Had a couple of near natural disasters today and almost forgot to post!
After that, though, she makes the mistake of making eye contact with the woman, who’s staring straight at her.
“Um. Hello.” She edges closer to her, unsure what to do.
The woman lifts her eyebrows in exaggerated disbelief.
“You, um… you probably want that off, huh?” She points to the gag in her mouth.
She doesn’t know why she offers it beyond how pitiful she looks. The woman nods, again looking exasperated.
“All right. Well, I’ll just tell you now that there’s no point in trying to call for help or scream or whatever. We’re underground right now, so you’d just be wasting your breath. Plus…” She points towards the ceiling. “You don’t want to keep Dee up while he’s trying to sleep. Trust me.”
So saying, she approaches the couch. The woman turns her head so she can access the tight knot at the top of her neck. Angela picks at it with her blunt nails for a while before she gets it loose. She jams the fabric in her pocket after it’s off.
The woman licks her lips, then jerks her chin towards the ceiling. “Are you like that thing?”
Her voice is lower than what Angela imagined for such a small woman. The heavy mascara smeared down her face and her short stature made Angela think she was a hysterical teenager, but a closer look reveals she has to be in her late twenties.
More to the point, Angela doesn’t understand her question. “What?”
“The monster. The one you were just talking to. You two said such disgusting things so casually, so I need to know… are you like it, too?”
“Diederick isn’t a ‘thing’ or an ‘it’ or a… a ‘monster,’” she says, bristling, ashamed of how she stumbles over protesting the last word. “He’s… well, he’s never actually said, but—”
He gets very cagey on the few occasions she brings what exactly he is up. Her working theories are that he’s cursed, or the subject of an experiment gone amok, or some sort of alien. None of these are actually supported by concrete evidence, but they’re interesting to think about. Was he born with the ability to change or is it something he grew into? Was it forced upon him? Did he do it to himself?
So many questions, so many different ways to get Diederick pissed off with her for asking. It’s easiest if she just goes with the assumption that he popped into existence one day, ability to shapeshift and cravings for human flesh already in place.
“Fine, him,” the woman corrects herself. “Are you like him?”
Angela pauses. Is she? Not in the literal sense, no, which is what the woman must be asking. But in other ways, she’s as much a manipulative, desperate person as he is. After all, he wouldn’t be able to do half the things he does so cleanly without her help—
“It’s a yes or no question, are you like him or are you human?” Her assertive voice makes Angela feel like she’s the one who’s handcuffed, and not in the fun way.
“I’m human,” she says.
The woman frowns, skeptical. She keeps moving around on the couch, trying to edge away from the largest of the bloodstains.
“Why did you hesitate for so long?”
“I don’t know, it’s a weird question.” Angela shrugs until her shoulders are on level with her ears. “I got existential about it.”
Her frown deepens.
“I’m human,” Angela insists again.