Chapter 2, Part 1: Greetings from the Shadow Monster

Notes:

Yep. Definitely gonna need a week and a half between chapters especially when I attack myself by writing a scene that takes place in an upside-down graveyard. Anyways, enjoy!

The Underworld

“Monsters come in all shapes and sizes. Some of them are things people are scared of. Some of them are things that look like things people used to be scared of a long time ago. Sometimes monsters are things people should be scared of, but they aren’t.”

Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane

William

William barreled into the bedroom, following the sounds of the screams. Alice’s parents were holding their ground against what at first appeared to be creeping shadows.  

“Back! Back!” Valeria shouted, thrusting out a torch as Cyrus assumed a defensive stance. 

The room had a heavy atmosphere that didn’t match the rest of the house. As the shadows started to form, William could finally see exactly what was causing it: Two glowing red eyes and a sinister smile were painted a lanky figure with wiry hair.

“Get back!” William growled.

“That’s what I’ve been telling it,” Alice’s mother hissed, gripping her sword. 

Where in sages’ names had she gotten that thing? William clenched his fists and tried to maintain a sense of calm. “Not the monster, youYou get back unless you intend to throw down with a supernatural beast.”

“We don’t,” Cyrus said quickly, tugging her back. He blew out the torch. “Drop the sword honey, the vampire is here.” 

Valeria looked positively mutinous.

Ignoring the daggers she was staring into his back, William transformed into his dark form.

“Run,” he told them before turning his attention back to the shadow creature. “Alright, beasty, you can come easy, or you can come hard. It’s up to you how much this will hurt.”

The shadow stood and tilted its head, but its expression didn’t change. For a second, the heaviness lifted, and the room felt like it was spinning.

As soon as the door shut, William and the beast were plunged into darkness.

Swallowing down his nausea, William delivered a smooth kick. The creature dodged with surprising dexterity, and the last great knight of Windenburg had to spin to regain his footing. In another powerful kick, he arced his leg, bringing it down, but the shadow blocked and ducked. 

Shite. That should have laid it flat! William thought.

Faking like he was lowering his leg, he waited for the shadow creature to straighten before he drew back and threw another kick. It landed, and the creature broke apart into a swirl of bright colors.

The fight could not have been that long, but William was exhausted. It felt like he was making every move underwater and any ground he gained from that powerful kick quickly evaporated. The shadows gathered again, resolidifying as something shaggier…

Taller…

And very werewolf-like…

It leaped into the air, casting off the darkness. William stood, rooted to the ground, his entire body in shock.

He recovered as soon as the beast landed, and the two began to grapple.

Pinned and choked, he grabbed the creature’s wrist, tensing until he heard the sound of breaking bones. 

The injury didn’t slow it. The hand clutching William became a shadowed manacle, pulling him ever closer while a large set of teeth and wide-open mouth clamped down.

Dimly, the old knight wondered about the irony of being a sharp-toothed monster dying while caught in the jaws of another sharp-toothed monster.  

Mikel’s Ship

Mikel

Mikel paused to make a few measurements and then continued soldering the hull patch. “Hand me that wrench; I’m almost done.” 

“I can’t believe I’m in a spaceship with an alien, and the tools we’re using to make repairs are just a wrench and a soldering iron,” Anastasia said, handing it over. “You might want to get a jump on that; I can hear the air whistling through the lock,” she added.

It turned out a vampire was a convenient thing to have on a spaceship. So far, she’d sussed out several structural issues just by sound alone. And thank the Sixam suns for that; Mikel’s internal systems were severely damaged. He was surprised he could hear her, let alone see what he was repairing. 

“Okay, here we go,” he said, lifting the metal grate off the table. “You’ll hold it in place after I secure it to the inner hull.”

“Don’t you need the soldering iron?”

“Nope,” Mikel pulled out a bottle of Galatic Glue and tossed it to her. “Never travel without it. You want space age? Here it is.”

She peered at the bottle and then coughed delicately into her hand.

“What?”

She raised her eyebrows in sheepish amusement. “I just thought it’d be more impressive.”

Mikel groaned, “What’s not impressive about a colloid that bonds with the surrounding matter to create an impenetrable hold?” He liked almost everything about this planet and its creatures except their bizarre characterizations of alien technology.

