Serial Saturday Update

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American readers! Hope you had a great dinner and a stress-free holiday! Yeah, yeah, I know, but it doesn’t hurt to hope.

Here at the Smomestead, where we are all too old for the creamy bullshit center of the holiday Ho-Ho, we elected to put everything off until tomorrow. No madhouse rush to get cranberry sauce amid hordes of other Thanksgiving Day shoppers dueling it out with frozen turkeys to see who gets the last pumpkin pie and who must feed her family the mincemeat of shame. (Fun Fact Time! My dad and one of my sisters genuinely love mincemeat and willingly eat it. I do not and will not put that gross shit in my mouth, and I have eaten crickets)

However, we have not come through Black Friday unscathed. Although we do not support the hyper-violent capitalistic Purge, we did run out of coffee creamer and God forfend we should just pour in a dollop of milk, so we went to the store. As it was nine o’clock at night and our destination was a plain jane grocery story and not some SuperMegaPlusMart, we anticipated no problems. How foolish we were, how complacent, how utterly unprepared for the deer that burst out of the darkness and headslammed the car.

So my dad’s car is totalled, but we are all okay and more importantly, we still got the creamer. So we can all drink coffee tomorrow whilst standing out in the driveway, shaking our heads mournfully as we gaze upon the car and waiting for the turkey to finish cooking. My dad makes this bacon-cornbread stuffing, ya’all know you wish you were here.

Edits continue on Tooth and Claw, my new Lords of Arcadia novella. Next week, I may have a cover to show you,  an excerpt and maybe even a blurb. In the meantime, I have another chapter of my FNAF fanfiction, Everything Is All Right, Part III: Children of Mammon up and ready to read (for free!) on and, so if you’ve been dangling off that cliff I left you on with last week’s chapter, head on over to the new cliff! I hear the view is great.

Mason left. He didn’t even bother to look at Foxy before he went, and why should he? Just a broken old toy telling stories to entertain kiddies. The others trickled off through the East Hall door, none willing to follow too close on those heels. One man, the one calling himself Sticks, stayed behind, poking through the cargo at the back end of the room.

Foxy finished off his story, making sure they were alone and would stay that way at least a little while. When he came to the end, instead of launching into the next part of his scheduled act, he raised his hook and called, “Oi! I need help with the rigging if I’m to SET SAIL WITH THE TIDE. Who’s it to b-b-be? Ye in the back!”

Sticks looked around at all the nobody crowding the Cove, then turned all the way around and pointed at himself.

“Aye, ugly bloke in the b-b—BLACKMANE, ME MORTAL ENEMY!—black jacket. Come here to me,” he said, beckoning with his hook and keeping his good hand on the hilt of his sword. “YER OLD SHIPMATE, CAPTAIN FOX, NEEDS A FIRST MATE.”

“Naw, man. I, uh…I got shit to do. What the hell am I explaining myself to a fucking robot for?” he added to himself, shaking his head.

“Come on, lad. WELCOME ABOARD THE FLYING FOX!” Foxy nodded toward the ship beside him, although his eye never left the other man and his hand never left his sword. “I’ll even g-g-give ye a dip in the birthday booty chest.”

“Well…okay.” Down he came, even smiling, although he cast one or two nervous glances in the direction Mason had gone. “Got to look everywhere, right?”

“That’s the spirit. C-C-Come on up.” Foxy bent, offering his hook, and Sticks took it and let himself be pulled onstage, right up close. “What’s yer name, bucko?”

The man looked around the empty auditorium and said, “Um…Steven.”

“Aye, that’s right.” Foxy waved him toward the gangplank and followed, his stride easy, hand on the hilt of his sword. “I do remember ye, ye know.”


Serial Saturday Update

Welp, the 100-Day 100k Author’s Challenge ended yesterday, and as we all can see, I failed to the tune of 39,396 words. And that, folks, is a long, slow, sad tune indeed. I’m told by the Challenge Director that I did not fail, because not only do these blog posts count as words, but editing also counts in some fashion. Whatevs, we play hardcore in the Smomestead. No wild cards, no mulligans, no rerolls when you drop your dice and no cop-out edits that count as words. No sir. We FAIL in this house, and when we fail, we get back up and keep writing.

Or we go to the movies. We go to a lot of movies.



