Oroitz’s Story (Wednesday)
The floorboards creaked under my feet as I raised up the chalk. I had been drawing a circle of protection around me. Filling in the details with care and caution.
Why was I doing this again?
I took a moment to be completely baffled by my surroundings before taking a deep breath and tracing events back from the morning. This whole situation isn’t exactly odd for me. I have more information in my head than a human should technically have, in the form of an ancient book that may have been written by God himself. How it got there is a long story and I don’t know most of it.
The important thing is that when I draw on that knowledge I can really easily muddle up my short term memory.
What was I talking about again?
Right. I worked back from the last thing I could remember. I was driving my car.
I was driving my car to a client’s house. The walls were bleeding in their attic and they felt uneasy up there. Not just that it was creepy up there, but it felt like they were suddenly running a fever and had just eaten a bucket-full of spicy food. They assumed they were haunted.
I decided not to correct them and take care of it for my usual fee. Most people, even ones who think their attic is haunted, won’t believe that their attic is about to cause the end of the world. Weakness in reality that’s about to let forth terrors that the world has never imagined and indeed could never imagine and old pictures of grandpa just don’t go together in most people’s heads.
Okay, that had to be where I was. It was an attic. I was supposed to be in and attic. So why the protection? I had more than a few talismans on me that should stop the “unease” that my clients were feeling. The only reason I’d need to draw a circle of protection was if…
I turned around and it looked back at me. Imagine darkness. Real impenetrable darkness, the kind of darkness that shining a light into won’t help. The darkness at the bottom of a well. Now cover it in eyes.
It lurched forwards and crashed against my circle. The runes that made up the edges of it flared and the wood around them scorched. I groaned. Watch them take that out of my pay.
Hurriedly I started to flip through the book in my head. It’s an old book written in a language where each syllable of each word can have a thousand different meanings, all of which are equally valid.
I found a picture of the thing (it’s name isn’t really pronounceable with one tongue) and started moving my hands through the air. Light trailed behind my fingers like brilliant white neon tubes, slowly forming a shape very similar to my circle of protection.
The thing drew itself back and threw itself against my circle again. This time one of the runes flared longer and brighter than the others. Smoke curled up from around the rune and the thing curled around and started to push against that rune. I was so shocked I stopped moving my hands and what I had been drawing flickered out of existence.
Cursing under my breath, I started drawing the symbol again but my hands were shaking now and I messed it up completely.
The rune that the thing was pushing against flared even brighter and the wood around it burst into flames. That was definitely going to come out of my pay. As long as the thing didn’t devour me and then the rest of the world, condemning all of mankind to a torturous eternity within its mind as our souls are slowly ground into oblivion. That could happen.
I took a deep breath and turned my concentration inwards. I blocked out the circle, I blocked out the burning rune, and I blocked out the creature. There was nothing but my hands as I traced them through the drawing of the rune. Slowly. Carefully. Without making a single mistake.
I opened eyes that I hadn’t even realised I’d closed and looked at the thing as I completed the symbol. The bright white light that made the symbol up coalesced into a single point and then became a beam that struck the thing in what I could guess was its centre.
The room became so bright that I had to cover my eyes. There was a sound like a thousand foot iron gate creaking shut and suddenly the room was dark.
I rubbed the spots from my eyes and sighed. I still had to find the weakness in reality and seal it up but that sounded downright tedious compared to what I had just gone through.
I took out a pen and paper and started noting what had happened. I didn’t want to forget about it by the time Saturday rolled around.
Alan’s Story (Thursday)
It can’t be a Tulpa. A Tulpa is a very specific part of Tibetan mysticism that is the culmination of anywhere from days to weeks of concentration and meditation BY AN INDIVIDUAL. It only RARELY is able to take on physical form and even then doesn’t begin to show the kind of abilities you are talking about. Not only that, but like I said it’s something created by a Zen master NOT A BUNCH OF NERDS SWAPPING GHOST STORIES ON THE INTERNET. Please do your research before contacting me again.
