Chapter 3.09 – The Colour of Mourning

A bit longer than normal chapters, but this isn’t your normal chapter.


I shift my weight on the bed. Oh, the soft blankets, they call to me, ask me to crawl under and recharge, but I can’t, not just yet. I am fixing April’s golden tresses – cut with garden shears, apparently! – while the girls chatter sweetly with one another.

It is heaven for me.

The morning gradually became afternoon and both girls, fed, adequately groomed and back to their new normal, had naturally begun to ask questions. Broof, bless him, had already jumped the gun and told Melinda our little secret. Gracious, a lifetime of being paid to keep button-lipped – you’d think he’d be more discreet!

Still, I can hardly blame him for that, or for foolishly offering his throat to Melinda. The doe-eyed darling; when she turns to me with her inquisitive little face, baited on a promise of an explanation, I almost give her my heart. She feels familiar to me. She reminds me of Curious Little Cabbage.

Broof’s only child and a child forever more she’ll be.

I’ll have to take some time alone with Melinda to explore her past and her identifying markers – perhaps she is a distant cousin – but for now, she is just as welcome here as April is. And they are welcome. Am I concerned about them attacking me or my kin? No. I have it on good authority that they cannot taste a few drops of ‘liquid restraint’ in a freshly-drawn drink and that’s a fairly simple potion for me.

I have had centuries of practicing it, after all.



I remember fiddling with some fluff in the pocket of my dress. It was getting late and Mother would’ve surely been worried about me. As soon as the sun set on the horizon, the fear rose on her face. If she could’ve, she’d have kept me indoors with her from dusk ‘til dawn.

But according to Uncle Egbert, High Priest of our coven, that day, July 12th 1729, I was deemed old enough to learn how to cast so, therefore, I was old enough to defy my mother’s orders and stay out until sunrise.

I think that’s how it works.

I knew what my mother feared in the night and I hoped that she never found out that she was right to do so. That if she’d allowed me out after dark I would indeed end up being dinner for a hungry vampire.

Ten years prior to this, I had been wandering around, not long after sunset, alone and thinking of excuses not to go home, and had encountered a girl about my age who’d asked me if I was lost. She had tried to mesmerise me and failed, and in return I had let out an involuntary burst of magic but somehow managed to singe only my own hair.

After this spectacular show of mutual failure – once we’d both stopped laughing – we started talking.

Her name was Lilith and she and her little brother were runaways who didn’t agree with either the society or the rogue vampires. She didn’t think she was a superior species and she didn’t drink to kill. She lived with a human for reasons other than feeding on him! She was, for all intents and purposes, a good vampire.

I didn’t know such a thing existed. I wanted to keep her existing.

Lilith made a peculiar little sound when she fed; it was somewhere between a pained whine and a satisfied moan. The vibrations from this noise travelled down the needles of her fangs and carried throughout my whole body via my bloodstream, an odd, cold, queasy sensation. I bit my lip and reminded myself, like I did every time, that she would be done soon.

When I reached the part where my fingers felt cold and I was unable to control my shakes, I knew it was almost over. I clenched my fist and gritted my teeth, willing myself through the last seconds. Occasionally, this type of action would result in a slight tremor, but it appeared that as I was officially a bona fide witch, open to receive all the wonder that Mother Nature could bestow upon me, she was eager to try me out.

The ground beneath my feet began to tremble. At first, it was a low rumble, barely detectable, but eventually we were both struggling to even stand as the earth shimmied and rolled beneath us.

A part of me wanted Lilith to continue a little while longer, so I could see how far I could push this power.

I can definitely create an earthquake,’ I thought with excitement. ‘Can I create a volcano?’



April’s sweet little voice brings me back from the past where, more and more lately, my mind seems to be residing.

I do wish I could have had daughters. The modern witches say that gender doesn’t matter but it does to me. Wyatt used to tolerate me fixing his hair, but nowadays is quite content to look like he’s been dragged through a hedge.

