Violet rolled her eyes. Ungulen gestured emphatically on the other side of the small window. Taking direction from his flailing hooves, she picked up a bucket and filled it with water, pretending in her overall posture that she was busily preparing snacks for the elephants. With nonchalance for anyone around who might care to notice, she picked up the filled bucket and opened the door to the walrus house.
“Oof,” Violent brought her hand to her nose. The overpowering odor of the kept walrus was stunning.
“Did anyone see you?” asked Goren Hargus from a dark corner of the room. Violent shook her head no and closed the door behind her. The walrus house flooded with cool, afternoon darkness.
“Good,” proclaimed Ungulen and gestured for all of them to be seated at a little card table. The meeting began.
“Violet, I’ve asked you here because you and Goren are the two people I trust most on the grounds.” Ungulen looked over his shoulder towards the door. “Now, Goren and I believe that there may be some misfortune amiss with the doctor.”
Both Ungulen and Goren fixed Violet with an expectant look.
Violet scoffed, “Well of course there’s something wrong with him. He punched me straight in the face and kidnapped Marrionetta, which by the way neither of you really did anything about at the time or after, thank you very much. So much for a young lady’s delicacy. ”
At this, Ungulen blushed deeply through the fur at his nape.
Violet continued, “He’s paying off half the staff with coin to fetch him little machine parts and the like. He eats all the chocolate and sardines at the mess, and actually he’s been very keenly peculiar since the very first day he showed up here.”
Ungulen and Goren each began nodding deeply. There was certainly nothing untrue in Violet’s pronouncements.
“Is that all?” Violet asked, angry. “He’s a mean, strange man and you just wanted to talk in secret about it? How is this cause for a secret meeting in a smelly old walrus closet?”
The walrus moaned quietly at this and slapped his bath water. He was insulted. Violet took no mind as she had not developed the same communicative sensitivity to the walrus as she had with the elephants.
“No no this goes beyond that,” Ungulen began chewing his long, flapping goat lips. “We think he’s taken to killing some of the younger lever boys.”
Violet drew back, astonished at this claim. She was very familiar with many of the lever boys. Several had tried to bring her daffodils. She began to reflect on which of them she perhaps had not seen in a while but stopped herself. The thought was too chilling to partake of.
“Ungulen, that’s just wild thinking. Surely nobody is…is…” she searched for a word other than murdering. “Surely it’s fine? They’re just run aways? Don’t you think, Goren?”
“I’m not sure just yet,” replied Goren. “But there’s a logic to it. Too many of these so called runaways never bothered to collect their last circus cheques and several of them left behind rather essential belongings, I would say. Boots, cigarettes, little Cormac left behind the walking stick he carved last spring. Had it mounted it with a bit of pyrite too.”
Violet took a moment to absorb this.
“So,” Ungulen sank closer into the table and his two friends. Goren and Violet drew in closer as well. “We need to begin spying on our good old friend, mister doctor, and see what he really gets up to in the meantime.”