“Can I declare you legally insane yet?” I shouted to Roxy as Phoebe and I got out of the car. When we looked across the street, we could see her in a tree hanging upside down and making strange gestures in our direction.
Roxy crossly responded to me, “This is how the spell works! I’m getting revenge on you for interfering with Damon’s plans and making him so miserable!”
I didn’t bother to ask her what effect this hex was supposed to produce since I could tell that whatever it was, she was doing it wrong! “Okay then!” Phoebe and I turned away and headed inside.
Roxy called after us, “That’s right! Run from fright!” She manically cackled as we stood in the mudroom and unlocked the front door. I’m not sure how she got the impression that we were hurrying to go home because neither of us were in a rush to endure the chaos that was bound to ensue in our abode…
Usually, the minute we stepped into our home, we got greeted with the dissonance of Blaise and Miriam’s perpetual arguing, but today, we were met with the dulcet racket of what I initially interpreted as an angry bear! I groaned as I mentally prepared myself to go through another battle, and I wondered whether Damon was haunting us now too or if Roxy’s peculiar jinx actually succeeded. From the living room, Miriam could see our startled behavior and grew very alarmed herself. “What’s happening?”
“You’re not worried about that dangerous creature in the house?” I inquired.
“That’s a bit of a harsh way to refer to my husband!” Miriam replied. “Alright, so he’s sorta wild like an animal, but he’s not…” She appeared to have changed her opinion on whether or not he ought to get referred to as dangerous, and then she probed, “We’ve been here for a few days now, you don’t recognize the noises he makes?”
I told her, “Normally, Phoebe is playing her nature sounds, so his snores get drowned out! Or at least they blend in with what we’re playing! Now that I think about it, yesterday’s thunderstorm track did sound like it was playing in surround sound! But you use our bathroom every night, haven’t you noticed that?”
Miriam shrugged. “I guess I assumed that you had bad weather nearby. Plus, I get so relieved to get a break from him for a minute that I don’t worry about anything else!” She espied our wet hair and clothing, so she questioned us, “Did something crazy occur at work today?”
“No, we had to clock out early ‘cause we got caught skinny dipping the school’s pool!” Phoebe sarcastically remarked. Miriam seemed like she believed her explanation, so she clarified, “That was a joke! Rosemary King doesn’t’ have a swimming pool! Although, based on how much water came out of the sprinklers, we probably could sustain one if we wanted to!”
“Someone set a small fire in a classroom,” I conveyed to her. It was a lie, I simply neglected to mention that I was that somebody and that I did it on purpose in an attempt to kill a monster set loose by a petulant phantom! I had my suspicions that she or Blaise had something to do with the potion that created the window to the Netherworld, and if my theory proved correct, I didn’t want them to get the satisfaction of knowing how much emotional turmoil their endeavor caused so far! And if she wasn’t privy to the knowledge of these events, then I didn’t want her to get the impression that we were psychotic!
Phoebe queried me, “Do you need to use the bathroom? I’m gonna take a shower.”
I teased her, “Didn’t you get enough of a rinse today?”
“Yeah, I’m sure that spray was totally clean!” she kidded. “Do you need to use the bathroom or not? You know how long I take…”
“Nah, I can hold it,” I assured her. She gave me a kiss before going into our bedroom, and right after she shut the door, I began to reconsider my position on this matter. I contemplated if I could refrain from emptying my bladder immediately or not, and I almost rushed in to use the toilet prior to the onset of her bathing. I could hear the pipes running, so I realized that I waited too long to decide. I considered writing a funny message to her using the steam that would shortly cake the mirror, but then it dawned on me that I could use that opportunity to propose instead! I gazed forlornly at the diamond ring in my pocket and pondered if she would have found that approach romantic or if she would get mad from getting confronted by this while she was naked…
Quite abruptly, Miriam posed to me, “What are your thoughts on this building?”
I shook myself out of my reverie and fairly foggily reacted, “Huh?” I tabled my previous notion and walked over to her in order to scope out what she had alluded to. I glanced at her cellphone and gazed at it quizzically. “This joint isn’t condemned?”
“The ad says it’s just cosmetic damage,” Miriam relayed to me. “But maybe you’re right, it does seem kinda rundown! It probably wouldn’t be worth travelling so far to go see this piece of crap…”
“You know, it’s got some great potential!” I flipped my views once I caught sight of how much distance they would get between here in Terra-Belle and there in that shack three states over! “It’s gonna be a huge renovation, but then you two can… Well, you’ll have the opportunity to make it whatever you want it become!”
Miriam didn’t look totally sold on that idea, but she didn’t completely reject the concept either. “Hmm… I’ll have to talk to Blaise about it. I’d be surprised if he says yes though. He’s being a little too fussy for what we can get in our price range. He keeps thinking that stuff should cost the same now as it did in the seventies, and-.” She paused with a panicky expression on her face as she observed the silence that overtaken the area, but when Blaise’s snoring resumed, she breathed a sigh of relief. “Whew! For a second, I worried that he heard me talking about him!”
After watching her conduct with and without Blaise in her vicinity, I couldn’t fathom why she had stayed with him! He evidently made her miserable for a very long stretch, so what would motivate her to remain by his side? I recalled speculating similar sentiments about Roxy and her brief courtship with Damon in his vampiric form, and Phoebe didn’t seem to find their relationship so odd- now I knew why! But my curiosity wouldn’t settle for “nice girls sometimes having an attraction to bad boys” premise in this instance! I met Phoebe’s father, and despite his infidelity to Miriam, he was a real standup guy! Miriam jumped from someone nice and highly respectable to… Blaise! She once fell for a much more decent man, so why did she end up with a degenerate like him? My concern kept me distracted from my growing urgency to urinate, so I felt compelled to investigate this mystery! “Why are you with him still? You’re obviously not thrilled to have him around, so why stick by this asshole?”
