Chapter 17


A strip of flesh sizzled in the frying pan under the eye of an eager diner. He took a deep breath, letting the grease-heavy scent fill his sinuses as he moved the flesh about with his fork.

Behind the sounds of popping grease was a persistent, faint whimper; a pitiful choked sound full of snot and tears that accompanied the cooking experience so well. Greg Waters waited until his meal was ready before turning back to his guest. The voices in his head were silent for once, awed. They took no satisfaction in this, the way Greg did, but their quiet appreciation of his mastery of violence made the small reprieve from their presence even more fantastic.

“Not even the angels feel sorry for you, my precious Lucky. You know better than to try and escape.” His voice was rough and taunting, and about as comforting as sandpaper. He walked to the kitchen table and stroked his pet’s head. Greg could feel him tremble and flinch under his hand. His whimpers turned into whined sobs that could not force their way past the leather gear that muzzled him. A small metal dog tag hanging from the collar around his neck clinked against the muzzle’s buckles with every jolt of his body.

Greg smiled to himself, covering his small pet’s shoulder with one hand. With his thumb, he carefully stroked the stitches stretching his pet’s skin taut over the large wound. “At least you know better now, don’t you? Of course you do. You are very lucky your master is a forgiving man.” Greg kissed the top of the boy’s head, enjoying the mixed scent of urine and blood that permeated his pet.

There had been another before Lucky: his sweet little Cherry, who had managed to escape months ago. Though they looked similar, Lucky was nothing in comparison, just a cheap imitation on all fronts, too young and too small to take Cherry’s place. He was useless, and only his begging made him a novelty worth keeping. Still, he was such a naughty little thing, trying to follow Cherry’s example with an escape. He deserved all the punishment he had coming. He’d never try again--Greg had made certain of that.

Picking up his cleaver, Greg returned to his severed limb on his cutting board. He wanted to prepare another steak, or perhaps strip away some of the fattier tissue near the skin for some small, crispy treats. All good masters needed to feed their pets well, after all.