I hit post and chuckled a bit. Nowadays it seemed like everyone had there own badly informed opinions on the paranormal, especially on the internet. Fortunately I was there to help people out with their problems, and they needed the help. It seemed like in the past few years all the ghosts and demons that had plagued man since he lived in caves were finding out about the internet.
Eldritch equations, shock sites that sent the viewer into epileptic fits, and the occasional literal ghost in the machine, all of them seemed to have popped into existence in the past few years and as far as I could tell I was one of maybe two or three dedicated professionals that were working on it.
I chuckled again and pulled another slice off of the pizza that I had been eating. I’d lost fifteen pounds in the last month and anybody who had ever seen me knew that I didn’t have fifteen pounds to lose, so I figured I’d add more fat to my diet.
That’s how nutrition works, right?
I picked an errant black olive off of the bottom of the pizza box and chewed on it while I thumbed through the various tabs I had open. My email tab started blinking, saying that I had over a hundred unread messages. I sighed, figuring that someone had spammed my account again. I’d been a popular target for trolls for the past few months. My spam filter was filled with subject lines like “SMILE!! GOD LOVES YOU!” and “GO BACK TO SLEEP!”. They might not be laughing if they knew the truth behind those stories. Or they might; people on the internet are total fuckwads.
I clicked open my email and sure enough there were over a hundred identical messages. I sighed and was about to select them all and delete them when I stopped. The subject of every email was “Alan”.
You have to understand, nobody on the internet knows my name. Nobody. Nothing I do online is under my real name. It took a week of doing heavy duty magic but there is no mention of my real name on the internet. Realising this I knew it was all the more reason to delete the emails and not look at them.
Unless it was one of my real world friends. That was probably it. Miranda probably just sent me more lolcats. A hundred times. I would have to talk to her about her irrational behaviour.
I opened one of the emails.
I am waiting.
I swallowed and read the message again. That last part wasn’t a proper URL but I copy pasted it into my address bar anyways. There were any number of things that could have sent this. Those supernatural creatures I mentioned dealing with on the internet? You would not believe how they can nurse a grudge.
“Fuck me,” I said before hitting enter.
It wasn’t a URL, but it fulfilled a similar purpose.
My monitor flickered and a second later I was looking at a blank text program. Blue text on a white background. I rubbed the grease from the pizza off on my pants and typed.
I’ve been waiting for you Alan.
Yeah, I got that. How do you know my name?
I’ve been looking for you for so long…
I swallowed and my hands were shaking. Science had yet to develop a way to describe how not good this was. If this thing could find my name, any of a million other incredibly nasty things could as well. That of course involved me surviving the next hour.
My name. How you get it. Tell me or I smash.
I’m so cold Alan…
“Fuck.” I said. “Fuck fuck fuck” I elaborated. I knew what this was. It had been haunting a forum a while back, kept telling people how cold it was. It looked like everyone on the forum was ignoring its messages but the posts on the forum started to deal more and more with subjects dealing with cold. Discussions about cold weather, winter driving tips, people arguing the definition of absolute zero… I only found out about it all after the third person had locked themselves in their freezer. I’d typed in a simple banishment algorithm and thought that was the end of it.
Shows what I know.
Not you again…
I’m cold Alan, will you hold me?
I nervously swallowed and reached for the pop I had sitting next to my keyboard. I gasped as my fingers touched the can. It was so cold my skin stuck to it and I yanked my hand back. The can took the skin off the tips of my fingers with it.
I jumped back from my monitor and went over to my book shelf. If this thing was confronting me directly it meant that I could do likewise, maybe even kill it for good this time.
I got out a few books on magic and a few on computer science and started flipping through them rapidly, my fingers leaving bloodstains on the pages. Heat, what I needed was heat. The computer blinked as more text popped up but I ignored it.
