Kliea & Edith #4 – Anti-Hero

**This genre fits me like a glove as I’m naturally a grumpy git. You might be able tell I had perhaps a little too much fun with it. Can’t vouch for any quality assurance as this was written at 2am.

   Three weeks.

I could have written my own response, lobotomised myself with a rusty spoon and still have recovered enough to scrawl my appropriately contrite thanks.

The mornings cold slop glared up at me from it’s chipped, unadorned vestibule from the floorboards by the bed. Like the sour-faced priestess from my enforced visitations to the family chapel, wailing my traditional bloody murder in lieu of hymns, it seemed to want for succor, that it’s implied purpose may be fulfilled. Whereas the concern of the latter was the spirit, the former’s was the body; unfortunately, the spirit was strong enough thank-you-very-much and the body is weak in the face of such sacrilege before the altar of taste and nutrition.

So I rolled over for the seventh time in an hour – as concerns mental succor, life’s little nothings is all I have currently – and banished another gust of deathly apathy from my chest. The bed was straw, perfectly suited for sleeping, or so she told me with that simpering smile of hers. Perhaps when I reach an age where I have no natural sensation in my buttocks I might consent to straw. As it happens, the bed was very much making it known my animosity was mutual.

Thump. Thirteen. Is that my imagination I now hear trotting over to the fate-bound mob of damnation, or is this slab of mulch getting more uncomfortable? I rub my palm to rid the stinging sensation; I never learn. Does straw rot? Probably. Wonderful, I likely am starting to smell like one of the family now.

As much as I am loathe to concede on a matter embedded in my pride, Grandmother might have the smallest pin-prick of a point. I rid the cobwebbed lethargy from my limbs and haul myself sideways off the bed, swinging heeled boot down to earth with a satisfying clack. With any luck the soppy munchkins below will have heard and run for cover – the mask of etiquette feels particularly heavy in my hand today.

The porridge will go unfulfilled until judgement day for all I care.

A rusted hinge announces my grand-but-belated entrance into the land of the living, also known as the kitchen.

“Kliea! Oh I was hoping you would emerge!” No such luck it seems. My dear and ever-so genial Grandmother rushes forward, eager to perform the greeting typical of elderly, mollycoddling ladies.

I, however, am not Molly. Thus I move swiftly to one side, skirting her outstretched arms but pin myself between the counter and the hulking form of our host’s delightful husband.

I believe it was my third fling, back in breezier times, who took the banal observation that pigs resemble humans more so than most animals. I recall making terribly amusing comparisons of smell between the fop and the animal itself, months after cordial relations ended. Now as I look at the lump grinning gormless with thrice-damned well-meaning, a pot in one paw and a rag of cloth in the other, I’m forced to revise upon my derision.

“Mornin’ lov!”- I almost gag, “na tha’ yer up n’ aboot, ‘ow’s aboot len’in an ‘and wit’ these ‘ere dishes?” Didn’t quite understand that? No, nor did I. But in case it might’ve been a mating call, I quickly prostrate myself with some universal excuses: the bathroom; arranged to meet a friend; meet a stranger; fiance is dying; I’m dying.

My feet strike up a veritable fox-trot in answer to my panicked flight, carrying me clear through the front door in pursuit of my thoughts. I just about catch the tail-end of Grandmother informing me about the time of dinner. No sooner had I stumbled out into the dingy corridors of the dust-besotted city of Nicator, than some plaintive whine from below calls for a charitable hand to despoil its purse.

Yet my brain only registers the request past the appropriate interim when a response would’ve been fielded, so flustered am I.

I perhaps should have then anticipated the scrawny foot that shot out before my ankle.

The ground rushed to greet me with the embrace I had so deftly avoided before, as I landed in a heap. From what I gather, the view I so unwilling gave him, face down, nose inches from a warming turd, would save him many a begged penny in any reputable house of ill-repute.

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