Serial Saturday Update

It has been a big week here at the Smomestead! Or at least what passes for a big week when you’re like me and avoid all social obligations. Did some spring cleaning, survived some severe Midwest thunderstorms, did a little painting and a lot of writing, and laid in supplies for our epic-quest World of Warcraft feast tomorrow! Oh, it’s going to be glorious. Herb-baked eggs and conjured mana buns for breakfast, dig rat stew and Mulgore spiced bread for lunch, a viewing of the Warcraft movie accompanied by buzzard bites and crunchy spider surprise, and a late dinner with firecraker salmon, topped off by Delicious Chocolate Cake!

Achievement Unlocked! World’s Biggest Nerd

We’ve done this in the past for Harry Potter feasts, Lord of the Rings feasts, even Peter Wimsey and Cadfael feasts (because our Nerdism knows no genre limitations), but as we were doing our last-minute shopping today, my sister came up with a pretty spanking awesome idea: Next time, we should theme the feasts around one of our books.

Can’t you just see that? Garden rolls, sticky pies, slow-cooked meat and spicy Farasai sauce served on trenchers…foraged greens, wildlands stew, roasted marrow and Dumaqi tea…towers of honeyed peaches, blood pudding, roasted vegetables brushed with herbed butter, lemon cake…

Of course, at the moment, my WIP feast would be mainly pizza and cupcakes made in an Easy Bake oven, because I’m still hard at work on my FNAF fanfiction, Everything Is All Right, Part IV: New Faces, Old Bones. In fact, the new chapter just went up, so if you’re reading along, why don’t you head on over to archiveofourown.org or fanfiction.net and check it out?

Achievement Unlocked! Flawless Segue

 

Ana had no dreams as she floated, drowned and lost forever at the bottom of the lake, fifteen years ago. As Mia Rose had promised, there was no heaven, no God and no forgiveness at the end. All was black and comfortably empty.

She rested, in peace.

Then the hand came down—rotten gold satin stretched over metal and bone. It caught her, pulled her up through the black water, up through the plastic doll bodies floating with her, up and out of the cardboard box marked Lost and Found. Springtrap Bonnie had her now.

His body twitched and shivered, the distorted image on a damaged tape, and yet his hand was real enough as he pulled her into his world—a world where Freddy’s had never been open, where it had always been burnt out, broken and haunted.

He threw her down on a desk and pinned her there, leaning over her. Blood and oil trickled through his grinning metal teeth, shiny and black in the flickering grey light of the security monitors.

“Welcome home,” he said. He had no voice, only static crackling through his speaker in the shape of words. “Oh, I missed you, baby girl.”

She did not struggle, did not scream. She’d missed him too, after all. She’d loved him then and love doesn’t die. It festers and rots, it goes mad and bites, it can even kill, but it never just dies. Ana knew this. She knew monsters. She had lived among them and knew their ways. But she did not fight this one. When he kissed her, she kissed him back.

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Serial Saturday Update

Welp, it’s going to be a quick-n-dirty post tonight, because I have a splitting headache and the screen of my laptop is not doing me any favors. So instead of trying to come up with a topic of discussion or some jokes, I will just say the next chapter of New Faces, Old Bones is up at archiveofourown.org and fanfiction.net, so if you’re reading along, you might want to click those links and get your fix. If I still haven’t convinced you to start reading this epic-length Five Night’s at Freddy’s fanfiction, another snippet more or less probably won’t make a difference, but here’s one anyway! See you all next week, hopefully without the headache and little more witty and interesting content!

At last, although there was no hint of it in the things Foxy heard, the wicked deed must have been done, because the effects were unmistakable. Whatever the Purple Man’s father used to spike his ‘special’ presents with back in the day could put a child under in ten seconds; Ana was older, bigger, and maybe the stuff was just old, but even so, she held out less than a minute. She began to ramble, then to yawn, then followed that unique little whuffing grunt as Ana fell face-first into a furry chest.

