253: Forked

on July 15, 2008 in Book 10

In Which A Possession Goes Missing

Thursday, Calendula 8th 222 (morning)

I woke up feeling warm, secure, and happy. I felt better than I had in a long time… for the last couple weeks, at least. I felt completely and utterly at peace with myself, like there was nothing wrong with the world…

Like there was nothing wrong with me.

It was a good feeling, and one that I wasn’t at all familiar with, but I felt like I could definitely get used to it.

I got out of bed to find that Two was marinating herself in something that smelled like raspberries, humming a really fucking annoying song repetitively to herself as she squirted it on.

She’d just come back from the showers, and was naked except for the towel which completely concealed her hair… leaving nothing showing but her milky white skin. Her body was moist but not dripping, which only emphasized the succulence of her long legs and her juicy thighs.

They were, I noted with interest, the fattest part of her lean little body… her upper thighs and haunches, like yummy little Khersentide hams.

“Good morning, Mack!” she said. “Are you ready for breakfast?”

Was I ever. I just needed to figure out how to get Two alone… somewhere quiet.

“I would have awakened you for meditation, but I couldn’t find my friend Dee,” she said apologetically.

“Oh, that’s okay,” I said. “We could always go meditating by ourselves, though.”

“Okay!” Two said brightly. She was so trusting… so innocent. That would make it all so much easier… and so much better, too.

There was a knock on the door.

Shit. Breakfast was either about to be delayed or doubled in size. How much could I eat at one time? I didn’t know… and it struck me as weird that I’d never bothered to find out. I felt like I could gorge myself on the world and still be hungry.

There wasn’t flesh or blood enough in the world to fill the black pit that was opening up within me.

Two announced, “I’ll get it!” and immediately went to open it.

The hallway outside was painfully bright. I couldn’t quite make out who was in the door. Strangely, whoever it was didn’t seem to be backlit… if anything, they were giving off the light. I closed my eyes and staggered back from the visual assault. My senses were reeling. My skin seemed to be sizzling, and there was a sound like steam escaping inside my head.

“Hey, baby!” a voice… sweet, saccharine, and awful… said.

I felt punishing waves of pressure rolling into me as the source of that awful, burning radiance barreled towards me. I wanted to scream, but my voice was frozen in my throat. I wanted to run, but I seemed to be rooted to the spot.

I was in agony. I was dying. I could feel myself being torn apart, dissolved…

Suddenly, I was in Amaranth’s arms, and I wasn’t sure how I’d got there. Hadn’t I just woke up?

“Baby, are you okay?” she asked.

“I don’t know,” I said. I felt… deflated. Something had just flown out of me, like the receding memory of a half-forgotten dream. What had I just been thinking about? I couldn’t remember. I had a pain in my head, and a dull ache all over my body… was it possible that I was still sore from the wonderful beating Ian had given me?

“You look a little woozy, baby,” she said, putting her arms around me.

“I kind of feel like I stood up too quickly or something,” I said.

“You aren’t getting hungry, are you?”

Was I? I didn’t have any craving… but I had an odd feeling that… well, just an odd feeling. I couldn’t even say what feeling it was, really. It was too small and nebulous to really tell any more.

“I don’t know,” I said.

“Well, I’ve got something lined up to help you with that this weekend,” she said. “But you let me know if you think you’re starting to get hungry before then, okay?” She gave me a kiss on the forehead. “We don’t want a repeat of last time.”

“No, ma’am,” I murmured, appreciatively leaning into her warmth. It was so cold in the room… frigid air was seeping in from beneath the curtain. I really wanted to get back in bed and pull the covers over myself, preferably with her.

“You get dressed for breakfast now, baby,” Amaranth said. “And bundle yourself up. We had a bad frost, early this morning.”

“Frost?” I groaned.

“Yes, frost. Winter’s coming,” she said. “We might be looking at snow before Veil.”

“I knew I should have gone somewhere farther south,” I said.

Don’t even joke about that, missy,” Amaranth said. “How can you say you wish you’d gone somewhere else when this is where I am? And where Two is? And everybody else who loves you?”

“I know,” I said. “But it wouldn’t hurt to transfer some place tropical…”

She gave me a swat on the rear.

“Hey, get a room!” one of the Leightons said as they breezed past the door. I suddenly realized that the three of us were just standing there, all naked, with the door open.

“We have a room!” Two called after them, provoking fits of laughter that echoed through the hall. “Stupid heads!”

“Two, shut the door, please,” Amaranth said. “And don’t call people ‘stupid heads’.”

“Okay,” Two said, shutting and locking the door. “Amaranth, do you have the key to my friend Dee’s room yet? She didn’t answer when I knocked on her door this morning.”

