And a slightly decreased deficit!
I've found a pacing system that works better for me, and hopefully I can ride this high for the rest of the month. yay!
Such drama. Such Draft:
Patrick marched throughout the forest in search of Maria. He had many powers, but immediate location of a spirit like Maria was not one of them. Fortunately, he could sense large bodies of water, and Maria had a tendency to create large bodies of water. It was in her nature.
Rounding a corner, he found her as she had been earlier that day, floating in a pond. Patrick looked around. Robin was nowhere to be seen. Robin was likely carrying out Patrick’s orders regarding the rest of the guests. Patrick floated over to Maria, ensuring that me made no noise to disturb her sleep.
Maria floated whenever she needed a brief escape. It was her form of magic therapy, if you will. Ever since she was young, if she ever got frustrated with Patrick, she would run away and float in a puddle. She was much older now, but whenever she floated, she seemed like a little kid again to Patrick. Except for now. Now all Patrick could see was someone who didn’t understand what he was going through.
He waved his arms and conjured his potion. The potion wasn’t the greatest potion. Patrick wasn’t too proud of it. He had created potions so poisonous that just a drop could kill an entire population, potions to make anyone, even a human being invisible, potions to make you grow or shrink, but he had never succeeded in making a potion that could make one fall in love. This might have been, Patrick though, some sort of ethical law placed many eons ago by the powers that be, but for the mean time it was mostly just a roadblock for his plans.
This potion instead would simply break down any wall of inhibition that the drinker (or absorber, the potion did not need to be taken orally but also worked through topical treatment. Patrick had actually found the most success using it as an eyedrop or tincture. Anything to get it through that blood-brain barrier the fastest). It made people happy, and it made people excited, but only for a short period of time. Should an infatuation be developed, that would be long lasting, but Patrick had made the potion so that the window in which an individual was susceptible to falling in love with others was as short as possible. During his earlier test on animals (the powers that be had no ethical hold ups when it came to animal testing for some reason) he had not considered this window, and that’s why there are so many bunnies in the world today.
Patrick uncorked the bottle by hand. He could have used magic, but there was something particularly satisfying about uncorking a bottle. He floated through the air over to Maria who was floating in the water. Her eyes were shut and he could tell that she was in a very deep slumber.
“Sleep well my child,” Patrick said.
He began to hum. Not a magical tune, but a tune that he would sing to Maria when she was a child. A tune to calm. A tune to bring about sleep. Patrick poured six drops of potion onto Maria’s eyelids, three on each, and floated away into the forest in search of his guests.
Grant finished his tumble down the hill by somersaulting directly into Finn. Somerassaulting him, if you will. It was quite the violent crash, but a much anticipated reunion nonetheless.
“Grant!” Finn shouted excitedly.
He climbed up to his knees and helped Grant up. Grant had several leaves sticking out of his hair, and one side of his face was now covered in mud. Finn wiped part of it off with his sleeve, but his sleeve was also a bit muddy, so it just sort of moved everything around.
“Christ, you don’t look too well,” Finn said.
Which was true. Grant was very pale, and still shivering, and he had just tumbled down a hill. That last part was having the strongest effect on him at this point. He had knocked his head on the way down and was feeling a bit dazed. His head cleared, and after a moment he came to realize who exactly was in front of him.
“Finn! Oh, I’m so glad to find you. We’ve been looking for you everywhere!”
The two shared a disgusting hug. Disgusting here meaning full of mud and sincerity.
“What do you mean, we?” Finn asked.
He looked around. There was nobody around them except for the trees. Grant also took a look around and swore.
“Are you kidding me?” he shouted. “First the rain, now the hill. Finn, I swear it’s like someone is trying to keep us lost.”
“Well at least we found each other,” said Finn. “We really need to find that cabin before the sun goes down completely.
“At this point I think I’d be happy just sleeping outside,” Grant said.
Grant was exhausted. On top of not really being a camper, he was not really a hiker. In his regular life, he worked a desk job; he drove to work; he did not own a Fitbit, and he would take the elevator at work even if it was only up one floor.
“The idea of walking anymore just doesn’t sound appealing.
A butterfly floated past the two of them, and suddenly the ground was dry. Suddenly their clothes were dry, and everything felt warm. Everything felt warm, and both of them were very, very tired.
“I mean, we could probably take a short nap,” said Finn, yawning. “Like a quick fifteen or something.”
“Totally,” Grant said.
Grant had already closed his eyes and laid down completely.
“Just set an alarm or something,” he said through a yawn.
“My phone is completely dead,” Finn said, laying down next to Grant.
“That’s okay, I’ll keep track of time in my head,” said Grant.
Finn nodded, cuddled up against Grant, and the two fell into a warm, well needed slumber.
Robin abandoned their butterfly form and landed next to the two sleeping bodies.
