In case you missed it, part three is here.
Diving back in on my day off. Chapters five and six.
The story so far: Cnut found Andrea’s sister (sort of) in the previous chapter. He confirmed she was at the ISIS ranch in Montana. He told Andrea he was going to find her. She insisted on coming (along, not… you know. That’ll happen later). Also he magicked himself into her apartment. I’m not sure what parts of vampire lore we’re keeping here, except the fangs and the blood. I’m pretty sure we’ve kept the blood.
Chapter 5: A Mid-Flight Carry-On Snack
Remembering the read more on the first try. Go me.
I don’t think a chopped chicken breast salad with green grapes, walnuts, and apples topped with cranberry orange relish and arugula served on a croissant is a carry-on snack. Especially not when paired with Penn State cheddar cheese (what?) with sesame crackers and Gala apple slices, Greek pomegranate yogurt, baby clementines (easy-peel, because of course), and apricot pecan nut rolls. What even is an apricot pecan nut roll?
Epigraph? I’m going with epigraph. I no longer know the appropriate term, but I’m sticking with epigraph. The Lone Viking and his sidekick, to the rescue… Is this a Lone Ranger reference? I don’t get it. I also didn’t get the City Slickers reference in the previous chapter, but I left that alone.
Andrea is afraid of flying, afraid of being beheaded (which, to be fair, reasonable fear), afraid of horses, and says “Besides, I’ll probably be having my period.” What? Andrea, I have ridden horses many-a-time both with and without my period and—riding not being good for your insides aside (what???)—it has made no difference whatsoever. Also she’s afraid of spiders. Reasonable. Horror films, high diving boards, Ouija boards… how are these all topics of conversation? Does she babble when she’s nervous?
Lore time! (Is this lore? I’m keeping it under lore): Full vangel mode is “elongated fangs, bloody sword, and mists of blue wings rising out of his shoulders.” Lucipires “demonoid form” is “mung-oozing scales, claws, tails, red eyes, and fangs.” First of all, what is “mung-oozing”? I’m in public; I can’t Google this. Also, how many tails do they have? Multiple? Or just one each?
Cnut doesn’t have real angel wings. Which is why he only gets misty wings, I assume. Are they any use in a fight? Can you hit someone with them? Or are they just like… misty and damp?
OH. HERE WE GO.
Andrea is terrified of flight so what does he do? He kisses her. Because that’s the only thing he could think of that wouldn’t get him arrested. He doesn’t talk to her about her fear of horror films or horses or spiders. He doesn’t talk about how much Philadelphia reminds him of cream cheese—reminds Chelsea of cream cheese, tbh—or tell her more about Vikings because this is possibly the third or four time he’s mentioned them. I’ve lost count.
“Cnut felt as if he’d fallen off the highest cliff. First, there was the shock, lips touching lips, then the incredible sense of floating through the air like a feather on an erotic wind current, as she breathed into his mouth, and he breathed back.” Well, then. I’ve gotta give credit where credit is due. Sandra Hill uses figurative language well. Creatively. But well.
Kiss-swollen lips count: 1.
If you’ve been kissing so enthusiastically that her lips are swollen, you possibly have not been kissing.
He smells like peppermint. She smells like vanilla and coconut, and he smells like peppermint. More food puns—cocomint. Peppernut. There was a coconut mint scented candle one time, which sounds awful.
Andrea is a wine snob from when she lived in France. Beer reminds Cnut of mead. I’ve only had mead like once, thanks cuz, but they’re not… super similar. They’re not like wine vs beer different, but they’re not like Coke vs Pepsi different.
Apparently first-class lunch fare for a flight from Philly to Bozeman (is there any airport in Bozeman?) (Yes there is. Carry on) is either beef Wellington or chicken Cordon Bleu. I don’t fly first class because I’m a broke girl paying off a master’s degree. Is that what they serve on Delta first class meals?
“He could have said, I once weighed as much as a small longboat. Or, I once weighed as much as a large, wild boar. That would have just raised questions he was not prepared to answer, like how much exposure he had had to longboats, and how did he know anything about wild boars?”—You’ve mentioned longboats to her at least twice now, Cnut. Come on. Boars would be a new one.
The flight attendant hit on Cnut—Curt Jackson, with his wife Andrea Jackson—in front of Andrea. Because he’s hella hot and every flight attendant wants to hit the mile high club on a flight from Philly to Bozeman. Are there direct flights to Bozeman? No. I asked Google Flights and there are no direct flights to Bozeman. Plus a first-class ticket costs $1000. So, wow. Angels got money to spare.
Andrea learned to cook when her mom had cancer, because she took care of her family when she was dying. Aww. And Mom was a good cook, so she’s living up to mom’s memory. She likes radish sandwiches with salt and pepper on buttered white bread. I think she hates life.
He asks why she’s not married with a nice little house with a big kitchen. She calls him on it, then “‘I forgot. Women in this ti—uh…country are independent of men. You are not…um…are you?’ Surely his Viking radar was not so far off that he would not recognize that kind of woman. But then, women had been fooling men since the beginning of time. Take that wily Eve, for example. Got Adam in a hell of a lot of trouble.”
Shout it from the rooftops: Adam made his own damn decision.
Also, she called you sex on a stick, sir. She’s probably not a lesbian.
