--donation bonus (day #21, post 3/5)--
They could all be terrifying, he knew, but the young woman named Nola Pauls was uniquely so. Affectionately so. For whatever reason--or perhaps for none at all--she’d taken an interest in David, often rubbing his large belly and remarking that doing so would grant her various wishes. She was joking, he was fairly certain, though he didn’t know what about it was supposed to be funny. Foreign humor, he figured.
She was not a small woman, and like most of her comrades, she was red of hair. Her pale face, however, held far more freckles than anyone else’s.
“Hey, fat prince!” she said, running up to catch him from behind.
He tried not to wince as he turned to greet her. “Hello, Nola.”
“Look, look!” She kept one hand behind her back and, with the other, held up a lock of a black hair. “Guess who this belongs to!”
Her games always started like this, with something seemingly innocuous. “Allow me a hint?” he asked.
She grinned, showing her uneven teeth. “It’s someone you know.”
“I know a lot of people. Does it belong to one of my brothers?”
“Nope,” she said. “It’s someone who works for you.”
“Is it my tailor?”
“Nope, nope! Give up yet?”
“Yes, I give up.”
“It’s your nanny!”
“But I don’t have a nanny.” David tilted his head. “I don’t have children.”
“Oh.” Nola’s face scrunched up. “Well, then who’s this?” She brought her other hand around, and in its grasp was the severed head of a black-haired young woman.
Instinctively, he turned away and closed his eyes, struggling to maintain his composure. He tried to focus on not retching in the middle of the corridor.
“Is she someone else’s nanny?” asked Nola. “I saw her walking around with some fat kids, so I thought she was yours.”
“I’m sorry,” he said. “I don’t know who she is.”
“You sure? I don’t think you got a very good look. C’mon, open your eyes.”