B009.6 Family Matters

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Prisca loved her new power. It was pretty much the second-most awesome power she could have gotten, as far as she was concerned. The only thing that could have topped Gilgul would be something to truly fix her up, some powerset that got rid of this wretched piece of shit Dusu had made altogether.

But after spending the better part of a decade bedridden and in constant pain, just having the ability to sleep painlessly would have been an improvement – and now she even got to live while sleeping painlessly.

If only Basil would finally give in have sex with her, she’d probably even stop caring about having to return to this body… for a while. But no, he has to be all… moral and sweet and all that crap! And it’s not even like there’s any risks involved!

The machines started to beep, and Prisca forced herself to calm down. Basil had… he’d really done miraculous work. The doctors had been putting her through scans and tests for more than a week, and they still could barely understand half the procedures he’d performed on her to save her – and that didn’t even factor in the machines that her life now depended on. Sure, she was blind, couldn’t risk getting worked up, in constant pain while awake and could barely move her hands, but she was alive. When the doctors said she should be dead.

And the girls wonder why I put up with Basil, she thought, amused. Even putting aside the fact that he’d stuck with her for weeks before she ever got her power and actually became attractive, showing interest in a crippled scarecrow of a girl, he’d now saved her life twice over. She could take him being scatterbrained, or blowing up on her once. He’d earned more than enough BF points to last him a lifetime by now. And then some.

She heard her tablet’s ringtone – Basil had reconfigured it remotely, for her, reworking it to work acoustically, now, and with signs drawn on the screen. The ringtone now announced a call. A clear, pleasant woman’s voice – a little like Eudocia, but stiffer – announced ‘Basil Blake’ to her. Tapping the screen twice in succession, she accepted the call.

<Hello, Prisca,> he said, more subdued than he usually was. <How are you doing?>

Slowly, Prisca wrote her reply on the tablet with one finger. She couldn’t talk much in this body, not anymore. And it sounded like a toad croaking, anyway. <Hello, Basil,> came the synthesized answer, modelled after her old voice.

There was a short pause. <I just wanted to apologize for blowing up at you all earlier. Especially you.>

<Why me, especially?> she replied. That was mean. She knew the answer, she just wanted to hear him say it again.

<Because you are my girlfriend. I like you most of all of them,> he replied as if it was completely obvious (it was), giving her a warm feeling. She was a horrible person for being so needy, but she wouldn’t miss it, either.

<Aha. So, are you going to tell me why you’re in such a bad mood?>

<Not over the phone. We can talk about it the next time we meet. There is also another matter I wanted to discuss with you today, but well…>

She wrote her reply quickly. <Didn’t go so well.>

<Let us talk next time. I need to call the others and apologize, then… well, then I need to start working on the reason for my mood today.>

<Good luck.>

<Thank you, and goodbye. I love you.> And with that, he hung up, without even giving her a chance to reply in kind.

Sometimes, he really was a jerk.

She loved him anyway. And she couldn’t wait to actually be with him again.



* * *


Ten minutes to midnight

“I’m ho-o-ome!” she sang as she slipped into their flat, locking the door behind her.

After a few seconds, during which she started taking off her boots, a reply reached her. “Wellllllcome ba-b-back,” came the stuttering, slurred reply.

Dalia frowned, throwing said boots off along with her jacket. “Mom, have you been drinking again?” she asked, stalking to the living room – it was really more of a penthouse, all things considered. She’d won another lottery since winning her powers. A small one, only a million bucks, but still. Enough to set them up for life, along with everything else she’d won so far.

You couldn’t tell that from looking at the state of the living room though, much less her mother. The room was seriously messed up, worn clothes, dirty underwear, half-eaten pizza and Chinese takeout lying around.

Also, lots of empty bottles. And stains on the expensive carpet, where contents had been spilled. She didn’t smell any vomit, though. That was an improvement, at least.

And, of course, her mother. Jana Fitzhampton had, once upon a time, been quite the beauty (some of her older pictures made her look nearly metahuman). Dalia could, barely, remember a time when she’d dreamed of someday being as beautiful as her mommy.

