This morning Master took me to a grand city, constantly reforming itself and devoid of life. He warned me that should I see any humans wandering its streets, I should not interfere. We are the City's guests, and it would not take kindly to us messing with its food.
Master took me to the top of a sky-scraper, where no wind blew. Five figures awaited us there. A child with skin of cold diamond stood on the edge of the building, watching the City rearrange its streets and humming to himself. A woman carved from wood with a painted on face and clothes and strings wrapped around her body and limbs regarded us with blank unmoving eyes. Two young girls stood on either side of her. One smiled. The other shook.
And the fifth figure crouched behind me, and crawled on all fours into my view. He wore nothing, but he had no genitalia. No hair grew on his pale flesh, and knife-like claws jutted from his fingers. But it was his eyes that I was drawn to. Black and empty, like staring into a void, and yet somewhere deep within them I could see something uncomfortably close to humanity.
The Cold Boy. The Wooden Girl. The Rake.
The Rake seemed almost to nod to Master, though its movements may simply have been the mad twitching of a beast, and then it turned its attention to the Wooden Girl, a low growl escaping from its throat. The Cold Boy turned around to watch, wearing the smile of a child who had just been presented with a new toy.
I felt information pour into my mind as Master explained the situation to me. The Rake is a very territorial creature, and the Wooden Girl had been hunting victims in lands that the Rake had claimed. And so the Rake demanded compensation. Master and the Cold Boy had been called to bear witness.
The Wooden Girl nodded, and one of the girls with her-- the trembling one-- walked toward the Rake. All the while, her body shook and contorted, and her eyes were wide with fear as she struggled against the Wooden Girl's power. She could not have been older than 12. It reminded me of Crystal, and what the Archangel had done to her, and I was seized by the impulse to look away. But I forced myself to watch. That was my old life. Joey's life. I am Steward.
The Rake examined the girl, and sniffed every inch of her. Satisfied, he brought his claws to her stomach and tore her intestines out.
The girl opened her mouth, as if to scream, but no sound came out. I could see strings bundled up in there, running deep into her throat, cutting off her cries as the Rake brought his claws across her again and again, before finally he opened his mouth to reveal a row of fangs, which he sank into her neck, and then he pulled his head away, dragging her throat out with his mouth. Blood ran from the girl, and she no longer moved. The Rake let her collapse to the ground, and then he pulled her heart out and ate it.
We all just stood and watched.
Master nodded to the Cold Boy, and he clapped his hands. The four entities left, leaving me with other of the Wooden Girl's toys. This girl smiled at me. She seemed older than the remains that now lay strewn about the ground, though not by much. Fourteen or fifteen most like.
"So you are the Tall One's new pet?" the girl asked me. "What do you call yourself?"
The girl walked toward me. "I'm Charlotte," she said. "I have been serving my mistress for as long as I can remember. It's wonderful, isn't it? Being a servant. You don't have to think or anything. You just do what is desired of you. I do so love it when mistress controls me."
I kept silent. Charlotte stood on her tip toes and whispered in my ear: "I live to serve."
I ignored her breath against my neck and very pointedly refrained from looking at her. Master needed me alert at all times. He'd told me.
Charlotte shrugged and walked away. We waited in silence for an hour longer, and then Master and the Wooden Girl returned. As I left with Master, I saw Charlotte wave at me.
Tomorrow I will be starting on my first true assignment for Master. I must prepare.