Finally I found a spell for conjuring fire. I grabbed a pen and a notepad and translated it into something I could enter into a computer. Breath fogging in front of me now, I ran back to the computer and entered a string of numbers and letters on a keyboard that was starting to be covered with frost. My teeth had started to chatter as I hit enter.
There was a whining noise as my hard drive spun faster the way it always does when its used for magic.
Instantly the temperature in the room climbed back to normal. I sat back in my chair, breathing a sigh of relief. I had to tell the guys about this on Saturday. I leaned forwards and went to close the text program.
It wouldn’t close.
The temperature dropped in the room by a few degrees.
It’s not enough Alan. I’m still so cold…
I backed away from my computer. Frost started to form at the edge of my monitor and creep out like a fungus, caking thick on my desk. Then my screen started to dimple outwards, like something was pushing though from the other side. My mind raced.
My spell hadn’t killed it, it had made it stronger. My monitor dimpled outwards again and I could see five individual points, fingers trying to force their way through. In an instant I realised what I had done wrong. It wanted me to warm it up, it had asked me to do it and like an idiot I had.
Shaking, I made my way back to the computer and sat back down. The screen was bulging out further, reaching towards me. There was one thing I could try, hopefully it would be enough. At least I didn’t have to look up the spell. I used this one all the time when I wanted to over-clock my hard drive. My hands flew across the keyboard as my teeth started to chatter again. It broke through just as I was about to hit enter.
A pale hand wrapped around mine, a child’s hand with bone white flesh. I screamed and, unthinking, grabbed the pop can and slammed it down on the thing’s wrist. There was a sound like feedback from a speaker and the hand let go.
Gasping, I slammed the enter key down and unleashed my spell. The temperature in the room dropped even further and the thing’s hand went stiff. I sat for a moment just trying to catch my breath. Hesitantly, I reached out and touched the hand. With a snap it fell away from my unblemished monitor and onto my keyboard, frozen solid. Relief flooded through me and I slumped out of my chair and onto the floor.
I lay on the floor for a minute, just breathing as the room slowly warmed up. “Fuck.” I intoned.
After a while I stood up and picked up the hand before going into my back room and, after a few minutes searching, found a specimen jar and plunked it in before filling the jar with a potion of my own concoction that would both preserve and contain it.
I labelled it, “Forum Ice Demon” and set it on the end of one of my shelves next to a VHS tape labelled, “Do not let children watch under any circumstance”. The rest of the shelf was filled with more and more samples taken from my various adventures. Everybody needs a hobby.
I still wondered how the thing had got my name. I’d have to ask my friends on Saturday.
Miranda’s Story (Friday)
I drove my car up to the client’s house. Half of it looked like it was made of glass and it smelled like money. The fact that it was on its own acreage two miles outside of the city also gave that away.
Despite turning my tail into a pair of legs two hours ago my brain insisted that my fins were itching as I stepped out of the car. I ignored it and walked up to the front door to ring the bell. A man with dark circles around his eyes answered the door and I stuck out my hand. “Hi! I’m Miranda Seaborn. We spoke on the phone?”
“Scott, Scott Williams. Thank you for coming… you said that you’ve seen this sort of thing before?”
Well, technically I am this sort of thing but that’s not something I like to tell clients. Scott looked like he was going to bolt at any moment and breaking out the M word around him would probably cost me my fee. “Yes, you could say that my experience in extensive.”
“Right…” he looked around for a moment, perhaps worried about what his non existent neighbours might think, and invited me in.
There was a teary eyed woman in the living room. “Hi!” I said.
She looked at me like she was a little startled but managed to stammer out a “Hello.”
“I’m Miranda Seaborn.”
I looked at her for a moment, “I’m going to get your daughter back Pamela.” I looked back at Scott. “Could you show me to Maggie’s room?”
Scott guided me upstairs and I looked at their collection of art on the way. A lot of modern painters, very abstract. I suddenly realised that Scott was talking to me. “Hm?”
