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Septimus decided to take the out that Sweet had offered. However many thoughts he had on whether he wanted to sleep alone or not, having a little more time to make the decision couldn’t hurt. Couldn’t hurt himself, anyway. Sweet, though, was looking a little awkward, both guilty and relieved at rushing on to the next question.
He decided also not to ask about Sweet’s weird visits yet. Sweet had asked him two things, and moving on to asking about a third unrelated thing would probably just seem weird. But it did stand out as a little strange. Well, this whole thing did. If Sweet’s mother no longer lived here, why would he come out here at all? Why did they even keep the house at all? Maybe he was to inherit it sometime? Septimus had got the impression that Sweet’s father was dead, but he wasn’t sure why. All he knew for sure was that Sweet didn’t like his father, and that Sweet used his mother’s maiden name and preferred it over his own first name.
Still, it seemed like it might be prying. He tried to decide if he wanted to.
Septimus rose, his drinks still in both hands, and wandered into the dining room a little ways. From here, he could see the living room; a couch was leaning against the wall next to the front hall, with a big bay window overlooking the front. Probably where Sweet had watched him from. “You got a TV out there?”
“Yeah,” Sweet called over.
“I brought mine up, yeah.”
“We could Mario Kart until it’s a bit darker,” Septimus said. “Then get into the Halloween spirit with some ghost stories?”
Sweet laughed. “Come back over, I don’t want to shout,” he said. And as Septimus headed back to the dining room doorway, “Sure, Mario Kart and ghost stories. Sounds nice and wholesome.”
They usually played video games or watched movies when Sweet came over to Septimus’s, and Septimus had thought that starting with something they were both used to might relax his own nerves a little. Other than that, they’d done some dinners out at various restaurants around the city and stuff like that. They hadn’t been together that long, and had kept things pretty casual to start.
“I’m all about wholesome,” Septimus said. He scuffed his toe on the stain on the carpet—it was a dark red, and pretty old. “This is probably wine, right?”
“No,” Sweet said, “it’s blood.”
Septimus froze. “Uh?”
“I used to get nosebleeds as a kid,” Sweet explained, laughing. “That one never came out. Mom covered it with the table, but now the table’s gone, there it is.”
Septimus’s heart found its normal rhythm again. “Oh,” he said. “Jeez. See? If you’d wanted to spook me out you had a perfect opportunity there. Actually, that might be fun. Was there anything in this house that would count as a ghost story? Or you could make them up. We could wander the house with our flashlights on and the lights off, and you could tell me spooky stories about various features of the house. This blood spot was where a man died. Maybe your mother’s room is closed because it’s haunted, or a piece of different wallpaper covers a secret passage, or the basement is off limits due to a dark and terrible secret—”
“No,” Sweet said flatly. His voice came out harsh and overly loud.
Taken aback, Septimus looked away, finding himself staring at that patch of blood again. “Sorry. I just thought, you’re the one who said to come up for Halloween because the house is spooky—”
“Yeah, I know. Sorry,” Sweet said. He turned the stove dial off with a click. “But I’m uncomfortable about going that far with it. Let’s just do normal ghost stories after we game. Or watch a scary movie. Are we eating in front of the TV?”
“Uh, yeah, I guess,” Septimus said. He felt off-kilter again, though this time, there was no strange vertigo. He felt like there was more he should say or ask, but was having trouble thinking of what.
[Please offer actions, thoughts, or concerns for Septimus in the Comments]
[Instructions | Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8 | Day 9 | Day 10 | Day 11 | Day 12 | Day 13 | Day 14 | Day 15 | Day 16 | Day 17 | Day 18 | Day 19 | Day 20 | Day 21 | Day 22 | Day 23 | Day 24 | Day 25 | Conclusion | Author’s Notes]