A Minion Tale, Part 4: That Hilda
Hilda the Vampire’s role, officially, was Chief Decorator. As far as Minion #13 could determine, she had never been interviewed for this position, nor had she ever actually applied. She had been discovered one day behind a (not-yet-animate) paperwork stack, sucking all the ink out of a red ink cartridge. Given that Minions are not, in general, a particularly brave lot, when Hilda had suggested that she be put in charge of decorating, the Minions had simply said yes. To be fair, by all reports last year’s decorations had been infinitely superior to the black crepe streamers and Kleenex ghosts of the years before.
However, to be completely fair, it was hardly as if decorating a great hall once a year for three days exactly took up all her time. The Minions would often encounter her lounging about the breakroom doing crossword puzzles or playing poker with herself. Once, Minion #13 had even busted in on her snorting lines of red Jello powder off the back of her hand.
What’s more, Hilda took nights off. And left the compound. “Hunting” she said (she did usually return in the wee hours of the morning with her arms full of pixie sticks and RIT dye). Not that anyone had ever actually told the Minions they weren’t to leave. They didn’t have to. The first time Minion #13 had opened the door to the outside world after donning the cowl, the sudden lack of breathing among the other Minions in the hall was sharply audible. That was all…in front of him, the world loomed in all its brightly coloured glory. Behind him was dead silence. He turned slowly, afraid of what he would see. All the other Minions had simply frozen in place…lips pinched tightly together, their wide, wide eyes locked on him. Reaching behind himself, he found the door and gently pushed it closed. As one, the Minions took a deep breath and returned to their business. Minion #13 hadn’t tried again.
Recently, Hilda’s nighttime ventures had taken on a new and worrisome dimension. Shortly before she emerged from the basement each evening, strange music would begin to drift through the woods toward the compound. It was faint, but it reminded Minion #13 of something he had enjoyed as a child. A music box, perhaps. Or a Jack-In-The-Box. That was the thing about being a Minion…after a while, your memories of your human life tended to get a bit jangled up. In any event, soon after the music, Hilda would rise from her subterranean chambers, wearing a beatific smile (which did show her razor-sharp canines to good advantage), and drift out the door.
It was hard not to feel just a bit resentful.