It was burning my mouth much more than usual. Its flame whispered through the gaps above my gums and swam along the back of my tongue until it hit the tip of my oesophagus and stained my tonsils with its clinical tang.
I spat it out just as the tears threatened to spill over the lower rims of my eyes. I curled my lips as I stared into the mirror above the sink, ran my tongue over each enamel surface, smooth, white and stain free.
The bathroom cabinet reflected a similarly slick world through the window behind me. The sill sat below a frame of metallic towers, each shining a reflection of the next; infinite echoes of an endless cityscape of monochrome.
Karl was hovering by my desk once again. He had those dark brown eyes where the pupils bled into the irises so all you see is one enlarged orb of darkness flanked by bloodshot white either side. They pierced through the air and into my skull. I tried to divert my train of thought in case he was listening. I kept him in my peripheral as I stared at the cubicle behind me in the reflection of my computer screen. He moved his mouth like a fish several times before he decided to leave without saying a thing.
I was careful to check they weren’t watching before I opened the drawer. Their little servants were spying above my workstation. They would raise the alarm if they saw what was inside. I tentatively leaned down into my handbag, pulling the mass I had recovered from the side of the road earlier this morning. The feathers were still warm when I had picked it up then. Now they were cold and crisply matted with what was once the creature’s insides. One more subtle glance around me, and I thrust it into the drawer. The gluttonous lip smacks were muffled by the timber.
She would reward me for that in time.