19

An officer came down the stairs, and approached the bars of the prison cells looking for someone. He did not seem too satisfied with his life, almost like his marriage was crumbling down due to his night shifts, the romance of old gone and substituted by the existential ennui of a couple that had been in love, but, at the same time, a couple which had never loved. He walked up and down the corridor, without even looking at the cells.

He only looked up when he went past Mamma Luca, who was strolling up and down the corridor while talking with Amanda. He just nodded and kept walking. He was not surprised by the fact that all cell doors were open, they had been like that since you had all arrived to the prison, as Mamma Luca had refused to stay in an enclosed space without the possibility to walk or talk to other people.

He stopped in front of a table that Laurel had produced with magic, where Laurel herself, Vee, a girl named Denna and you were all talking while sipping at your coffees. A woman was sitting in the back of the room, concentrated on some classic Spanish literature, the book that she had chosen for that moment was Pedro Páramo.

“Anne Black?” the officer asked.

You finished your coffee and looked up to him. “Yes?”

“You have to come with me” he said.

“OK” you said, as you stood up and went out the room.

As you started to advance, the woman in the back of the room left her book aside and marched towards the both of you with a few large steps. She held the officer’s shoulders, which made him turn towards her, and, after a couple of seconds of hesitating, she looked at him directly in the eye.

“Your marriage is doomed, and you will die alone. The bitter ash of failure will accompany you for the rest of your life, and there is little to nothing that you can do to avoid it”.

Having said that, she just turned back to her books ignoring all of the looks that everyone gave her. The officer cried in silence, without sobbing. You both went into an elevator and up a few levels, all in a silence that was only interrupted by the officer’s sobs. When the elevator doors opened, a woman looked at the officer, and she cried, too.

“I’m sorry” he said.

She shook her head. You awkwardly moved out of the way as an inspector called you into a room from the other end of the corridor. The drama ensued while you went into the interrogation room, but you only heard of it from the inside of the room. You sat in a chair and the inspector sat in front of you. You heard a man cry out loud.

“Excuse officer Jones. He’s been a bit… sensitive recently” the inspector asked, clearly uncomfortable with the whole situation.

“His marriage is doomed, and this woman who was down in the cells with us told him that he would die being a failure” you commented.

“Oh, that was to be expected, I guess. I mean, it’s sad, but still, quite predictable” he said.

You stayed silent, trying to get the feel of the situation. They surely wanted something from you, but the inspector just smoked a cigarette in silence. There was a gunshot, and you heard people running in the corridor. The door of the interrogation room opened, and an officer popped up. He looked at you both, doubting whether to say it or not, and then spoke.

“Inspector Williams, it’s Jones. He’s shot himself. His brains are scattered all around his office” he said.

The inspector nodded, and signaled with a hand that he should leave. He let the smoke come out of his mouth in the shape of a square. “Poor guy” he muttered, and then looked back at you.

“Anyway, Ms Black, I’m inspector Williams and…” there was a scream outside. “Just ignore that” he bashed it. “Anyway, you and I have some business here. You know why you are here”.

“Homicide of Doris Waters” you said.

“Yes, homicide of Doris Waters. So, here’s the thing. Both Vee and you have been charged with homicide of Doris Waters, and you will both go to prison, unless one confesses against the other. I’m offering you a deal”.

You looked at him with a ‘WTF’ face. In fact, you even did a hand gesture. “Really?” was the only thing that came out of your mouth.

“Yes, obviously. Come on, think about it”.

You cleared your throat. “OK, so I’m going to straighten up the facts to you”.

“I’m all ears” he said.

“You have no corpse to prove that any of us ever killed Doris”.

“Yes, I can see how that might be a problem” he responded.

“You also haven’t found any murder weapons; in fact, you don’t even know what the murder weapon might have been in this alleged murder” you added.

The inspector nodded. “That sounds like a reasonable reason to doubt the case”.

“You have no witnesses”.

He seemed quite happy with that. “Actually” he pointed out nervously, “Actually, we do have a few witnesses who say that you killed Doris Waters. They have proclaimed you a town hero”.

“But you have no witnesses who saw Vee kill Doris” you said.

