“Oh yeah, baby. Oh god. Oh yeah, It’s so good. Oh my god, baby. Yeah. Yeah,” cried the prostitute as she stared at the ceiling and tried to work out ways to improve her seafood chowder recipe. Her seafood chowder was renowned by the other prostitutes in her penny dreadful book circle but she was always trying to think up ways to better it. For some reason butter came to mind. Butter in a seafood chowder? It had never been done. But it just might work, especially if she upped the red pepper….
Oh crap. The john was slowing down. “Oh baby! Right there! Right there! Oh my god it’s freaking good. Holy crap, Grady. Oh Grady… oh my freaking god!” A full tablespoon of butter seemed outright crazy but the prostitute had a feeling that it would work. A teaspoon just didn’t feel like enough and you could almost taste how the butter, added at the beginning, would cleverly mix with the…
On the walls of the room were a series of bells and tiny little miniature shudders. The tiny little shudders and bells looked sort of cute, but their real purpose was a communication method. At this moment they started ringing and clapping in odd rhythms.
The prostitute listened for a few moments. “Shit,” she said. “Agatha needs help.” She squirmed out from under the John and pushed him off.
“What the hell?” He said angrily.
This was going to be tricky, thought the prostitute. Grady had a nasty temper.
“Grady baby, I’m SOOOOO sorry. It’s an emergency. I got no choice, baby, I have to…”
“WHAT THE HELL,” Grady shouted, his infamous temper rising. “YOU do not get to say when we are done. I say when we are done. I am the gawdam customer and I pay YOU the gawdam money, and I…”
“Grady baby, I’ll make it up to you. It’s an emergency, baby. Besides, don’t you have to get back to your little girl? Didn’t you say she was waitin’ for you? Come one, baby. You get a freebie next time. And extra special freebie.” Shit. That was going to mean anal. Oh well. It couldn’t be helped. This was the Agatha signal, and the prostitute had no intention of letting Agatha down.
“That’s right, Grady baby,” she continued as he pulled on his pants in a huff and she shooed him out the door. “Extra special next time, honey.” Finally, he was out the damn door. “And say hello to little Amelia for me!”
All right. Grady was gone. She was alone. Almost. “Okay, where are we going?” she asked the room.
Throughout the years, decade after decade, era after era, one story that never left the New Albion folk lore was the idea that there was a sentient room which mysteriously moved about the city. As insane as the notion was, there was no era that didn’t have some version of this story. What only a few realized was that almost all versions of this story were in fact correct. The room befriended many denizens over the years and had many adventures and served many functions. This was still in its relatively early days. It had just finished being a theater for a number of years and when the two men who used it moved on to other… places, the room wandered friendless and alone for a time until it befriended this prostitute.
She had been in a very bad jam with her pimp, who was about to cut her from ear to ear. The room had the ability to materialize between any two existing building, magically just… suddenly being there. In this case the room had been there for 2 days. As it watched the pimp threaten the poor woman, who had been robbed of her hard earned money just an hour before, it decided to step in. The pimp was about to make the slash when suddenly he was body slammed by a huge oak door. When he recovered he furiously looked around him. No sign of anyone. The prostitute was staring wide eyed at the doorway behind him, though.
“Who the *** is there?” the pimp demanded. He slowly approached the closed doorway. The prostitute put her hands over her mouth in what may have looked like a look of horror but was actually the suppression of a giggle. “I will GUT you, motherf…” The door flew open again with such force that we need not speak of the pimp any longer.
The Room and the prostitute became close friends and it followed her around. It agreed to be her… client room, as this was both safe and convenient, and the room honestly couldn’t care less about human copulation. A few of the prostitute’s very close friends knew about the room and would sometimes come over to hang out in it whereupon they’d all drink brandy and howl with laughter, which the room adored. They jokingly and affectionately called it the Fuck House.
Agatha and Pepper were meanwhile running through the streets of New Albion chased by a near army of sociopathic thugs, who kept popping up out of nowhere. They were all over the District and constantly converging on her and Pepper. When she had first stepped out of the library they had seemed further away. All she had to do was get Pepper inside the library and turn on the wards. Although she could be a real idiot and constantly forgot to actually turn them on, once on, the library could withstand a military siege. But suddenly a group of thugs had been behind her, suspiciously suddenly if you asked Agatha. There was magic involved. She hadn’t time to look for traces of Glamour, as a gunshot hit the library door behind them and they found a group of 4 men on top of them.
Agatha was a very well trained and experienced witch. There was a lot of crazy shit she could pull off, but the fact of the matter is that magic is not meant for kinetic situations. If you found yourself in hand to hand combat, magic was practically useless. Now, a witch standing calmly and unbothered several feet away could help a fighter in this situation immensely, but a witch actually in close quarter, fast action herself was not much use.