I almost want to cry as I tie April the cutest little bow and watch her hop happily off the bed to ‘admire’ it in the empty mirror.

Perhaps I genuinely am too soft and old-fashioned to head today’s coven.


We move to the sitting room where we join Lilith, Caleb, Wyatt and Broof.

I settle myself on my favourite sofa cushion, softened and shaped to the curves of my derriere. The old chair groans as much as my bones do and I almost tell it to Hush! This is your job!

Naturally, when I chuckle at my personification of my very much inanimate furniture, no one understands. They just think I’m doolally.

I have now explained to the girls and Caleb, who we are, how witches are regular people who simply have the ability to understand the songs that nature sings and I have explained what we plan to do for them, specifically, keep them hidden and well-nourished both in mind and body while we search for a cure.

April trusted my words without question, but Melinda, naturally sharp, wanted to know why we’d want to do these things. With no reason now to doubt it, I explained how April was connected to us because Wyatt, sure as sugar, wasn’t offering to explain.

I was willing to give the three of them time to think and talk it through, but both girls immediately agreed to stay upon finding out this information. It appears they were both tired of constantly looking over their shoulders and neither enjoyed preying on others. Even Caleb was happy to remain here when he saw April’s eyes light up, giddy with curiosity about her witch roots and clapping her hands with excitement at getting to know her new ‘father’ and ‘grandmother’.

She really is a very sweet girl, but Wyatt wasn’t the only one who cringed at that moment – I think we both aged a few years during that conversation. I am content for her to name me however she sees fit but, for now at least, Wyatt’s insisted that she simply call him ‘Wy’.

I hate it when people call him that. It sounds like a loaded question.

A heavy gap in the conversation is filled by another flutter of April’s questions, “Have you and Lilith have been friends for a long time, Grandmother?”

Yes, friends…


–              


I never did get to try out my volcano-creating ability that evening. Lilith, ever disproving everything I’d ever been taught about vampires, was far too controlled to continue even a second more than she needed to. She heaved a huge sigh and pushed me back; both of us struggled to stay upright on the jumpy floor.

“All right, I’m done,” she said in her cool way. “Calm down, Sage.”

“Did you feel that?!” I gushed, dizzy from blood loss and high on the energy I felt radiating from my skin. “That was a big one!”

She shrugged. “I’ve felt bigger.”

“Oh, do shut up!” I knew she was teasing me. We didn’t naturally get detectable earthquakes in that part of the world and even though I wasn’t the only witch Lilith knew, the others didn’t know that she knew so never did any magic around her.

As the world regained its stillness, I saw Lilith staring at me in her moody way.

“Thank you,” she said quietly. “I owe you.”

She said that every time, but there was nothing I wanted from her. She had nothing.

I adjusted my hair on my shoulder and shrugged. “Any time. Well, perhaps not any time as the erythrocyte elixir takes twenty-four hours to regenerate the blood loss but… you know what I mean.” She nodded and looked off into the distance. Trapped in her own head, as per usual. I tried to read her expression and guess what she was thinking. “Has Caleb come back yet?”

She shook her head and I sucked in a big breath. He’d been gone for two weeks; I think that was a record.

Him vanishing was nothing new; he had been drifting in and out of the picture for the last eighteen months, beating himself up since the night Nathaniel accidentally died at his hands. In that time I’d watched my friend slowly closing herself down, shutting herself off as much as she could to a world that had dealt her a really bad hand.

I didn’t know what to do about Caleb. Well, I did, but it was still a while off. I reminded Lilith of this lifeline, perhaps the only hope she had.

“Mother says this latest sapling is showing real promise. You’ll have a plasma fruit by Winter.” I had told her this many times before, but Mother really did say those words, the last time I could be bothered to listen to her. “And then, once we have the fruit, we’re only one step away, Lilith. One step.”

Lilith briefly looked pained before she nodded and repeated blankly, “One step.”



