Serial Saturday Update

Ahhh, Autumn!

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.

Advertisements

Serial Saturday Update

Yes, folks, you read that right! I actually got my act together and published another chapter of my FNAF fanfic on schedule! Gold star for me!

And here is where I was going to write up some of the notes I took from one of the Penned Con panels I attended, but I FRIGGING LOST THEM! For real. Lost where? How? No idea. I can only assume the maid who cleaned my room back at that motel with the brick-hard beds ended up with them. Hopefully, she was inspired to write that book she’s had floating around at the back of her head for the last few years, since that was the point of the panel and the subject of all those notes I took. So I got nothing, which I feel really bad about, not just because my content has been awfully thin of late and I took all those notes and stuff, but also because it was a legitimately awesome panel and I wanted to spread the love. Sadly, this is the best I can do.

The guy who gave the panel was Ben Hale, author of The Lumineia Chronicles and co-author of a how-to series on writing, the first installment of which, Write Like A Boss, came out yesterday. I believe the next one, Publish Like A Boss, comes out next month and the third (and final) part of the series, Market Like A Boss, comes out the month after that. If you are at all interested in writing, I encourage you to check these books out. The guy is like liquid motivation poured into a blue chambray shirt.

He writes Young Adult mostly and mentioned that he has a ‘clean’ romance coming out soon, so I did not introduce myself, since he wouldn’t have heard of me or if he had, he sure wouldn’t have had a great opinion of my work, but he was awesome and the stuff he had to say about writing applies toward every writer and any genre. Seriously, National Novel Writer’s Month is coming up (November!), so if you’re thinking about joining and need that kick in the pants, check Write Like A Boss out. It’s, like, five bucks, the cost of a super-large coffee drink at your local coffee shop. Not saying it’s better than the coffee or that if you only had five bucks, you should go for the book, but hey, if you have ten bucks, you can get both and avoid the conflict.

It’s now after midnight and officially Saturday, so I guess I’d better get to pimping MY books instead of Hale’s. If you’re reading Everything Is All Right, head on over to fanfiction.net or archiveofourown.org to check out the new chapter. If you’re still not reading along, check out this sample and maybe, just maybe, I can convince you to come to the fanfiction-side. We have coffee.

 

Bonnie still didn’t know how late Ana worked on a normal day, or even if this was a normal day, given that she’d lost this job once already. So it was a long day, waiting without knowing when she’d show up, but oddly enough, it was Freddy who seemed to feel it the most. He started out, like Bonnie, watching the road between sets, but by noon, he was breaking his routine to steal a peek out the windows even in the middle of an act. By three, he was growling, at first only occasionally, but more and more as time went on, until it was a constant presence, underscoring every word and filling all the spaces between them, and just when Bonnie thought it couldn’t get any worse, it stopped completely.

Freddy didn’t talk much, as a rule. He’d probably said more in the short time since Ana’s moving in than he had in all the years since this restaurant had closed. But even without conventional language, the bearish grunts, hums and grumbles that were Freddy’s preferred mode of communication were usually more than enough. And when he was quiet, really quiet, that was never a good sign.

It built all afternoon until, right in the middle of the five o’clock set, Freddy stopped singing, tossed his microphone carelessly to the back of the stage and went into the gym.

‘Okay, then,’ thought Bonnie, trying like hell to have a sense of humor because getting mad was too easy and going black was getting even easier. ‘You do that and me and Chica will just finish out the set alone like a couple of chumps.’

A few minutes later, Freddy came out again, only to stand in the back of the room in that unsettling silence while Chica and Bonnie limped a three-animatronic performance along without him. At length, his head turned. He looked at the table for a while, then moved it back against the wall where it had come to belong since Ana’s arrival. He studied it, so quiet, then touched a sagging part of the curtain where the staples had been torn out. His ears shifted; that and the sound of his cameras whining as he looked around was the only sound he made.

And then, moving quickly, decisively and above all, silently, Freddy began to clean up. Only he didn’t just clean up. He cleaned out.

