Driving, Down the Drain

“So what’s new with you. You’re all grown up now. Gotta a boyfriend? Or husband?” Father Pleasant asked Angelica as he gazed out the window at the upstate hills and trees rolling by in the night air. The old lincoln added ambiance to the drive with its old boat creeks and cricks as it floated over smooth rolls in the asphalt road. The night was clear and the tremulous sounds of the quiet evening blended with the instrumental electronic music Angelica had chosen for the drive.

“It’s Once We Were Tethered,” Angelica said answering a question she thought wanted answering.

“What?” Father Pleasant, responded popping out of a daze of feeling the evening wind on his face from the wide-opened window of the Continental.

“The music, a band called ‘Once We Were Tethered’. Normally I’m more of a rock-and-roll-chick, well, maybe more like normally I’m more of a song-with-a-beat-chick, but in the last few days, I’ve been needing some calm. I guess now that I listen, it’s a little dark, but I find something calming, something mesmerizing about it.”

“Dealing with a breakup?” Cotton asked regretting the uninformed old-man comment halfway through the final word.

“Do YOU have a boyfriend? Now that’s what I want to know.” Angelica asked back with an obvious air of snark.

Driving, Down the Drain“Great, priest jokes,” he responded. “I’m serious, we used to spend so much time together when I was here. I want to know more about you, the person you’ve become.”

“I was 12, just about everything has happened. Except currently having a boyfriend or ever having been married.”

“What about school? A job?” He continued the paternal digging.

“I write music reviews for the Arkham Music Review,” She said. A quick answer with an unexcited tone.

“Woah! That sounds cool,” Cotton feigned excitement so as not to pry into her disappointed tone.

“Well, maybe, but not when your 28, plus, you’re a priest, everything probably sounds cool to you that doesn’t involve old ladies and bingo, and the common hit of the ol’ sherry bottle.”

“Well, as you said, you were only twelve, so you’d be surprised at how unintentionally exciting my life has been. Not cool, not sure exciting is really the right word either. Let’s just say it’s been eventful.” Father Pleasant changed the topic back to Angelica, “So, no family business of occultist adventures and mystic mysteries for you?”

“Well, I had thought not, but now I’m starting to think that I couldn’t escape if I wanted to.”

“Have you tried just getting away from all of it? Walk away entirely?”

“Yup. I moved out, got my own job, refused Dad’s money… I got away, and landed right in a nightmare anyway,” She said, another quick flat answer.

“A nightmare?” Father Pleasant couldn’t help but to pry.

“Something,” Was all she could come up with.

“Wanna talk about it?”

“I probably should, but I wouldn’t know what to say or where to start,” she said dismissively.

Father pleasant said nothing and eventually, Angelica continued.

“I was at a show, reviewing a band, called Down the Drain. After the show, we all got pretty lubed up and went swimming out at the lake. One of the girls swam out to the old drain and when she came back it wasn’t her. She was possessed. Her body was changed, dead and lifeless, except for her smile.” At the remembrance of the girl’s hideous rictus, Angelica spaced out for a moment. Cotton just waited patiently until she continued. “She had this terrifying smile. I can’t seem to get it out of my head. It was all teeth and horrifying happiness like, she liked what she was doing. We ran and we fought. Hell, in the end even Harry fought her, but even he couldn’t stop her… it. Eventually, Thelonious did… something, and she walked away. Even right now, at this moment, apparently, they can’t stop her,” her voice ending on an upswing imply “and that was that”.

“They?” Cotton asked with a cock of the head.

“The government? The army? I don’t know. The people with the guns and the bombs. Apparently what used to be Biscuit just keeps walking deeper and deeper into the forest and nobody can figure out why.”

“Biscuit?” Cotton again asked with the need for clarification.

“That was her nickname, or her band name, or something. A small cute girl in the beginning. I really liked her, but in the end, she wasn’t so cute… and I didn’t like her all that much anymore. In fact, I can’t get that smile out of my head. Other than the first night, I think I’ve barely slept since it happened.”

“When did it happen?”

“Two or so days ago.”

“Woah, that soon huh?”

“Yeah. Feels like I’m still in it.”

“Where did this happen?” Cotton asked.

“Lake Hali in Bolton,” Angelica answered.

“Nightmare Lake? Must’ve been the goo,” Cotton said, half to himself.

Angelica took her eyes off the road and looked at Father Pleasant.“That’s what Dad said. The goo. What’s the goo, Cotton?”

“Dunno. That was a long time ago, but it was something, new, something we didn’t quite understand, or maybe something old and lost.” The priest answered.

“Isn’t it always?” Angelica said, dismissing again and realigning her head to the road.

Father Pleasant continued, “Not this time. It was something foreign.”

“Like the far east foreign or like a long time ago in a galaxy far far away foreign?”

“Further. Like it’s not supposed to be here foreign.”

“Leave it to a priest to explain the supernatural in riddles.”

“I don’t know, all we knew was that its being here was not supposed to be able to happen… yet it did.” Now it was Father Pleasants turn to be lost in the moment and then dismiss. He collected himself and asked Angelica, “Are you okay? Were you injured?”

“I lived. But not everyone did.”

“I’m sorry.”

Silence then Angelica spoke, “I appreciate it, Cotton. I really do. And as much as I’d love to relive this over and over, looks like we’ll have to do that another day, preferably over a bottle, because we are here.”

As the grassy treelined hills in front of them opened up they saw The Nertos Bratu Partnership building, a shrine to modern industrial science in the middle of the scenic upstate pastures.

Nertos Bratu Partnership

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