Foxy waited a few seconds more, just to be sure, then said, “Ready for me, Fred?”

His answer was a grunt. Freddy’s grunts could be expressive, but this one told him nothing.

Shrugging himself off the wall, Foxy headed on into the kitchen.

Freddy was there by the prep counter where Ana still sat, her arms dangling and cheek pressed to Freddy’s shoulder. His arm was crooked around her, holding her as much as steadying her, while his other hand rested on the back of her head. His ears quivered now and then with his tremors as he endured this touch, although he could have easily put her off. He chose to hold her and to suffer.

Fred’s discomfiture aside, she was even sort of cute, snugged up there. A child in Freddy’s arms had a way of looking like a doll, but Ana merely looked like a child—the child she must have been, all hair and elbows, sleeping off a sugar crash. With a little imagination, the bruises on her face could have been smudges of frosting.

It should have been peaceful, but even in sleep, her brows were pinched with troubles, and Freddy’s shivering joints and stony expression belied any illusion of tranquility suggested by their embrace.

“Ye all right, mate?” Foxy asked, trotting over.

No answer. Although he must have heard Foxy’s metal feet crossing on the kitchen tiles, Freddy did not look around. He continued to hold Ana, making Foxy wait another full five minutes before, with a sigh, he said, “Come and take her.”

Foxy did, hupping Ana up and over his shoulder so she dangled down his back. She did not struggle, did not moan. She hung like one dead. “Just like old times, eh?” he said, turning around.

“That isn’t funny.”

Serial Saturday Update

Well, here it is, July already! This means two things. First, we have experienced Dobby’s first Independence Day,  a holiday which has traumatized many a beloved household pet. Dobby was surprisingly chill…but then, I’ve been watching FNAF: UCN almost nonstop since its release and getting jumpscared by screeching animatronics every few minutes appears to have desensitized her to sudden loud noises. Here at the Smomestead, I completely forgot the Fourth of July was a thing until it was upon me (I don’t leave the house much. Or look at clocks. I do own a calendar, but as it is Markiplier’s Tasteful Nudes calendar, I obviously don’t look at the dates), so we did not have fireworks. That’s okay, all our neighbors did. Dobby and I sat out on the front porch on a warm summer night and no matter where we looked, fireworks were happening, the big blossoming kind that jump up in the air and explode in a shower of colorful spark. Even better, as the fireworks went off in the sky, the oceans of fireflies occupying our lawn would start flashing their fannies like crazy in an effort to get some of that sweet, sweet magnesium lovin’.

The second thing that July brings is the urge to barbeque, which for those of you who may be unfamiliar with the word, is an urge to invite over all your friends and family so you can stand around a mound of charcoal for several hours and watch it slowly turn to ash without ever getting hot enough to melt butter, much less cook a burger, and everyone’s pretending they’re happy with Aunt Enid’s deviled egg platter (AKA Paprika Surprise; the surprise is extra paprika) and celery sticks, and the kids are bored and it’s hot enough to cook a burger on your face BUT NOT THE FRIGGIN GRILL and it doesn’t matter how many bottles of lighter fluid you squirt on it, it won’t stay lit, and suddenly there’s a pizza guy in the driveway and everyone’s pretending to be pissed at the kid who ordered a pizza, but I don’t even care anymore as long I can feed these people and get them the hell out of my house and so we’re all eating pizza and it’s starting to get fun again and someone brings out Cards Against Humanity and we’re having a great time until someone notices the deck is on fire, because apparently Uncle Tiberius left his lemonade glass out on the deck and the sun shining through it focused just enough energy in just the right spot to ignite the boards and they are charred everywhere except in a perfect circle around the Hibachi.

Barbeque! Hey, you know what else starts with B? Burn ward! Binge drinking! And Burger King.

