27: The Servants

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                                                                         Part 27: The Servants

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                 "If my master catches you, you'll be done for." (Clever Gretel, Grimm Brothers)

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                                                                                           -Ruta-

        Like serpents, my decaying hands shoot out and latch onto the collar of the servant closest to me—Munich.

         “Out, you fat, blubbering fool!” I screech at him. My voice is a crackling, jumbled mess behind my mask, sounding as though something has possessed me. With all of the strength I can muster up, I shake the wide-eyed, fat man back and forth, screaming, “Get out, get out, get out!

         Caught off-guard, Munich screams and yells, flapping his short arms about like a flightless bird. “Help me!” he cries. “A she-devil's got me!” He manages to press his sweaty palm against my stomach before he gives me a good, sturdy shove. I stumble backwards and my back slams against something hard. A ferocious growl pulls free from my mouth as I push away from the cold surface, intent on wringing Munich's giant neck.

         Before I can get my hands on him, two metal-plated arms wrap around my midsection and draw me back. I writhe and kick about, feeling like a caged animal. The arms are locked tight—there's no way I'm breaking free.

         I tilt my head to the side to glare at Nate, my armored captor. “Release me,” I hiss.

         Nate frowns down at me before casting a infuriated glance at the two frightened servants. “What's the meaning of this?”

         “You tell me!” Munich croaks while rubbing at the reddened skin around his collar. His thin mustache is glistening with sweat. “That she-devil burst into our room and attacked us!”

         “Your room?” I scoff while unsuccessfully trying to wrench away from Nate. “How absurd!”

         Mildred finally steps out from behind the wardrobe she was using as a hiding place. Her greasy, blonde hair is scrambled around her head like a bird's nest. “Yes, our room, you foolish monkey! And we don't appreciate hideous women in masks coming inside and trying to choke us to death!” She folds her arms over her chest and sniffs in Nate's direction. “She one of your girls, Natey?”

         Nate keeps me held close despite my most ardent efforts to get away from him. “I've taken it upon myself to look after her and her boy.” I now notice that Eden has also entered the room. He stands silently next to Nate.

         “He's not my boy,” I spit while giving another yank in an attempt to escape him, “and I don't need looking after, especially not by you.”

         Munich laughs. “Quite the saucy, little thing, aren't you?” I recoil in disgust as his fingers, smelly and round as sausages, comb over the edge of my mask. His sweaty face breaks into a shuddersome grin. “I bet you have a pretty face under that mask.”

         The smile on his face crumples and dies as my foot makes a beautiful connection with his most sensitive area. I watch with amusement as he sinks to the ground. Pitiful squealing, akin to that of hogs, pours from his mouth while he squirms like an insect at my feet.

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