Lost Gods Excerpt, Book Four

 

BELOW EXCERPT PULLED FROM BOOK 4 OF THE LOST GODS BY J.M. ROBISON:

 

Talon stretched. They’d been discussing with their heads down for an hour.

 

Rubbing both eyes and smacking his lips still greasy from the hot meal, he stood. “Gotta empty the bowels,” he said, patting his stomach, and weaved among the patrons in the room who filled up every chair and table, several of them hooded, keeping their heads down.

 

Sciath scrapped a fingernail into the wood. Clothes finally dried, his eyes drooped in half-sleep. They’d spent the rest of their money on dinner. There was no telling where they would sleep tonight.

 

Radak was currently in the company of Andrast’s Lord. According to the inn host, Radak had rented a room in this very inn for tonight and would be returning to it before the gas lamps dimmed.

 

Talon would follow Radak invisible to his room, sneak inside with him, discover what he’d done to their friends somehow, and leave without anyone ever knowing the how, why, or who.

 

That was the easy part. The hard part would be then getting to Malandore to rescue–

 

Talon ran back to their table, breathless.

 

“Alamarr, you have to come see this!”

“See what?”

 

“This inn has a toilet.”

 

“A what?”

 

“A porcelain seat you sit on to empty your bowels. It flushes. Inn host called it a toilet.”

 

“Flushes? What does that even mean?”

 

“Come look.” Talon tugged on Alamarr’s sleeve until Alamarr relented and followed him.

Sciath turned in his seat, watching the pair disappear around a corner. A full minute lapsed and Alamarr dashed around the corner, waving frantically at Sciath for him to join them.

Sciath looked at Calthania. Her back lifted up and down. She hadn’t said a word in the passed hour. He stood up to join Alamarr.

 

Sciath followed Alamarr to a tiny closet, almost not wide enough to fit Sciath’s broad shoulders. He looked down at a white porcelain seat with a massive bowel filled with water in the center, the bowel narrowing at the bottom into a narrow funnel which disappeared.

 

“Watch this.” Talon shouldered passed Sciath and yanked on a chain hanging from the ceiling. Water gushed around in a circle inside the bowl, flushing all down the narrow funnel with a gurgle. They all stood silent, watching the bowel fill back up.

 

“Inn host said there’s only two in all of Eloshonna,” Talon said. “Radak caught wind of some engineer playing around with the idea of one, and hired him to put one in Malandore Castle and this inn, since Radak stays here so much.”

 

“Wouldn’t that be grand,” Alamarr said, “Radak comes in to use this toilet, Talon kills him, and we drain his blood and cut up his body into little pieces and flush them all down the toilet to hide the evidence. Everyone will then be like, ‘How did Radak die’? and the response? ‘Drowned’.”

 

Talon snorted, covering his nose. Sciath looked skeptically at his grinning friend. “You’re gruesome.”

 

“It would work, wouldn’t it?”

 

“We’re not here to kill…do you hear that?”

 

All three of them, crammed in the toilet closet, listened as heavy boots tromped into the crowded room.

 

“Is there a man in here who is part barbarian, elf, and human?” an authoritative voice called.

Everyone in the inn held their breath. Even the three men in the toilet closet. The inn host new. But he wasn’t saying anything. So did Calthania. She didn’t respond, either.

 

“Inn keeper,” said the same voice, “have you seen–”

 

“Yes, yes,” the inn host said in a frantic hustle, clearly unwilling in his tone but without choice. “He went back to the toilet not a moment ago.”

 

Alamarr, hanging the most outside the closet, rammed his shoulder into Talon and Sciath, shoving them both inside. Following, Alamarr closed the door and flipped the lock.

 

Sciath pressed against one wall, Talon directly across, both with a foot front and rear of the toilet. With no where else to go, Alamarr stood on the toilet, bracing his balance on Talon’s and Sciath’s shoulders.

 

“Exactly, what did this accomplish,” Sciath asked, the small space heating up with all three of their rampant breathing.

 

“Keeping you alive.”

 

“For what, another minute longer?”

 

Massive fists pounded on the door, shaking the walls. “Come out by order of King Radak.”

“Haymiel is king,” Alamarr snapped. “And if you don’t mind, I’m dropping a shit, so leave me in peace until I’m done.” For emphasis, he pressed his palm against his lips and blew, making a long, fluctuating farting sound.

 

“I don’t care if you’re consummating. Open this door–”

 

“I can’t hear you.” Alamarr pulled on the chain, the sound of gushing water churning inside the small, cramped space of the room. When the bowel refilled, Alamarr flushed it again.

Harder pounding on the door, like a shoulder driving into it. The wood buckled. “Get out right now.”

 

“What? What did you say?” Alamarr removed his shirt and shoved it into the bowel, stuffing it tightly into the funnel. He flushed it. Water pooled up and dumped over the rim, splattering Sciath’s and Talon’s boots. He flushed again. More water. It flooded under the door.

 

“Oops,” Alamarr said to cries of, “Awk!” and “Gross!” “Sorry. Dropped a big one.”

 

Another shoulder to the door, but a prompt, “Umph!” and a heavy crash of armor on floor testified the man slipped and fell.

 

Alamarr kept flushing. While other, half-attempts were made on the slick floor on the other side of the door to ram it open, Alamarr motioned the other two to lean in. “Remove your boots, both of you. You’ll have better grip barefoot.”

 

They both did, without question. Alamarr, too.

 

“I’m going to stop flushing and shove my finger under the door. When one of them grabs it, Sciath, unlock and kick the door open as hard as you can. Talon, remain invisible and rush the first man you see. Throw your boots at him to distract him while you do. If you hit hard enough, he’ll slip on the water. The rest we’ll have to take as-is, since we don’t know how many are out there. Ready?” Alamarr flushed one more time and stepped off the toilet, shoving a finger under the door.

 

“I’m right here!” he taunted. “Pull me out–OUCH!”

 

Taking his cue, with an added forward thrust of his hips, Sciath rammed the heel of his foot hard into the unlocked door.

 

It blasted open. Not a particular heavy thing, with the force of his kick, the door slammed into the armored man’s head – who was bent over, holding onto Alamarr’s finger. His winged mask saved most of his face from the blow, but his entire body tumbled over and rolled. His armor looked identical to those on Avanor who pursued them. They were called Knives?

 

Talon’s brown boots came out of nowhere, landing on the second masked man’s face who reacted with an upward swing of his arms to block them. His body folded in half, slipping on the wet floor as an invisible Talon tackled him.

 

The third and last man Sciath delivered a straight punch to his face with his right, gloved arm.

 

The man’s head knocked backward and he slipped on the floor, remaining still.

 

Alamarr came out with his sodden shirt dripping in his hand. “Let’s be gone.”

 

They stepped over the man’s body, rocking side to side on his stomach and holding his neck, moaning.

 

Calthania stood nearby, a ready chair in her hands. Sciath made a motion with his hands and she set it down, following.

 

The inn host rushed around the counter to the closet with the toilet, both hands going to his hair. “My toilet!”

 

 

 

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