Chapter 28, Part 1: The Wings Are A Lot

Laurel and Hodges Cemetery Crypts

Vlad

While Alice was talkative and full of questions as they wandered through the long corridors of the crypt, Vlad was tense and distracted.

He knew he had lost track of the conversation when he answered her question about what he’d killed down here.

“A Sasquatch. They love tombs. Regular weapons won’t kill them and they aren’t friendly no matter how they look.”

“Cool. But I asked if you built any of this down here…you know…or did you just stumble upon it?”

After that he tried to calm down and pay more attention.

As they neared the bottom floor, Vlad watched Alice for signs of her reaction.

“What do you think?” he asked hopefully.

“I think I wore the wrong shoes for walking down thirty million fucking stairs,” she grumbled.

But once they got to the ground floor, she stopped abruptly, finally seeing the easel.

“H-How did you? W-What is this?” she stammered.

“For you. You said that you painted and I thought you could paint a portrait,” he explained. Now that the moment had arrived, he had doubts. William almost certainly would have told him that this was too much too soon. 

“Who’s portrait?”

“Mine.” It came out calmer than he actually felt. Centuries of practice had taught him to lock away his emotions, but if she said no now, Vlad was sure he’d be unable to hide his hurt.

She rubbed her hands on her dress, suddenly nervous, almost shy. “Okay, well…I haven’t painted in a long time so…”

“Would it help if I were nude?”

She did a double take. “What? Yes. No. Yes. Well no, if you’re naked, that will lead to—” she stopped talking and began to laugh.

“Oh, I see what you did there. Okay, I’m fine.”

As she examined the canvas, he began unbuttoning his jacket. 

“Hey! I thought we agreed—”

“I’m not taking all my clothes off,” he assured her. “Just my shirt. It’s…easier this way.”

“Easier for what?” she asked doubtfully.

He took a deep breath. “I want you to paint me as I really am.”

“As a vampire? I guess that could be—”

“Not quite,” Vlad told her, but didn’t elaborate. Instead, he turned and let the darkness envelope him. It felt easier now. The wings tore through the muscles in his back. A chorus of whispers swelled to a crescendo before they died down and Vlad was left with just a singular voice.

The thing that wasn’t quite Vlad, that was never quite calm, practically preened.

Obstacle.

Threat.

Prey.

Desire.

He let out a few hisses that he couldn’t contain before he got himself back under control.

“Holy fucking llamas.” Alice dropped her paintbrush. 

    7 comments
  • Dolly Llama
    May 11, 2020

    THAT’S the fucking blazer you wore for the spy mission, Bloodvein?! Dude, you have to check out donaeis at some point; her story is plumb stuffed with vampires who’ve long decided they were Too Hot For Fashion, so there are scary men pining for the Old World in a crop top, board shorts, white socks, and black boots, covered in tattoos and piercings. You want an ancient legion of vampires with matching club bracelets? You get an ancient legion of vampires with matching club bracelets.

    “Alice often accused him of being a pervert, but he didn’t stay with her when she was hooking up. He was bound to her life force, not her body.” Answering my pressing questions. Thank you.

    I’m getting supernatural vibes from Jimena. Faint ones, but I’m not convinced Vlad and Alice are the only two magic people in the lineup. I hope she represents something like Peace or Love or Hope and sees her cause as counter to fear/death because she doesn’t understand carrying capacities or what happened to the reindeer on St. Matthew Island. Also keeping a close eye on the background contestants.

    And now I can’t comment on the details because these two have decided to play catch with the idiot ball. In their defense, it’s hard to process and respond quickly to things they can’t predict happening, like casual necromancy or the word ‘courtship.’ And what the fuck is Vlad doing? Who let him watch Titanic?

    Thank you for putting these two scenes in the same chapter; it made it easier to put the pieces together. But holy shit, Ben. You’re playing a high-stakes comedy of errors and you can’t even write down the info someone broke the laws of spacetime to deliver? Maybe that’s why he thought misleading Alice about what the O.o.U. was supposed to undo was a good idea.

