Posted in Secondary Sundays

SS: Them

It has taken me a while to gather all the information needed to make this happen.

People in this kind of position have sealed records, and barely any paper trail.

Which is why it took so long for me to put everything together for you.

Unlike the people who wrote for you before, and that indiscretion last week, I am not doing this for them. I am doing this for you.

I am doing this because I think you need it. I’ve known people who would’ve needed this. And I guess that I feel like we already know each other. Or at least you know about me. You know about love and what it does, but you don’t know that much about what guilt and impulsiveness do to a person.

That is where I come in, I guess.

I am not here to talk about myself and everything that’s happened since the last time I was inside the borders. I am here to tell you a very short story, the only kind to be enjoyed.

This story begins, as most stories do, with a character that does not yet suspect they are a character. It is easy to dismiss oneself as a character when one does not know about the genre they are living in.

Our great society thrives in your ignorance. No. Your compliance. It thrives on your comfort and lack of questioning.

The point is, no one thinks of themselves as a character until plot comes knocking on your door. By the point it does, though, you have long since ceased being complacent.

Our character lived in a small area near the woods, not too far but not too close to where you used to live. You might remember this part of town referred to as ‘The Pit’. Partly because of its circular shape, and the fact that it was surrounded by thick woods, which made it feel isolated. And partly because it was in one of the poorer parts of town, which made it prone to delinquency, and other illegal dalliances.

They lived in a small house near the mouth of the pit. They had three older brothers and two little sisters. They regret to realize that they do not remember their names anymore. They do remember their home. It’s yawing doors and windows, and the well preserved sickly yellow of the walls.

The thing about the house was that it had always wanted to be more than it was, to hold more, to be better. Houses, however, don’t always get what they want. This house in particular never held more that eight bodies inside. In fact, as time went by, it progressively held less and less.

The first thing it lost was a child. It lost one of its inhabitants to the bitter end of a knife. It was not uncommon out there. People was lost and killed in The Pit all the time. There was nothing siblings and parents could do to hold onto people that wanted to be taken, to be lost.

That was a bitter lesson, something that our character couldn’t, and didn’t, want to understand, but had to.

That was their first step into losing complacency.

Usually when people are lost, others don’t know about it. No one hears about other people going missing. Not even from their own families. People cannot possibly remember ever having someone who was lost.

Of course that it is sad, but it is part of reality.

People go missing, and people forget. That is that.

But our character couldn’t forget. They didn’t know that they desperately needed to but their minds could not allow them to. It’s about the mind, you see, the way it works in a different way for some people.

The first -and hopefully only- time you go through reconditioning at age six, The Machine makes sure to change everything that makes you who you are. The Machine makes forgetting easier and you mind more malleable. For most people, it works. But some people work differently.

Our character is one of those people. People who after their first reconditioning can still remember, and question things. Of course that they were different for other reasons as well, but you cannot remember this. You cannot remember them and who they were for you.

That is okay. That is in fact, part of your nature.

Our character had learnt so many years ago that life is unfair. That it takes and it gives and it trades.

Or not. That was the machine.

The machine took and gave and traded. It traded body parts for people and things that it had taken before. The Machine never asks what you want because it thinks it knows you better than anyone. Almost every time, The Machine is right.

Trades are as easy as they are painful, and our character made them all once they realized there was a place where people would go.

The old house. Remember that? Over on the other side of the town? It was beyond tall gates and thick shrubs. It was a place that, anywhere else within the borders of this little country, would have carried the scent of sweet, smoked flesh.

They heard it said around town, that people would go there. That people wouldn’t return, unless someone was ready to make a trade.

So they did.

Years after the house had lost a son, it lost a mother. And our character went there.

They made a stop on the way to school. They were so nervous that they dropped their bag. Someone stopped to ask if they were okay. They smiled and said they were fine (they were not) and life carried on.

They went to the big house that afternoon.

They traded nimble fingers and memories for their mother.

The trade was simple. They only had to enter a big room with mirrored walls and sterile looking people. They faintly remembered entering a room similar to this in their childhood. The contraption and procedure were still familiar enough that they welcomed pain and discomfort as if they were long lost friends.

The people in that room cut into their head and pushed and pulled and took and gave, until our character was nothing.

And that is how they lost their hands. And that is how they gained a mother.

It was not the same mother (it could never be), the same way they were not the same character (they could never be).

They made this trade several times over the next years. It’s addicting, you see. You give something to the Machine and in change it keeps who you love safe.

The Machine can never give you safety, it can only take it away from you. Once you become aware, once reconditioning stops working, that’s it.

You will never be safe in your home. You will never be home.

