„Skinner, make them shut up already!“ He hit the steering wheel hard. „How am I supposed to do this? They´re fucking dogs!“ Skinner leaned back and stroke the iron cages in the back with his cudgel several times. The barking continued. „Shut up you filthy pricks!“ Stressed out Skinner sank back into his seat and gave Ramsay a dark glance.
That was enough. Ramsay hit the break and Skinner almost crashed into the front window. „Are you crazy?!“ With a dark growl Ramsay jumped out of the van, smashed the door and went to open the backdoor of the vehicle. A sharp whistle gave Ramsay all the attention and the dogs went silent. „Good boys.“ His voice cheered up and he shut the door to retake the frontseat. With an arched brow he glanced at Skinner dangerously. „Was that so hard? Next time I ask you to shut them up, you better shut them up.“
„I mean it. I´ll throw you in a cage with them.“
„And sell you to the Freys as their personal lapdog. Would you like that?“
A last glance from those sharp ice crystals and the conversation was over. They still had a lot of work to do that night and Skinner did not dare to start an argument with his leader. He knew that Ramsay was true to his word.
„So where do we start tonight? I remember the Starks ordered some hunting hounds.“ Ramsay broke the unpleasant silence by going on with their business. His companion started to flip through the list.
„Yeh. They ordered the french ones.“
Ramsay nodded and hit the gas. Lights flickered on the black finish of the van as it headed north on a well lit road leading to an old property. When they turned into the driveway, grit cracked under the tires. Ramsay stopped the van at the front entrance and got out of the car to knock on the heavy wooden door. A wolf was engraved on the iron doorknob. Opulent.
An old woman opened the door just a gap wide. „Who´s there?“ Her voice was crackling and weak. Her pale eyes focused on the man in front of her couriously.
Ramsay cleared his throat and spoke in a gentle tone. „I am here to deliver some hunting dogs, ma´am. May I speak to Mr Stark?“
„Oh, the dogs.“ The old woman opened the door carefully. „I´m afraid Mr Stark isn´t home. But I´ll get the dogboy for you. Please, come in and take a seat.“
Ramsay smiled at the woman. „Sure thing, ma´am.“ Ramsay followed the old lady into the entrance hall and sat on an armchair he was offered. „Thank you.“
The lady smiled at the late visitor and left the hall clumsily. „Theon!“ Ramsay could hear someone answer. „Theon, would you please come and help this gentleman? He brings the dogs.“
As Ramsay looked up a young man with light brown hair stood in the doorframe of the room the old lady vanished into and looked at the visitor. His appearance was somehow fragile, almost aristocratic. „How can I help you, Sir?“ Ramsay stood up and approached the boy with wary steps. „Well, I have a delivery for Mr Stark. You are the dogboy?“ He playfully nodded his head towards the boy who was barely in his twenties.
„Yes, I´m the dogboy... My name´s-“
Ramsay turned on his heels and walked to the door. „I don´t care what your name is, boy.“
„Theon Greyjoy.“ He mumbled to himself.
„Well, follow me. The hounds are already waiting.“ Theon followed him with a baffled expression on his face. What a prick.
Ramsay opened the backdoor of the van as Skinner jumped out of the front. Dogs began to bark in their cages, when he climbed into the back of the van. He opened two of the cages and grabbed the leash of the dogs. They were joyfully jumping his legs, happy to finally be released from the dark of the cages. Theon took the dogs from Ramsay´s care and led them to the kennels of the house. When he was gone, Ramsay leaned on Skinner, his eyes glistening full of promise. „I want him.“
Skinner sighed. „Oh, Ramsay. Please. This is going to get us into some serious trouble. Let´s just finish the job.“ Ramsay´s eyes darkened. „Remember that I have two empty cages in the van.“
„Are you serious? This is not a fucking dog!“
Ramsay shifted from one foot to another. „Hey, what´s with your reputation? Are you afraid of anything but little girls´ rabbits?“ Skinner spat on the grit. „Go, if I tell you to, start the van.“
„This is crazy.“ Skinner protested, but he went and banged the frontdoor behind him. He knew one thing: he didn´t want to be the one in that cage.
When Theon came back, Ramsay smiled the warmest smile he was capable of. „Is everything ok with the dogs?“
„Yes, they´re some fine dogs. I believe Mr Stark will be very pleased.“ Theon noticed the absence of the other man and a malicious glistening in the man´s pale eyes. Something was wrong. He could feel it. „Where´s your assistant?“
„Well, he´s... assisting me.“ Ramsay´s grin became wide and his teeth flashed a dangerous smile.
„May I ask... in what?“ That was when Ramsay stepped forward and seized him by the collar of his shirt.
Theon was barely able to move out of shock. „Hey! What are you-“
„Shut up!“ The blow came fast when Ramsay´s fist hit his cheekbone and everything went black for a mere moment.