Anyway, don’t let my rampant apathy discourage any of my writing readers from meeting their NaNoWriMo goals this year. If you are presently rising to the National Novel Writer’s Month challenge, I would love to hear about it!

As usual, I’ll be using NaNoWriMo to finally finish the project I’d be working on anyway, which this year is my 5-Part Five Nights at Freddy’s fanfiction series, Everything Is All Right. And, it being Saturday, the latest chapter of Part III: Children of Mammon, just went up on and, so if you are following the series, head on over and check it out. If you’re still not reading it after all this time, one more snippet probably won’t lure you in, but I’ll give it a shot anyway. It’s a really good chapter this week (and I’m not just saying that because I wrote it. I mean, yeah, that’s a factor, but it’s not the only reason). And if you’re waiting for the whole thing to be finished so you can binge-read it, well, maybe this will be the temptation that breaks your willpower! #damnyouRLeeSmith

At 9:45, Mrs. Campbell and Mrs. Kellar left their respective houses and drove to the church. By the time the congregation had finished their greetings and were ready for the opening hymn, Bats was already on his way to Mason’s house with a plastic bag and Riley trotting sleepily along behind him. It was a long walk in the hot summer rain. They did not arrive until almost eleven, when Freddy went back to Pirate Cove to check on Ana and override Foxy’s program so he could stay with her in the ball pit instead of being forced to the stage. Foxy took it well, suffering only short spasms for a few seconds, but it was enough to bring Ana out of sleep, although not quite all the way to wakefulness.

Watching her resettle in her fitful, mumbling way, Freddy was reminded of Bonnie’s own restless twitches. Putting Ana and Bonnie together in a quiet place might help them both calm down or it might crank them both up. For the moment, it seemed safer to do nothing. He’d look in on them again when the first set ended, Freddy decided, and bring Bonnie with him so he could see her for himself and maybe carry her to the party room if she wasn’t all the way back on her feet. But not yet. For everyone’s sake, he needed this day to pass peacefully.

At nearly the same instant Freddy had this thought, five miles away in Mason Kellar’s backyard, Bats was telling the whole damn world who broke his nose.

Mason listened with a puckered brow and half a smile. He was not yet so far gone that he hadn’t noticed four of his boys had gotten bruised up on the same night, but if he’d thought about it at all, he’d merely thought they’d gotten into a squabble amongst themselves, and if Trigger-Man and Dentist didn’t want him to know about it, then it meant Bats and Riley, of all fucking people, had beat them. Mason had been content to let their various stupid stories stand as fact all week, even if it meant letting them think they’d all fooled him—even Riley—because it just too fucking hot to bitch anyone out. Especially for in-fighting, which was a hard thing for Mason to give two shits about in the first place. And besides, it was funny as fuck when you thought about it. He’d even taken to calling Dentist ‘Dentures’ and the name was starting to stick.

Hearing the truth, that it was Rider’s big-mouthed little bitch who had actually done it was even funnier at first. If four of his guys together could not take one girl down between them, he kind of felt like he ought to be more mad at them than her. So it might have all ended there, except that in the course of his story, Bats let a minor detail slip that it had all gone down at Freddy’s. What his guys and Jack’s were doing together at Freddy’s was one good question. An even better one was, what the hell was Ana Stark doing there when she had that huge house up on Coldslip to rattle around in?

I don’t know, was the communal answer, but upon further prying, Trig added the information that she was building something.

And there, Mason Kellar quit smiling. Because to his way of thinking, there was only one thing Ana Stark could be building at some abandoned restaurant out in the desert and one person she’d be building it for, and if Rider wasn’t going to let his best fucking friend from forever ago come down to fucking California and co-chair the company, he sure as fuck wasn’t going to send his cum-guzzling fucktoy into Mason’s backyard to open up a new storefront.

In three minutes, he had the whole story out of all four involved parties (or three of them anyway. Riley was already stoned and earnestly insisting he had been ambushed by ninjas). He took some time to think, about another three minutes, then took out his phone and dialed Rider. The largely one-sided conversation that followed lasted ten minutes, consisted mainly of threats and profanity, and ended with Rider hanging up on him. He made many phone calls after that, each one lasting only as long as it took to say, “Get over here.”