Anyway, in addition to the usual July hijinks, I’m still writing, so I’m pleased to announce that I have posted the next chapter of my Five Nights at Freddy’s fanfiction, Everything Is All Right, Part IV: New Faces, Old Bones, so if you’re reading it, head on over to fanfiction.net or archiveofourown.org and check it out! If you still haven’t decided to start this series, or if you’re hanging out in the ER with only a few minutes to kill between talking to the doctors and the cops and you don’t have time to read a whole chapter right now, please enjoy this snippet! Have a great summer and stay safe out there!

 

 

Freddy gave her space, but did not retreat as far as the doorway. Although she tried not to eye the space between them too obviously, he noticed and took another small step back. Out of grabbing range, maybe, but not out of lunging range. She’d seen him move damned fast when he wanted to.

“I don’t suppose you have a light,” Ana said, checking her pockets and finding only keys. Two sets of keys.

Whatever dark thoughts had begun to rise up at the touch of that Frankenstein string-doll were burned entirely away in the next instant when Freddy stepped up, pointed at her joint, and a two-inch flame leapt out of the tip of his finger.

Ana did not flinch, but she did gape, too astonished to even think of actually lighting up.

“There’s a striker hidden in the tip.” The flame winked out so he could show her, then snapped back into existence so he could offer it again.

“Why?”

“He built us to impress. He was…Our creator, I mean…He had a keen mind for the unexpected wonder.” The flame went out again. This time, Freddy let his arm lower. “When the first restaurant opened, Bonnie played an acoustic guitar—you may have noticed it in the photographs from the lobby—but after a few years, our creator thought up a way to install an amplifier in Bonnie’s arm so that he could play an electric one. Much better sound, a much more impressive performance. One of the animatronics at Mulholland had a small helium tank installed with a line that ran to a valve in his finger so he could inflate balloons for the children. And I saw schematics for another animatronic that could dispense soft-serve ice cream.”

“From where? Never mind,” said Ana quickly, shaking her head. “I don’t want to know. Every possible orifice is just gross. But…Why a lighter?” she asked as he offered it for the third time. “What are you setting on fire? Whenever I’ve seen Chica bring a birthday cake out, the candles are already lit.”

“Flash paper at parties. Always a crowd pleaser.” He rolled his other shoulder while keeping his extended arm steady so she could finally lean in and light up. “And believe it or not, it used to be considered gallant to light a lady’s cigarette.”

“At Freddy’s?”

“There was a smoking section at Circle Drive,” he agreed, nodding. “And Mulholland, I suppose, although I never saw it. The only reason there wasn’t one at High Street is because the very idea of a non-smoking section was so inconceivable. Everyone smoked when I was young. When I saw the sign here declaring the entire premises to be smoke-free, even the parking lot, I was astonished.”

“That is ironic,” she agreed. “Especially when you consider how many kids came out here to sneak a smoke before the place was even built.”

“Mind you, it’s an unhealthy habit and I don’t approve, but it was one of those things I never thought would change, until it did.” His eyes moved up and over the walls, through them, reading the restaurant’s history, maybe the whole town’s. He grunted, seemed to remember he could talk, and said, stiltedly, “Change is different here.”

“In Mammon? Yeah, that’s what everyone says. Nothing ever changes.”

“It does, though. Invisibly.” He gestured vaguely, his eyes still in constant motion. “We tell the same jokes, sing the same songs, see the same faces in the crowd. Our years are made up of the same Mondays, the same Christmases, the same opening and closing acts…the same silence when the doors lock and the windows are boarded up. Without children to grow in front of us, there are no years here, just hours in the same week, over and over. And then there’s another grand opening and suddenly everything is different. Hemlines, haircuts, language, attitudes…I still remember the outrage over the violence in Elevator Action and now there’s, what? She-Zombie Slaughterhouse III? Everything changes,” he said again, shaking his head. “But it never happens in front of us.”

All the while he’d been talking, Ana had listened, fascinated by the juxtaposition of Freddy’s familiar voice and Fred Faust’s personable, if slightly odd, way of speaking. They weren’t quite identical, but closer than coincidence. This was Fred Faust’s own voice, not as it was now, eroded by age, but as it had been then, when the boy barely out of his teens had recorded it for his favorite animatronic to use.