But our character didn’t care about safety anymore. Had they ever cared? They wore soft shirts and flowing skirts at home, but never to school. And after a while, they stopped even wearing them at home. Why would they? They weren’t a person anymore, they were nothing. They even stopped asking to be called Rosie instead of José and stuck to clothes more suited to the bulk of their bodies. They no longer tried to hide that their body was not equipped with soft arches and curves.

And then the Machine came for them.

It did not plead for it was not necessary. They were coming for someone who had long since lost parts of their body and being, and when they asked if they had anything else to give they already knew the answer.

Because what else can you do? When the Machine asks for your compliance you have to give it. Especially when it’s the one thing you can still give. Because when the Machine comes for you it’s because it needs you, because it thrives on it, because otherwise you’re useless.

Nothing useless ever survives.

And so they went.

No one will ever tell you just how much that decision hurts. How it pulls and scrapes something out of you as you walk away from the only home you will ever know. I guess it’s because Screws are better off not discussing pain with people who know nothing but the unkindness of the Machine.

At least if you pretend you’re part of the Machine you can stop feeling the void in your chest where something used to rest.

At least when Dan walks into their home (out in Pullman Street where plants grow in muted colors and people without an ID can’t go in) they can, for a second, pretend they are not Rosie Marquez. They can avoid thinking of pale yellow walls and a house filled with the smell of ever baking bread. They can pretend not to be home.

They are not a teenage girl in a boy’s body living on the most dangerous part of a town that will never understand her. They are not Rosie losing friend, after friend, after friend, as reconditioning and The Machine take them away.

Or at least, they could pretend and be Dan until their eyes fell on a familiar name and a familiar face. They saw the stamp and ID number of a town off by the woods, with little creaking houses that have yawning doors and windows, and all at once, she was back there, sitting outside school on a random morning, about to make her first trade.

And you linger over her as you see her. You pause and she wonders, for a flickering second if you see her. You do not.

But she asked for you, before her body could remember that she was no longer Rosie but Dan, a Screw. They forgot and asked, and The Machine agreed, because The Machine doesn’t care as long as you do your work. For the Machine, you have no needs and wants, because you ceased to be human years ago. Even before you were bought.

They observe you long enough to learn your routines. They figure out what you do and don’t. It is plain for them to see why the Machine chose you. Why you need to be watched and kept in line.

They keep tabs on you, often handing you something you forgot to buy at the store, telling you you dropped it. Sometimes they see you on the street and greet you. They’re not scared to do so, they know you won’t remember. There is a certain amount of power that comes from knowing no one else remembers, and no one else can see. As Screws, sometimes we abuse that power. 

They were planning on carrying with that. They planned to push you back into normal patterns and helping you become complacent again. But you were more problematic than they anticipated. You made questions that had no answers and noticed things you had no business noticing.

You could not understand that you needed to be complacent.

And so they started to lie. They made up your routines and called in favors to help keep you in check. They knew it was useless, they knew you were not the friend they remember (you could never be) but they desperately needed to save you.

If they saved you then they would finally be useful, then they’d saving at least something. As Screws, we never help anyone.

But then the lies were not enough.

And they had to be Rosie and remember you. She had to remember the feeling of soft shirts and wide skirts against hairy legs. She remembered sharing ear buds with you, and listening to hoarse signing through her hammering heart. She remembers how it felt to laugh with you, and cry with you, and fight and kiss and regret with you.

And she remembered how much you loved stories. She remembered how you carried them along with you in books and clothes. And she wanted to give that back to you, to reach you.

And as she reached you, she tried to warn you.

But you never listened. You became paranoid. You became reclusive.

And they had to face that they had gone too far. And retreat.

But by then it was already too late and The Machine had noticed you and wondered. And so as a Screw, they did the one thing that Screws know how to do. They deflected the attention, planted small bits and pieces of evidence that would all point toward their own incompetence. And they made sure to show that you were complacent, that you were useful. 

They put themselves in jeopardy for you. They were not being complacent but could they still be useful?

Well, I guess that’s what the Machine is trying to find out.

I just hope that she is.

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Posted in Secondary Sundays

Secondary Sundays a PSA

Hello!

Today there’ll be no Secondary Sunday, but for plot reasons.

I know we’re used to not having updates because I’m an idiot and forget to post things /write things. But this time it’s not about that.

During the next couple of updates we will be reaching the end of the story arc. Because of plot and what’s been happening in the story, there will have to be pauses and silences. I swear it will make sense at the end.

Thank you for your patience 🙂

 

-L.

Posted in Paranormal Tuesdays

PT: Dennison Brothers & Co.

Well guess who forgot to post on Tuesday because they thought the T stood for Thursday! This gal!

Yeah, I suck.

And then I thought I’d already posted which was bull.

Anyway, here’s the story for oops, last Tuesday.

**

There are many things people should know about paranormal investigations, but they don’t. There are a million and one things people should know, but they do not.

