I've just finished listening to Victor's audiobook.
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Having listened anew to the adventures of
Victor and Alice
inspired me to write
of their never-before-known
Alice spoke in a husk. “You do not know the dark, Victor.”
Alice’s eyes were blue fire, her translucent skin spun moonbeams, her teeth sharper than regrets.
I laughed, “Say again? I’ve lived years on the streets. I know the night.”
Alice gestured at the cemetery all about us. “You know city darkness … which is never fully dark.”
She shivered. “There is power in the night, terror in the darkness. Here there are … things that do not believe in wrong or right … only prey and hunger.”
I gestured to the small basket in front of her on the sheet spread on the grass. “Speaking of hunger, I got you finger sandwiches.”
“What?” murmured Alice in her British accent.
“You know that child molester who got off on a technicality today?”
“Well, let’s just say that he’ll never play the piano again.”
Alice’s strange eyes hollowed. “Y-You?”
I shook my head. “Elu … which is where the rest of the pervert went. Elu gets hungry, too.”
Alice sighed, “Is he going to attend this ill-advised picnic as well?”
I faked hurt. “Ill-advised? This is romantic with a capitol R. We first met in this cemetery, remember? Right here. In front of Marie Laveau’s crypt.”
“That night almost killed you, Victor! There are no thresholds in a graveyard! Nowhere for you to run to safety. Oh, no!”
I turned around to follow her horrified look. Marie Laveau flowed across the withered grass towards us. Her face was glowing like an instrument of dark grace. She never died, never used her crypt. Guess she just thought we lowered property values.
I gestured to our right. “The addiction counseling center is that way, Fright Face.”
Marie husked, “You always a smartass, boy?”
I shook my head. “No. Sometimes I sleep.”
Alice whimpered as she looked to our left. The shade of her insane mother rising from the center of a ring of black mushrooms.
“No, not Mother. Not her!”
Alice’s mother smiled a thing of nightmares. “I shall show you both pain like you never imagined.”
There were more flavors of pain than lies in a politician’s head. In my life, I swallowed most of them. It was part of the deep music, the big game. The aches taught you wisdom. The tears taught you compassion. The lost friends taught you to cherish what is all too fleeting.
I took Alice’s trembling fingers. “Everything important that will ever happen to you will involve pain. Like getting rid of in-laws and pesky neighbors.”
Marie laughed, “You be a fool!”
I shook my head. “I be Death’s son. And her I did invite to the picnic.”
Mother, in her traditional black robes, billowed behind Alice’s mother. The wraith blurred into smoke. Mother inhaled sharply, making a face.
“Tasted bad as I knew she would.”
Marie Laveau backed up, her palm held out uselessly. “The Gray Man say I can’t be dying!”
I turned to Alice. “Evil isn’t the real threat to the world. Stupid is. And it’s more common.”
Mother flowed to Marie faster than I could blink. She wrapped a sinewy arm around the voodoo queen. “Death is a door one person wide. Let me show you what is on the other side, waiting for you.”
Then, faster than fingers become fists, the two of them were gone.
Alice turned to me. “You planned this?”
“Ah, planned might be too detailed a term to use. I just thought if I made us big enough targets, those two would stop hiding in the wings.”
Alice gasped, “And if your mother had decided to let us picnic alone?”
I made an uneasy face. “It’s not good to hold on too hard to what-if’s. You’ll get muscle cramps.”
She lunged for me. “I will show you cramps!”
I sprang up, racing between crypts and tombstones. “Your finger sandwiches will get cold!”
As we darted between mausoleums, Alice smiled wide. “Your fingers look warm to me!”
I sighed. Victor Standish, saving the world one stupid suicidal stunt at a time.