Serial Saturday Update

So since I received a modicum of interest in my art (I use the word in the loosest possible terms), and since I have less than a modicum of interest in coming up with anything else to say before I jump right into pitching my book, allow me to present to you a small selection of the mermaids I have painted over the last few weeks!

This started out as me following a painting tutorial by The Art Sherpa  and then took a weird turn when it got to the mermaid. I’ve been following her Big Art Quest for 2018 too, and if you’ve ever wanted to go to one of those paint-and-sip parties or just hang out with a good friend and slap paint around on a canvas, this is the channel for you. Her tutorials are fun, educational and full of heart.

 

My first koi mermaid. I could not get the hang of those frilly little fins, but I sure loved the colors.

 

Jellyfish mermaid! I managed to cut the tail off in the photo, bah. Just imagine a wicked good frilly tail with bio luminescent dots. The final version on canvas will glow in the dark.

Heh.

 

If ya’ll want to see more paintings from time to time, let me know. If not, let me know that too. Any ideas for what to blog about are greatly appreciated.

But now, plugging time!…ew. I could have found another way to phrase that…What I meant to say was, the latest chapter of my FNAFic has gone up! Fans of the game can read it while watching Dawko have an aneurysm trying to beat the Ultimate Custom Night on 50/20 mode. Everyone else can just noodle on over to fanfiction.net or archiveofourown.org and check it out sans background jumpscares and the screaming of an increasingly frustrated YouTube gamer trying desperately not to swear on his family-friendly channel. Fun for days, friends.

Freddy’s commands didn’t come with a preset time limit and sometimes only lasted a few seconds even when Bonnie wasn’t hammering away at it from within. This one held, either despite his internal resistance or maybe because of it. Whatever the reason, Bonnie was forced to follow Freddy all the way to the back end of the building. A couple cameras lit up on the way, following their progress, but there was no camera in the security room and that was where Freddy took them. When Foxy and Chica finally joined them, Freddy brought the doors down.

The small room’s windows began to light up, one by one, as the cameras on the other side turned their lenses (and their microphones) toward the security room. First, the one-way glass next to the door leading to the employee’s break room; then the one next to the other door, the one to the back hall; then the one outside the front window, where guests could pass things through to the guard without going into a restricted area.

Scowling, Freddy opened the top drawer on the desk, shoved the junk inside to the back, opened the bottom compartment, and disconnected the in-house security monitor—nearly the same size as Ana’s tablet, although thicker, with less rounded corners—from its charging station. It came on automatically, its dirty screen slowly brightening to display an image of the Fazbear Band with a few simple icons arranged in a neat row along the left side. Using the attached nib and making no effort to disguise what he was doing from the watchful eye of the camera on the other side of the glass, Freddy tapped into the security system and pushed the grey square at the bottom of the screen.

Dust blew outward on the other side of the glass as the armored shutter dropped, then Freddy turned and stared tensely at the last window, the one between this room and the manager’s office. Bonnie, still mostly frozen by compliance to Freddy’s authority, managed to look that way too, and as mad as he was about, well, other things, all of that went away as he waited for the lights in there to come on and for him to be standing on the other side of the glass, grinning through his rusty teeth.

He couldn’t get out. There was no way. Even with the power on, the workshop door was locked and there were only two keys. Ana had one, their creator had the other, and that was that. Hell, even if he’d gotten around that…punched the doors open or gone through the wall or something, he’d need the key to work the elevator, too. He could barely walk in that old rotted suit and the fine motor function in his hands were fucked. During the Grand Opening, he hadn’t even been able to use a doorknob. He’d tried for three painfully long minutes, clumsily groping and prodding and dragging his knuckles back and forth across the face of the door before simply standing back and letting the Puppet do it for him, and that was years ago. If Bonnie’s own deterioration was anything to go by, he’d only gotten worse. So yeah, he might be able to brute force his way into the elevator shaft (if he could break out of the workshop, no other room in the building could hold him), but there was no fucking way he could climb it, not in that body.