I drag my eyes away from the stained mug on the table that I have been staring through and they land on Caleb, who has been attached to April like a limpet since she arrived.

Caleb has always been keen on young ladies, but I admit that I was incredibly shocked to hear that he had turned one.

The boy is not how I remember him at all; oh, he’s still just as foolish, still tripping over his own feet to embed himself in any unfortunate female who crosses his path, but he is also gentler, warmer.

There’s no doubt in my mind where he’s getting that from.

April – not-worthy-of-a-middle-name – Moss. It’s incredibly difficult for me to accept that my precious boy once, ahem, ground corn with that awful Cassandra Moss, let alone that such a brief encounter resulted in a child and, oh my Goddess, do not get me started on him shirking his responsibilities – my heart has had enough for one day! He has all but avoided looking at the blonde since we sat down and I wonder if he sees what I do.

April does resemble her mother; I see very little of Wyatt in her features, but it dances throughout all of her expressions. Looking at April there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that she is a Harper. The shape of her face and those huge blue-grey eyes remind me so much of my late-husband, Warren.

And even more painfully, she reminds me of my Tarragon.

They do say time is a healer. They never do say how much time.

Perhaps the girl is simply an eye magnet as Melinda looks over at April almost constantly, also. Her expression is torn between woe and longing and I wonder why – oh. Oh my, it’s clicked. Oh, what a crying shame. I wonder if April ever felt the same before her heart was forced to be Caleb’s. Perhaps we may never know.

‘Now, now, Negative Nancy! That’s not the attitude! After all, there may very well be a viable cure out there,’ I think.

But do I want to give up everything to find it?



My mother, Angeline, did not know that Lilith was a vampire. Hiding in our tiny house, fearing the night and spending her days researching a vampire cure was based purely in fantasy.

A place she’d been trapped since my father left her.

I’ve never met my father. The only things I knew about him were the snippets my mother would recall of him in those rare moments when she could bring him up without breaking down.

His name was Seth. He was twenty-eight when he disappeared. He had dark brown eyes, boundless charm and a smart mouth that always got him in trouble. He was, according to Mother, forcibly taken by a group of rogue vampires in 1691 and hadn’t been heard from since.

Mother would not explain her reasoning but, despite the strong opposition from the rest of the coven, she was adamant that Seth was not taken as food. She was convinced that he had been turned, against his will.

She also insisted that even though the man was a thief, a convicted murderer, mentally unhinged, had repeatedly seduced her without ever considering marriage and then conveniently vanished when she fell pregnant, he was apparently not some scoundrel who deserved to rot, but a wonderful, misunderstood man who was worth saving.

Her blinkered endeavours and pro-vampire rhetoric led to her being shunned by the majority of witch society and held at arm’s length by the rest. Which is exactly where I would’ve also been, if it wasn’t for my mentor, Ma Hogwash.

Almost as if my thoughts had conjured her, I heard Ma calling me.

“Sage! I know you’re out here!”

I was alarmed by Ma’s appearance. How did she know I was here? Lilith and I exchanged a glance, each sensing trouble, and stepped out from our sheltered spot amongst the trees.

Ma was in her ritual dress but she didn’t seem worried about Lilith seeing it. She looked to Lilith first and then back to me. Did I imagine it, or did she scan my neck before meeting my eyes? I subtly repositioned my hair, just in case the teeth marks were visible. If she noticed anything, she didn’t say it.

Her voice was fractured and breathy as she said. “Sage, you need to come with me.”

I huffed. Seriously? I half wanted to test my volcano-making ability to show her that I wasn’t a child who could be ordered home on a whim, but it’s not like she could do anything in front of Lilith, a non-witch. She couldn’t make me go anywhere.

“I’ll head home soon,” I sighed. “Tell Mother I’m fine, I’m not a child—”

“Do I look your messenger? We’re going back to my place. Now,” Ma said sternly. I’d not heard that tone since I was a little girl and it still made my heart freefall into my stomach.

