Monday, June 13

House of Shadows

I’m fine… everyone’s fine… I’m stressed and pissed and tired and Vindicate just better keep the hell away from us because we have more than enough problems without another freaky cult AND I AM SICK OF ALL THIS BULLSHIT and I’ve been working on wards all frikkin night and you shouldn’t do magic when you’re tired even with nature spirits willing to “feed” you because you’ll still eventually be working on nervous energy and get sick and I NEED SUGAR or to crash and I can’t do either because I keep thinking as soon as I do SOMEONE IS GOING TO COME IN HERE AND TRY TO HURT US AGAIN and I can’t take it. I can’t. I’m tired…

Shady just gave me a look. ((Deep breaths.)) I don’t want her to punch me again. Sure it’s only in the arm, but she hits hard, and between the two of us, we have enough bruises for five people, and I can’t even tell with Sunshine. He’s covered in dirt and blood, and just grunts “No” when I try to clean him up or get him to take off his shirt. I’m not even going to try to get him back into the root cellar. He seems content enough to shadow us and watch everything we do.

I did what I could for Shady’s bruises, though when I made her put slices of onion on her throat to reduce the swelling she made a crack about being seasoned for dinner. I’m sure she meant it as a joke, but after watching Sunshine EAT Tzamain, it wasn’t all that funny. If I wasn’t a vegetarian before, I sure would be now. By the time I had a poultice of comfrey, ginger, and elder leaves ready, her throat was livid but not so swollen as it might have been. She made a face as I pasted the gunk on her neck and wrapped it up with makeshift bandages, but I knew it would help, and it did. It’s only been a little over a day, but the bruises on her throat are already yellow, and there was hardly any swelling at all.

Of course, she gave me hell for only making enough for her, but it was her neck that concerned me. And any wounds Sunshine might have had, though he wouldn’t let me check. I can’t take care of myself when the people in my charge are hurt or in need. I’m just not built that way. Besides, all my bruises are on my backside and I am NOT having someone apply poultices to my butt. At least Trina and Ron were out in the back during the fight and only came inside when the helicopter buzzed the house. So they have no injuries. Between Trina glomping onto Shady (she’s curled up next to Shady even as I type this) and Sunshine bouncing from following me around to looming over Shady, we have a house of professional shadows. At least Ron isn’t interested in keeping us under guard. He scowls whenever he’s in the room, but leaves periodically; I assume to make sure no one is sneaking up on the house.

That was my biggest concern, that the helicopter was only flying off to find some place to land. But that seems to have not been the case. No one’s come around, and I am very much relieved. I’m a big fan of Roosevelt's “speak softly but carry a big stick” policy.
I don’t like having to hit people with sticks, but it’s getting to the point where I am seriously thinking of getting a real weapon… like a baton or staff with a lead core to make anyone I hit sorry they ever considered hurting someone in my charge, or were born, or didn‘t think to buy stock in an analgesic company of their choice. Crack someone’s skull with a piece of lead wrapped in wood, and they will go down, no matter how big they are.

I was out in the garden when Tzamain burst in, gathering herbs and vegetables for dinner. Shady might complain of the lack of meat, but there’s a bounty in our backyard that does serve to preserve my quickly dwindling monies. I heard the thud of the door, but until I actually got up and approached the house, I just thought Shady had dropped a tool or a beam. It was only when I got closer that I felt the spirits around the house going nuts about the intruder and dropped my basket.

I grabbed the first thing that came to hand, which unfortunately was not Wildman’s machete. The fight might have been over that much faster if it had been, but that’s out in the garden somewhere. Sue me; I’ve been using is for yard work. I can’t afford to splurge on pruning sheers.

I’d have started with his soft bits, but he had Shady by the throat. So I just started hitting his head, arm, and shoulder, hoping he’d drop her and focus on me long enough for her to get up and either run or grab something sharp and demoralizing. I have no illusions about my fighting skill. I’m not a warrior; I’m a thinker. When he just oh, so casually, reached around and snapped my stick like a twig…. That’s when I guess the adrenaline surge kicked into overtime. I managed to half blind him by knocking his mask askew, not that it made him drop Shady.

No….. it wasn’t until Sunshine some how manage to get free of his chains (still haven’t figured out his Houdini trick since they’re not busted at all) and tore into Tzamain like he was channeling a wild badger defending her cubs that Tzamain finally discarded Shady and focused on the only real threat in the room. Seriously? I don’t think Shady could have done a damn thing to him, even if she’d been in top form. Tzamain’s level of madness is something you fight with a needle to the neck and an overdose of elephant tranquilizers. I thought the Jason Voorhees level of insane only occurred in movies. I mean, I’ve seen Victor in action, but that’s a little closer to watching a force of nature. Tzamain is… was just a gigantic lunatic.

One thing’s for sure- We’re going to have to find Sunshine something more substantial than vegetables to eat. He’s a confirmed meat eater at this point, and I REALLY want to nip any more cannibalism in the bud. Maybe if I hadn‘t been feeding him only vegetables…. He wasn’t just ripping into Tzamain to beat him into submission; he was literally chewing him up and not even bothering to spit him out. If I hadn’t been so freaked out, I probably would have puked.