But no matter what he told himself or how convincing his arguments were, Bonnie watched the window of the manager’s office and if he could have, he’d have held his breath.

The window stayed dark.

While they were all looking at it, in the lost-and-found box on the bottom shelf of the cupboard, unseen by any of them, Babycakes powered on. It did not yawn itself awake. It did not giggle or sing. It opened its eyes, but saw nothing. Its eyes were not the important thing right now. The thing in the basement could barely see anyway. The important thing was the microphone hidden in the cupcake’s plastic candle. The thing in the basement dialed up the volume on the master security control panel and listened.

Serial Saturday Update

How are you all doing today? Having a good weekend? Me, I have spent a hectic Friday painting, writing and dusting off my dinosaur head so that I can go to Jurassic World tomorrow in style. Honorable Younger Sister also has a dinosaur head, because, as the first film in the franchise established, we do move in herds. I offered to get more dinosaur heads for my father, my older sister and her fella, but they all said no. They also said they would be sitting in another row, possibly another theater entirely. Not sure what that’s about.

Dino head hanging on the hat rack by the front door? Check.

Painting painted?

Check.

New chapter of my Five Nights at Freddy’s fanfiction, Everything is All Right, Part IV: New Faces, Old Bones posted at Fanfiction.net and Archiveofourown.org? That’s a big ol’ CHECK, son! And is it a long chapter? TWICE the average length, even for me! Got some jokes, got some feels, got some adult language? Check, check and &%$# check! Do I have a snippet to share with those who may still be on the fence about whether or not they want to get emotionally invested in a five-book series about missing people, serial killers, a haunted pizzeria, the woman who wants to solve the mystery connecting these things, and the rabbit-shaped robot who loves her? Say it with me now: CHECK.

 

“So what does autonomous mean?” she asked finally. “If it doesn’t let you do whatever you want, what does it do?”

“Mostly, it just disables all the subroutines that have to do with how we’re supposed to act during operating hours.”

“So you can say whatever you want?”

He shuddered, hard, then scowled and said, “Not exactly, but at least I don’t have to say the stuff I don’t want. I don’t have to put on a fucking show every hour and I can’t be triggered by performance cues. Some of my speech restrictions are immutable. It’s just the ones that directly stem from the restaurant, guests or staff that are disabled. The ones about—”

And without warning, Bonnie’s mouth snapped shut, his eyes opened up black, and he flung himself backwards at a spine-cracking angle, convulsing wildly.

Freddy made a grab, not at Bonnie, but at Chica, yanking her out of the way a split second before Bonnie’s arm drove through the place she had just been and punched Swampy instead, shattering the statue’s snout and scattering shrapnel as far as the tray return window.

Ana jumped to her feet, but Foxy snatched her up before she even knew where to run. “Hush, luv,” he murmured, his speaker right against her ear. “He’ll b-b-be all right in half a shake, no fear, but d-d-don’t ye move and don’t-t-t ye make a sound until he’s full awake.”

“Is he okay?” she asked, trying to whisper, but her voice came through like cracks in ice. “Is he crashing? What’s wrong?”

Bonnie shrieked, wrenching his entire body around in the direction of the stage and then dropping face-down on the tiles. His stiff limbs rattled without bending. His ears tapped and skittered on the tiles. His speaker emitted a constant stream of static and feedback at the highest volume, underscored by the sounds of laboring mechanisms and the grinding of metal teeth.

“KEEP. HER. QUIET,” Freddy snapped, moving Chica to one side and putting the bulk of his own body between Bonnie’s black-eyed stare and the rest of the room. “BONNIE. LISTEN. TO. ME. AND. BE. CALM.”