“I was just saying that this was Maggie’s room.”
“Thank you Scott.” I stepped in and looked around. The bed had a large collection of stuffed animals and there were a few decals of cartoon characters on the walls. And there was pink, this room was industrial grade pink. I took a look around, feeling the magic energies of the room.
“It came out of there.” Scott pointed at the closet and his voice had a bit of a quiver. “It’s… you tell kids not to be afraid of it. Monsters in the closet.”
“I understand.” I looked around the room and cleared my throat, “Scott, would you mind getting me a glass of water? I might be a while in here.”
“Oh, uh, of course.” Scott said before leaving and shutting the door.
“Now that he’s gone…” I said to myself and opened up the closet door. At first it was just a closet. Whatever had used it as a gateway had closed the door behind it but I could feel a seam that it had left.
I reached into my coat’s inner pocket and pulled out a water bottle, squirting a bit of water into the air in front of the seam. It hovered there and started to glow as I threw my will into it. I slowly pressed the water into the seam and pictured it being forced apart. There was a flash and suddenly instead of a closet I was looking at an expanse of ocean. A light sea breeze blew in to the bedroom, carrying the scent of salt and I could see the sun reflected off the ocean where it sat near the horizon, despite the fact that it was noon outside. “Well… that’s convenient.”
I stripped off my clothes as fast as I could, leaving them piled on the floor. Then taking a deep breath, jumped through the closet and into the ocean. The moment I touched the water I could tell that I wasn’t on Earth anymore. There was so much magic in the water I found myself spitting it out. I bobbed in the middle of the ocean and looked back a the square of bedroom that hovered just above the water line.
Closing my eyes, I focused on the water around me. It swirled and began to take on a glow as I felt my legs tingle and get pulled together. There was a sort of pop and I looked down to see my legs transformed into the bright blue tail that I’d been born with. I let out a sigh and swished my fins around a bit. I couldn’t remember the last time I had been in an ocean like this. But it wasn’t my ocean, and as the feel of the water made that more and more apparent I sighed and dove underneath the water, letting it fill my lungs as I looked for the scent of whatever had opened the portal’s trail.
I found it after a moment’s searching. It was a light trail that smelt like a deep sea fish, like an angler, mixed with human blood. I trailed it down, feeling the familiar sensation of water pressure building around me. Eventually I saw a rock face emerge out of the gloom in front of me and the scent led me to a cave. Cautiously I felt out for security spells but couldn’t find any. It was typical behaviour for someone kidnapping humans. Just because the humans can’t work magic they think there’s no reason to defend against it.
I swam into the cave and could see a light towards the back. Swimming forwards I was surprised to find the ground leveling out. Eventually I saw that the cave ended in a pocket of air. Swimming forwards, my head emerged into the last section of the cave.
Forcing the water out of my lungs, I looked around. The cave was lit by some sort of phosphorescent fungus that was as efficient as any light bulb and, besides my little pool, was mostly dry. I drifted to the edge of the pool and said, “Hello?”
A little face poked up from behind the rocks. She had her father’s dark hair and her mother’s bright blue eyes. “Hi.” Maggie said quietly, looking down as she said it.
“Maggie, I’m here to get you out.”
“Maggie!” a man’s voice called from the back of the cave, “who are you talking to!?”
I looked up and smiled as Scott Williams came into view. “Hello, we haven’t met. I’m Miranda Seaborn. I’m here to get the both of you home.”
Maggie walked forwards, clearly less frightened than her father, “Are you a mermaid?”
Like most human children, Maggie needed little convincing of this.
“That thing…” Scott was the less resilient of the pair, “it made itself look like me.”
“I know. Don’t you remember? We spoke on the phone.”
A slow realisation seemed to build “That was days ago.”
“It was earlier today. You’re in the fairy realm. Time’s a bit wonky.”
