Serial Saturday Update

Tis the Season for painting pumpkins!

Following the tutorial by the amazing Cinnamon Cooney on her Youtube channel, The Art Sherpa. Click the pic and paint one too!

This tutorial was from The Art Sherpa’s 13 Days of Halloween event from…last year? The year before? I dunno. For those of my readers who may also be painters, this year’s 13 Days event has been subtitled The Boys Are Back In Town, and includes Halloween hunks like Pennywise, Dr. Frank N. Furter, and Jareth the Goblin King. Just think, in a month’s time, you could have a gallery of Scare Kings decking your halls with bloody murder. Fa lalala la la, lala la la!

Also, for those of my readers who are, you know, readers, The Last Hour of Gann has joined Land of the Beautiful Dead in being made available in paperback on Amazon! The price is heavily influenced by the page count, so…heh…it’s an investment, but hey, good news! If you would like a chance to win a FREE, SIGNED COPY of either LHoG or LotBD, listen up!

Some of you may know that I have a fan group on Facebook (man, there’s a sentence I never thought I’d write). They try to meet up once a month or so to discuss one of my books and generally sigh dreamily at the thought of lizardmen or aliens or whatever the heck Azrael is. The next book up for discussion is the first installment of my FNAF fanfic, Everything Is All Right, Part I: Girl on the Edge of Nowhere. How does this relate to winning a copy of Gann or Beautiful Dead? Simple! First, you have to join the Facebook group. Don’t worry, we’re a fun bunch of people. Second, you have to show up for the Live Chat on September 26th, beginning at 9 pm PST, and LEAVE A COMMENT UNDER THE CHECK-IN THREAD with the hashtag #SWAG. At midnight, I will be drawing ONE LUCKY WINNER at random from my Freddy Fazbear unofficial top hat!

So, to recap, September 26th, from 9pm PST to midnight, find the CHECK-IN thread under the LIVE CHAT discussion (it’s usually the first one), and leave a comment that includes #SWAG. One lucky winner gets a free paperback copy of The Last Hour of Gann or Land of the Beautiful Dead, signed by yours truly, shipped to your door. Hope to see you then!

In the meantime, please enjoy the next chapter of EIAR, Part IV: New Faces, Old Bones, available to read now at archiveofourown.org or fanfiction.net, whichever is your fanfic platform of choice! Do I have a snippet? I sure do!

 

The bed still smelled of sawdust. The sheets smelled of the plastic they’d been wrapped in. Everything was too new to really be comfortable, but it was hers.

As she lay there, facedown and fully-dressed, too tired to even take off her boots, she savored her body’s exhaustion. This had always been the best part of her days—this imperfect blend of pain and the pride of work done well, seasoned this time with the rare pleasure that came from knowing this was her place, her things. Sure, she was trespassing, but only in the sense that the building and everything in it belonged to Fazbear Entertainment in the person of Fred Faust, condemned by the township of Mammon and off-limits to all. In another sense, the truer sense, this was Freddy’s house, and he had brought her in and given her a place, and it was a good place and all her own.

Mostly her own, she silently amended as she heard the door creak open. Had to oil that, she thought drowsily, listening to Freddy’s distinctive footsteps shuffle-drag across the floor. The curtain rustled. The light of his eyes came on, showing red behind Ana’s heavy eyelids. Too tired to speak, not even to say goodnight or ask if he couldn’t read the no-bears part of the sign posted on her bedroom door, she simply lay still with her eyes closed and listened to the whine-grind-hiss, whine-grind-hiss of his cooling system breathing for him.

After a short while, he let the curtain drop and limped away. She thought he was leaving until she heard decayed padding wheeze and old metal groan. He wasn’t leaving; he was coming closer, climbing the three short stairs onto the party room stage.

