Echoing footsteps bounced off of thick granite walls as Molly came
hurtling down the shadowy hallway. Her thighs burned like fire, her
lungs felt as if they were about to burst and her eyes streamed with
tears, making it practically impossible to see anything in the dim
light. Above her frantic huffing and puffing she could hear the Rogg
closing in on her, gurgling and snarling, snapping its hungry jaws,
only a matter of feet away from its next meal. Mustering every last
drop of adrenaline, Molly surged towards the end of the huge
passageway and zipped around the corner.
The enormous beast skidded after her, its razor sharp claws
screeching across the flagstones. Molly turned to face the Rogg, a
wide smile stretching its way across her face. The huge hairy
creature stood for a moment, seemingly confused by this peculiar
expression. It growled menacingly and drew back its lips, baring an
impressive collection of yellowing teeth as a large glob of saliva
dribbled its way out of his jaws and dangled in the air for a grand
total of three seconds. By the time it had splashed onto the cold
stone floor, the Rogg was dead.
"You didn't see that one coming, did you? I hope it was
After a few swift smacks for good measure and some reassuring
kicks to the head, Molly returned the blood stained shovel to the
spot where she had placed it a few hours before. She snapped on a
pair of dirty washing up gloves, humming a jolly tune to herself as
she decided on the most practical way to move the hulking slab of
meat back to the kitchen. Experience had taught her that most often
the best way was by tail.
"I'm surprised you fell for the old 'shovel in the face'
routine, it normally only works on the smaller Roggs. You, my furry
friend, are a bloody big one." said Molly as she slowly heaved the
ex-beast backwards down the corridor. "I think you'll keep him
going for at least ten minutes."
She chatted aloud to the creature as she dragged its body
awkwardly along the eroded flagstones of the candle-lit hallway.
Molly enjoyed a good chat, or rather, she enjoyed talking. The dead
Rogg, perhaps unsurprisingly, said nothing. It simply stared upwards
at the tall grey ceiling with one lifeless yellow eye, tongue
sticking out of the side of its mouth and trailing along the cold
floor like a gigantic pink slug. As far as Molly was concerned, these
were the signs of a good conversational partner.
"Wow, it's filthy down here today, don't you think? I really
ought to go over the floors here with a mop. Not now though, I've
got loads to do today, just like every day. There's a 'to do'
list as long as your arm in the kitchen. I suppose dying wasn't
really on your 'to do' list today, was it? Don't worry, I had a
bad start to the day too."
It had been an interesting morning. Molly had awoken early to find
that ghosts had stolen her shoes during the night and the bathroom
had moved to the other end of the hallway. She managed to find the
bathroom quickly enough but her shoes were nowhere to be seen,
meaning that she would have to perform the days chores barefooted;
not much of a problem when preparing breakfast, but something of a
predicament when it came to cleaning the Malting Porcupine Cage and
dusting the Chamber of Upturned Electrical Plugs (Molly had often
questioned the need for such a chamber but felt that it was probably
there for a very good reason, and even if she knew why, she wouldn't
The morning routine consisted mostly of cleaning and dusting, but
also preparing meals; a task that was by no means an easy feat.
Before the food could be prepared it first had to be caught and, over
the years, Molly had become something of an expert in the field. She
liked to try and take a different approach each day. Some days she
would use a hammer. On others she would try hunting her prey with
just a penknife. On one occasion Molly brought down a six-foot Slik
armed only with a pair of tweezers and a spoon, but on this
particular morning she had decided to use her trusty, long handled
shovel (a parting gift from the Gardener before he 'disappeared').
The eastern lower floors were always the best place to find
potential meals. A sizeable population of Roggs roamed the empty
corridors and hallways, feeding off of the rats and other large
rodents that lived in the dark corners. Roggs were easy enough to
find and, in the rare event that one could not be found, Molly could
always make a surprisingly tasty large-rodent pie.
