Chapter 41: Mindscapes

Amelia woke up to find out that sleeping didn’t really help much when she was so worried. She still felt exhausted, and she immediately wanted to go back to sleep. But she had to check on mum first. Or at least ask the people at the hospital how she was. She rubbed her eyes and looked around. Philippe was almost asleep, but Dewey was still completely alert. He immediately noticed that Amelia was awake and launched into a status report:

“Hey, they still don’t have news of your mum. Also, Dustpine’s gone. Don’t know where.”

“Okay…” Amelia mumbled sleepily, “It’s fine. We talked and had a bit of a… disagreement. But nothing bad. I told him that I needed some space. He probably left because of that.”

She frowned a bit.

“I hope he doesn’t feel too bad. Or get in trouble.”

“He can probably handle himself,” Dewey said, “How’re you holding up?”

“Still not well.”

“I can imagine.”

“How’s the Nexus?”

“Better. Basil’s sleeping and stable. They counteracted the venom. Once he wakes up, they can continue diagnosing him. He’ll probably be fine. He’s a strong kid.”

“That’s a relief.”

“The cop Brigitte called is probably on his way here, now that it’s dark,” Dewey said and worry flashed in his eyes, “He’ll probably want to talk to you, but if you don’t feel ready, I’ll tell him to wait.”

Amelia managed a small smile. Dewey’s worry was quite endearing and definitely comforting.

“Thanks. But I think it’ll be fine.”

“If you say so…” Dewey said and didn’t look very convinced.

And maybe he was right not to be. Amelia didn’t feel well at all. The worry was still eating at her. And the guilt. Why did mum have to be there? Why did Amelia have to get other people dragged into this mess? All because she wanted to rent out a room! And now Tad was gone… Amelia hoped he would be fine. He had a habit of getting too caught up in his worries and angst.

Nothing I can do about that now. He’ll come back.

Amelia wanted to believe that. There wasn’t really much else she could do. She settled more comfortably into her seat and waited.

Just like Dewey had predicted, the supernatural vampire police arrived soon. He was the same man Amelia had seen during the hazy part of the fight, back when mum was still lying by a tree and Amelia was freaking out too much. The man looked around at the door of the waiting room and then walked over to Amelia and Dewey. Dewey coaxed Amelia to get up, and they all stepped away from the chairs and tried not to look too suspicious.

“Hello,” the vampire policeman said in a low voice. It was a voice very well suited for ordering criminals to drop their weapons, and it was a bit odd to hear him manage to slip a very friendly tone underneath it, “I’m detective Nate Webster from the SCRI.”

Amelia blinked, still sleepy.

“The Scottish Crop Research Institute?”

“Supernatural Crime Reconnaissance and Investigations,” Detective Webster droned and looked like he had had to correct people many, many times before. He looked around in the pastel-coloured hospital hallway, “You two are the only ones in this room who are in the loop, right?”

Dewey nodded.

“Okay,” detective Webster said, “so we’ll keep this quiet. I’d prefer if I didn’t have to do any extra mind wipes.”

“What?” Amelia asked, alarmed. Dewey put a comforting hand on her shoulder.

“It’s a standard procedure for the safety of the civilians. Nothing harmful. And besides, they probably won’t even need to do it at all for this.”

“Yes, as long as everything goes well,” detective Webster said, “Now, I need statements from you. I know this may be a bad time, but I really need to get this case moving fast so we can launch an investigation about possible larger scale vampire gang activity in our precinct.”

“Oh… I don’t think we can help with that,” Amelia said quietly, “I don’t really know where they came from, or… anything really.”

Detective Webster opened his mouth, but a voice interrupted him.

“If you got questions, I can answer them.”

They turned to look at Novak Sanguine, who looked quite different than Amelia remembered. He had at some point cut off his locks, and his hair was now red and messy. He was hurrying towards them clad in hospital pyjamas and with a disgruntled nurse – whom Amelia recognised as Jebidiah Wilson – on his heels.

“Sir! You can’t leave just yet! You have to-“

“Hey, I’m fine!” Novak snapped without looking back, “It’s not the first time I’ve walked off a concussion! And you guys said it was just a scratch. I’ll be back in a minute. The cops are here and they need a statement.”

