Somewhere in a room filled with sick sunlight and the sounds of ticking things, bruised lips speak a girl's name.
Thricetin didn't say a word as she leant over the control panel, her eyes never leaving the corpse as it hung in the sky, it's tattered wings beating and its claws glinting as it looked directly back at them. She breathed a curse, and then she began switching and turning every dial and button in reach while Lily watched her.
"What you lookin' at?" the woman squarked.
"Well get over there and start the regravity generator!"
"What are you going to do?" said Lily, not moving.
"Get over and start the generator Lily!"
"But what are you going to do?!" she said again. She didn't like it when the house moved suddenly and violently.
"Well at the moment the current plan is to avoid getting shot out the sky by GoreMen, avoid GoreMen boarding our house, the thirdly, and most importantly, not havin' GoreMen splatterin' our brains over the walls like so much scrambled egg! Now do it!"
Lily ducked away, over to where the regravity generator stood, large and riveted and covered in dials and switches and a few cobwebs.
"But what do I do?"
"The lever on the side of it!" Thricetin shouted, still working as fast as she could.
Lily put her hand on it.
"No don't touch it! Hit the switch next to it!"
"But there's hundreds…"
"Don't touch them I ain't got a clue what they do and it only works with them just how they are!"
There was a hiss of steam as Thricetin undid a valve, the boiling vapour blasting her in the face. She coughed as she waved it away, her hair damp and bedraggled.
"Have you done that yet?!" she demanded.
"Yer bloody useless you know that don't you!" said Thricetin, coming over, Lily barely getting her hands away in time as the woman knocked down one of the many switches. The machine started to stir, the cogs grinding inside it as it's grubby dials all began to flicker on, one after another, electricity sparking over the components atop it.
"Now go down stairs," said Thricetin, leaning over some other mechanism and fiddling with it. "Go down, and warn the others that there's a GoreMan in our midst. Tell them to start taking fuel down into the cellars, tell Zipper I want him to start making a blazing vampire. Can you do that?"
"Yes miss." said Lily, looking at the woman's bent back.
"Yer scared, aint yer?"
Without turning around, Thricetin snapped open her snakeskin bag and took out a bottle of dry gin. She pulled its cork out with her teeth and handed it back to the girl.
"Drink that." she said, after spitting the cork onto the floor.
"What is it?"
Lily looked up at the corpse in the window, at it's wings that beat with deadly rhythm, and the corpse looked back at her, and with shaking hands she took the bottle. The glass banged against her teeth, and her unwashed face was still tear-streaked and filthy as she drank. She spluttered at the taste, and coughed, her throat on fire, and she swallowed on impulse, and tried not to be sick as her stomached burned with the stuff.
"What is it?" she coughed.
"Never you mind, now scarper!"
Still coughing, Lily gave the bottle back to Thricetin, and made for the stairs.
"Well hurry it up!" shouted Thricetin. "Run!"