Laurel and Hodges Funeral Home
It was a truth universally acknowledged, that breaking and entering wasn’t a crime if you didn’t break anything. At least, that was the excuse Alice gave herself as she jammed a hairpin into the lock on the basement door. Ben tried to define his contribution to the effort as “keeping watch,” but Alice was having none of it.
“You’re a non-corporeal being who doesn’t exist outside of my body except for in graveyards. You can’t keep watch.”
Creaking wooden stairs gave way to freshly scrubbed tile that did nothing to mask the sharp chemical smell of embalming fluid. Here, among the many coffins and urns there was no doubt that Barbara Jean Jeffries was dead.
For Alice there was nothing fancy or mystical about raising the dead. She just called them and waited—sort of like dialing a phone.
“What in the devil? I haven’t even started my rest! Whoever it is snatched hold of my spirit better explain themselves!”
“Uh…hi…it’s me,” Alice waved, awkwardly.
Barbara pantomimed a scythe.
“Oh no!” Alice jolted. “That’s uh Ben’s—er, my employee. I’m Alice.”
“Mmhmm,” Barbara Jean narrowed her eyes. “Then who, pray tell, is that gentleman behind you?”
“Ben. The God of—”
“I don’t need all the pomp and circumstance,” she scolded. “Also, you’re not the God of Death. She is,” Barbara added, cocking her head in Alice’s direction.
“Yeah, kind of…for now,” Alice took a steadying breath, “And as The God of Death I was wondering if I could trouble you for your banana bread recipe?”
“My what? You woke me up from eternal rest for that? What ails you child?”
Alice flushed and then cringed. “Well, I mean I figured you weren’t using it so…”
The argument sounded pathetic even to her own ears.
Barbara Jean sighed and motioned for Alice to help her out of the coffin.
“You know, I didn’t teach my kids a damn thing about that recipe, kept thinking I had more time to pass it on when they would truly understand. Now, it’s too late. I’m dead and all that waiting ain’t mattered a lick.”
“That’s not true,” Alice assured her, thinking of her own mother. “Maybe they didn’t always show it, but I’m sure they appreciated you.”
“Please, child. The worst thing your own flesh and blood can discover is that their parents are but mere mortals—regular sims making it up as they go along.”
Barbara looked down at her outfit and laughed. “All dressed up and nowhere to go. Death comes to wake me up over some damn banana bread.”
Alice dipped her head. What she wanted from Barbara Jean was selfish. This woman thought she died having no impact on her family when here, the whole sainted lot of them was sitting in a vestibule prepared to wait anywhere from 45 minutes to 3 hours to bid her adieu.
“Ms. Jeffries, why don’t you come with me? I think…I think there’s something you should see.”
Barbara recognizing Alice as the God of Death clued me into something I hadn’t realized earlier: being the God of Death doesn’t come with as much bookkeeping as I thought it would. I thought it would be like black-comedy Santa Claus, all running around screaming about this stupid pandemic for the wrong reasons while blipping around the world to see people out. It’s telling how Ben has supermagicalawesomeomg powers but all the time in the world to bug Alice. Speaking of, does the God of Death just cover human deaths, or do they also oversee invertebrates? Microbes? They’d need to find someone with stellar time management skills who isn’t afraid of phone calls.
Dang. Between “and so the witch tore out the man’s heart because he mansplained too much” and “a funeral for a date? Is this because you’re concerned about my dietary restrictions?” &c., Vlad’s hogging all the good lines. Those are the sort of lines you copy-paste to your best friends before the chapter goes live. A couple other bloggers have been doing GloPoWriMo and I’m going to go back and read their poems with that witch thing as the last line. The tonal shift’s only jarring in some of them. WIP example:
A pallor where the sun had shown; where it had shone for me
And fed the field of marigolds—and so the witch tore out the man’s heart because he mansplained too much.
Vlad’s blazer looks hot pink under the warm-spectrum night-shift, which added to my enjoyment of the chapter. As did Gwendolyn! GWENDOLYN! CAN YOU HEAR ME? TEACH HIM HOW TO BAKE. And lord, this thing has like 30 antagonists by now and everyone’s murdery. The U.W.B.S. producers are going to be overjoyed by the drama, then horrified, then overjoyed again.