Ana sighed, but she didn’t sit up and tell him to turn his plastic ass around and push on so she could sleep. He probably thought she was already out and if he thought he had a reason to wake her up, he’d have done it by now. No, he didn’t want to wake her, he just wanted to look around and find a reason for her to keep wasting time in here instead of getting to the real work in the rest of the building. Hell, he’d probably have a list waiting for her tomorrow morning. Fresh coat of paint, which meant replacing the walls. New carpet, which meant resurfacing the floor and rebuilding the stage. New ceiling, which meant—

Freddy stopped there, right next to the bed, close enough that she could feel the heat venting through his joints as he bent over her. She had time enough to wonder what the hell he was doing, but not enough energy to ask him…and then his fingers slipped carefully around her left ankle.

He lifted her foot a few inches, plucked at the laces, and pulled her boot gently off. Then her sock. Then her right boot and its sock, arranging her legs one over the other, so that all he had to do after that was nudge at her arm just a little and she just sort of naturally rolled over. He pulled the blanket up and folded her in its clean-sheet smell, and when she was all covered up, he smoothed back her hair and let his hand rest just for a moment on her head. A heavy hand, cracked and pitted and none too sweet-smelling, but gentle. His thumb moved once, stroking along the lie of the first knot in her braid. Then he turned around and limped away, leaving Ana smiling in the dark.

She fell asleep, sore but safe, and dreamed she woke up to a nightmarish re-enactment of that moment, only this time it was the Puppet tucking her in, its long black claws combing through her hair in horrific mockery of tenderness. She had dreamed this so many times in the last few weeks up at Aunt Easter’s house, but it had always been in shadow before, illuminated by nothing by the moon peeking through the window. Here in Freddy’s, with the curtain pulled back and the camera on, she could finally see it clearly. There were flakes of older color beneath this layer of paint. There were chips and cracks in the porcelain face, and a large divot in the top of its head where, long ago, someone had split it open with an axe. Its throat had been ripped open, leaving a crater from which wires protruded; when it leaned over to press its painted lips to her sweating cheek, she could feel them tickling at her skin.

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Serial Saturday Update

So a couple days ago, I took my dog, Dobby, out for her morning constitutional around our front yard. It was a typical September day in the Midwest, which is to say it had been raining buckets off and on since midnight the previous day. Dobby does not like to walk when it rains, because her delicate Dobby-paws get wet, so it is vital that I take advantage of every break in the weather to walk her, otherwise she will politely pee somewhere in the house so as not to be a bother, because she’s thoughtful like that. So I walked her and–and I want this on the record–and all was well.

Immediately after bringing her into the house, it rained, and so we sat together on the couch and watched a movie. Train to Busan is amazing, by the way, and deserves every iota of the praise it has received. I am not one for zombie movies, but absolutely give this one a chance.

As the movie ended, the rain let up, so I took Dobby outside again.

There was a hole in the lawn.

I did not take pictures of the hole, but it was roughly the size of this happy sheep. Look at that smiley boi! Who’s a happy sheep? You are!

Not a big hole. At first glance, I thought it might just be a shadow, except that nothing was around to cast one. So Dobby and I went over to investigate, whereupon we discovered it was not only a hole, but a DEEP hole. The sides of said deep hole were also incredibly straight and sheer and–and this took a long time for me to fully grasp–there was no mound of earth nearby to indicate digging. And as I contemplated this development, it occurred to me that our septic tank was somewhere in this general area…

Yeah.

So, backing up for a second, you should know that, due to chronic health issues, I live with my sister. And because of age-related health issues, so does my father. And he’s just spent the last few weeks dramatically ending his lifelong relationship with his gall bladder, and has only just begun to feel better following surgery. This was, in fact, the first morning in well over two months that he felt totally-pain-free and cheerful about eating. He had bounded up the stairs with energy and enthusiasm, grilled himself a sandwich while chatting with me about Big Hero 6, and then bounded back down the stairs to go watch some FullMetal Alchemist, because my dad is awesome. He looked so good. Remember that. We had just been through the wringer with his gall bladder and subsequent complications, and now, at last, he was on the road to recovery, and it was on this day that I, at the ripe old age of I’m-not-going-to-tell-you-how-old-I-am, had to knock on his door and tell him I was about to absolutely wreck his day.

