Here it is, Serial Story Saturday, and I’m writing to let you all know my FNAFanfiction, Everything Is All Right, Part One: Girl on the Edge of Nowhere has put up another chapter on Fanfiction.net and Archive of our Own. I don’t know how many of my usual readers are following along, but I’m getting a lot of positive feedback, so someone’s reading it, which is nice, because I sure had fun writing it, but I was also extremely nervous about posting it. Fanfic is seen by many as a step back on the ladder of authorial achievements. I’m glad so many people seem to be enjoying it.
Ana woke, not because it was morning and the sun was stabbing directly into her head through her ear-holes, and not because she was on the kitchen table using a loaf of bread for a pillow and Rider’s leather jacket for a blanket, but because she smelled coffee.
Raising her head did two things: Firstly, it showed her Rider, wearing nothing but his boxers, leaning up against the counter and rubbing his face as he waited for the coffee to make enough of itself to pour into the cup he held. The second thing raising her head did was to pull the muscles across her upper back, releasing pain like a banner unfurling from a tower window.
Her throat locked up against the scream that wanted out; her mother had been dead fifteen years now, but that old habit would not wear down. Gritting her teeth, Ana sucked in a breath and tried to look behind her, shifting the weight of Rider’s jacket so that its collar pressed on her skin just below the nape of her neck and it was like the damn thing was made of knives.
“What the fuck?” Ana managed at last, but she knew. Oh, she knew.
Rider looked around at her, grunted, and took down another coffee cup. “Morning.”
“What did I do?” Ana moaned, rolling her legs off the edge of the table and dropping onto her feet. She came out of Rider’s jacket like a pistachio pulled from its shell, dry and dusty and a little green. She had no shirt on, just her bra. Her back from just under her neck to just over her shoulderblades was both burning and throbbing in a special way. New pain, but oh so familiar. “Why did you let me do it?”
“Let you, huh?” Rider tried to snort, coughed instead, and scratched his ass. “I ain’t the boss of you, apparently. I ain’t your daddy. I ain’t…whoever the fuck you said I wasn’t last night. Don’t remember. Point is, I ain’t him so I ain’t stopping you. You can do what you want and you wanted a tattoo.”
“What is it this time?” Ana asked, limping over to the shiny glass face of his double-oven and trying without success to get a good look. The glass was clean, but her reflection was distorted anyway, like trying to see herself in an oil-slick. She could only make out the pale blur of her back, monstrous and hunched, with a ribbon of bright pink arching from shoulder to shoulder, interrupted by spidery black lines. Just knowing what it was made the pain more tolerable, but amped up the irritation until it was as good as a headache. “God help you if you let me put angel wings on, you son of a…What is that?”
“You really don’t remember.” Shaking his head, Rider poured himself some coffee, then her, sliding the cup toward her like beer on a bar. “You ain’t gonna want to hear this, but I told you so.”
“I don’t want to hear that,” she snapped. “Is that words? Those are words! What does it say?”
“Possibilities abound, don’t they? ‘More parking in the rear.’ ‘Pull my hair, bitch.’ ‘Don’t forget to sign the book.’” Rider sipped some coffee, watching her squint and contort in a futile effort to make sense of the calligraphy presenting itself backwards and dim in the surface of the oven’s door. “It says, ‘Everything is all right.’”
She stared at him. Her first thought, when she was capable of forming real thoughts again, was that she almost would have preferred, ‘Pull my hair.’