Soooooo I’m sick.
It started with a sore throat last week, which got progressively worse until I lost my voice entirely and my tonsils–which never gave me a lick of trouble until I moved out of my native state of Washington–ballooned up to the point that they were rubbing together and making it incredibly difficult not only to suppress my gag reflex, but just to breathe. Add to this a constant sense of low-key nausea (admittedly, not as bad as enthusiastically hurling in all directions) and dizziness, the latter almost certainly related to the former, and an intermittent fever, and you’ll have some idea of what the last five or six days has been like.
Today, I felt halfway human, so I dragged out my computer and attempted to get some work done. I won’t say it was the greatest writing I’ve ever written, but I will say that if I don’t get back on this horse and ride like the Devil of Deadlines was after me, I will run out of Part Three before Part Four is finished. I came damn close with the last part and I do not need that kind of stress in my life again. To all of you who work with deadlines as a matter of course, damn, I salute you. How the hell do you do it?
Anyway, I did some writing and, just as importantly, I uploaded the next chapter of my FNAF fanfiction, Everything Is All Right, Part Three: Children of Mammon over on fanfiction.net and again at archiveofourown.org, so for those of you who are reading along, check it out. For the rest of you still reading my blog in spite of the fact that the only thing I’ve blogged about apart from this silly fanfic series and me being constantly sick for, like, a year now, please enjoy this excerpt!
The first thing Ana did when she got home was take her keys from the truck’s ignition and clip them to the belt loop at the small of her back. Once she was as high as she intended to get, that would be as good as strapping them into a rocket and launching them into space, while ensuring they’d be easily found after she sobered up. That done, before she even got out of the truck, she opened her day pack, took one Vicodan, one Xanax and the last of her Lexotan and washed them down with two swallows of Fireball. It had been a long time since she’d last drank anything stronger than beer. The flavors of cinnamon and whiskey were stronger than she remembered, burning all the way down to her empty belly. It was going to hit her head even harder, she knew, and pretty damn quick at that.
She left the pills in the truck with her day pack, but took the bottle with her for courage as she approached the massive wooden doors. Unlocked, as they always were. They had been castle doors in her childhood, welcoming when they were open, protective when they were closed. Now she saw dungeon doors and she was afraid she always would.
She went inside.
It was Aunt Easter’s house, stripped of all its photos and furnishings, broken by neglect and hoarding. It was Erik Metzger’s house, emptied of terror and death, filled in again with a little girl’s only good memories. It was Ana’s house, unfamiliar and unloved.
She couldn’t remember the last time she’d been here, but she knew it had been to grab a quick shower before work, so it was that long ago at least. And there was a smell wafting down the hall that told her she should have taken the garbage out before she left.
Before the pills and booze took effect, Ana took care of that, as well as the dishes she’d apparently left in the sink. Her head was starting to swim a bit by the time she finished cleaning out the fridge, but she helped it along with another swallow of Fireball before she headed upstairs.
Plushtrap’s chair at the end of the hall to her left was still empty, although the door to the attic stairwell was open; he was probably up there, lying in wait for her. She’d deal with him later. For now, she had bigger problems than a stupid stuffed rabbit. She took a drink and started walking in the other direction, past David’s room and Aunt Easter’s room, to the door at the end of the hall. To the room with hunter green walls.
It was a man’s room, or had been once. The wainscoting was dark and the fixtures had a masculine flair to their flourishes. Not a bedroom—no closet—but a home office or a smoking room or whatever they called man caves before the phrase ‘man cave’ had been invented. A trophy room, Ana had thought. The paper, deceptively plain from a distance, had a pattern of battling stags with their antlers interlocked when you got right up close. When she’d first discovered it, she had assumed those blocky pale patterns all along the walls marked the places where big game heads had once been mounted and she’d kept half an eye open for them as she’d cleared the hoard, but never found them.
She’d never found doll heads either, she reminded herself, and she was dead sure she would have noticed them, if the Puppet’s design was any indication of how the rest of them looked.
How long Ana stood in the doorway staring at the empty walls, she didn’t know, although she felt Time’s passage keenly. Without the distinction of seconds or minutes, perhaps, but keenly. A weight, a knife. Some external force pressing on her, wanting her to feel it before it struck the killing blow.
She had the feeling the drugs might be kicking in already.