"Of course, today I found you. I have to admit, you frightened
me at first. I didn't think I'd be able to outrun something your
size. But I did and that's when I hit you in the face with a
shovel. I guess you already know that bit."
The corridor became wider and the floor became smoother,
indicating that Molly and her quiet companion had reached the western
side of the Keep. The Rogg seemed to have lost parts on the way, but
nothing that it would have been able to make use of in the future.
The kitchen was just ahead of them, as it tended to be whenever 'Him
Upstairs' was hungry. After much twisting and turning, heaving and
pulling, Molly eventually reached the door to the kitchen. It was a
large door, twice the height of Molly and made from huge slabs of
ancient oak. At the bottom sat a small ginger cat, quietly licking
"Hello Spratt." said Molly, "I haven't seen you in a
while. What have you been up to?"
"Oh, not much. The usual. Exploring mainly." purred Spratt,
his voice trickling out like warm honey. He stretched and yawned
widely before rubbing his side along Molly's leg. "I've found
something very interesting."
"Oh really?" Molly glared at her feline friend, "You've
been out beyond that bloody wall again haven't you?"
"I've told you before, there's nothing but trouble out
"That's the interesting part!" said Spratt, "I think
you'll be surprised this time."
"I'm always surprised." sighed Molly, pushing open the large
door with a loud creak. "Anyway, I'm not going all the way over
to the wall just to look at some dead rat or some weird custard thing
with seven eyes. I've got to get on with lunch for Him Upstairs,
and he's not happy about something, I can tell - he moved the
bathroom moved this morning. It's such a petty thing to do."
"Yeah. Hopefully I can brighten his mood with a bit of his
She pointed at the enormous creature carcass that had been dragged
halfway across the Keep. Spratt approached the body cautiously,
giving it a gentle sniff. He recoiled quickly.
"Hmmph. It smells like a morgue with a broken thermostat. I'm
sure he'll love it."
"I hope so." said Molly, stepping behind the creature. "I
think I've gone above and beyond the call of duty with this one."
She pushed hard, sliding and squeezing the carcass through the
large doorway and into the faint light of the kitchen. Spratt skipped
in closely behind.
The huge door boomed shut behind them, shaking even the gnarled
granite walls that stretched upwards into the darkness, supporting a
ceiling so high that Molly often wondered whether it was even there
at all. Spratt coughed and spluttered as he jumped onto the table, a
natural reaction to the greasy miasma that filled the room, enriching
nostrils (and other orifices) with the pungent scent of decaying
vegetables mixed with toilet cleaner.
"You really ought to get a new air-freshener." Spratt coughed,
motioning towards the small plastic device sat upon the worktop.
"What sort of company makes 'Rotting Veg and Bleach' scent
"Hey, they were really cheap. You know me, always on the lookout
for a bargain."
"Even so, wouldn't it be better to just have nothing at all?"
"Trust me, it wouldn't." Molly laughed.
She dragged the carcass along the room and dumped it next to a
large black oven that seemed to bulge and shudder with a life of its
own, delightfully belching a thick, greasy smog up into the chimney.
Flopping herself onto a small wooden stool, Molly ran a gloved hand
slowly through her sweaty red hair.
"Well, I am completely knackered." she puffed. "So what's
this thing you want me to go and see?"
"Ah, well that's the beauty of it." grinned Spratt, casually
clawing the wooden table top, "You don't have to go anywhere.
I've brought it right to you."
Molly glanced around the room a few times, cautiously looking for
anything out of place. The last time that Spratt had brought
something into the kitchen, it had eaten all the cutlery and ran off
with the plates.
"Look, there by the sink." said Spratt.
Molly looked over her shoulder. Against the backdrop of a huge
pile of dirty dishes stood a figure, and not just any figure - it
was the figure of a man.
"Bloody hell!" exclaimed Molly, falling backwards off of the
stool and landing hard on the stone floor.
"Umm...hello." waved the man.