Roughly four hundred miles away, Rider was also making phone calls, but as Ana’s phone had been off its charger since Friday night and Freddy hadn’t even thought to turn it off, its battery was bone-dry and he could do nothing but leave messages she would not get until it was far too late.

At 11:43, in Mammon, Utah, sixteen men spread themselves out over eight motorcycles and one powder blue Crown Victoria and took Cawthon Road out of town. At the Valhalla Racing Stables in Bakersfield, California, Rider sat in silence for almost a full minute, then shut his phone off and got back to what he called work. And at the Edge of Nowhere, Ana slept…

Serial Saturday Update

Not much to report this week, as I spent most of it editing my Lords of Arcadia supplemental story instead of working on my FNAFic or, you know, going out and having a life. However, my innate boringness has paid off and I am pleased to report that I will be keeping at least one of my promises: Tooth and Claw will indeed be available by the end of this year (although I’m still not sold on the title). Heck, it should be up by the end of this month. So yay! And I’m still on schedule to get the anthology together early next year, too (I don’t like that title either. I wish authors could name books like composers name symphonies. You know, it’s not The Land of the Beautiful Dead, it’s just R Lee Smith’s Ninth Novel).

And of course, I have a new chapter up on and for my fanfiction, Everything Is All Right, Part III: Children of Mammon. It’s a short chapter, but last week’s was crazy long, so it averages out. Besides, it was an especially fun one to write, as you can see from this snippet:

Freddy was not known for sympathy, but he had moments of almost telepathic empathy and this was one of them. His ears shifted as he listened to the silence and at last, he nodded. “I. KNOW. THIS. IS. HARD. FOR. YOU. AND. BELIEVE. IT. OR. NOT. I. DO. CARE. BUT. THIS. ISN’T. ABOUT. YOU. OR. ME. TONIGHT. IT’S. ABOUT. AN-N-A. AND. WHAT. SHE. NEEDS.”

“She needs me,” Bonnie said. “She doesn’t need Foxy, she needs me!”

“NO. SHE. NEEDS. SLEEP. BONNIE. SHE. NEEDS. SOME. ONE. WHO. CAN. TAKE. CARE. OF. HER. AND. KEEP. HER. QUIET. AND. MOST. OF. ALL. SHE. NEEDS. SOME. ONE. WHO. CAN. RUN. FASTER. THAN. SHE. CAN. IF. NECESSARY.” Freddy paused, looking around with his ears sweeping left to right. “WHAT IS THAT?”

“I’d let her sleep!” he insisted. “I can take care of her! I c-c-can keep her quiet!”

“YOU. CAN’T. EVEN. KEEP. YOURSELF. QUIET,” Freddy said, then scowled and looked around again. “DO. YOU. HEAR. THAT.”

“What?” Bonnie asked sullenly, but swept his ears around, scanning for sound. Just as he was about to ask what the hell he was listening for, he heard a buzz. Short, low-pitched. Mechanical, not an insect, and after a moment’s confusion, he knew what it was. “That’s Ana’s phone.”

“NO. IT. ISN’T.”

“Yeah, it is,” snapped Bonnie. “It’s just not ringing. It’s doing the other thing, where people type words at her.”


“Yeah, on a phone! There’s letters on the buttons, aren’t there? You push them in a certain way and they come up on the screen as words instead of numbers. It’s called ‘tech-ing.’ It was just starting to catch on back in Circle Drive, don’t you remember?”


“Because they c-c-can tech!” Bonnie exclaimed, flinging out his arms. “Jesus C-C—CRISPY CRUST—Freddy, if this was a hundred-d-d years ago, you’d be asking why people c-c-called instead of sending-ing-ing pigeons everywhere!”

Serial Saturday Update

So another Halloween has come and gone with no Trick-or-Treaters here at the Smomestead, which means I’m stuck with five pounds of my favorite fun-sized chocolates. MmmMMMmm…I mean, uh, darn. How deliciously inconvenient.

Despite that, I had a great Halloween/birthday. I made mummy meatloaf…

This is the only way I make meatloaf anymore.