We went out to look at the hole, only to find that our ‘happy sheep’ had grown.

In keeping with the animal analogies, we’ll call this one the ‘angry bull’ size.

We called the appropriate people and got the expected answer–that it was too late to do anything about it now, and someone would be out in the morning to have a look and see if it was a septic tank problem or if an old well had caved in or if there was an ‘instability beneath the property’ that might, ya know, make it necessary to evacuate the house.

There are many times in a person’s life when it becomes apparent that they have become an adult. Times when all the good things that you know exist just…don’t…matter that much right now and the future is a dark gaping hole that threatens to open up at any moment under your feet and swallow you up. I spent a largely sleepless night, listening to the house for the innocent creak that might herald a total collapse. It was a very bad time. As soon as it was light, I went outside to look at the hole.

Oh, for the halcyon days of the angry-bull hole.

However, it did appear that the hole had undergone its final evolution, and when the septic guy showed up later that day, he gave us the good news that the septic tank had merely caved in, and holy shit, do you KNOW how dark the dark place you are in has to be before ‘the septic tank has caved in’ is GOOD news?!? So that’s where I’ve been. And it really made me think, in between thoughts of the house suddenly collapsing all around me and crushing me in debris, and what it made me think the most (well, second-most, after wondering if our homeowner’s insurance covered sinkholes) was how friggin lucky I am to have the life I have, and to be able to do what I do for a living. I never want to take that for granted. I am a writer because of my readers. Thank you all.

There’s no good segue to follow that, so let me just take a hard right turn and say the next chapter of my FNAF fanfic, Everything Is All Right, is up at fanfiction.net and archiveofourown.org for those of you who are reading along. See you next week!

In the dining room, she found Bonnie sitting on the edge of the stage, good leg propped up and bad leg resting at a painful-looking angle on the floor. The fingers of his left hand moved hypnotically on the neck of his new guitar while his other hand rested on the strings. His ears were folded forward, relaxed and intent. And he was smiling, just a little.

“Morning,” he said, still ‘playing’.

“Sure is,” she agreed and went on into the kitchen to start the magical process by which water became coffee. Once she got the brewer hissing and dripping, she came back as far as the doorway to watch Bonnie’s fingers move on the guitar. He’d played her like that, once. She’d told him to let her body be his instrument, thinking it would be fun, a joke. But he’d played her, making music only he could hear but which she could almost feel, if only for that brief moment…

Now Bonnie’s hand stilled as he noticed her watching him. His ears shifted, broadcasting uncertain concern. “You okay?”

“Yeah,” she said and followed immediately with, “Where is everyone?” so as not to give him the chance to press her further. Things were weird enough between them without her having to think up awkward lies to innocent questions. Or worse, awkward truths.

Bonnie shrugged, his attention successfully deflected back to his guitar. “Chica’s been in the arcade all night. If Foxy’s not still with her, he’s back in his cabin. And Freddy’s walking around somewhere. You know how he is.”

He played. Her wrist tingled. His thumb twitched once, forgetting not to strum. Unplugged, the strings produced a flat thumping noise when plucked, but the secret threads in her stomach vibrated.

“Ana?”

She startled out of her open-eyed trance, blinking rapidly and probably blushing. “Huh? What?”

“I said, do you want me to go find him?”

Now she was sure she was blushing. “You did?”

He laughed. “What, were you so overcome by my rocking good looks that you didn’t hear me?” he teased, then glanced at her and his ears snapped up. “Whoa, really?”

Serial Saturday Update

Woo, I completely lost track of time! I thought it was much, much earlier than it turned out to be. As in, Thursday. And I have five calendars in this house, TWO of them in the room where I do all my writing, so I have no excuse. All I can do is apologize for being so late getting the latest chapter of my Five Nights at Freddy’s fanfiction uploaded, especially as it comes one week after I was traveling and didn’t even post a chapter. Hopefully, the fact that the chapter is super-long will make up for it. And I mean super-duper-long. ‘The bar scene in Heat’ levels of long. Long enough that it qualifies as a full-length book in some circles. Like, five times the length of the average fanfiction on fanfiction.net and archiveofourown.org (or at least, the average before I wrote three 200k+ novels, which I’m pretty sure grossly threw off the curve).