You couldn’t tell that from looking at her, though. She’d put on some weight. Not really overweight, just enough to make her look a little shapeless, a lot unkempt. Her red hair was tangled, dirty and lacked any luster and her cheeks were red and constantly puffed up. Her fingers were covered in bandaids, from disastrous attempts to make food, or from shattered bottles or glasses, or from slipping…

Well, from lots and lots of bad luck, really. It was… disgustingly ironic – Dalia got all the good luck in the world, and her Mom stumbled from one dogpile to the next.

There’s something there…

Some days, Dalia felt like there was something there that didn’t click. Something she should get, but didn’t.

For now, all she could do was clean up the place, talking with her mother all the while.

“How was your day?” she always asked, just so she’d know what had gone wrong this time.

“Shitty,” Jana groaned, turning on the couch. “Ow, not again,” she sighed, twisting to pull an empty bottle out of the cushions, where it was sticking out just so it’d dig into her back when she turned. “I tried to cook, but I just burned myself.” She showed a cooling patch she’d slapped onto the underside of her right forearm. “Ordered some Chinese takeout, but I think it was spoiled, because I spent an entire hour vomiting into the toilet.” She fumbled around, trying to find a bottle she hadn’t emptied yet, but Dalia was faster, taking them away. “Hey, let me… Let me drink! It hurts without it,” she complained, slurring her ‘s’ sounds.

Dalia ignored her, went to the fridge and got a cooled water bottle out, then helped Jana up, holding the bottle up to her lips. Her good luck usually cancelled out her mother’s bad luck whenever they were together, but any time she went out…

Either way, she could help her drink, and then she ushered her into the bathroom, taking a good long shower along with her. Safer that way, for Jana.

“Nice girl… you’re such a nice girl…” Jana whispered, already half-asleep. She rarely slept anymore, unless Dalia was with her. Too much risk of something bad happening in her sleep.

“Let’s get you fixed up momma. I got no school tomorrow, so we can sleep in.”

Her only reply was a sigh of relief.

Guiding her mother through all her bathroom ministrations was quite the role reversal compared to the year she spent in depression, before she got her powers. Towards the end, she had even needed her mother’s help to go to the toilet, on the bad days.

On the good ones, she’d been able to eat one meal a day by herself.

Don’t go there, Dalia. Don’t go there. Look forward.

She dried her mother’s hair – Jana flinched when she turned the hairdryer on, probably remembering the occasion where it had actually gone up in flames in her hand a few weeks ago. Then she worked on her own, put them both into pyjamas, reapplied creme and bandaids to her mother’s wounds and walked carefully to bed, keeping an eye out for anything sharp her mother might accidentilly step on.

Yeah, it had been that kind of week. Jana’s feet showed more bandaids than skin by now, especially below.

“C’mon, let’s go to sleep,” she whispered after checking the bed over. She lay down with her mother, clapping her hands to turn the lights on (it never seemed to work for her mother) and went to sleep.

“Sssssuch a good girl,” Jana whispered, hugging her. Dalia replied in kind.

If only she knew why her mother was being haunted by so much bad luck.

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42 thoughts on “B009.6 Family Matters

  1. I’m sorry this ended up not only late, but also short, but I wanted to at least put something out. Bad news is, this week will probably not be any kinder to my writing ability than the last one.

    Good news is, the next week is already looking up.

    One, maybe two chapters left in Family Matters. Then comes a Donation Interlude (tentative title, “Strange Fish”), followed by Falling Hearts. That one will be rather short, but with lots of action and suspense (unless I mess it up >_<)

    Afterwards, we'll get the big Monkey Family Arc, and then…

    Well, then it's time for the metaphorical shit to hit the story's fan^^

    • Well, my first thought is that Dalia will die, too. She skates by on her luck, so if that gets interrupted at some point, well, I doubt she’ll live long enough to notice.

      If she does survive it, there’s the possibility that she’ll just switch over to generally ‘cursing’ everyone she cares about. Which would fit with the idea that once probability warpers push things too far it goes bad for everyone nearby. Though I can’t remember if that was explicitly spelled out here, or if I borrowed that from somewhere else.

      • The Dark explained the Backobst to Mindstar back in “First Run”. Dahlia circumvents the usual Limitation by instead dumping the bad luck off on her mother – Though she doesn’t (And can’t) realise that.

