Serial Saturday Updates and Impending Road Trip

It’s been a long time since the last time, hasn’t it? And it’s going to be a long time until the next time, too. I’ve begun to pack for my upcoming trip, which is going to be somewhat open-ended, so I’m not sure as of this writing exactly when I’ll be back. Between now and then is a whole lot of affair-settling in not a whole lot of time. To says things have been hectic around the Smomestead isn’t saying nearly enough and it’ll only get worse before it gets better.

On the other hand, I’m looking forward to seeing some of the extended family and I’m always up for a nice, long road trip, with plenty of stops along the way at every skeezy-looking tourist trap we can find. Yes, I am THAT person in a car, the one who throws off carefully-made schedules to pet the six-legged cow and get my picture taken with the world’s largest rubber-band ball. If there’s a scenic-turnout, I’m turning. If there’s a historical plaque, I’m reading. If there’s a weird statue, I’m posing.

I actually did pose with this statue for a family pic, btw

If I wasn’t so committed to keeping my face off the internet, I’d show you the pic I actually have of me posing with Mothman, here, but you’ll have to settle for this generic Mothman-only one instead.

Anyway, the gist of this post is not to brag about my scrapbook full of weird roadside Americana, but instead to warn you that it may be a while until the next chapter of my FNAF fanfic, Everything is All Right, Part IV: New Faces, Old Bones updates. Hopefully, tonight’s chapter will give readers plenty to think and/or scream about until then. If you want to check it out, head on over to archiveofourown.org or fanfiction.net! If you’re enjoying the read, why not leave a review/comment? It really does make a huge difference as far as the site’s search engine is concerned, and more exposure for the fanfic means more exposure for all my books, so you’d really be doing me a solid.

“Yer lucky ye caught me,” Foxy said as he locked up again. “Don’t usually come out this way.”

“You don’t usually come out at all,” she retorted, ignoring Tux as he called her an inquisitive chap. “How’s the roof holding up?”

“I’M SORRY. COULD YOU REPHRASE THE QUESTION?”

“No leaks in the Cove.” Foxy found a place on the wall to lean and watched her peel off her work-shirt and wring it out onto the floor. “Road washed out?”

“Not yet, but the night’s young. Ow, what the fucking fuck!” she snarled as the security camera snapped on, shining its light like a dagger unerringly into her face. “Someday, you are going to do that to the wrong person,” she told it, glaring at it balefully through her shielding fingers, “and she is going to go at you with a motherfucking hammer.”

The camera remained unimpressed.

“Watch how ye say things like that,” Foxy warned, pretending to examine his hook while glancing at the camera from the side of his eye. “It be against the rules to disable any part o’ the security system, even the bloody annoying ones.”

“I can dream, can’t I? Okay, I’m going to get into dry clothes. Start thinking about what you want to do for fun tonight, Captain.”

“Take ye out o’ the wet ones,” Foxy replied promptly.

“Yeah, yeah, insert virtuous squeak of outrage here,” she said, rolling her eyes. “The rest of us are probably going to watch a movie or maybe fire up the Super Nintendo. If you think you can grow up for one night, you’re welcome to join us.”

“Yer a one, telling me to grow up so’s I can come watch cartoons and play kiddie games with ye,” he said with a snort. “I’ll be in me cabin, luv, but if’n ye cares to come tip a bottle, I’d make meself fair company.”

“I’d better not do any bottle-tipping. If this storm gets any worse, I might get called out.”

“Sounds to me like ye ought to tip it harder, then. They won’t let ye work if’n yer drunk.”

“Good point, but I like money.”

“Sure and yer a pirate,” he agreed, “but a good pirate knows the secret to happiness is moderation. Swag one day, rum the next. Murder, mayhem and swiving, lass, each in their own time.”

“Zen and the Art of Piracy, huh? There’s been altogether too much mayhem in my life lately.”

“Aye, but when was the last time ye done any swiving?” he asked pointedly.

