So with the end of November, comes the end of NaNoWriMo. I managed a successful jaunt and got a good head start on the revisions. All good things come to an end, so I present the last guest chapter of I Hraet You. Remember to check out the original material here at Cross-Up. You can even look at my chapters there from number one. (I’d rather he get the traffic since it’s his IP) I want to thank Voltech again for giving me motivation to pull the Macro Corp. out of the woodwork and motivate me to do some much needed and significant changes.
In other news I’ve been working on polishing up prior B.O.S.S. stories. The Monkey has turned into a acceptable 10,000 word short story and I’m setting my sights on Two Hunters next. Stay tuned.
Beat D-9 — Epilogue
Lloyd lounged on an elegant bench crafted from fine marble and lined with fine silks. The warm air of the Grecian bath tickled his face and lulled him into a tranquil a tranquil state. Aromas of cracked pepper and spice filled the air, mingling in harmony with the scents of lamb and beef.
He plucked a cube of bullion for his tray and popped it in his mouth. The flavors exploded in a delicate blend of spice and perfectly roasted animal flesh. Lloyd’s dream had been realized, meat as far as the eye could see. Dancing fountains poured into flowing rivers of Au Jus, amplifying the heavenly aroma. An artisan crafted his likeness from golden browned ground meat.
How foolish was I to want something like wo—
Lloyd woke up screaming.
His little brother stood over him, startled by the outburst. But his bloodshot eyes with dark rings underneath told a tale of empathy. “The meat dream, right?”
“Every. Night.” Lloyd said, pressing his hands against his face. “What have I done to deserve this?”
“Those are the ropes when you try and take over the world.”
“Hey. I didn’t want to take over anything. I only wanted to share my brand of love with the world’s women. That is a completely acceptable aim.”
“Will you two stuff it?” Trixie said from the bunk above. “I can’t sleep with all yer racket.”
“At least Miss Walters was spared the torment,” Lloyd said. “It would be a crime to have her miss out on her beauty sleep.”
“I know ya mean well pal, but I feel like punchin’ ya for sayin’ that.”
“That’s why I’m here. They’re going to work on the cure. We get to be the lab rats.”
“What? I’m no rat. Perhaps a mouse, or a guinea pig.”
Trixie let out a noisy groan. “If it makes ya shut up about meat. I don’t care if you’re a purple puppy, get yer butt outta here. And here I thought yer usual dreams were creepy soundin’.”
Lloyd and JP walked down the hall, dragging their feet from exhaustion. The smell of bacon filled the air along-side the aroma of pancakes crafted from beef. No matter how much he wanted to be sick of it, the smells made his mouth water.
Patton wore a grin under his bushy stache, glowing like a kid on christmas. “You boys are up early. Got breakfast ready for ya.”
They each snagged a pancake from the high piled stacks, by hand, and devoured it. Lloyd’s body moved on its own, guided by his imposed lust for animal flesh. The Television in the kitchen blared at high volume. The anchorwoman on screen reported at the scene of a protest with a mic in one hand and a porkchop in the other.”
“I’m reporting live from the scene of a movement at city hall executed by the Vegans for Porbeagle. The head of the organization—” She stuffed the porkchop in his mouth, devouring it. “—excuse me. The head of the organization claims the city’s recent upturn in meat consumption is due to a government conspiracy launched last— No. I told you Rare. I like them still mooing, damn it.”
The reporter hurried off screen. “Forget it. I’ll cook it myself.”
Few had been safe from the Meatening, as they started to call it. Ms. Walters had been spared because of her Platinum Gidget suit and Patton couldn’t get any more obsessed with meat if he tried.
A knock at the door drew Lloyd to the foyer and found Dr. Teller waiting on the other side.
“We just started breakfast,” Lloyd said, smiling.
“Good because I’m starving,” Joyce said, slipping past him to enter the kitchen. Jay followed close on her heels. “Ugh. This cannot be good for my cholesterol levels.”
Lloyd followed her, hanging onto what shred of hope he could muster. “So, about that cure.”
“Yeah. It’s why we’re here. Matt stopped at a hot dog stand on the way. He should be here shortly.”
“At six in the morning?”
Joyce pulled into a chair, wiping her chin. “They changed their operating hours to adjust for demand.”
Patton dropped a plate full of meatcakes in front of her, JP, and Jay, with savory strips of bacon alongside of it. A cut of steak fashioned in the shape of a strawberry sat on top and the whole thing had been slathered with gravy. Jay eyed his stack with dull interest; he had been one of the lucky ones to be unaffected by the dreams of meat.
Lloyd’s insides twisted, dreading what terrors these eating habits could do to Doctor Teller’s heavenly form over an extended period of time. This madness must end.
“So what’s the cure?” JP said, taking a seat across from her.
She took a moment to chew and consider. “We’ve reverse engineered the machine to remove the effects, but its delicate work. It would be easy to replace the obsession with a different one, but it’s not like there’s something we want people being rabid about in particular.”
“Might I suggest adorable cat pictures,” JP said. “People obsess over them anyway.”
“No,” Lloyd said, “If my dream is to be shattered, no fair getting your way.”
Joyce narrowed her eyes. “Your dream? Your way?”
“Ah. I mean—”
Joyce stood up, slamming her hands on the table. Realization came to her angry expression. “No. What do you mean by your way? You did this? I’m stuck devouring meat twenty-four-seven because you were trying to tamper with the machine? How would you even know to do something like that.”
“I can explain,” Lloyd said. “You see I—“
“Hey guys,” Matt said, carrying an armful of hotdogs, “door was open.”
Joyce turned back to him, narrowing her eyes. “You.”
Matt raised a brow. “Me? What?”
Joyce let out a feral shriek, pouncing on him, and wrapped her hands around his throat.
Trixie walked into the kitchen, disregarding the fight. “Aw, meatcakes again?”
Lloyd said a quiet prayer for Matt. His gallant colleague took the brunt of Doctor Teller’s rage for him once again, and she looked alluring while beating the tar out of him. Ah, women are wonderful while they’re in their element. The titillating display had only been amplified by the ring of fallen hot dogs surrounding them. He picked on up, unwrapped it, and ate it.
In a few days’ time, the cure would be found and Porbeagle and the house of Hoigleheimer would return to normality.
Well, some resemblance of normality at least.