“What have you got to be so prickly about?” I said.

The skeleton had no eyes, but it rolled its head in such a way that I felt like it was looking at me with arched brows (which it also did not have). “Oy. Maybe ya ‘aven’t noticed, guv, but bein’ dead ‘as a way of givin’ ya a grim outlook, ya ken? If the dyin’ doesn’t do it, then the rotting away will. Cor, maybe the bindin’ of yer old bones wif ancient runes o’ power just as you was gettin’ comfy will be the kicker, eh?”

“Sorry!” I cried. “Geez. Sorry I asked.”

“Oy, I bet you is, guv. Point bein’, way I see it is, I gots every right to be prickly as a bleedin’ cactus, ya ken?”

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