Where Do You Get Your Ideas, Mr. Allison?

The words ran out around the knife like water.

“My ideas!” Eric cried.

John cackled and twisted the knife, digging deeper, enlarging the hole. Eric threw himself against the ropes, but Allison’s henchmen knew knots, if little else. The bucket was quickly filling up. The words were nonreflective black when they all piled together. John picked up the bucket, and replaced it with an empty one.

“So sweet, my dear,” he said, and dipped a finger in the words. “And so very fresh!” He held his hand before Eric’s eyes and cackled again. Smeared across the palm was the phrase an oligarchy of dogsbodies. Eric tried to stem the rush with his hands, but the ropes were too tight.

He was getting light-headed; the words slowed to a trickle as he passed out.

It was a short mercy, however, for he woke up when the metal men began to install the tap.