He started with the cardboard boxes that used to be her closet, flattening the ones that had already been partially crushed and keeping the undamaged ones intact, but taking them all away, clear out of the room. He cleaned up the few candy wrappers and empty drink cans that had accumulated in her living space and put them in one bag, cleaned up the uneaten junk food and unopened cans and put them in another. He gathered all her scattered clothes, folded them, and took them away too. He left the punctured inflatable mattress, but took her sleeping bag. He took the sign she’d made down off the wall. And when it was all gone, when there was nothing left of her but the table where she used to sleep with the torn curtain sagging off one side, Freddy came back to the stage, but didn’t take his place on it. He sat beside the stairs, took his hat off, and was quiet.

Don’t Panic!

I apologize for the unexpected silence, folks, and for missing last week’s chapter upload on my FNAFiction. It was unintentional, I assure you. As some of you may know, I went to Penned Con in St. Louis, where I thought I’d be able to freely access the interwebz via the hotel wifi, but I was wrong. I could not stay connected more than a few seconds and after struggling with it for a few hours, I gave up and resigned myself to a weekend without social media. Which I didn’t miss, to be honest. I also had to resign myself to missing my chapter upload for Serial Saturday, and THAT hit hard.

I suppose there’s nothing stopping me from uploading it now. Better late than never and all that, but the world isn’t going to end if I just give it a miss and pick it up again on schedule. As my sister Cris said, it’ll be good practice for when all my faithful readers have to wait for the fourth book to be finished. …yay.

I’ll have more for you all on Saturday, but I did want to tell everyone who may have been concerned that I’m okay! I was just at a hotel with terrible wifi (and brick-hard beds, but that’s another rant). Anyhoo, I’m back now and sorry if I scared anyone! All is well with me!

Serial Saturday Update

Penned Con is a week away, which means I have seven days and six nights to flip my sleep schedule on its groggy head so that I’m awake during the days (shudder) and can do normal day-things with my fellow humans. And let me tell you, I am already counting the days until the Con is over and I can go back to staying up all night and sleeping all day, because this sucks. I mean, yah, you CAN eventually train a night-owl to function during the days, kind of like how you can train a left-handed person to use their right hand: It will never feel natural or look pretty, but no one cares if you’re happy as long as you conform.

I have been nocturnal as long as I can remember. Longer, even. My mother used to tell me that when she’d wake up in the middle of the night, she’d often find me quietly watching TV or flipping through a picture book when I was three or four. It got to the point that she’d just say goodnight and go back to bed. I clearly had no trouble getting in and out of my crib, and it pretty much guaranteed I’d go down for a nap in the afternoon when she wanted one, too. She was a morning person, like my dad, so I have no idea where I got it from. I was just comfortably nocturnal right up until I started school, when I became uncomfortably nocturnal and stayed that way for the next 13 years. Then I started working and…well, let’s just say the best part of being a writer is setting your own hours.

Anyway, I’m exhausted, so I’m going to upload early tonight, take some Zzzquil and go to bed at the ridiculous hour of 10 o’clock. Sheesh. On a normal day, I should be thinking about what to make for lunch right about now. But it is not a normal day and won’t be until October 2nd at the earliest, which is when I get home from Penned Con, so please head on over to ff.net or a03.org to enjoy the newest chapter of Everything Is All Right, Part Three: Children of Mammon and wish me a pleasant trip and pleasant dreams!

 

The morning meeting was already underway when Ana opened the door to Shelton Contractors and all heads turned when she walked in. To judge from appearances, Shelly had just finished telling them half of them were about to be downgraded to part-time labor, but he had obviously not gotten around to announcing her triumphant return. After a moment of silence in which the stares ran the gamut from incuriously surprised to slack-jawed horror (that was Wyborn, uncharacteristically sitting alone in his usual spot. Slater, who should have been slouched beside him, was nowhere to be seen), Big Paulie slammed his coffee cup down on the reception desk and swung on Shelly with a bellowing, “What in the blue blazes is she doing back here?”

“Office,” Shelly said coldly. “Now.”

Big Paulie bulled his way through a roomful of staring men and into the boss’s back room with Shelly right behind him. The door slammed, but the room was far from soundproofed. Everyone got a good earful, from the I-won’t-work-with-that-whore-dropped-piece-of-trash to the I-don’t-like-it-either-but-I-got-a-business-to-run to the I-gave-you-thirty-years-of-my-life to the I-paid-for-them-too-so-don’t-pull-that-crap-on-me-now.

