Sabine of the Ten Rings: Birds Not of a Feather, Part Four

To read the previous adventures of Sabine, click here. The story continues below. *** Trapped within the cold, metal stomach of the Organizer alongside Jas’s other mistress, Sabine beat back the slashes of the great

To read the previous adventures of Sabine, click here. The story continues below.

***

Trapped within the cold, metal stomach of the Organizer alongside Jas’s other mistress, Sabine beat back the slashes of the great dicer. “Could really use another set of eyes here!” Each strike from the machine relented after a quick parry, but the speed and number of the attacks didn’t allow her a moment’s respite.

Two feet ahead of her, Dahkhal, spilled out from his ring, forced directions out between his shouts of pain. Left! Then right! Then above, like a guillotine—AGH!

Outside the machine, Lenore the harpy said, “That must be quite a hog to stop up the blades like that.”

“Mus‘ be,” said Jas. “Remember that time we tried stuffing a whole horse in there? The old lady couldn’t stomach that very well.”

“What is this?” The interloper behind Sabine asked. “Is this whole place the circle of hell where sinful creatures of nature go?”

Sabine screamed, “Directions!”

Up up down down left right left right—BEEEE! AHHHH!

“That’s just too much clanging,” Jas said. “The slicer dicer needs sharpening or some such. Come on, let’s get the grinder going.”

Jas’s other lover within, still oblivious as ever, called out, “Gods, no, I didn’t sign up for any grindering, lemme outta here!”

The blades stopped swinging down from the ceiling and a sweaty Sabine lowered her guard for a few deep breaths. Then she felt the creak of the metal floor beneath her. Inch by inch the machine pulled Sabine to the left and the woman to the right. Beneath the metal trap door were a pair of enormous grinding mechanisms, and with the sound of renewed cranking outside of the machine, the pair of monstrous mincers began to roll against one another.

“Oh come on!” Sabine grabbed Dahkhal’s ring off the ground, though his cubed remains slipped down into the pit. As his shouts filled her mind, Sabine leapt toward the center of the machine before the floor completely receded beneath her. She caught hold of the wooden arms of one of the slicing blades, grit her teeth, and stabilized her grip. “What, you shoving mammoths down this thing too?”

“Heads up!”

“Wait wha—”

Her companion in unwitting infidelity jumped, grabbed ahold of Sabine’s legs, and hung an inch above the grinders.

“Get your own awful handhold, lady!” Sabine didn’t have it in her to kick her off, but she’d go mad if she had to swallow another objection.

“Sounds like they’re holding onto something in there,” Lenore said.

“Damn. Keep up the cranking, let me get the broom.”

The light of a newly opened window briefly blinded the two women as Jas peered into the grinder. “All right, little piggies, time to go now.” He slid the point of a wooden broom toward the hanging women.

“He’s been going behind your back, Lenore!” Sabine struggled to adjust her grip as Jas laid a few uncoordinated pokes at her face. “He’s just trying to grind up the evidence!”

“What’s the parrot hog going on about?”

“Who knows,” Jas said. “Prolly just an attempt at shock value.” He leaned in further and poked harder, though the effort was still ineffectual. “We’re an old fashioned kinda couple, piggy. Even if I was sleeping around, we’d talk and work it out. That’s what true love does to people.”

“I’ve been married ten times, you fat ass. Not all of them were good. One of them was a fish-man, one knew way too much about pig crap, one was some weird forest-dwelling imp who had a fetish for smashing ceramics—I could go on! My point is, they all had their oddities, but going behind my back wasn’t one of them.”

Dahkhal stopped yelping long enough to contribute, Except for Wallon!

Sabine amended, “Except for the one I smothered with a pillow.”

The four all went silent as the claim sank in before the interloper at Sabine’s ankles said, “Wow, ten husbands? One at a time or all at once? I’ve never had more than four going at once—”

“This stick idn’t big enough,” Jas said. “I’ll have to get the flagpole.” The butcher stepped away from the window.

The loudmouth beneath Sabine said, “Hey, little miss polyandry, if you can swing toward the opening, I might be able to climb out.”