“Why? What’s so important?” I asked, my throat beginning to dry up. Beside me, I saw Lilith stiffen. I once more registered Ma’s attire and the sinking feeling deepened. “Did something happen at the… um… the costume party?” I managed; my throat so constricted that I could hardly draw the air in to form words at all.

“If I could tell you here, I would tell you,” Ma huffed. “Am I speaking Swahili? Get your backside over here, sasa.”

Overwhelmed with floods of teenage stubbornness, fringed with panic and a woozy feeling like I might faint at any second, I stamped my foot and felt the earth once more respond beneath my feet. “No! Tell me!” I screamed, like the very child I’d professed not to be. “What happened at the ritual?”

Ma didn’t redirect the energy; she didn’t do anything to cover it up or to deny what I’d just yelled out, except allow her gaze to flutter briefly over Lilith. She muttered a string of swear words under her breath and then said, “There wasn’t a ritual, Sage. I’m under strict instructions from the High Priest to find you and take you to safety. You have exactly three seconds to comply before I invert you and transportalate you by force. One…”

“Two…”

I pretended to submit and took a step towards her, then pivoted on my heel to swiftly run in a zig-zag in the direction of the meeting clearing, dodging Ma’s attempt to catch me.



Lilith is eyeing me suspiciously, but she has never been able to read what I’m thinking and this time is no exception. Which is just as well. As I wearily drag myself back into the present from what I gather by the expressions of my companions was a longer-than-usual memory slip, I consider sharing it with the girls, but I’m not sure what it will achieve.

I’m curious to know what they do about my father or any other potential parasites, but – more fool me for allowing Lilith a moment alone with Melinda. The girl insists that Faith has left due to a difference of opinion and becomes flustered when I push her to elaborate.

And it doesn’t take a telepathist to hear that Lilith is mentally pulling Caleb’s strings as he in turn pulls on April’s.

I’m certain that Lilith has encountered Seth over the years, or at least a vampire who knew him – how could she not? I refuse to believe that she could never find anything. I’m sure there’s something she doesn’t tell me.

Knowing her as I do, it’s likely not a secret she’s keeping for my benefit.



The clearing was about a mile away, but I was so angry and determined that maybe I’d inadvertently cast something, as I arrived in seconds.

The clearing had not even been set up. There should’ve been a hundred witches here, but there were only a handful. The lights were dimmed, the only illumination came from the fire that tonight burned purple; the colour of mourning.

Mourning?

“Mother!” I screamed, rushing towards her only for a strong, targeted gust of wind to push me back into Ma, who had materialised behind me.

I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the barefooted, brown-haired woman curled up in the dirt. It was so jarring, seeing her out in the dark. I thought she was sleeping, perhaps she’d been sleepwalking. But as I’d gotten closer I’d noticed that the messy braid snaked around her neck was doing little to hide the frayed flesh underneath. If Ma had not been holding me so firmly, I definitely would’ve collapsed. I felt like I was made of jelly.

“Marigold,” the High Priest hissed, noticing me and addressing Ma by her full name. “Safety, I said! How could you bring the child here—?”

Aha. There was my spine.

“She didn’t!” I cried out. “And I’m not a child! What happened?! Tell me what happened to her!”

“She found him,” Ma murmured against the shell of my ear, silencing me immediately.

What?

“Vampires, Sage,” the High Priest said gravely after scrutinising me for a moment. He walked a slow circle of the meeting space. “This,” he waved his hand over my poor, foolish mother, “This is what becomes of those who sympathise with those monsters.”

The High Priest continued to talk; they would find the ones responsible. I should let the dream of finding my father die with my mother. But Ma’s words rang louder.

She found him.

He exists. Mother was right.

No.

He’s done this. Mother couldn’t have been more wrong.

The rage was hot in my throat and I knew Ma could sense it even before I screamed. She held me tighter and I felt the edges of the world begin to dissolve as she apologised to the High Priest for bringing me there. Disintegrating in the void, I heard her tell me to let the senior witches handle it. That there was nothing I could do.