“Bon’s all right, luv,” Foxy said. “If he has t-t-to, Fred’ll pop ‘im in the freezer to c-c-cool off, but he don’t look that deep to me. Just hush and he’ll c-c-come out on his own.”

Sure enough, as suddenly as the seizure had come over him, it stopped. After those harsh electronic screams, the quiet came almost as a blow. Bonnie seemed to sag into the floor as his joints unlocked and for a few seconds, that was all he did. Then one hand slowly splayed open and the other slowly clenched. “What is this?” he asked, then raised his head and blinked in confusion at the tiles in front of his face. “Am I on the floor?”

“See?” said Foxy, setting Ana on her feet and releasing her. “Safe as houses. And there she g-g-goes.”

Ana had indeed gone, sprinting across the dining room and dropping so that she slid the last few inches on her knees. “Are you okay?” she asked, catching at Bonnie’s shoulders and feeling them too loose in their settings. She helped him sit up, fixed his ears—one of the upper casings had come loose—picked up the pinkie that was forever falling off and looked up to find his face just inches from hers.

The urge washed over her to close that little distance, to just let go of everything and hold him. She felt somewhat light-headed when it finally faded, as though it had taken part of her with it when it left.

After a moment, he offered his damaged hand.

She found the pin and put him back together. “I have really got to fix this.”

“You keep saying that.”

Serial Saturday

It’s Father’s Day on Sunday, so I hope you have all called, visited or borrowed a father so that you are equipped to celebrate in accordance with the laws passed by the greeting card oligarchy.

Just for acknowledging their existence, I am now on a watchlist.

 

Here at the Smomestead, we have to tread carefully with celebrations that involve my father, however. Like the mighty rhinoceros, he is often solitary, highly territorial, and does not enjoy surprises. Buying presents for this man is nigh-on impossible. If asked, he will tell you that he has acquired everything he needs and doesn’t want more clutter. If he should happen to develop a craving for something materiel, he buys it himself without telling anyone. When we used to write up our wish lists for Secret Santa exchanges, my father’s list always read, in its entirety, ‘Socks,’ every year for three decades. So we’ve sort of fallen out of the habit of giving him gifts and instead do things with him. This year, we will be paying homage to our paternal progenitor in the form of a family BBQ, and as part of our ritual preparations, we asked him if there was anything he wanted included in the dinner.

This man, who, in all the years of my life, has scorned the very concept of a Father’s Day and bristled his beard at the notion of gifts, turned two wounded eyes upon me and said, “Just a dinner? Don’t I even get a present?”

“Yes, of course, Dad,” we said. “What would you like?”

“A can opener,” he replied.

I know for a fact there are three can openers floating around his kitchen, but it’s his special day, so even though we are 90% sure we’re being trolled, we bought the man a can opener and slapped a bow on it. We also bought him a miniature succulent garden (he used to have an epic succulent and cactus garden, until the neighbor’s cat tore it up, and he has often bemoaned its loss…I’m not sure he’s forgiven the cat either), a small carrot cake (carrot because that is his favorite kind of cake and small so he doesn’t have to share it), and a bottle of Fireball (he doesn’t drink; the whiskey is so us kids can drink the pain away after facepalming our features onto the other side of our skull when he complains about receiving presents on Father’s Day).

In completely unrelated news, the next chapter of my Five Nights at Freddy’s fanfic, Everything Is All Right, Part Four: New Faces, Old Bones, is up, so if you’re reading along, head on over to archiveofourown.org or fanfiction.net and check it out (Good grief, that’s a lot of commas). If you’re not reading along yet, perhaps I can entice you with a snippet! Probably not, given that you’ve seen about a hundred snippets by now, but hope springs eternal!