“I don’t have much of a choice,” she explained. “I don’t have my own money, so I’m completely dependent on him! I’m not gonna walk out on another husband and become broke and homeless again! But if I can just hold on ‘til he croaks, I’ll be set for life!”
“So, you’re gonna spend the next twenty years of your life feeling miserable just to get financially stable in your golden years?” I grew skeptical about her claim. Of course it was possible she was an under-ambitious gold digger, but putting up with the asinine stunts he pulled off at the cult as well as the agony he doled out from the way he treated her seemed like it would have been a breaking point for most people. She may have been able to get a job and save up money ages ago rather than waiting for some pittance from his life insurance or savings! I mean, if he had earned substantial paychecks from his organization, he would have gotten a much more dignified truck! Why would she entrust that she would have a significant benefit from this venture? How much could he possibly have promised her for her to deem this wait as worth it?
Miriam countered, “Psh! He’s not gonna live that long! He’s got a lot of health problems, I doubt he’ll live beyond a year or two!” She mulled over the argument she just let out and shifted her stance a little. “Course, I had that impression over a decade ago, and he’s still here! This guy has lived through stuff that would kill an average person! You know, if your blood sugar is over two-hundred and fifty, you could go into a diabetic coma? Not him! He’s frequently over three hundred and nothing ever happens! Well, he gets extra grouchy, but otherwise, he’s fine! One time, he went over five hundred and he’s still kicking!” She pouted form an apparent frustration over his longevity.
As the son of a doctor, I had a general understanding of how the human body operated, so naturally, this revelation elicited a lot of inquisitiveness in my mind, but before I had the occasion to delve into any of it, I heard Phoebe scream from our bathroom! My first instinct was to believe she got ambushed, so I sprinted over to her location to give her aid. When I got closer to the scene, I heard her yelling, “You can’t be serious!”
“I can’t control when I gotta go!” Blaise disputed. “You better cover up with one hand and plug your nose with the other ‘cause I’m coming in!”
“Don’t you even-!” I cut myself off when I saw him barge in there despite my attempt to threaten him! The desire to clobber him bubbled beneath the surface, and I was aching to discover whether or not Phoebe managed to put a towel on! I rued having a sliding glass door instead of shower curtains in that moment! I couldn’t do anything about this incident right then though because I was close to bursting from my own need to go, and since Blaise would most likely have occupied my toilet for ages, I had no other option- I had to use the guest bathroom!
I bolted inside, and Babelsama’s portrait appeared extremely bored until I entered this space. Once I came in, he cracked a grin and derisively greeted me, “Welcome back! How are those fear mongers treating you? You look pretty distressed, so I suppose they-.”
As I swiveled towards the commode, I stated, “Right now, my distress has zilch to do with fear mongers!”
“Oh, you’re brave!” he commented after I unzipped and readied myself to go.
“I’m brave?” I originally intended to ignore him, but because Roxy’s use of the facilities evoked all of this supernatural havoc, I hesitated and decided to investigate the basis of his allegation.
Babelsama expounded on his utterance, “Why, yes! You have no clue if there’s any remnants of your favorite potion’s ingredients within this vessel, and if your DNA hits it, then who knows what will-.”
He ceased his needling of my nerves when I growled in frustration and hopped over to the sink. It was such a crude way to micturate, but at this juncture, it was either do that or wet my pants! I barely got anything out when Babelsama prodded, “You know, you could get your privacy back if you simply returned my key!”
“Do you really think I’m the type to give up so easily?” I challenged him. I resumed my business and sorely wished that I had chosen to dash outside and use a tree instead!
“No, but you miss a hundred percent of the shots you don’t take!” Babelsama reasoned. I gritted my teeth and let out a bit more of my stream, but when he piped up again, I froze! “If your students knew that your refusal to bring back what’s rightfully mine was the source of their nightmarish experience, how do you envision they would act towards you?” My temper was ready to flare, but I esteemed that refraining from engaging with him would make this process move faster. The sooner I finished, the sooner I could vacate from his range! I continued my objective, and to my irritation, he prattled on, “Oh, you’re not speaking to me, huh? That’s fine, I have plenty to say to you anyways!” He started singing phrases that mocked me, and it took quite a while for me to accomplish this feat!
Later on, Phoebe and I sat at the table with drinks in our hands and disturbed expressions on our faces. Blaise and Miriam had recommenced their bickering, but we had gotten so rattled that we weren’t phased by it anymore! Even Jett slept peacefully beside us during this fracas! I asked Phoebe, “How much alcohol will it take for us to forget about today?”
She answered, “Probably more than what’s in the house! It’s cool though, we need an excuse to take a break from here!”
“Maybe we can do something to keep our brains busy with something other than… horrifying memories!” I propositioned. “Like… I dunno! Maybe there’s a way for us to get of our unwelcomed guests sooner!”
“Good thinking!” Phoebe commended me.
We both sat there and strove to unearth some possible solutions, but both of our focuses went directly back to the circumstances that unsettled us! I gulped down the last of what was in my cup and arbitrated, “On second thought, let’s just get hammered!” Phoebe concurred with my motion, so I began searching for my cellphone. “We can’t drive in this condition, so we’ll get a ride from… Where’s my phone? Please don’t tell me I left in that bathroom!” I heard my cellphone bump against something else in my pocket, and that set me on a whole other wavelength! “Hey! There might be a less difficult method for us to free ourselves from this disaster other than taking out the other sixty-seven fear mongers…!”