She knew better than to encourage that line of inquiry, but to herself, she thought there were probably enough reward points on her celibacy punch card by now to buy a mechanical bull. At least then she’d have something to ride on the weekends. Aloud, she said only, “Much as I’d love to stand here and talk about my sex life, I’m going to go ahead and get changed now.”

She went to her room, knowing he was watching her go and fairly confident that if she turned, she’d find his eyes considerably south of her belt-line, not ogling her so much as wanting her to catch him ogling so he could laugh at her indignation and walk away. Well, she’d never been one to get bent out of shape by a little mental undressing, and with Foxy, at least she knew it was never going to go any further than some playful catcalling.

Advertisements

Serial Saturday Upload

Did I miss an upload? I don’t know anymore. It’s easy to remember EVERY Saturday, but this biweekly thing is messing with my already extremely feeble sense of time. And it’s about to get even worse, because I’ve got a road trip coming up sort of soon. My father will be making the epic journey to see his family and wants to have company on the drive, which I totally get, and while he would I’m sure prefer to have all his children with him, I’m the only one without a day job or social obligations or, you know, a life.

But who am I kidding? I love road trips, so much that I don’t actually care where I’m going or what I’m going to do when I get there. No lie, I took a trip once to get surgery and it was one of the most fun vacations I’ve ever had. We drove around the Grand Canyon, stopped at various tourist traps, marveled at the wondrous diversity of the landscape and the wildlife inhabiting it, ate at sketchy diners and slept in skeezy motels, talked about our books to what non-book people would consider an obnoxious degree, and just had a great time. Yeah, sure, there was the whole stab-you-with-a-scalpel part in the middle, but the rest of it was lit as shit.

The post-surgery painkillers may have been a factor.

The best part about traveling with my father is the music. The radio around here is pretty much evenly split between preachers and news, so I tend to just put on my playlist when I’m in the mood for music. Nothing wrong with that, except that it does mean I live in something of a musical bubble. I don’t have a whole lot of patience to go browsing for new stuff when I can just put on twelve hours’ worth of stuff I KNOW I like. Dad’s tastes, like mine, are fairly eclectic, so while I know I won’t like everything, I also know there’ll be plenty on his playlist to appreciate. I always come away from one of these trips with a dozen or so new favorite songs, and hopefully the feeling is mutual.

My father is a big believer in discovering new things. For the longest time (my father says), he had fallen into the rhythm of work/home/sleep, and like the rhythms of a song, the rhythms of life can be lulling. Even in a positive light, a routine becomes a rut too easily; too often, that routine comes to feel like a hamster wheel, running and running but going nowhere. My father says his routine was a fairly comfortable one, but there were certainly many years that he thought–comfortably–that his life at that time was just something to get through until he had reached a time of his life when he had more time to really enjoy himself. Instead, he retired and suddenly had no routine at all. He spent a few years puttering around the house, then slowly stopped puttering and just sat around the house. In his own words, he became “rather Entish”.

I maintain my father’s beard is more impressive, however.

He credits his children with re-introducing him to the world, which is giving us too much credit, but however it happened, he has embraced his old philosophy with fresh enthusiasm. Life is meant to be a journey. Never stop exploring.

Anyway, although I can sit here and talk about my dad all night, I’d better get to the point of this blog post, which is that another chapter of my FNAF fanfic, Everything Is All Right, Part IV: New Faces, Old Bones has been uploaded and you can check it out at fanficiton.net or archiveofourown.org, whichever your preference. And as usual, I have a snippet here for those who like an appetizer before the entree.  See you in a couple weeks!

The next few days were not bad ones, just monotonous, unfulfilling, and slow to pass. Scouring the internet for information on animatronic technology brought her no new revelations since the last time she’d looked and within a few fruitless hours, she had to face the facts: The only hope of repairing the animatronics was to get the manufactory in Faust’s underground lair working again, and the only hope of doing that was to find the interface.

Maybe she should just ask him for the damn thing.

Yeah, sure, that would go over well. Just a few days after he’d asked her to kill his creations, she was seriously going to ask him for the device that would allow her to repair them? No, that wasn’t happening.

