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VIII

The Boarding House


Walking down the cleanly swept streets of Copeland, they kept a keen eye out for any boarding house available. Most of the signs made clear how many rooms were available, and that was usually no more than one.
“We could always stay at an inn. They have rooms for rent too,” Jarvis said as he racked his head for solutions. “And we don’t have to be in the same place, you know?”
Gillen scratched his ear and nodded.
“Yeah, I know. Well if we see another place that’s good price, you can go ahead and take it, and I’ll keep lookin’ for somewhere else then.”
“Alright.”
The next boarding house that they came to was renting their room for a penny a day. The two’s wages were three pennies if they worked a whole day. Two pennies if they worked until one o’ clock. That would leave two pennies a day for food and then saving on the side for better furniture and everything else that Jarvis would need.
“Well?” Gillen asked as looked at Jarvis, and then back at the house. “The outside looks real nice and decent. And for only a penny, that’s a little less than the others we’ve looked at.”
Jarvis felt around in his pocket to count the money he currently had in them. He knew already, though that he had an exact fifteen pennies. It would last him, easily.
“Yes. This is what I shall purchase.”
“Aren’t you at least going to see what it is you’re purchasing? Don’t you want to know what the room looks like? Surely you will not purchase a small space of a dirty, rat-infested room?”
Jarvis shrugged.
“I shall see it first.”
Gillen nodded.
“Good choice.”
The two walked up to the door and brought the knocker down hard on it three times. It opened shortly after, answered by a friendly-faced woman, who appeared to be in her fifties. She had nothing but gray hair and wore a plain gown that appeared to have been worn while she was cleaning; for there were smudges all over it.
“Yes, can I help you?”
“I saw that your room was for rent?” Jarvis asked her.
Her eyes widened with excitement.
“Yes! Yes! Come in, please.”
The two of them walked into the house that was acceptably clean. The entryway was a circular room that was tiled and had a winding staircase on the left wall. A large clock was near its base, and straight through was what appeared to be a dining room.
“Up the stairs is where the rooms are.”
She began the climb to the second floor with Gillen and Jarvis following right behind her. At the top of the stairs was a hallway with doors on either side. The wallpaper was green with lighter stripes on it, and the floors were wooden. She took them to the end of the hall and unlocked a door on the right side. Within it was an empty square room, aside from a bed with no sheets on it and a window directly ahead.
“You’ll have to fill it with your own furniture,” she said.
“Of course,” Jarvis answered.
There seemed to be no signs evident that there were any existing rats in the room.
“Well?”
“Yes. This will do just fine,” Jarvis said as a smile slowly spread over his face. “Will do just fine.”



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The following comments are for "The Companions: 8"
by ArturHawking





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