Men of Gore

   Lady Thricetin licked her lips quickly, and then pulled Lily into a stiff hug, and held her there till she was quiet, till the girl's hot breath on her wrinkled neck slowed and calmed. 
    "You might not even have to kill anyone," she said softly into her ear. "Just scare 'em a bit. We go to the Rotwood Funeral Home, and we ask' em for a coffin, and if they don't gives us one, they will once you wave that gun of yours around. Simples, yeah?" 
    "S-simples," said Lily, wondering what on earth the woman wanted with an empty coffin. 
    "There, you see?" said Lady Thricetin as she straightened up. "Now hide that gun in yer dress, them bleeding GoreMen will shoot you on sight if they see it."
    Lily quickly obeyed her, and pushed the weapon into one of the hidden pockets that were handily sewn into the material. Angering a GoreMan was the last thing she wanted to do. It was one thing get on the wrong side of a person, quite another to get on the wrong side of one of those walking, talking, clockwork horrors. 
    The London government said that the GoreMen were a robotic police force, that they were law-enforcers, peace-keepers, servants of the people. But they were banned on every sphere-city but London, and they were the ferocious undead soldiers that were being used to hunt down and destroy the Believers, and anyone with any sense would tell you that they were simply gruesome man-machines made from the flesh of condemned criminals, that they were bloodthirsty clockwork mechanoids made from scavenged scraps of flesh and bone, who would slice off your head if they even suspected you were up to no good.
    Lily shuddered. Even though her mind was broken, and though she could barely remember anything of her life before Lady Thricetin had found her on the street, there were still splintered memories of the GoreMen rattling around in her skull. She knew what it was like, when trying to sleep in some back alley on a cold and bitter London night, knew what it was like to listen to the beat of a GoreMan's tattered wings approaching, to hear as its bony feet landed close by, its nostrils
hissing as the machine sniffed the air for fresh meat. She knew what it was like to feel certain that it had smelt her, and that she was seconds away from being killed, seconds away from being grabbed by stitch-ridden hands and clawed to death by a clockwork corpse that had been denied a grave.
    She cried silently as she followed the woman across the yard, her bloodshot eyes fixed on the hem of Thricetin's dress, the black satin slithering over the doorstep as they stepped back into the house.
    "I am going to die," was all that Lily could think as they walked past the old grandfather clock that stood in the hallway. "I am going to die in London."

The End

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