So what did that leave? Break back in, she supposed. Search the house, top to bottom. Try the safe again. She couldn’t remember seeing a device such as Freddy had described, but then, she hadn’t been looking for one either. And it might be in the mysterious double-locked box that the old man wanted her to open.

But there was a car parked in front of the glass mansion when she made the long walk back up the drive on Monday night, and through the windows, she could see Chad restlessly moving room to room. Looking for evidence he’d neglected to mop up or just looking for loot, she couldn’t tell, but his unpredictable presence made her own search impossible, so she bailed and went home. Tuesday night, one of Mammon’s world-ending storms blew in, and not only would it have been unpleasant to hike two winding miles up the canyon to the house, but she could not have avoided tracking mud in, and in any case, she got an early morning call from Shelly to go out and help clear a tree that had fallen over the only road leading out of town, so it was just as well she hadn’t gone burglaring that night.

She and the other poor bastards Shelly had rousted out of bed worked clean-up in the steady rain until the rest of the crew arrived back at the office and then they all topped off their coffee canisters and trudged out to the site of the future dealership to ‘start’ the work-day—muddy, sore and bone-tired.

So it was a long day, part-time notwithstanding. Some of her new crew were still a little sour on the subject of her promotion over every man who had been there longer, and Bisano in particular would not let the fuck up about it. Although Ana heard the mutters, she did not confront him. Instead, she put everyone on interior walls for the day, which had the dual benefit of keeping everyone dry and also in close quarters. After that, all she had to do was wait.

Within a very short time, the worst of it had been said enough times to get old and annoying to those who had to listen, even if they hadn’t been up since four, sawing stormfall alongside Ana while the guy doing all the complaining had been sound asleep in his bed. This was what Ana was waiting for. If she had even once told Bisano to knock it off, it would have never stopped. When Hageman bellowed at him to quit his infernal goddamned bitching before he put his whining face on the other side of his goddamned head, Bisano shut his mouth and kept it shut. He remained surly whenever circumstances forced him to interact with Ana, but she couldn’t care less if he liked her, as long as he did his job.

To celebrate the peace and quiet, she offered hot food on her dime down at Gallifrey’s after the shift was over and most of the crew took her up on it. It was the first real chance she’d had to sit down in almost twelve hours and the hard wooden seats of the diner’s chairs were almost heavenly, like her Betty Burger, her first plated meal since the eggs benedict in the hospital with Mr. Faust. No one went out of their way to include her in their conversations, but they didn’t exclude her either, so that was progress.

Serial Saturday Updates

Can I still call it Serial Saturday? Serial Every-Other-Saturday just doesn’t flow off the typing fingers as smoothly.

The point is, a new chapter of my FNAF fanfiction, Everything Is All Right, Part IV: New Faces, Old Bones has been uploaded and is available to read on fanfiction.net and archiveofourown.org, so if you’re riding with me on this epic journey, head on over and check it out!

It has been an epic journey, hasn’t it? Part IV is already so much longer than I ever thought it would be, and there’s still Part V to go. When this whole thing started, I joked that, knowing me, my cute little pizza parlor fanfic would end up being a thousand pages long. Well, folks, we passed that milestone a  L O N G  time ago and two thousand pages is looking more and more likely, and you know what?

I still love it. If I’m being honest, I have to admit, my thoughts these days are straying more and more to the next book, once this series is done, and those are bittersweet thoughts because I still love it. It’s been fun, playing in Cawthon’s sandbox. You’ve heard me say that a lot over the last…sheesh, two years…and you’ll hear me say it a lot more before it’s over, I’m sure. It’s been said that if you do what you love for a living, you’ll never work a day in your life, and while I’m not completely on board with that one (it’s work, all right, and some days, it’s a hell of a grind), it’s an amazing feeling to really and truly love what you do. So you’ll forgive me if I wax a little nostalgic from time to time over the weeks (and let’s not kid ourselves, the months) to come. It’s been a long road, I know it, but I’m further along than you are and I can see the end.

Thanks for coming along with me. To Mammon. To Haven. To Gann. To Hollow Mountain. To the Scholomance. To Arcadia. To Jota. And to wherever we go next.