Oh, but there was.

As my mind surrendered all its thoughts, a final one lingered ‘til the last.

I owe you.



It is all rather frustrating, I do admit, having centuries pass with no progress, but fate always finds a way.

Lilith may be a closed book, but one of these three will cave. A little trust and a little more time – that is all it will take.

I just hope I have enough of both those things remaining.

16 thoughts on “Chapter 3.09 – The Colour of Mourning

  1. Ooookay, so what do we have here? First off, let me say the new haircut suits April so much! And generally, bless the devs for the Cottage Living, right? The clothing fits those olden times so well.

    Hum… so Sage explains the way she keeps the vamps calm. A potion, huh? Those witches sure like their brews… I wonder if Sage´s practice with it was only for Lilith´s benefit, though.

    Oh! Yea, and I guess now we know who the last portrait was. 😀

    Sooo, let me get this straight. So witches used to hope for a daughter the way most men hoped for a son, correct? Even though boys can totally wield the powers just as well? (Or are Sage´s sons just exceptions and Broof the more typical male witch?)
    Also… I´m noticing a new thing you did with the memory pictures here. So if white tinge is reliable memory and black a tampered one, then what do these jagged ones mean? *is suspicious* Maybe has to do with Sage being so old? At least that´d be my guess.

    …also, maybe I´m imagining things, but April looks a bit strained there. Almost like she isn´t as excited as she makes it look and it´s flying straight over Sage´s head. April does have this habit of trying to make awkward stuff go away by being polite… definitely poor Wyatt, though. I mean, I´m not really very sympathetic here, but he´s got to be mortified. XD

    The past selves of Sage and Lilith do seem to get along better than their current selves, though. Hmm… I wonder if it started when Lilith refused to help Sage find Seth, even though she “owed her.” That´d definitely have a potential to crack a friendship.
    And then there is this curious little mention. I wonder what would Sage have to do to “find” this cure. So far, it looked like research was what they´d need… but perhaps not? Maybe the recipe already exists and the coven has it? Maybe she´d have to admit to her stance to get it. Hmm… that would explain her unwillingness to do so much better than her “unmotivated” comment.

    *sigh* Poor, poor Angeline. It still leaves things unclear… that could have been Seth, or it could still have been Kathryn. If Angeline went wandering into the rogue´s compound… she was more likely to meet basically anyone else sooner than Seth, wasn´t she? But of course they could have caught her and stuck her in the basement too, so… yeah. DX
    Also, that´s clever with the colors of the fire meaning different things. I love that idea. 😀

    Hm. Lilith thinks she´s clever. She thinks she´s got stuff under control. Sage begs to differ. Well, now, this is definitely gonna be interesting still. XD

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OOH YES. Cottage Living was perfect for my flashback scenes and April just had to have this hair – it’s like it was made for her.

      A few drops of liquid restraint and even Caleb can resist the urge to drain someone. It has to be taken with blood and it cannot stave off thirst indefinitely, though. They don’t have a potion for that. Yet.

      Now we have met the High Priest, Egbert, we have seen all three from the portraits. I can’t remember if you guessed who the others were or not. You probably did. 😁

      Ah, sorry for confusing you. Sage just wanted a daughter she could dress up and do girly things with. Witches of any gender can both powerful like Wyatt, or crappy, like Broof.

      This filter is chapter-specific to help you all distinguish between present day and past without everything being excessively filtered which made my eyes fuzzy. But yep, correct, they are all white. No memory meddling going on in her head.

      Good spot. April is very used to putting on a brave face. April and Wyatt’s very first interaction resulted in them both being embarrassed for ages, so I went with it.

      Such fun questions. You’ve sort of already answered yourself. I know this is frustratingly vague. We’ll get to the reasoning soon enough. 😉

      Could have been Seth or Kitty. Or maybe someone in the coven is stirring things up. Either way, Angeline is dead, Lilith and Sage’s relationship got ruined and Sage is left feeling even more contempt for Seth so maybe mission accomplished?