    • feroshgirl
      May 11, 2020

      I have never had more fun than when I am dressing Bloodvein. His choices are goddamn bananas. That blazer is tame in comparison to what he wears in future scenes. I need scary men in crop tops please, where do I find this story? God, I feel like wearing matching club bracelets is precisely what an ancient legion of vampires would do because an ancient legion of vampires would be completely unhinged. Less dark rituals, more “oohh look at these glow in the dark things! Let’s go on a rampage but make it fashion!”

      I like that it only took me 28 chapters to finally explain why Ben is not riding shotgun whenever Alice has sex.

      Wouldn’t it be crazy if every god got the same idea? Oh hey, I’ll just pop into this mortal body for a little while and win the contest so I can just unmake any other god who ever wronged me and I don’t care if thousands die in the process because my path is true and righteous? Wouldn’t it be depressing to find they are just regular sims caught in the middle of something extraordinary and since they aren’t the protagonist they just become cannon fodder?

      Which was one is it? I say, laughing maniacally. (I love, love, love Jimena. The things I have planned for her are diabolical)

      Okay, if you can defend Alice/Vlad in this chapter, then I haven’t made them too insufferable. Vlad has close intimate relationships with people who have his number and they are not fittin’ to let him get away with this lol. I cannot wait to post the second half of this chapter (some days Vlad-y is a homicidal maniac, some days he’s the original emo baby). I think Alice often comes off like she is more grounded but she is dramatic too. Don’t worry, they don’t get the opportunity to be idiots for very long.

      I’ve been obsessed with the idea that there don’t have to be “black” moments (the main characters do something unforgivable to each other for emotional journey reasons) in every romance ever since I heard Courtney Milan on a podcast talking about Yuri on Ice. I have no idea if I can manage to pull it off and still maintain the tension, but hey! That’s what extremely time-consuming side hobbies are for! Thought experiments.

      I’m glad this chapter helped illuminate some things! I’m always struggling with being too obvious or not obvious enough. Slowly but surely I am learning how to link pieces of the puzzle together in one or two chapters, instead of like…six. For all that Ben comes off like a funny sidekick, he is a god and arrogance is a defining character trait. In fact, everyone in this story is playing a high stakes game with other people’s lives and constantly justifying it to themselves.

      Does the end of the world show up with a horde monsters or just because it’s really hard to not be selfish and justify our own bullshit? Too soon?

      Next chapter includes the lines: “I wouldn’t call that Not Fancy” (thank you) and “If I can flay a sim alive, I’m sure I can handle a sage-forsaken pie.” Basically, I think one of your story wishes is about to come true.

      • Dolly Llama
        May 12, 2020

        Crop-top vampires show up in Xaos: https://donaeis.home.blog/xaos-index/ .
        Series of images representing wtf is even going on in Xaos, other than hilariously portraying the patriarchal power struggle as a pointless dick-measuring contest between whiny babies: https://donaeis.tumblr.com/post/189755859294/did-cai-really-get-abducted-in-his-birthday-suit

        Hmm, yeah, it would be crazy if everyone had the same idea. Hmm. I’m suspicious of the U.W.B.S. producers as well—what the heck’s their angle? Oh shit, are they using the owl as bait? Oh, shit. I’m going to keep throwing these speculations around, even if they’re wrong, because someone’s gotta.

        The pacing and info delivery was great here. You know what, I was originally defending the human compulsion to follow up “I want to date you” with “huh? ‘date?’ what could that possibly mean?”, but now that you mention it, I love a good romance between characters who are majorly fucked up in the same direction. Not enough to be familiar with romance story tropes in general, though, so this is my first time hearing of a black moment. That’s true! But it’s still more entertaining than my compulsion to get the whirlwind romance over with and see if the relationship will stand the test of time. Speaking of which, you’re asking the wrong person whether it’s the time to make bleak jokes, bruh.

        Ohohoh—so from the Part I in the title, I can deduce that it’s not Bernard, and there’s only one person who says ‘sage-forsaken’… I get your drift.