“Split them up; Mess with Maria’s life; wash the dishes; clean the floor; Jesus Christ Almighty,” Robin huffed as they took human form. “But not you Jesus. Jesus you’re okay.”
Jesus wasn’t actually there in the physical sense. That was more of an apostrophic address from Robin. Robin did not enjoy going around doing all of Patrick’s busy work. Robin thought that was work better made for Caleb. Robin indeed had a few more skills than Caleb had, quite a few more; actually, to suggest that Caleb had any real skills to begin with would be a grand overstatement. Caleb was a piece of trash. Even recognizing that it was probably appropriate logistically for Robin to carry out these orders, Robin didn’t like the little tasks. The storms and mass destruction? That was more their speed. Something big, something dramatic, something that was an entire production. Briefly messing around with the stupid lives of some stupid humans and Patrick’s stupid fake daughter? Not so exciting.
Patrick hadn’t specified exactly what Robin should do. No, Patrick was too angry in the moment to give exact instructions, and Robin could play with that gray area. Instead of launching Maria into a deep, unrelenting infatuation with one of the humans, Robin would launch one of the humans into a deep unrelenting infatuation with her, which could ultimately have the same effect. Robin felt a little less guilt dosing a human than a magical being. It felt less like infighting.
Robin waved their arms and conjured up the potion from before. These kids will do, Robin thought. Less of a risk. Boys this age are hormonal messes, right? All I have to do is get Maria to march over here when one of them wakes up, and she’ll be running around the forest like a madwoman trying to get away from them.
Robin observed the vial closely. It felt less heavy in the hand than before, and the level didn’t appear to be the same. Robin guessed this had to do with the recklessness in which Patrick had handled it. They popped off the cork and took a deep sniff. Robin gagged. The potion did not smell good at all. It smelled not that unsimilar to mold and mildew.
Swooping down, Robin floated over the bodies of the two guests. One of them, Grant, was a bit too face down on the ground for Robin to properly pour the potion. Robin could have gotten a great pour into the ear, but nothing on the vial indicated that Patrick had ever cleared it for use as eardrops. The hand written label explicitly stated:
TAKE BY MOUTH, SUBLINGUAL TINCTURE, OR EYEDROP ONLY. DON’T ACCIDENTALLY KILL SOMEONE, PATRICK. WITH LOVE, PATRICK.
The other body, Finn was spooning Grant gently with one arm under his body, and the other lightly grasping at Grant’s elbow. His head had since dropped away, staring up at the sky. Well, not really staring. His eyes were very closed, but if they were to be opened, he would have been staring at the sky, observing the clouds, trees, hot air balloons, or whatever may have appeared in the skies.
Robin leaned over and tilted the vial over Finn’s left eyelid. They misjudged the angle of pouring, not unlike how one misjudges the pour speed of a salt shaker at a restaurant one has never been to; however, instead of resulting in a very dry plate of fries, this resulted in half the vial pouring all over Finn’s face, into the eyes, into the ears, down the nose, and really just everywhere. It looked as if he had passed out binge drinking and nobody had thought to put him on his side, and he vomited while laying on his back. Except the potion wasn’t as thick or chunky. It wasn’t clear, rather the translucent green-yellow of mucus or a very light cooking oil. And that stuff was just everywhere.
Finn coughed and woke up immediately. He opened his eyes wide and then immediately shut them, because there was something in them that stung worse than eyedrops. The feeling was comparable to that one time he had poured a prescription strength dandruff shampoo directly into his eyes while showering. It burned. It burned really bad.
Robin recorked the vial haphazardly, made it disappear, and shot straight into the air. They retook form as a butterfly and watched anxiously.
“Jesus fucking Christ!” Finn screamed, opening and closing his eyes rapidly, but the pain wouldn’t really go away.
It was dark so he couldn’t see anything, but he had also just woken up, so Finn was also in that purgatorial state of half-asleep and half-awake where he couldn’t really get a grasp on reality. In this state Finn couldn’t really tell if he had gone blind or not. He knew his eyes hurt. From grasping his face, he knew that there was some kind of liquid all over his face (did that happen when you went blind? Finn thought), and he knew that he couldn’t see a damn thing.
“Grant!” Finn screamed. “Grant are you still there?”
Finn patted the grass wildly in the same way a man pats his pant pockets to ensure he has his phone, keys, and wallet before leaving his residence. Grant, for better or for worse, was both a very deep sleeper, and very much so needed the sleep he was having right now. Grant had once slept through an 11PM screening of the 2016 film Deepwater Horizon starring Mark Wahlberg, so Grant did not wake at Finn shouts.
No, rather than be met with Grant and his concern, he was met with Francine’s foot to the face. That may sound like Francine kicked Finn straight in the face, which she did, but it was not in an act of malice. It was in a good faith act of ‘I am very lost. I am walking through the forest. It is very dark. I do not know where I am, and I can’t tell what’s in front of me, behind me, or next to me.”