• • •
“Can you say that one more time for me?”
“Of course we can, Knoxxi Boi,” says Cletus.
Cletus takes Courtney’s hand and smiles at her. She smiles back, a very supportive smile. Then, they turn.
“As you know from our lectures, Knoxxi Boi, the wife and I don’t much like the other humans.”
“We do enjoy them from time to time,” Courtney chimes in, “but we don’t much like ‘em at all.”
“That’s right, from time to time we enjoy them – that’s what the guest room’s for, and all – but on the whole, we do not like the other humans very much. They’re just… they’re a little too strange for us in their ways. Now, we found you laid out in the clearing we like to take our occasional midnight walk to, and we saw that you were injured. So, we took you into our home, and we were happy to do it. We wanted you to heal up.”
“Right,” Jonathan Knox confirms. “It’s eh… it’s not that part I’m having trouble with. It’s, um.” He gulps. “It’s the other part.”
“Well if you ain’t interrupt me maybe we’d be there a’ready,” Cletus points out with the sternest furrow in his brow. “As I was sayin’, we took you into our home because we wanted you to heal up. But, we didn’t do it out the goodness of our hearts. We took you in, Knoxxi Boi, for the same reason we take in all the other vagrants we come across in the woods: for the goodness of our stomachs.”
“That’s a nasty wound on your foot, Knoxxi Boi,” Courtney says with a small smile. “We didn’t know if it was infected or what, and eatin’ infected longpork is a very dangerous game. But it’s been a few days now and it doesn’t seem any worse.”
“Hell, ” Cletus barks, “it’s lookin’ better! You c’n rest y’r full weight on it now, cain’t ya Knoxxi Boi?”
“Not uh, not quite,” Jonathan Knox says nervously. “I can… I can put it flat on the floor, though.”
Cletus shrugs. “Good enough, I reckon.”
“An’I reckon it secon’,” Courtney chirps. “Usually our house guests only stay with us a day, we never had someone with us for so long before. We couldn’t risk gettin’ sick, y’understan’? We had to see if you improved.”
They’re so calm about this, so nonchalant. It’s like they’re discussing the goddamn weather.
“So… to, to get this straight,” Jonathan Knox stammers, “you two are… you’re actual cannibals. Is… that’s what you’re telling me, right?”
“We don’t like to use the Cee-word, per se, but yeah, Knoxxi Boi.” Cletus puts his arm around his wife. “Courtney’n’I have a taste for the longpork.”
“We ain’t no connoisseurs,” Courtney assures him, “and we don’t indulge all too often. But… when the opportunity presents itself, well…”
“You know what they say, Knoxxi Boi. A wolf ain’t never passed up on a sheep!”
And that’s all Jonathan Knox is in this situation: a sheep. It’s all he’s been ever since he was freed from the hold of the prison room back on Cosmic Earth. Sharpton told him to blow up the Compound, so he did. He set that old pasture ablaze and wandered blindly forward into a new one, expecting and even believing things would be fine, and just look where it got him. Gash in his foot, bruises on his ribs, stranded in a house with a pair of hillbillies who mean to cook him alive and chow down. You believed things would work out for you, Jonathan Knox, and for that you’re a Goddamned sheep.’
“Don’ look so glum there, chum!” Cletus says. “Ain’t nobody else got t’keep us company f’r as long as you. You set a world record, Knoxxi Boi! An’ I bet y’r gonna be delicious, too.”
Jonathan Knox rests his head back on the pillow and stares at the ceiling. The depraved society of Bionic Wuester: teenage sex workers, publicly available licenses to kill, and shameless sexpot cannibals. Things are working out fine.
Oh yeah, things are working out just fine.
“Knoxxi Boi,” says Cletus.
Knoxxi Bitch doesn’t move.
“C’m’on now, don’t get down and melancholic on us. We’ve been nothing but gracious hosts.”
[to be cont’d]
This has been the start of the ninth subchapter of the first chapter of the book Over the River: The Emancipation of Jonathan Knox. Here is everything you need to know about it:
Over the River
The Emancipation of Jonathan Knox
Over the River is the third book in a trilogy called The Fall of the Seven Earths. I’ve also released that trilogy as a single book called The Fall of the Seven Earths. Here’s everything you need to know about it:
The Fall of the Seven Earths
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