Ana poured herself the last of the coffee and started a new pot brewing, waiting for the fireworks to fizzle out. She kept one eye on Wyborn as she drank it; he kept both eyes on her.

After a little more yelling back and forth, Big Paulie banged his way back out of the boss’s office and straight out the door, making sure to shoulder-check Ana on the way. Hot coffee sloshed onto her shirt, not only scalding her tits, but then sort of exposing them through the wet t-shirt. The urge to dash the rest of the coffee over Big Paulie’s bald head and then hit him with the empty mug was strong, much stronger than it would have been if she’d only had some sleep, but he was already gone.

“You all right?” Shelly asked as Ana dabbed at herself with a handful of paper towels.

She nodded, jaws clenched.

“Get yourself one of the company shirts in back. The rest of you, listen up. Hageman, think you can fill Paulie’s shoes for the day down at town hall?”

Ana left them to reconfigure the chain of command and went into the supply room to find a shirt close to her size and change. When she reappeared, once more all heads turned. Ana tossed her wadded-up shirt in the trash—her Mordor fun-run shirt, one of her favorites—and picked up her coffee. She drank it, defiantly.

“And that brings us to outdoors maintenance,” Shelly said after a moment, turning to Morehead. “As of today, Stark here will be in charge of that department. I trust you to show her how it’s done. The two of you will also be responsible for general upkeep around here. Wyborn, Bisano, on Wednesdays and Fridays, you two will be helping out under Stark’s supervision. Questions?”

Bisano tossed off a shrug that said he’d be looking for another job anyway, Morehead seemed relieved more than anything, and Wyborn looked like Shelly had reached out and given his nuts a twist.

Ana said, “I could use Wyborn today too, if you don’t mind.”

“Peep,” said Wyborn, probably not deliberately.

Serial Saturday Update

Welp, it was a big, big day here at the Smomestead. In fact, it was State Fair Day. So we loaded ourselves up and trundled up the road to the fair.

This was not my first outing since surgery, but since the few others I’ve undertaken have been trips to the grocery store, it’s safe to say this qualified as a Herculean trial as far as I was concerned. I brought my wheelchair, but honestly (and perhaps stupidly), I hoped to use it pretty much as a walking aide and a place to stash heavy bottles of water. I actually thought I’d be able to walk pretty much everywhere.

We were at the fair for six hours. I spent easily half of that time sitting on my dizzy, exhausted ass while someone pushed me. Oh well.

Other than that, I had a great time! I petted a porcupine (not as prickly as you’d think) and a wallaby (so soft, like seriously guys, all the soft) and a bison! Also goats and sheep and cows and ponies and such. We spent at least an hour looking at the animals. The rabbits were especially awesome. I had fun pointing out all the breeds I used for the Freddyland animatronics from the Bunny Patch.

Alas, there were no purebred lapine lavender badasses present.

Suffice to say, we are all pleasantly exhausted, and I was looking forward to collapsing facedown on my bed, and probably on my cat, Waffles, since my bed is his third-favorite place to sleep (the second being on top of the stack of winter blankets in my closet and the first being behind my life-size inflatable Jack Skellington next to the bed….don’t judge me), when I was reminded that tonight is upload night.

Crap. I mean, Yay.

So if you are reading along on my Five Nights at Freddy’s fanfiction, Everything Is All Right, Part Three: Children of Mammon, head on over to fanfiction.net or archiveofourown.org and check out the latest chapter! If you still haven’t started reading, perhaps I can convince you to give fanfiction about animal-shaped robots haunting an abandoned pizza parlor with this enticing snippet! Probably not, given that none of my other snippets have apparently had any effect on you, but hey, what have I got to lose? And while you’re reading, I can finally go collapse.

Oh. Hello, Waffles.

So the time passed. Ana moved about, her work measured out by short spates of work-noise followed by long silences, then more noise in new places, and more silence. The quiet was never peaceful. Freddy came and went, somewhat less regularly than he’d been apt to in the past. At times, the two of them met in the hall, exchanging serious talk in a comfortable manner as two ships passing on a misty night, trading words of warning before sailing on.

Foxy sang songs and told stories. Between sets, he waited, propped up in the bow or pacing in his cabin or sitting on deck. It was just another day after all, and like all days, it ended.

