Chapter 2, Part 1: Greetings from the Shadow Monster

The Underworld


First, they checked the bedrooms and then the various halls and closets. It took forever since they had to double back more than once to find the right way out. As soon as Alice learned how to manipulate the realm, she planned to make the entire layout of this house less confusing. 

Not that it mattered. There was no inkling of the shadow monster, not even in the darkest corners. “You are ruining this,” Alice growled after they encountered yet another empty room. “You’re jacking up the vibes, and now the monster won’t come out.”

“And you are clomping down the hallway as if you’re leading a small army. You sigh loudly, and you’re grinding your teeth. The shadow beast, I’m sure, can hear you coming a mile away.”

“Me?” Alice was incredulous, “I’m trying to save everyone’s asses, and you are gliding through the hallways like a…a…” very sexy, dangerous assassin, her brain filled in unhelpfully. “Just stop swishing through the halls like this is some dark academia Sims Tok!” she sputtered. 

He caught her wrist as she poked a finger in his chest. “I don’t even understand enough of those words to be insulted. Why are you so anxious? I can keep hunting; I don’t sleep. And you can join me again when you’ve rested and had breakfast.”

“I’m not anxious, I’m just…it’s….” Alice couldn’t make herself say the words. Yes, she was anxious. Anxious that someone else was going to get hurt and desperate to prove that she could manage this very big, very terrifying responsibility. 

“Your family seems more than capable of extricating themselves and calling for back-up,” he added gently.

As if to punctuate his point, the sound of Mayra shouting filled the air.

They both took off running, in the direction of her voice. 

“There!” her sister cried, pointing down the hall. “I almost stopped it. If you would’ve let me rig a set of—”

“I’m not letting you rig explosives inside the house,” Alice grumbled. Vlad was wrong about her family. They weren’t capable; they were impossible! Why couldn’t they just sit back and let her protect them? 

“But it’s not a house, it’s a realm,” her sister argued, “And if you want to kill something fast, you blow it up.

Alice sucked in a breath, the memory sweeping over her. Mayra didn’t mean it, but…

“Did it try to attack you?” Vlad asked, oblivious to Alice’s distress. Mikel’s death honestly didn’t bother him? He wasn’t going to give it a single thought?

“I’m trying to determine what kind of threat it poses,” he explained at her stark look as if that’s what she was worried about.

There was no point in even trying. Alice threw up her hands and marched past them. “If you two want to discuss the finer points of shadow beast communication, be my guest. I’m going to kill a monster.”

When she rounded the corner, she heard a low rumble of breath, almost like a growl. It made the hairs stand up on the back of her neck, and she had to will herself to keep creeping forward. 

“Come on, you asshole, show yourself,” she hissed under her breath, letting her power pool at the tips of her fingers. 

Suddenly, a flash of red eyes appeared. Alice quickly fired off a bolt of lighting. It crackled through the darkness, giving off a faint burnt smell before the shadows gathered themselves and began to flee. 

“No!” Alice shouted, firing off more bolts as she chased it to the door at the end of the hall. Without thinking, she flung it open and ran through until her feet caught on nothing. Windmilling her arms like a cartoon character, she tried to grab hold of the upside-down markers, but her fingers slipped on their smooth, bronze coating.

They say don’t look down…

But Alice did anyway…

And as she saw the night sky swirling at her feet, it wasn’t clear which came first—the sound of her sob or the sound of her scream.

  • 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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