Sunday, January 29, 2017
Chapter 93: Causality
Most of the Snowflake Day decorations come down, leaving space for a toddler playpen upstairs. Ceth uses it to conveniently hold her son captive while she practices mixing drinks.
Acheron pushes the abacus blocks back and forth sullenly. Nothing he does seems to have much affect on the world; it's very upsetting. Crying gets one response, and silence gets another, but after that the adults just do whatever they were going to do...
Fairuza has a good handle on walking on two feet instead of four now.
Paintings of caged birds and such.
Acheron whines and kicks his legs in his sleep, keeping Fairuza awake long after they are put to bed. She calls his name, but he doesn't hear or answer her.
The lone private eye wanders the mean streets...
Ceth still takes almost any gig she can get, because her household spends money almost faster than they can get their hands on it.
Fairuza has a plan to escape the playpen, but she will need assistance, as she explains with dramatic gestures and babbled words.
Her little cousin's vocabulary is still too small; he doesn't understand her. She facepalms and lets out a big sigh. Dysen smiles widely and covers his face as well.
Lela's career glitches out again, causing her to dust her own house for prints.
Maybe she'll figure out who's been eating all of her key lime pie...
Tot Spot Playground.
With such a cute name, Ceth thought it would be larger and more impressive.
Dysen is still very bad at walking.
"You're a co-captain of the team, you were just confirmed MVP and given a raise... and you don't want to go out and celebrate?!" Ceth is aghast.
"It's my kid's birthday," Milo protests. "I got her a cake and stuff. What would she think if I weren't here?"
"You could go out after she's in bed."
"I'd rather stay. In case the girls have a fight or something. Fairuza won't fit in her crib anymore, so she'll be up in Orazia's room..."
"You really can't be serious."
One of the last screenshots of Fairuza as a toddler.
She's very hungry for that cake, and eagerly blows out the two candles.
The crowd goes wild!
Carlos was recently promoted to Gamma Ray Technician. Behold the work uniform!
The cake glitches out, so Fairuza quickly improvises, dining on some egg rolls instead.
Fairuza has been in her big sister's room many times, but from now on, it's her room too.
Orazia grips her knees nervously, rocking back and forth slightly on her bed. "Dad said you can pick out new blankets and stuff if you want. I hope you don't mind the nightlights, I prefer to sleep with them on..."
"Can I play with Nicholas?" Fairuza asks.
Orazia is caught off guard. "Oh, uh... I guess you can reach him now, huh? You couldn't do that before. Well! We shouldn't pick him up to play with him really. He's too fragile. But he's fun to watch and he especially likes to be fed."
The snail has not been fed yet today, so Fairuza gets to do the honors.
Orazia was worried her baby sister would treat her differently, now that she's old enough for school and all that, but she needn't have been so concerned. It would seem Fairuza still looks up to her.
"Hey little guy," Milo greets Acheron, responding to the boy's cries since Ceth is taking a shower, Lela is out pretending to be Batman, and Carlos is checking the mail. There was no ignoring it and pretending another adult would tend to him...
Acheron stops screaming when he's picked up, and stares at Milo, looking him straight in the eye in a way that is nothing short of unsettling. "Stay," Acheron enunciates slowly.
Milo chuckles. "Am I your dog now?"
"Tonight. Stay. Don't go outside."
Milo has been reconsidering his plan to stay in. His girls are happily playing in their room, and have no need of him. Ceth is heading out clubbing, and maybe a couple of drinks at a party would be better than a couple of drinks at home before bed. The toddler doesn't know any of that though. Milo tilts his head and frowns uncertainly. If only the kid could have waited five more minutes to start wailing, Carlos would be here dealing with this instead.
Acheron grabs Milo's shoulders with his tiny hands, determined to communicate. "If you go, the people in suits, and ties, and," he shakes his head violently, "don't want. I don't want to be stolen."
"You're not making any sense, buddy," Milo says, though truthfully he had no idea Acheron could string so many words together. When not pitching a random screamy fit, Acheron is usually the shy one, letting the more rambunctious Fairuza and Dysen talk for the three of them, or try out new things first.
"Don't want," Acheron repeats, "please stay."
"And he just, like, went on like that for a while," Milo explains.
Ceth rolls her eyes. "So? Baby says stupid things, that's not exactly newsworthy."
"Don't you think it's at least a little creepy? He seemed to think something bad was going to happen to us if I left him alone, and... and what about people in suits and ties? Don't you think that's-"
"The Suit and Tie Guys are classics, Milo. Like Led Zeppelin? And Heavy Metal Titans of Doom? And Rick Astley? Don't be such a goomba."
"I listen to their music all the time."
"Fine. But I think you should be concerned if your kid is afraid long dead pop stars will abduct him."
Ceth shrugs. "When I was a baby, I thought our dog, Polka, was a shapeshifter and could morph into a smaller version of herself."
"Okay I won't pretend that isn't weird..."
"Well I'm going out. Catch you later."
Milo retreats to his garage apartment.
It's an uneventful night.
Etc.: So while writing this chapter I got distracted researching snails and how to care for them, because I didn't want to make any mistakes about fictional snail species that don't exist.