A few minutes after nine, he gave all the little kiddies who were not here a final farewell and shut himself down. At ten, his eyes opened again. And at a quarter after two in the morning, he heard the door to the East Hall creak open.

Foxy, propped up on his elbows in the bow of his ship, swiveled his ears in that direction, but did not take his eyes from the tricky business of walking a doubloon across the bare bones of his fingers. Freddy had passed through not six minutes ago, so it was either Chica or Ana, and when the door shut without an invitation to come to the arcade, he knew which.

“Ahoy, lass,” he said in the flattest, least-ahoyingest tone he’d ever heard come out of his speaker. He hadn’t planned to or anything. It was just there, almost a taste in his mouth and the taste was bitter. “How’s the roof c-c-coming along?”

“What? Oh Jesus, you don’t even know. The roof is done,” Ana said, her boots tromping down the ramp toward him in a slow, noisy gait, heavier than she was. Tired. “Well, not done-done, but done enough. As done as I ever hoped it would be. Nothing left but the interior stuff and I’ll get to that in my own time, assuming I have any.”

“A d-d-difficult job done well.” Flip went the coin, fake gold color gleaming in the light of his eyes. It landed on his fore-knuckle, face-up. His own face. He couldn’t tell if it were grinning or snarling. He flipped it again without walking it, caught it and put it in his pocket. “Good on ye, and all that. Now why-why—WHY CAN’T PIRATES PLAY CARDS?—why don’t ye sound happier about that-t-t?”

“We had an incident Saturday night.”

“Oh aye?” he said, like he didn’t know. Because as far as she knew, he didn’t.

“Aye,” she sighed and by the sound of it, sat herself on the front row bench. “Some guys broke in. We got into it a little bit. I let them get away, so…”

Foxy dug his hook into the deck rail, gouging up splinters and flicking them idly over the side. “So?” he prompted.

“So what happens when you let the bad guy get away, Captain?”

“Makes for a b-b-better story, in me opinion.”

“Only if I’m alive to tell it.”

“And the likelihood o’ that be…?”

“I’m an optimist, so we’ll call it fifty-fifty.”

“Ye need Chica to t-t-tell ye what optimism means, luv. I don’t think ye has it quite right.” He worried his hook in as deep as it would go and broke out a chunk of wood almost the size of his finger. “Ye bring a b-b—BOTTLE OF RUM—with ye by any chance?”

“Sorry, it’s Sunday. Liquor stores aren’t open. I’ll pick some up tomorrow after work.”

“Yer working again?” he asked idly, scraping the new chasm clean before digging into it some more.

“Jeez, I really need to come here more often. Yeah, I’m working. Same place as before. We’ll see how it goes this time, but I hope to get a few month’s pay before I’m out on my ass again.”

“Telling ye, that ain’t optimism. Ye c-c-coming aboard?”

“No. I’m not staying.”

“Course not,” Foxy muttered, the words little more than a low hum through his speaker. Louder, he said, “Well, thanks for stopping in t’port, lass. FAIR WINDS AND A FOLLOWING SEA.”

A few seconds passed, silent. Then he heard her boots scrape as she stood up.

“Don’t go,” he said and then sat, staring at the hole he’d carved into the rail of the ship, wondering who’d said it, because he never would.

Serial Saturday Update

The internet here is inexplicably spotty tonight, in spite of the fact that we are paying out the hinder for top tier service. Our service provider (who shall remain nameless, but hint: their name is appropriately synonymous with a bag of dicks) insists it’s not on their end, which they can get away with because we are so far off the edge of nowhere that it’s either the Bag O’ Dicks or nothing. As a self-published author, I kind of need the internet, but as a raging introvert I kind of need to be far from humanity even more, so I compromise and pretend I’m not annoyed by the INCREDIBLY UNRELIABLE SERVICE! WHAT ARE WE PAYING YOU FOR, YOU BAG OF DICKS?!?

The upshot of this is that I need to hurry up and get this posted during the incredibly narrow window that the onramp to the information superhighway is open here at the Smomestead (damned if that word isn’t growing on me). So here is me telling you that my latest chapter of my Five Nights at Freddy’s fanfiction has been successfully uploaded over at fanfiction.net and archiveofourown.org, so if you’re reading my FNAFic, Everything Is All Right, Part Three: Children of Mammon, head on over to one of those sites and check it out.