So enjoy this extra-crazy-long chapter of Everything Is All Right, Part IV: New Faces, Old Bones and please accept my humble apology for being so late. I promise to buy another calendar. And look at it once in a while (Although, let’s be honest here. The calendars in question are, first, my FNAF calendar and second, Markiplier’s tasteful nudes calendar, so LOOKING at them is not the problem. Noticing there are days scribbled out beneath the pictures and that time as meaning is the problem and another calendar is not going to fix it).

“Ain’t autonomy great?” Bonnie said aloud and tossed the neck of his guitar into the back corner of the stage.

The camera, unblinking all this time, swiveled to track it, then came back to Bonnie.

“Did you say something?” Chica called.

“No.” Bonnie pushed his ears up against the overwhelming gravity of his mood. “I mean, yeah, I did, but it’s nothing. I don’t think she’s coming, that’s all.”

“Oh.” The happy noise in the kitchen lulled. “Oh gosh, what am I going to do with all this?”

“All what?”

“Um…”

Funny, how Bonnie could listen to Chica putter around in there for a good three hours without the slightest curiosity as to what she was doing, but one ‘Um’ and a lot of quiet could bring it on to an irresistible degree. He got up, slapping his bad leg into working order when it balked on him, and limped over to the kitchen, where his sagging ears snapped upright without any effort at all. “Jumping jackrabbits, Chica!” he blurted, the normally-hated good-ol-bunny expletive popping out of him unnoticed. “What in the living fuck?!”

Cakes. Cakes everywhere. Cakes and cookies and tiny pies and iced scones and muffins, but mostly cakes. The pizza oven occupying the middle of the kitchen floor had become a staging area, loaded with trays covered in frosting roses and cups of sprinkles or colored sugar and other edible decorations; the conveyor belt at either end, a cooling rack for confectionaries still awaiting filling and frosting; while every inch of available space on the prep station was taken up by brightly-colored cakes awaiting the chef’s finishing touch.

“She said I could play with it,” Chica said weakly, closing the open door on Ana’s toy oven.

“Did you use all her little food mixes up?” Bonnie demanded, limping toward the cupboard where Ana kept her food.

Chica quickly closed that too and positioned herself in front of it. “No no no,” she said in her most convincing I-am-not-lying voice. “It looks like more than it is.”

“Well, that’s great, because it looks like all of them!”

Chica squirmed a little, avoiding his eyes and tapping her fingers. “It was getting late. I thought she’d be hungry.”

“So you make her one cake, you don’t make all of them! When have you ever heard Ana say, ‘Gosh, I’m so hungry, I could eat all the food!’”

Chica put her hands over her eyes. “I know, I know. I didn’t mean to. It was an accident.”

“How do you accidentally make one cake, let alone thirty of them? I have tripped and fallen a thousand times and made exactly zero cakes as a result.” Bonnie picked up a cupcake with white frosting and confetti sprinkles surrounding the words Let’s Eat written in yellow icing, one of Chica’s birthday classics on a miniature scale. “What were you thinking?”

“I don’t know. I made one and it felt so good to just be doing it again and…I don’t know!” Chica watched helplessly as he put that cake down and picked up another. “I thought maybe she didn’t like vanilla, so I made her a chocolate one.”

“She bought it, didn’t she? Why would she buy something she didn’t like?”

“And then I thought maybe she didn’t like cake, so I made some cookies and…you know, other stuff…so she could have a choice.”

“Well, you sure gave her that.”

“I really thought she’d be here before I finished, but she wasn’t, so I thought I’d keep going and…I don’t know.” Chica took the cake out of his hands and put it on the counter, fussing with its precise placement. “As long as I was busy, it didn’t feel like it was taking that long.” Chica backed up, her eyes shifting from one cake to another, and sighed. “It’s really late, isn’t it?”