Detective Webster seemed to be the quickest to recover from Novak’s sudden appearance. He looked at Jebidiah, and something flashed in his eyes.

“We would like to be alone for a moment.”

A look of dazed serenity spread on Jebidiah’s face.

“Of course, sir,” he said in a monotone voice and walked away. Amelia stared after him in shock and confusion.

No one else seemed concerned by this. Novak was already stepping forward to shake detective Webster’s hand.

“I’m Flannery Chase,” he said, “And I know why those guys were here.”

That was a line that seemed to get things rolling. Detective and Novak (“Flannery?”) walked out of the waiting space to talk somewhere else. Amelia and Dewey were left behind, and Amelia felt quite lost.

“How did he even know that detective was here?” was the first thing she could think of to say.

“Did you see his tattoos?” Dewey asked, “Most of them are probably full of protective charms and alarm spells.”

“Okay?”

That didn’t explain much, but Amelia was a bit too tired to really want a more complicated explanation. Dewey nodded towards the door Novak had walked through.

“So he’s the reason those people attacked you?”

“Sort of,” Amelia said, “He’s mostly a good person, though.”

“Sure,” Dewey said in a very unconvinced, gruff tone, “Well, at least he seems to be taking care of the aftermath. Maybe this’ll all be sorted out after all.”

His ears twitched and he scrunched up his nose.

“I hope. I have a bad feeling that something’s about to go wrong.”

“Like what?” Amelia asked worriedly.

“Don’t worry,” Dewey said, trying to smile, “It might be nothing.”

Amelia definitely worried. She too suddenly got a bad feeling. A small voice in her head was whispering that things would get even worse before they could get better. She shuddered.


Death woke up.

It was a weird feeling. Before now he hadn’t really known what waking up was like. He had never been able to sleep before. Or pass out. Oh, that’s right. That was what he had done. Curious.

Well, he was always happy to have new experiences. Usually, at least. This time it… wasn’t so pleasant. Mostly because it negatively affected people around him. Wait. Who exactly had been near him when…?

Emily.

That thought yanked him back into full awareness. He was on his feet in an instant, and… wait, he still had feet? That was… odd. Hadn’t his human form been destroyed?

He looked down at himself. He was still Tad Dustpine. Or more accurately his Tad Dustpine -part was still intact. Or was it? He didn’t feel completely right. In fact, he felt quite ill. As if he had been locked in a box for too long. Like the people who had been buried alive. Claustrophobic, without enough air. With a box or earth pressing down on all sides.

But why? Why was he…?

He realised that he didn’t know where he was.

Oh.

That was definitely not right. That was why he felt like he was locked up, metaphorically suffocating. He always knew where he was, because he was everywhere. But now… he was just here, and this looked like nowhere. It was just… darkness. Something akin to what some souls experienced when they were so lost that they could barely reach his garden. But this wasn’t even that. It was more like… an uncreated place. Like someone had started to make it and then given up before adding any features or light.

Tad tried to see somewhere else, to feel the dying pains of… something. Anything. But he got nothing. If he concentrated hard enough, he could feel the hint of the rest of himself, unresponsive in the… wherever was outside of the prison he had been put in.

Because it had to be a prison, right? That was what the Deacons had wanted. Tad could recognise the spells the Deacons had used. They had been from an old branch of magic, rituals designed to hold or deter Death. They were old enough to have gained power of both magical knowledge and tradition. He had walked right into an old imprisoning ritual! How stupid could he be? This hadn’t happened in… well at least centuries!

Tad knew that he could break free from the spells, but first he needed to figure out where he had been sent. The spells the Deacons had used usually bound Death to something, most commonly an artefact of some kind. But this felt different, more alive. It shifted, hummed with energy. And something about it made Tad feel very scared. He definitely shouldn’t be there. He had to get out.

And more importantly, he had to save Emily.