  • theplumbob
    July 9, 2020

    I’ve only had a chance to read the first part and don’t have time to go through the rest just yet, but argh, so many questions. Does Ben always have to have a conduit? Is the 13th beithday a pertinent time, or did he just reappear in Alice as soon as his last conduit died? Has Vlad met any previous conduits of the god of death (my guess is no, because I feel like he would have been drawn to them in some way like with Alice… though that was a different Vlad). Hm… hm….

    I’ll be back to read the rest later!

    • theplumbob
      July 9, 2020

      Ok I’ve finished the chapter and you didn’t disappoint! That date in the graveyard was everything I could have hooed for, the romance, the revelations, the fear of getting lost too deep. I just feel bad for Vlad because he thinks she’s scared of him now, poor thing.

  • Ninja Pink Sex
    September 30, 2022

    How the eff did Jimena NOT see Bloodvein? The satellites in space could pick him up with no problem. He had on THE BRIGHTEST blazer (and imo tackiest, but I find him obnoxious so if the blazer fits…). Fuck he’s like so creepy staring at her in her window, and this is just so excellently executed b/c (as I’ve mentioned before in our discussion) that when Twilight came out it was sexeh how Edward watches Bella sleep, but somehow we get the heebie jeebies when the nefarious vampire does the same (more or less). But now I’m sexually wired to want the nefarious vampire to be non-consensual (ew but not Bloodvein). Ugh, I blame Scream. Moving on…

    Whoa, Ben realized what Miko has been doing, and he handled the realization rather well! Er, at least I *think* he did, he seemed to be really stuck in his head the entire conversation, but I get it… time is running out and Alice is gonna die (Ben’s words, not mine).

    I’m getting a bit antsy b/c this was the first mention of GRIM REAPERS (plural???? Like are we talking different sims or is it just a bunch of Don Lothario’s running around like Billy from Scream, and omg why does that make me feel tingly elsewhere 0.o). Fucking-finally. I need to see this man hooded-up in the dark cloak of death. Ahem…

    “How do I know you’re not the criminal mastermind?” Alice accused. “You could be anyone with all of your secrets.”
    This, of course, was a cop-out. She was the one hiding big secrets, Vlad was just trying to avoid laying out all the emotional pain of his past life.
    A muscle ticked in his jaw.

    YO. What … WHAT … was that muscle twitch about? Is Alice onto something?!?!?! Because that is how I took that spasm. Mmmmmmmm. Interesting.

    This got a bit Titanic-y (not in a bad way) with Vlad wanting Alice to paint his portrait, and then he started stripping (okay, just his shirt but you know, I was enjoying where it was taking me), and then he’s like I want you to see me… really see me… and I was a little concerned how much I liked where this was leading, and then he popped into his FEAR form and I was like NOPE. HARD PASS. And Alice fucking surprised the shit out of me and was like YOU’RE FUCKING BEAUTIFUL, WTF, RUN. LMAO. Like my goodness this poor woman’s life is a mess. She wants the owl. She doesn’t want the owl. All understandable. She finds the God of Fear to be a beautiful creature. Like goddamn.
    I mean, she’d like graveyards regardless of Ben, but would she be attracted to the embodiment of Fear if not for Ben? Like maybe Ben isnt cock-blocking after all. He’s like, uh… cock-building?

    • feroshgirl
      October 8, 2022

      “if the blazer fits…” I. AM. SCREAMING. Watching someone through their window is HELLA creepy. What I will say is just to remember that characters can only see what’s from their perspective and uh…things aren’t always what they seem.

      Oh man, I forget which chapter Grim finally shows up but I am so excited for you to get to there.

      The muscle tick. Oof. Well listen, Vlad is hiding something big but that reveal comes in the next part and it turns out, Alice knows more than she realizes. But also, the muscle tick is that Vlad is onto her and he is like: are you really trying to redirect me right now?

      LOLOLOLOLOLOL I love that you were like: Knife Dick Vlad? Yes. Fear Form Vlad? Absolutely not.

      Ben is definitely cock-building. Alice is in denial about how deeply weird she truly is, even without being the God of Death Lol.

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