Chapter 7 Page 53
Posted October 8, 2021 at 01:56 am

I had a lot of fun making this one. I'm proud of it! Thanks for reading!



"We couldn't help but see you and your friends frolicking about earlier, Jean," Paige said, approaching the fire in less of a beeline and more of a parasitic wasp path, "So now you owe us for subjecting us to schmaltz."

Gage hunched along behind her. As he went, he kicked at any rocks and sticks that dared stand in his way, which, to his secret shame, was almost all of them.

"We tried to look away—!" THUNK! A pebble Gage had punted hit a tree, lighting up his little caveboy brain. "Heh heh. But you know what they say about train wrecks."

"Rolling our eyes. The briefest respite for our retinas," added Youth Culture in a font of unsettling stature.

Paige smiled, evidently satisfied with her cronies' contribution to the chorus. "Now that the sun's down and you've moved on to a pastime we can salvage, how about you pay us back by letting us join in? I know some GREAT ghost stories." She leaned in close over Jean's shoulder, luckily choosing the side of him that still had a face to flirt with. "Pretty please? I promise we won't bite."

A pang of jealousy at her familiarity with his crush furrowed young Spender's brow, causing him to miss yet another obvious allusion to the fact that these guys were totally vampires like come on are you kidding me.

Jean, for his part, released another sound that defied onomatopoeia as a flick of Mina's wrist and a zip of supernatural static returned his eye before the new arrivals could notice it was missing.

"I'll take that as a yes," smirked Paige, and she gave Jean a rude little peck on the cheek. It wasn't easy playing the femme fatale in a town with more pine trees than people, not while wearing a bright yellow shirt with a happy cartoon sun on it, but nothing in life was, and Paige was dead.

"You shall NOT!" Spender sputtered out on reflex. He'd spurred his voice on to commanding heights and landed, sadly, at "youth pastor Gandalf."

Despite this, three fanged smiles faded when he spoke, a skillfully muted fight or flight response. Unbeknownst to him, the trio knew his reputation as the strongest spectral well. Unbeknownst to him, it was among the reasons they were here.

Jean's dizziness had begun to subside, allowing him at last to interject. "Look, guys. What he means is... I'm fine, y'know, not ratting you out for slackin' off, and letting you smoke, and smoking with you, and lying and saying it was bears when you break stuff and also shoplifting with you and giving you rides and stuff, but, like..." He pushed a stray hair back behind his ear. "What we have is a professional relationship."

"What HE means," interrupted Mina, "is that he's off the clock, which means right now he's not obliged to babysit."

Three sets of vampire eyes shifted to stare at Isabel, who was busy forming about a billion brain synapses after all that she'd just witnessed.

Mina sighed. "Kids are fine. It's the uncanny valley of adolescence that we're too old to abide tonight." She was more than willing to condescend from atop the year or two she seemed to have on the intruding trio. Mina had already decided that she hated them. It was easy to project the sneering faces of her own childhood bullies onto them, if a little bit unfair. Unfair, of course, because these three were so much worse.

Paige, whose group had been highschool seniors for almost a decade at this point, was similarly moved towards cold disdain... but she fought it down, instead forcing a soft, venomous smile.

"So what I'm hearing is... you DON'T want to know the story of the West Hill Horror."