Late in the afternoon on a Thursday, the second Thursday after Ana ran, a rabbit came up off the access road and began to make its way across the parking lot. This was the first sign of life Bonnie had seen all day, so he watched it, although he kept his ears aimed at the road. It was a small rabbit, long-bodied but scrawny, not yet grown into its paws and not likely to, to be brutally honest. Its greyish-brown fur had a patchy look, which might just mean the little guy hadn’t felt like grooming itself or it might mean parasites. Closer examination showed him a scarred nose stained red by rubbing it in the desert soil, gummy eyes and a chewed ear. As it hopped across the parking lot, Bonnie could see it wasn’t moving very well, not limping but stiff-legged. It stopped often to investigate the brown, brittle plants growing through cracks in the asphalt until it came to a pothole deep enough to hold onto the summer rain for a while, creating a fairly lush oasis of hardy weeds. There, the rabbit nosed around and soon settled to graze.

Poor little guy. Bonnie couldn’t help but feel a brotherly sort of sympathy. It was a hard world out there. In the end, it didn’t matter how strong or smart or talented you were, nothing but dumb luck decided whether you made it or not, and despite the reputation attributed to their feet, Bonnie had never met a lucky bunny.

The rabbit chewed a few leaves, pausing often to push its nose against the ground or scratch its ears or just sit there and pant. As he watched, Bonnie found that he was very vaguely curious as to what sort of rabbit it was. All he knew was that it wasn’t one of the breeds represented by the intended animatronic inhabitants of the Bunny Patch, which were mostly European anyway. It had probably never occurred to their creator to name one of them after the local breeds. Harlequins and silver martens were exotic; wild rabbits were just garden-eating vermin.

“And it doesn’t matter,” he could remember their creator saying, talking to himself as he so often did. That had been here, down in the basement, the four of them waiting for their new skins to come out of their molds, watching him at his computer, nib in hand, sketching on his crestomathy—his tablet—and watching Freddyland form on the wall-sized monitor. “Anything will do, as long as there are enough of them. What else? What else? Through the Bunny Patch to…a farm. A barn. A cow…Miss Bovine. A sheep…no, a lamb…Mary…no, no, the other way, Merry, Merrily. A pig…Porky…no, that’s been done…Peggy? Peggy…Pigtails. So many girls, I need boys. A rooster. Feathers? What are chicken names? Rhodes? Rocky? Bantam…Banter? Brewster. Brewster Bantam…no, Brewster Rooster. Alliteration is good, rhymes are better. How many is that? Enough. Enough, enough. Move on. After the barnyard comes…town. A wild west town. Cowboys. A ranch…no, a gulch. Gallup Gulch…”

And so on, never giving more than a few seconds’ thought to each name, no more than a minute to any one design. And it was still more thought than he’d ever put into Bonnie’s own look. Freddy had been built first, the new and improved model of a teddy bear their creator had been building and rebuilding since he was four years old, and Chica had been designed as half-mother and half-sister to a boy who hadn’t had either, but Bonnie wasn’t anything special. “Purebred lapine lavender badass, baby,” he’d told Ana (and she’d laughed, not like it was funny and not to be polite, but just like she was happy), but the truth was, he’d been made a bunny because rabbits were everywhere out in the desert and their creator saw them every day. And he was purple, because it was his favorite color and their creator had wanted to surprise him. That was all Bonnie was, a gift for the Purple Man, who had taken one look at him and first groaned, then laughed.

“You don’t know me very well at all, do you?” he’d asked, then slung his arm around their creator’s slumped shoulders. “Aww, don’t take it like that. It’s neat, it’s just not my thing. Come on, we’ll make one together, just the two of us. That’ll be more fun anyway, won’t it? And won’t Father be surprised when he sees we can do it without him…”

And along came Foxy, his favorite. Everyone’s favorite.

Back in the here and now, Bonnie glanced behind him and down the short corridor to Pirate Cove, where he could hear Foxy leading the room in The Drunken Sailor Song. He imagined he could feel a little warmth in his chest, as if his resentment were a coal that needed to be turned and tended to keep from going out. And it was so stupid, because it wasn’t Foxy’s fault. The affection of the fucking Purple Man was nothing to vie for or feel bad about losing, but still…sometimes Bonnie felt like he’d spent his entire life being rejected.