There was no real direction in the place he was in, but that was fine; once Tad pulled himself together, he didn’t really need directions. Even in this place, life echoed. He could sense a soul very near. So near that it was almost blinding. Tad still didn’t feel well enough to really determine who or where the soul was, but he could feel a part of it calling out to him. He started walking towards the call.

He walked in a fog, in almost complete darkness. He tried to call out, but no one heard him. Even reality didn’t hear him. He felt powerless, blinded and tied down to one place. It was difficult to know how much distance he had covered. Was this how mortals felt? In a way, it was easier to concentrate on being him. But the he he could concentrate on was screaming at him. Telling him that this wasn’t what he was supposed to be. He knew that. He had to get out before things got too bad.

A horrible thought struck him. What if things were already beyond repair? He knew he was unable to perform his duties as Death at the moment. Not only did it hurt him, but more importantly, it would also hurt the universe. Things had to keep dying. That was how things went. But now… would the souls of the dying be left lost and alone in the world? Would they stay stuck in the rotting, broken bodies? Or had another universe already sent a substitute? Had the arrival of the substitute hurt reality? None of the options sounded good. He really needed to do something fast.

Tad walked for a long time. Or maybe not long at all. He couldn’t tell. At least now his feelings felt more manageable, less likely to take too much of his attention. But everything else seemed determined to make him feel confused and vulnerable. He felt too trapped in his skin that felt even less like skin than usually. He felt like someone else’s thought. A wisp of an idea no one knew what to do with.

Focus. You have to get out. Keep walking.

He took a deep breath, not really feeling air in his lungs, and did as his mind told him. He walked until the darkness around him gained a sliver of light.

It was shining from under a white door. Doors in nothingness. Very lost soul -like. Tad reached out towards the door handle, but then hesitated. He knocked instead.

“Hello?”

His voice echoed, this time without him even trying to make it echo. A small voice behind the door let out a frightened squeak:

“Please, go away!”

The voice was one Tad could recognise at any time.

“Emily?”

Silence. Then, a hopeful:

“Uncle Tad?”

Tad cracked the door open, and it didn’t resist him. Behind the door there was a pretty bedroom that had a colour scheme somewhat reminiscent of Emily’s room in the Grisbys’ house. Emily’s real room didn’t have this many doors, though. Nor the more fairytale-like elements.

Emily herself was peeking from under a bed, her eyes fearful. She stared at Tad for a moment, and then hastily crawled out. Tad stepped further into the room, and immediately got hit by a very frightened child. Emily hugged him tightly.

“Uncle Tad! It’s really you! Ithoughtyou’dbescarybutyou’rereallyallyou!”

Tad hugged her back. He still wasn’t sure where they were, but at least this was really Emily. This was the soul he had been sensing and now recognised easily. And for a moment, he decided that it was more important to calm Emily down than to start thinking too much about the bad feeling Emily being there as well gave him.

He hugged Emily a bit tighter.


The vampire policeman talked with Novak for a long while and then got brief statements from Amelia and Dewey. And then he was gone and they were back to waiting again. It was getting really frustrating. Amelia finally got news of mum when the clock was ticking close to midnight. A doctor called her and Philippe up and led them to a room. By the door she smiled wearily, and Amelia had a feeling that the news weren’t exclusively good.

“We’ve stabilised her,” the doctor said, and Amelia let out a sigh.

“Oh, thank you so much!”

The doctor nodded, but then worry creased her forehead.

“However, she is in a coma now. There is some swelling in her brain in addition to all the other injuries. She’s still not out of danger. And even if she does wake up… she has damage in her spinal cord. It’s possible that it might lead to some paralysis. But it’s too early to tell yet. Right now I’m more worried that she might not wake up at all. I’m sorry I don’t have better news.”

Fear constricted Amelia’s throat.

“So… so what can we do?” Philippe asked, his brow furrowed.

“Right now we can wait,” the doctor said, “You may go see her for a moment, but then I think you two should go home and rest properly. We will call you if something comes up.”

She glanced at both of them.

“Well, provided you’re feeling safe enough to go home.”

Philippe nodded.

“We were told there would be police protection,” he said. The doctor smiled again.

