117: Morning Sickness

on December 14, 2007 in 05: The Weekend Shift

In Which Mackenzie Just Says No

“Good morning, Mack,” Two said.

At first I thought I was having another dream and was ready to throttle my subconscious, until I remembered there was a reason I was lying in bed beside her in skimpy lingerie.

“Good morning,” I said, rolling over… and almost out of the bed. Skinny as we were, it wasn’t made to hold two people who weren’t in a cuddly, snuggly sort of relationship. I sat up. I meant to stand up, but even the little bit of motion had my head reeling. Was I just tired, or still low on energy from my impromptu invocation?

I could hear Two getting up and moving around as I rubbed at my temple and the lids of my closed eyes.

“Good morning, Hand Wash,” she said, to the stuffed bear sitting on top of her dresser. “He can’t actually hear,” she explained, for my benefit. “But I say it anyway.”

“What time is it?” I asked.

“Six,” she said.

“Why are we waking up at six in the morning on a Saturday?” I asked.

“I am supposed to go meditate with Dee,” she said. “Would you like to come with us?”

I yawned. I doubted I’d got even a solid hour of sleep after my very moist awakening.

“I’d probably just fall asleep,” I said. “But I guess it’s probably a good idea to get out of bed and out of these clothes before some hilarity ensues. I guess technically I’ve already had my shower for the morning…”

“I guess so,” Two agreed. I’d been joking, but as I’d really kind of had too much of water for the time being, I didn’t point this out.

“That’s dirty,” she said as I reached for a black t-shirt on the floor next to the dresser. I opened the dresser and pulled out a gray one balled up in the corner of the drawer. “You wore that on Thursday,” she said. “You shouldn’t put things back in the dresser after you wear them.”

“It’s laundry day,” I said. “I’m kind of short on options.”

“You aren’t supposed to wear dirty clothes,” Two said. “Amaranth said.”

“I only wore this for a little bit after fighting class on Thursday,” I said, holding up the gray t-shirt.

“It’s still dirty,” Two insisted.

“I have to wear something,” I insisted back at her.

Ten minutes later, I was wearing a pair of Two’s jeans, a blue tank top with spaghetti straps, and a sort of vesty sweater thing that only covered the top of my torso, kind of like a cardigan knitted by somebody who’d run out of material. Two was both taller and more slender than I was, so I had to roll up the cuffs of the jeans, and they were more than a little bit tight.

Also…

“I have sequins on my ass,” I said, running my hand over the raised bumps on the back pocket. “Why do I have sequins on my ass?”

“It’s a butterfly,” Two said. “It’s cute. Now put this on,” she said, holding up one of her U-shaped hair bands.

“Nuh uh,” I said. “No, thanks.”

“But it goes with it,” she said.

A wave of dizziness rolled over me, obliterating my attempt to argue. I sighed and accepted it from her, and was pronounced, once again, “Pretty!”

Whose idea had it been to room together?

I put my dirty clothes in my laundry bag, gathered up my wet bed stuff, grabbed a bag of coppers and lugged it all out of my room. I hurried away from the lounge and the sound of voices from within as fast as I could. Fortune favored me; I passed no one on the way down to the laundry room. The stairwell was also deserted on the way up, though I had a couple of troubling spells of vertigo, and once I was nearly back to my own room…

“Oh, Khersis, did she eat the golem or something?” a voice said from the lounge, loud enough to carry down the hall.

“Sara!” I heard Feejee protest.

“I’m Sara,” the other head of the Leighton sisters said. “That’s Tara.”

I could either duck into my room and hide until the washing boxes finished… becoming fodder for more jokes and malicious rumors… or I could go in and be sociable with people who hated me. It was a toss-up which was the worse alternative. Well, actually, the one that required my presence was worse, but also less helpful to my cause.

“Hi,” I said a little uncertainly as I stepped into the doorway of the lounge. Feejee was sitting sideways on the couch, with her scaly green legs across the lap of her boyfriend Rick, who was playing with her toes. I thought I saw her skin shimmer as I came in, and wondered if she’d had her legs in their nude, fleshy configuration. The Leightons were sitting on the lap of the canine-faced boy I’d seen around the basement lounge a few times. “You guys are, um, up early.”

Sara and Tara exchanged a glance and then, as one, bit their lips to keep from laughing.

“Yeah,” Feejee said. “We are.”

“Barbells,” I blurted out, my eyes catching on her gold piercings, which–unlike in my dream–hadn’t been changed.

“What?” she said, then looked down at her chest. “Oh, these,” she said, laughing. She put her hands beneath her breasts and lifted them up. “I’ve had them for a while now… a week, maybe? Did you just now notice?”

“Hey, come on, that’s enough,” Rick said, reaching out a hand and tugging her arm away.

Feejee rolled her eyes, but stopped.

“You used to like my breasts,” she said.

“I still do,” Rick said. “I just don’t like you throwing them in everybody’s face.”

“So it’s okay for you to go around without a shirt, but…”

“Yeah, it is!” Rick said. “It’s different.”

“Mack, help me out here,” Feejee said. “It doesn’t bother you that Amaranth goes around naked, does it?”

“Um, you know, this isn’t really my place,” I said.

“Damn right it isn’t,” Rick muttered. He pushed Feejee’s legs off his lap. “I’ll see you at the match,” he said, giving her a somewhat brusque brush of his lips on her cheek. “Got stuff to do.”

“Okay,” Feejee said, rolling her eyes again behind his back as he left. He veered a bit to necessitate pushing me aside, even though I’d moved out of his way.

“Match?” I asked, after he was gone. “What match?”

“Uh, the skirmish match?” Tara said.

