Chapter 38, Part 2: Parental Units

Windenburg Woods, Dryad Territory


“Now that we’re all finished having a laugh at my expense,” Caleb began. His foot crushed a small backpack, and he jumped out of the way, “It’s been a week! I thought this room would be in better shape.”

“We are stewards of a small unholy terror,” Vlad quipped, “You’re lucky this house is still standing.”

Alice nodded, “Yeah, you’d be surprised what it takes to keep a nine-year-old vampire busy. We just sent Grim out for more supplies.”

The Grim Reaper. Caleb could hardly imagine a less suitable babysitter. Though he supposed the Reaper was infinitely better than Deacon, who a) believed that Voidcritters was a nature documentary and b) immediately declared himself Gwendolyn’s older brother and was subsequently manipulated into teaching her to ride a bike indoors.

“Sorry for fucking with you guys earlier,” Alice laughed, “We expected Deacon, but we didn’t know Caleb was bringing his girlfriend.” 

Caleb rocked back on his heels and choked, “What are you talking about?”

“Amisyia… she’s your… isn’t that why…” Alice looked around, confused, “Did we miss something?” She elbowed Vlad, “You told me Amisyia was his girlfriend.”

“I said lover, but yes, he’s been courting her years.”

“I…what?” Caleb sputtered, “I’ve been doing no such thing! She’s not my anything!”

Now Vlad looked genuinely perplexed. “Of course you have—slaying her enemies, handling violent business negotiations on her behalf, getting rescued by her in various states of undress. I don’t know that you ever delivered anyone’s head on a platter, though I suppose it is good to hold something back for your anniversary.”

Caleb was dumbfounded. He tried multiple times to say something, but no words came out. 

“I mean, not everyone thinks that a beheading is a romantic gesture,” Alice said quickly, “But yeah, we kind of thought that’s why you brought her.”

Amisyia, who had been silently observing with all the watchfulness of a cat, finally spoke. “Why did you bring me, Caleb?” 

Caleb tried to swallow, but his mouth felt dry. “I…”

She leaned forward, tapping a finger to her lips. “And do you want to tell them what you pay me for, or shall I?”

“It’s…I mean to say that…” He took a panicked breath, “It’s business. I pay her for information, and I’m not…”

He wanted to say that he wasn’t courting her, that the things Vlad suggested were utterly insane. But a small voice in his head pointed out that he didn’t just save her life and bring her here, to the family he on many occasions hated but also trusted, because she didn’t mean anything to him.


Thirty years of therapy would not allow him to wallow that deeply in denial. 

He was saved from having to answer by the sound of Deacon opening the front door.

“I thought you said there was a spell on the house!” Vlad hissed.

“There is,” Caleb confirmed as he reached for one of the swords he kept strapped underneath the couch.



They stood at the mouth of the Temple. He knew from experience that what he was looking at didn’t matter. The entrance to the Library was merely a portal they could take if they got through the traps.

“Look alive, my vampire friend! Here there be magic,” the Sage announced, their tone conspiratorial.

Even sweating and covered in dirt again, Morgyn had maintained a chirpy mood since the Baths. Meanwhile, the closer he got to dealing with magic, the more uncomfortable William became. He did not feel well-suited to take on a threat he couldn’t beat with a sword.

As they strolled through the Temple, William sensed more things dead than alive. Even the rain pounding on the roof felt ominous. Morgyn was unconcerned, working through a series of puzzle rooms with ease after consulting a small notebook. They reached the sixth room, and suddenly, the Sage was all business.

“So now we come to it,” they said. Reaching into their pocket, Morgyn pulled out the notebook, only this time they appeared to make as many notes as they reviewed.

“Are ye not concerned about the attention we’ve recently attracted?” William asked, taking note of the skeletons breaking off from the wall to attack.

“Keep them busy, please; I need to concentrate,” Morgyn said calmly as if they were being approached by a bunch of puppies or toddlers.

“With what weapon?” William hissed, still furious that he’d lost his machete coming through the final stretch to the Temple.