“Good. Then try to rest. I know this is difficult, but there’s nothing you can do for Julia except take care of yourselves. I’m sure she doesn’t want her folks wasting away.”

“Ah… of course,” Philippe said, “Merci, madame.”

Amelia didn’t want to go home, but she knew the doctor was right; there was nothing they could do.

Their visit to mum’s room was brief. Mum was hooked up to machines and lay completely still. The sight made Amelia shiver.

Mum was never lifeless like this. She was always happy and almost overwhelmingly enthusiastic. It was all wrong. Everything about this whole situation was.

“We’ll be back, mum,” Amelia whispered, “You just… get better.”

Philippe leaned over mum and kissed her on the cheek. Amelia’s heart broke for him too.

They left in a sad, worried silence. Dewey was waiting for them, looking awkward and unsure whether or not it was okay to approach. Amelia walked up to him.

“Thanks for being here,” she said, “We’re… we’re going home now. Mum’s stable.”

“Okay,” Dewey said simply, and then he tilted his head, “You could use a rest.”

“You too,” Amelia said and almost smiled, “Really, thanks.”

“It’s no problem. You sure you’ll be fine there?”

“We have police protection.”

“Right. I’m sure country cops are enough,” Dewey said and didn’t sound very convinced, “Look, if you need someone for backup… I can be there. It’s no trouble.”

Amelia was about to decline at once out of courtesy. Dewey looked like he had slept too little as well. But Amelia still found herself thinking about it. Dewey’s presence made her feel calmer, and they did have a spare room. Two, in case Tad hadn’t come back yet. Amelia spared a thought for Tad. She wondered where he was. Probably somewhere contemplating the complexities of mortal lives or something. Amelia still hoped he wouldn’t feel too guilty about this. Sure, his way of looking at things was… different, and Amelia had to admit that she was feeling a little angry at him. But she knew that she had to try to think about it from a different perspective. Maybe she could do that once mum was better. If she got better. The doctor’s news hadn’t been very uplifting.

“Amelia?”

Amelia blinked back into the present.

“Oh… right. Sorry. I was… lost in thought. I mean… yes. Yes, you can come with us. If it’s no trouble, of course.”

“I was the one who suggested it,” Dewey said, “I already talked to Bridge about it earlier just in case. She was okay with it.”

He smiled grimly.

“It’ll make us all feel better, knowing there’s someone looking out for you. I’ll do my best.”

Amelia felt a tiny spark of warmth in her chest.

“I know you will. Thank you.”

They got a taxi back home. The house looked so forlorn without its inhabitants and with the knowledge that there would be a police car near it. Amelia would have wanted to go right back to the hospital to check on mum, but she reminded herself that the doctor had promised they’d call if anything happened. And they all really needed some rest. Philippe looked dead on his feet, and he crashed into bed with his clothes still on. Amelia would have wanted to do the same, but she first showed Dewey the guest room and told him to sleep there. Then she realised that she needed a shower. She stank of disinfectant and cold sweat and felt absolutely dreadful. After some contemplation she decided that a bath would be even better. She filled the tub with hot water and bubbles and tried her best to relax and somehow become cleansed of all the awful things that had happened. It didn’t really work.

Her usually relaxing time was spent worrying and with imagining horrific outcomes to this all. Maybe mum would die. Slip away without even getting to talk to Amelia again. And maybe others would die too. Maybe Novak wasn’t as fine as he claimed. And what about Vanja? They didn’t even know how she was. The hospital staff hadn’t told Amelia because she hadn’t been able to convince them that she was a close friend of hers. And what was this extra bad feeling she kept having? That things would get even worse? How could they even? How dared they?

Amelia trudged out of the bathtub and into her bathrobe. She dragged herself into bed and fell asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow. She was so exhausted that even worry and fear couldn’t keep her up.

She dreamed of cemeteries and fear and vampires. And of monsters and of mum dying.

“Amelia?”

She was running away from something, even though it was difficult to move. She felt like she was stuck in invisible syrup.

“Amelia? Miss Sprigg? Hey, Alex’s daughter?”