Bonnie nudged her arm, silently asking her if she was okay, which was loud enough apparently to attract everyone’s attention. He knew it and his ears lowered sheepishly, but the question stayed in his eyes.

Ana smiled for him and rolled her shoulder. “Just thinking, my man.”

“About what?”

“Stories. How powerful they are. How manipulative.” She nodded at the television, where a door slowly opened and a dinosaur stood on the other side, scaly hand still gripping the latch, sniffing the air of a seemingly empty kitchen as the camera pulled up and revealed two small children with only a cabinet between them and certain death. “The danger isn’t real, sure, but…nothing is. There’s no courage either. There’s no glory, no romance. And we don’t even really believe it, we just pretend to. For an hour or two. But the way we feel is real. Isn’t that weird? That you can watch a fake dinosaur prowl around a kid who’s only pretending to be scared, and you know it, but you still feel really relieved when they get away. I mean, when I saw this the first time, when the girl does this—” She pointed just as the velociraptor on the small screen banged head-first into the shiny reflective face of a cabinet. “—I legit cheered. Out loud. And when it was finally over and the credits started rolling, I stood up on my seat and clapped so hard, I hurt my shoulder. And I knew it wasn’t real, but I shit you not, I was the happiest I think I’d ever been in my damn life that day, walking away from the theater, knowing those kids were safe. And I knew they were going to be safe before I ever even sat down. But he got it out of me anyway, that son of a bitch.”

“Who?”

“Spielberg. And the actors, I guess. And the special effects guys. And I guess some credit goes to Crichton, although not very fucking much, let me tell you. I read the book after I saw the movie and it’s terrible. I don’t know how the hell the man made a story about dinosaurs coming to life and eating people in a theme park boring, but give the man a cookie, he did it. Never mind,” she said, waving one hand to shut that away like a freezer door shutting on a raptor. “My point is…I don’t know what the hell my point is. It’s just funny, isn’t it? How the mind tricks you into needing to know what happens next when you know, you absolutely know, that nothing ever happened at all.”

“It’s probably an extension of dream theory,” Chica said and paused to playfully smack Bonnie’s shoulder when he loudly groaned. “Some psychologists believe that dreams serve a purpose, as a kind of dress rehearsal for events that might happen in waking life.”

“What, so that you’re prepared when you suddenly discover you can fly, or forget to wear clothes to work—” She glanced at the TV, then pointed at it. “—or have to fight off velociraptors? Realistically, how likely are any of those things to happen?”

“I’m sure there’s more to the theory, but I don’t sleep, so I didn’t look into it very much,” Chica said apologetically. “I only heard about it at all because I was curious about why…well, why I like to read.” She ducked her head, a little pink light shining through her cheeks as the others looked at her, and clasped her hands tightly over her round stomach. “It doesn’t make a lot of sense, particularly since most of what I have to read are children’s books, but some of them are still good stories, just told with simple language. And pictures. But they can illicit an empathetic emotional response…and I guess that’s why I do it. Because a good story is really just a shared experience, whether it’s about having friends or going on adventures—” She looked at the TV with a wince. “—or being eaten by dinosaurs.”

Markiplier’s Charity Drive Streaming NOW on YouTube

Somewhere in the bowels of this house, there is a box. Inside that box are stacks and stacks of gold-starred spelling tests, report cards and macaroni art that my mother saved for reasons inscrutable to children but obvious to parents. One of those old homework assignments is titled My Hero, in which a young R Lee was tasked to tell the world about, well, my hero. Having only the vaguest notion of what a hero was, I wrote about Buzz Aldrin, because at that time in my life, I wanted to grow up to be an astronaut (a year earlier, I wanted to be an archaeologist, and a year later, I wanted to be a pterodactyl). He was my hero, or at least the hero of my homework assignment, because he had all the qualities of what I then understood a hero to be: He ventured into largely uncharted territory at great personal risk, he helped to advance our knowledge of the universe, and he put his mark on the friggin’ MOON.