…and mashed potatoes cut into ghost-shapes with peas for eyes because I never outgrew the urge to play with my food. Me and my dad convalesced from our various ailments together watching The Nightmare Before Christmas, or rather, I watched it and he watched me sing along and act out all Jack’s lines. I tried to get him to paint creepy pictures with me, but he insists he’s not an artist, which I don’t see what that has to do with anything. Painting is to making art like sex is to making babies; sure, it CAN happen, but if we’re honest, most of the time, we’re just having fun (and sometimes, when it did happen, it was sort of an accident).

Anyhoo, here are my non-artistic just-having-fun-on-Halloween paint-doodles. Some of you may recognize the first one as being taken from one of the surrealist paintings from Sims 4. The other one, obviously, is from FNAF. I’d just like to add that I’m super-proud of how that kid turned out. I’m not good at drawing people, even less so kids, and that’s the first one I ever attempted to paint.

What a great segue into my FNAFiction, Everything Is All Right! A new chapter just went up at and, so if you’re reading along, I’m sure you’ll want to click on the link of your choice and get caught up. Hope you like that cliffhanger. Not too much left to Part III: Children of Mammon, and no, I’m still not quite done with Part IV, so the biggest cliffhanger of all may just keep you hanging more than a week. We’ll see. In the meantime, enjoy this excerpt! When last we saw our hero, she was tripping balls in quite possibly the worst place anyone would ever want to be high and hallucinating, on quite possibly the worst night.

Ana ran forever through the night with the wind always against her, herding her with slaps of rain, but somehow ended up back at Freddy’s, falling out of the storm and against the playground fence. Did the dream end there? Maybe, but the dream was a nightmare and nightmares begin again. When she raised her head and opened her eyes, she saw the blind staring eye of a camera, aimed not at the sandbox or the swings, but at the broken plastic feet that were all that remained of Tumble’s twin brother, Rumble.

It was hard to see. There was no blinking red light with this one; it had long ago succumbed to the young snipers of Mammon, but although the lens was a dry socket and its body was pocked with holes, its apparent death was a lie. It was a machine, after all. Machines never really die.

Unreasoning terror washed over her, its chill immediately followed by a hot rush of rage. She climbed the chain-link fence, up and over, landing badly and skinning her knees, but that didn’t hurt and didn’t matter. The camera was all that mattered, but it was mounted just under the overhanging roof, well out of her reach. How to get there?

Lightning flashed, outlining the scuttled hulk of the pirate ship climbing toy with silver light.

There was no plan, only movement and sensation. The knotted ropes were wet and frayed, slippery in her hands even as they cut into her. The deckboards were rotten; if they’d been dry, they would have broken under her weight, but swollen with rain as they were, they only sagged. The mast was already leaning, its rusty base pulling up the boards around it as a fallen tree’s roots pull up the earth. It needed only a push in the right direction and once it was in motion, it could not be pulled back and set right again.

Ana pushed. The crow’s nest where brave children had once stood watch over the invisible seas that filled the desert smashed apart when it fell. The mast bounced, cracking loudly on each impact, and lay crooked on the ground. It was too heavy to lift, so she was forced to pull it around in a clumsy semi-circle, tripping over playground toys and her own boots, leaving a trail of soggy splinters as the wood crumbled in her hands. Once leaned up against the building, the top of the mast easily touched the overhang, but it lost several inches when she put all her weight on the first rung.

Ana climbed. Decaying rungs broke off in her hands and the mast wobbled and dropped with each step. She knew she wasn’t going to make it, but she almost did…

Serial Saturday Updates

Well, here we are, another week behind me and not a lot to show for it. Still fighting that infection (thanks for all your well-wishes! My readers are the best!). Looks like I’ll be spending my birthday at home watching The Nightmare Before Christmas instead of dressing up and seeing my friends. Like, the ONE time of year when I actively seek out parties…

So I haven’t exactly been having a bundle of laughs here at the Smomestead, but I’m feeling much better now. Shout-out to my good friend Keely, who surprised me with this beauty:

…made by artist of oddities and entrepreneur of vulture culture, Jayne Strange. Isn’t that beautiful? Best birthday ever, infection and all. Keely, you are awesome!

So while I convalesce under the kindly watchful gaze of Galahad, I’ve managed to get a little work done. A very little. Have you ever tried to write a human/animal-shaped robot sex scene while you had a fever of 103? I mean, yeah, most people would assume that’s the ONLY time anyone would write that, but for me, that’s Tuesday. Except last Tuesday, when what should have been a normal, run-of-the-mill human/animal-shaped robot sex scene came out reading like it was guest directed by David Lynch. And I…may keep it. It’s weird, but let’s be honest here, it’s not the weirdest pairing I’ve ever written.