I swam back to the other edge of the pool and raised my hands, moving them in broad sweeping motions. The water started to ripple, lifting up and forming a solid wall that I slowly started to curve around until it formed a sphere with an oval opening facing towards the father and daughter. “Alright, just step in there and I can get you back home.”
Scott took a hesitant step forwards. “That thing used one of these…”
I nodded, “Probably, he’d need to keep both of you alive or it would violate the treaty.”
“What?” Scott grabbed Maggie’s shoulders and held her back, “What is going on here?”
I sighed, “Look, some creature kidnapped your daughter and tried to take her place, but you saw it so had to take you instead. It couldn’t kill you because that would violate an ancient treaty that has governed his people’s interactions with yours since the dawn of time. Now can we please leave?”
Scott looked at me and blinked before guiding his daughter into the sphere of water and following just after. I dived under the water and used my magic as a tether to pull the sphere behind me. I had a bit of difficulty guiding it out of the cave but once we were in the open it was just a few moments for us to reach the surface, the bubble protecting the humans from the intense pressure change. Finally I dragged them back to the square of bedroom that was floating where I left it a foot above the water. I opened a hole in the sphere and they gingerly stepped out. “Right,” I said as I pulled myself out of the water and into the bedroom, sealing the portal behind me. “now I just have to deal with-”
Of course that was when the fake Scott had to open the door, holding the glass of water that from his perspective I had only asked for a few seconds ago. He saw Maggie and Scott standing together on one side of the room and me, still half fish, by the closet.
He let out a scream that sounded like a thousand nails being dragged across blackboards as his skin started to split to reveal a hide made out of black plates and thorns. I remembered the smell of the angler fish as the thing’s clawed hand closed on the glass of water and reduced it to splinters. It walked forwards and reached down to grab me.
Quickly, I rolled onto my back and tried to hit it with my tail. It growled and sunk its claws into my scales, yanking me down so that it could grab me by my shoulders and lift me from the ground. The tips of its claws dug into my skin and I screamed as it threw me against the wall. “Foul mercreature! I would have taken the man’s place and ruled them like a king. How!? How could you have known what I was!?”
I gritted my teeth, “Because, troll, you told me that this was Maggie’s room and any human would have said is. Besides, a faker can always spot a faker.”
It screamed and dug its claws further into my shoulders. Hot blood rand down my sides and I screamed again. “I will tear your arms from their sockets!” it screamed in my face with breath that smelt like a thousand rotting fish.
“Don’t look, Maggie.” I said while blinking tears from my eyes. “Please don’t look.”
The troll laughed. “Yes! Don’t look Maggie! I am going to reduce your saviour to a puddle of torn flesh!”
Thankfully Maggie had listened to me and ducked her head down, trembling and covering her eyes. “No.” I said, “I don’t want her to see this!” I raised my right hand, despite the pain, and made a fist. By the door, the puddle that had formed when the troll had dropped the glass of water suddenly ran together and shot across the room, forming into an icicle while it was halfway across the room and lodging itself in the back of the troll’s neck. The troll made a choking noise and let go of me, letting me fall to the ground.
I didn’t wait to see if that would be enough to kill it. Instead I drew the water that was still coating my body from the ocean in the closet together and fired two more icicle through the troll’s chest. It teetered for a second, and then groaned and fell over.
I lay on my back for a moment, gasping, before crawling over where I had left my clothes earlier and pulled out my bottle of water, getting ready to work some healing magic and turn my tail into legs. Nervous laughter started escaping me as I said, “They’ll love this one on Saturday.”
Flora’s Story (Saturday)
Two vampires are turned away from me at the end of the alley.
I’ve been tracking these two for the past few hours. Mostly I leave vampires alone if they keep to eating animals. These two didn’t.
One of the vampires, the taller of the two, turns to face me. He’s wearing at torn and dirty business suit and a pair of sneakers. I guess that’s what he was buried in. His eyebrows raise as he sees me.