Serial Saturday

Man, I had all kinds of plans for this week. I was going to do some writing, do some painting, do some cleaning and maybe so some Netflix binging. Guess which one I chose to focus my energy on to the exclusion of all others?

However, tomorrow is another day! And it’s going to be a biggun, if I’m really going to write four chapters, paint seven paintings, clean out the shed and steam clean all the carpets upstairs. They’re gonna have to invent a few new hours if I’m going to squeeze all that into one day.

So thank you, thank you, thank you to all of you who welcomed me back into the wonderful world of fanfic! I’m sorry again for leaving it this long. It’s been great to see so many familiar names in my various inboxes, and so many new ones! I’ve said this before many times and I’m sure I’ll say it again many more times, but writing this series has been a lot of fun for me–a reminder of all the reasons I wanted to be a writer in the first place. I’m so grateful to Scott Cawthon for providing me the raw stuff of his imagination to play around with, and to have a place where I can offer it all up for my fans to read for free. If I can convert a few into the FNAF cul–er, fandom, so much the better. There’s plenty of room, and we have pizza.

And cupcakes.

 

So if you’re reading my Five Nights at Freddy’s fanfiction, Everything Is All Right, Part IV: New Faces, Old Bones, it’s time to head on over to fanfiction.net or archiveofourown.org and check out the new chapter. And if you’re not sold on the romantic potential of a book where the love interest is a seven foot tall purple robot shaped like a rabbit, all I can say is, Hey, I sold you on the bug, right? And if you’re just waiting for me to finish the whole series so you can binge it all at once, respect; please enjoy this teaser while you wait!

The events of her dream were already receding and the parts she could remember left her with a fading certainty that it had ever been founded in memory. After all, what had she really seen? She’d dreamed of a house she’d already been in and a man she’d already met. Easy enough to sit here and find all kinds of ominous meaning in it, but short of driving up to Faust’s house and asking him directly if she’d ever been there as a child, there was no proof.

And she didn’t have to ask, did she? Shelly had as good as told her the first time he’d introduced her to the old man, when he’d said Faust wouldn’t have known Ana’s mother or father (except by reputation), but that he might remember Aunt Easter. And so he had. ‘People tell me I look like her,’ Ana had said, and he hadn’t cracked even a pretend-smile, just nodded and said, ‘You do. When I saw you, I thought I’d seen a ghost.’

It couldn’t be a happy haunting, given what Mike Schmidt…and Wendy Rutter…had told her. And yet, he’d seemed to like her, in his own odd way. And, damn her, she’d liked him. She wondered, if she went up there right now, if she confronted him in his own glass house and demanded to know how he knew Aunt Easter—how he knew Ana herself—would he tell her?

Maybe, maybe not, but the real question was, did she really want to know? How much more of the truth could she take before it killed her? She used to roll her eyes at angsty songs that insisted you could die from a broken heart, but here she was, spending sleepless nights out at lover’s leap, one rhyming dictionary away from the sappiest song ever written. She’d lost everything—her home, her family…her man.

And even that thought bled, the most trivial cut and the deepest, because that had really been the great romance of her whole wasted life. Bonnie. And maybe she’d been his. He had been writing her a song, after all. He’d even played it once, using her body for his instrument, and that had been exciting and strange and a little scary, but only like a movie could be scary, because it was all in fun. She could be silly and in love and risk nothing. He wasn’t real.

Except he was. They were all real. The implications were enormous, so much bigger than her stupid broken heart, bigger even than Mammon and a few hundred measly little murders. The technology in the building alone was earth-shaking, and that was before factoring in the potential advancements in robotics and artificial intelligence, let alone the Tesla cosmic energy condenser in the basement, and how much did any of that matter to Ana? Not a goddamned iota. She’d lost her man. She was no one’s baby girl. And her stupid heart was fucking broken and that was all that mattered.