• Halloween 2019 IF,  Interactive Fiction

    Halloween I.F – “A Little Night Magic” – Day 22

    [Please read the instructions before jumping in!]

    Viv froze, torn.

    On the one hand, she felt that Dandelion deserved honesty. That he had the right to know and make his own decisions. Dandelion had been nothing but honest with her—to be fair, as far as she knew, that was a trait of the fae. But he had cancelled his gig, he had walked them home, he had warded their homes, and had worried about them. He’d even given up some kind of favor so they could get information from Lithway—without which they’d probably still be floundering in the dark. 

    But Thys also had the right to control this information, to decide who knew and who didn’t. And she didn’t want Dandelion to know this.

    “Vivian? Viv, are you in trouble? Hang on, I’ll come back to your place—”

    Either way, she couldn’t hang out on the phone saying nothing. “No! No, it’s fine, sorry. We’re fine. I just needed to tell you, uh…”

    Thys was no longer arguing, just looking at her. They looked calm, but that was just an illusion from their solid black eyes; Viv could tell that Thys was willing Viv not to say something, could feel it. She only wished she could tell if Thys was just genuinely worried that Dandelion would do something self-sacrificing, or they were using it as an excuse so they didn’t have to think about going back to something they hated in order to protect their people from whatever the lanternfish was planning.

  • Halloween 2019 IF,  Interactive Fiction

    Halloween I.F – “A Little Night Magic” – Day 21

    [Please read the instructions before jumping in!]

    For a second, staring down at that tiny, dying moth, all Viv could think was: Sugar water?

    She almost cursed herself out for the thought. She didn’t have time to go make sugar water, let alone make Thys drink without drowning them at this size! While probably unconscious!!

    And then she paused in her self-recrimination.

    Sugar water was a metaphor. Had already been a metaphor. Last time, Thys wanted Viv’s energy in lieu of sugar water, explicitly took it because Viv had already promised sugar water to them. So perhaps this was the same. 

    She needed to reestablish the connection despite the fact that Isaac wasn’t here.

    But—she’d seen Isaac cast it twice, in two different situations. And while she’d never been able to cast anything before, never had a spell that didn’t fail, perhaps now she’d be able to.

    She was afraid. She was terrified. If she was still as broken, as much of a fuck-up as she always thought she was, then Thys would die.

  • Halloween 2019 IF,  Interactive Fiction

    Halloween I.F – “A Little Night Magic” – Day 20

    [Please read the instructions before jumping in!]

    There was no way someone this cruel was Thys. The kettle weighed heavily in Viv’s hand, and for a moment she thought she should swing it—try to take this monster by surprise, stun it, hurt it, kill it if she had to. Not just let it win.

    But no. The candle flame she felt trembling nearby, that delicate, faltering life, that had to be Thys. It might be pretty bad to let the creature escape, since it presumably had exactly what it wanted now, and besides, last time… it had taken part of Thys with it. 

    But if there was still even the slightest of chances she could save the real Thys, she had to take that chance

    She lowered her head, as if accepting that Thys was leaving her, and told the lanternfish, “If you leave now, Thys, don’t come back! I never want to see you again!”

    “I don’t intend to return,” the lanternfish retorted, voice cool but somewhat pleased, and it pushed open those doors and strode through.

    Viv watched it vanish into the darkness outside, her breath coming hard, almost strangling her.

    And then she whirled, searching for that strange, new power inside her, trying to find where it led to. 

    This wasn’t her power, it wasn’t something she could even do—or, at least, it hadn’t been until now. It felt familiar, felt alien, all at once. It was like, she thought, with a dying wish. Thys had sent whatever power they had left as a bequest—

  • Halloween 2019 IF,  Interactive Fiction

    Halloween I.F – “A Little Night Magic” – Day 19

    [Please read the instructions before jumping in!]

    The warm water continued to stream over Vivian’s body, but despite it, she’d gone cold. With the bathroom door closed and the power out, she was unable to see a thing.

    Panic rose and she swallowed it back purposefully. They’d expected this to happen at some point. But the apartment was warded; as long as they stayed inside, they’d be safe. They’d literally bought flashlights just for this purpose. 

    It was going to be fine, she told herself as, with a trembling hand, she turned off the shower and fished outside it for a towel. Finding one with her fingertips, she dried herself off quickly and held the towel to her.

    “Thys?” she called. “Can you bring a flashlight?”

    No answer. Maybe, she told herself, Thys just didn’t hear her. After a moment of indecisive hesitation, she decided to put on the clothes she’d just discarded rather than her pajamas; she knew where she’d dropped them and, besides, if something was about to go down, she’d rather not be in PJs.

    She dressed in record time, and while she was pretty sure her leggings were on backwards, there was no time to change it. It didn’t matter; if they rode a little low in the back, her sweater would cover it. Hair still wet and sticking to her, she flung open the bathroom door. “Thys?”

    Still no answer. The living room outside was dimly lit from the windows—but dimly only, the blinds drawn, no candles yet lit. Viv found where she’d left one of the flashlights and turned it on, shining it around.

  • Halloween 2019 IF,  Interactive Fiction

    Halloween I.F – “A Little Night Magic” – Day 18

    [Please read the instructions before jumping in!]

    That knot of anxiety unwound even further, finally taking the shame with it. Viv knew it would be back later, when she had space and time to think about it—but for now, she was simply grateful to be able to breathe again.

    She felt… a little more confident, she decided. If not with herself, not exactly, with their ability to try to support each other. 

    And supporting each other right now meant…

    “We should talk to Isaac right now,” Viv said firmly. “We want to talk to some other witches anyway, and it’s honestly most important to make sure that your health isn’t failing. If you bleed out from this energy thing, the lanternfish doesn’t even have to hunt you down, right?”

    “Hmm. That’s a way to put it,” Thys agreed dubiously.

    Viv squeezed their hand, then wound their fingers together, interlocking them. “This is all about taking care of you. If it’s not normal that you’re still draining like this, he may be able to do something about it. And if it is normal, then we know that. AND he can maybe help get us the spell we need. Involving Varsha can wait until tomorrow.”

    “You have convinced me,” Thys said with a solemnity that was belied by the sparkle in their eyes. They pulled out their phone. “I don’t want you to let go. But I should call, then.”