Prodigy – Climbatize (original, from The Fat of the Land album)…
I don’t ask how Carvery got separated from the rest of his group, and likewise, he doesn’t ask me the same question.
My reason for avoiding curiosity, is he’s the one covered in blood, and currently armed with a shotgun. So I just stay silent, as we head deeper into the stone-walled tunnel.
For all I know, we could be the last two left alive in the house… I gulp down my nausea, as I wonder how long would be a respectable amount of time to figure out a way to be the very last one left alive. With sperm-jacking privileges first, obviously…
“Looks like a dead end,” he says, eventually. “Oh, no – look, there is something here…”
I shine my torch beam onto the wall. A square sliding panel is set at about waist-height. It’s maybe four foot by four, and next to it is an up-down arrow keypad, the type for an elevator.
Carvery levers the panel open, and stale air greets us from the dark, empty shaft. He risks a quick glance inside. I’m sorry to see that his head emerges again, still attached.
“I guess we have to call the dumb waiter,” he remarks, letting the panel slide shut, and presses a button. Unseen gears whir into life, and the distant squealing of pulleys announce the approach of the lift.
“Ace seemed to think it was a good party at the University earlier,” I venture, trying to make what sounds like normal small-talk, while also fishing for information. “Did he, er, have a lot to drink?”
“Oh, he was buzzing all right,” Carvery agrees. “But it’s okay, because he told me to skin any women who tried to take advantage. So we both had a pretty good night, in all.”
Ah… I didn’t realise that sort of social arrangement existed between guys. At least two-thirds of my fantasies, regarding the outcome of cornering Ace Bumgang drunk at some point, immediately shuffle right off the drawing-board.
The dumb waiter lift arrives, with an electronic ‘ping’.
Carvery and I exchange a look, neither making a move to open the panel first.
“Do you think a monitor lizard might be able to squeeze in there?” I whisper.
“Or a Frittata brother?” he suggests. He hefts the shotgun and points it at the doors. “Or a hungry zombie? You push the button, Sarah.”
My breath trapped in my lungs, I reach out with a shaky hand, and do so.
After a pause, and a faint click – the door slides back.
Just a smooth, square, empty box.
“Cool.” Carvery lowers the gun. “Right, get in.”
“I’m not going first,” I argue. “We don’t know what’s at the top.”
“You’d rather stay down here in a dead end on your own?” he asks.
I hear the echo of a hiss in the tunnel behind us, and I blanch, shaking my head.
“Do you hear something moving back there?” I squeak. The familiar scraping sound is followed by a dull metallic clang – oh, no – the ventilation shaft…
Carvery sizes up the dumb waiter.
“I reckon we can both fit in,” he announces, turns around, and scoots in backwards. He reaches out towards me. “Come on – spoon up.”
“You’ve got to be kidding…”
“Well, take the alternative. A free ride in the digestive tract of a monitor lizard.”
The sound of scuttling claws clatters along the dark passageway.
“Maybe if you leave me the gun,” I say, willing to take my chances against wildlife, rather than a ride in a small wooden box, with a certified psychopath.
“Fuck that.” He leans out and grabs me bodily around the waist, dragging me into the tiny space with him.
Gasping in shock, I have to fold in my arms and legs lotus-style as I’m crushed up against him, my back to his chest. He reaches out once more to punch the button again, and the door slides closed – just as the reptile shape appears out of the gloom, drooling jaws open wide.
Carvery shifts slightly so that I’m trapped between his legs in the tiny lift, which suddenly feels like a coffin, even as it hums into life, grinding slowly upwards. God – I’m in a confined space with Carvery Slaughter – I’m gonna die, I’m gonna die, I’m gonna die…
“What the fuck is that in your hair, Sarah?” he breaks the silence first, scattering my preconceptions of what he might be likely to say in this situation.
“Huh?” I swallow. My throat feels like a ball of nerves is trapped in there. “Oh… it’s egg. I fell down a hole, into the hen-house.”
“That explains the smell too, then,” he remarks.
I try not to think about what Carvery smells like. My hormones are staging a mutiny. His mouth is right next to my ear, and his breath tickles.
“Charming,” I say instead, fighting thoughts of retaliation, while those gun barrels are still only four inches away from my head as well. “I don’t know what my housemate Thingy sees in you.”
“Well, she’s pretty shallow, so I’m guessing she only sees a wallet, a dick and a Ferrari,” he replies, mildly.
“And what do you see in her?” I ask. “A punching bag?”
“Why assume that I’m the one who‘s violent?” he says. “For all you know, she could be doing it to herself, for the attention. Girls can be a real bitch when they don’t get their own way. Or if they just want a new pair of shoes. Chucking themselves down the stairs, and all sorts.”
“You don’t fool me,” I retort, although I feel uneasy. Poor Mr. ‘domestic incident’ Wheelie-Bin at the body farm, with his detached scalp… “She couldn’t bite her own thumb off!”
I feel Carvery shrug, behind me.
Damn you, traitorous hormones!
“You never know.”
I wonder if he’s grinning, while feeding me all these evil ideas, designed to instil self-doubt.
“And what about all of your ex-girlfriends disappearing?” I demand. “Like, under the building foundations where you work?”
“Some women just don’t understand the meaning of the words ‘restraining order’,” he says. “And they’re all as kinky as fuck these days. I get home after a hard day’s work, and they want to be strung up from the ceiling, flogged, beaten, and tickled with a feather duster for eight hours. What’s wrong with you all? Especially when they don’t explain in advance that they didn’t mean ‘strung up’ by the neck. Serves them right.”
“I don’t believe you,” I mutter. “I think you’re a psycho – who does it for fun.”
“Well, why don’t you try asking your housemate, Miss Yo-Yo Panties, why she always seems to sustain the same injuries, no matter who she’s dating?” Carvery suggests. “And then figure out for yourself if she’s really that unlucky – or whether she keeps bolt-cutters under her own bed, to snip bits off herself when she’s feeling ignored.”
The dumb waiter judders, and my stomach lurches in empathy.
“You’re lying,” I say, after swallowing my stomach contents back down.
“And you’re jealous, Sarah,” he sighs. “I’ve read your diary, remember?”
Oh, yes. He would have to remind me about that, while he’s got his legs wrapped around me, and a gun next to my head, in a very confined space… I opt to hold my tongue, realising that the moral high ground is a concept that should have been taken into account before I started writing anything down in the first place…
With a final jolt, the dumb waiter stops.
Carvery angles the gun to point outwards, before wiggling the toe of his boot into the gap, to slide the door. Every muscle in my body suddenly feels like a bowstring.
“Don’t worry,” he says in my ear, and this time I’m sure he’s grinning. “There were eight other people in the house to start with. Maybe whatever’s on the far side has already eaten by now.”
Conflicting accusation stories illustrated in the original ‘Disclosure’ above…
More mindless mayhem: The Zombie Adventures of Sarah Bellum
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