Splits: Part 3

Haley frowned. “I wish I’d heard a real conversation with him. Then I might have better sense of what he’s like. You can learn a lot about who someone is by what they’re nervous to talk about.”

“What I’m wondering is if you could tell who’s in control? Andronicus or The Thing That Eats? That would make this a lot easier.”

She tilted her head, obviously thinking. “If I had some time to observe him, maybe. It’s a good idea. It seems like the kind of thing I ought to be able to do.”

I crossed the room and sat down on my bed. Haley looked over at me. “You’re not hoping to make out, are you?”

“No. I just wanted to sit down. Also, I was going to call Amy, and I thought that you might want to sit next to me when I did.”

She put her phone in her pocket. “You smell a little like you want to make out.”

I shrugged. “I wasn’t trying to. It passed through my mind, but seriously, Jeremy could walk through the door any second, and we could end up in combat any minute now the way things are going.”

Haley raised an eyebrow. “We’ll see how that goes.”

She sat down next to me and her arm brushed mine, making me suddenly aware of the warmth of her body. She looked up at me. “You’re sure you were going to phone Amy?”

“Yes.” I turned my phone sideways, put it into speaker mode, and wished that The Thing That Eats were in a completely different universe.

Moments after I dialed, Amy picked up. Initially, I only saw her face on the screen. She hadn’t transformed, so the major impression I got was bobbed red hair hanging around a pale face. But then everyone crowded in—Cassie grinning, Rod and his blond beard, and Samita looking serious (which is to say, normal).

I couldn’t quite tell where they were, but when Amy picked up the phone, I saw two double beds on one side the room facing a television that sat on cabinets that ran the length of the other side.

Between that and the beige carpet, it was obvious. They were in a hotel room.

I peered in, trying to see more than their faces. “Where are you?”

Cassie spoke first. “The Motel 6 about half an hour out from Grand Lake. You’d know it, if you saw it.”

“The one next to the Cracker Barrel?” I asked.

Cassie nodded. “That’s it.”

Haley leaned toward the phone. “What are you doing there?”

Cassie shook her head. “We’re supposed to be sleeping, but we spent last night fighting vampires.”

I sighed. Haley asked, “Are there a lot of them?”

Amy gave a small smile. “There used to be five in the motel. They’re dead now.”

Samita shook her head. “But there were seven more in an old barn near the motel that we didn’t even know about—until two of them caught Cassie in the parking lot.”

“No kidding,” I said as Haley and I looked at each other. “What happened?”

Cassie laughed. “They’re dead, obviously.”

Samita’s face tightened, “But not just because of you.”

“No,” Cassie said. “You know how Daniel had ideas he thought might help against magic? They work, mostly. I got it together enough to pull out the Gun, and he fired on his own—burned them both to ashes. You know how the Gun has a HUD? I’ve found that if I use his senses the vampires’ hypnotism, or mind magic, or whatever it is… Well, that doesn’t work.”

Haley examined the faces on the screen. “How are the rest of you doing?”

Grinning, Amy said, “I’ve got too many minds in my head for that to work.”

Rod shrugged. “When I’m human, I’ve got a luck ring just like Samita. It disappears when I’m a troll, but it’s hard to enchant trolls.”

Meeting Rod’s eye, Samita said, “Too few minds for it to work.”

Rod rolled his eyes. “Anyway, I’ve been smashing the vampires, and I don’t know if you play Dungeons and Dragons, but Samita made a real Wand of Fireballs.”

“What?” Haley looked over at me.

I grinned. “A wand that shoots out blasts of fire that explode and burn everything around them.”

She shook her head. “So, basically, exactly what it sounds like it should do.”

Amy broke in. “As much as I’d love to tell you more, why did you call?”

“It’s a little bit of a story,” I began, and between the two of us, Haley and I told them about the fight.

“Do you have any idea why I drew blood?”

Amy glanced over at Samita. “I don’t know for sure, but I’ve got an idea. We’ve all spent enough time with Lee that I’ve had to adjust the wards for them to work—”

Samita added, “It isn’t unusual to be affected when you spend time with powerful, supernatural beings like angels, demons, or gods.”

Amy frowned as Samita interrupted her, but added, “Nick’s spent more time with him than anyone. While I was adjusting, I might have tapped into whatever the source of Lee’s power is, or maybe directly into him.”

“Huh,” I said.

Haley groaned.

Amy’s mouth hinted at a grin. “If you want to know, you should ask him if that’s possible. He’s immortal. This can’t be the first time it’s come up. Any other questions?”

“Sure,” I said. “Do you think we ought to trust Andronicus?”

Before Amy could reply, Haley asked, “And do you think The Thing could be going after people with powers?”