I’m wearing black combat boots, black cargo pants, a military surplus flack jacket over a long sleeved black shirt, a pair of heavy gloves designed for handling barbed wire, and a gas mask circa the first Gulf War. In addition to all of this I have a belt that I’ve clipped several weapons and tools to.
The tall vampire taps the second, shorter, vampire on the shoulder and points back at me. The second vampire is wearing a denim jacket, a flannel shirt, and jeans. He looks like he’s been out of the ground longer than his friend.
Vampires are complex creatures. More complex than I think than the sporadic attempts to study them truly convey. The fact is that most of their internal biology is a mystery to us as a dead vampire simply turns to dust. I have been able to make a few guesses based on my own anatomy, but they are only guesses. One popular theory is that vampires don’t have souls, I wonder about that. If that was true, how did my father fall in love with my mother. Surely someone as well versed in magical lore as him would have known that whatever feelings he had for her could never be reciprocated?
The vampires’ hands start to lengthen. Thick black claws form at the tips of their fingers and bright white fangs burst out of their mouths. Muscles at their neck bulge out their eyes become solid black. Either of them could tear me apart as easily as a person might tear a magazine in half.
I didn’t inherit what you might think from my parents. I actually have less magical ability than the average person and all I got from my mother was a garlic allergy and skin that will burn on a cloudy day if I’m wearing anything less than SPF 50. What I did get from them was the most complete magical library that I have ever encountered, a stubborn streak a mile wide, and money. Lots and lots of money.
The two vampires look like they’re about to jump at me so pull a canister from my belt and throw it at them. It’s a modified smoke grenade, containing the same active chemicals as garlic. Garlic stings my eyes and makes me sneeze. It hits vampires like tear gas. In a second the vampires are rubbing their eyes with their clawed hands and coughing.
Most of the money for this stuff doesn’t come from my inheritance, not directly. I only dip into that when I absolutely have to. I have invested much of it and there are more than a few income properties in my name. I live in one of my apartment buildings downtown. At least it looks like an apartment building. In truth only six people live there including myself. It’s mostly full of my books.
While the vampires are still reeling from the garlic gas I pull out a handgun. A .50 Action Express Desert Eagle to be precise. When you’re hunting vampires there’s no such thing as too much firepower. I fire it twice into each vampire, my wrists hurt from the recoil even after the long hours of practice I’ve put in at the firing range. These vampires haven’t picked the nicest neighbourhood to do their hunting in so its even odds that someone calls the police at the sound of gunshots.
Bullets can’t kill vampires but there’s no creature in existence that likes getting shot. The two vampires go to their knees, clutching at their chests and still coughing from the garlic. I run forwards and grab a stake from underneath my vest. While a stake to the heart will kill most vampires, putting wood through a sternum isn’t the easiest thing in the world.
I’ve solved this by making a few modifications to my stakes. I rush up to the tall vampire, my gasmask stopping the garlic from getting to me, and place my stake against his heart. With my other hand I pull the pin out of the metal cap on the end of my stake. There’s muffled pop and the stake discharges, sending the wooden spike straight into the vampire’s heart. I spin and face the other vampire, firing my gun three more times into his chest one handed. That doesn’t do my wrist any favours but I press the attack. I put my boot on the vampire’s neck to stop it from thrashing and a few seconds later my second stake is in its heart.
It’s not known why a dying vampire dissolves into dust. Some people think that its the decay catching up with them, but fails to explain why fresh vampires will dissolve as well.
There was no funeral when my mother died.
I hear a groan behind me and turn to see a man collapsed on the ground. Probably the vampires’ intended victim. I flip my gas mask off, even though I know that will cause the man to stare. My chalk white skin and hair mixed with my red eyes aren’t exactly comforting after a vampire attack. I hold out my hand to help the guy up.
He doesn’t look like he’s from this part of town. He looks like some yuppie that the vampires grabbed and dragged down here to finish off. He adjusts his scarf and accepts my hand, letting me pull him to his feet.
“I… what?” he says.
