A small flame from a single candle sputtered in the draft, casting shadows against the murky shack walls. Flickering amongst the shadows was a silhouette of a woman, sat at a dresser and leaning into a grubby mirror; delicately running a stick of blood-red lipstick across her lips. Next to her, resting on the dresser-top was what seemed to be a shard of broken glass. It glistened, and a ball of hazy colours, washed out and foggy, swam through the middle. For a moment, a clear picture of a ballroom could be seen, but it quickly melted into an ocean of watercolour. The woman hummed to a melodic tune that emanated from the shard. It was soft and slow-paced, and the woman matched its inflexions perfectly as if she had recited the tune a thousand times before.
As she was finishing the final touches to her lips, a thunderous crash came from the door as it burst open. Her hand jerked across her face in a startled fright, leaving behind a trail of lipstick.
“Ye’ fuckin’ glue-bags!” She yelled in a harsh and raspy voice while slamming the lipstick down and leaping onto her feet, “Try knocking next time!”
“Aye, sorry ‘bout that.” Jagged Teeth called back, as he walked through the open doorway with the other two members of the trio in tow. “We come bearing gifts,” He said, proudly displaying the apple pie.
“And from what poor sod did ya’ nick that from?” The woman replied, gesturing the group towards the chipped and wobbly dining table that sat in the middle of the room.
“You think this was theft? I am deeply offended by your accusations, Lucy,” Jagged Teeth said, helping himself to a slice, “I’ll have ye’ know that I am an honest man, and this was bought with hard-earned coin from an honest day’s work as an adventurer.”
“Yeah, hard-earned!” Boldy mimicked, as Lucy slapped his hand away from the pie.
“Aye, and it smells like that hard-earned coin disappeared into the bottom of a pint glass,” Lucy said, handing the silent member of the group a slice. “So, I’ll ask ye’ again,” she continued, finally handing Boldy a slice, “Whose pie are we eating?”
“Just some wee lad from the local tavern.”
“Did he have coin?”
“Aye, must’ve. He came danderin’ down the street with a basket full of bread from Marians,” Jagged Teeth said, watching in both amazement and disgust as Boldy inhaled the slice of pie, “We even let him keep some,” he finished, peeling his eyes away.
“That’s alright then,” Lucy replied, handing Boldy a second slice. She blinked, and it was gone. “I don’t care what you do, as long as yer not takin’ from our own.”
As soon as Lucy muttered those words, the group suddenly found the Apple Pie sour to the taste. They sat in a pensive silence in the dimly lit room, amongst the hobbled walls and the crumbling décor, letting their slices moulder, untouched.
Jagged Teeth was the first to break the silence.
“So, what happened to your bake then?” He asked, “Looks like you tried to map the ugly on yer face.”
“Ah, shit. Forgot about that,” Lucy snapped back while quickly licking her thumb, trying to wipe the smudge from her face. “I was getting ready for my day of blissful pamperin’ from my wonderous beloved,” she said, speaking in an over-the-top syrupy tone. “That was, until, you lot came bargin’ on in ‘ere like a pack of dogs.” She finished, scowling at them.
“Yer still playin’ about with tha’ auld geezer?” Jagged Teeth said as he watched Lucy spring up from her seat and make way towards the dresser, “With his ugly mug, not even the tide would take him out.”
“Aye, well,” Lucy said, pulling out two items of clothing from a small compartment within the dresser, “it’s a good thing I’m spreading my legs for his Name and not his face.”
“Ah cheers, exactly what I wanted to hear from my sister while I’m tryna eat,” Jagged Teeth grumbled as he pushed his plate to the side in disgust. Boldy eagerly slid the plate towards himself and dug his fingers deep into the leftovers.
Lucy ignored his remarks and displayed from each hand a dress. One was made of a red silk that hung weightlessly from her hand. The cut of the neckline etched low, revealing enough to garner an eye but kept the curiosity of the mind. The other was a deep black – close-fitting to the body as if donning a shadow. It had long laced sleeves that frilled at the ends and exuded an air of magnanimity, demanding to be paired with a myriad of pearls and expensive bangles.
“Which one d’ya think, Crowley?” Lucy asked the silent member of the group.
Crowley nodded his head towards the red dress.
“Don’t encourage her,” Jagged Teeth muttered, “And ye don’t have to be doin’ this anymore,” he said to Lucy, raising his voice. “We’re earning decent coin now, doing this adventuring shite.”
“Aye, an’ look at the state of ye,” She snapped back, “Boldy ‘ere wakes up in a terror nightly, you yerself haven’t cracked a smile in an aeon and you lot can’t even go a day without hitting the drink!”
The group said nothing in return but hung their heads low while their faces hung lower.
Lucy paused to collect herself, before continuing in a softer and more pleading tone; “Every time yousins go to that tower, it takes somethin’ from ye… and I can’t watch you three crumble away like this.”
“Yer hardly watching anything when you’re out whoring yerself up in the Legend’s District,” Jagged Teeth yelled, standing now.
“I’m just trying to get back what we lost! Before our father—”
“—Your Father! Yer forgetting that me an’ Boldy are the only true gamin ‘ere!” Jagged Teeth immediately regretted his words as he watched Lucy’s eyes widen and her mouth snap shut. Then, her expression twisted and soured displaying a gritted rage.
“Get out.” She growled.
“Look, I’m sorry—”
“Get out. All of ye get out!” She scrambled to the table, pushing and pulling each of the group to their feet, “Get out! Get out! Get the fuck out of my house!” She screamed, choking and sputtering on tears. She pushed them towards the door, while Jagged Teeth tried to plead with her. She wouldn’t listen and instead slammed the door on their faces with a tremendous bang.