Posted February 16, 2024 at 04:20 am

Mimics, the movers and shakers of the spirit world... Thanks for reading! Support Paranatural on Patreon!

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[Transcript]


        “I know you get your kicks from scaring people, Madam Vice President,” Cody said, “but that doesn’t make you fearless.” The next words seemed to scald his tongue, but he refused to flinch. “I’ll call my dad if you don’t release them. Now.”

        Fauxbia’s grin grew broader still. “Very well,” she hissed. One bulbous eye rolled back to Paige. “You first. For good behavior.”

        Paige had, in fact, been hanging relatively limp, all while Gage and Youthy were still struggling to escape. Fauxbia set her gently down, dusting off her dress, before she dropped the others in a heap.

        Gage rose slowly, wincing. He shot Paige a resentful look.

        “...You save your strength for fightin’ your friends, huh?” he hissed at her beneath his absent breath. “Guess you really do care more about keepin’ your friggin’ hands clean.” Gage spat a wad of stagnant blood onto the ground.

        The expression on Paige’s face—pure hurt, not the scowl that he’d expected—nearly snuffed the burning spite in Gage’s chest. But then he forced the guilt down, stoked his anger, and stormed off into the crowd, shoving an innocent skeleton aside and into dust with his full vampiric strength. Youth Culture scrambled after him, only hesitating at Paige’s side for the briefest of moments.

        Fauxbia, however, hadn’t budged from where she still loomed over Cody (and where the Captain was still searching for an ear to put her quarter in like a chimp would search for bugs).

        “I’m surprised your FATHER hasn’t come running already, cupcake. He always SEEMS to, when your little HEART starts thumping...”

        Cody struck away the finger she’d extended towards his chest. No one else was meant to know about his missing heart.

        “It’s not thumping. My dad told me not to be afraid of you,” he countered, caught off balance. Davy Jones had bested her before—

        “And you always do what DADDY tells you to, DON’T you...?” The Witch’s laugh creaked like a rusty metal rocking chair as Cody twitched with irritation. “Davy’s RIGHT to fear you fearing me, my sweet. It's how a meek old wretch like ME can rival monstrous strength like yours. By turning all those lovely gifts against you...”

        Few yet lived outside the Witch’s stomach who could have clocked how forthright she was being; she might as well have never stopped mimicking the Sphinx of Truth’s aura of honesty, and given the admission in blue speech. Fauxbia’s power, hidden in plain sight, was as simple as it was easily stated: once she’d made a spirit fear her—truly, deeply, to the marrow of their bones—that spirit’s power was then hers to use. There was little to extract from a monster like Cody, then... and much to claim from the goldfish he was clutching at his side.

        The Witch was eager to experiment, for these were hardly standard circumstances—the fish was not a medium, and yet it must have housed a spirit; only its right half reeked of fear, a feat she’d never smelled before; and the power she had copied, whatever it was, felt both incomplete... and ever-so-faintly nostalgic, like the flavor of a baby whose great-grandfather you’d eaten.

        Regardless, this was her victory. Davy Jones had surely learned her power’s trick by now, given their history... but he’d only warned his dear son in the vaguest of terms, trusting he’d not be involved, and so the boy had blundered in his place. Tut-tut! That was the trouble with a short leash, Fauxbia mused: it made it too easy to tighten the noose on your pets.

        “WELL! I suppose it’s fine if I don’t scare YOU, Cody,” Fauxbia crackled, suppressing a giggle, “though I do WONDER what it is you ARE afraid of.” Suddenly, she was behind him, whispering words close to his ear. Stephen’s mom, who still hadn’t found the ear that SHE was after, blinked at empty air in dim confusion. “Quite a GHASTLY game of hitball this week, WASN’T it? I heard they let YOUR friend off rather easy—”

        Cody spun to seize her at such a speed that the Hijacks’ water nearly formed a lasting whirlpool, but Fauxbia had melted to the ground as dripping slime.

        “Don’t forget, DEARIE! Hoo hee heee!” she burbled madly. “You’re NOT the only one who can pull strings at MAYVIEW Middle School...!!”

        With Cody seething in her wake, furious with himself for losing control, Fauxbia, the Fear Witch, swiftly slimed away to get more punch.