Welcome back to Eldritch Girl…
Ricky struggles to cope with his cousins and his deeply-rooted insecurities, while Katy, struggling to deal with her grief and newfound knowledge, figures out why Wes is on the List. Wes is just… struggling.
CWs: alcohol use in context of a depression spiral, lack of self-awareness, on-page panic attack, references to drug use, deteriorating mental health.
Merlin Silvestris never needed to change his shape to see the future. He’d never be that good. Getting Katy to kill him was a gamble, and his head was scrambled still from the thrust of the poker and the fact he didn’t know what was going to happen. It was time to enact another ritual, he’d need another body bag of entrails to rip open and then the mistress would get upset. Katherine, too, most likely. He’d have to be careful about it and get some twat out walking alone, not college-age, but even then…~ C. M. Rosens, Thirteenth, p. 289
Even then, what was the fucking point?
That thought, the tail-end of a bitter tirade, brought him up short. He stopped walking.
Ricky found himself facing the long barrow in Barrow Field, hands in his pockets. He’d walked the long way around, taking his time, avoiding The Chase where his
father lurked somewhere in the trees.
In The Crows towards the end, Ricky makes a few oblique references to Merlin and how he distrusts the Welsh, never mentioning him by name. The reason for this is because he met Merlin Silvestris twice as a kid, once when he was 10 years old (this story is in the back of the anniversary hardback edition of The Crows, now available from Amazon, and also in full on my Ko-Fi for monthly subscribers of all tiers), and once when he was 16 (the flashback opening chapter of The Day We Ate Grandad, the direct sequel to Thirteenth).
I do want to explore Merlin more as a character and myth, and the interplay with Eglantine Pritchard who cursed Fairwood House to begin with and whose magic stopped the Pendles from setting foot in the house or near the Pendle Stone again. I have a historical fiction novella planned with Eglantine and her life partner/companion Gwen, who is also a human vessel and host for the darker mythological figure Gwenhwyach, the dark aspect of her sister Gwenhwyfar/Guinevere. You’ll get more backstory for the Pendle sisters Beverley, Olive and Eileen too, and key points in their backstory including the 1920s and 1940s.
In this chapter, Ricky is having a crisis. In The Crows he was cocky and confident to start off with so you got to see him in his element, rocked/undermined only by interactions with his immediate family (parents and grandmother). When you put Ricky in close contact with his peers, he’s very different when he can’t hide behind his farsight and the interaction isn’t based on him doing something for them. He derives power in those interactions from his abilities, which they need. In this instance, it’s the cousin he had some level of attraction to and feels more ambivalent towards (as evidenced in his POV in The Crows, where he even generously suggested a doomed Carrie hook up with Wes if she wanted sex, because Wes was the only sexually-active person Ricky really knows well and he knew her days were running out, so it wouldn’t matter anyway).
Now that he’s having to deal with Wes in person and not in a situation he can control, Ricky is having to confront a lot of things he doesn’t want to think about, and having a 17 year old in the house is dredging up old memories of his teenage years that he would rather move on from.
This is Ricky in the process of falling apart, particularly after his whole world has become so destabilised after The Crows, where Carrie’s fate made him want to change the course of destiny for the first time, and his core belief system took a knock. He’s also adjusting to having someone in his adult life he is desperate not to lose, and he doesn’t know how to deal with that. He’s a really interesting character to write, and his arc continues into the next book (but so does the exploration of his deconstruction of self, reconstruction, and depression/anxiety).