Chapter 3.22 – Peachy Blob

“Good afternoon. It’s time for your hourly news round-up with me; Lorna Broad-Castor. Today’s headlines on Tuesday 16th May 2017 – yes, it’s still only halfway through May; I know this year is lasting forever.

“There has been a minor breakthrough in the case of the missing daughter of the late, great Sandy Moss. After a week with no sightings, April’s friend, Faith Splodge aged 19, a cinema attendant from Willow Creek, was spotted at a recent Kaz Traitors gig. According to the band, she was in the company of a mystery man, known only as ‘Seth’.”

Adina gasped, staring in the direction of the television and clutching her friend’s hand firmly. The police had told her this information earlier in the morning, but hearing the news broadcaster say it made it all real to her. Adina may have driven her daughter away but someone else was preventing her from returning.

“He has my baby, Babs,” she whispered. “Is there a photo of him?”

“No,” Babs replied. “But they do have a computer-generated image of his face.”

“Describe him to me. Describe the vile, ugly monster who’s taken my baby girl.”

Babs looked at the image displayed on the television and hesitated; her breath caught in her throat. “Um… well, he has a beard,” she said carefully.

“A beard?” Adina repeated. “Like Father Winter?”

“Yes and no,” Babs said noncommittedly. “He’s a little more sinister-looking than Father Winter and not as beardy.”

“What on earth are you about? Less beardy but more sinister?” Adina blinked, trying to focus on her friend’s peachy blob of a face. “Like Bonkle SacFondle?”

“Well, um, no. Dee, he’s not exactly… ugly.”

Adina’s shoulder dropped as she read between the lines. “He’s bleeding gorgeous isn’t he?”

Babs drew a big breath. “He’s of a type, yes.”

“The mystery man is described as being in his early thirties, about 6 foot tall, muscular, with long, dark hair—“

“’Of a type?!’ That’s everybody’s type!” Adina wailed. “Do you think she ran off with him on purpose? But then what about… what about the other girls?”

“Well according to Chuck, they are holed up with vampires. I think he’s having a mid-life crisis, Dee.”

“Vampires?” Adina repeated, thinking of all of Faith’s posters and books. About the movies she’d liked. About the websites she’d visited and the bars she’d frequented. About the police officer who’d laughed when he’d told her that, had he not known better, he’d have assumed that Faith had been actively looking for a vampire.

Babs was still chatting on, as she did, about how vampires didn’t exist, about how Chuck had lost his mind.

Neither of those points sat well with Adina. The day Chuck lost his mind would be a cold day in hell.

And if vampires didn’t exist, then who or what did Faith find?

AJ was late for work and blustered into the small building that passed as the head office of the Bucketland Bulletin: the region’s least read weekly newspaper. She didn’t even have time to remove her jacket before her work bestie and supervisor, Pete, had pounced on her.

“AJ!”

“My car wouldn’t start!” AJ shouted.

“What?”

“That’s why I was late.”

He frowned at her. “Don’t you get the train here? Regardless. AJ, I need you on the phoneline today; we’ve had at least three calls on the back of this ‘smouldering kidnapper’ story – I can’t keep up!”

“What?” AJ asked turning her attention to the screen that Pete was nodding at.

“Sweet mother of fuck,” she whispered.

“I know! We’re still fanning the flames of the Moss story and now we have a ‘sizzling psychopath’ in the mix? It’s a great day to be journalist!” he announced.

“That’s Seth,” AJ stated.

“That’s what he was calling himself, yeah. So, I know you were working on that super-interesting article about potholes on the M7, but I need you to—”

“No it is Seth,” she repeated. “You remember a few days ago, when I told you about that guy I met in Windenburg? That’s him!”

Pete narrowed his eyes, thinking. “The one who followed you home from the pub?”

“Yes.”

“Huh. I didn’t think he was real. Didn’t you invite him in for ice cream and end up having wild, naked fun time on top of the dryer?”

“…Something like that.”

Pete looked between the image on the screen and his colleague. “Juicy. The plot thickens. I wonder if he’d already got the girls locked up somewhere. Shoot, AJ, you really could have dodged a bullet there, huh?” He tapped his chin, looked at his watch, tapped his chin again. AJ could see the cogs whirring. “This means that there might be further footage of him then, right? Footage no one else will know about. In Windenburg Square? Outside the pub?”

“Maybe. Although it was quite dark. Raining a bit…”

“We might still be able to get a clear shot of you seducing him from that.”

“About that—”

“Footage no one else will have,” Pete continued, lost in his fantasy. “An exclusive scoop! Oh, this is gold. Screw the potholes and the phoneline, AJ! What are you waiting for? Get your butt down to the Square and get that footage!”