“I’m disappointed,” Morgyn teased as they rapped a pen against their lips, “And here I thought a vampire’s whole body was a weapon.”

  • Dolly Llama
    December 31, 2020

    “WARNING: butts” — Ferosh, 2020, paraphrased

    Gosh, this has been simmering for, how long? Seems like you’ve gotten to the point where individual jokes don’t have to do the heavy lifting and you can rely on characterization and context—or setup—and it is beautiful. There are still fantastic one-liners in every chapter, but now there’s an extra layer of things you have to double-take at, like them gossiping about Amysia only to reveal she’s right there and can hear everything they’re saying, or how Zay-Deeks has any brains left to offer Gwendolyn in the first place. I love this.

    Ah, dang, that end scene. It’s perfectly set up so that both sides sound reasonable, even though the reader is more likely to swing one way. Scratch that. If this weren’t a fictional universe, her family would be 100% right. It reminds me of the passage in The Gift of Fear where someone claims there was no way to predict a husband would kill his wife, when the dude in question had a history of stalking, controlling behavior, misogyny, threats, and, oh yeah, his previous wife died from injuries he gave her.

    That being said, Mr. Alice Martin’s hypothetical non-toxic parents would warn him the exact same way. “S/he’s a mass murderer” loses its punch when EVERYONE is a mass murderer. But how the heck is Alice going to explain that? And that’s damn funny.

    You know my headcanon is that the skeletons are telling shitty Halloween jokes they made up on the spot the whole time Aurelius is fighting them. Speaking of. Thank you for fighting those skeletons, Aurelius! Bam! Emotional labor complete.

    And you know how every/almost every shot of Morticia in the recent Addams Family movies has her with a tiny sliver of light over her eyes and the rest of the scene is encapsulated in darkness? Mr. God of Death needs that. Super extra. Now that I think about it, he does have the wings to pull out when he goes full ham.

    MVP in this scene, as far as I’m concerned, goes to Valeria for the glorious “mmmmmmno” vibes she’s emanating every second. Glad she’s not my PI because I would die.

    • feroshgirl
      January 1, 2021

      Thank you! In a way, the story has become more fun to write because I’m not spending so much time trying to establish who they are or give context. I’m also trying to set up their stories/conflicts for book two while I work towards the finale.

      I imagined Deacon like: oh, you don’t like hikers? Wanna try some brains? I know he’s supposed to be the “older brother” but we all know who is really in charge lol.

      Ah! Yes, you are so right about Alice’s family. We’ve been in this little bubble with Alice and Vlad, but her family is like: you’ve only been gone for like 6 months, how are you almost married to a warlord and parent of a kid? We know Vlad would never hurt Alice, but nothing about his behavior or actions indicates that to her family.

      Oh man, Alice and Vlad and her family is gonna be fun. VALERIA MARTIN DOES NOT TAKE ANY SHIT. She is terrifying. Definitely earns MVP title.

      Those skeletons are defintely practicing their comedy set. Haha literally slaying the skeletons in your closet. I didn’t even think of that but now I love it.

      I’ve been thinking about a title sequence for the next book and Mr. Alice Martin definitely deserves the Morticia Addams treatment.

      • Dolly Llama
        January 4, 2021

        OH. Deacon’s brains being the brains that are in his possession that came from other people, not Deacon’s brains being the brains that are purportedly in his head.

        Your explanation makes more sense, but I’m going to stick with mine, if that’s okay.

      • feroshgirl
        January 5, 2021

        Damn, but I like the idea of Deacon offering the brains in his head. Such a better joke hahahahahahaa

  • theplumbob
    January 6, 2021

    Yay, a reunion of Vlad and Alice with Caleb, and with Amisyia in the mix! And a delightfully hilarious one at that! The first page just had me in stitches. Who would have thought Vlad would be cracking sex jokes at the beginning of this… Also, Caleb squirms so well. It’s almost a skill, haha.