It took him a bit to think about it. “No…” he said, almost disappointed.

“And Doris Waters herself is alive, out there in the town, terrorizing the citizens”.

That was the killing blow. He took a hand to his face. “I understand why the case crumbles down…” He sobbed a little bit.

“Oh, it’s OK, don’t cry” you held his hand.

He covered his face with both hands. “Do you… do you have a tissue?”

“Sure” you brought out a package of tissues from your pocket.

The inspector used them all to clean the snot and tears from his face. When he had finally calmed down a little bit, he finally spoke. “Vee and you are free to go, then”.

“About that… we’d like to visit our friends in their cells, if that’s OK with you guys” you asked.

“Sure, make yourselves at home”.

You were about to leave when you turned back. “By the way, I think that you’ve arrested Denna Sanders wrongly. Her sister has started a civil lawsuit, not a criminal one. Also, there is no proof she actually destroyed any of those potions, and she is probably mad. Like, needs to go into an asylum level of mad. Oh, and she’s officer Rod Peters’ high school sweetheart and girlfriend of seven years, which is the only reason why he convinced you all that Denna should be sent to prison”.

The inspector went into another burst of tears and snot, apologized, and told you that Vee, Denna and you could all leave whenever you wanted to. Not like they could stop you, anyway. You went down to the cells.

“Vee, Denna, we are free to go” you said.

Denna cheered. “That’s great!”

“I’m sorry I couldn’t do anymore for the rest of you…” you said, looking at Mamma Luca, Laurel and Amanda.

“It’s OK, cara” Mamma said. “We’ll manage”.

“I mean, we can come visit anytime, and we can bring whomever we want to, so Ba’al, John and the rest of us outside will come everyday. Also, if there’s anything I can do for you guys…”

The woman who had been reading Pedro Páramo in the back of the room spoke. “So, hi, I’m Joana, and… well… how to put it… So you know that horoscope that sends messages to certain people only?”

Vee and Laurel seemed surprised, Amanda just nodded. Joana kept talking. “So, I also receive those messages, and… And I was told that I should get together with you guys… I mean, not that kind of together, you know what I mean, just together”.

“That was very brave of you” Amanda said. “Come sit with us, you want a herbal tea?”

“I wouldn’t want to bother you…” Joana gestured nervously with her hands.

Amanda just smiled while she prepared a herbal tea. “It doesn’t bother me. Just relax, it’s hard to get into a group, specially after it’s already been formed”.

Joana accepted the cup of herbal tea. “Thank you. I’m just a bit introverted, and it takes an effort to socialize” she took a sip of the herbal tea. “This herbal tea is amazing!”

“My family has been full of plant experts for generations” Amanda smiled. “It’s a brew that only my family knows about”.

The gang had grown a little more.

Denna’s Charm of the Week

Hi!

I’m sorry to do this again. It looks like I use this space to bitch and tell my problems to you guys, but this time I really need it. Yes, you guessed right: my little sister is being a bitch once more.

This time, she has decided to sue me for destroying a lifetime of beauty supplies, including a potion called Azelyte for which she had given away her own heart. This is after I saved her life countless times during the Apocalypse and the Heatwave, and protected her from several monsters. So, as the saying goes, ‘no good deed goes unpunished’. It’s quite sad, if you ask me.

Anyway, so I’m in preventive imprisonment, because I might (quote) “go around destroying more beauty supplies, because I’m a serial beauty supply destroyer”. You’d think it’s bad, but the thing is that most of the criminals who were here died during the Apocalypse, and the ones who survived had to face the scorching heatwave, as absolutely everyone forgot about them. So I’ve met Vee, Mamma Luca and Amanda Alexander, among other people. They are really interesting and fun to be with, and they have even taught me a couple of more advanced spells, which I will teach you about today:

