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Jul 17, 2019 9:04 PM
Theo, Ev, and Faith & co. in Lapis
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Reubel flat refuses.

"We did your damnfool tests," he snaps, slamming the dishwasher closed and poking viciously at the cycle buttons. "The poor kid's not undead, he's just not dead, so find a new hobby. And leave me out of it."

Grace (who has never in her life been deterred by good advice) and Mu (who is congenitally immune to peer pressure) look at each other, shrug, and head off to hack the school database without Reubel.

Bright and early Saturday morning, Grace and Mu show up at Matt's house and announce that they're hosting a surprise hooray-you're-not-dead party for Theo, all his friends are invited, wouldn't you like to come? There'll be cake! Matt acquiesces and heads with them to the (empty) gazebo at the (deserted) park ("mom'll kill us if we have a party at our place, even if we swear we'll clean it up, moms, am I right?") where he is promptly tackled and gagged and tied up and dumped on the grass on a picnic blanket.

"Sorry 'bout all this," Grace tells Matt, patting him on the head, while Mu starts in on the fake blood. "It's in a good cause. Awesome prank and stuff. And I'll get you cake for real when we're done."

Slightly less bright and early, Theo's home phone starts ringing with a call from an unlisted number.

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Theo has been up for quite a while by this point. His dad's watching TV and Theo's just sitting in the kitchen, but unfortunately Theo actually cannot answer the phone, what with the weird not-heard-over-phone thing that him and his weird vampirism thing seem to have.

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So instead his dad gets up to answer the phone!

"Larson residence," he says in greeting.

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Mu mutters into the phone, dropping her voice and putting on a terrible Russian accent. "'Ello. Zis is for Theo. Is he zere?"

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"He… is, but he can't come to the phone right now. Could I ask who's calling?"

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Um um improvise "Zis iz Boris Badenov. Ken you take a message for ze Theo?"

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"Yes…?" he says, looking at Theo, somewhat confused.

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Why should Theo have any idea? He shrugs.

It does sound kinda familiar, though, but why would– Mu? Why would Mu be calling him and putting on a fake Russian accent?

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"Tell heem that hees leetle friend Matt iz in ze park by ze gazebo. And zat he should hurry."

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Theo raises his eyebrows and starts to look a bit worried.

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"Uh," says his dad, looking at Theo, also a bit worried. "You realize this sounds a bit like you're trying to threaten someone, right?"

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"Uh. Noooo. It is, uh, ze surprise party! Ze ice cream cake will melt! But do not tell him zis."

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William's eyes narrow. "Oh, okay," he says. "Yeah, I'll let him know. Is that all?"

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"Uh. Yes. Thank you Mr. Larson." She hangs up.

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"That went well!" says Grace, cheerful and without a trace of irony. She gives Matt one last pat, and then she and Mu go hide.

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William puts the phone back in the cradle and says, "Well, that sounded vaguely ominous."

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"Yeah, no kidding."

He gets up and grabs his jacket. "I'll see you later, okay?"

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"Do you… do you need any help or… something?"

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"It's probably just a prank? And anyway, it's probably safer for me to go than you."

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His dad frowns but lets him go.

It probably won't be that dangerous.

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Well, in that case, Theo will go.

With his jacket, trying to stay in the shade because eugh, sunlight, And then he'll try to look around the park before he goes in, because still, why the fake Russian accent? And what was that about Matt?

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In the park: Matt, tied up, on a picnic blanket of all things, squirming a little, with blood pooled around him.

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Blood? What the hell are they doing?

He runs over to him, planning to start untying Matt – who the hell kidnaps someone, ties them up and cuts them? What the hell.

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There's kind of a lot of blood. And what looks like an impressive gash on Matt's neck. (Mu got into stage makeup for a couple of months, because of course she did.)

The knots are pretty firm in a "total overkill" sort of way (someone paid attention in her brother's boy scout meetings), and Matt's wrists and ankles are fastened with zipties, which don't come undone as easily. Matt squirms and makes distressed noises through his gag.

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Makeup? Where the hell's the blood from?

… Did someone tie him up and then put makeup on him and then douse him in blood to make Theo think he'd been harmed?

Fucking hell, what is wrong with these people.

You know what? He doesn't much care that they're pretty firm, he'll look around to make sure no-one's around, and then assuming no-one is, he'll rip them apart or cut through them with his nails or find something sharp to cut them, and the stupid zipties should be able to break too – he's a vampire, dammit.

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There's no one to be seen. Both ropes and zipties prove rippable with vampire strength, and then Matt is untied if still gagged.

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