18 thoughts on “Splits: Part 3”

    1. And the really important question…..what if the Thing That Eats picks up Lee’s trail because of it…..
      And phones home.

    2. Hey Jim… buddy… pal…writer of words… you write too slow (for me) and because I read your posts really fast I decided to do something amazing! I irulecool shall read the the entire…erm…series? again! I am telling you all this because I want this timed! So you shall finally discover how long it takes a very determined reader to read! and when I catch up I will comment so you will know! End message

          1. I’m sure it’s correct for my timezone…

            Anyway, thanks for reading, and I feel free to reread the whole thing, if you want. I’m often awed by how quickly people make it through (which is sometimes as short as a week).

  1. What an update!
    I like all the question on the table and the Nick avatar of Lee stuff 😛
    Also he (Nick) smell differently … could be the T3E slowly corrupting him?

    So many possibilities! Bravo Jim!

    1. Less to do with the thing and more to do with Nick being stressed and maybe wanting to enjoy some time with his girlfriend.

  2. Magic and vampires…

    Mr Fireball Wand is not your friend if you use him in confined spaces. Nick with access to a touch of Lee’s power – that could be messy. The wizards really wont like that.


    “Since then, I’ve found that if I use his senses, I don’t make eye contact, and don’t offer them a free shot at my head” – should ‘and’ be ‘then I’, or something about ‘getting in my head’? This doesn’t currently make sense.

    1. It seems grammatically correct to me and I didn’t have any problem parsing the meaning. Of course, I’ve been accused of thinking in twisted and convoluted ways myself.

  3. Man I really dislike haley, of all the potential female characters you could put nick with. I feel like being with her would be like your hot cousin catching you with a boner. Please kill off haley

    1. I don’t see it that way. What I try to do is to be true to the social weirdness that would result from superpowers. Sure, Haley’s powers can be intrusive, but just about any power set has its awkward aspects. Telepathy would be worse. Sonic powers (like Izzy’s) would be just as bad. Something as simple as super strength could make sex dangerous for your partner (Google “Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex” sometime).

      And then there’s shapeshifting… Best not to think too hard about that one. It’s only because she’s got these powers that you’re aware of how awkward they can be. If she had different powers, I’m sure I’d find something in them that would bother somebody.

      In any case, I don’t really take requests.

  4. Just out of a reading Binge and caught up again !!! Woohoo!!!

    I must say the story remains just as awesome as always, the Bloodmaiden arc and the whole thing with Kid Biohack are great just and I won’t even go into the whole Thing that Eats bit(or the Hunger)Cabal connection(really want to learn more about these guys as they seem to have even more layers than I thought…and them powers, regeneration, Toughness and Strength on Jaclyn level and speed on the top of whatever else they might individually develop yeah and kickass history to boot I mean I just want to know what they were up to in the past)and the whole jerk…er…magical council thing, heh when I see their representatives I get why reliquary leaft that outfit.

    Now the last line of this very chapter underlines something very very loical: both the Hunger and the powers are stuff made by the Many Angled Ones AKA Lee’s people to wipe out all other life so it is logical that the two systems come together to fullfill their goal. rather Ironical btw that the things’ presence in a Cabal soldier’s body makes said body vulnerable to something it would not give the slightest shit about under normal condition as the regular cabal people have not vulnerability to Bloodmagic(well not any more than everyone else at least).

    Another thing i thought about: from what I understand Kid Biohack’s and his family’s power stem from chemicals his body makes to improve certain stats to absurd level(great power BTW) so wouldn’t Courney be able to copy said chemicals if she ever got a sample and use it in her own mods ?

  5. I find it fascinating to watch the Haley-Nick dynamic here. The contrast between Nick’s level of self-awareness of his own reactions and her level of awareness of those reactions is pretty neat.

    Now I’m thinking back to the start of their relationship and the role those keen senses played in how she was willing to put in the work to get it started in spite of Nick’s general level of obliviousness…

    1. I think his obliviousness could be part of what attracted her. Think about it, she’s constantly bombarded by the smells put off by horny teenage boys every time they look at her, then here comes Nick who while still putting off the smells, is doing so to a lesser degree. That would make him intriguing and not as hard to be around.

      I find Haley’s character to be fascinating. Just think what it would be like growing up with the ability to tell everyone’s emotions constantly, not being able to turn it off. A person could very easily grow to dislike people in general. Just look at Marvel’s Emma Frost. She was constantly exposed to the underlying thoughts of all the males around her which definitely influenced her opinion of men in general. I’d say someone like Haley would be much better off in a family with similar abilities to help her understand that just because a person has a biological reaction doesn’t mean that he or she is bad. I can just imagine the sibling fights in that family as everyone would instinctively react to smells of aggression until they learned to control their reactions.

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