I know it’s officially been fallish for some time now, but here where I live, it’s only been in the last few days that temperatures have dropped from summery heat and boggy humidity to something humans can tolerate, or at least, wilting little windflowers of humanity like me. I anticipate that by this time next week, I’ll need to have the heat on. When the weather changes in the Midwest, it happens quickly and with conviction. The trees haven’t begun to change yet, but again, here where I live, the change is sudden, spectacluar and soon over. By Halloween, I fully expect that all those green, leafy trees out my window will be as so many charred bones clawing up a winter-white sky.
So I don’t have brilliant displays of foliage yet, nor crisp dead leaves crunching underfoot, nor that pleasant chill in the air, nor the singular satisfaction of snuggling under a quilt in the morning instead of waking up. But hey, I got pumpkin pie spice flavored creamer to put in the coffee and stores full of Halloween decorations, so it must be fall!
I’ve been a little under the autumnal weather this week (surprise, surprise), so I kinda sorta forgot that it was Friday until, well, it was Saturday. Nevertheless, I had my latest chapter of my fanfic, Everything Is All Right, Part Three: Children of Mammon, edited and ready to go, so if you’re reading along, head on over to fanfiction.net or archiveofourown.org and check it out. As usual, here is a snippet, containing what is quite possibly the most diabolical sin of foreshadowing I’ve ever committed. Shame on me. Enjoy!
The week passed, intolerably uneventful. Each morning, she woke up and went to work, mowing grass, trimming hedges and maintaining public parks. Every evening, she holed up at Freddy’s, pretending trouble would never find her until she started to believe it, but a part of her was always tense, waiting. Her world had become a jack-in-the-box, when every day was just another turn of the crank. Although the music was playing now and the tune was peaceful, that could stop at any moment and the puppet come leaping out. All she could do was keep her head down, stay sober, and make it to the weekend.
So naturally, it was the worst weekend of her life. Overused and hyperbolic as the phrase might be, this time it was true. Worse than the frantic weekend her mother had taken her out of Mammon, because as frightening as that had been, her mother had been too preoccupied with her own terror to beat on her too bad. Worse than the weekend she’d spent in the hospital after the accident, mostly because she couldn’t remember too much of that and most of she did remember was that her mother was finally dead, which trumped the minor inconvenience of almost drowning. Technically even worse than the whole Springtrap business to come, since she wouldn’t make it through the whole week.
It began at midnight, at the very genesis of Friday, when Ana was torn from yet another nightmare by the sound of a bad fan belt screaming up the parking lot. She had taken to sleeping with a hammer close by; it was in her hand before she knew she was awake and then her bare feet hit the tiles running. Slivers of light came through the plastic covering the windows in the West Hall as the car came right up close to the lobby. Car doors opened and slammed. Crouched low, peering through the plastic, Ana couldn’t make anything out beyond the blinding headlights, but she could hear voices. Younger than the sort Mason ran with. Jack’s? But no, she could hear a female voice mixed in the others and there had been no girls allowed in the Kellar kingdom. Just a bunch of random teens then, come to fuck around at Freddy’s in the middle of the night, as one does in a small town without cows to tip.
They had clearly been here before, enough to know the doors were new. After a short conference, one of them reached for the handle because apparently the kid thought someone would take the time and trouble to install heavy-duty doors but not to lock them. He let out a yelp, then an unsteady laugh, and said in a tone that was trying for outrage to cover the unease, “It bit me!”
Several figures crowded closer. The bluish light of a cell phone came on at the center of their huddle. Someone said, “Holy shit, man, you’re really bleeding.”
“It’s the ghost of Billy Blaylock,” the girl among them declared in her I’m-not-just-cute-but-also-badass-tee-hee voice. “He wants to drink your blood.”
Billy Blaylock? Her surprise over the fact that the local hooligans knew about her uncle melted almost immediately into profound annoyance that they had appropriated his death into some ridiculous urban legend, like that of the hungry ghosts of miners in the quarry and secret experiments out at the abandoned military base.
The group laughed a little, but the guy really was bleeding, so they all piled into the car again and drove off to find less injurious fun. That fan belt really needed to be looked at.
As soon as they were gone, Ana went around and double-checked all the doors to make sure they were locked. She met Freddy doing the same thing and of course, he took one look at her and told her to put some beaver dam clothes on or go back to bed. She didn’t feel a strong urge to be obedient, but she did have work in the morning, so she went back to bed and dreamed of crawling endlessly through the maze in the ceiling, pursued by the bleeding corpse of a crying child.