Sabine resented the thought of being second to escape, but she couldn’t do a thing until she the woman stopped dangling from her legs. She slowly swung back and forth in acquiescence. “You better grab me something I can pull out of here with.”

It took a few seconds of tricky, pained swings, but the other woman released Sabine’s booted ankle, got ahold of the window, and pulled herself out of the Organizer. “All right, I’m outta here,” she announced. “You ever get picked up an eleventh time, try hitting me up, I wanna see it happen.”

Sabine, though not surprised, was still enraged. “You backstabbing pavement nymph!”

“The only hooker who ever really had a heart of gold had an alchemist as a client.”

She said. “Now then, off to—”

That was as far as the other interloper got. Lenore stepped into her path as she turned to walk out, raised a vulturic set of talons, and ripped out her windpipe in a single bloody slash.

“Good Gods, woman!” Sabine fought back vomit in her throat. “I was sympathizing with you when you took this case, but this? How many of your husband’s musk cats have you done that to?”

“As many as have come along.” Lenore threw aside the corpse and clenched her bloody talons. “My kind mates for life.”

“All right, dearie, don’t talk with the hogs.” Jas stepped back into view, a flagpole in hand. “Let me by, time to make some blood sausage.”

Sabine looked down into the darkness and asked, “Anything else I can work with?”

Dahkhal’s mental voice was somehow hoarse from all his shouts. He’s dumb, she’s mad, make a weakness out of that. Sorry, think most of my brain is smeared somewhere else about now.

It wasn’t much to work with, but as Jas leaned into the Organizer with the flagpole, it seemed like all Sabine had. When she kicked away his first few prods, the big man leaned further and further in. Sabine hoped he might just fall into the grinder below, but his great belly kept him wedged in place. It was only when Jas stretched further in that a solution came to her. In the midst of one of his thrusts, Sabine swung forward, opened her legs, and trapped Jas’s face between her thighs.

“Hey Lenore,” she said. “You should see where your hubby is right now, between my legs!”

The harpy squawked. “Leave him be, you harlot!”

“Make me,” Sabine said.

Jas said something, but his words were reduced to “Mff mmmph mrrr.”

The Organizer’s grinder came to a stop. In its absence, Sabine heard the patter of footsteps, Lenore must have run to the trapdoor in the bedroom. Sword drawn, Sabine balanced herself like Jas was a raging bull, and plunged the blade down into his back. The butcher howled and tried to pull back through the  window, but his large paunch kept him trapped. It took four fierce thrusts for the big man to slip free. As he jerked about in agony, Sabine ran for one of the machine’s cranks.

The harpy flew in front of the window at the machine’s heart and demanded, “Where are you, strumpet?”

Sabine shouted a triumphant cry of, “Hey, bird woman, til death do you part!” And wrenched the machine’s crank with all her might.

Jas of Great Mass let out a last cry of, “My sweet bird!” before he succumbed to his wounds. Lenore had time enough to tilt her head in confusion before the dicing blades above swung downward and, cut by cut, scream by scream, sliced the harpy to nuggets.

When the noise subsided, Sabine collapsed from both exhaustion and trauma. She was ready to get back in bed—any bed—harpy feather pillows be damned. She could have fallen asleep then and there if the voice hadn’t spoken in  her head.

You need to run the sausage stuffer, Dahkhal said. I’m a square of jelly in the middle of this hideous mix.

Sabine complied and cut Dahkhal’s miniscule remains out of the pig intestines just after she got her first look at clumps of black feathers within. “Well, this was our worst case yet. And we’re not even getting paid for it.”

At least your record remains unblemished, Dahkhal said. Everyone you’ve ever slept with is once again dead. The natural order has been restored.

The mercenary readied a retort, but paused when she cast a last look at the monstrous machine. A series of marks were incised into the iron. On closer inspection, it was a message.

To the happy couple, to make your work easier and your love more plentiful. Many blessings from the Great Indolent One on your wedding day.

  • Deacon Struct

-The End

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