      Like

      1. Oh? So the restraint potion is specifically tailored for vampires? Too bad that, even humans could use that sort of effect at times. ;D

        *giggles* Yeah. Ma is pretty obvious and had been for a while and you even said I was the first to get the third one. ;D She was actually the first of the three I figured out and I completely freaked out about it… is that still considered a spoiler though, I wonder… the hair doesn´t make her look that different but the high priestess thing is bound to throw people for a loop, all things considered…

        Oh, okay. Guess that makes sense, given it was mostly just Sage and her mum growing up. XD

        I see! That´s a good idea, there… 😀

        *giggles* Nah, it´s okay! I trust that we´ll get the answers in due time… and in the meantime, well, all the more opportunity to spin theories! ;DD

        …I haven´t thought of that. Which is silly of me, of course. Angeline was a dissident. And she had become a very good example as to why her way of thinking was wrong. Maybe she had not been careful enough, at least where Seth was concerned as otherwise she had obviously been very careful indeed… but maybe someone else made it happen. If that were the case, then Egbert would be under serious suspicion since he /was/ awfully quick to use it for his rhetoric… but maybe someone different made it happen knowing that was what the High Priest would think and that he would not investigate further… what a curious array of possibilities.

        Like

        1. Maybe it’s one of those ‘quietly suspicious’ scenarios, where everyone has figured it out, but is waiting for the blow-up-your-face confirmation. I mean, she could have a twin, or have been body snatched or cloned or, um… been painted terribly inaccurately.

          I do love reading spun theories. 😁 Especially when they’re right and I scream in glee and my neighbours think I’m being murdered.

          Very curious. Considering that she never left the house at night so either something broke in… or something lured her out.

          Like

          1. Hehehe… I mean, the last one actually sounds the most likely because… well, there certainly is a few folks around here with the gift to fool us mere mortals, but I´m inclined to take what we heard about Her at face value… becaus, you know. Takes a monster to create one and all that.

            😀 And I love the fact you´re that enthusiastic about everything. (And it makes me really happy that you sound more alive today than the last two weeks or so by the way. You don´t even know.)

            Yep. One wonders if she´d have made an exception for Seth, ech? Theoretically, she could have gone by day… and found the hideout… but then again, the witches wouldn´t have likely known where to look for her that soon if that were the case, or even to look for her at all, unless she didn´t show up for the ritual of course… but still. Yeah, doesn´t sound likely. Hmm… very suspicious indeed. Ugh, but if some anti-vampire witch did that… well, what else is new. I´d known that coven was a rotten place since the start. DX

            Liked by 1 person

            1. “Takes a monster to create one” oooh. OOOOH it so does. 😁

              Every comment you make about this coven reassures me that I have put your sim in exactly the right place in this story. Ehehehe! Can’t wait!

              Like

              1. *smirk* I´m sure you have. Especially now. There´s a lot of things she´d disagree with but if she had only a shadow of suspicion that someone in there was willing to kill a fellow witch over the vampire-thing? Well, it is all up to you as to what she´d have done, but anywhere that isn´t in this coven would be a preferable place, that´s for sure.

                Liked by 1 person

  2. In my fiction creative writing class, I wrote a whole short story about the life of an armchair. It started belonging to an old man then the wife made him get rid of it. side of the road; found by kids; used in a frat house; they broke it; side of the road; restorer found it; fixed it; donated it to nursing home–that the original old man was then living at. So when Sage acted like the armchair had a personality, that brought that all back. 🙂

    I wanna know the connection between Broof’s kiddo and Melly. I feel like it’s just out of reach, but don’t give it away.

    Oh, that’s HEARTBREAKING how Seth probably killed the woman he loved, the woman he was dying to find. (no pun intended) But then, maybe someone else did. Hmmmmmmmmmm……

    And I can’t believe how Lilith is getting them to all keep quiet about Seth. She kept the knowledge of Seth from Sage, even after everything she owed her. If my brain could just fucking work today, I probably could piece it together.