Then I inherited my mom’s best friend’s sons’ comic book collection, and my concept of a hero changed according to someone who fights hordes of evil henchmen, or who possess supernatural powers, or who can punch asteroids out of the sky. Secret identities and form-fitting costumes were a must-have, sidekicks optional, merchandise a definite plus. If you didn’t have your own brand-deal with Underoos, could you really call yourself a hero?

In 1990, Jim Henson died and to say that I was devastated would be a vast understatement. I had a paper route in those days and I learned of his passing by opening the drop-off shed and seeing his death splashed over the front page. I managed to deliver maybe a dozen papers. Then I sat down on the side of the road and just cried. I had grown up with Sesame Street and The Muppet Show and The Dark Crystal. To think that the man responsible for so much of my childhood joy was just…gone…made the whole world seem a little darker. In an effort to help me through my grief, my mother obtained a book–

This one.

–so that I could celebrate the man’s life instead of just mourning his death. The more I learned about Henson, the more I wanted to know. And one of the things I learned was that the primary reason for his creating Fraggle Rock was literally to end the Cold War. And he sort of did.

My idea of what a hero was changed that day and has remained unchanged ever since. A hero doesn’t need to be an explorer or adventurer or punch monster or shoot fireballs. A hero does good. Period.

I told you all that to tell you this: My top three heroes as of this writing are Batman, Jim Henson, and Markiplier, all for the same reason. They are three people who took the one thing they did really well (make fucktons of money, make Muppets, and scream at video games, respectively) and used it to try and make the world a better place.

Right now, 8.23 in the evening, Mountain Time, on the 23rd of February, 2019, Markiplier is livestreaming on his channel to raise money for My Friend’s Place, an organization dedicated to helping provide services, education and support for homeless youth. Please click that link to learn more about this amazing cause or click THIS ONE to jump to Markiplier’s channel and join the stream. He’s not quite halfway there after eight and half hours of streaming, and Mark has said he will not stop until the goal of $500,000 is met, so please, PLEASE, let’s make sure this amazing man gets some sleep tonight. If you can give, PLEASE GIVE. Even one dollar helps. And if you can’t give at this time, PLEASE tell a friend, share the stream, and spread awareness for this incredible cause.

For you, Jim.

Serial Saturday Updates

I’ve been struggling so hard to keep up with the updates on my fanfic, Everything Is All Right, Part IV: New Faces, Old Bones, and now here I am, after I said last week I was going to biweekly updates. It’s like I was cursed in infancy never to keep a promise, no matter what that promise is. Hmm, I feel like we should test this. I hereby publicly promise to gain weight and never win the lottery.

Now we wait.

 

I was and am serious about going to biweekly updates. However, in light of the fact that I’ve ditched so often, I figured I’d make an effort to get one more update in, and this is a nice long read with a lot going on, so I feel better about it. As usual, you can check it out at archiveofourown.org or fanfiction.net, whichever you prefer, and I even have a snippet prepared so you can get an appetizer before the entree.

I know I’ve said this before, but it needs to be said again: Thank you all for supporting me while I play with this series. I’ve had a rough time lately and there were days when this book, and my commitment to finish it, was the one thing that got me through. It’s fanfiction for a video game that a lot of people think is over-rated in the first place, and I’m very much aware of the silliness inherent both in its original premise and my interpretation of it, let alone the silliness of assigning it so much importance in my life that I can lean on it in times when I can’t stand up on my own, but that’s the magic about a story. Even on the worst days, when I didn’t want to do much of anything, I still wanted to tell this story. I hope you still want to read it…and the one that comes next…and the one after that…and however many follow for as long as I’m around, because as long as I’m breathing, I’m writing and reading.

Okay, enough of that crap. Enjoy your snippet and see you in two weeks!

 

 

Bonnie heard Ana’s truck pull in at the end of what should have been the six o’clock show, if anyone but the stupid Swampy animatronic and the speakers were putting on a show anymore. She let herself in a few minutes later, but gave him only a hurried greeting on her way down the East Hall. She went directly to the Quiet Room, where she kept her tools, and shut herself in.