Shady and I just stood there, clutching at each other, more in shock than fear, I think. Honestly, I was too hopped up on adrenaline to be afraid. Freaked, yes. Afraid, not so much. I did worry that Trina would come inside to find out what was going on, but had faith that her brother had sense enough to stop her. It wasn’t until we followed Sunshine and Tzamain to the second floor that I did have to restrain Shady, or I think she would have jumped in… not that Sunshine needed saving. Maybe she intended to jump in and save Tzamain. No one should have to go through something like that, even BSC sociopaths with megalomaniacal complexes.

But it was over almost as soon as we arrived, which was probably for the best as I’m not sure yet of the safe areas up there. And Sunshine had settled in to eat his fill of the man he’d just killed, not that I’d have considered Tzamain anything more than a rabid animal when he was alive. (And he’s still up there, his gelid blood soaked into the floorboards and probably beginning to putrefy… We’ll need to go up and push him out one of the holes in the walls at some point, but I’ll be damned if I’m going up there any time soon. I wonder if we could get Ron to do it…)

In the silence that followed, I realized there was an almost hypnotic whupwhupwhup coming from overhead and looked up. A big black helicopter hovered overhead like a mosquito attracted to the spilt blood. All I could think was that they might have snipers up there and intended to avenge their fallen comrade, though they’d pretty much tossed him aside like snapped rubber band last week. I’ll just say Shady has self-control issues and leave it at that. She’s just lucky she was already injured or I might have hit her harder.

After he’d gone to all the effort of saving Shady, I wasn’t going to leave Sunshine up there to be picked off if the goons in the chopper decided to start shooting, but he was content enough with the meat that offering him more just wasn’t interesting to him. Thank goodness for Shady’s “mommy voice,” because Sunshine was not budging for me, no matter how sweetly I asked him to come down or praised him for saving us. He scooped us both up and jumped down to the first floor, and may I say, yet again, how happy I am that there is stone under most of the first floor?

Ron and Trina had just entered the building, either curious about the sudden silence or seeking cover from the helicopter. Ron has since stayed between Trina and Sunshine at every turn, else I’m sure she’d be underfoot, trying to talk to Sunshine, covered in blood or no.

And for all his violence and his new layer of dried blood and filth, Sunshine seems… harmless. I’m confused. Really. Maybe it was all the talking and singing I did when I visited him in the root cellar? I really have no idea, but once Shady finally settled onto the slab of slate she calls a bed, he started shadowing me just as he’d been trailing after her. I can barely stand to look at him, knowing what the dark stains on his clothes are and the crust on his face, but I’m not afraid of him. I just wish he’d let me clean him up some. Next time it rains, hopefully I can make him stand out in it a while.

After the helicopter flew off, we were too paranoid to do anything more than hunker down and prepare to defend ourselves. I mean, there was literally nowhere for us to go that was safer than the mansion. We might have trekked to Shady’s parents, but towing Sunshine, Ron, and Trina? They would have thought Shady joined a biker gang… or worse, a cult. Least Trina’s hair is starting to grow out. I gave her a bit of a trim while I was making wards for our place. She’ll be less eye catching at least. Not much can be done for Sunshine or Ron in that respect. Even clean, they’d still be startling, kind of like my dad used to be pretty scary if you weren’t expecting him… crazy Irishman that he was, always half drunk and that weird bulging scar just slightly off center on his forehead. I always thought he looked like Frankenstein when I was kid, but damn, Sunshine and Ron have got him beat there.

I know we were suppose to sleep in shifts, but I couldn’t. Aside from little catnaps, I’ve been up since the fight happened and working on wards for the place. Shady was wandering the property during her shifts so she didn’t notice that I’d always be back up as soon as she left the room. I’ve fixed up six “witches bottles” to be buried at the corners of the property, one under a stone I pried out in front of the fire place and the last under the doorstep once we nail the front door back in place; it‘s just leaning there right now.

Should have seen Shady’s face when I asked her to spit in the bottles. She was okay with it once I explained the necessity of having something from all of us in the wards to ensure they recognized everyone, but I could tell she clearly thought I’d gone round the bend when I first asked. I filled the bottles with all kinds of nasty things… broken glass and rusty nails, pieces of old barbed wire I found and managed to twist and bend into pieces, our hair, pieces of Sunshine’s wardrobe that he didn’t seem to mind me snipping off. The grossest part was collecting enough… bodily excretions to make the contents a truly nasty mess. I was glad when I could finally seal the mason jars. I used a red sharpie to draw an Ottastafur rune on the lid of each jar before cover it with wax to help preserve it. Just have to bury the things now.

Working on personal wards at the moment… I’m just taking this little break so Shady won‘t hit me again for working to hard. Sure it’s alright for her to work on the house despite injuries, but I’m not allowed to do magic when I‘m only tired? Pffft. I’m just naturally pale, that’s all. It’s not like I’m going to faint or anything. And I’m MUCH calmer now than I was when I started typing, see? MUCH CALMER, Shady.


  1. I'm going to have Sunshine sit next to you while you are SUPPOSED to be sleeping from now on, and if you try to get up you'll get tackled back down. Shit, just glad to be able to step out of that place. Now we have to get rid of that body and smell. Considering all the meat hungry creatures we should get rid of the body really soon, after what happened with the doppelganger being dragged off by what I can only assume to be an animal I think it's best we hurry along with that. Especially if one of those hungry creatures is Mr. Sunshine, he keeps trying to sneak up there. Sigh.

  2. Luck.

    Need it.

    Would write rune, not know how.