“Vampires. They attacked you.” Before he can say anything else I hold up my hand. “Yes, they are real. No, I am not one.” The man looks like he’s about to say something else but I turn away and start digging through the piles of dust the vampires left, looking for the bullets I’d fired into them earlier. I found them after a bit of searching and started weighing the pros and cons of carrying around a sieve.
The guys still looking at me but I ignore him. It’s just the usual post rescue nonsense. I can already picture the five minutes of awkward conversation in some fancy restaurant that would lead to his discovering what I already know. I’m not his kind of people. The succubus and djin that rent apartments from me are my kind of people. The two monsters I just put down to save his life are my kind of people.
My phone buzzes and I see that I have a text message. It’s from Miranda and reads:
Where are u?
I think for a moment and curse. It’s Saturday isn’t it?
Miranda’s Apartment (Saturday Night)
Flora knocked on the door, shuffling from one foot to the other. She hadn’t had time to change and was still in her combat rig. She realised she probably smelled like a locker room too.
The door opened after a moment to reveal Oroitz, wearing his usual long grey trench coat and balancing a glass of wine and a tray of cheese in the hand that wasn’t occupied with the door. His eyebrows raised, “You’re late. We started without you.”
Flora looked at her shoes, “Sorry… it was vampires.”
“Well, it probably couldn’t be helped.” He smiled all the more warmly and put a reassuring hand just above her shoulder, he knew how she felt about being touched. “Come, Miranda’s telling us about an encounter she had with a troll earlier this week. A literal one mind you. Not those people that Alan is always going on about.”
They rounded the corner in the hallway to see the other two sitting on a couch. Miranda, as always, hade enough grace to make her usual denim attire seem like the height of fashion. Her pale blond hair lent her beauty an ethereal quality. Alan seemed to have put on a clean t-shirt for the occasion but was at the same time executing his policy that jeans were always clean.
Miranda waved and continued on with her story. “So there I was, naked, a fish below the waist, and a dead troll bleeding black sludge onto my client’s carpet, when suddenly I realise that when I called to discuss payment I have no idea if I was talking to the client or the troll.” She laughed at herself for a moment and said, “So I said: ‘This might be a bad time, but I was promised five thousand dollars’!”
Alan seemed to choke on his wine for a moment. “You didn’t!”
“Well I had just saved his daughter. At the time I thought I was being very reasonable.”
Flora sat down in an empty chair facing the couch, Oroitz taking a seat opposite her. Alan cleared his throat, “Flora, you don’t happen to have my name on your phone do you?”
Miranda paused and looked at him, “Would that be bad?”
“Well that thing that attacked me earlier found my somehow.” He looked sidelong at Miranda, “You don’t-”
She held up her hands, “I was raised in a hunter gatherer society. I don’t get these things.” She pulled out her phone, “Look, I’m taking it off right now.”
“What happened?” Flora asked.
Alan scowled at Miranda a bit before answering. “This ghost slash demon thing that I banished a few months back came after me looking for revenge. Grabbed me through my monitor to do it.” He reached over the back of the couch and grabbed a messenger bag. “Here, I’ll show you its-”
“No!” said Miranda, covering her eyes with her hands.
“Alan, nobody wants to see your weird frozen demon baby hand. Put it away.” Oroitz looked more annoyed than disgusted.
Turning his scowl on Oroitz, Alan sat the bag down. “So Flora, how’s your week been?” he said.
She looked down the wine and cheese on the table. “The usual.”
“I know what that’s like.” Oroitz said as he poured her a glass and handed it to her. “Did you know that the world almost ended on Wednesday?”
“Again?” asked Alan.
Oroitz nodded, “I was in this attic and…”
Flora leaned back and looked at her friends one by one. Oroitz’s animated hands as he described his adventure, Miranda’s self confident lounging as she listened, Alan’s disinterested prodding of his messenger bag. She sat back, listened to her friends story and sipped her wine.