Boilertown: Blood and Shit.

(Photo by Larry Combs)

(Photo by Larry Combs)

In my perilous quest to finish The Boilertown Saga here is an excerpt from the chapter called “The Rats of Boilertown,” in which Fenmore LeMerde engages Greta Scot in hand to hand combat in order to extract his much needed answers from her. He gets more than what he bargains for.

Greta Scot’s eyes darted this way and that scanning to see if Ms Marlybone was out there somewhere armed with the tranquilizer gun. Then she crouched down low and tilted her head sideways sizing up her sparring partner. Fenmore LeMerde was a formidable opponent exceedingly agile and efficient. Proficient in causing the greatest amount of damage with the least amount of effort. He said so himself he never falls. All those years Greta Scot spent alone in the sewer had left her lean yet sturdily built. She relied on the pure animal instinct to survive. Her fighting style mimicked that of her adoptive parents the Giant Sewer Rats with gnashing teeth and slashing claws. She was grounded soundly on sturdy legs and was somehow capable of taking down monsters much larger than herself. Fenmore LeMerde remembered his first chance encounter with the sewerling and how he and Ms Marlybone interrupted her dinnertime. He hoped she understood this was only a game. Simply speaking to her was getting him absolutely nowhere. So he tried to communicate with her through something she was bound to understand: violence. No guns and no orbs. This is hand to hand combat, he told himself and hoped the look in his eyes conveyed the fact that he wasn’t about to kill her. For a brief second he wondered if he was in over his head. This is Boilertown everything is over my head. Fenmore LeMerde exhaled slowly and took the first swing proving he wasn’t opposed to hitting a girl. She dodged the blow and ducked down low, put all of her weight on the balls of her feet, tilted sideways and aimed her shoulder at his ribcage with the full intention to knock him off kilter. But he recovered too quickly from his misplaced punch, took a swift step back, and put his shoulder to hers to counteract the blow. The impact jarred them both but what he didn’t expect was a sound kick to the Steam Baron’s shin by the sewerling’s heel. He must have lost his touch he thought as the sharp pain shot up to his knee. He vowed to never let that happened again. Taking a step back to regain his momentum, he landed a hard punch to her nose in hopes to remind her of the scratches she previously inflicted to his cheek. Hard enough to make her take him seriously. She growled baring her teeth and shook away the pain. The sewerling flexed her forearms as if preparing to rip him apart. No guns, no orbs, hand to hand combat. No guns- He wished he had a weapon for at that moment she lunged forward and brought all of her weight down hard on Fenmore LeMerde’s boot. Half punching half clawing she then landed a couple powerful swipes, gripped her opponent by the lapels of his waistcoat, and brought his head down to meet hers in a vicious headbutt. Their foreheads smacked together. His brain rattled. He stepped back for a slight reprieve, surely she could not have gone unscathed by such a blow. He blinked away the pain and sized the sewerling up. She fights like a – whats that thing called again? A bison. He thought in a moment of clarity and neatly dodged her following swings. Greta Scot fought dirty and did not know when to quit. She used all of her weight and momentum for the majority of her blows and this he knew he could use against her. He took a step back and expertly blocked the next swipe of her raking claws. He then grabbed her by the wrist and forced her hand back  towards her. Unfortunately, her other hand landed hard at his jaw. He bit his lip tasting blood and somehow managed ignore his impulse to incur further damage. Her got her right where he wanted her. Holding her own arm bent tightly at the elbow with her forearm pressed against her windpipe. Fenmore LeMerde had both of her arms this time as he shoved her bodily up against the wall. “Tell me, Greta,” He said breathlessly and slowly for clarity. “What is happening here?” he asked. “How is this all going to end?” After all the effort, he wasn’t sure if the sewerling was even going to answer. It surprised him greatly that she did. Greta Scot spit the blood out her mouth as it ran down from her broken nose. The sewerling swallowed hard and manged to mutter one coherent word. “Shit,” she said.
“Shit?” Fenmore LeMerde was momentarily taken aback at her utterance. He moved his head to wipe away the blood from his busted lip onto his lapels unwilling to take his eyes or arms off of the rat girl. “What did you call me?” his voice dipped dangerously low as he pressed harder on her arm.
Greta Scot grinned toothily and let out a stifled giggle. “Shit,” she said again and snapped her teeth close to Fenmore LeMerde’s nose.
Before matters could escalate further Ms Marlybone entered the room pausing in the doorway and cleared her throat. The sewerling’s face fell at the thought of going back to sleep. Sure enough the next words out of the Spiritualist’s mouth were, “do I have to knock the two of you out?”
Fenmore LeMerde sighed and let go of Greta Scot who both sneered and looked guilty at the same time. “No.” he added brusquely as they both turned to face her, bloodied and bruised from putting up a good fight. “I was questioning her- it seems she learned new word.”
“Shit,” Greta Scot said again under her breath and smirked.
Ms Marlybone crossed her arms and raised her eyebrows cautiously regarding the sewerling. “Well,” she said at last. “She didn’t learn it from me.”


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