Joe had turned the volume up and the whole bar was riveted on the newsreader’s words.

“He also has a distinctive scar on his left cheek and a tattoo of a heart on his bicep, containing a defaced word that began with the letter ‘L’.”

“L?” Fred laughed. “Got yourself a man after all did you, Lily?”

“No,” Lilith said sternly.

“Just as well. A nice girl like you has no place with a criminal.”

“Don’t I know it,” Lilith muttered, glaring at the digitally-created image of Seth that was displayed on the screen and invoking a hundred unwanted memories in her. “I’ve never seen him in my life,” she insisted.

“Who has? These computer doodah images; they’re pointless!” Fred scoffed, cradling his beer. “He probably looks bugger all like that.”

Lilith nodded, sipping her drink that burned so much more than usual. The last few days it felt like her insides were constantly ablaze.

“I mean, look at him,” Fred gestured wildly at the screen, forcing Lilith’s eyes back up. “As if a man who looks like that would need to kidnap anyone. He coulda clicked his fingers and she’d have just followed. Pfft.”

“Kidnappers are only ugly men, right Fred?” Joe winked. “Careful, you’ll have the police at your door.”

“I’ll have you know I was quite the catch, back in the day. And let me tell you; I don’t buy it. I think she ran off with him willingly. Probably snuffed her pretty little famous friend and the other one, so she could have him to herself.”

Lilith spat her drink over the bar and Joe tutted, reaching for his rag. “I’m with you, Doc. Fred, you can’t say things like that!”

“I can say whatever I want!” he announced in an irate slur. “This is a free country!”

“No, it isn’t,” Joe sighed, mopping up Lilith’s spilt drink. “I’m switching you to the half strength lager.”

Fred shrugged and pushed his glass forward for a refill.

Lilith was beginning to regret coming back here but she was running out of bar options. At least the tinfoil-hatted weirdoes weren’t in here yet. Last thing she needed now was any more occult hysteria.

“Camera footage has been obtained from the venue – the Boudoir Lounge – but it appears to be heavily affected by a lighting anomaly. Although, our more, ahem, open-minded viewers believe that this is no glitch…”

That this mystery man may not, in fact, be human.”

Lilith’s insides did a full somersault as Fred guffawed. “More of this hooey! ‘Not human’ – my pale arse! Sorry Lily,” he apologised again for his cursing, although he could have strung together nothing but a line of expletives and Lilith still wouldn’t have taken it in.

She pushed her stool back and headed towards the door.

“You and your potty mouth, Fred!” Joe reprimanded him, the last thing Lilith heard before the door closed behind her. Her brain abuzz, her sludgy blood curdling and her breakfast from Broof burning her insides.

Seth went to a concert. A concert! He let his guard down and left a whole room full of humans to remember him. Famous humans! What a stupid bloody thing to do! Was she surrounded by goddamn idiots?!

Lilith wanted to scream. She knew that this would happen. She knew that he’d stop at nothing and likely lose his damn head trying to win Faith over, but this was a whole new level of obsession.

She kicked the dirt and pouted. He’d never taken her to a concert.

“I do care about you.”

So he was telling the truth. The idiot.

How long would it be until the witches saw that footage – until Sage saw that footage? Would that alone be enough for them to figure it out?

Was she overreacting? She could be. If Seth really was catering to Faith’s every whim – and he probably was – then no doubt he’d taken her somewhere with every modern convenience under the sun. She’d have a television, for certain. She’d see this news feature and, if he had any sense left in that brain, he’d realise he’d completely screwed up and he’d take them both into hiding; far, far away.

Hopefully the shame of making such a blatant mistake would mean he’d never come back, but that was probably wishful thinking on Lilith’s part.

Then, all the others had to do was lie low until this new wave of supernatural mania died down.

Yes, she could claw her way out of this grave. She could. If Seth had any sense whatsoever, it would all still be fine.

He might even be forever out of her hair! It might actually, finally all work out for the best! How many times had that happened?

Faith had been dozing; replaying a dream she often had where she was forever walking down a long corridor lined with doors, but every one she tried to open remained firmly, stubbornly locked. She closed her hands around each and every handle, testing them as she passed, hoping that one day, one of them would open to permit her, but also dreading what she might find inside.

The dream had bled into reality this time, but it wasn’t a door knob that Faith had in her hand when she awoke.

She tried to remove herself from Seth’s pants without waking him, but she failed. He woke, if he’d even been asleep, with a throaty little laugh; pulling her tight against him and kissing a trail from the exposed back of her neck to her ear.

