“Every Night”

“H-hello,” he muttered, under his breath. Salivation dripped from his lip corners. “I’m h-here for the job application.”

“Hokey dokey,” the innkeeper said. Hands twitched rhythmically before his blood-stained apron. “Sign here, welcome to my inn. It’s called Meat Palace.”

“You serve a lot of meat h-here?” the applicant whispered beneath spit-stained whiskers. “I like to eat meat.”

The innkeeper nodded, kicked back a chair, and begged the man have a seat. “Won’t you tell me about yourself? I do like to hear of people. You know, on the outside.”

“The outside? What do you mean?”

“Well, I haven’t left the Meat Palace in twenty some years.” The innkeeper leaned forward, grinned, and twisted the point of a knife into the wooden table. “I don’t like to leave.”

“Why not? It’s actually quite nice in most places. H-hector’s square is cool place. There’s a statue and a fountain.”

The innkeeper slid his chair back and frowned. He stood and coughed into his bloody, meaty fist. The fist slammed on the table and a shout of, “WANT TO EAT SOME DINNER?!” rang out.

“I like dinner.”

“You’ll have to fetch things for me. Feed my horses, and those of my guests. Your room and board are of course covered by me, and you’ll receive ten silvers a month.”

“Okay.”

The innkeeper sat down and gradually thought over his plans. “The basement will have to be cleaned.” His eyes became dark and bored holes into the rotted wooden table. “Every night.” The blade slipped off its tip and split a line. “Every night.”

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