Anyway, while I wasn’t the most productive person ever, the latest chapter of my Five Nights at Freddy’s fanfiction IS up over at and for those of you reading it. And for those of you who aren’t…well, it’s still there. Are you sure I can’t convince you to get in on some of this sweet, sweet fanfiction action?

Over the next few hours, the power situation slowly stabilized and long defunct systems came on. Stagnant air began to circulate through the building’s true ductwork, while in the crawlway, rotary mechanisms squealed in protest as walls assumed their default positions. Pipes knocked and rusty water dripped from bathroom faucets. When she opened the freezer, she was met by a gust of foul yet distinctly cooler air. In the South Hall, a light came on in Miss Kitty’s Sarsaparilla Saloon and the animatronic mice within kicked their tiny heels and squeaked to the rhythm of their endless can-can. In Foxy’s Treasure Cave, stalactites glowed with eerie colored lights and the sounds of dripping water and ghostly whispers came from recessed speakers. And everywhere, little red lights on the sides of cameras stopped blinking and simultaneously switched to a steady red glow to show the master monitoring array in the basement had just come on.

Swampy was the first of the New Faces to move, turning his head as Ana walked through the dining room, following her with the burnt-out sockets of his eyes. And with Ana’s startled, “Oh hell no, you did not just do that!” still echoing in the air, a sepulchral groan emanated from the lobby, followed by a chicken-fried drawl: “WELL, HOWDY YA’LL AND WELCOME TO FREDDY’S!”

One by one, they all came to life, hinges shrieking and brittle plastic cracking as they resumed their old routines with all the single-minded, senseless purpose of a zombie horde. Soon, Peggy once again waved from her signpost and told barnyard jokes in her sweet, hayseed voice; Swampy stole swallows from his jug and heckled the show in a friendly, redneck way; in the gym, Tumble warned kids who weren’t there to beware of yetis who also weren’t there; Tux stood in his corner by the West Hall exit, regularly pretending to straighten his painted-on gloves and brushing dust from his shoulders as he waited for curious little guests to come to him with Google-able questions, ridiculously concerned with his appearance for someone whose head was just eyes and teeth mounted to a metal pole.

As the afternoon lengthened into evening, it began to rain again, although not with the same punishing force. The storm seemed to crouch over Edge of Nowhere, bored and restless, slapping at the pizzeria now and then, but mostly biding its time. Waiting, as Ana waited, for Mason to arrive.

Serial Saturday Update

So I haven’t been feeling well lately. I know, I know. What a surprise. I thought I might be coming down with some mutant version of the flu, one that caused all the secondary symptoms–achy joints, dizziness, fatigue–and none of the primaries, like a runny nose or cough, or you know, ANY visible proof that I was sick and not just lazy. Oh, and fun fact time: I never had my tonsils out as a kid. For the first half of my life, they never gave me trouble. Then we moved from Washington State to Oregon and I guess the move introduced my (secretly overworn) immune system to new bugs and presto! The next time I got a harmless cold, it felt like I was swallowing marbles. Over the years, it got better…and then we moved to the Midwest. For the last week, I’ve been choking from the inside-out, but no sore throat, no stuffy sinuses, not even a headache.

This morning, one of my surgery scars opened. Turns out I didn’t have the flu. I had a massive weirdly pain-free infection.

Okay, so that was gross and I apologize, but I turned on the computer for the first time this week and got slapped in the face by an outpouring of tremendously touching concern, and I just wanted to let everyone know (yet again) that I wasn’t ignoring you and I’m not dead, just medically fragile, which is a condition that is often as gross as it is inconvenient.

In the meantime, although I managed to do nothing except edit and am only falling further and further behind on Part IV of Everything Is All Right, my FNAF fanfiction, I have the next chapter of Part III: Children of Mammon uploaded and ready to read over at or, whichever your preference. Also, for all my loyal readers who have been waiting more than a year for me to finish this behemoth and get back to work, I do feel bad for how long I’m making you wait, so I’m going to try and scrape together enough of my short stories to make a decent anthology. Don’t expect high romance. The content ranges from dark to pitch black, as I never intended any of it to be read by anyone and it probably shouldn’t be.

