Thursday, April 11, 2013

Wyre-Rat (Episode 4)

I dropped the coat right inside my door and headed for the bath. The water ran hot, and I scrubbed off the worst of the stink before I let the water fill the big tub.

Oh, it felt so good. I sank in up to my nostrils, letting the heat soak even into my eyes. Sometimes I wonder if I could turn into a fish, but I've never tried it. Only about one percent of wyre are able to take more than one form, so I'm technically one of the elite.

I snorted water out of my nostrils. Elite. A rodent sneaking in among other rodents.

Now, I really don't like the furry little critters, but they can get in just about anywhere. Little claws and prehensile tails. They're pretty canny as well, and their survival instincts have no equal. But man, those things are filthy.

I lifted my head, scrubbed at muck caked into my short hair. It floated away. I used my fingers to scrape it out of the water, dumped it in the garbage can I kept right next to the tub. Now the garbage can stank too.

I finally crawled out of the tub after my skin was wrinkled and the water had cooled. No use refilling the tub--what I wanted was sleep. About eighteen hours of it, and then I'd report in. They wouldn't be expecting to hear from me until some time tomorrow anyway.

I slipped off the wide elastic wrist-band and tucked it in an envelope. The elastic stretched to accommodate rat or human (or even smaller things) and the contents had been my goal tonight.

I left the envelope on the table beside my door and fell into bed.

* * *

I smelled a full breakfast as I pried my eyes open. One eye touched the clock and I nearly groaned. Four hours. Four stinking hours of sleep.

My nose twitched, reminding me that I needed to feed it. Since my nose and my stomach were conspiring against additional sleep, I rolled out of bed.

I sniffed, cautiously, decided that the lingering rat-smell wasn't stuck to me and dressed quickly for the day. Today I would be a tourist, complete with a little disposable camera and flip-flops.

I laughed at the thought and slipped into a flippy little white dress. Sunglasses and a bright green purse--perfect.

"Excuse, me, Miss?" The voice of the hostess called through the door. She sounded slightly nervous.


"You have visitors."

I tossed my head, true to the character. I'd had "visitors" nearly every morning, most of them trying to sell me something. "Tell these visitors I'm not interested."

"They're police, miss."

Oh. I looked around. The coat still lay on the floor--the source of the lingering stench. I picked it up and took it out to the narrow balcony, draping it over the railing. The balcony door I left open, hoping that by the time these police actually came up to my room the smell would have disbursed.

I swung the door open, blinked at the two men standing behind the hostess. "Oh." I smiled brightly. "I thought you meant they were downstairs." All of my other "visitors" had been invited into the miniscule parlor.

"I'm sorry, miss. They insisted on coming right up."

I let my smile fade. "Is something wrong?" I looked at her, but let my eyes dart toward the strangers.

Part 5

If you want to start at the beginning: Wyre-Rat part 1


C. Lee McKenzie said...

A rat character? Interesting. I see you've mentioned his natural enemy the cat in a previous post.

Lauren said...

I'm having fun writing this one. She meets the cat later on... :)

J Keith said...

Very interesting read... looking forward to being able to read some more

Lauren said...

Thanks, Keith. New episode up today!