  • Whifire: Mamma Luca taught me this spell, which is used to summon fireworks out of nowhere. This one sounds like it should be quite easy to pull off, but the fact that you produce it out of nowhere is very important, because it means that you are violating the basic laws of physics and that conservation of mass is a joke for you. She said it’s not dangerous at all, and that it’s quite fun to throw it into people’s faces! However, with her kind of power level she is practically invulnerable, and considering that she reminisced on the roasted faces after she told me that, I wouldn’t point this spell towards anyone you love.
  • Llamalia: this one came from Vee, he said that you can summon a llama using this one. He stressed the point of pronouncing the double l in the same way in which Spanish speakers pronounce it, and not to confuse it with ‘Lamia’, which is a fairy-like being of the rivers that might as well help you, but could also curse you and all of your descendants for centuries to come. Also, he warned that 1 in 10 llamas are violent sociopaths that might as well rip your face out of your skull. Be careful with this one.
  • Rafflesha Undetarra: this one came from Amanda, and she said it’s a family spell that comes from way back. Apparently her great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandmother was a powerful witch that travelled the world and meddled with the Dark Arts. When she got to Indonesia, she was fascinated by the Rafflesia Arnoldii, the plant with the largest flower in the world, and she took a specimen which she brought back to her home in current day Iowa. With it she created the Refflesha Undetarra, a monster that rots the flesh of any creature that is touched by its stench and tortures the souls of those who look at it. There are some important conditions that need to be met to be able to summon this creature (for example, being a direct descendant of Amanda’s great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandmother), which means that most people will actually not be able to summon it. I have just included this one in the list to show you the potential that magic can have.

I hope you experiment and use the spells I’ve sent you in new and creative ways. As yo can see, if you learn magic you can go wherever, and even become one of the most powerful people of the Multiverse. But, most importantly, you can have tons of fun!

Be well!

Denna

Fiery Creek Public Service Announcements, 28/09/2016

The following Public Service Announcement has been made public by Town Council on the 28th September 2016. Its aim is to let citizens know that:

  1. Stop banging on the Town Hall’s door. We have shut ourselves in, and thanks to the advanced security systems from the future that the building possesses, you will never be able to get in. You can protest as much as you want, you can try to hold us captive, sieged in this building for as long as you want to, but we won’t step down. We have enough resources to hold strong for a lifetime here.
  2. So, yes, Vee might have taken care of most of the problems of this town, so what? Does that give him the right to be Mayor? No, it doesn’t! We refuse to let that happen! And, now that you ask, yes, we might have looked for absolutely anything that we could take him to prison for, and used it against him as soon as we could. But you don’t get it, Fiery Creek needs us. The whole Multiverse needs us. We the Council have been chosen to be a key factor in the destiny of the Multiverse, according to the Great Plan. Go ask the Witches, they will tell you.

Important Non-Sites of Fiery Creek 19: Banks in Fiery Creek

This is going to be one of the weirdest episodes in this series. Why, you might ask? Well, the reason for that is that there are no banks in Fiery Creek. Thus we are not talking about a place in Fiery Creek, but about a non-place. This might sound a bit pedantic, but it is important to understand why banks have to be called non-places in Fiery Creek, which explains the change in the title of the series, because this is not a real place, and titling it as ‘Important Sites of Fiery Creek 19’ would have been inappropriate.

One of the first things that people look for when they come to Fiery Creek is a bank where they can get some money to spend to obtain goods and services. There is no such thing as a bank in Fiery Creek, which is one of the first things that weirds people out when they get here – even though there is a Town Hall worker that reads the minds of every single being who comes to visit and reminds them that there are no banks and they have to bring cash with them (this probably weirds them out even more, now that we think about it) -, but this is hardly a problem, they think. There’s always ATMs.

Now, here comes the problem with that way of thinking: natural selection, which, in a very rough definition, states that reproduction and survival will be different inside a species according to their phenotypic differences, which will allow them to adapt in different ways to the situation. Natural selection works in two different ways against the usage of ATMs in Fiery Creek:

  1. Some years ago, some citizens brought a couple of toyols with them from southeast Asia. These spirits that steal money and jewellery had their own problems in Fiery Creek, a town full of paranoid magic users, and thus, through natural selection, those who could transform into ATM machines and earn the citizens’ trust had the best chances of survival. This, at the same time, made the people of Fiery Creek extremely paranoid about ATM machines, but the evolutionary process of these toyols has not advanced enough to obtain any observable modifications in their behaviour.
  2. If you were to find an actual ATM (there is one locked in position right next to John Fier’s bar), you should proceed with the utmost care. ATMs are extremely territorial beings, and they can be suspicious and aggressive towards anyone. Sometimes, however, they will not show this, but they will then grab the arm of the ATM user with their powerful jaws and lock it, hack at it and eventually tear it from the shoulder. This has made for quite a few bloody shows, and quite obviously, few of the ATMs victims have survived the blood loss of having their arms torn away. This means that only powerful people can use ATMs.