If nothing else, I will be soon be releasing a supplemental novella for The Lords of Arcadia series (a subplot cut for length, now reconstructed and fleshed out to some 50k words), concerning the lycan and some of the former captives from Gabriel’s camp. There were several other subplots culled from The Army of Mab, and it was always my intention to write them up and release them all together, but I may never get around to that, and this novella is already written. I’ve held on to it long enough. Look for it before the end of the year; working title as of this moment is Tooth and Claw. The anthology should show up sometime early next year. I haven’t thought of a title yet. I’ve been thinking about it all week, lying on my bed of pain, and the best I came up with was Love Bites and Butt Stuff. I’ll try again when I’m not running a fever, but I’m open to suggestions.

But right now, tonight, I can offer you only another chapter of the damn few remaining in Children of Mammon. Enjoy!

It stopped raining sometime in the night, but Ana was not fooled. The storm was not over, merely catching its breath. She took advantage of it while she could however, making the run to Hurricane only through the combined powers of all-wheel drive and mulish determination. She saw no one at all on the flooded roads, which was not surprising, as it turned out, because they were all at the WalMart. A simple grocery-and-battery run took nearly four hours, but then she was back in the basement at Freddy’s, working on the condenser.

The next time she raised herself out of that other-world where everything was metal and wire and all the parts fit together only one way to make a working whole, it was almost two in the afternoon. For hours, she had been unaware of her body except as its limitations correlated to the work she wanted it to do. Now a litany of physical complaints registered all at once, each convinced it was the most pressing and needed all her attention. She was hot, sweaty, filthy, thirsty, had a headache, a backache, a buttache, sore knees, dry eyes, dry mouth, an empty stomach and a painfully full bladder, and also, she might be going a little crazy because she had brought only three lights down here and they were all three in front of her trained on the condenser and yet she could see her shadow.

Ana puzzled over this for way too long before arriving at the conclusion that this didn’t mean she was crazy. It meant she wasn’t alone.

“If you’ve come to kill me, do it now, before I have to stand up,” she said.

Freddy’s grunt was at least half-growl. “THAT. ISN’T. FUNNY.”

“I’m not completely sure I’m joking.” Ana shifted with effort from a sitting position to a kneeling one, and from there, groaning, onto her feet. “How long have you been watching me?”


“This time? There were other times? Sheesh, I was good and out of it, wasn’t I? Any visitors while I was playing around down here with my fucking back to the door like a dumbass begging to be murdered?”

Freddy shook his head, watching her gather her tools. “ARE. YOU. DONE. FOR. THE. DAY.”

“With this, yeah. It’s fixed.”

Freddy’s reaction to this news was underwhelming to say the least. She’d seen this bear—well, okay, not this bear, but clearly a bear with most of his same programming—gush over some crayon scribbles like the kid had presented him with the frigging Mona Lisa, but single-handedly repair the only cosmic energy condenser on Earth and what did she get? A nod. Just one. With his eyes only half open and completely level. Look up callous disregard in the goddamn dictionary and that was the picture to accompany it.

“‘Holy shit, Ana, are you sure?’” she asked herself dryly. “‘That’s amazing. I am legit amazed. My bearish flabber is fucking gasted. If I had a gold star, I’d give you one. If I had two gold stars, I’d give me one for believing in you so hard.’”


“Not yet, give me a second. ‘And am I happy about this? Why, I’m jubilant. Delighted. Positively adlubescent. I’m as happy as a clam in high tide and pleased as a pig in warm shit.’”


“‘I am so proud of you,’” said Ana, flipping some switches and giving the primer a few good cranks. “‘Of course, I knew you could do it all along, but it’s still damned impressive. I appreciate all the work you’ve done, but this? This is really above and beyond. Great job.’ Thank you, thank you, but seriously, bear, shut up. I need to listen.” Beneath her hand, the primer grip had begun to vibrate.

Serial Saturday Update

Ahhh, Autumn!

