"Hanged until dead and the toes twitch no more," it says right here, she says, tugging on her brother's ear. "And look! There, you can see marks around his neck." She was hugging the corpse now, kept fresh by the salt and freezing cold. "Does smell a bit like gramma." She licked the chin, "Tastes like her too."
"We have to go," said her brother, looking around the exhibit. "We can't be here. We have to head back home."
With the guards closing the doors, they skipped out of the museum. The smell of sulphur dropping shells around them. It was cloudy, but the rain wasn't due for tomorrow. They crossed the street to run through the park. A katabatic wind was delivering the east, from the south. A rough wind. Holding on against the stream, their collars flapping and cutting into the sounds of leaves picking up litter and slapping them across the face.
"Don't lose the rope!" he calls out, his voice slipping through. But she nods, hearing him and gripping tight.
An hour later they arrive back home just as the water started to boil.
"Just in time," says their nanny. "Gotta pour meself a cuppa."
They shake off the outside and run upstairs.
"According to the Chatham House Rule," he starts, "we can say what we want and no one has to reference us. They can't. Ideas into the pot and we can leave them for others to pick up." He unfolds a square of paper. "I heard this one last week and wrote it down. I think they had some new members. Funny talkers."
"So they masquerade and throw out plots?" she asks. "Strangers on a train in a boardroom. With biscuits?"
"Sort of. Much like. Any way. Let me see it."
She hands him the rope. The slight greasy feel under his fingernails scrapes off, filling up his nose as he drags it across his face.
The kettle stops whistling as they start their chant.
"Drink and sup with mine the wine / dance and prance our days sublime / shrieking maenads on your shoulder / take the noose and hold it closer"
The noose drops to the floor and tightens. They hear the clang and crash of a teacup.
Written on Wednesday, 12 December 2012