    Ooh, sexy bathtime with Morgyn and William, and- oh, that conversation got deep fast, dang. Morgyn does not waste time. And William is actually opening up. Hoo boy. Now excuse my while I swoon for a while 😀

    OMG I didn’t think I’d get my wish of Alice’s two families meeting so soon! *squeals* This is fabulous! So much madness, and I’m here for it.

    Ahahaha Caleb’s enjoying this payback far too much. But he actually helped. All’s in the open now. I maintain that Alice’s family can handle this. Aww, one big happy family.

    Also, can’t believe you cut away from Morgyn and William just as they were about to enter the library, tsk tsk. I guess that means we have that to look forward to in the next chapter, hopefully. Then again, who knows what they’ll find there, so it might be best not to rush towards it, haha.

    • feroshgirl
      January 8, 2021

      Vlad making sex jokes is the character coming full circle! He has ascended!! HAHAHA.

      God and Caleb is so uncomfortable. This scene was so fun to write. I just wanted to do “Meet the Parents” a million different ways.

      And Caleb gets his revenge 🙂

      Morgyn came to play this game and to win. They are wearing William down for sure. They are about to be center stage for a little bit, so I’m super excited. Don’t worry, you’ll find out what happens in the library…

      You know, they aren’t the only ones due for a visit.

      • theplumbob
        January 9, 2021

        Oh yes, don’t you worry, I have not forgotten about my faves. Even though they’ve sort of been overtaken by Penny on my preferred list now. Damn. City living came with some good premades, apparently. Though who am I kidding, the credit is all yours, I never paid them any mind in my game 😊

  • Yimiki
    March 24, 2021

    Oh gods, that meeting between Alice & co and her family was hilarious 😂 such chaos in one scene, and somehow they made it all out unscathed. Well, almost all of them, but Deacon is a zombie, so he doesn’t really count. Aaaaah all the confusion and Alice reigning in Vlad and Valeria angry at her daughter and gah I loved it. 🤣

    I’m really starting to like William and Morgyn together too. It took me a while to warm up to them, but slowly and surely I’m starting to ship it.

    “Oh, you are mistaken. I am a siren. Evil mermaid. Friend of the family.”
    Bwahahaha 🤣

    Oh my gods Caleb, you’re making this so much worse but hilarious at the same time and I’m loving it. “Courted her.” With his finger lifted like that hahaaaa 😂

    I wonder if Vlad and Alice even remember their original purpose for the owl. Vlad wanted to get rid of his feelings of morality, and Alice wanted to get rid of her godhood and cast out Ben. So much has happened since then. If they got their hands on it now.. what would they use it for, I wonder?

    Man, that’s a mountain of information for her family to swallow. I wonder if they’ll believe her – if they can believe her. Then again, they’ve fought supernatural creatures like a well-oiled machine and seem to be pretty open-minded. Fingers crossed that this giant explosion does not end in a second giant explosion.

    • feroshgirl
      March 29, 2021

      Ah squee!!!! This was such a chaotic scene to write but glad you liked it. I was just like: what if this went completely off the rails? Caleb using this exact moment to take Vlad to task? Amisyia chilling, watching them in amused silence except for the occasional one-liner? GAH. so fun. so exhausting to screenshot because anytime you’ve got multiple sims a scene it’s a problem.


      You made a really good point about Alice/Vlad and The Owl. So for clarity’s sake, I will say that Gwendolyn is The Owl of Undoing. She is the one that gave Alice her immortality and turning her into The Owl is how Alice/Vlad saved her (there is a very specific reason why Alice is able to do this).

      That said: YOUR POINT IS SO GOOD OMFG AND I CAN’T WAIT UNTIL YOU GET TO THE END OF THE STORY (Okay I gotta finish writing the end of the story). But yeah, as far as Alice and Vlad are concerned, The Owl is their kid. And that’s gonna create some problems given that everyone else sees The Owl as a weapon, a tool to be used to achieve their own ends…

      dannnnnggggg you are a dangerous reader!

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