“No, honey, I sure don’t,” Amaranth said.

“You don’t think she put herself into a sleep loop again, do you?” I asked Two.

“I don’t know,” she said. “But I am worried about her.”

“Well, we’ll see if she turns up for breakfast,” Amaranth said. “Then decide what to do if she doesn’t.”

“Okay,” Two said.

I peeked behind the curtain. The window wasn’t completely glazed over, but the lower half of it was partly obscured.

“Do we have to go to the union for breakfast?” I asked, letting the curtain slip back into place.

“Baby, get dressed,” Amaranth said. “You’ll be a lot less cold when you put some clothes on.”

“Yeah,” I said. putting my arms around her and snuggling up against her nude body. Maybe it was all in my head, but contact with her seemed to physically dull the ache I was feeling and draw the pain out of my head. “But I’ll be a lot more cold when we go outside.”

“You have to go outside for your classes, anyway,” she said.

“I know,” I said. “But I can stay inside a little bit longer.”

Amaranth sighed and rolled her eyes.

“I think somebody is way behind in their spankings,” she said.

“It’s Mack,” Two said knowingly as she bustled about, getting dressed. “She wouldn’t be if I was allowed to spank her.”

“Hush, Two,” Amaranth said. She disentangled my arms from herself and pushed me gently away. “Mack, baby, get dressed. We’ll get you caught up on your punishment this evening, so you can be nice and obedient for the sit-down with Viktor… but right now, I think the best cure for your brattiness is to not give in to it.”

I sighed and started to put together an outfit for the day, moving slowly in the hope that Amaranth would spontaneously declare that she’d changed her mind and she’d rather stay in bed all morning and snuggle. Maybe I’d been a bit on the bratty side, but I’d missed her… she’d slept with me so often lately that waking up alone was evidently enough to rattle me badly. I couldn’t think of a better cure for that than getting back into bed with her and staying there long enough to have a proper wake-up later.

I had one small, fleeting moment of hope when Amaranth went over to my bunk and opened the curtain, but then I realized she was just making the bed. I heaved a profound sigh and got my coat out of the closet.

“There, now,” Amaranth said after I’d put it on. “Don’t you look… well, you should be warm enough, anyway.”

I put insulating spells on my socks and my jeans, and would have put one on my coat, too, if Amaranth hadn’t noticed what I was doing and stopped me.

“Don’t go overboard, baby,” she said. “You have two labs today, remember? You need to save your energy.”

“It won’t matter how much energy I have if I freeze to death on the way to breakfast,” I said.

“Oh, stop being so melodramatic,” Amaranth said. “Honestly, I wish I hadn’t mentioned the frost… I was just trying to be a good and responsible owner by telling you to bundle up.”

We headed out through the back of the nexus and walked right out into a cold north wind that cut right through the one hole in my defense in order to seem to freeze my nose and lips solid in one blast.

“If it’s this cold in the afternoon, I won’t be able to go to mixed melee,” I said, turning my head away from the chill.

“Oh, stop it,” Amaranth said. “It’s a sunny day. Of course it won’t be as cold in the afternoon… and even if it was, you’d still have to go. I’m sure when it starts to get really cold, they’ll move the class indoors.”

“It is really cold right now,” I said. “And you don’t know Coach Callahan. She’d probably make us fight in the snow for her own twisted amusement.”

“Steff says she’s nice.”

“Ogre-nice, maybe.”

Stop.”

Even though I hadn’t really wanted to go in the first place, I was profoundly relieved when we made it to the student union. I went straight for the hot chocolate mix, and after having a cup or three of that I went to load up on hot food. The pancakes didn’t look that appealing to me that morning… the eggs looked a little, but the bacon, ham, and sausage all smelled intoxicatingly wonderful. I got a plate loaded up with all of them, to the bemusement of the server behind the counter.

“Is that really what you want?” Amaranth asked me once I sat down with my food.

“Yeah,” I said.

“And you’re sure you’re not hungry-hungry?”

“No,” I said. “I’m just in the mood for meat today.”

“Okay,” Amaranth said.

“I’m in the mood for waffles with ice cream,” Two said, returning to the table. She had a stack of four waffles with ice cream in between them, whipped cream on top, and chocolate syrup drizzled over the whole thing. I had no idea where she’d found the syrup and whipped cream.

The whole thing was a little overblown, but all in all it seemed like something that should have appealed to me. Looking at it, though… actually thinking about eating it… turned my stomach. I could smell the cloying sweetness of it, and it made my breakfast want to rise. I looked away from it and tried to focus on other smells, like the comfortingly familiar scent of Amaranth, or Two’s sweet flesh with the hint of raspberry, and ate the rest of my breakfast.

“So, my friend Dee hasn’t shown up,” Two noted.