“She probably had a long day,” said Bonnie and wished it felt even a little like a lie. At least then he’d know he was starting to get over her. But he didn’t. He still thought she was coming back. He may never be her man again, but she’d always be his girl and she was coming back. “I’m sure she’ll be here tomorrow,” he said. Big dumb bunny.

“We should probably put these in the fridge, then.”

“Yeah.”

They each picked up a cake and turned to look at the cooler. Behind the scales of black mold on its inner glass face, the irregular shapes of the food that had stocked it more than a decade ago could still be seen.

“We should probably clean the fridge first,” said Chica.

“Yeah.”

Serial Saturday Update and A Short Break

Relax, it’s nothing serious. I’m going to be on the road next week to see the gang from RiffTrax give one of my legit favorite childhood movies, Krull, the Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment. Whilst traveling, I shall be away from the laptop and therefore unable to upload my FNAF fanfiction, Everything Is All Right, Part IV: New Faces, Old Bones, on schedule. Feel free to read other books while you wait, get caught up on the housework, or take up another hobby, like painting.

I keep thinking I’m done with the koi mermaid thing and then this happens.

 

However, I did upload a chapter THIS week, so if you’re reading it, now is the time to head on over and check out the new doings. This was originally the second half of last week’s chapter, but as is so often the case, I wrote it without paying any attention whatsoever to the page count, only to start formatting the chapter for uploading last week and realize it was over 15k words long. So this week’s chapter may SEEM short, but I assure it, it’s only in comparison to the epic length of the previous chapters, which have averaged out to 8k words apiece so far. I got to do something about that.

Anyhoo, new chapter, so check it out over at archiveofourown.org and fanfiction.net, and yes, I also have a teaser!

One harrowing hour later, after seeing every winding back road in Mammon and much of the desert surrounding it, Ana found herself safely planted in the back booth at Gallifrey’s with the old man across from her, enjoying the ground under her feet and the cold coke in her hand and everything life had to offer. It still wasn’t quite late enough in the day for the diner to serve lunch, but Lucy had refused to serve them and Tiny Tim made no objection when Ana had asked for a Betty Burger.

“I used to be quite fond of those,” Mr. Faust had remarked. “Even if they were not the only ones in town, I’m sure I would have considered them the finest in the world. Of course, it was your father who made them in those days.”

“I make ‘em just the same, sir,” Tiny Tim replied, which was all the convincing the old man needed.

Now here he sat, Betty Burger neatly vivisected and half-consumed, carving an onion ring with a knife and fork. He led the little conversation that passed between them, so that she ended up talking about herself more than she was usually comfortable doing, although his questions never seemed invasive and she answered him freely, describing places she’d lived and work she’d done. He did not ask about her family this time and inquired after the house only once, in the most roundabout way possible, by asking if she’d made it hers yet.

“I’m working on it,” she told him. “I don’t know why it’s taking me this long.”

“Don’t you?”

Ana picked through her fries, found the smallest and tossed it back on the plate. “I think it’s haunted,” she said, smiling so he’d think she was joking.

He nodded pensively, his eyes on his onion rings.

“I don’t really mean that,” she said quickly.

“I know what you meant.”

“I don’t even believe in ghosts.”

“Neither did I, until my father died and I came home to his empty house.” Spearing a wedge of onion ring, he dipped it in a small tub of the Gallifrey family’s secret recipe ring sauce—yellow mustard, mayo and a liberal dash of cayenne pepper—and studied it, frowning. “We had lived apart together for so long, I didn’t think it would feel any different. That if anything, the atmosphere might lighten. But in his absence, I felt…what he truly felt for me…”

Ana thought of the house—her childhood castle—and the way it creaked even when the wind wasn’t blowing. David’s room, a child’s room, still waiting for him to come back. Christmas decorations in the basement, home videos in the attic, and Plushtrap wandering wherever he wanted through all the empty rooms in-between.

