DON'T EVER CLICK HERE
With the lights out/
It's less dangerous/
August is being followed by two members up the winding path towards the house. They have tattoos, green hair and give the impression of having the combined age of seventeen. I recognize them from somewhere. I think they're bloggers for B.A.M. I think they're the two trolls that got their accounts suspended after they bombarded McDonald's with pictures of dead goats. I can see them through the window while I cook. I'm making pasta, tomato sauce, beansprouts and lentils. No cheese. Jeffrey does not let us use dairy products. Occasionally I will go into Sainsbury's (not the two we firebombed, obviously) and browse the aisles wistfully. He would smell it on me if I ate a Baby Bel. Sometimes I dream of milk. I'm not joking. I dream of swimming with dolphins in rivers of full fat milk. Jeffrey would kill me quicker than a bus in Tavistock Square if I ever drank from the udders of a sentient being. I stir the pan and attempt to roll a joint in my free hand. I fail, and sprinkles of weed fall into the pasta. It doesn't matter too much. Phillip grows the most wonderful gear, which I've been smoking since whenever o'clock, since we don't have clocks in the compound, mainly to keep us in touch with the infinite world of nature.
August gets to the door and I open it, a filter tip stuck to my lower lip. She smiles, that horrifying, wrathful smile.
"What are you doing?"
"I saw you through the window."
The two kids are looking at me with barely concealed contempt.
"Did you?" August looks like she wants to eat my heart.
"The secret knock is RAP. RAP RAP. RAP RAP RAP."
"Did you hear what I said?"
"Yes ma'am. I'm..."
I follow her arching finger toward the sign painted above the door.
AT THIS STAGE YOU CAN'T AFFORD TO TRUST ANYBODY
"Barnaby, Jude," August says. "This way."
She does not look at me again and the two kids follow her up the stairs. I go back to my work, shaking slightly.
After we've eaten, I am left to do the washing up for the compound. I'm hazy, stoned out of my mind. Felicity stumbles downstairs holding Eminem softly and cooing to her. Eminem. We found her in an alleyway with her tail ripped off and one of her eyes removed.
"Cha doing?" Felicity asks. Her bathrobe is open. She takes my hand and places it on her breasts. She hasn't washed in a while, her dreadlocks are matted and sweaty. We wind up fucking, but I don't remember much, just staring up at climax at the B.A.M mascot painted on the wall, a cow in militia gear holding an AK-47. I wake up staring at the static snow on the TV, hissing at me like a snake. Phillip comes in when I'm dressed and he's holding a bucket of blood and entrails.
"Darling," he smiles. I smooth out some blood on his eyebrows and he leans in and kisses me. When I was thirteen I went on holiday to Florence and mother made me stand next to the sign so she could get a picture and told me I was fortunate to be named after such a beautiful city, and father just nodded, a nod that meant this will always be our little secret, and when Phillip is finished he presses a card into my hand. It's the undercover journalist they uncovered a few days ago. He also had a camera, which we've been using on him.
They've been interrogating him in the work room for a few days now. He stopped screaming yesterday. All he does now is whimper like a wounded cat.
"Do you know where the shears are, Florence?" Phillip says, putting his member back in transit.
I pause. Eminem scurries past the hallway alcove. "Is this..."
I look down at the press card. The blood. "Really, necessary?"
He grins, relieved, points at the work room. "Darling, that man in there..."
I light a joint.
"Darling, that man in there is an animal!" He pats me on the head. "Get some sleep."
He finds the shears and goes back to the work room and I hear the reporter start to scream again. Eminem wanders over and I stroke her gently. No point acting on anything. Better just to see. In the morning nothing will have changed.