Progress on Part Four has been severely hampered by my surgery. I’m in very little pain, but man, is my brain not working yet. I’m so tired. I spend hours of each day ‘working,’ but I have to admit, most of those hours are me staring at my monitor wondering what I’m doing. Not in a ‘Where is this book going?’ way either, but just in a  “What is this light and what are all these buttons?” way. My father, who underwent a similar surgery just a few months ago, feels enormously vindicated by this; apparently, he did the same thing. He could write for weeks, he claims. This is terrifying to me. I don’t have much left of Part Three. I NEED to get Part Four done.

Work, damn you! Work!

 

All I can do is keep struggling and pray my brain reboots soon. But I’m telling you all right now…there may be a slight delay between Part Three and Four. I know, I know. I think it sucks too. And I’m still hoping I’m able to pull it out and finish in time, but I still need to edit and all that and, well, it just may not happen. Maybe, but…you know…maybe not.

Anyhoo, keeping positive and all that. I am still writing as much as I can (although not updating the widget daily, as I should be. I’ll work on that too), so we’ll just have to see what happens. In the meantime, Children of Mammon will continue uploading on schedule. Be sure to check out this week’s chapter and leave me some encouraging words. I know, I know, but it really helps right now.

The show went on, without an audience, without Freddy, without even a guitar. Bonnie watched Ana leave, listened to her footsteps recede and then return. She picked up her wallet and a few tools, opened and closed drawers on her toolchest, found her shoebox and fingered the money inside, then let it all lie and went away again. Bonnie heard the loading dock door rattle open and shut. His imaginary heart lurched and his fan revved, but then he heard her boots on the roof. A few seconds later, he heard metal feet running in the hall and Foxy shouldered through the plastic, sword drawn.

Bonnie’s ears slapped flat involuntarily and came jittering up again. Foxy glanced at him as he looked around the room and his own ears twitched, but he didn’t say anything. What was there to say anyway? At this point, even the thought of an apology made Bonnie want to punch the muzzle right off Foxy’s face, not that he’d ever hear one.

His temper flared and his vision dimmed, but Bonnie managed to fight it back for now. He had to stay calm, for Ana. He couldn’t go black tonight. She needed him.

More footsteps and here came Freddy. Bonnie’s vision dimmed again, darker. Freddy did not look at him but raised a hand in typically uncaring acknowledgement of Bonnie’s feelings while he finished inspecting the room. Ana’s upended table. Scattered splatters of blood. Her panties lying in the middle of the floor. Slowly, his arm lowered. Now he looked at the stage. “BONNIE. CHICA. WAKE UP. THAT’S AN ORDER. BONNIE. TALK. TO. ME. THAT’S AN ORDER.”

Red light flickered across the edges of Bonnie’s perceptions, registering the errors associated with breaking his routine too soon. For a moment, he thought he was going black after all, but his sight cleared and he came out of it, slower than Chica maybe, but still on his own. Holding his head—it felt weird, stuffy almost, not that he could possibly know what that felt like—Bonnie staggered to the nearest wall and leaned into it, stepping on pieces of his guitar on the way. “Where th-th-the hell were you?” he demanded, shivering.

“I’M. SORRY. BONNIE. SHE. OPENED. ME.”

There were no good excuses, but that was probably as good as they got. Bonnie, still tremoring, managed a nod and then turned his glare on Foxy. “I’m a jealous ass, huh? I t-t-tried to tell you, but-t-t I’m just a jealous ass and you ignored-d-d me. I needed you. The one fucking t-t-t—TIME TO ROCK—time in my life when I actually-ly-ly needed you.”

Foxy looked back at him, servos whining without visible movement. He said nothing. No apology, no excuse, nothing.

“I’M. SORRY,” Freddy said again. He looked at the panties and his eyes fluxed, blue and black.

“That’s nothing-ing-ing,” Bonnie muttered, rubbing his head like that could help clear it. “One of them had those in his pocket. He must-t-t have wanted to make sure he got a souvenir.”

“One of them?” Foxy echoed. “How many were there?”

Bonnie looked up at him.

The next thing he knew, red light snapped on in a broad stripe, blinding-bright. Bonnie recoiled, startled and confused, and hit the back of his head, both ears and one hand on something unyielding. At the impact, the red light flared brighter and no matter how he turned his head, it stayed right in front of him.