I haven’t painted Plushtrap yet. Please enjoy this picture of Golden Freddy instead. We’ll be seeing more of him in Part V: Five Nights at Springtrap’s….

Serial Saturday Update

Ya’ll are just going to have to forgive me, because I haven’t slept and I’ve been staring at this blank screen for a solid eleven minutes and cannot think of a damn thing to say. So…no wit tonight (Some might argue that’s never been a strong component of this blog), just the naked facts. Sexy, naked facts. The next chapter of my FNAF fanfiction is up on archiveofourown.org and fanfiction.net for the enjoyment of those who may be reading it. For those who are not, I’m sure you have other ways to enjoy yourself on a Friday night.

 

I know I do.

 

And if you’re undecided or if you just happen to be driving or at work or on a date or otherwise cannot or should not be reading…well, first off, you probably shouldn’t be reading this either, in that case, and secondly, here is a snippet to whet your appetite until you are in the appropriate reading environs. Enjoy! And goodnight.

 

Jimmy Morehead might believe his demons to have been exorcised, but Ana knew better: They had merely been relocated. And what better home for them than her aunt’s house, with monsters in the basement and empty rooms full of ghosts?

She sometimes thought she would have slept better at Freddy’s. She’d had some bad dreams there too, but Freddy was always on watch. She’d felt safe there. She still did. Was that ironic or just stupid?

She could have gone back. She knew that. The padded stage in the party room was hers for the asking, for as many nights as she needed. She had only to knock and Freddy would bring her in and tell her she was home.

Whenever she was tempted, she just reminded herself that Freddy said a lot of things that weren’t entirely true. And then she drove past Edge of Nowhere and on up Coldslip Mountain to the only place she had left.

There was plenty of work to do, so she did it. She kept the shop radio on and the volume cranked up until she could hear it even through her earplugs and over the noise of her power tools. Until she could feel it vibrating through the soles of her boots and see it rattling the loose nails and screws that collected on every surface. Until it drowned out even the sound of her thoughts. Between music and work, she was usually able to keep herself in a comfortably mindless state most nights until she fell asleep. If not, well, she could always drink.

She drank a lot that week. Every morning, she told herself she had to lay off the stuff, that it wasn’t worth the headache and wasn’t solving anything, but every night, she managed to pour a little more into her. And it wasn’t worth it and it didn’t solve anything, but it did put her to sleep, which in that haunted house was the worst state of being.

When she slept, she did not rest. She put herself to bed every night on the air mattress on the floor of her old room and every morning, when her phone’s alarm woke her, she was someplace new. On Monday, she was curled up in the dry tub of Aunt Easter’s bathroom. On Tuesday, in David’s closet. Wednesday found her stretched out on the hearthstones before the fireplace in the grand parlor. On Thursday, she came around out in the front yard to the sensation of what was not, after all, the rotting hand of the mermaid closing around her wrist, but rather the dry scrape of scales as the snake that had passed a cool summer night sleeping against the warmth of her chest slithered over her arm and set off about its morning rounds. And on Friday, of course, she woke in the pirate ship-shaped bed down in the secret playroom, with Plushtrap snuggled up under her arm, his mouth pressed to hers, stealing her breath.

Serial Saturday Update

It’s August already! Damn, where does the time go? Summer’s almost over…Heck, 2018 is more than half-gone! And the day is nearly done, which means it’s time to blog. So what should I blog about? Been a busy day here at the Smomestead, but I am hobbit-like in many of my habits, and for me, ‘busy’ does not mean ‘exciting’. It means I did some housework, played some video games, went to lunch with my sister and my father….

Side bar here: I think we inadvertently crashed a party. The front room was…you know, not FULL, but full enough that we didn’t want to be crowded, and these other people were going into the side room, so WE went into the side room, and it wasn’t until we were all at the table and enjoying our meals that I noticed there was a couple banquet tables set up and about 80% of the diners appeared to know each other by name. But no one confronted us. Maybe it was a family reunion and everyone was too embarrassed to admit they didn’t recognize all the extended family. Or maybe everyone was in awe of The Beard and just naturally assumed anyone who rocked a beard like that could also summon fireballs on command.