A voice was calling out to her. Amelia didn’t want to stop, but something… the voice sounded strange for a dream. Not that dreams were very logical or coherent in the first place. But something about the voice told Amelia that it didn’t really belong in the dream.

“AMELIA! Listen to me! Oh, bollocks… PLEASE? I think I’m about to be eaten by a dream hippo if I don’t go away soon…”

Amelia blinked.

“Hello?” she shouted, “Who are you?”

“Oh, thank the Watcher!”

A shape wavered into Amelia’s view. It was short, and had a messy hair and an old-fashioned jacket. And Amelia knew him. She frowned, thoroughly perplexed.

“Connor?”

The young dead boy named Connor looked at Amelia with a worried expression on his scarred face.

“I’ve been trying to contact you for hours!” he huffed, “I was mauled by a dream-bear once already. Could you stop dreaming about such violent things?”

Amelia stared.

“I… um… sorry?” she managed, “But you know… I’ve had a pretty rough time. My mum could be dying.”

“Oh. Sorry,” Connor suddenly looked embarrassed, “I mean… it’s not like you can really control them, right? Dreams, I mean. But, um, that’s not the point. I remember you being Sir Death’s friend, right?”

Amelia nodded slowly.

“Yes! I remembered correctly!” Connor said excitedly, “So… when was the last time you saw him?”

Amelia frowned.

“He left this evening. I don’t know where he is.”

“Oh. So… you haven’t heard from him after that?”

“No.”

Connor suddenly put his face in his hands.

“Oh… I knew it! We all felt it! The spirits started gathering and asking what was wrong and if someone knew… and I remembered that Sir Death had a mortal friend so I’ve been trying to contact you. Sorry about invading your dreams… it’s the only way I can really communicate with you. My haunting place is under a stupid mall. In Ireland.”

Now Amelia was getting concerned.

“Felt what? What’s going on?”

Connor looked very serious when he said the words that made Amelia’s dream-blood freeze:

“Sir Death’s gone. Completely gone. The garden is without a lord, and we all felt it… being left alone. I don’t think the universe is going to like this at all.”

He looked somewhere over Amelia’s shoulder.

“Shite! Dream hippos! Please, if you can find Sir Death, help him!”

He faded out of sight. Amelia snapped back into the waking world. Once again, she was terrified.


Emily was talking. A lot. Tad didn’t remember ever seeing her so verbose. She barely took a breath between sentences and words tripped over each other in a hurry to get out:

“There… therewasthis… Walter came to pickmeup an’ he saidthatwe’dbegoingtoaniceplace and then he was actin’weirdan’ suddenly we were in this other place this really wet forest an’ then we went into a cottage and then Walter wasn’t Walter he was this scary old… scary wizard man! An’thenIgotreallysleepy and woke up here. And I was so scared and I’m so glad you’re here!”

Emily looked up at Tad, her eyes wide and teary.

“Is Walter really an old scary wizard man?”

“No,” Tad said at once, “That man was not Walter Grisby. This… wizard man had disguised himself as Walter. Some people can do that. The real Walter Grisby is your foster father, and cares about you very much. And he is not a wizard.”

Emily was still staring. A tentative spark of amazement snuck into her eyes.

“But there really is wizards? Real magic-wizards?”

“Yes,” Tad said rather impatiently. He hated being this blunt with Emily, but he had a feeling they didn’t have much time, “There is. Magic put us here. And we have to get out. Do you know where this is?”

Emily shook her head.

“No. But the monsters are here.”

“Monsters?”

Emily nodded vigorously.

“The scary ones. From my dreams…” she lowered her voice into a whisper, “They don’t go away.”

She suddenly gasped and buried herself into Tad’s arms. She was shaking in fear.

“There’s one! The worst one!”

Tad looked around in the room, and it didn’t take him long to notice it: there was blood leaking from under a door that someone had barricaded with furniture. Someone knocked. Emily squeezed her eyes tightly shut.

“Emily?” a waterlogged, hoarse voice called through the door, “Let me in, Emily.”

“NO!” Emily shouted and started to cry, “GO AWAY!”

“Let me in. Stop hiding, Emily.”