For the Dennison brothers, paranormal investigation not only runs in their veins, it’s their whole life.

They have a long history of people being haunted, and hunting. They are not renowned like others but they get by. After all, ghost hunting is not about who knows you but who’s willing to allow completely strangers into their home.

In a way, ghost hunting is a lot like being a door to door seller. Not everyone is interested in what you’ve got to sell, not everyone needs it, but you keep doing it in the hopes that someone will. And because it pays. Barely.

Steven, Allan and Monique do it because it’s encoded in their DNA to do this kind of work. Because they don’t know a life that can be led in another way. Because this job gives me a thrill.

They do it because they love it.

“You sure you got everything there, Mo?” Allan asks for what feels like the twelfth time in the last five minutes.

“Absolutely positive, boss,” Monique drones. “I’d check with Chris over there if I were you.”

The words feel mocking even through Monique’s no nonsense tone, and they make Chris’ ears burn.

“I-I’m sure I got it all,” Chris stammers, blurring the last three words into an unintelligible mumble. His hands slip on the ropes he’s using to secure the tarp over the back of Steven’s truck.

Chris winces as his cousin makes a noise of annoyed fondness. Steven slaps a hand to Chris’ shoulder as he announces in his loud, deep voice, “I think we’re all set over here, little bro. It’s you and Mo who’re holding us back.”

Monique glares at her two brothers. She flicks her long ponytail over her shoulder and walks to the front of the car without another word.

“Don’t rile her up Steven,” Allan admonishes him.

“Wasn’t.” Steven smirks. “Was just defending Chris’ honor. Couldn’t have ‘cous here thinkin’ everyone’s against him, right?”

Allan makes a sound of disgust in the back of his throat, and goes to join the youngest of the Dennison.

“You don’t have to keep doin’ that.” Steven frowns.

“Doing what?” Chris is aware of how petulant he sounds. But it’s not his fault that out of everyone in the newest batch of Dennisons he was the only one to be born with ‘the gift’.

“Taking shit from them. You do that and Monique’ll wear you like a scarf come next week.”

“I can take her,”

Steven snorts. “Nah, kid, you can’t.”

“Whatever,” Chris mumbles, knowing better than to engage the eldest of the Dennison brothers in an argument.

They drive away from the small nameless town they’d stopped at to rest and eat, in silence. Steven is the kind of driver who accepts no interruptions or distractions in his driving. He never listens to radio and he hardly ever accepts someone’s opinion.

Chris is not bothered by his cousins way. In fact, he much prefers him to the rest of the Dennison kids. Being a Hansen himself he does not posses the obsession and predisposition shared by the rest of his dad’s family.

Chris often wishes both his fathers had not been so interested in the whimsical and paranormal, then maybe he would’ve been able to do as the rest of his cousins did: get away from this paraphernalia.

But no, he was saddled with his task. He has to drive around the country in two extremely obvious cars trying to find proof of the paranormal.

There had been talks about trapping and maybe expelling spirits at the beginning of the journey, a couple of months ago. But that thought had been laid to rest when Allan had managed to anger a very docile and peaceful spirit in Spokane.

That was another thing Chris had learnt about his cousins. They were clueless about the things they were attempting to do. Often guiding their practices by movies and secondhand stories that were merely the product of sketchy memories and exaggerations.

They had all the equipment that forums and TV shows said they’d need, but lacked any tact and the instincts needed to perform well in the business.

“Where do you reckon we should go?” Steven asks. A phrase that has turned into their catchphrase.

Chris shrugs but still points somewhere to their left where the road twists and winds and bends out of shape. Steve frowns. “You sure ‘bout that?”

Chris gives him a flat stare and leans his body against the rattling door. Maybe if he puts all his weight into it, it will open and spare him the misery of grimacing at people as the Dennison announce, too loudly, that they are “the great Dennison. Next in a line of prominent ghost hunters here to meet all your needs! Oh, and this is our cousin Chris, he’s just tagging along.”

A wiser person would’ve pleaded with his parents not to be allowed to be taken to this journey. But if he were that, Allan and Monique would’ve not been able to claim the experience would help him build character.

As they drive toward where Chris’ lungs are telling him there’s something waiting for them, he considers changing the route, leading them away from another poor spirit. He doesn’t, of course, he still needs to build that character.

“Turn the AC off,” he asks.

Steven laughs, loud and obnoxious. “It’s off, kid.”

Chris turns to him with a frown just in time to see long blue hair and a mischievous smile through the windshield.

“Oh,” he says, dumbly.

“Oh?’ Whoever is sitting on the back repeats with a giggle. “I think we can do better than that. It’s a long drive into town pretty boy.”

“Umh.” He hesitates. “Okay?”