Anyway, we went from lunch to do the weekly grocery shopping, during which interlude, I was compelled to purchase some hair dye that promises me a Lusty Lavender adventure, and then we went home, winding down from the pure adrenaline of our day with a little painting. Behold!

Much love to The Art Sherpa for her Purple Pixie tutorial, which gave me the background, and much love to my friend K., who sent me the pic of the totally adorable fuzzy little moth that gave me the inspiration for the moth-pixies.

And of course, it’s Friday night, so I uploaded the latest chapter of my FNAF fanfiction, Everything Is All Right, Part IV: New Faces, Old Bones! If you are reading along on that adventure, head on over to fanfiction.net or archiveofourown.org and check it out. If you’re still undecided…well, it’s unlikely that anything I can say at this late stage in the game is going to change your mind, but hey, if you want to read the chapter but you happen to be at the grocery store and just need a taste to hold you over until you can read the rest, then enjoy this snippet! Meanwhile, I will be setting off on a Lusty Lavender adventure!

Today, a Monday, came at six o’clock as all days did, but there was no last cut across his consciousness, severing him from the night’s protocols and directing him to the stage to shut down until it was time for the restaurant to open. He could do anything he wanted, provided his aspirations extended no further than the pizzeria. And they didn’t, really. They had once. Back at Mulholland, the Purple Man had brought someone in to paint up the walls in Kiddie Cove and she’d done a right job of it, painting a beach with the ocean and palm trees and whales and the like, and there on the painted sand, way in the corner behind Foxy’s fake ship where no one could see it but him and Foxanne, she’d put in a buggish sort of creature tucked up in a pop can. Chica said it was a real thing, called it a hermit crab. Said they lived in shells and the like, and pop cans too, and when they outgrew their old homes, they found a new one and moved in.

It had struck a chord with Foxy at the time. Mulholland had been much bigger than the place on High Street, where he could remember feeling fierce-squeezed from time to time, performing in a closet with a curtain drawn across and playing the Game in a building that could have fit in this one’s dining room—kitchen, shitters and all. Mulholland had seemed so gloriously spacious at first, room for all, even when those ruddy Others moved in, but by the time the painter had hidden her little secret crab in the back of Foxy’s stage, he had already begun to feel the pinch and an itch to roam. Circle Drive, which he knew to be smaller in numbers, seemed so much bigger without the Others, but after a few years, it had grown small around him. And after that, back to the vault in the basement of the Glass House that had once been home, his first home…that he had hoped would be his last. That shell had been too small even before he slipped it on, as welcome as it had been in its own bleak way.

Perhaps its confinement had killed the crabby bits of him, crushed it dead within Foxy’s shell, because when he’d been moved here, to this proper palace of a pizzeria on the edge of the great wide world, he’d felt…nothing. No itch to wander further than the quarry where they dumped their kills, no desire to see what lay beyond these red flats or those distant blue mountains. No hope that he would ever see another Grand Opening and no anticipation of disappointment if he should be proved wrong. What rare whims of wanderlust that passed over him were adequately answered merely by a turn through the arcade, or in extreme cases, a few minutes on the loading dock to look at the stars. He had watched the sun rise on Friday, his first in the whole of his life, and he hadn’t even bothered to save a stillshot for his mental memory book. It was just the sun, after all. There was better light in the building now and he couldn’t even feel the warmth.

 

Serial Saturday Update

I have a series of very vague memories of being a small child in a deep state of boredom listening to old people who I mostly did not know talk about how they knew rain was coming because their shoulder/back/knee was acting up. It didn’t seem to be a superpower every old person had, but enough of them did that I never questioned it. And yes, it was a superpower, to my way of thinking. I was a young nerd in a household of nerds; I knew all about superpowers. It stood to reason to my young mind that for every Superman and Professor X, there had to be some Smallpower Sally whose amazing mutation allowed her to grow her hair twice as fast as a normal human, or summon and command banana slugs. Predicting the weather was not as cool as controlling it, but it was more than young me could do, so I gave it respect.

