Nico (vilakins) wrote,

Ficlet: Something in the Cellar

This was written for the b7friday dungeons and dragons challenge. About 400 words, set in season 3, after Dawn of the Gods. It was based around a certain line of dialogue that was the basis of a small dare between me and sallymn.

Something in the Cellar

Groff's widow Tineke was dry-eyed. "I accepted his death long ago, but thank you for coming to tell me." She paused, looking tired. "It must have been a long journey. Will you have something? Let me get you something."

So Tarrant, Avon, and Vila were seated uncomfortably side-by-side on an overstuffed faded floral sofa opposite her while she poured tea for them and handed round a plate of home-cooked biscuits, while they tried to make conversation. It was hard going. there wasn't much Avon and Tarrant could say about Groff, and Vila, who had never met him, had his mouth full of biscuit.

Then gradually an odour became perceptible. Avon was reminded of his piano teacher who taught in her home on the Beta levels: her pale middle-aged blondeness, her limp tunics, and her bright red lipstick which always made him look at her mouth instead of her eyes, and most of all the ever-present smell of dinner cooking in the kitchen. Why was it always cabbage? Tarrant found himself remembering the overcooked meals of the Space Academy canteen, and Vila shuddered at the smell which always permeated the corridors around where he lived. His mum said it was cabbage, good cheap fare, but there always seemed more than a hint of drains.

And there was now a distinct whiff of sulphur. "It isn't me," Vila said quickly, seeing the look on Avon's face.

"Oh!" Tineke put her cup down. "The dragons are in the cabbages again."

"Dragons?" Vila jumped up to look out the window.

"Down in the cellar." Tineke sighed. "We store vegetables and beans and lentils, all the things they like, down there but somehow they still burn their way in."

Avon nodded sagely. "Gas-producing foods; excellent fuel for them."

"Dragons?" Vila said again.

"Yes, small creatures, about the size of a cat, indigenous to Xaranar."

"But scaly and fire-breathing? With wings?"

"No wings," said Tineke, standing up. "And they're vermin. I'll have to get the high-pressure hose and blow them out."

"Hmmm." Vila looked thoughtful.

"No," said Avon.

"What d'you mean?"

"I know what you were thinking. And a spaceship isn't the place for open flames. You will have to be content with your pet rats."

"They're better than a pet rock anyway," said Vila, getting the last word for once.

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