“How many other matches do you know about?” Sara asked.

“I didn’t even know about that one,” I said. This struck them as hilarious. “So, did you guys like spend the night over here?” I asked the dog boy, looking for a topic of conversation that didn’t involve my crippling lack of social awareness.

“Oh, look who’s all judgmental,” one of the Leightons said, folding their arms across their chest.

“What? No,” I said. “I was just… curious.”

“We all slept over in my room,” he said, putting his arms around the twins’ torso. He gave a broad wink. “Though there wasn’t much sleeping going on.”

“I told you, Mack,” Feejee said. “Nobody really cares. I mean, if an RA catches somebody in the hallway they might send them back to their own side, but it’s not like they do bed checks or anything.”

“Anyway, I heard about your near miss on the whole election thing. If you’re serious about winning the next round, I’ve got just what you need,” he said. “A little liquid courage. Come by, I’ll hook you up.”

“Uh, no thanks,” I said. “I don’t drink.”

“Wasn’t talking about alcohol,” he said. “If you’ve got the real shit, you don’t need alcohol… in fact, I wouldn’t recommend mixing the two. I’m talking about pure liquid courage, distilled. It’s not pish, but it’s not piss, either.”

He laughed, as if he’d just said something witty, urbane, and not at all nonsensical. I just stared in confusion. Pish? Piss? Was I dreaming again? That would explain how Two had talked me into the hair band, and why I had sequins on my ass.

“Pish,” he said, staring at me in consternation over my lack of comprehension. “You know… like posh?” I shook my head. I’d heard those terms before somewhere, but I couldn’t place them. “Potion Of Super Heroism… posh. So a just-plain-heroism potion is pish.”

Understanding came to me.

“You’re Finbar,” I said. “Alchemy major, right?”

“I thought you knew,” he said. “Shit, I thought everybody knew.”

Boy, was he a modest one.

“I only knew your name,” I said. “Celia buys haste from you.”

“Doesn’t she know that stuff takes a year off your life every time you use it?” Feejee asked, shaking her head.

“The old stuff, maybe,” Finbar said. “I use a more up-to-date formulation. Zero side effects. It’s the ultimate study aid: get twice the homework done in half the time.”

“That would be four times as fast,” I said.

“What?” Finbar said. “No… only two times.”

“You’d get the same amount of homework done in half the time, or twice as much in the same amount,” I said.

“That’s what I said,” Finbar said.

I started to argue, but stopped myself. I was almost sure that neither of the Leightons had voted for me. I wasn’t going to impress them by picking a fight with their boyfriend… or either of their… were they both dating him, or just one?

Was I getting judgmental?

“Anyway, thanks, but no thanks,” I said. “I think I can get by on… my…”

I trailed off, swaying and clutching at the doorway as the room became wavy and distorted.

“Um… you okay there, Mack?” Feejee asked.

“Yeah,” I said. “Just a little tired, and drained… I’ll be okay once I’ve got some rest.”

“Maybe you should get a bite to eat,” Finbar said. “Sometimes when I’m coming down off from a levitation potion or something like that, I eat a sugar cookie or something.”

“No, wouldn’t help,” I said. “I don’t need… to eat… food.”

The last word was a whisper. I realized what I was feeling wasn’t just tiredness and spell fatigue. I was weak with hunger… not just hunger but hunger. Just as I’d been able to fool my body into accepting regular food more easily when my demon hunger grew, the food I’d been filling my stomach with had kept me from noticing how far gone I was. Whether I felt hungry or not, though, I still needed the sustenance that only virgin blood could give me. As much as I hated the necessity, I’d have to get a hold of Master Hrothvar, the slaver. I’d already put off feeding for about a week too long.

“You know, I’m gonna go, um, take care of some stuff,” I said. I noticed the Leightons were staring at me. Stupid… going and reminding a couple of the most human residents about my demonic feeding habits. Right after Sooni had insinuated that I’d like to see humans served up in the cafeteria, too.

“Okay,” Feejee said. “Bye, Mack.”

“I bet she’s going off to hunt and kill somebody,” one of the twins said in a not-whisper before I was even a full shaky step away from the lounge.

“Should we tell someone?” the other asked.

“Oh, stop it,” Feejee said. “She’s civilized. Sort of.”

“Maybe she’ll invite them to tea first, then,” one of the human girls said, and they both giggled.

“Dunno,” Finbar said. “Demon or not, I’d bury a bone in that backyard.”

As wobbly as I was, I started to walk a little bit faster to get out of earshot. I needed to find a mirror, but I sure as hell wasn’t going to use the one right by the lounge.

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5 Responses to “117: Morning Sickness”

  1. BMeph says:

    “Demon or not, I’d bury a bone in that backyard.”

    Finbar, you’re …such a dog!

    Current score: 7
  2. pedestrian says:

    Need virgin blood? From this crowd? Better check and see if Gloria is willing do make a charitable contribution. Think of the level of self-satisfaction she could achieve with being a martyr on behalf of that benighted loser of a demon girl.

    Current score: 3
    • Anon says:

      With Mack’s luck, Glory would have a way of turning her plasma to holy water. No problem with the law if the half demon loser drinks poison and offs herself, and one more threat to all good humans eliminated.

      Current score: 0
  3. Psi-Ko says:

    The blood of a follower of Khersis? Extra virgin virgin blood! Wait…

    Also, would the blood of someone with that much faith do more harm than good?

    Current score: 0
  4. Downside says:

    I admire Finbar’s ability to ignore the racial discrimination that peer pressure says he should be giving to Mack, and simply speak his mind. Many girls would not take such innuendo as a compliment, even though it was meant as one, but I think that Mack really should.

    Current score: 4