Steven laughs at him, assuming it’s teenage stupidity. He sets his eyes back on the broad, but his shoulders look stiff.

“Maybe we should listen to the radio,” The specter says, jiggling what sounds like a million copper bracelets or tiny bells.

Chris makes a noncommittal noise.

“It’s a long drive.” Chris hears iterated twice. Steven doesn’t look affected by the fact that has just said something innocuous, so unlike himself. The spirit seems to be smiling in the reflection.

“It is?” Chris can’t help but turn the phrase into a question, both at the spirit and his cousin.

“Yeah, ‘bout six or seven hours to the next town.” Again, the words come from two sources.

“Ah, right.”

“Unless you’re going further away,” This time only the spirit talks, their voice is thick like honey on a humid day. “Then it’s ten hours. And that’s giving this piece of crap the benefit of doubt because no don’t think you’ll make it further away.”

Chris hums.

“You don’t look like the kind of boy that goes around harassing the dead,” The ghost points out.

Chris shrugs.

The spirit falls quiet for a while. Long enough for Chris to feel comfortable looking away. He catches sight of a sign, something that regular people don’t see, probably because it has two little girls playing catch around it.

“A lot of people die on these kinds of roads,” He offers, apropos to nothing.

Steven doesn’t even turn to look at him. He supposed his cousin has heard stranger things.

“They do.” The spirit nods.

“Did you see somthin’?” Steven asks, eyes never leaving the road.

“No,” he lies, even as his eyes are pulled in different directions. There are children and women and men running and dancing well into the night.

“Smart or stupid?” The spirit asks.

“Definitely stupid,” He feels tempted to say, but he keeps his lips pressed tight.

The next couple of minutes are spent in absolute silence until The Phone rings.

Steven makes it a point to stop in the middle of the road to pick it up, since Chris is not allowed to even look at the thing. His cousin even goes as far as leaving the car to talk in private.

“Ohhh,” The spirit taunts.

Their myriad of metallic objects clang and shake as they move to the front of the car.

“What is a young boy like you doing in a place like this?” The specter, which now that they’re sitting right next to him, Chris can see looks like a young woman.

Chris ignores her, as he’s used to do. Instead he looks at the man sitting on the ground just a couple of feet away from them.. He has coppery hair and light eyes that can barely be appreciated in the twilight.

“Oh, I see.” The woman taunts him. “Little mouse is not allowed to talk to strangers. It’s okay though.” She laughs. The sound is like the accidental pulling of an out of tune violin chord.

“Mo says we have to go back.” Steven leans half his body into the car, effectively going through the woman who has now started to mockingly pull faces as if in pain.

“Wha- why?”

“Somethin’ about the car not workin’.”

“Ah.” The woman laughs delightedly. “Ask him if it’s the exhaust. I know a couple of guys that like that hang out back there. They probably saw this as taken and had fun with your friends.”

“They’re not my friends,” He grumbles, because it is second nature to make the correction now.

They’re not friends but family, annoyingly unavoidable.

“What?” Steve asks at the same time Chris tells him, “She says it’s the exhaust. That some guys like to mess with it.”

Steven jumps away from the car and looks in all directions. Like his brothers, he is painfully unprepared to deal with, well, actual ghosts.

“Lots of people die on these roads,” Chris repeats with a shrug.

“The fuck. They’re here. One’s here.” The rushed words lack any kind of inflection to be considered a question.

“She was sitting right there.” He points to the seat.

“Was?”

“She left when you jumped.”

“Oh,”

At least he doesn’t pretend to be fearless or unshakeable like the others.

The phone rings again. This time Steven takes the call right where he stands.

“…oh… Yeah, right… We’re going.”

“We go back?” Chris asks.

“No.” He frowns. “The car works just fine. Looks like your friend told ‘em to knock it off.”

“She’s not–” he sighs and trails off. “Whatever let’s just go.”

Steven looks like he wants to say something, but he ends up just shrugging and getting into the car to drive away.

They’re just leaving the stretch of road that seems to be perpetually inhabited by spirits when Chris feels the hair on the back of his neck rising, as something that felt like a fingernail traces a pattern into his skin.

“Be careful out there, little mouse.” The woman from before says. “You never know what you’ll find out there.”

Chris looks back over his shoulders, but there’s nothing there.

When he turns to look at his cousin he’s got his eyes firmly on the road.

 

-L.

Posted in Personal Blogging

Greetings from a Fuck Up (Me).

Hello, this is quite a different post than the one I’ve promised… But I doubt anyone’s really surprised about it.

So, I hurt someone, a friend. I’ve mentioned her before in here, Jenna.

I always hurt people, not because of a malicious intent but because of negligence or shitty ‘good intentions’. I’m writing this here because anywhere else I could’ve shared it, she would’ve seen it. And I don’t want to seem like I’m being pitiful to be forgiven. I accept that it was my own fault and that she retains the right to be on her own and forgive me in her own time and space.

