Second week with the cold…I appear to be over the worst of it, but I’m for sure still feeling it. Maybe I’ve just turned into the world’s biggest baby, but this feels like the worst cold I’ve ever had. Sure, I’ve been sicker, but as far as pure misery goes, this is about as close to the line as you can get without actually being for-real sick. Worst part is the stuffy nose, through which I can NOT at all breathe, coupled with the sore throat that has made the tonsils that never once gave me trouble throughout my childhood swell up so that I can barely breathe through my mouth. Most of the time, this is just inconvenient and uncomfortable, but whenever I eat or try to sleep, it feels like I’m being suffocated.
Anyway, enough bitching.
Okay, a little more bitching.
You’d think with me being sprawled across a bed for a solid week with nothing to do except explore the summit of Mt. Kleenex, I’d have gotten lots of writing done, right? Yeah, but no. Even on those days I was not fording a river of Nyquil, I was completely disconnected from all rational thought. Every morning, I would wake up, don my adult onesie to prepare myself for all the adulting I was about to do, and announce to the world that I was not going to spend a week being sick like a damn baby, I was going to get some WORK done! Invariably, this bold declaration was followed by six or eight hours of me staring slack-jawed at the same page, throwing used tissues at the wastepaper basket and trying to remember how to spell ‘a’.
Okay, but for real now, enough bitching. Even though I did not manage to write a SINGLE CHAPTER all last week, the new chapter of my FNAFiction has to go up regardless, so if you’re reading along, it’s time to head on over to fanfiction.net or archiveofourown.org and check it out.
Side note: This chapter contains one of the songs I myself put together, because even though I was writing fanfiction, I was still concerned about copyright issues. Now, I am not a songwriter, so my prep-work was pretty much limited to playing the clip where Foxy hums and trying to determine what words would fit in the dums and diddles. I also listened to and/or read dozens upon dozens of traditional seafaring songs from them bygone days of pirates and whalers and such, and let me tell you, those were some rapey little lullabies. Research takes you down some weird roads sometimes, but I have to admit, I’m perversely proud of the end result.
Under normal circumstances, taking measurements was the quickest part of any job, but the circumstances were far from normal. She had never been gladder for the purchase of her laser measurer. Shelly could call it a toy all he wanted, but she could not imagine doing this with tape and a pencil. The pizzeria’s layout was easily the most convoluted she’d ever seen, as if it had been deliberately designed to confuse the senses. Even Ana got turned around once and managed to set a quarter of the damned restaurant in the wrong direction on her roombuilder before she realized her mistake.
By the time she made it to Pirate Cove, Foxy was already done with his set and quiet. She considered greeting him, but decided her pride really couldn’t take a repeat of this morning. She wasn’t sneaking around out here. If he wanted to talk, he knew where to find her.
She started taking measurements and tapping them into the roombuilder. It took longer than the other rooms had. Pirate Cove was a big space, neither squared nor empty. The prop ship jutting out of the back wall and all the cargo piled around it interrupted the laser; those decorative glass floats on the wall reflected it. Finding a clear shot from wall to wall was difficult enough to do just once, but having to do it more than a dozen times at every irregular jut and angle turned a simple job into an endless exercise in frustration.
“Dum-dum-dum diddly dee-dum. Dum-dum-dum diddly-dee.”
Ana glanced at the curtain as Foxy’s low, sing-song chant trailed off to growls and then to silence. She scuffed her boot deliberately, letting herself be heard, but he didn’t call out. Shrugging to herself, she went back to work, blindly lining up a shot, thumbing the button, realizing she’d hit a float only after the digital reader tried to tell her the opposite wall was nine hundred ninety-nine feet away, moving a half-step to the left and trying again. Maybe she ought to take the damn floats down…but that would mean getting the ladder and climbing up and down it a million times before she could even start the job she was trying to do. Not to mention the fact that Bonnie would also be done with his set before too long and right back under her feet.
“Da-da-da dee dum,” muttered Foxy, somewhere behind the curtain. “Da dum…da da-dee…And the ship were bound up in the bay.”
Ana’s focus broke. She looked around, the laser pointer aimed and ready-light blinking, listening. She knew all of Foxy’s songs—at least all his old songs—and that was not a line she recognized.
“And I had but one night for to frolic and fight…for at dawn, we must all be away.” Metal scraped on wood, gouged at it. His hook. “It’s hoist the black flag and away.”
No, she definitely didn’t know that one. And she wasn’t sure she liked it, although she couldn’t have said why not. It had an unremarkable melody, simple enough for kids to follow, nothing hard or jarring on the ear. Maybe it was just the way he was singing it, low and rough, so that despite the easy lilting rhythm of the tune and the unexceptional lyrics, it felt like something ominous building. Which was silly and she knew it. This was a kid’s place. Foxy’s songs had a tendency to dip into dark places—pirates were supposed to be scary—but fifteen men on a dead man’s chest and sailing with a skeleton crew were about as grim as it got here.
“Me boots were on land and with bottle in hand, I were in a bonny fine mood. When I spied a maid walking down by the docks, in a place no woman should…A place no good woman should.” Another slow scrape punctuated this line, which was itself indefinably weighted with meaning.
Aimed at her, she supposed, trespassing here in his Cove. Little did he know she was no good woman. She smiled and tried in vain to get a measurement. Damned glass floats.
“Her skin were like milk and her hair were like silk. She were rounded at rudder and bow,” growled Foxy. “So I says to her, ‘Miss, I’ll be taking a kiss and whatsoever else I might allow. Will ye or no, I’ll be taking it now.’”
‘And this is where she pulls her sword,’ thought Ana comfortably, wiggling her laser-pointer an inch this way and an inch that way, hunting for that magic angle that would find the other wall. ‘And you’ll fight it out and steal that kiss when you beat her before you go sailing off.’
“And I’ll give ye a shilling if ye be willing and so off to bed we’ll go—”
Off to bed? Seriously?
“—Mind ye, two years at sea without a lass on me knee has left me disinclined to hear no,” Foxy sang. “But however ye’ll have it, just so.”
Ana frowned around at once, the laser-pointer and tablet in her hands now almost forgotten.
“Oh, she ran like a hare, but I chased her down there and I were the quicker, ‘tis true. When she found herself collared, she fell ‘pon her honor. Aye, and I fell on it, too.” Foxy chuckled, the sound as devoid of humor as the lyrics were devoid of mercy. “On it and in it and through.”