Seeing this, the need of a bank in Fiery Creek would seem obvious. The reason why there are no banks in Fiery Creek is that they are all doomed from the start because of a hex placed in town over a century ago. This makes all banks that try to settle into town go bankrupt and close business before they even start their businesses here. Thus, the buildings in which these banks were to settle turn into hollow carcasses, and as time goes by these instances turn into ‘flower buds’ that have been infested by a parasite that has laid thousands of eggs. After 50 or so years have passed, the eggs hatch and the carcass gets destroyed, and thousands of monsters come out of the building. There have been four instances in which this has happened, and two non-banks are ‘maturing’ right now and will eventually send a spawn of monsters into town.

We are not proud of this, and not only because it creates ticking time bombs every time a bank considers coming to town. The origin of such hex is also quite controversial. It all started as an anti-semitic thing. Some anti-semitic people assumed that the Jewish owned money and banks, and thus felt the need to stop their businesses. They were not very cultured or intelligent, and thus failed miserably at producing that hex, so instead of cursing Jewish people, they cursed banks and created an inconvenience for all citizens for generations to come.

I guess stupid people in large crowds are to be feared.

History of Fiery Creek 19: The incident of the Temple

The beginning of the autumn has always been a time of celebration in Fiery Creek. It is traditional to hold markets and to thank the Author for ending the September heatwave without killing us all out of boredom – I mean, summer and winter are interesting and intense seasons, but autumn is that kind of so-so in between season where authors tend to get writer’s block and kill their projects with one final, unoriginal blow in which they don’t even make sure that the end is satisfying and answers all of the mysteries, so it’s important to thank the Author for not doing exactly that -, with celebrations that are usually held in the Temple – there have been no more fireworks since the town burnt five years in a row in the 1967-1971 period.

But at the end of September 1853, an unexpected incident interrupted the celebrations that were being held in the Temple. It is not known exactly what happened, and several different versions have been recorded. These do not agree with each other, and though historians have tried to make sense of the declarations of the witnesses – oddly, quite a few witnesses are still alive -, with little to no success.

Right now, only two things are clear:

  1. The fact that there was an explosion inside the Temple.
  2. The fact that none of the people who had been inside at the time of the explosion survived.

Mary Clark had been at the entrance to the Temple when the explosion happened, about to walk into the building. The shock-wave caught her and everyone else by surprise, and she was thrown to the floor. She run into the building to save whomever may still be alive, and her description of the situation has been saved in her diaries:

“The smoke and dust covered my view, and I could barely see a couple of feet away. There were corpses everywhere, and a terrible sense of power filled the room. Some shadows moved in back of the Temple, but when Ba’al and I got to the place, there was nothing but corpses there. I had seen worse than that in my lifetime, but I had never sent such sense of powerlessness”.

Ba’al, the Pince of Hell, had been with Mary Clark the whole time, and his version mostly agrees with that of Mary Clark. There are, however, certain details that Mary Clark did not record in her diaries, and when asked through the ouija board, she never remembered them, either. Ba’al’s version reads as follows:

“It was not the explosion that caught me by surprise, but an ominous feeling. Something paralyzed me in that instant, and when I saw Mary run into the Temple, I ran behind her, trying to stop her. There was dust and smoke everywhere, and the floor was covered with corpses. Something seemed odd about these corpses, though. It looked to me as if their souls had been stolen before the explosion, as if their physical deaths had just been a mere formality”.

At that moment, Merlin had been flying towards the Temple, so he saw the whole thing from far away. What he saw, however, was completely different to what the rest described:

“There was no explosion. A human looking silhouette was floating on top of the Temple, hovering through the use of magic. It was as if that person was carrying out a ritual, and at the moment in which the flying being disappeared from the top of the Temple, a lot of people dropped dead inside”.

