Title: Beauty and the Beast
Kentigern - February 18, 2010 03:54 PM (GMT)
With one last whining splutter, the ancient engine of the crosstrak died. Acrid smoke billowed from underneath the battered bonnet, a final testament to the machine spirit of this particular vehicle as it fled its broken corpse.
With a string of obscenities, Magos Maurice lowered himself from the pilot’s seat, spanner clutched threateningly in his bionic hand. The stream of profanity with which he was colouring the air contrasted startlingly with his wizened appearance, testifying to the lifetime he had spent travelling the universe collecting knowledge and picking up the swearing of a thousand different cultures.
He coughed as he popped the front of the vehicle open, the thick smoke rushing into his face. For a moment its heat enveloped him, removing the chill of the wintery night, before it dissipated, lost into the cold dark sky. He hit different parts of the engine unconvincingly, muttering to himself the whole time. Eventually, dejectedly, he admitted defeat, half heartedly mouthing a prayer to the Omnissiah.
“Bloody stupid piece of junk!” he hollered, his voice echoing in the emptiness of the night. He was stuck miles from what passed for civilization on this backward cesspit of a planet, the unpalatable thought of a long trek through the snow looming ahead of him. With a sigh he reached for the crosstrak’s radio, futilely hoping that it might still be working. Unsurprisingly nothing happened, every frequency dead.
He jumped as he heard a sudden noise behind him. Spinning he tried to reach for the old autogun he kept strapped to the vehicle. Squinting out into the darkness he thought he could make out a shape amongst the trees, but couldn’t be sure if it was just his overactive imagination playing tricks on him.
“Who’s there?” he cried, wildly waving the autogun around. “I am armed and highly trained, I will not hesitate to shoot!”
The shape in the woods suddenly shifted and his finger triggered in reflex, the autogun blazing into the shadows. He laughed crazily as the shape collapsed, relief at his luck shot burning through his veins. Flushed with the success of his aim he raced over to the shape, desperate to find out what terrible foe he had slain.
With dismay and embarrassment he found that he had slain a small mound of snow which had gathered between the trees. With a rush of nervous energy he started to laugh, the fear he had felt melting from his body.
“Silly old fool,” he laughed, shoulders heaving in nervous relief. “Spooked by the shadows, scared by the snow!”
He didn’t have time to cry out as a long arm grabbed him round the neck, darkness overcoming him as he slipped into unconsciousness.
Kentigern - February 18, 2010 03:54 PM (GMT)
She strutted through the town, hips swaying to a beat that only she could hear. While she feigned disinterest, she was keenly aware of the lustful eyes of the locals upon her. It was the same wherever she lived – her father’s job tended to take them to obscure corners of the universe, leading them to mining towns and frontier settlements which were often sorely lacking in feminine inhabitants. In this particular dive, a mining town where the mine was starting to run out, she hadn’t seen another woman yet. And clearly neither had the miners, judging by the lewd comments they hurled at her as she walked.
Belle. She was appropriately named, a stunning beauty, remarkable in any location but particularly so in the grey emptiness of this dying community. Truth be told she enjoyed the attention, it gave her a welcome break from the numbing boredom that consumed the rest of her days. Her father had promised that they would soon be moving on, that he had collected the majority of his specimens, and that day could not come too soon. He had taken her to some of the worst places in the Imperium, but this place beat the rest.
Drawing level with the general store, she took a second to admire herself in the grimy window. Perfect, she thought to herself, a flash of pride crossing her visage. Then with pristine smile restored she stepped through the doorway.
The store’s owner looked up as she walked in, his attempts to keep the lustful yearning off his face as comical as the lack of subtlety in the way his eyes roamed over her body. He was a pathetic excuse for a man, an abhuman air around him which caused others to recoil in his presence. Belle loathed the creature, indeed loathed all mutants and subhumans as any good daughter of the Emperor should, but had been forced to put up with him as he owned the only non-technical shop in the outpost.
“Belle my dear,” he sighed, rat-like face twisted and misshapen. “I had hoped that you might come in today, to brighten up my humble shop with your beauty. How can I help you?”
Gulping down her distaste, Belle forced herself to answer graciously. “”LeFou, it is good to see you. I wanted to check whether you had received any messages from my father, he should have been home by now. I worry whenever he is away, particularly as the vehicle you rented him was less than efficient.”
“I am hurt,” replied LeFou, his face showing no sign of such a feeling. “I rented your father my best vehicle, and at a discount. It is an honour to be assisting such a learned scholar as Magos Maurice.”
Indeed, thought Belle, such an honour that you ripped him off with a pile of junk held together by rust. Her father’s lack of commonsense was infuriating at points, slimy merchants like LeFou all too happy to rip him off.
“I haven’t had any word,” continued LeFou, “no messages from him. It must be scary for you to be alone without a man to look after you, particularly in a town full of savages such as this.” He licked his lips salaciously, spittle forming in the corner of his mouth. “Maybe you should reconsider my offer to come and stay with me, just until he returns?”
Belle backed towards the door, her stomach churning in repulsion at the suggestion. She knew the kind of creature that LeFou was, a trip to his squalid home would not be safe for any female.
“Thank you LeFou for the kind offer, but I am more than safe on my own.”
A flash of anger crossed his face before vanishing again beneath the fake friendliness of his demeanour. “Very well Belle, you know where I if you need me.”
Belle escaped from the shop, gasping in a deep breath of air. She detested the creature and the loathsome way he treated her. She turned and hurried for home, the need to wash overpowering.
the_unchanged - February 18, 2010 04:09 PM (GMT)
Liking this already, im waiting to see what Chip the tea cup and the candle guy will be represented by. :lol:
Kentigern - February 18, 2010 04:13 PM (GMT)
The perfect excuse to plumb the stygian depths of my imagination... :P
horizon - March 4, 2010 01:18 PM (GMT)
Nice work. Reads really well.
Razhbad - March 6, 2010 03:34 PM (GMT)
very interested on how the beast will turn out
Gundi da Grot - April 24, 2010 04:58 AM (GMT)
I'm liking this forum! The opening paragraph is really fantastic, Kentigern...perfectly written. I like Belle's very inflated ego and rigid thinking too.