      • Well, on one hand she’s probably not going to get a big saved-up backlash, like The Dark was worried about.

        I wonder how her target is determined? The person she cares about most? The person she sees as her protector? The one most dedicated to taking care of her?

      • Don’t think that Tyche, is knowledgeable enough about the trick with probability manipulators. The dark had to tell Amy and she’s certainly smart enough.

  2. That was sad, seems like her powers wont let her draw the conection.
    On a more, way more, super awesome more important point, MONKEY IS BACK, or at least i hope so.

  3. So is her power using good luck to hurt her mother so she will feel better or is her good luck causing her mothers’ bad luck so that there is no buildup?

  4. Well it seems our little lucky girl isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed. Or the brightest of bulbs. A few cards short of a deck. One more…A few fries short of a happy meal.

  5. Interesting. I predict that Tyche will push her luck too far, just about survive but her mother dies to compensate and balance the luck out.

    The question is, will that be the end of her powers or, more likely will her power latch on to someone else like a kind of luck draining parasite. Also, will Tyche then realise how her power works and learn to control who she drains luck from (which would be very powerful in a fight) or will she still not realise that she has cursed someone else to bad luck – and probably someone close to her. Great power idea!

  6. It’s terrifying, not the luck drain itself, but the consequences of it going overboard, if something happens to mommy Tyche, her power could latch onto Basil or Prisca…….. My heart won’t be able to take it

      • You say that but I’m sure that you had thought of it already, if you were’t going to implement it before, you probably still won’t, and if you were, it only means my intuition predicted the ominous future ahead

  7. Could you reveal a list of the most powerful known meta-humans of each category? Just the basic stuff that the average college student would know if they used google (or the Brennus-verse equivalent) and maybe took an introduction to meta-humanity course.

    For example, this list would have the top 5 known chimeras with their nationalities and one or two sentences dedicated to what their most memorable or historically significant deed was. It would also have the top 5 known physique (adonis) and what their greatest accomplishments were. If they didn’t do anything great, there would just be a random fact that distinguishes them from the rest like ‘first metahuman to be tested bulletproof under lab conditions by Hypothetical University of Fiction City’ or ‘first meta-human to be confirmed as having both meta-human parents’ or even ‘last know winner of the Notareal Town ballroom dancing competition before the town was destroyed by Weiswald’.

    I think this would be a really cool idea to help us readers get a better picture of the world.
    Also this list would only include the common abilities, so Ember, Dil, and many other extremely powerful, but relatively UNIQUE meta humans would not be included.

    Obviously you don’t have to do this, but… please!

  8. The part with Tyche really shows how much strain raising a metahuman can cause. Not many stories show that, congrats. It just makes me want to hug them en tell them everything is going to be all right.
    An interlude from a parents point of view would be nice. I mean, have you ever thoufht how much trouble raising a mind reader is? Or a guy who can turn invisible? A person with a personal pocket dimension would be the worst to raise. He could litarly retreat into hiw own little world.

  9. On re-reading the chapter, I thought of something. I don’t think that Dalia’s power will ever directly kill her mother. Considering how many times its saved her life, it would be ‘fair’ for it to have already killed Jana. Instead, Dalia’s luck will run out when Jana has finally suffered enough to kill herself.

    Poetically, it would fit with Dalia’s trigger event. Suicide of a child is considered one of the worst things for a parent to go through… So Jana’s torment is the price she pays for her child’s life, until she decides that it would be too much to bear. Dalia being the cause of the suffering in either case neatly ties back into her trigger.

    Also, Tieshaunn, don’t think I haven’t made the connection about Hecate’s trigger and why she has ends up ruining her costumes. She should probably just give up on enchanting any clothing that would actually qualify as clothing.

      • ‘Doh! Right! Some of that is information from latter sections than this. I usually try to not put anything into the comments that could count as a spoiler. Respect for new readers and all.

        I’m not sure if you can or not, but I don’t mind if this comment tree gets moved to B009.8. It would probably fit better there, anyway.

  10. At this point have we actually been told how Prisca got her powers and I missed it (I hava a magical ability to somehow jump over chapters in a storyline), or is it another intentional jump?

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