Chapter 2, Part 1: Greetings from the Shadow Monster

Mikel’s Ship


“How long do I hold this for?” Anastasia asked. She had successfully maneuvered the piece of sheet metal in place over the top of Mikel’s dots of glue. “Five seconds? Thirty?”

“Ten hours.”

“You’re joking.” 

“Nope. Sit back, get comfortable; we’re going to be here a while.” Mikel grabbed a box of food rations and plopped himself on the floor to prove his point. 

“When we get back on the planet, the first thing I’m doing is letting everyone know they’ve got it all wrong. Alien technology is positively prehistoric.” She snatched a food bar, “What the hell are we supposed to do for ten hours?”

“You could tell me about your life as Anastasia,” Mikel blurted out before he had a chance to think. He hated to admit how curious he was, but the entire course of her life and plans had shifted overnight, and yet here she was, taking it in stride. How?

She gave a sarcastic laugh. “You want to hear about the time before I died and became this monstrosity? Is the requirement for sitting here being bored too?” 

Stupid. Anastasia didn’t owe him any backstory. “I’m sorry, you’re right. You don’t have to—”

“I’m joking.” She sighed, “You know, alien, you really do need to adopt a sense of humor. I’m three hundred years old; nothing about me is boring.”

Mikel let out a breath and gave her a nervous smile. “Okay, I’ll try, but you’ve gotta admit, you don’t make this easy. You don’t even use your real name. I mean, what is your real name? Anastasia…?”

“Barrister. Not likely the name I was born with, but that was the name of the family that found me. Witches, if you can believe it. One of the most powerful witch families in Glimmerbrook.” She laughed, but there was a sad note in it. “I still take that as a point of pride, even if witches are terrible, and I’ve unwavering dedication to making every last one suffer.”

The Underworld


“I said I would handle it,” Alice hissed. She felt irrationally grumpy–probably from lack of sleep—and desperately ashamed at the same time. Turns out, the Underworld was a death trap because of its shoddy construction and the literal monsters creeping through it. 

She could feel Vlad’s eyes on her, but she pointedly did not look at him.

“You are handling it,” he replied in the tone of someone who everyone trusted to fix a problem. He went to kiss her, but she put a hand over his face and pushed him back.

“How can I be handling it when everyone knows that I’m going on patrol with you?”

“Is this about the Martin women always being in charge?”

“What?” she dropped her hand.

“The Martin women. In charge and apparently fond of swords.”

Alice gave him a bewildered look. She didn’t have a sword, and the entire Martin family was mortal except for her. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. My family is under attack, and they need me to protect them, which I’m trying to do because this is my realm.”

“You are protecting them,” Vlad said, “Now, would you like a snack before we go?”

A snack? Was he fucking with her? “I don’t need a snack! I’m not a child!”

He didn’t say the words “you’re pregnant and hungry all the time,” but he was thinking it. 

Apparently, her body was thinking it too. Her stomach rumbled. “One snack,” she allowed. “But do not look smug about it.” 

“I wouldn’t dream of it,” he said, pausing to kiss her hand. 

  • Dolly Llama
    Oct 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
      Oct 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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