Kenneth Bloom has lied to his girlfriend, Isa’vanna Valstille, and he’s having a hard time keeping up the façade. Especially now that he’s receiving texts from their daughter, Becky, explaining the extent of the terrible situation she has put herself into. He can’t do it— He can’t keep it up! And now Isa knows; and he’s broken her heart…. 1,888 words.
mentions of horror themes, emotional distress, relationship problems
“am i autism?”
Ken had to read Becky’s text four times before putting his phone down and laying flat in his chair by the hotel’s pool, his palms pressed so tight against his eyes he felt them start to water.
Why the hell was she asking that now of all times?! Wasn’t she currently inside a giant man-eating mimic?!
Why was she asking if she was….
Ken removed his hands from his face stared at the sky.
That… would explain… a lot.
And… perhaps a little bit about Barbra, too….
But— But why was she asking this now of all times?!
Ken had been sitting here all day, worried sick but trying to hide it from Isa, and Becky was… asking him about autism?!
Sure, he’d been waiting anxiously for any sort of text to make sure she wasn’t dead, but… this was not what he was expecting!
Slowly, Ken picked up his phone again so he could reply to his daughter.
Ken: I’m not sure, honey. Why are you asking about that?
Becky: ring worm said i am
Ken took in a sharp breath.
Becky: thats just his name tho he not actullya ring worm
Becky: he is tentcle guy 🙂
Becky: tentalcal guy
Ken: Becky are you inside the mimic??
Becky: ye he lives here
Becky: hold on
Becky then sent through a selfie; one so surprising it made Ken sit up straight with his eyes wide.
She was in a Dairy Queen (a fucking Dairy Queen?!) with her friends clearly visible behind her. They were sitting at the tables, looking uncomfortably at cups of icecream that sat in front of them (except, seemingly, for a gnoll-girl who was enthusiastically eating them, and Malinka; who was holding the armadillo Don bad brought into the house just a few days ago).
Most shocking, though, was the frightening tentacle-creature that Becky had her arm over. It was huge, and writhing, and black, and just overall horrifying.
The name “Ringworm” certainly suited that thing….
Then, Ken looked closer at the picture, flicking his glasses down so he could see it more clearly.
Becky looked terrible.
She was having a horrible time. He could see it in all over her face. The bags under her eyes. The frizz in her hair. That fake smile she always did; he’d seen it so much while she was dating Mattel that he could recognise it anywhere….
He’d been right to be worried.
Ken gave a long sigh before biting his lip and messaging Becky again.
Ken: Ah. I see. And he thinks you have autism?
Becky: yea he says he nos every thing! coz he is a tenta guy
Ken: I see.
Ken: Bébé, are you alright? How has the plan been going…?
Becky: o no im doing TEARABLE
Ken let out a long breath; he hadn’t expected anything else.
Becky: its a hole ecosystim in hear an d there r more thin just 1 big mimic their is little 1s all other
Becky: and we r doing 2 destro y it 😦
Becky: but it give us no choice people lifes need matter more then animal
Becky: also we found romeros soul
Ken: His SOUL?
Becky: yea his soul
Becky: some1 took it out of his body nd shit
Becky: i didnt no u culd DO that
Ken: I didn’t know Romero had a soul to do that with.
Becky: lol ye that 2
Becky: any way
Becky: just want ed u 2 no i am not ded yet
Ken: Please don’t say “yet”
Becky: i g2g plan things with aothers
Ken: Promise me you’re not going to die
Becky: i cant promise i not die
Ken: Becky don’t say that
Becky: but i CAN promise if i do die it will b the wya i want 2 die
Becky: surronded by mimics a nd bit ing the obsulute SHIT out of what ever is taki ng me out
Ken: Becky please don’t talk like that
Becky: th ey r gonna go 2 dr for RABIES shot cos they r gona thinj im got rabies im gonna b biting so much!!
Ken: Becky PLEASE
Ken: I don’t want to lose you
Becky: i dont want 2 die dw
Becky: i will do every thing in my powerr 2 avoud it
Ken: Ok. Just. Please try and get out of there alive. I couldn’t bare it if you didn’t.
Becky: i promise i will try
Ken: Thank you
Ken: Yes, bébé?
Becky: no matte r wat happen, i want you 2 no
Becky: i love u
Ken: I love you, too
Becky: i hav all ways loved u
Becky: even wen i said i didnt i was lying and rong
Ken: I love you too
Becky: i love u
Becky: pls do not forget that?
Ken: I won’t
Becky: pro mice?
Ken: I promise
Becky: thank u
Becky: by dad
Ken: Goodbye, Becky
Letting out another long, heavy sigh, Ken dropped his hand down to his chest and waited for (hoped and prayed for) another reply from his daughter.
But it didn’t come.
He received no new message; and soon, his screen dimmed and turned itself off.
And just like that, he was back to that horrible, horrible waiting….
Waiting, and worrying, and trying to pretend that everything was… everything was….
‘Ken?’ Isa’s voice floated over from the water, and Ken looked up at her. ‘Are you alright?’
Ken realised he was crying, and quickly wiped the tears away and rolled onto his side as Isa pulled herself out of the pool and hurried over to sit on the edge of his chair.
