Hey, it's another story! This one tags directly to Children of Omelas, but it's not necessary to read that one first to get this.

All hail the great coffee bean!

Un-beta'ed, so quibble away.

- o – o -

Black Blood of the Earth

Monroe's eye twitched as he reread the letter. By the fifth read-through, he had a look on his face that promised death for anyone who even breathed loudly in his presence.

By the time he had set the letter on fire after tearing it into small pieces, everyone in the base camp of the Monroe Republic was planning what they would wear to Captain Neville's funeral. They had no idea how the captain had been getting his coffee, but they knew now. They also knew that he'd lost his supply of coffee.

Apparently the supplier had a large number of children in his family. He'd taken offense to Captain Neville's men attempting to conscript them.

Unfortunately, that bit of "taking offense" had consisted of the bloody, freshly severed head of Captain Neville's former right-hand man and a letter to General Monroe. There would be no more coffee for an indefinite amount of time. Given what everyone knew—or had heard—about Baron "I have too many titles" Dresden, it was going to be a very long time.

Anyone who went near General Monroe made sure that their friends and cohorts knew how their possessions were to be divided in the event of their demise. It was a well-known fact that the general subsisted entirely on coffee, whiskey, and the flayed souls of anyone who had disappointed him. They didn't want to be added to the third category.

That night, everyone in the camp prayed that either Baron Dresden lifted the restriction soon, or that the general would be struck down with something that would kill him before he got to them.

Why did the leader of the Republic have to be a caffeine addict?

- o – o -

So, what did you think? Good? Bad? Anyone placing bets on how long Neville will survive this particular fiasco? Drop a line and let me know!

The title of this story comes from an article written by a man trying to reproduce a coffee his friend had in Japan once. Considering that his friend was seeing sounds and trying to vibrate through walls, it describes the opposite effect of what poor Monroe is going to be going through...