Chapter 1: The Break Up
Thornville is a small, quiet town with a population of about twelve thousand people. The mundanity almost seemed to belie a sinister underbelly, and in a lot of ways, that was the truth. Strange things happened in this in-land locale. The population comprised of a lot of failed actors and actresses, musicians and artists, people who ran away and stopped at the first place where they ran out of gas, and for some, it was a place where they came to let their dreams die. Where people got day jobs, tried to find surrogate happiness, and sometimes, for some it was a town they never escaped entirely.
On an idle Wednesday afternoon in the town of Thornville, Owen Cavalier and Evangeline Green had met at a coffee house was a bit of a walk from the school. Evangeline had asked him there, and knowing the status of their relationship, Owen could guess what she was about to say.
“I’m kinda sort of a little bit not really maybe dumping you.” Evangeline mumbled, the words escaping her mouth like they were all doing the walk of shame.
“Anyone ever tell you that you are godawful at break-ups?” Owen stared at her, unimpressed.
“It’s not like it’s something I can practice, Owen. I don’t break up with guys in my spare time, I don’t mull around on a Tuesday night thinking ‘I haven’t broken up with a guy in a while, maybe I should do that tonight!’ Owen, I‘m trying really hard to be mature and grown up about this and you’re just so childish. Like, can you not be a kid for two seconds?”
“Wouldn’t hurt to make small talk first, you know. ‘Hey, how’s your day. You good? That’s great. I’m sorry. We’re breaking up. Had a nice time though.’”
“I should have known you’d react like this.”
“You know what, fine. Whatever. We’re over. It’s cool, really. Probably for the best anyway. I honestly couldn’t care less.”
“Oh, yes you could! I bet you’re dying to know the reason!”
“To be honest, I think I already do. I mean, what else could there be, we were miserable together and we’d probably be less miserable if we broke up, Eva. ”
“Just like that? You know, despite knowing there is nothing I can do to make you less miserable, Owen… I tried. I tried so damn hard. If it’s not Lisa making you miserable, it’s me. I’m wrong. I’m not good enough. I need to do better. I just… I don’t want to always be trying so hard.”
“You know I didn’t mean it like that.”
“What did you mean then, huh? I’m not going to lie, it’s you, not me. You were the problem.” Evangeline said.
“Maybe I am, but Jesus, you could have brought it up sometime.”
“Yeah, of course, between the sobbing for your perfect ex-girlfriend and the unending sessions of self-loathing there were just so many opportunities to discuss where you were messing up.”
“Please, leave Lisa out of this.” Owen said, shying away some.
“No, okay, because while we’re on the topic of my constant performance review, my competition was winning by being dead. I don’t even know if you really liked me or if you just liked not being alone. This relationship needs one less girlfriend, and you know what? I’m not going to sit around and wait until you finally decide which one of us it’s going to be. I’m done, Owen. I’m done.”
“Then walk. I’m not keeping you here.”
“Actually, before I go, if you knew I was so miserable and if you were so miserable, why am I breaking up with you? What, were you just okay with riding it out until I finally had enough and left?”
“Guess I kept holding on to the hope that it’d get better.”
“Then maybe you really are just a spineless void.”
And with that, Evangeline got up and left. Owen sat back and watched her walk away, her cutting remarks still swimming in his head. Owen paid, and left for the same place he usually went when the world felt like it was falling apart around him.
Elsewhere, in what could be considered the middle of nowhere, Alyssa St. Claire was chasing down a lead. She had been running from her brother for two years now, and it was finally time that she got a leg up on him. She thought about what life would be like without him chasing her as she walked up to the saddest little establishment in the saddest little middle of nowhere, which also happened to be the only establishment, and as all small places with too little for its residents to do but dream of leaving, this particular establishment was a bar. She mused about a lot of other things too. She thought about the nature of evil. And, if she had to be honest, only a few things in the world are really, truly evil. And despite her hatred for him… Her brother didn’t even make the top five.
She supposed her musings wouldn’t get her out of her current mess. When you’re a 236 year old succubus trapped in a nineteen year old body, you learn that the line starts getting blurry somewhere and you start doubting whether there really are such things as ‘good people’. She pushed the thoughts from her mind and walked into the bar. It was almost in poor enough shape to be called run-down. She leaned on the granite and noticed the glass shaped water stains on the surface. An old man with an almost cartoonish moustache leaned over towards her.
“Well ain’t you just a slice of sweet apple pie, darling? Why don’t you come an’ keep an ol’ man company for a lil’ while?” The well rounded gentleman with a southern drawl grinned, cupping Alyssa on the bum.
“First of all, would you consider releasing the poor caterpillar you glued to your face? Or at least letting it up for oxygen, it’s on the verge of death. And secondly, sorry, I think I would rather eat a bowl of thumbtacks. As for your greasy hands, move them or lose them, you creepy, creepy old man.” Alyssa sneered, and leaned on the bar. When he didn’t immediately let go, she swatted his hand. The Texan walked away, but grumbled something.
To add to her sudden disdain for the place some terrible country song was playing about a man losing a girl who wasn’t really his to begin with, and Alyssa found it incredibly tasteless and insincere. The smell of beer attacked her nose like a truck hitting a deer on the streets and she tried to hide her disgust for the place, but her face gave it away. The barman smiled at her.
“Alyssa St, Claire, every time I see you, my day gets worse and I add another wrinkle to my forehead. I thought I heard someone finally did you in. If only we were so lucky.”
“Dying is easy, Harry, and I’ve never been an easy girl. Seems like you’re stuck with me. On another note, Harry, this place smells awful. What died and who vomited on it?” Alyssa quipped.
“In a perfect world, my ex.”
“Now, Harry, good men take responsibility for the actions they drive women towards. Only little boys pout in the corner.”
“Spare me. Not that I don’t appreciate the visit, well, actually, I really don’t, but you shouldn’t be out and about. You’ve got a reputation. A nasty one at that. People come for you, and everyone around gets hurt.” Harry’s face became sullen.
“Let them come, I’m tough enough to fight them and you’re ugly enough to scare them off.”
“You dunno about consequences, do you? You think this is all fun, yeah? You being here means my patrons are cannon fodder for the nearest person you took a big piss on. And you pissed on a lot of people, Alyssa. This isn’t the finest establishment but it’s all I got.”
“I just need to ask a few questions, Harry. It would be very ungentlemanly to turn me away now.”
“That would imply that you are a respectable lady and not one person here buys it. Make it quick then, would ya?”
“You really know how to make a girl feel special. It’s Drake. I need him off my ass, so I want him in one place long enough for me to get to a separate his neck from his shoulders. You know any mages who can make a devil’s trap strong enough to hold him?”
“You need a Siegfried mage. In that quiet ass backwater town, Thornville, I think. Masters of magical runes and some such. Only one descendent left, some kid… Morrison, Mortimer… No, Morgan. That’s his name. Kid is a little green, but supposedly he’s some genius. ”
“Thank you very much, Harry. Let’s do this again some time.”
Alyssa turned, winked, and left curtly.
“I’d really rather we didn’t!” Harry yelled. He grumbled something, and started polishing the glasses. The old Texan stood up, paid for his drink, and walked out. Harry had a bad feeling, and he knew when he had a bad feeling people usually ended up dead.