This has created quite a debate among historians. Was there, or was there not an explosion? It is difficult to know, since the people who were near the building all agreed that there had been an explosion, while the one that were far away did not see it. The fact that the building was intact is a point that seems to confirm that there was no explosion. The corpses, however, had been charred and thrown around like it happens when there are explosions.

Most of the stories around this day are centered around these two different versions of the story, with several variations that have probably been added later on into this legend. There is, however, a third and even more mysterious account of what happened that day, belonging to Diane Vines, oracle of town. Her cryptic sentences contain a message that has yet to be understood:

“Everything was what happened. These people were harvested for a greater purpose. This was just a way to let the Author know”.

The reference to the Author, who rarely intervenes in the Multiverse that he has created, is the only one. None of the rest said anything about him, even though the incident happened in his Temple. In fact, not even the people who were near Diane Vines at the time of the incident had versions that could explain what she meant.

Whether we will ever know the truth about this incident or behind Diane’s words, nobody can tell.

Weekly Fiery Creek, 25/09/2016

This week in the news:

Town Heroes arrested in Town Council’s political move

This week, Vitor Vico, also known as Vee, the most popular candidate for the mayoral elections of this town, has been unjustly arrested by the Town Council’s forces. This is thought to be part of the Town Council’s maneuver to reduce Mr Vico’s popularity with the public, which has been earned through hard work and service to the community.

He was arrested this Friday, along with several of his frequent collaborators, with charges, right when he had taken care of the threat that the citizens of Bloody Christmas 1999 were posing to the rest of Fiery Creek. Vitor Vico and Mamma Luca had also just finished a ritual to destroy the giant asphyxiating plant that protected the Town Hall and had overgrown, also threatening the lives of citizens that may need to get anywhere near Town Hall.

The Council, who has a mayoral candidate of their own – a puppet of the Council -, could not allow the popularity of Vee to grow anymore, as he currently has 99.99% of the people’s approval -the last 0.01% was Doris Waters. None of this newspaper’s workers dared to go ask her, in fear of the psychological torture -, which is the reason why he has been arrested, along with all of his collaborators. No Council member has dared to deny this fact, and, in fact, Council member Amelia Beyer stated that “she was proud that they had taken the decision to unfairly place Vee in prison”.

Several citizens have reacted in social media saying that Vee and the rest “should just escape the prison using their powers”. Vee has responded with calming comments saying that he “will abide by the law and clean his name in a trial”. This has created an even greater uproar, with comments like “He is a good man, he should be freed!”, and “Stop the political arrests!” firing up in the media.

The support for the Council is lower than ever, with only 27.42% of the people thinking that it is still necessary to have an unelected Council in a modern democracy. However, of these only 5.14% support the current Council, while everyone else asks for a change. A demonstration has been organized for Tuesday, and several thousand of the citizens have already stated their intention to join this demonstration to stop the Council’s rule

The following is a list of the arrested citizens and their charges, along with an analysis of why these are fake:

  • Vitor Vico, mayoral candidate: arrested for homicide of Doris Waters. There is actually no evidence for this charge, only a witness, which is Doris Waters herself. How could Doris report Vee killing her? This is obviously a political trial.
  • Anne Black: also arrested for the involuntary homicide of Doris Waters. The prosecutors claim that she killed Doris, but they also claim that she did so in a completely different event that happened in the Library. While there are several witnesses who saw this, Doris could not have been killed twice, while still being alive. There is also no evidence for this one.
  • Amanda Alexander: it has recently been known to the public that she is a monster hunter, and that she had handed the Police several monsters that she had lured into her basement and killed before they could pose a threat to the town. She is accused of killing her mother in law, but it is not known whether they mean a relative of hers, or the infamous Mother In Law, Eater of Souls, Bane of the World.
  • Laurel Lewis: before coming back to save town from the Apocalypse, this brave citizen had traveled to several Ancient Civilizations for a holiday that she had taken from her job. Her being one of the few people who have time traveled, and the only one to visit Ancient Egypt, Walter Simmons, pyramid enthusiast, has accused her of transporting his pyramids back in time. The fact that she did time travel to Ancient Egypt does not prove that she had taken those pyramids.
  • Erin Pyp, town Librarian: arrested for stealing intellectual property from other authors. Apparently, the wand that she used in her mission to save John Fier and Dominic Wess from the Registry of Lost and Found was very similar to those in the Harry Potter universe, and the IP Lawyers want to check them. Wands, however, have been part of the magic folklore for quite some time already, and their use is not subject to IP Law – according to Eleanor West, lawyer of town who will represent Ms Pyp.
  • Mamma Luca: arrested for the murder of Isobel Paris, High Witch of the Fiery Creek Akelarre. This one is the most difficult one. Not only are there witnesses, but there is also footage obtained by said witnesses of Mamma Luca overpowering Isobel Paris. This does not prove murder, but Mamma Luca could as well face prison for homicide.