Good snicker-in-public (I’m being honest about the magnitude of my reactions) moment: After Andrea asks him if he’s married and if he has any significant other—but not if he’s gay—The only significant other in my life is an archangel with an attitude who has thrown me into the duck pond. (If you didn’t know that link was coming, you don’t know me.)
She apologizes for ruffling his feathers and—”She put her hand on his, which was resting on the armrest between them.
“For his sins, he turned said hand so they were palm to palm. In fact, he twined their fingers together and said, ‘Ruffle away.'”
- Enough with the duck puns.
- Okay. Yeah. I aww-ed internally. Try to stop me.
Chapter 6: Cocktails & Nibbles at Horror Castle
Deviled eggs and deviled tongue (from fertile females)—WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS.
More food puns, but of the level I expect from a place called Horror Castle. Wicked wings in diablo sauce, blood fondue, Black Mass caviar, Lucifer’s Loin Chops, devil’s food cupcakes, crispy lady fingers, designer marshmallows toasted over hellfire (what is designer about them? Did Cesare Paciotti start making marshmallows and shoes?), “Satan’s Whiskers Rambutan, the hairy fruit (beware of occasional maggot)” (I don’t know what this means), Bloody Marys, Hooch from Hell, Beezlebub’s Heart Punch, and non-alcoholic devil juice.
Epigraph: Yippee-ki-yay, get along little doggies, uh, demons…
I want you all to know I read the first sentence of this chapter, read it again, read to the end of the paragraph, and then gazed out toward the barista working POS in a moment of shock and confusion. (It reminded me of this, which is only barely relevant, except that it’s always relevant in my life.)
“John Wayne was walking down the hallway of Horror Castle in the remote icy mountains of northern Scandinavia, beyond Svalband, [aside: I think they might mean Svalbard] presumably an uninhabited area too cold for humans to withstand. That was the very feature that appealed to demons.”
Update: This is not John Wayne. This is Jasper, pretending to be John Wayne. I feel better about the world now.
Lore update: Lucipires are huge creatures with scaly skin, claws, fangs, red eyes, and a long tail, but they can take any shape they want. So, one tail. They multiclass—jk, they don’t multiclass, but they come in multiple classes—including Seraphim haakai demons (like Jasper, they’d once been archangels), high haakai, mungs, hordlings, and imps.
His French assistant’s name is Beltane. Because that’s a Frenchman’s name. But he’s New Orleans French, so maybe Beltane is a New Orleans French name. All I know about New Orleans French comes from Anne Rice and that season of American Horror Story.
The castle has a Corridor of the Condemned with “life-size killing jars” that hold newly captured, naked sinners. “Jasper’s cold heart lifted with joy at the sight. So much evil! So many new bodies to torture! Life was good!”
I question the necessity of that many exclamation points, but I think I’m gonna like Jasper.
Oh Jesus Christ. There’s a Nazi here. I like Jasper less, although I probably should have expected that. Why is it always Nazis? He namedrops Satan. Except his name is Heinrich Mann, who I’m pretty sure is a German writer who fled the Nazis.
Bad pun number thirty: The Lucipires call the Holocaust the Holycaust. Guys. C’mon. If you’re gonna be evil you gotta at least pun well.
Satan’s email is Lucifer@hades.com, so… keep that in mind.
Jasper requires all of his minions to be well-dressed. Zebulan the Hebrew (I kid you not, actually this guy’s name) is one of Jasper’s favorite. We found out in a previous chapter he’s working for the vangels. But he is wearing a dark brown Hugo Boss suit over a pure white, silk T-shirt, because Jasper can tell silk T-shirts from sight.
My Kindle just died, so I’m now reading this on my Kindle app on my phone. You’re welcome.
Zebulan usually wears a Blue Devils cap, cause he’s funny.
Oh my god, Jasper is weird. He’s got a bunch of new Lucipires serving the guests, with… “studded collars on their necks and weighted rings hanging from pierced nipples and nether regions.” Ow. They’ve also only been eating a specific fruit for weeks, so their blood tastes like fruit. Does it work that way? I don’t think it works that way.
A couple of Jasper’s council died, including a woman named Dominique. “Never had there been a more irritating, repulsive creature, even worse than Heinrich.” So if a man had done whatever Dominique had done, I betcha it wouldn’t have pissed you off.
I don’t like Jasper.
There is a Lucipire compound underneath the Vatican. I love it. Also one in Siberia and Greece. The Nazi is going to Siberia. I mean, it worked well last time the Nazis invaded Russia, so that’s a promising start. Zebulan got the southern half of the United States and—after an equal rights joke, fuck you Jasper—a woman named Red Tess took the northern United States and Canada.
She was a red-headed pirate before she died… or… whatever happens to make you a Lucipire.
Then he sent a Mongol—”A short wiry man with Oriental features and an impressive mustache and goatee”—to the Middle East. Can you say Oriental? I don’t think you get to say Oriental anymore, unless you’re ordering an oriental chicken salad. The more I type Oriental, the more it doesn’t look like a word.
Confirmation: The Lucipires are working with ISIS.
And even demon vampires use stapled packets at meetings. Good to know. ISIS is also recruiting out of a flamenco club in Spain, which… makes about as much sense as a ranch in Bozeman.
And because the last chapter looked incomplete without a picture, here. Have one of Wynonna, Dolls, and Doc, about whom I legitimately said “Give me a threeway!” and meant it. (I meant a three-way relationship, but, I mean, look at them.)
It is barely relevant, except Old West, and there is always time for Tim Rozon.