Tis The Season 19-03

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Someone was screaming. Only the pain in my own throat revealed who. Me. I felt detached from what was happening, like I wasn’t the one standing there with blood and… and more spread over my face. Like I wasn’t the one frozen in shock at the sight of… of Scott, or what was left of him. A dull, yet somehow almost deafening echo rang through my ears. Part of that was the sound of the incredibly loud gunshot, while part was psychological. Standing there, staring, frozen, screaming. I was broken.

Scott. My babysitter. The guy I’d pretty much grown up with. He’d always been there. Always. Even before Mom disappeared, Scott had been there. Besides Dad, Scott was my one and only constant. He was more than my babysitter. He was my friend. And more than that. He was almost like a big brother. Actually, he was the closest thing to a brother I’d ever had before I’d found out about Wyatt’s existence.

And now he was… he was… dead. On the floor. The hole—the blood—the—him. In my shock, I stood there frozen as more people suddenly filled the room by the door. Professor Dare and Asenath, both there within a second or two of my scream. The latter went through the open front door and into the yard beyond to look for the threat, while Dare went to one knee by the body, her hand outstretched.

But there was nothing she could do. I knew that from the start. Scott’s head was—the hole—oh. I hadn’t stopped screaming. Not that more than a couple seconds had passed, even if it felt like hours in my mind. Everything was going slow. The crash from the kitchen that had to be my father reacting to the gunshot and my scream couldn’t have been more than two or three seconds removed from the actual event, and his pounding footsteps brought him into view a moment later, which itself felt like hours.

Dad was yelling my name. He stopped short at the sight of me, before his eyes went to the floor. A look of incomprehension, followed by dawning horror filled his gaze, and Scott’s name leapt from his lips.

Professor Dare rose, moving so fast she was up before I knew what was going on. Pursing her own lips, she blew out some kind of purple dust. As it struck my father in the face, he slumped to the ground.

Despite myself, seeing Professor Dare blow dust into my father’s face that knocked him out, in the horror of the situation, made my hand reflexively move for the weapon canister at my hip. Before I could get it out, however (not that it would’ve done anything), she caught my arm. Her voice was gentle, yet firm. “Flick,” she said quickly. “Your father is okay. He’ll be okay, I promise. Come here.”

Before I knew what was happening, she pulled me away from the front door, toward the kitchen. My feet moved automatically to follow after her, and whenever my head moved to look over my shoulder at the body, Professor Dare stopped me with a hand to keep me looking at her as she continued to back up. She forced me to keep looking into her eyes while pulling me out of sight of the… of Scott’s body.

“Flick,” she started once we were out of the way. “Sit.” Pulling me to a seat, the professor made me sink it before snapping her fingers. A glass from the nearby cupboard leapt to the sink and filled itself with water before going to her waiting hand, and she held it out to me. “Drink this, please. Slowly.”

Instead, I just stared at the glass in my hand. It started to slip away, almost falling to the floor before she caught it. Professor Dare went down to her knees, and I saw something in her expression. Something more than professionalism. That time, her voice cracked a little bit as she put both hands on my shoulders. “Flick, please. I—I can help you. But I need to know what just happened. I need to talk to you, and you can’t talk until you drink. The person at the door, that was… your friend, wasn’t it?”

I went briefly blind as liquid filled my eyes. Tears, I realized through the haze. And through those tears, I would have slipped off the chair and fallen to the floor, but Professor Dare held me up, supported me for just a second until she took me from the chair entirely. Her arms went around me, embracing me tightly. “I’m sorry,” she whispered close to my ear, emotion shredding her voice. “I’m so sorry, Flick.”

That lasted for… I had no idea how long. She held me as my face hit her shoulder and my sobs took over. All I could do was shake and sob, unable to even try saying anything. After a few long seconds, my limp hands rose before wrapping around her, and I slumped there half on the floor, clutching the blonde woman as tight as I could as my tears continued to pour out freely, soaking through her shirt.

At some point, Asenath returned. I heard her quietly tell Dare that there was no one out there, and that Twister was doing a quick search of the neighborhood. There was also something about somehow convincing the neighbors that the gunshot they’d heard had actually been a car backfiring as it passed.

Finally, through the hard lump in my throat, I managed, “Fossor. It was Fossor. Ammon. He—Scott–”

“It was him.” There was hatred and anger in Dare’s voice, something deeply personal. “Flick, I’m sorry. I–” She leaned back, looking me in my tear-blurred eyes. “I—we didn’t know you were on the phone. We didn’t hear any of your conversation until the very end. Fossor was using some kind of spell to block it. We heard your friend show up and then you suddenly stopped talking. Then we heard the phone fall and you started to say ‘turn around.’ Then you screamed. We came as soon as—but it was…”

“Too late,” I finished for her, my voice cracking painfully. “Even your time stop, the—you couldn’t–”

She shook her head. “It takes a second to start up. I heard the gunshot and… and we had to get to you.”

Falling back against the legs of the chair as I sat on the floor, I slumped weakly. “It was a Christmas present.” My voice felt dull and empty. “Fossor said it was a Christmas present. He made—he got Ammon to make Scott—to make Scott…” I couldn’t get any more words out. The tears took over again.