Bonnie waited as long as he could bring himself to wait—about five minutes—and then went after her.

He couldn’t just go in. Rule Thirty-Five said none of them could be in the room when Ana was working and he could hear the shrill sound of a tiny motor, so she was working. It was a dumb rule, but Freddy hadn’t rescinded it, so Bonnie had to obey. He lurked in the hall, pacing back and forth as he turned the rule over in his mind, looking for loopholes, and finally approached the door and knocked.

The sound of the whatever-it-was shut off. Ana had stopped working.

Bonnie opened the door, but found to his extreme annoyance that she was wearing her headlamp, and the magnifying goggles she’d worn when reconstructing Bonnie’s face, and most of her attention was still on her hands, turning over a little piece of colored plastic or something while holding one of her many gadgets. Still working, in other words. His vision lit up red when he tried to go in. He nudged his toes up to the threshold and there had to stand, just outside the room.

“What’s up?” she asked distractedly.

“I just wanted to see you. Are you…Are you back? From…”

She shook her head. “Haven’t left yet. Gotta wait for dark if you’re gonna do crimes, my man.”

“What are you doing?” he asked as she shaved another micro-sliver of plastic from the thing in her hand.

“Just getting ready for the big event.”

“And that’s part of it?”

“Yeah.”

“What is it?”

“A key.” She showed it to him, and apart from the top of it being squared off and the whole thing being plastic, it did look like a key.

“You made that?”

“Yeah.”

“Out of a credit card?”

“Sort of, yeah.”

Bonnie shook his head with rueful admiration. “You know, you talk all the time about how you’re not a fabricator, but that’s pretty impressive. Did you use to work as a locksmith or what?”

“Naw, I just used to work with some shady individuals, and some skills are useful to have when you’re homeless and hungry as often as I am. I know, I know, not cool…but burglary is definitely the lesser evil most of the time.”

“You’ve been a burglar?”

“I’ve been a lot of things, Bon.”

Serial Saturday Updates

Yes, I know I missed last week’s update. I’ll even go so far as to admit I knew it last week. I even had a moment when I probably could have dragged my sorry ass downstairs and uploaded a chapter, but I had passed the point of caring about anything except staying in bed and using all my energy to not die. I’ll be honest with you–I’m not sure I’m past that point, but I didn’t want to let TWO weeks go by without at least letting you all out there know that I’m still here, so here I am. And here is the latest chapter of my FNAF fanfic, Everything Is All Right, Part IV: New Faces, Old Bones, at archiveofourown.org or fanfiction.net, whichever platform you prefer! I hope you all think it’s a good one because you may have to wait an extra week before the next one drops. In fact, I’m thinking seriously about shifting to bi-weekly updates until I feel like I’m all the way back on my feet, because stressing over missing deadlines is NOT helping the recovery process, let me tell you.

Anyway, another week is behind me and with any luck, this next week will actually lead to some productive work instead of a lot of lying around trying to think up excuses for why I got no productive work done. I hope you all out there are doing well and keeping warm. See you next Saturday with another chapter! (Or the Saturday after that with another apology…)

She had to share the elevator with four sugared-up kids who, with no parent to ride herd on them, were simply a delight. Fortunately, they all got off on the second floor and went screaming away, leaving Ana with the relative bliss of a casual bongo instrumental for the remainder of the ride.

Mr. Faust’s door was shut. Hesitant to interrupt his evening sponge bath or whatever, she knocked.

She heard him say, “What?” so sharply that she thought he must have dozed off and she’d just startled him awake.

“It’s me,” she said.

“So soon? Come in, Miss Stark. Please. And close the door,” he said as she obediently entered. “Forgive me, you’ve rather caught me out. I wasn’t expecting you for some time.”

“I’d have been here sooner, but I had to stop for gas,” Ana lied, pretending she needed to wash her hands so she had an excuse to keep her back turned for a little while longer, just in case she’d ‘caught him out’ doing something personal.

“Where is it?”

She looked at his reflection in the mirror, hiding her caution behind surprised eyes. “Where’s what?”

“Is that a joke?” he asked uncertainly and with just a hint of impatience. “The box, Miss Stark.”