“Again?” he teased, gliding his hand under her t-shirt. “Can’t give a man a day off after his near-death experience.”

Faith tensed, instantly reminded of the state she’d found him in, of the absolute mess that was her current life. She wriggled from his hold, ignoring his look of confusion.

“I thought you were a door,” she mumbled, sounding as dumb as she felt.

“Ah. Easy mistake to make.” He raised an eyebrow and adjusted himself before practically leaping from the bed.

“Feeling better?” she asked, listening to him sing to himself – oh god, she knew that song. He strutted about the room, stretching, as she watched. Did pushing him away look suspicious? Maybe she’d invite him back; she could just sink her teeth into—

Sink, she thought, absently adjusting her shorts over her still-tender hip bones.

“Much better,” he replied sprightly. “And you?”

“Yeah I’m just… tired. I’m glad you’re OK, Seth,” she whispered. “But why are you singing Childhood? I thought you said that song was like grating your eardrums with a porcupine.”

“The lyrics are interesting,” he smiled wryly, singing a few bars, “‘No rationale can tell me that I was free from blame; to blur the lines of trespass, I’ll cut away the shame’.

“Fuck,” Faith corrected.

“Excuse me?”

“’I’ll fuck away the shame’,” Faith said.

“Ah, that’s it. Poignant.”

That had to be a dig. It must a dig at her, right? But he couldn’t know – could he?

He nodded and headed off towards the bathroom. “I’m going to venture out again today. Anything you’d like bringing back? Another dozen outfits?”

“No… I don’t need anything.”

“Oh?” he stopped. “Nothing? No jewels? A car?”

“I don’t need anything. Well… maybe one thing,” Faith said quietly. “It’s almost Joy’s birthday.”

“Your sister? I see.” He sighed. “Faith—”

“I know I can’t go and see her,” she said watching him disappear behind the dressing screen. “But could I at least send her a present so she knows I’m thinking about her?” he didn’t respond to her question, so she said it louder. “Can you get Joy a present?”

He appeared before her a minute or so later, dressed once again in his tatty leather attire.

“I heard you the first time. A present,” he repeated. “I certainly can although I admit to naïveté about the desires of eight-year-old girls. What kind of gift would she appreciate? A doll?”

Faith almost laughed. “No, not a doll. Something gross or scary. Something she can show off to one-up that little shit, Max Villareal.”

“Something to one-up Max Villareal,” Seth repeated, looking confused. “I’ll see what I can do.”

Faith nodded. She opened her mouth to say something else, but wasn’t even sure what she could say. He tilted his head as if listening to the words she wasn’t speaking.

“There’s something else, isn’t there?” he asked.

Faith scrunched her loose shorts into her fist and inched back slightly. “While you were gone – out of it, I mean, I… well, I did…” she groaned.

“What?” he asked softly. “What did you do?”

She didn’t trust that tone.

“If he laid a single finger on you, I’ll hunt him down and gut him, fame be damned.”

She nibbled her tongue, wanting to change the subject but realising Seth was waiting for an answer. And he wouldn’t let it go, not now he knew there was a secret to unearth. There was only one thing to do.

“I went through your jacket,” she admitted.

“Oh?” He smiled. “Find anything interesting?”

Faith watched him for a moment, still on guard despite his relaxed posture and easy grin. She couldn’t be getting away with everything this easily, could she?

“You’re not mad?” she asked, knowing he’d have to answer.

He bristled, but immediately shrugged it off. “I’m furious,” he said in a way that wasn’t furious at all and was seriously fucking with her head. “More fool me for thinking I could trust you, I suppose. But what do you want me to do about it, hm? Erase your memory of my pebble collection?”

“Why do you carry so much shit around?” she asked. “Keys, ruined books, dead bugs? What the fuck is that about? And I didn’t know you smoked.”

“One man’s trash,” he shrugged, adjusting his belt. “And I don’t smoke. Disgusting habit.”

“Right, because all your other habits are just lovely: murder, torture, mutilation…”

“I wouldn’t call mutilation a habit. More of a casual hobby.”

Faith snorted, once again at ease. “So why do you have cigare—”

“Faith,” he cut in abruptly. “You pry through my most personal artefacts and I’m the one on trial?”

Faith was only aware that she was scratching her wrist when Seth took her hand. He pulled her close, smiling, while she tried not to look like his tender touch was making her want to vomit up last night’s dinner.

“I’ll forgive it, just this once,” he purred, nuzzling her hair.

“Seth, there’s something else.”

He pressed a kiss to her cheek. Yes?

With his body this close against her, she could feel the handle of one of his knives as it pressed against her stomach. She shifted, only to be jabbed sharply in the hip by another one. Seth reached inside his jacket, adjusting the errant blades.

