It felt as though the silence would crush the life from me.
We had killed the last few of those who had escaped us in the banquet hall and found ourselves in a massive mausoleum. The boys sat down and took care of those among their number who were wounded.
I walked among the graves set within the walls of the mausoleum, the raven on my shoulder. He would preen, occasionally, but for the most part, his one good eye scanned over the graves as well.
Like the menus in the banquet hall, there were photographs set within the sealed doors. Unlike the menus, however, there was more than one image per door. There were dozens of them.
The graves did not appear large enough to hold the bodies of so many children, and after a moment, I realized that not all of each body was interned. I understood that most of them had ended up on the tables we had just passed by.
Turning away from the graves, I returned to my young charges. As one, they looked to me, and in the stillness of that room, I heard a sudden, sharp gasp.
One of the men was still alive.
The boys turned to fall upon him, to flay his flesh from his bones, but I stopped them.
They moved aside as I walked toward the wounded man. He was fat, a bloated slug crammed into his suit. His face was pale, his eyes jaundiced, and his jowls shivered as he tried to push himself back toward a wall.
I crouched down beside him, drew my Bowie knife, and placed the tip of it beneath an eye.
“How many have you eaten?” I asked him.
“I don’t know,” he hissed, his eyes shifting from me to the boys and back again.
“I think you do. Tell me,” I demanded.
He shook his head, and I removed his eye. As he shrieked in pain, I popped it into his mouth, jammed his jaw closed and forced him to swallow it.
“How many?” I asked again, and a moment later, I was forced to feed him his other eye.
The boys gathered around me, watching.
I ended feeding him one of his testicles before he decided to talk, and I had to cut out his tongue to get him to stop.
I fed him that, too.
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