“That was fun, Grandmother,” said Spitemorta, pausing to count the severed fingers and toes which she was picking up from the floor of the rocking coach, all about the mutilated body lying between their feet. “It was particularly entertaining, freezing his throat and jaws. He never peeped, but do you suppose Merfyn noticed his kicking?” She flung a toe out the window and bounced with glee when she saw it land in a woman’s bread basket. “I can just see her now: ‘My word! I have a toe in my bread basket!'” She rocked back and forth with laughter, slapping her knee.
“I didn’t know you had a sense of humor, dear…”
“Here!” shouted Spitemorta as she leant out the window, launching her double handful of digits at a woman who caught them in her apron, only to collapse in a faint.
“I see we are at least managing to pass the time,” said Demonica.
“Well, I had to throw out the fingers,” she said, sitting back into the seat with a bounce. “And what shall we do with the body, Grandmother, leave it on King Theran’s doorstep on our way out of town?”
“Hmm…crude and pointless, I think,” she said as she began studying the blood soaking her clothes. “No, let’s just pitch it out alongside the road once we’re out of town.Theran wouldn’t know who left it, unless you went to the trouble to make it plain to him somehow. But I can’t imagine wanting Theran so upset by our visit that he forms an alliance with Niarg for protection, can you?”
“He wouldn’t dare! Oh, all right. I see how he might.”
“Say. Be a good girl and clean up, would you?”
“You’ve got the Staff. Everything’s positively soaked. We wouldn’t want Merfyn to open the door for us and run away.”
“Oh,” said Spitemorta as she took hold of the Staff. “Say no more Grandmother.” At once the blood was gone from their clothes and from the inside of the coach.
Demonica leant out the window. “Merfyn!” she hollered. “This is far enough. Get down from there and help us throw out this carcass!”
“Whoa!” called out Merfyn with a jingle of harness and a squeal of brakes. They listened to him scuffle down and hop onto the gravel with a crunch and click the latch. He threw wide the door and drew a breath, catching himself at the sight of the body and the two of them studying him from head to toe to see how he was managing. “Why he’s the one I helped in a few hours ago, isn’t he?” he said in in a polished and dutiful tone as his hands trembled. “Uh, was he any trouble?”
“Not in the least,” said Demonica. “In fact we found him surprisingly entertaining, considering his condition when we picked him up.”
“Well. I’ll declare. That’s a…” he stammered, utterly at a loss for bearings.
“Well Merfyn?” said Spitemorta.
“I see you did indeed say carcass,” he said, pausing to take a couple of furtive glances out and about. “So I reckon you also said…”
“Yes, Merfyn, throw him out. And ‘help’ actually means you do it.”
“Oh yes, Your Majesty. I certainly shall. It’s just that there are still houses, if ye know what I mean, and this being a foreign place and all…”
Demonica stepped out of the coach. “There’s not a soul in sight, Merfyn,” she said, as if she were coaxing a wary child to relieve himself in the bushes. “Now, get this kaoc’h ki du out of the coach, and drive straight back to Goll.”
He grabbed the body by an ankle and a wrist and drug it out into the ditch to return at once to hold the door for Demonica to climb aboard.
Demonica motioned for Spitemorta to step out with the Staff. “We’re staying, Merfyn. You drive straight back to Goll, this minute.”
Merfyn blinked in confusion. “Yes, but…”
“Go!” barked Spitemorta.
Excerpt from Ch 37, The Burgeoning
Carol Marrs Phipps & Tom Phipps