“What the hell is that-t-t?” he asked. The echoes were strange, too close. He started to ask Freddy what was going on, but Freddy’s eyes were gone. So were Foxy’s and Chica’s…and his own. The room was black, except for this annoying bar of red light shining in his face.

Wait, that wasn’t a light shining at him at all, that was an internal line of text. Error messages, so many that they formed an unreadable red bar across his vision.

He cleared his error log—that helped, at least enough that he could now tell he was looking at a dozen overlapping lines of text—and switched on his eyes.

What he saw made no immediate sense: A blotchy grey wall about ten feet away with a recessed light bulb in a wire cage set in the middle of it. Except that wasn’t a wall, he realized. It was a ceiling. It was the freezer’s ceiling. And he wasn’t standing, he was lying on his back. How had he not known that? Was his…? His equilibrium gauge was shut down. It took a hell of a hard knock to the head to do that.

Bonnie turned it on again and while it ran its start-up diagnostic, he went through the ever-expanding list of overrides. Yes, he knew he had 118 non-responsive pressure plates. Yes, he knew his overall structural integrity was at 77%. Yes, he knew his audio system needed maintenance. Everything about him needed fucking maintenance…

Serial Saturday Update

So first off, let me just say ten-thousand WOWs for all the well-wishing I’ve received since I got home from the hospital. I really appreciate it. I am still recovering, somewhat slower than I would like, but I’m sure much faster than is customary. Still, I figured I would post early tonight, seeing as sleep’s song is already a’calling. Seems like all I’ve done since I got back is sleep and for a chronic insomniac like me, that’s pretty awesome.

But when I’m not sleeping, I’m sort of on my feet. I went to the store and while I wasn’t able to walk, I could at least drive myself in the scootabout. Little victories.

I even made an attempt at painting. Behold the Bison in his native habitat: Morphine.

But it is going to be an early night, so even though it’s only nine o’clock on Friday, I have already uploaded the latest chapter of my FNAF fanfiction, Everything Is All Right, Part Three: Children of Mammon. If you’re reading along, you can find it over at fanfiction.net or archiveofourown.org. If I haven’t convinced you yet, or if you’re just waiting for the whole thing to be finished before you start, please enjoy yet another teaser and let’s see if I can’t weaken your resolve.

Step by silent step, Ana reached the end of the hall and stopped just on the other side of the plastic. Two pairs of animatronic eyes didn’t do much to light a room this size, but after the perfect blackness of the hall, they were as good as searchlights. Ana’s sugar-skull tee was a beacon; her sweaty skin all but glowed. If they were watching this doorway, there would be no way to avoid letting herself be seen when she came through, no matter how quietly she did it.

She moved to one side, hunkered low, found an edge along one of the hanging sheets and peeled it back just a crack. She studied the room beyond like it was new territory, a potential battlefield. The kitchen was just to her left, closed off by more plastic; a good ambush spot. In the back of the room, in the little hall that ran between the playground and the gym was another hiding place. Her bedroom under the curtained table, another one.

Those were the possibilities. As for the certainties, there were long shadows that shouldn’t be there on what she could see of the lobby floor and movement behind the dirty glass set in the West Hall door. So two at least. No, three. The gift shop door she’d left wide open was now almost closed and when Chica’s head turned that way, she could make out the pale blur of a watchful face, framed by scraggly hair and an unkempt trailer-trash beard. She knew him. What was his name? Trey? Trig. Trigger-Man. One of Mason’s distributers. So.

She could also see some familiar crates and her big toolchest over by the cashier’s station in the open end of the lobby. They hadn’t been able to fit all her stuff into whatever car they’d brought, so they’d had to prioritize, taking most of her big-ticket equipment, but leaving most of the tools. That was good. If she could get to them, she’d have a weapon, which was of course why they left it there, where the little light coming through the open lobby doors would have to shine on it even if Bonnie and Chica’s eyes were off. They were trying to draw her out.

Ana gave the Better Idea Fairy a full minute to show up, but the bitch must have gotten stuck in traffic, so she shifted onto the balls of her feet and took a deep breath.

“LET’S ROCK!” said Bonnie.

‘Yes, let’s,’ thought Ana and burst through the plastic at a run.