I live in the Midwest now, where pressure fronts bounce around like Nicki Minaj twerking on a trampoline, and as a result, I have acquired the superpower of being able to predict the weather. In which bone, you ask me? In almost all of them. There are 206 bones in the average human body, and with the exception of my ossicles, three ribs, my left scapula and my ischium, my skeleton is screaming tonight’s forecast into my nervous system. Lucky me.

Now I need another one that says This Is My Secret Identity and I’ll have my wardrobe worked out for the rest of my life.

Writing has been difficult this week, due to the fact that it feels like I first dipped both hands in sterno, set them on fire, and then sat down to type on a keyboard made entirely of salt-and-lemon-juice encrusted razor blades. Not fun, is I guess what I’m trying to say. Unless you’re into that. We don’t kink shame on this blog. But I am not into that and it has not been fun for me, so I’m not going to prolong this week’s half-assed blog post. I’m just going to say that the newest chapter of my FNAF fanfic, Everything Is All Right, Part IV: New Faces, Old Bones is up, in which Ana attends a backyard BBQ and has to mingle with the good folk of Mammon, so if you’re reading along, head on over to fanfiction.net or archiveofourown.org and check it out! If you’re not reading yet, perhaps this snippet will bring you over to the dark side.

 

 

As the evening progressed, the younger kids lost interest, although she remained new enough to be worthy of observing every cartwheel and to approve the coloring on each tiki mask. The older boys continued their skulking from a distance, but the girls moved in and were surprisingly chill. They asked if she really worked with ‘Uncle Jimmy’ or if she just, like, answered the phones and stuff. When Ana ran down the short list of her areas of expertise, all listened solemnly, not skeptically.

“Is it hard to work with guys all day?” one asked. “Do they, like, creep on you?”

“It’s been known to happen at some places, but nobody here has given me any real grief,” Ana replied, reasoning tact was warranted more than truth in certain situations. “They’re all there to do a job, just like me.”

“My mom says you’re a lesbian,” said another.

“Tell your mom I’m flattered by her interest, but I’m not into girls.”

“Do you have piercings?” asked a third.

“Just my ears now. Used to have my eyebrows done, but I work around machinery too much and it was a hazard, so I took ‘em out and the holes grew in. Also my belly button, but it got stupid-infected. You can still see the scar.”

They all looked.

“You have a lot of scars,” one of them observed.

“Yeah,” Ana said simply and felt her back, safely concealed, prickle. “You get beat up a lot in my work.”

“Are these tracks?” someone asked, looking at Ana’s arm.

“What?” She looked and after a moment, laughed. “No, that’s from back when I did welding. Wasn’t wearing my protective gear and I caught some sparks. They look nothing like tracks.” They looked nothing like welding blowback either, but if the girl could have recognized old cigarette burns, she would have asked if that was what they were. “Why do you ask?”

“My mom says you do drugs.”

“Yeah, well, I don’t, so tell your mom she’s going to have to keep looking for a dealer.”

“What does this mean?” another girl asked.

Ana looked at her arm, where the girl was tracing the complicated knotwork of the roots of Yggdrasil, and the wolf and wyrm entangled there, biting. “Nothing,” she said. “It’s just some stuff from Norse mythology.”

“My mom says you’re a Satanist.”

“If I don’t believe in the invisible sky fairy, why would I believe in the invisible fire goblin? Seriously,” said Ana, turning fully to face this girl. “What is with your mom?”

“Oh, she’s always got a stick up her ass about someone,” the girl replied.

Giggles all around at this daring pronouncement.

“It’s true. I bet you the second we’re in the car, she’ll be on her phone telling everyone she knows that you were here. Not that there’s much to tell,” the girl continued, looking Ana up and down. “Here I thought I was going to meet this super cool Satanic lesbo party-bitch. You’re just a regular person.”

“Sorry to disappoint you.”