The Rat Child
by Grace Andreacchi
The Rat Child is in tasteful deshabillé, in a grey satin dressing gown with a small fichu of lace at the throat. Her heavy head wanders slowly from side to side as she walks in yellow patent leather slippers from one side of the room to the other. And back. And back again. The room is rich with the odours of cigars smoked meals eaten beds unmade. In the corner of the room is the Rat Child’s bed, a nest of disorder. Cold chicken on chipped Sevres plates, an empty bottle of Eiswein, a bright pink lobster claw detached from its original owner. The Rat Child isn’t hungry at this hour of the morning. She sighs and drags a thin claw across her small snout, then rings a bell. With the ringing of the bell things begin to happen. Enter Morton the Dresser, his mouth full of pins, breathing heavily through his nose. Perhaps the salmon velvet, stripped from the sides of reluctant rabbits? No? Perhaps this swirled intestinal blue? The Rat Child gnaws the taste of cloth. ‘Not quite!’ she chatters. ‘Not quite! Not!’ The Rat Child is never happy. And still it is necessary to dress, to eat, to receive. A bell is tolling. She goes to the window and sees below the whole panoply of wicked and ancient rats. At the sight of her they shout and wave, for they are full of adoration for that heavy head beneath the rusting crown.
Grace Andreacchi <http://graceandreacchi.com/>* is a novelist, poet and playwright. Works include the novels *Scarabocchio *and *Poetry and Fear*,* Music for Glass Orchestra* (Serpent’s Tail), *Give My Heart Ease* (New American Writing Award) and the chapbook *Berlin Elegies.* Her work appears in *Horizon Review*, *The Literateur, Cabinet des Fées *and many other fine places. Grace is also managing editor at Andromache Books<http://andromachebooks.co.uk/>and writes the literary blog AMAZING GRACE <http://graceandreacchi.blogspot.com/>. She lives in London.