The Sitter

She flopped down heavily into the chair, letting her limbs hang limp, willing the tension out through her tips.  What a day.  The chair back sat far too upright for her liking, but it was especially good for times like these; she pushed herself into it and rolled her tense shoulders this way and that, easing the knots and twists threading through her muscles.  The children had finally settled, she could breathe easy.

It doesn’t matter how long you’ve had children for, or even how many you have, no matter what you always reach a point of confidence that is unceremoniously dashed by one of the little shits.  Not shits, obviously not but…shits.  She cast her eyes across the room to where they slept, the shadows settled over their peaceful faces.  They are always so cute when they are sleeping; the gentle flutter of eyelashes, the ruddy cheeks, the subtle twitch of tiny fingers.  It is worth it really.

She rose soundlessly and padded across to the mirror, collecting scattered playthings from the floor as she went.  She knew what she would see but that did not stop her from wrinkling her nose at the sight, distaste flowering into hopelessness.  It was her same self, tall and slender, but her once sleek curls hung limp and matted, her smooth skin now thin and worn like crumpled paper, and her hands rippled over with veins and spots of age.  Time ticks on and every day had carved its end into the lines on her face.

Maybe she could have just one.  She could practically feel her body screaming out to her in the way it often does, yearning, screaming into the void within her only a child could fill.  Patience, she insisted upon herself.  Timing is everything.  Plus, once you’ve had one the others go so quickly.  No.  Wait.  The taste of flesh and the touch of youth will come soon enough.

A rumble vibrated through the stone floor, slicing through her thoughts, and a smile curled at her lips.  The armful of remains dropped with a clatter, echoing through the web of bones strung across the ceiling.

“It seems the cavalry has arrived!  Ready for dinner, my darlings?”

She ran her fingers through the fur of the large cat-like creatures at her feet, their tails whipping the air with anticipation of the battle to come.  Well…massacre really but they do love to play with their food.

They followed her as she returned to the throne, throwing her feet over one side and digging at the sinew lodged in her teeth with a sharpened digit.  Rats are a fine snack but such beautiful beasts need something far more sustaining and she was loathe to waste too many of the children on anyone other than herself.  Thankfully the inevitable angry mob always served a suitable offering.  Like any traveller would rid a town of such an infestation for free, and she rarely accepts payment in gold…

The saviours edged their way into the cavern, blades drawn, their every step ringing through the bone chandelier like music to her ears.  The group was the smallest ever to visit her home, perhaps she had underestimated this little town, not quite as many idiots as she first thought.

“Ah!  The heroes of Hamlyn!  You took your time.”


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