Tad stared at the blood that spread from under the door. It all made sense now. Emily speaking so much when in reality it was still difficult for her to talk in many situations. The monsters. The feeling of being locked away. The feeling of being… human. Emily thought he was human, didn’t she? And Emily dreamed of “the monsters”… the monsters that were here now.

This was bad. Very bad.

The door was knocked on again. Tad sighed.

“You there!” he shouted, “Do as she said. You cannot get in. So go away!”

The being behind the door let out a gargling hiss, the sound of someone dragging air through punctured lungs.

Then the blood slowly retreated, leaving the floor untouched.

Emily relaxed in Tad’s arms.

“It’s gone, right?” she asked in a very small voice.

“Yes.”

“It’ll come back.”

“I do not doubt it.”

Emily looked up at him again.

“But now that you’re here, we can do something, right? We can make the monsters go away.”

Tad sighed.

“I wish we could. But right now we have a bigger problem. We have to get me out of here as soon as possible.”

“No!” Emily shouted, “You can’t leave me here!”

Tad was quick to hug her again.

“Of course I will not leave you. In fact, we both have to leave this room.”

“No! Then the monsters will get us!”

“They will not. This is not real. This is a place your mind went to when you were locked into sleep, and it is keeping you stuck. We have to keep walking if we want to get me out.”

Emily looked at him questioningly.

“What do you mean?”

“You… listen… first, we have to get me out, but we cannot do that if we stay here. Here the magic that binds me is the strongest. And to get out I need your help. So I need you to listen to me very carefully now. I know where we are.”

“Where?”

Tad lifted Emily up and lowered her to her feet. He had the strength to do that both in the waking world and here. Here because Emily believed he did.

“You are still asleep, Emily,” Tad said, “This is your mind, and it is dreaming now. But I am real. The… wizard man used magic to make you sleep and then locked me up into your dream. So you can get out of here when the spell he uses to keep you asleep wears off or someone wakes you. But I have to get out through another way.”

Emily’s eyes widened.

“Really? But… people can’t be in dreams for real,” she said, “Only ghosts can, right?”

“How do you know that?” Tad asked.

“Miha told me. He reads books.”

“Then he has read good books.”

Suddenly Emily took a step back, scared.

“Are you saying you’re a ghost, uncle Tad?”

Despite the situation, Tad managed to laugh.

“No, not a ghost. But I am not a human either. And… you need to try to understand what I am. That will make it easier for me… for us to escape.”

Emily nodded. She was at that age when things like this weren’t unbelievable at all.

“So if I know what you really are, then we can leave?”

“Exactly. Well, that is not quite enough. But it is a start. I-“

A crash at one of the doors made Emily scream.

“The monsters are back!” Emily said, “Please… make them go away! There’s no way we can go out of here if the monsters are there!”

“This is your dream, Emily,” Tad said while something crashed against the door again, “You can control it.”

“I’ve been trying, but I can’t! I mean… Sometimes I can wake up but now it doesn’t work. And… sometimes I’ve managed to hide from them but I can’t make them go away even when I know it’s a dream and I’mtooscaredtheyhavetogoaway!”

Tad sighed. This was not going to work if Emily was in such distress. He needed her to be able to think about the situation clearly. Before he… oh, this was bad! How could the Deacons think that they could lock an immense, ancient being inside a little girl’s mind without breaking the child? Sure, the human mind was incredibly good at adapting, but it definitely had its limits. It was only a matter of time before Emily’s mind would start to crack under his presence. And as long as Emily didn’t have even a slight understanding of death as a concept, he was powerless to do much of anything, let alone leave. Emily needed to focus. And they needed to get moving.

“Okay,” he said as calmly as he could, “It is alright, sometimes even lucid dreams are stubborn. You may not be able to get the monsters to leave, but maybe you can think up something that can.”

Emily nodded slowly. Then she smiled excitedly, all the fear momentarily forgotten.

“You!”

Tad looked down at her, surprised.

“What? Me?”

“Yes. You can fight monsters, right? You helped mommy, and Harper always says you’re really cool. And I also know you’re cool! So you can chase the monsters away, right?”