I just feel better when I say things. And since no one I know reads these, I decided it was better to put it all in here, being pitiful, than let these thoughts to rot.

So here they are.

So what happened is this: I had told Jenna that I would see whether I could meet her for Valentine’s day to spend the day together since we’re both single. February the 14th is also one of my cousin’s birthday and we were planning on celebrating it.

My cousin couldn’t come in the end because of money issues (this is not really a good financial time for my family) and I couldn’t go to meet Jenna because of the same thing. Since I’m staying at my grandparents’ and have no reception/internet I was relying on someone’s portable WiFi to contact her… But the lines died in here for a whole day. Then I went to see if I had reception… And it turns out that I hadn’t paid my phone bill and the company suspended my service, so I couldn’t call her.

I couldn’t use someone else’s phone because everyone here has the same phone company and that was the service that had collapsed/died.

By the time the service came back it was well into the night. I had some messages from people that I replied, and like the absolute worst excuse of a human being/friend forgot to talk to Jenna to apologize.

And I thought that was strike one.

I completely admit my fault. Because I don’t mind when people don’t talk to me for days on end or something like this happens, I just assume everyone is like that. And I thought I could just apologize.

Yeah, I’m a dick.

So what comes next is that this had not been strike one at all.

I got accepted to the program I applied (as I mentioned I think on Monday?) And was super excited so I told my family (since I’m here and I see everyone every day) and shared it on one WhatsApp group… Jenna was not in it because it’s about a book some friends and I read and she hasn’t. After that I talked to my cousin (this was the day she tried to kill herself which wouldn’t happen for a couple of hours) and got distracted coordinating things that needed to be done in the house.

After this I got distracted with life and my cousin who had to travel with some friends during the weekend, so we needed to convince her mom she was okay to travel/would be fine with her fiends.

So I didn’t share the news with Jenna.

And she felt very, very hurt about it because I didn’t tell her something that made me very happy.

And again, this was my fault because no could have told her right away, before life went haywire but also because a part of me wanted to wait to tell her.

And here’s where things stop making sense unless you’re me and have a million and one issues with friendship/people.

I had noticed that Jenna always looked a bit uncomfortable when we talked about going away for the Masters program. It was a lot or that shed change the topic of conversation, it just seemed like she was a bit subdued. And since I have a million and one issues, I decided trying not to bring it up on conversation with her because I don’t like making people uncomfortable.

The thing is that she applied to London and two friends and I applied to Sussex. We were all excited to talk about things but I always felt guilty, like I was leaving her behind or I don’t really know. Turns out she didn’t really care and it was just my stupid brain seeing patterns where there were none.

She was more hurt about me keeping this from her than by me going off somewhere else.

And another friend (someone on the WhatsApp group) told her about it because she was happy for me and obviously thought I didn’t fail as a functioning human being and told Jenna the news…. That was on Wednesday. And I guess Jenna spent this entire time waiting for me to tell her.

And I didn’t.

So I don’t know how it looked for her.

So now when we were talking about it (through WhatsApp) and she told me she felt really hurt. I understood. But I also went and vomited a shitton of information on her, because yet again I fail as a human.

And I don’t know, maybe I thought I was being nice by sharing all the things I’d been keeping inside these couple of days (like the thing with my cousin, my failed job interviews, etc) when in fact I probably looked like, ‘see? I’m telling you things! I’m nice and share things!’

So yeah… Not helping my case.

In the end I told her she could take all the time she needed to forgive me (she said she accepted my apology but still felt hurt and needed time to heal).

My other friend talked to me and apologized for telling Jenna about my getting in. But she shouldn’t have to!

This whole thing wasn’t her fault.

It was mine.

I would never make someone apologize for something that is my fault. Something that I knowingly did.

I’m done avoiding and pretending I’m not hurting people. Because I did that in the past and I still regret it to this day.

I’m going to give Jenna all the time she needs to forgive me, no matter how long that is.

It hurts that I made her feel that way and that I know how stupid it was of me and how easily I could have avoided it.

But I guess it would not be me if I wasn’t making messes out everything.

So yeah. I needed to get this whole thing off my chest before I exploded and started whining to someone else in here.

Like I said, no one I know reads these and I truly enjoy screaming and crying to the void that is the internet.

Thanks for letting me vent.

-L.

Posted in Personal Blogging

Life Update

Hello, lovely people of the internet.

Isn’t it funny how I keep pretending there’s more than one person reading these?

Hilarious.

Anyway, I’m here with a life update.

I will write a longer, more rambly (is that a word?) Post later on because you guys know I just looooove to blather on and on senselessly. But for now I just wanted to give a general update.

