Welcome back to Eldritch Girl…
Ricky and Wes learn the extent of their powers in the Outside and must decide what to do with them; Katy hatches out, and Grandad’s priests show up.
CWs: deconstructive body horror, insectoid creature swarm, creature gore
They hadn’t eaten or drunk anything for a full day, or at least Wes hadn’t, and Ricky had thrown up. That made everything harder. Wes was bone-tired; he stumbled over loose stones, over his own ankles, over nothing, dragging his feet as sweat prickled through his pores and drained him of any moisture he had left. He couldn’t go on much longer.
“The thing that’s bothering me,” Ricky said eventually, in an ominous voice that made Wes groan, “is…”
Ricky didn’t finish.
Wes tried to swallow, dry-mouthed and irritable. “The thing that’s bothering you is… what?”
“Oh. Yeah. Priests. Haven’t seen any.”
“Fuck me.” He was probably still hallucinating or something. “Thought I saw some nuns over that way, we can have a chat to them if you want.”
“Don’t be daft, you soppy tart, I mean Grandad’s priests, don’t I? The ones I can summon.”
Wes scowled. “Since when can you do that?”
“What d’you think I had those tattoos for, before I shed my skin? Decoration?”
“Well… yeah.” Wes hoped they could keep the bickering up, it distracted him from how rough he was feeling. He was certain the cocoon was getting heavier. “That’s what they’re usually for.”
“I’m bloody wasted on you.”
Wes smirked. “Nearly there.”
“Yeah, but it’s like things are hanging back on purpose. Maybe it’s not because we’re with the Thirteenth, like I thought. What if it’s Him?”
He could hear the capitalisation in his cousin’s tone, but it wasn’t entirely respectful. Wes empathised.
“I don’t want to see Him.” He was starting to feel sick. False bravado pushed it down. “He can bloody well give me my face back, if He does show up.”
“Three single births together on this side,” Ricky mused, gruff and quiet. “Why’s that, then? I heard Grandad in the Throne Room, goin’ round in my head like a bloody answer machine. What’s he want with us?”
“I didn’t hear anything.”
“Said something about me breaking another curse: opening up a portal for ‘em is my guess.”
Wes went cold. “Don’t you bloody dare. I mean, we can’t have an apocalypse now, Uncle Ray’s just finished his barn conversion.”
“Would you listen to yourself?” Ricky’s sneer was audible. “Bloody barn conversion.”~ C. M. Rosens, Thirteenth, pp. 380-81
This is one of my favourite exchanges between Wes and Ricky, and it pretty much encapsulates the differences in attitudes between them, and Wes’s upper middle class aspirations. (Just because Wes has money doesn’t make him upper class: he doesn’t have the breeding or the background for that sort of social mobility, he only has the money for the lifestyle, which is something that doesn’t translate across cultures I’ve noticed).
I loved writing this last act mainly because I got a lot more of the banter in, but also because I got to explore the current dynamic and what it could become in future interactions. I also enjoyed the subversion and parody of some Weird tropes and making it more like a Weird sitcom or soap opera, since this whole concept – Pagham-on-Sea and all its inhabitants, not just this one family – was conceived in a soap opera way. I like the idea of introducing a lot of characters and families and entities, and then following them through different spin-off series and shorts, but this family proved the most interesting to me, so it’s the one I’ve started off with.
I’ve said in interviews I’m not really into Cosmic Horror for its own sake: I don’t find that compelling unless there’s a micro-hook, some character arc or interaction I can get behind and follow.
Hopefully I’m achieving this!