Sam, Kobo’s chief builder and Lottie, the future Punishere of Bristol arrived safely in Logoff during the night. They were aware of the fee promised by the knights to anyone that spoke truthfully of Lottie’s whereabouts. Luckily for Lottie, no one would ever think of helping the dreary knights find a Punishere. The regular folk despised the Punishere for dishing out their unforgiving punishments.
“We are here. Long journeys end, I hope. Sam was nervous but he would play confident for Lottie.
Zee pranced out of a back side door. The building was large for Logoff standards. Lottie guessed that he was funded by someone or something for his work to be able to continue in this space. Zee kept a normal human appearance and was quite emotional. “Hello! So glad that you made it here in one piece. No unplanned chats with any nasty trolls, I hope. I’ve been lonely without you.” He directed his words towards Lottie.
Lottie took a mental note of where all of the exits were. She’d leave Sam behind in a heartbeat if she had to. “He’s… well, it’s hard to say.” Lottie felt an attraction to Zee at first sight. Sam was kind but not physically attractive enough to excite her. Zee was appealing to the eyes but he was quite the eccentric. The more he talked the weirder he seemed. During her wild days in Flaco and the Crescent weird men pleased her, the weirder the better. She was mostly rebelling then with her behaviors and choice of companions. No one could out weird a law breaking Punishere.
“Come around back. I want to show the Punishere my latest project.” Zee led them to his work room. “As you can guess, I stay very busy in here.” Animal heads and various cutting instruments adourned the walls. Lottie guessed that the upright board with the metal cuffs and chains was reserved for her.
“Here. Stand here.” They stood around a circular table that was covered by a long white cloth.
“What’s under the cloth?” asked Sam who frowned at Lottie. He had already given Zee the gold for the procedure which wasn’t wise.
“I’ll show you but first a humorous story about Lafet Punishere.”
“Alright.” Lottie was growing tired. They would have to stay the night in Logoff with Zee and possibly until she recovered. It was best to keep Zee friendly. “Yes, tell us about my brother.”
“My friend was in Bristol. He made the error of stealing a fish the size of a hand from an old woman. He was placed before the Punishere. The Punishere said in fairness, half of a fish, he must lose half of his teeth, which he did. Still toothless to this day.”
Sam folded his arms. “That was supposed to be entertaining? Is that Logoff humor?”
Lottie wanted to laugh at Sam’s questions. Lottie elbowed Sam in the arm. “Zee. Wow! Thank you for that tale. I haven’t seen my brother in a long time. Now, you were going to show us what’s under the cloth.”
“Right. I’m a little nervous. Never been around a Punishere before.” Sam rolled his eyes. Zee reached for Lottie’s hand. “Come a little closer to the table so you can see.” She felt a bolt of electricity run through her palm. He looked at her and then down at her hand. He pulled off the cloth with his left hand. A large sharp toothed fish was swimming in circles in a wide cyclinder.
Lottie still holding hands with Zee jumped backwards causing Zee to have to catch his footing. “I can feel your energy,” Zee admitted.
“Yes, of course it’s Punishere energy,” Sam was annoyed by the wasted time and Zee’s gushing over Lottie.
Zee let go off her hand. “I have created a man eating fish you see. Doesn’t it look motivated to kill us?”
Sam peered into the fish’s eyes. “Wait until Callahan hears about this. You are creating beasts. It’s a crime against humanity.”
Zee covered the fish back up. “I poke little holes so it can breath.”
“Well, that is great to know,” Sam said sarcastically.
“Look, I said that it’s a man eating fish. I didn’t say that it has eaten anyone yet. As for Callahan, he’s not committed to being a leader. He’s a humorous short tale around here, nothing more.”
Sam sighed. “Let’s just begin please. The knights of the Punishere are still looking for her. We don’t have time to play with your pet.”
Zee walked them over to the upright hard brown board. He dipped a knife in water and then began to dry it. “Two things.”
“Alright,” Lottie replied.