1) I got accepted into the Master Program I applied to in January!!!!!! Yesssss!!!!!

2) I’m still unemployed and looking for.a job.

3) I’ve been a dick to some people oops.

4) One of my cousins tried to kill themselves last week. They texted me my name and a heart as like a goodbye. I can’t receive hearts now because I get this sick feeling in my stomach.

5) They didn’t die.

6) I’m still staying at my grandparents’ place where I have neither reception nor internet… I don’t know when I’ll be going home.

 

As a said, a more detailed update will probably follow. But for now there’s just this.

Oh, and I will continue posting the stories in the schedule I set before.

-L.

Posted in Secondary Sundays

SS: Mr. Fluffkins III

Aaaaand I’m back!

I mean hi, it’s me not them.

I guess you can tell by now that they’re not here… And that they probably won’t come back. At least for a while.

But hey! That just means I can keep talking to you! Wild, right?!

I mean, yeah. This is weird for me, and probably for you but like, I don’t know you? So honestly I have no idea what you’re thinking right now.

Honest, cross my heart and hope to like get all my memories back or like maybe lose an arm. I heard that’s kind of painful? Must be.

Anywho, I’m here, you’re here. Let’s talk about something interesting.

I’m not like the person who wrote to you last week. And by that I mean that I don’t live right next door or really anywhere near you. There are ways in which people like us can slip through cracks and holes in doors, floors and walls.

So I did. It’s a bit nicer where I am. Actually anywhere is nicer than where you are. Maybe your cat would like it here.

Maybe their quest would bring you here Where it’s nice and warm. I believe they would like it here, where the sun hits you just right at all times. There are no sandy beaches, or any other paradisiac features. Here there are only trees, warm and wet earth, and fresh air.

I guess, I want to talk about that. Not my home. It’s not wise to talk about homes.

I want to talk about what your cat, Menace, would like for you to do. I guess their wants and needs would be different now.

I’m not good at storytelling and assuming things. I’m not good with lies, I mean.

I mean, yeah. If I really needed it, I’d probably be able to lie.

In a pinch. That’s how you say that.

But I do think I can pick up this thread, if I think about what I know about you and how things have changed. If I were the cat from that story, from all those Sundays ago. If I knew and felt what they did.

If I cared about you…

If I knew…

I’d feel like this: I would want you gone. I would wonder about what could have happened to make you move through your home like you were a shadow, and everything else was the sun. I would sit down by the window, and I would ask myself when the day would come. When will you just not show up anymore? When will you be gone? Would I even know? Would anyone tell me? Or will it be like losing a memory? Suddenly there but also not really. Not at all.

I would, I think above all, ache for you. I’d ache for the person you used to be, and never could go back to, and for this unrecognizable stranger in our home.

I would fear for you. I would regret not giving you a way out when I could.

Because Mr. Fluffkins III, had a sidequest for you, but was never able to tell you. It was a long one, a good one. It was going to take you far, far from where you are but definitely closer to where you’d want to be.

Most anywhere in this world could be somewhere you’d love to visit. “Anywhere is better than where you are,” Mr. fluffkins III tells you sometimes. Not often. They don’t like to talk.

I mean, cats don’t really talk. But like, you already know that. That’s why this is a story and not a, well chronicle or whatever.

Mr. Fluffkins III doesn’t know us or them or anyone who is not Daisy and you. Most days they don’t even know you at all.

Or maybe that’s just me.

I guess, they must feel bad about you here, about leaving and staying and moving and breathing and forgetting.

Forgetting is super important. Mr. Fluffkins III probably knows that. But you don’t. And if you do maybe you don’t care. Maybe you don’t want to care.

But that’s where you’re wrong.

You do care, you can’t stop caring. Even your cat can see that. And if you care you’re in danger.

Which is why you cat would fucking love it I’d you could just get off your ass and do something for once. Stop sitting around and pretending like this is all happening to someone else. Because it isn’t. It’s happening to you and it will keep happening to you.

So please, get off your ass.

Get up.

Open the fucking door and run the fuck away.

Do anything before someone else does it for you.

There are cracks and holes that can help people like you and me to run away. You just need to ask the right questions and do the right things.

So look at your fucking cat. They have something they want to tell you. They have wanted to tell you this for a while.

You know their name is not Mr. Fluffkins III.

You know.

What is their name?

Look at their collar.

Go ahead

Look.

NOW.

Posted in Paranormal Tuesdays

GD: Ramona and Sebastian

Hello! Welcome to a brand new Paranormal Tuesday!!!

As I said before (In a post you may or may not have read) unlike Secondary Sundays, Paranormal Tuesdays will be divided in two categories or “parts”: Phantom Tales and Grim Days.

You’ve already met the first characters in this universe, so here I bring you new ones.

