense of humour. I mean, how funny is a fucking chicken anyway?"

"Don't swear, Hubert."

Hubert stuffed a fork filled with fishy potato into his mouth. "Srry, mm."

"Don't talk with food in your mouth, you sound like your just saying 'hnnnng'. No one can understand you."

Hubert swallowed, "Yeah, sorry, mum."

"Hnnng Huuuu."

"What?"

"Hnnnn, hnnng hnng huuu huuu hnnng."

Hubert spun on his chair to look at his mother. She was bent over the cooker, obviously in pain.

"Hnnnnnng," she groaned again. She turned her face to look at him and Hubert stared in disbelief. Her skin was pale, tinged with green; her eyes milky; her hair coming away and falling off in clumps under her fingers, taking disgusting globules of rotten flesh with it.

"Mum!" Hubert shouted.

She looked at him. Her eyes wet with tears. "Huuuuuu."

Hubert stopped breathing. His throat was constricted and though his brain told him to calm and take a breath, it hurt to try. Panic stopped anything coming in through his nose, and his jaw moved uselessly, trying to get oxygen down his neck. All of a sudden he gasped and cool air tore through his throat like poisonous gas.

He rolled, back aching and muscles tightening off the bed and onto the floor. The dimness of the evening was cut with a single line of fading sunlight coming through the gap where the curtains joined. Edgar turned to look down at him from the position of bedroom-sentry. Breathing was coming a lot easier now.

"Fuck." Hubert's eyes were filled with tears. His legs were wet with his own urine, the smell of which was just reaching him from his bed. "Fuck," he said again. He didn't want to stand. He didn't want to have to get up and sort it out. He'd need to change the bed, do his best to wash the mattress with a cloth. Buy Febreeze because there was no chance that there was any left in the house since he had purged it. He didn't want to do any of it; he wanted a mum.

His phone glowed 7:17 pm at him. He could go to the supermarket for supplies and be cleaned and back before Ursula woke. The idea that the impressively-capable vampire woman he now shared his life with would discover that he had pissed his own bed was completely unacceptable.

"I've got to go shopping, Edgar." Huu said quietly to his friend. "And I need to have a shower."

Edgar looked at him impassively.

"Of course you don't care. I don't know why I thought I had anyone to talk to. It's just me. The rest of you are dead. You're dead. Ursula is dead. Dan might as well be dead. And Mum. My Mummy died, Edgar. Do you remember?"

Hubert stood up and stood there naked in front of his skeleton minion. "She used to make me dinner. Simple things for the most part; frozen fish and mashed potato with some peas. If I was lucky, she'd make beans because I liked beans, but she always said that peas were better for me so more often it was peas."

Edgar said nothing.

"Shit. Shave. Shower. Shop. I'm going to buy myself some beans Edgar, and we can have them for a surreal late breakfast at 9pm rather than 9am. We eat at night now, we live nocturnally like bloody owls or bats or hamsters, because I'm a necromancer and apparently, that's what necromancers do."

He shut the bedroom door quietly behind himself, so as to not wake the vampire.

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