“What box?” Ana asked, and in that moment, her confusion was genuine. There were so many things she could not mention or even dare to think about too hard, lest the old man see her thoughts floating in the windows of her eyes—the key, the garage, the basement and even a certain pair of child-sized sneakers with rainbow laces. The mystery of the double-locked box had already been forgotten.

Faced with her unfeigned bewilderment, his tense posture subtly shifted toward astonishment and then to annoyance. “Didn’t you open the safe?”

Ana did not flinch, although it was a damned near thing. She had a split-second to decide how to react. The analyst in her presented only two viable suggestions: come clean and explain everything or double down on her innocence and bluff him out.

She slapped off the faucet and faced him. “No, of course not!”

His thin eyebrows lifted, then furrowed. “Why not?”

“I beg the fuck out of your pardon? Because I didn’t go to your house to fucking rob you!”

Not yet, anyway. The lie felt huge, burning across her whole face like a blush, but Faust seemed not to notice.

“Then why did you go?”

“Because you asked me to! I told you I’d take the stuff back to my place! You were the one who told me to take it to yours!”

After she’d suggested it, but he didn’t remember that part, or at least didn’t argue the point. He just took that in, turned it over a few times, and finally said, with an air of Freddy-ish disapproval, “That complicates things. You were supposed to come here with questions.”

Starting The New Year Off Right!

So, we are twenty-five days into 2019. Let’s recap. I broke my promise to update my fanfic on the first Friday of the new year. I broke a tooth. And now I have the flu. There’s still a few days left in January…let’s see if I can break a leg or get bitten by a radioactive sloth, forcing me to take on all the powers of the sloth as I slowly, very slowly, transform into a sloth-human and use my new powers to either fight or instigate crime.

Or, more likely, sit around the house watching crime documentaries between snacks.

However, I have dragged myself from my sickbed to post the next chapter of Everything Is All Right, Part IV: New Faces, Old Bones, and you can find it on fanfiction.net or archiveofourown.org. And I’ll be honest with y’all, I just sat here for a solid ten minutes trying to think of something else to say, and I could NOT. You ever read a comic where someone’s got that thought bubble over their head that’s just the three dots? Yeah. That’s me. My head is full of nothing but snot and ellipses, so I’ma just leave the weekly snippet and take my dog and my box of tissues and stagger back to bed. Goodnight!

In retrospect, she should have known better. Nothing had ever gone right for Ana unless it was secretly going wrong. But she’d find that out soon enough.

For now, Ana drove up Canyon Road in blissful ignorance, smugly congratulating herself for buying a golden ticket to the Fazbear Workshop for the low, low price of six sticks of weed butter.

When she reached the gate, she called Faust. This was the one moment she couldn’t plan for. Enough time had passed that he might be second-guessing his decision to let Ana—an accomplice to a crime, but essentially still a stranger—wander unsupervised through his house. If he wanted to stay on the phone with her or even video-chat to make sure she was really just hitting the fridge and not, say, smoothing the path for a midnight basement robbery, her day was about to get a whole lot more complicated.

But he didn’t. In fact, he might have been talking to a doctor or something, because, although polite as ever, he seemed impatient to get off the line. When she reiterated that she would just be in and out and back before he knew it, he simply said, “Take your time, Miss Stark. I have nowhere else to be,” and hung up.

Too easy.

One of the keys on the Doctor-doll’s ring fit the front door. Ana withdrew it without turning it in the lock and tried the keys on her aunt’s set, the ones attached to the Monster-doll. As expected, one of them also fit the lock—Erik’s key to Freddy’s house. And if she took the Doctor’s keys with her up the mountain, she’d probably find one that unlocked Erik’s old house, the one he gave to Aunt Easter. She could figure out which one easily enough and remove it right now, but she didn’t. Not because Faust might notice she’d taken one of his keys, but just because…because she didn’t mind him having it. She wasn’t sure what that said about her, that she could feel fond enough of the old man to let him have a key to her house, but still be here right now, preparing the mansion so she could come back and rob him.