I hope you enjoy this first Grim Day.

GD: Ramona and Sebastian

Life ends and starts with a flash. Or at least that’s what people have told Ramona over the years. She’s not too sure about the details of coming and going, but she does know about the process of it.

She knows that human beings live and breathe and maybe even love or hate. She knows what emotions and memories do to a decaying body. She intimately knows the way in which people barter and beg once their time is done and they realize they’re not ready to go.

Almost anyone in her position would refuse, of course. They’re trained to refuse and stand strong and tall and towering over the rest of someone else’s kingdom, but Ramona could never get into the habit of cold steel and punishing eyes.

It’s not because she feels a particular affinity with those who roam the world -No, she has fortunately escaped that particular affliction- but because she finds it easier and amusing to reach deals with the living. She likes the idea of aking for tales and precious objects thay can only delay the inevitable.

Someone might escape her today, by the short gasp of a breath, but they will escape her tomorrow.

“I knew I’d find you here.” Sebastian’s mocking voice reaches her before the distinct smell cold beer does.

Ramona turns around to see his dirty blond hair and careless blue eyes. He’s holding two cans of beer in his perpetually stained fingers, and he carries the feeling of a job well done with him.

“Where else would I be?” She takes one of the beers, which leaves Sebastian’s pecking fingers free to steal the almost forgotten cigarette from her lips.

“Dunno, town square maybe? You’re not usually this fond of heights.” He looks down toward the ground stretching fifteen floors below them.

“I’m keeping a lookout,” Ramona says. She doesn’t have to point to the right direction for Sebastian to find Letty lounging on her couch as she reads an old magazine.

“Ah.” He smirks. “How foolish of me, of course.”

He doesn’t offer any other comment but he does sit down beside her. His long legs reach further beyond than hers, but only just barely. Their shoulders rest comfortably a width apart as they look out to the streets and people below them.

For a moment, Ramona distracts herself looking at the sharp tip of her heels, the muted brown complexion of her legs, and how they compare to Sebastian’s gangly, jean-encased legs. As she moves her feet from one side to the other, Sebastian mimics her movement until their lower bodies are swaying in tandem to a soundless tune.

The wind whips her short black hair away from her face, intermittently slapping Sebastian’s. He doesn’t frown or show any signs of being affected by it, though.

“It’s getting colder,” He notes, voice calm and soothing like an Autumn’s evening.

“It’s always like that before the beginning of spring.”

Sebastian hums. “We’re about to get very busy very soon.”

Ramona makes an inquisitive noise, looking down and away trying and failing to find an approaching disaster.

“The beginning of spring is always the busiest,” He says, blowing cigarette smoke into the cooling air.

“Oh.” Ramona focuses her eyes back on Letty, noticing the careful twist of her lips as she mouths along with her reading. “You are right.”

Sebastian shrugs. “Not something I’m proud of.”

Ramona snorts and looks at him sharply. Her hair whips back and forth between them, until Sebastian grimaces and offers her a wriggly, silicone hair band.

“One of today’s barters, I suppose.” Ramona arches an eyebrow, but takes the offering and pulls her hair up into an absentminded bun.

“She was six.” Is all Sebastian says before his eyes get lost once more in the darkening skies.

They never give reasons for what they do and what it means. They both have a very different reasoning for doing what they do, but they mostly cite the same argument when asked about it: it’s fun.

“You’re taking care of Smith’s tonight.” He says, seemingly out of nowhere. “I promised Lucas I’d swing by tonight and bring him some records.”

“Is that wise?” Ramona drawls.

“Probably not.” Sebastian shrugs. “But he said they’re getting tired of the old selection and it was making their patrons antsy.”

“Antsy,” Ramona scoffs. “I’d reckon that if I were human, I too would get antsy if the hotel I was staying at started to play Chopin at four in the morning. From my toilet.”

“It’s all good fun,” Sebastian dismissed her with a careless wave of his hand. “Besides, they’ve now moved onto the newest classics. I’ve heard that Lady Gaga from a toothbrush is equally haunting.”

Despite herself, Ramona laughs in between snorts. Sebastian makes that satisfied face he always makes when he gets to prove that ‘Ramona has feelings just like the rest of us.’

“I bet,” she says once she manages to calm down her breathing.

Even after all the laughing is done she can feel and hear the air echoing inside her empty chest. It’s strange to breathe in and out through a body that doesn’t really need it. A body that lacks the fundamental pieces necessary to turn oxygen into energy and carbon dioxide.

“You sure are looking grim today.” Ramona starts and jumps to her feet to face the owner of the voice. A girl that looks like she’s sixteen and thirty between blinks of the eye is hovering over the roof of the building. Her muted ginger hair falls heavily to the middle of her back. The dullness of it contrasts almost comically against the bright cheeriness of her sundress.