    Anyway, this was a great chapter. The length was fine. Sometimes longer is necessary, and I’m always happy when there’s not a HUGE cliffy. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Y’know, I’ve had a few people reach out to me with stories about how my rambling fictional nonsense has reminded them of certain moments in their life, but your warm memory of your armchair story is by far and away my favourite. I would read that story. Except now I know how it ends.
      I’d still read it.

      I won’t give it away, no, but I will be dangling this carrot just out of reach a little while longer, sorry.

      Maybe, maybe. I wonder who would have the answer to that question and if we’ll ever hear from them.

      Another carrot just out of reach. I hope you lot like veg because between last book’s potatoes and this one’s carrots it’s turning into a fucking greengrocers in here. 😆🤣

      You don’t enjoy a huge cliffy. Got it. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. hehe. don’t let me stop you from huge cliffies. And well, if you must shove veggies down my throat, good luck. I sometimes have to trick myself into eating them. (like on pizza)

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Comment is huge. Forgive. 😗

    Oh yes, old enough to cast definitely equals adult, equals totally fine to defy your mother’s orders, Sage. Then again, every teenager would think like that. Ooooh, so that is how Lilith and Sage met! That’s surprisingly sweet and wholesome. I wonder if Sage’s magic reacted like that because she was being fed on, or because she was will-powering through it and her powers responded to that. Probably a good thing that Lilith had such good control even then, because a volcano sounds like a very bad idea in a number of ways 😅

    The ability to understand the songs that nature sings. I think that’s my favourite sentence of the whole chapter. That is such a lovely description of what magick is.

    April accepting everything so readily and happily seems… weird. That’s three earth-shattering reveals in one – witches exist, she probably is one, and the family that she knew is only half of the family she has. You’d think that even someone as conditioned and subdued as April would react a little more than immediate acceptance. I wonder if April is holding back her real feelings, and I wonder if Melinda knows.

    Lilith’s eyes look so dead and hollow and numb in that flashback. Not the one where they met, but the second one, with her drinking from Sage. I wonder if that’s her losing Nathaniel, or if she’s already met and started to be broken down by Seth at this point. I wonder what the last step is after the fruit. I wonder how many people Caleb has already killed. I wonder if Caleb is who they made the basement for and if so, how many bodies it took for her to finally throw him in. Whoa, back up from the abyss. Up. Up.

    Nope, never mind. Down still. “Give up everything to find it.” That’s so ominous and so full of things that we still don’t know. Oh, Angeline 😭 stuck in a cabin scared of the dark and holding on to a sliver of hope for a cure. Oh that is just heartbreaking. Did she see Seth get taken away by the vampires? It would explain why she’s so adamant that he was a victim. Ouch, and her insistence that he’s a good man that was dealt a bad hand seems to just convince Sage of the opposite even more.

    Ah, yes, “you can’t make me” and stomping your foot when you don’t get your way. Very adult of you, Sage 🤭 Ha! Ma has a sense of humour. I like it. And now I know exactly one word of Swahili, yay!

    And here we reach the title of the chapter. Oh, that is so heartbreakingly sad. Poor Angeline. She had such a horrific end to an already sad life. The shape of her bite speaks volumes, too. I wonder who did it. Was it Seth, who couldn’t control himself and ended up killing his lover by mistake? Was it Seth, but ordered to do it by Bob and unable to disobey? Was it Bob herself? Or was this a different vampire entirely?

    Oh gods, and she’s turning to Lilith to find Seth. Which we know she didn’t do – she’s bending over backwards to keep those two away from each other. By any means necessary. Ah, it’s all such a mess. Poor… well, everyone, at this point. I wonder if Sage would actually go through with what sounds like plans of revenge if she did meet Seth. And now that Lilith won’t share, she’s turning to April, Caleb and Melinda.