“One. I am going to knock your mind out with a huge rock. So that you won’t feel the pain at first.”
“At first?” Sam spotted a rock that was on a nearby table. “No cracks to her skull.”
“Two. You will have to be without your garments, all of them,” Zee informed her. Sam’s eyes widened. “What?”
“I have to poke holes in her skin, allow the blood to drain out, clean her and sew her skin. I can’t do that unless you are naked. It’s going to be very messy. If it makes you feel any better the dead girl I took from the sea will be naked as well.”
“The dead girl you took from the sea?” Sam started to feel uneasy.
Zee dramatically removed another cloth from another table. Sam and Lottie gasped and then shed a few tears. Zee covered the body back up. “What’s wrong? Do you want the sheep’s blood instead?”
Sam caught his puke in his hand. Zee yelled, “Throw it outside. You’ll have my place smelling like bile.”
“I’ll be right back Lottie. Right back.”
Zee began to undress himself. He stared lovingly at his small knife. “She was too young and beautiful to die. Drowned in the sea. I believe someone killed her.”
Lottie gazed at his toned gorgeous back. “I only knew her for a short time. Her name was Hettie. She was Nestor’s flame.”
“Such an ugly name, Hettie. Not a day passes that I don’t hear the name Nestor. ”
“Everyone knows Nestor.”
“I don’t care really, Lottie. I hope that Sam is able to keep his organs.”
Lottie laughed. “You are a mixed bag, you know. Vile at times.”
Zee cut open an aloe vera stem and used the juice to sanitize his hands. “Is that what you like? A mixed bag? Are you and this puking Sam committed? The man is obviously to weak for you. You are a powerful being.”
There was nothing romantic about the scenario. Zee was undressed holding a knife, standing over her dead friend’s body and Sam was hovering around as he should be.
“I am alone in this land now,” Lottie believed.
“I am alone also.” Zee placed metal cuffs around her wrists which connected her to the board. “Just me and the piranha, my fish.”
“Right.” She tried to ignore his nudity as he stood in front of her. He tried to ignore hers.
He closed the cuffs. “Do your wrists hurt?”
“They should hurt a little bit, though.” He parted her hair near her ear and applied aloe vera juice to her scalp. “You are likely to have a wound here from the rock.”
“Thank you.” Lottie felt completely helpless in this state. She couldn’t move her limbs and her faith had to be placed in Sam and Zee.
Zee whispered in her ear, “Lottie, if you let me, I can set you free, mind, body and soul. Release you from the cage. Give you a new destiny. Give you anything that you want. Stay with me. You are not meant for Kobo.”
Lottie was beyond surprised. “You don’t know me and I don’t know you.”
“I know that I’ve never met anyone as special as you. You’ve never met another me. I’ve got power running through my veins. You felt it. I know you did.”
Lottie sighed and faked a smile when Sam returned. Zee grabbed the big rock with both of his hands. Lottie missed his conversation already.
“Sam, did you get it all out of your system? You Koboians are a sheltered lot,” Zee teased him.
“You alright Lottie?” Sam asked. “Everythings going to work out as we planned.”
“We? He said we.” Zee smiled at Lottie. “I won’t hurt you.” She smiled back. “When this is over you will be someone else. No longer a Punishere.”
“I know,” she agreed. “That’s what I want.”
“That’s why we came here. Not so hard with that rock,” Sam requested.
Zee held the rock up with one hand and then slammed it down onto her head. “Goodbye, Lottie Punishere.”
Sam called out Lottie’s name multiple times, but she was unconscious.
“Sam,” Zee spoke nicely. “Do me a simple favor. It will take me some time to drain out her blood and replace it with Hettie’s.”
“Right,” Sam focused on Lottie. “What is it? No more gold for you.”
Zee shook his head. “No, it’s an honor really, dealing with you fine Koboians. In that red bag is a troll’s finger. Could you just give it to my fish? It’s name is Piranha.”
Sam looked at the red bag and then back at Zee, “Have you lost your mind, Zee?”