“I know, sweetie,” Amaranth said. She sighed. “I’m going to lean on Gwen about getting my room officially changed… if she gives me the key this morning, we can check and make sure Dee’s not asleep again. After that… I don’t know. I think the morning paper comes out around ten. That might give us a clue as to whether or not she made it over to the newspaper office yesterday, and how it went.”

“Maybe she killed the fuckers,” I said, picking up my plate and licking it clean. I was getting a headache again, but the taste of the bacon grease was doing something to make up for it. “That would teach them to mess with a ‘drow’.”

“Baby!” Amaranth said sharply. I froze with my plate tilted up in front of my face.

“What?” I asked, then lowered the plate sheepishly. “Oh, sorry.”

“I can’t believe you’d say something like that,” she said. I could hear the disappointment verging on condemnation ringing in her voice, but I couldn’t understand what I’d said to provoke it.

“I’m sorry,” I said. I put my plate down and leaned up against her, and the headache began to recede. “I guess I’m just not feeling myself this morning.”


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12 Responses to “253: Forked”

  1. pedestrian says:

    before i met my wife Alberta, she had for many years suffered from severe migraines at least once a month. After the first few years we were together I began to figure out the overlapping cycles that were triggering the migraines.

    First was associating with her mother, my mother-in-laws passing dissolved a lot of the nasty burdens trying to care for that woman.

    Second Alberta had been a very active horsewoman, with all the physical labor and injuries from handling a crazy, half-broken stallion. I found that gently lift & pull of her head and with neck massages I could interrupt or at least mollify the beginning of a migraine attack.

    Third She got a hysterectomy and hormone treatments that did away with the worst symptoms of her menstrual cycle.

    there was no one simple answer but patience and understanding. that during her last decade of her life I do not remember her having to suffer a major headache.

    Current score: 3
    • Jackie says:

      @Pedestrian
      I know there’s some kind of link between your comments and the story somewhere but my poor autistic mind keeps telling me your throwing out non-sequiturs like some half senile granpa.

      Current score: 2
      • MackSffrs says:

        The relief of headaches?

        Current score: 0
      • Athena says:

        Headaches. That aside, he *is* throwing out a fair bit of a non-sequitur, but honestly he’s doing it in a very autistic fashion. I’ve gone on similar tangents myself and I’ve seen it in a lot of my friends (who frequently lie somewhere on the spectrum that is not quite NT, at bare minimum, even if they aren’t outright HFA :P).

        So less throwing out non-sequiturs like a half senile granpa and more throwing out non-sequiturs like an aspie 😛

        Actually, to tell the truth I find his devotion sweet and heart-warming, and quite like hearing all the little asides about Alberta. I imagine my husband and I will be much like that some day… more sadly, given my family history for cancer I imagine which of us outlives the other is likely to be the same as well.

        Current score: 1
        • capybroa says:

          Pedestrian is the resident geezer of Tales of MU’s comment threads, and we love him for it.

          Current score: 9
      • keyonte0 says:

        Okay, that was mean, but I still couldn’t help but laugh my ass off at it.

        Current score: 1
  2. MadnessMaiden says:

    Wow, Mackenzie was acting so odd that I was convinced she was dreaming. Now that’s good writing. XD

    Current score: 1
  3. sengachi says:

    Cursed weapons. Lock them in a lead-lined anti-teleportation box and keep them in an extra-dimensional space to use during combat only. You do not! sleep with them. Ever. Under any circumstances. Just … no.

    Current score: 4
    • capybroa says:

      Seriously. I’m practically breathing into a paper bag at this point because it’s looking like shit is about to go very wrong, and nobody seems to realize it.

      Current score: 5
    • Leila says:

      Yea… bad idea is bad.

      Also, did anyone else notice that Amy didn’t see the pitchfork when she made the bed? and I’m pretty sure Mack isn’t carrying it around with her…

      Current score: 4
  4. lunchbox says:

    I adore Pedestrian’s asides concerning Alberta.

    At the young age of 18, my partner (with whom I intended to share my life with) passed away.
    Reading about such heartfelt love many years later makes me feel warm inside; confident that our love could have been as such. I remember the one I’ve lost fondly, and often. I am saddened that we didn’t get the chance to grow together, but elated by others stories of such love, adoration, and commitment.

    Current score: 2
  5. Anon says:

    Future pitchfork cuddles, while remaining adorable, may be unwise as apparently a full night of close contact is sufficient to make Mack go full demon.

    On the plus side, it doesn’t just appear where needed, it also disappears when those pesky forces of good are about to discover something that might disrupt its plans!

    Now, how did the previous demonblood student’s story end? Something about leading a legion of evil across campus?

    Current score: 0