A third Friday in town is a special event. Tradition states that, if you have managed to stay in town for that long without getting obsessed with the Noise, you deserve a party on the Fier family’s bar, courtesy of Town Council. The last person that qualified before you was Liza Kulmala, our Finnish neighbour who came to town in 1992. She came saying that she was a natural of Fiery Creek, but she had been born in Finland, because Fiery Creek citizens can be born wherever the f*ck they want to. This is a free country, right?

Of course, Town Council is stingy as shit I mean very thorough in their jobs, so they wanted to check that you had not obsessed with the Noise (even though the Noise disappeared when you arrived in town). That was the reason why you got kidnapped by some extremely indiscreet government officials in the middle of the street, as you were going about your day.

You were taken to a secret interrogation spot – which is basically Doris Waters’ basement, let’s not lie, we all know – and there some masked officials stared at you while Doris served tea and some biscuits in a table next to you.

“Help yourself, sweetie” she said, trying to appear like an inoffensive old granny. We all know, however, how she collaborates with the town police, and what kind of neighbourhood terror she is subjecting her neighbours to. She is the true bad cop. That treat was only designed to lower your guard.

“Thank you” you responded, and took a biscuit and a cup of tea.

“So, Anne Black, would you say that…”

You soon noticed your grave mistake when the boiling tea burnt your skin – the old hag brews it at 5000K in the thermonuclear power plant that she has in her backyard – and dropped it on the floor, which literally evaporated at that temperature. The whole house started to heat very quickly.

Of course, whenever there is an actual emergency, the government is the first one to flee the scene, so the officials ran for it. Doris followed them, and you found yourself alone in the collapsing house. At that point, Erin and I opened a secret tunnel to Doris’ basement.

“Come with us!” Erin shouted.

You jumped onto the hole, which we closed after us, and we ran for it, too. The house exploded in every direction.

“What the…!”

“I told that old hag, I told her that using the water from the nuclear power plant to brew tea was a bad idea!” I shouted. “I told the Council, God, why will they never listen to me?”

“She gives them those cookies. She makes them with the same mind controlling agent that the government uses to create the chemtrails” Erin answered. Then, turning towards you. “Are you OK, Anne?”

“I… don’t know” you said, dropping to the floor.

Erin kneeled in front of you, helping you keep a seating position. “Hey, it’s all right, the danger is gone”.

“First I got kidnapped, then the tea burnt my hand and made the house explode…”

“Wait, you’re injured? Let me see that” she looked at your hand, which showed third degree burns. “John, it’s bad. You will need to carry her”.

I sighed and took you in my arms, without much effort. “Erin, go to my place and get the back room ready”.

She rushed, and we followed.

“It hurts, a lot” you told me.

“I know, I know, poor thing. It’s going to be OK. We are going to tend to those wounds”.

It didn’t take us much to get there, but Erin had already prepared everything. I placed you on the table, ready for the ritual. The pain had increased a lot as the burns appeared in your arm. Erin and I put on our robes and prepared our magical kit. Suddenly, I noticed that something was missing.

“Where’s the goat blood?”

“Frank is having a bitch fit” was Erin’s simple response.

I rolled my eyes. “Frank, come in, NOW!” I shouted.

Frank, my goat, came in kicking at whatever he could see, swearing. “Oh, Frank, we need your f*ucking blood to invoke some creature, Frank, give us some blood to heal some poor bitch we’ve found in the tunnels, Frank, Frank, FRANK! It’s always ME!”

“Do you actually need it?” I asked, firmly.

Frank rolled his eyes. “OK, you win”.

He took the sacrificial knife, jumped onto a chair and from there he hopped onto the table, next to you.

“This better be frigging worth it, honey” he told you, right before stabbing at his own neck, letting a splat of blood fall over you. He fell to the floor.

“Fuck!” you screamed.

“Calm down, Anne, he regenerates each time” Erin explained.

“Aw” Frank complained, as he got up onto all its four and stretched its neck.

We completed the ritual, which healed your arm to full health. We then started to clean everything up, as you started to understand what was going on.

“But, my arm! I don’t know how you did this, but it’s… weird. Shouldn’t you have taken me to the hospital?” you were very obviously confused.

“The hospital is not for sick people” Erin answered. “We tend to each other’s wounds at home here” she explained.

When everything was clean, we headed to the front. “Anyway, today was supposed to be a welcoming party for you!” I said. “There’s not many people here, I guess because Doris’ house collapsed, but it was a celebration”.

You looked around and saw Ba’al drinking in a corner, Liza with her children sat around a table, eating, and a bunch of dead citizens drinking in a small group. Ba’al was the only one to approach us.

“So you’re Anne Black? Nice to meet you” he said, shaking your hand.

“Nice to meet you”.

“Do you want something?” he asked.

“Some cider, or something fresh, please. I’m thirsty”.

“John, a cider and some whiskey, please. On me”.

“Oh” I looked at him. “That’s interesting. When was the last time you invited anyone to a drink?”

“Diane Vines, 1867” he answered.

“Seems like you’ve joined an extremely select club then, Anne” I told you.

“Get me a Guiness” Erin asked.

That night we drank, and celebrated. For a new arrival in town.


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