Of course, not much use didn’t mean no use. Agatha over the years had been in some tight spots and had a few tricks that could be pulled out in a pinch. All four men suddenly tripped as they lunged and Agatha and Pepper suddenly seemed to blink out then back in a few feet away. Instant teleportation was not so impressive. Give her an hour or two prep time and Agatha could teleport anywhere in the city. But sometimes a couple feet at a time was enough, especially when bullets started flying. So they both blinked about several times until the mojo was used up, then high tailed it and ran.
As they ran Agatha could only think “Shit, these bastards are relentless.” She looked at the dog running beside her. “Any dog that can make assholes like this that mad is a dog i respect” she said breathlessly to Pepper. Pepper would have smiled if she could. Agatha started gasping. This sort of action was her friends’ forte, not hers. “I’m going to have to call for backup,” she gasped. “My… close friends are… busy… can’t contact… but… i have… a room… we can…” she wheezed and tears came down her cheeks as she closed her eyes, ran, and sent out a call.
The prostitute opened the door of the room. It lead to an alley and coming straight towards them were tiny little Agatha and a dog. However, in between them was an old homeless beggar, absolutely filthy, with festering, open sores. Pepper was almost distracted because she could swear she heard him muttering Fay’s name. “Gon get you back, Fay, gon get you back,” he muttered over and over.
The prostitute stepped aside. “Come on, Aggie!” she cried. Agatha was out of breath, out of shape and out of stamina. She tripped over the wretched beggar and went flying face first into the room. Pepper was there before she was. As the pursuers opened fire, the door slammed shut and the room disappeared.
“Fuuuuuuuu….” Agatha began.
“Jesus, Aggie!” exclaimed the prostitute. “Why were those men after you? You know who they are?”
“I do,” replied Agatha. “And we.. i mean i, were really hoping to stay off their radar for awhile yet. Last thing we need is the for the Son to call us in and try something asinine like making us swear fealty or something.”
“Us? Who’s us?”
“Never mind. Doesn’t matter. Those men weren’t after me they were after good ol Pepper here.”
“The dog?” The prostitute gave Pepper a good inspection. “You got a dog?”
“No, i just met her.”
“What? Are you crazy? You mean to tell me that you were running around in the line of fire for a pooch you don’t even know?”
Agatha turned towards the prostitute. “Daniela,” she said quietly. Daniela got chills. “I help any dog that needs it. I help any cat that needs it. Bird, mouse, you name it. I am there for them in their moment of need if they call. I have met few people in this world who can come even close to a dog in worthiness, and frankly, if the entire human race were wiped off the planet tomorrow and the entire globe was left to the dogs, i would not only consider that a happy ending, i may even consider that the happiest of endings.”
Daniela the prostitute brushed it off and hugged Agatha. Agatha returned the hug, then went to a nearby wall and hugged it. “Thank you both. I just need to wait here for a bit with Pepper, examine this device she has which gives off some strange auras, and then if you could please drop me off next to the library when the coast is clear, i would be extremely grateful.”
“Sure thing, Aggie.”
“Now if you excuse me for a second, i’m going to talk to the Room.” And with that, Agatha sat in the lotus pose and closed her eyes.
An hour later the room blinked in next to the library. Daniela peered out to see if the coast was clear. “You’re good,” she whispered.
She and Agatha hugged again. “Thank you,” Agatha said.
“Oh stop it. I can never thank YOU enough. My little baby… she’s healthy. I’m gonna go pick her up now, but she’s doing great. Hasn’t been sick since.”
“Good.” Agatha smiled. “She’ll be fine. She’ll never get that particular sickness again. And i even caught a few glimpses into her Path. She’ll grow up healthy and one day, years from now she’ll have a baby boy and she’ll name him Thomas.”
Agatha and Pepper cautiously walked out.
As soon as they were fully outside the room they made a break for it and dashed to the library. But the trap was laid too well. They made it too far to return to the Room and not close enough to the library door when the Uncle and his men blinked into a circle surrounding them.
“I gotta warlock in my pocket, baby,” he said, smirking. Agatha quickly tried to make a basic defense ward. The Uncle smashed her across the face with a crowbar. Blood flew from her mouth as she went spinning around onto the sidewalk. Pepper let loose a roar and leapt towards the Uncle, teeth barred, saliva flying.
The Uncle smashed her in the face too. Once, then twice. Pepper was not going down. She leapt up again and the Uncle brought the crowbar down on her foreleg, smashing the bones to pieces.
Pepper let out a yelp. However, she stood her ground, on her three paws, face bleeding.
The object had fallen out in the skirmish and one of the Uncle’s henchmen picked it up as he loomed over Agatha and Pepper, smiling a wide, happy smile.
“Once i kill this little bitch, me and you, librarian, we’re gonna have some fun. After i’ve had you a couple times, i’ll lend you out to my buddies here, but first, ooowhee, it’s gonna be you and me.” He gave Agatha another kick to make sure she was down.
He licked his lips, raised the gun, pointed it at Pepper, and fired.