‘Ken?’ she asked, brushing the hair from Ken’s eyes and leaning over him to kiss his cheek. ‘What’s wrong?’
He couldn’t tell her.
He wished he could.
He wanted to.
But he couldn’t— Not until Becky told him it was okay….
Or, if she… died.
Ken took in a long, trembling breath at the thought, and felt Isa’s embrace tighten.
‘I’m sorry,’ Ken whispered.
Ken bit his lip.
‘Ken…? Why are you sorry?’
Ken rolled out of Isa’s arms so he could stand and pace.
‘What? Are you cheating on me?’ it was clearly a joke, as Isa half-laughed in disbelief that Ken could ever do anything so terrible to her….
So when Ken gave Isa a mournful look, her nervous smile fell and her eyes flashed with a deep horror.
It was very, very clear something had clicked and everything was piecing together into her mind.
‘Kenneth Bloom, please say you’re cheating on me!’ she blurted, rising to her feet and earning confused looks from another couple who were clearly trying very hard to not be caught eves-dropping. ‘Say you’re having an affair. Tell me that it’s not— Please tell me that it is anything else!’
‘It’s… Becky,’ Ken admitted.
Immediately, Isa had him by the shoulders; gripping his vest tight to hold him in place as she pulled him so close their noses touched.
‘Don’t you dare say that!’ she snapped. ‘Don’t you dare!’
‘She asked me to take you, and Mimi, and Don out of town—‘
‘—Don’t you say that—‘
‘—She wanted you to be safe,’ Ken took in a laboured breath as tears escaped his eyes. ‘I know you would never leave without her. Not if you knew….’
‘If I knew what?’
Ken’s jaw trembled
‘Knew what, Ken?’ Isa repeated. Then, when Ken didn’t answer, she gave him a hard shake and snarled; ‘What is happening to my daughter?!’
‘The calamity—‘ Ken managed to stammer out. ‘She and her friends are— They’re trying to stop it— She’s with them now—‘
Isa released Ken and ran back into the hotel.
‘Isa! Isa, wait!’ Ken called, trailing after her as she weaved through the other patrons in her hurry to return to their room. He caught up to her as she pushed her way into the elevator, and squeezed into the small crowded room with her. ‘Isa! Please! Just listen to me, mon amoureuse—‘
‘—Don’t you dare mon amoureuse me!’ Isa snapped, spinning on her heels and giving Ken a hard shove as her eyes welled up and her voice broke. ‘Don’t you dare!’
‘Isa, please, just let me explain—‘
‘—No!’ she snapped, causing the other people in the elevator to awkwardly avert their gazes. ‘I don’t want your excuses, Ken!’
The doors opened, and Isa pushed her way out into the hall.
‘Isa! Please!’ Ken begged.
Isa ignored him (and the pair of mimics who stopped dancing around the hall as she approached) as she stormed to their room and threw the already-opened door wide.
‘Isa, please, just— Listen to me!’ Ken cried as Isa began throwing her things into her suitcase. ‘Please! I didn’t want to leave Becky behind!’
‘But you did!’ Isa exclaimed, slamming her suitcase shut and rounding on Ken, who backed out of the room as she advanced on him. ‘You let her put herself in danger! You let our daughter put herself in danger!’
‘I didn’t let her, Isa!’ Ken argued, feeling himself sweat as he was backed into the wall. He was acutely aware of the people in neighbouring rooms peeking out to watch Isa shout at him. ‘I— I— She would have done it no matter what I said! You know her! Nothing I did could have stopped her!’
‘You could have at least tried!’
‘I did try! I tried to talk her out of it but she wouldn’t listen— All I could do was make sure you would be safe!’
‘She could die, Ken!’ Isa shouted, her tears finally making their way down her cheeks. ‘She could die!’
‘I know!’ Ken cried. ‘I know—‘
‘If anything happens to her, Kenneth Bloom, I swear I’ll— I’ll— UGH!‘ Isa cut off with a furious shout, turning and picking up one of the small, decorative tables that lined the hotel hall and throwing it into the wall. Then, she turned back to Ken and snapped; ‘Keys! Now!’
Ken fumbled through his pockets and, with trembling hands, held out his car keys for Isa.
She made a grab for them— But was too slow as Don gave a loud honk and, with a mighty leap, snatched the keys from Ken’s hand and bolted down the hall.
‘DON!’ Isa shouted, taking chase of the mimic. ‘Don Flamingle you get back here right now!’
Don ran faster, leaping into the elevator as it opened and causing several concerned shouts as he ran to its side and began repeatedly slamming his head against the close door button.
The inhabitants of the elevator were too stunned to stop the doors from closing, and Isa ran into the metal double doors with a loud bang, and then another as she slammed her first against it and screamed.
Then, she fell to her knees; letting out a mournful sob as she slid down the door.
Slowly… carefully… Ken edged towards her. Until he could kneel down beside her and gently wrap his arms over her as she began quietly weeping.
‘I’m sorry,’ he whispered into her hair. ‘I am. I’m sorry. I’m so, so sorry….’
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