“You did have a good rummage didn’t you?” he laughed, spending a few minutes moving items back to their correct places. “You said there was something else?” he prompted, twirling a small, rusty penknife around his gloves fingers before slipping it into his sleeve.

She swallowed, watching the light glinting off the blade hidden in his cuff. “Um… cookies,” she whispered, chickening out again. “Joy loves cookies. Get a huge box of them. None with fruit or nuts or anything in, though.”

“Ah. Something gloatingly gruesome and a mouth full of cavities,” he affirmed. He kissed her again and turned away to retrieve his hat from the dresser. “Have fun being a lady of leisure, Faith. I’ll be back at nightfall, or thereabouts.”  

Faith watched his back, listening to him sing that fucking song until he disappeared. He was still singing it wrong, but the more he sang it that way, the more right it sounded.

To blur the lines of trespass…

…I’ll cut away the shame.

‘Childhood’ is something I wrote when I was around Faith’s age and trying to make sense of my headspace.

13 thoughts on “Chapter 3.22 – Peachy Blob

  1. AJ. 😁 nice pic unless I’m mistaken and my brain made the unintended connection. Anyway, it made me giggle.

    I always love the news coverage. But I totally get Lilith freaking out.

    As far as the Seth lyric things, I get the feeling there’s stuff under the surface.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. AJ (aka Ferosh) makes her second appearance being the only other human Seth has allowed to remember him fully. I don’t know which pic made you giggle, but I’m glad you are amused.

      The news coverage is a complete pain in my arse, so I’m pleased that someone out there loves it, haha.

      Stuff under the surface? Whatever could you mean…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ooooh, dang. So Adina is starting to guess at the truth and AJ might dig up another footage with that same glitch on it? This ain´t good for avoiding attention, at all.

    Funny how Fred is actually right this time, about Faith having run off on her own. Speaking of that glitch, though, that´s a flashy one. I thought maybe a vamp just couldn´t be seen on the camera like in the mirror, but this sure makes a spectacle. And one glitched out camera is just a weird bug, but two… well, Lilith is right to worry, I think. Especially about Sage. Question is if she watches the news (probably not) but if she did get wind of this somehow, that´d surely be interesting.

    And hmm… it feels like the dynamics changed a lot between Faith and Seth. Which is to be expected but still. Does Seth know? Is he playing at her guilt? Is he gonna go and do something dangerous? And the way Faith described a would-be present for Joy does NOT help anything. Something gruesome. *facepalms* And Faith /knows/ about Seth´s gift giving habits, too. Not helpful, Faith. At all. 😮

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely not good for avoiding attention. Lilith said it way back at the start that she feared another wave of vampire hysteria. She might just be right.

      I figured Fred couldn’t be wrong for his entire life; even a broken clock is correct twice a day. I doubt news of a potential monster on the loose would not get back to ‘esteemed vampire hunter, Sage Harper’ at some point. People in this small town talk and there’s a coven meet up just around the corner.

      Have things changed or is Faith simply reading into things more? All those questions are so very interesting. We’ll hop into his POV next time, see what he thinks while he’s browsing the gruesome cookie shop. Although, you know Joy is just the kind of kid who would appreciate a gift-wrapped kidney for her nightstand. 😆

      Like

      1. Eee, I´m so very curious about this whole mystery of Lilith´s reasons for keeping Sage out of the know. The coven meet definitely does sound promising in that respect. 😀

        Mhmm… things ABOUT Faith definitely changed. Her trying more is one of them. *giggle* And I don´t doubt Joy would love it, I´m more concerned about the possible consequences of another disappearance right now. The worse if it would be a high profile one… D:

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I have to do a double-take every time someone comments on the date in the story – so much has happened in a few weeks. Everyone is on an incredibly intense roller coaster ride and I’m honestly impressed that the cart hasn’t completely caught on fire and/or exploded yet with how many loopings it’s making. Does that make sense? I’m going to pretend like that makes sense.

    Oh gods, it’s like watching doom dominos fall down after one another. Adina and Babs, AJ (cameo returns! Woo!), even Lilith, Fred and Joe at the bar and now hundreds of people everywhere. I like how all of these tiny plot strings suddenly wrap together around Faith and Seth. Even Lorna the broadcaster looking attracted to Seth’s police image made me chuckle and groan in frustration at the same time.