    Hm. Caleb knows not to tell, but he’s incredibly dumb when it comes to instructions. If she gets him away from Lilith long enough, maybe he’ll slip up. April in turn is getting guided by Caleb (yikes), but she’s better at keeping everything bottled up inside either way. She’s been conditioned by Sandy for years. Melinda doesn’t have that, but is much sharper than both of them. I guess it could depend on what Lilith told her, and who she ends up trusting more? 🤔 Hm. Hmm hmm hmm.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I forgive you.

      Nah, a volcano popping up in the middle of Windenburg would’ve been fine! No one would’ve batted an eyelid, especially if there a blood-drained ‘teenage’ witch lying on top of it next to a very full, but very crispy vampire. Would’ve been a very different story had that been the case, but Sulani and the volcanos didn’t exist when this was originally played out. Oh well.

      Aw, did I write something pretty at last? 😍 That’s what magick is to me. But what do I know about magick? 😉

      Yeah, you’re not wrong, any one of those things should have evoked some sort of reaction, even in April. We’ll get more of her feelings in chapter 3.11, when someone fluent in Aprish gets a moment with her.

      Good spot about Lilith’s eyes. In the timescale, this is not too long after Nathaniel died and it would be fair to say that Lilith was very much being broken down by someone. But was it by Seth? The next step after the fruit, well that is the cure! In theory. “I wonder how many people Caleb has already killed.” Lots. I wonder if Caleb is who they made the basement for and if so, how many bodies it took for her to finally throw him in. Gruesome. I won’t tell you that, but I will tell you that Caleb gained access to the basement easily enough when he brought the girls to house. Maybe you want to divert that theory to those who haven’t actually been in the basement…
      Aw, but the abyss is fun! *splashes around gleefully in the burning despair of endless dark*

      Oh, there’s lots you still don’t know. 2 and half more books, in fact! I told you this story was tangled and almost eternal, right? 😆🤣

      Even I can’t laugh here because I loved Angeline. Always wandering up to join random conversations where she’d crack inappropriate jokes and preach about vegetarianism. Never wearing shoes. Literally the only sim in the save who didn’t hate Seth. Someone knows exactly what happened here. One day we will hear their version.

      Woo! Check you out with all your language skills!

      Oof, I know you’re not asking for answers but damn, all those theories are grim.

      Hey, who better to find a vampire than another vampire, right? And Lilith did find Seth; in fact, she can’t seem to get rid of the bloke. Would quite possibly love to see him headless, even. Doesn’t quite add up, does it? 🤭

      Who will crack first? April? Caleb? Melinda? Lilith? … Sage? Seth himself?

      Like

  4. “She said that every time, but there was nothing I wanted from her. She had nothing.”

    Holy cow. I’m a little bit speechless. I want to try and gather my thoughts but I just cannot. I don’t doubt that Sage will break one of them—easily. April and Caleb barely have a brain cell between them. Melinda is smart, but she isn’t worldly. And Lilith…well…Lilith is in so deep with all her various plots and secrets, I’m not sure she wouldn’t break herself.

    It strikes me how many layers of secrets these long-lived creatures keep. And they have to, right? I mean, if you live for hundreds of years you can’t go blurting everything out all willy-nilly. You’ll live to see the consequences. So everything you has to be weighed very carefully.

    Must be exhausting.

    I really enjoyed this chapter from her pov. It was somehow sweet and sinister at the same time. Just like Sage.

    Totally wrong theory, I’m sure: I don’t think he killed Sage’s mom. Not because he’s a nice guy, but because there’s a monster bigger than him out there and I’m not sure anyone is paying attention…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooh your comment there about Lilith, such insight you bestow upon me.

      Yeah, for sure, you know very well how it is. To survive that long in a world that fears/hates/wouldn’t understand you, your whole existences has to be a secret. Lying becomes second nature. Every decision is calculated.

      “there’s a monster bigger than him out there and I’m not sure anyone is paying attention…” what monster? all looks fine to me. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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