Some magic enthusiasts have taken the Quantitators’ ‘Most powerful people of the Multiverse’ list from last year and calculated whether the imprisoned people could, in some way, destroy the powerful magic that maintains the prisoners locked, and have discovered that, actually, with their powers combined they could probably blow up the whole planet quite easily. They have, however, insisted in taking matters to trial to clean their names peacefully, which we praise them for.

This newspaper, hearing their cry for peace even in the face of the worst injustica, can only do what has to be done to honour these people’s noble intentions: make a call for war. We think that Vitor Vico and his companions deserve a revolution of the town, and this is the reason why we call ANUS and every other citizen in this town to stand up against their oppressive government.

As our ancestors said, in their own countries: Viva la revolución!

Bloody Harpies come to town for first autumn concert of the season, Homicidal Babies cancels due to lead singer’s disease

The autumn concert season will start this Thursday with the usual events. This year, the Bloody Harpies have announced that they will “turn the desert red with blood” and that the concert-goers’ heads are “literally going to explode”. The demonic-metal band is making a comeback after a two year hiatus in which the band took some rest to find inspiration.

On the other hand, Homicidal Babies, a classic of every year’s autumn concert season, has canceled their concert in the last minute as “the lead singer had a disease that didn’t allow him to go on stage”. Fans have been extremely supportive and have said that they can wait until next time. Band members have been very thankful to their funs and have stated that “they will try to reschedule their murderous concert as soon as possible”.

Fiery Creek Horoscope, 24/09/2016

This is the horoscope for this week. As always, remember that in weeks with more than two primes the prediction gets reversed, and that the week of the full moon horoscopes don’t work. On the other hand, if there is an eclipse somewhere in the world, horoscopes work an infinitesimal factor of d better.

Aries: the Police is not the only one that is looking for you. The officers are your least concern right now, they won’t recognize you after that disastrous surgery. Someone is looking for you, and their intentions are no good at all. Stay on the move, or else you will be found.

Leo: I’m panicking right now. They know that you time traveled to Ancient Egypt, and now are blaming you for the abduction of Walter Simmons’ pyramids. They are mad! Anyway, you will have company, Mamma Luca and others will be there with you.

Virgo: good job ending the Bloody Christmas 1999 – Dark Magic still gives me the shivers, though -, and protecting town from monsters, while killing that asphyxiating plant in the process. But now you and your girlfriend (I mean, I’m calling her girlfriend, but I don’t know if I should. Maybe you are one of those modern couples that are just ‘seeing someone’, I don’t know. You tell me) are both in prison for killing Doris Waters. But she is alive! What’s going on?

Libra: I told you not to organize that barbecue! Are you stupid, or what? Actually, you are dead now, so I guess it’s pointless to keep writing this.

Sagittarius: ha! Town is protected now. They might have been arrested, but this is not the end.

Capricorn: didn’t you get rid of the lawyers that were meddling in town affairs? Well, whatever. You are in prison for illegal construction of an underground city now. At least they have no access to the Arch. You will meet some people in the prison. Talk to them. I’m being extremely serious. Go talk to them.

Aquarius: OK, so this one is my fault. I told you to kill your mother in law, and now you are in prison. We will work this out.

Pisces: you have a probability of exactly 17/124 of spontaneously turning into a lynx this week. Good to know that the numbers of an endangered species are going up again.