    Ooooh, so Chuck told Babs about Melinda and all of them being vampires… and Babs doesn’t seem to believe him. I wonder how that conversation went. Is that why Chuck was staying in a hotel instead of returning home to his wife? It’s ironic to see that Adina is more willing to believe Chuck than his own wife is. Granted, Adina knows information that Babs doesn’t. But still.
    I wonder if Babs knowing Chuck so well is actually working against her here. First she assumed that he was being scammed. Then she assumed that something romanticky was up between him and Lilith. And now she’s talking about a midlife crisis. They’re all perfectly logical and reasonable explanations, and what Chuck is saying definitely would sound ridiculous, but… well, none of those times are her considering the possibility of Chuck telling the truth and trusting him. I don’t know why that bothers me so much, but it does.

    Gah, Lilith, don’t be jealous of Seth taking Faith to a concert. You deserve better. Oh, she actually recovered from that pretty quickly… Though the thought of things finally working out for the best might not last for long 😂
    ….

    Does Lilith know Bob?

    Despite the heaviness of this scene, the “easy mistake to make” mistaking him for a door still makes me laugh every time I read it 😆 I think that’s the first time I genuinely like something that Seth said.

    I wonder if Seth picked up on the absolute mess that’s Faith state of mind at the moment. She seems very turned into herself though, so maybe not? I recall Seth’s mindreading powers only working on her when she was completely focused on him instead of herself. Still, though – everything Faith is doing and saying is so off compared to how she normally acts. I can’t imagine him not picking up on that.

    Something gross and scary to one-up Max Villareal, and she’s sending Seth to get it. I wonder if he’ll come back with a bloody organ, or something. Oh geez. Oh gods don’t leave Faith alone with her thoughts…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That makes total sense. To me, at least.

      Doom dominoes! I like that. Sit back and watch them fall as those tiny, seemingly insignificant plot threads, that everyone has forgotten about, finally begin to strangle our main cast.

      Yes, Chuck tells his wife everything and, as you gathered by him staying in a hotel, she wasn’t willing to listen to his nonsensical cover story for his affair with Lilith. The three parents are taking very different approaches to their missing daughters; Babs is (maybe was, now) very much putting her faith in her daughter’s reasoning for leaving, Adina has no such faith in, erm, Faith’s reasoning skills so is looking for anyone and anything to cling to so she doesn’t blame herself, and Chuck, well he knows obviously, but it makes him sound insane when he talks about it. I’d love to dive more into the dynamics of Chuck and Babs and why they react the way they do, but the story already has enough tangents.

      You don’t think things will work out for the best? How very pessimistic of you. Does Lilith know Bob? Lils has had a couple of flashbacks with Bob in, so safe to say yes she does. Or rather, she did.

      Seth made you laugh! Yay! No radio pit for him today then. He definitely picked up that something was off, but we’ll get his thoughts next time. All the thoughts. The man never shuts up with the bloody thinking.

      Joy would probably love to receive a bloody organ, though. Especially if it was Max’s.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. ::steps up to the podium:: “I’d like to thank the Academy, my parents, my 5th-grade teacher, she’s the one who inspired me to—”

    ::notices the authorities running into the auditorium::

    “THIS WAS MY MOMENT, AND I NAILED IT!” ::runs from the podium::

    Now listen, did I exaggerate about what happened with Seth? I mean, maybe. Will it slow down the investigation, possibly giving him and April precious moments they need to flee detection? Also, a possibility! In a way, if you think about it, me doing something selfish for my own gain worked out fine because the Universe is chaos.

    Whew, now if I could just shrink my ego back down, I could talk about the chapter! The scene between Seth and Faith was brutal. Like she waited all this time for Seth to show her true affection, and now she can’t even enjoy it because she is hiding her betrayal (???? I mean…I guess it is a betrayal though to be clear, I wasn’t sure what their relationship rules were).

    I started out loving Lilith so much, but homegirl needs to get it together. This is not about you! Also, stop having so many secrets. They are killing you.

    (Seth, if things don’t work out with Faith, you know who to call)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Welcome back into the nightmare, AJ. You had a fun few days writing your boring article and boasting about your conquest to your colleagues, and now it’s time to once again face the fire for a while. You were lucky last time… will you be this time? Hee hee.

      “she waited all this time for Seth to show her true affection, and now she can’t even enjoy it” Ouch. So very true. No, they haven’t discussed their relationship rules; for all she knows, he might be happy for her to bang whoever, whenever. We’ll soon see.

      Lilith has it totally together. And she’s had these secrets for centuries. I’m sure she can handle it. Look, she even smiles at the end there. All great! (desperately trying to avoid the ‘f’ word, and I don’t mean ‘fuck’).

      He does know who to call. AJ calls him all the time. He thinks she’s ‘adorable’. So sweet. Not canon, but sweet.

      Liked by 1 person

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