Aww, the whole thing with Barabara was surprisingly heartwarming. How nice that Alice made her be able to appreciate her own wake, very thoughtful of her!
And yay, Alice and Vlad did meet ul in their fancy attire, and have bounced back, yess!
Nice to see Gwen again. Miss Hell, not so much. Ugh. This can’t be good news.
Awww, I really liked this chapter. What Alice did for Barbara was so heartwarming. Her actions have made me think she’s skilled before (like with Contessa), but this is the first time that I thought Alice would actually make a pretty good god of death. And then even Vlad came around and sincerely apologised and awhhh my heart <3 all the fuzzies.
I’m biased but I definitely think she’ll make a great God of Death! Hehe, yes, Vlad is capable of apologies. Things are so warm and fuzzy right now, sigh 🙂
:: evil laughter ::
The banter and wit are supreme here! Especially Vlad. Gold star for you, Vlad. And Vlad teaming up with “hell spawn” Gwendolyn? Heck yeah, I’m 120% on board for this duo of evil-being-who’s-actually-smol and smol-being-who’s-actually-evil!!
HAHAHA! THIS IS MY FAVE DYNAMIC!!! Vlad and Gwendolyn, BFFs forever.
so glad you enjoyed the banter. Even now, I feel this is one of the best chapters I’ve written with these two!
Yuck and PATOOIE. I dislike BBD Ana. She is such a different sim from The Strauds. She’s only strong as the man she seduces. Bleh. Like, don’t get me wrong, character wise and all I get it – she probably has a plan to overthrow Bloodvein and all, and it makes sense that she is putting her betting chips on him b/c Vlad is too powerful for Miss Hell to overthrow with that internal demon, and Bloodvein would be an easier opponent. BUT STILL it is so icky how Ana plays Bloodvein when she knows he is beneath her (not like literally in a sex act, but socially). Anyways, I’m glad that The Strauds Ana exists and she treats men as snacks, and not in the fuckboi way, like literally in-between meals.
Alice justifying a breaking and entering is hilarious. Alice, you’re the God of Death, you don’t have to justify anything to anyone, you just smote some ass baby.
Ugh so THIS is the story I had sneaked a peek to the part with Vlad and Hell Spawn. Ugh the feels. That whole section is just so beautiful. I love how Vlad had initially gone there to start shit with the kid and now just wants to protect her. The feels.
PS Vlad looks good with bright colors. Like he might be a pale mf’er but it does something nice for his complexion.
The eulogy with Barbara was very sweet, and the whole thing worked out well for Alice. Alice navigates death nicely. Ben chose well this time around.
Vlad and Alice’s banter at the ballroom reminds me of The Strauds A/V, so it was like seeing a familiar face, specifically when Alice asks Vlad if he’d help her hide a dead body and he asks if the body is dead or needs to be put down and she finds it romantic af. HAHAHA I mean, I found it romantic af too … but yeah, it was a really precious moment that seemed like it could have been in either universe <3
BBD Ana is the worst in a lot of ways, and the best. I mean, I decided she deserved more in The Strauds, but for now, I’ll just say she’s complicated. I’m curious to see how you feel towards the end!
She does not have loyalty. Just to be clear LOL.
Alice: very worried about breaking and entering. Less worried about smiting the ever-loving shit out people who wrong her.
Thank you for joining the Vlad and Gwendolyn forever club. Confession, when I first wrote this I did not intend for Gwendolyn be anything more than a side character that popped up a few times. But then I fell in love and she’s here forever now, sorry I won’t be taking questions.
I love Vlad in bright colors too! He slowly comes out of his shell in this world.
This chapter made me super emotional to write. It was kind of a side dedication to my mom, so I’m glad you liked Barbara.
YAY!!!! I feel like this is the first chapter where I got a handle on banter.
(Vlad will kill anyone at anytime for Alice no questions asked)
Why do you want to tease me so. Now I’m like wondering how she’ll change by the end 0.o DAMNITFEROSH.
Yeah Vlad and Gwen need their own side story adventures since BBD has wrapped up. I just want sentimental short stories of them every month.
It really translated, the raw emotion. I can’t imagine how difficult it was to write, but the tribute and beauty show in your writing <3