“Alright, alright,” she held out her hands, “Don’t get your space suit in a twist.”

“It’s not a spacesuit; these are just—”

“I’m kidding.” She rolled her eyes and took the grate out of his hand, “You are clearly the brains of this little intergalactic adventure. I’m happy to be the brawn. Lead the way.”

Mikel laughed. He thought it would be harder to think of Miss Hell as Anastasia. After all, he knew her as the well-coiffed murderer who conspired against Alice and Vlad. But she was actually enjoyable to be around and a good teammate, which made him feel a little sad. Penny was MIA, and his other friends were in danger while he was up here floating through space.

And what would he say when he finally got these repairs done and launched a rescue mission? Sorry that it took so long to come and help you. By the way, the vampire who conspired to kill you is pretty cool.

“Come on,” he said, his expression sobering. “Let’s finish this repair.”

    2 comments
  • Dolly Llama
    October 4, 2021

    Oof—okay, I think I figured out how to arrange BBD comments in an efficient way. By character! It’s such a character-based story already, this should help keep track of things.

    Damn, William is quite out of sorts today: passed out AND called out, by Vlad of all people. Serves him right for calling Valeria ‘honey.’ In his defense, I don’t know how I feel about Valeria having a sword. I legit don’t.

    B’Ostomarathon, just tell us what the shadow critter is and what the heck you did. Better yet, Discord, tell us what B’Irkensandalson did while Alice is still grappling with the upside-down graveyard and summon the nice shadow lady so she can clarify her role in the God of Death’s realm and say “oh, my bad” to William. Her top is pretty sweet ngl.

    I’m with Mikel on Anastasia’s character development. She’s thriving! Not necessarily because she’s out of survival mode; whether she enjoys being her own boss or needs to be distracted by applied problem solving and learning new things, I’m not entirely sure. Or maybe being in space finally got her far away enough from Shitty!Bernard. Props also to Mikel for boundaries! (How The Martian is this going to get? Is Donald Glover going to show up?)

    Alice seems particularly contrarian towards Vlad today. I hope she reflects on that soon—it’s not the guy’s fault he’s not going through as many changes as you are right now, and is already used to watching his friends blow up, just take the snacks and admit you’re in charge. Except not of the snacks. Vlad is in charge of the snacks.

    Just like with Caleb in the previous chapter, I can’t fault Omar for going through his affirmations; what I can fault him for is being a self-absorbed butthead and putting so much stock into being able to “read people well” that he ends up considering his own biased interpretations as objective fact. It’s a good theme for 2021! Elmyra, too—how long has she been riling him up like this?!

    Sulis. Oh my god. Love. Love. Stealing that move for the next time I have to teach Calc I.

    Lastly: Mmmm! Pancakes!

    • feroshgirl
      October 10, 2021

      Me, finally replying a thousand years later. If you pull a Sulis while teaching a Calc class, I will need you to invite me to said class immediately. Oh, I like the replying by character! In fact, just making that comment froze me in my tracks! It’s not that I didn’t know characters figured heavily in BBD, but I’ve really been struggling with some chapters. Lately, I think because I was obsessing too much over the plot. When I just focus on the characters, everything comes easier, and the chapters write themselves (okay, that’s a bold statement even from myself, so I’ma walk that back. I find writing the chapters easier).

      Um, yes, William is a bit of a mess, but like, shouldn’t Valeria have a sword. It feels right to me. Mostly because I’m too afraid to take it away from her.

      ANASTASIA COMING FROM THE BACK FOR A WIN. Whew, homegirl has come a long way, and I am starting to really enjoy writing her part of the story. I will have some more shitty Bernard stuff coming later, but I have faith that he will get his (is this my plug for a crossover where the Best Bernard comes and kicks his ass?). LOL, how The Martian is this going to get? Oh, you just wait.

      Vladislaus Straud, Snack Boss. It has a nice ring to it. Yeah, Alice has a habit of externalizing her emotions, and I don’t think she is 100% clear on its effect on others. It might be a little while before she pulls her head out of her own ass. Maybe she should call Caleb’s therapist.

      I cannot wait to see your take on Omar and Elmyra by the end of season one, and that is literally all I can say without spoilers.

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