Tad stared, but Emily stared back with such conviction. Such trust. Tad had no choice but to smile and say:

“Well, I do know a thing or two about chasing away monsters.”

“And fighting, right?” Emily said, “On TV, they almost always have to fight monsters. Laurel and Harper watch these cartoons they call anime because they’re from Japan. Just like my mommy, you know? They told me mommy is from Japan. I’ve sometimes watched anime over their shoulders, but when they notice me they say I have to wait ‘till I’m older. They have let me watch anime like Totoro, though, and there the monsters are usually nice. But the not-nice monsters in the other shows need to be fought.”

Emily didn’t seem so scared anymore. In fact, she was lost in her explanations and the prospect of having Tad fight monsters.

“Okay, fine,” Tad sighed, “I can fight the monsters. And you need to watch some other kinds of cartoons.”

The crashing at the door had stopped. The monster had given up for now. It had probably lost interest when Emily had stopped being so scared anymore. But it would be back. A moment’s distraction wasn’t enough to cure the trauma Emily had suffered through. Nor the manifestations of it. Because what else could the monsters be other than a mix of trauma and the imagination of a scared little girl?

Tad knew that despite Emily’s hope, he couldn’t vanquish them for good. But perhaps he could make Emily more confident. It seemed to be working already. Emily looked at him critically.

“You need a weapon, right? What kind of weapon do you like? Maybe we can find you one.”

Tad laughed again. If the situation hadn’t been so dire, it would have been fun.

“Okay, I will play along. Do you know what a scythe looks like? If not, I can work with a sword. Or a knife… or any weapon. I prefer bladed ones, though.”

Emily had seen Harper Simmons and Laurel Grisby watch something that had taught her what a scythe looked like. So once Tad opened a door in order to face the darkness of Emily’s nightmares, he was armed with something that almost made him feel like himself. And maybe it was a way – albeit an unorthodox one – to help Emily see what he really was as well. Before it was too late.

Emily took his hand, and together they stepped into the dark.

Author’s Note: So… this whole fighting the monsters -thing is either a symbolic way of helping a person coping with their trauma – which is largely what this story is about, OR an excuse for me to write a fight scene AND have Tad wield a scythe… it can probably be all of them. 😀

Also maybe if I keep bringing back elements and characters from past chapters (Connor, the mention of spirits and Tad being able to possess people and enter their minds etc.), this all will seem thoroughly planned! To be fair, this chapter does consist almost solely of events I have planned ages ago so yay?

I hope you guys enjoyed this! Have a great time!

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5 thoughts on “Chapter 41: Mindscapes

  1. Emily is so precious! I’m totally getting Boo and Sully vibes from her and Tad’s friendship too. But hey, dreamworld, anything can work!
    It’s too bad that Julia Sprigg is still in a bad condition, but she did get pretty badly hurt. But at least, she’s more or less stable.
    Also, I must admit, I feel very strange whenever Novak shows up because he looks way too much like a former crush of mine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 😀 Now I can’t unsee the Boo & Sully -thing! Especially since Tad can be the scariest “monster” in the room when he wants to.

      I feel bad for Julia too. 😦 And sadly she’s still not out of danger.

      Also I hope Novak’s appearance isn’t TOO distracting. 😀 But I know what you mean: in one other Sims -story there’s a character that looks A LOT like my roommate, and it’s weird. It’s not quite the same, but still…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve got this scary feeling that when Tad’s untrapped… Julia will be untrapped by the coma, but not untrapped in a living kind of way. 😦

    Also! Conner under the mall in Ireland!

    And Totoro! Not the best monster-fighting movie.

    This was awesome. You did great foreshadowing… I guessed where Tad was before he went into the room… SO awesome! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, there’s a possibility that there won’t be a happy ending for poor Julia. :/

      Connor is so unlucky that even his earthly remains are unlucky and someone has at some point built a mall over them.

      And yeah, Totoro isn’t much help with monster-fighting, but luckily Emily has also managed to catch a glimpse of Laurel and Harper watching… I don’t know, Soul Eater? 😀

      Thanks for reading! I’m glad you found my foreshadowing to be good.

      Like

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