“Unholiness, Paige!” Ramona curses. “What are you doing here?” She yells at the same time that Sebastian says “Ha ha, look who’s so funny.” without turning around.

“Oh, just thought I’d drop by to see how you guys were doing.” She smiles serenely, flicking her hair over her shoulder as she allows the heel of her sandals to touch the ground.

“I heard the rumours but I didn’t think they would be true.”

“Rumours?” Sebastian questions with a snarl, his distaste for Paige evident I’m the way his flingers crumple his still smoking cigarette into a ball.

“That you had finally settled!” Paige announces cheerily.

“Settled?” Ramona frowns, at the same time Sebastian deadpans, “we’ve lived here for years.”

Paige smiles, and her face turns into a darker version of itself. Then in the blink of an eye she’s back to the serene expression. “Not the rumour I’ve heard,” she singsongs.

“Then what,” Ramona hisses through clenched teeth.

“I heard that you two had finally made yourself at home in the twenty first century. Marisol said she’d seen you walking around in clothes that fit for once.” She mocks Sebastian, whose ears turn bright red in two parts anger, one part embarrassment. “And that you,” she carries on, spinning in a quarter of a circle until she’s face to face with Ramona. “Were socializing with the locals.”

Sebastian looks about ready to jump off the building just so he doesn’t have to hear Paige talk any longer, so Ramona takes pity on him.

“So what? Aren’t you guys the ones that said half a century was long enough for someone to settle somewhere.”

“Well, my, oh, my.” Paige fans herself, pretending to be fighting tears. “I just never thought I’d see the day.”

Sebastian fumes silently from the edge of the building, silently debating the benefits of jumping off and away, and having to deal with Ramona later.

“Whatever do you mean?” He forces out of a clenched jaw.

“Puh-lease,” she drawls. “Nobody settles down in nowhere ville.”

“More like Nowhere City.” Sebastian corrects her with a drawl.

“Or Nowhere Metropolis,” Ramona joins in almost jovially. “We have enough numbers now.”

“At one point does it stop being Nowhere and just becomes Somewhere?” Sebastian asks with exaggerated interest. “I mean, it needs to be at least Somewhere by now, right?”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah.” Ramona nods rapidly. “We have skyscrapers now, not many but enough.”

“Right, if we had, say… Five more, maybe we could move on from Somewhere and become A Place.”

“You two are such idiots.” Paige rolls her eyes.

“Oh, I’m sorry.” Sebastian smirks. “We forgot you were there for a moment.”

“Yeah, we were too busy settling to pay attention.”

Paige makes an annoyed noise in the back of her throat and disappears. It’s neither gradual nor sudden. She doesn’t fly away or open a portal into another place, or even wink out of existence with a flair, as some people seem to think. She is simply there one second and then not the next one, like she had never been there to begin with. It’s as if anyone would be crazy to think she had ever occupied any space at all.

“Well that was annoying,” Ramona grumbles.

“You’d think they’d stop caring after so many years.”

Ramona shrugs. “I honestly don’t give a crap that you’re wearing jeans and a brown leather jacket as opposed to your fluffy black coat and navy blue cordoroy pants fashion.”

Sebastian looks like he wants to roll his eyes at her jibe, but he only pats the concrete beside him, inviting her to sit back down.

“So,” he says, once Ramona has sat down and her idle fingers are picking away at the bits of dried clear polish on Sebastian’s jeans. “Smith.”

“Smith,” she echoes. “I’ll do him, I don’t care.”

I don’t mind, is what she means. But she would never say that out loud. That’s just not who she was.

“‘Course you don’t,” Sebastian replies, a thank you in twisted letters and words.

They stay like that for a while longer. Lofty has long since moved away from the bay window and has started to clean her room slowly. Over the back of her couch, Sebastian catches a glimpse of a faded black coat and smiles. Ramona reaches over to tap his closed fist with one long red nail twice.

“Cheers,” She says.

“Cheers,” Sebastian replies, and then just like that, they both jump off the edge of the building.

At first there’s a pull and then nothing, like grvoty wasn’t even an aftrrhtough for them. It isn’t.

Ramona opens her eyes, her body is still falling but she doesn’t care. She wants to seethe sun reflected off a hundred windows as it sets and Sebastian takes flight away and above her.

One breath she’s falling and the next her pump clad feet make gentle contact with the ground. There’s a child standing directly in front of her, staring wide eyed as his ball rolls away from his limp hands.

“Are you an angel?” He asks, warily.

“Yes,” she says, as her fingers reach out to ruffle his hair. “That I am, kid.”

She doesn’t say which kind, but then again she doesn’t need to.

Good angels don’t have bones for wings, and they certainly don’t take children off and away to end their lives.

No, that’s what Grims are for.

-L.