I know it’s officially been fallish for some time now, but here where I live, it’s only been in the last few days that temperatures have dropped from summery heat and boggy humidity to something humans can tolerate, or at least, wilting little windflowers of humanity like me. I anticipate that by this time next week, I’ll need to have the heat on. When the weather changes in the Midwest, it happens quickly and with conviction. The trees haven’t begun to change yet, but again, here where I live, the change is sudden, spectacluar and soon over. By Halloween, I fully expect that all those green, leafy trees out my window will be as so many charred bones clawing up a winter-white sky.

So I don’t have brilliant displays of foliage yet, nor crisp dead leaves crunching underfoot, nor that pleasant chill in the air, nor the singular satisfaction of snuggling under a quilt in the morning instead of waking up. But hey, I got pumpkin pie spice flavored creamer to put in the coffee and stores full of Halloween decorations, so it must be fall!

I’ve been a little under the autumnal weather this week (surprise, surprise), so I kinda sorta forgot that it was Friday until, well, it was Saturday. Nevertheless, I had my latest chapter of my fanfic, Everything Is All Right, Part Three: Children of Mammon, edited and ready to go, so if you’re reading along, head on over to or and check it out. As usual, here is a snippet, containing what is quite possibly the most diabolical sin of foreshadowing I’ve ever committed. Shame on me. Enjoy!

The week passed, intolerably uneventful. Each morning, she woke up and went to work, mowing grass, trimming hedges and maintaining public parks. Every evening, she holed up at Freddy’s, pretending trouble would never find her until she started to believe it, but a part of her was always tense, waiting. Her world had become a jack-in-the-box, when every day was just another turn of the crank. Although the music was playing now and the tune was peaceful, that could stop at any moment and the puppet come leaping out. All she could do was keep her head down, stay sober, and make it to the weekend.

So naturally, it was the worst weekend of her life. Overused and hyperbolic as the phrase might be, this time it was true. Worse than the frantic weekend her mother had taken her out of Mammon, because as frightening as that had been, her mother had been too preoccupied with her own terror to beat on her too bad. Worse than the weekend she’d spent in the hospital after the accident, mostly because she couldn’t remember too much of that and most of she did remember was that her mother was finally dead, which trumped the minor inconvenience of almost drowning. Technically even worse than the whole Springtrap business to come, since she wouldn’t make it through the whole week.

It began at midnight, at the very genesis of Friday, when Ana was torn from yet another nightmare by the sound of a bad fan belt screaming up the parking lot. She had taken to sleeping with a hammer close by; it was in her hand before she knew she was awake and then her bare feet hit the tiles running. Slivers of light came through the plastic covering the windows in the West Hall as the car came right up close to the lobby. Car doors opened and slammed. Crouched low, peering through the plastic, Ana couldn’t make anything out beyond the blinding headlights, but she could hear voices. Younger than the sort Mason ran with. Jack’s? But no, she could hear a female voice mixed in the others and there had been no girls allowed in the Kellar kingdom. Just a bunch of random teens then, come to fuck around at Freddy’s in the middle of the night, as one does in a small town without cows to tip.

They had clearly been here before, enough to know the doors were new. After a short conference, one of them reached for the handle because apparently the kid thought someone would take the time and trouble to install heavy-duty doors but not to lock them. He let out a yelp, then an unsteady laugh, and said in a tone that was trying for outrage to cover the unease, “It bit me!”

Several figures crowded closer. The bluish light of a cell phone came on at the center of their huddle. Someone said, “Holy shit, man, you’re really bleeding.”

“It’s the ghost of Billy Blaylock,” the girl among them declared in her I’m-not-just-cute-but-also-badass-tee-hee voice. “He wants to drink your blood.”

Billy Blaylock? Her surprise over the fact that the local hooligans knew about her uncle melted almost immediately into profound annoyance that they had appropriated his death into some ridiculous urban legend, like that of the hungry ghosts of miners in the quarry and secret experiments out at the abandoned military base.

The group laughed a little, but the guy really was bleeding, so they all piled into the car again and drove off to find less injurious fun. That fan belt really needed to be looked at.

As soon as they were gone, Ana went around and double-checked all the doors to make sure they were locked. She met Freddy doing the same thing and of course, he took one look at her and told her to put some beaver dam clothes on or go back to bed. She didn’t feel a strong urge to be obedient, but she did have work in the morning, so she went back to bed and dreamed of crawling endlessly through the maze in the ceiling, pursued by the bleeding corpse of a crying child.