#Nanowrimo : The Rat Pt2
She took a moment’s deliberation: how could this be? She had forever been cautious, had always been meticulous, and never had been remiss with regard to her supernumerary cleanings. The kitchen was her domain, and any who would disturb the perfection that she created must be punished. She began considering why the creature had come: the autumn would soon be over, leaving the cold of winter to settle over the capital; vermin would soon be food supply for the larger more capable hunters in the animal world; wolves and wild cats should soon be their main concern, and finding nourishment to secret away for a sparse winter must be all their object. Why mice should come to a stone castle, however, was a question she could not answer. All prepared food was eaten, there was nothing more for them to find beyond a stray crumb of cheese on the ground, but when the possible reason for their visit came to her, her eyes flared, her fist tightened, and she marched out of the kitchen, up the winding stair, and toward the commons door with rolling pin in hand. She huffed whilst climbing each stile, but the ascent was a mild exertion in comparison to the remonstrance she was preparing for her adversary. She reached the top of the stair, panting and perspiring, and raised her hand to knock on the door when the door was thrown open and the Den Asaan suddenly stood on the threshold.
“Don’t. You. Stab. Your. Finger. At. Me. Monster,” Martje chuffed, endeavoring to regain herself from having leapt up the stairs.
“You should be in your Mhojhudarron and not at my door,” the giant demanded.
Martje had recomposed enough to say, “It’s your fault I got a mouse in my kitchen.”
Rautu gave her a sideways glare.
“Aye, I know it was you,” she asserted, gesturing with the end of her rolling pin. “Who else eats his chocolate cake at all hours of the night, leavin’ a trail of crumbs wherever he goes? Sure, and now we got a visitor ‘cause you gotta eat like a pig!”
Rautu would have declared that to eat like one was certainly more acceptable than resembling one, but at that moment, the commander was emerging from within the commons, she was pushing him aside, and his moment to make the scathing and somewhat true remark was lost.
“Kin, I know he’s you’re man and all,” Martje pleaded to the commander as she appeared, “but I’m right gonna kill him.”
“Besides your usual variety of complaints and remonstrances, may I ask what exactly has he done to warrant a clubbing?” she smiled, eyeing the rolling pin.
“His mess brought a mouse in my kitchen, and where there’s one, they’ll be another, kin.”
The commander looked up at her mate, his lips pursed tight and his voice rumbling in a low growl, and then looked back at the grimacing cook with a smile. “Shall I ask what evidence you have to attest my mate’s culpability in the case?”
“He’s always leavin’ a mess for me and my girls to clean in the mornin’, paradin’ about my larder like it’s somethin’ to do, tossin’ his filth everywhere.”
“While I cannot deny that may be true in some instances, he was certainly not in the kitchen last night,” said the commander calmly.
Martje fleered and waved her rolling pin. “Pardon me, kin, but how do you know he weren’t in no kitchen last night? He’s always sneakin’ in and out without sayin’ anythin’ to anybody.”
“Because he spent the chief of the evening between my thighs and most of the early morning crushing me before the fire.”
Martje seemed mildly astonished: her one chance to have grounds for the eviction was contradicted. She had been so certain of its being his doing that she had reveled in the notion of the disagreeable and voracious beast being gone from the keep forever. Now with such an undeniable testimony before her, her misery had soon become apparent. Her tense shoulders wilted, and she lowered her eyes in partial humiliation.
Her discomfiture at having accused hastily and wrongly, however, was all Rautu’s glory. He grinned at her with a most satisfied countenance for having checked her without having to form his own defenses. She had been reproved, and that her demise came from his mate was all his exultation. The more he smiled with a gleeful complacence, the more remorseful his enemy became. He turned his head and leaned forward slightly as though waiting to collect a most merited apology, but her disappointment at being thwarted soon gave away to feelings of indignation.
She pursed her lips, stabbing the end of her rolling pin at Rautu’s nose. “It may not’ve been you this time, monster, but I know you’re responsible for more messes than you care to clean up.”
A firm nod, a curt humph, and Martje felt she had said her piece. She was about to return to the kitchen when a shriek from below gave her a start. The clanging pots and pans, the shrill cries of kitchen maids, and the shout of “a rat!” renewed all of Martje’s vexation. A mouse could be given excuse: it could be looking for a home and might be only in want of escape from the cold. A rat, however, could be given no quarter. With stout conviction did Martje thunder down the steps, her rolling pin high and her eyes ablaze. Never had her kitchen had such a resident. Vermin in Frewyn in general were scarce due to the unbearable chill and sundry of household pets; this rat must have wandered in from the ducts in the citadel, making everything in the kitchen instantly contaminated and inedible. She stormed into the oven room, her eyes wild and mind incited, searching feverishly for the large slithering tail, but it was nowhere when she arrived: pots and pans scattered across the floor, clays and ceramics broken and cracked, glass and dishware strewn about was her welcome.
“I’m gonna kill that bastard,” she roared, shaking her rolling pin to the skies, and attributing the mess to the absconded creature rather than to the three kitchen maids who were gripping one another in terror and standing on chairs. She took the skillet at her feet into her hand and would not abandoned her search until the rat should be found.
Enjoy the story? Enjoy the first book in the series!