Senny was by my side on the floor as well by the time I caught myself once more. Her hand took mine, and I could see the pain in her eyes. “Flick,” she started, her voice full of self-recrimination. “I’m sorry. I didn’t know. It—like she said, we heard him show up and then it was just quiet. I thought you were–” She hesitated, shoulders shrugging helplessly. “I’m sorry, I should’ve known something was wrong.”

My head shook, but I couldn’t find my voice for a few seconds. “Scott— he’s… his… he’s just… laying there. We—you can’t–” My gaze turned pleadingly toward Professor Dare for a moment. “Help?”

“Oh, Flick.” The pain came back to her eyes. I’d never seen the woman look so… helpless and emotional. “I’m sorry. There’s nothing we can do for him. I wish there was. He’s gone, Flick. He’s–”

She said something else, but I didn’t hear it. I couldn’t hear it. The roar was back in my ears, and my head dropped. I saw the floor, then nothing. Tears took over yet again. I slumped down, falling onto my side as I shook. No, no, no. Scott. Please, please. God, why. Why did I have to lose him too? Fossor took my mother, he’d kidnapped her and kept her away over half my life. He was going to try to take me in less than a year. My whole life revolved around dealing with that. And now he had killed Scott.

Eventually, I managed to sit up and take the glass of water, drinking from it almost mechanically as my eyes continued to stare at the floor. A million thoughts whipped through my head like a tornado. Most were less than half-formed, and many consisted of more vague emotions than coherent ideas. Kill Fossor. Kill Ammon. Kill them both. Destroy them. The rage boiled up in me, overwhelming the grief.

“Scott,” I finally managed after sitting there for what felt like hours. “We–” My throat cracked, and I took another drink of the water. “He can’t just disappear. He des–” Tears came back and I squeezed my eyes shut tightly briefly before giving a shudder. “He deserves better than that. His family deserves better than that. He was adopted, but—but they loved him. We have to—they have to know. Not everything, but… but please, please don’t let them think he killed himself. He was murdered.” The tears were coming back full force as I spoke. “They can’t think their son killed himself. Please, please.”

Professor Dare’s hand touched my cheek as she nodded. “They won’t. I promise, Flick. They… his parents will know he was a hero. I won’t let them think that he—that he did that. It won’t be okay, but that’s the very least we can do. I’ll take care of it. I’ll move him and—and make sure that no one thinks he committed suicide. Will you–” she paused, looking hesitant and, again, emotional. “Will you be okay here with Asenath for a little bit? I’ll be back as soon as I can, but I’ll need to call some help.”

Sniffing once, I nodded before cringing. “My dad. What about when he… when he wakes up?” It felt sick to talk like this, to talk at all after what happened. I knew that both Dare and Asenath had lost people close to them many times. This wasn’t anything new to them. But it was new to me. It was Scott.

“His memory will have to be adjusted before he wakes up,” Dare informed me quietly and patiently. “It’s the only way if you want people not to believe that Scott killed himself, if you want to change it. He can’t remember seeing him there. He can’t remember hearing you scream or—or any of it. We can set it up differently, but your father can’t remember any of that. It’s that, or let things stay as they are.”

Swallowing hard, I nodded. “If I can’t tell my dad what really happened to Scott, I don’t want him to think that he killed himself. I can’t—no. Please. I can’t let Fossor do that to him. And he’d never—never let me go back to school if he knew that I saw Scott—that I saw Scott–” My voice broke once more.

“I’ll take care of it,” Dare promised while giving my hand a squeeze. “Stay here with Asenath, okay?”

Weakly nodding, I lowered my gaze and stared at the floor again. In the background, I heard the two of them murmur to each other for a second, before Dare left the room to into where Scott’s body was. After a short time there, the front door opened and then closed again as she went to… handle things.

For a few minutes, neither I nor Senny said anything. We just sat there. My eyes stayed locked onto the floor while my hands clenched and unclenched. It was all I could do not to break down yet again. But the anger in me was still steadily overwhelming the grief. My voice, when I finally spoke again, was hard. “I hate him.” I spat the words harshly, because being angry felt better than being sad. Being angry felt productive. Being sad felt helpless. “I hate that son of a bitch. I’m going to kill him. I’m going to kill them both. Ammon and Fossor. They deserve to die. They’re monsters. They’re both monsters.”

“They are,” Senny agreed. Her voice was as gentle as her hand against my arm. “Fossor is evil. The kind of evil that.. that shouldn’t exist. I’m sorry, Flick. I’m sorry you had to see any of this, that you have to deal with that piece of shit. You deserve to be happy. You deserve to have a regular family.”

“I don’t want a regular family,” I snapped despite myself as the anger twisted inside me a bit more. “I want my family. I want my mom back, with the gifts and abilities that she earned. I want my dad to know the truth. I want to know the truth about the world, and I want to help people. I don’t want to go back to being clueless. I want to take my father into the truth. I want him to know everything, and I want my mom back, and I want…” Stopping, I shook my head violently. “But I can’t have that. Any of it. Not now, anyway. But no. I don’t want normal. I want the truth. I want my family back together, with the truth. I want to save people with my mom, with my dad. That’s what I want, not ‘normal.’”

Before Senny could say anything to that, the front door opened again. There was a brief sound of footsteps before Twister came into the kitchen. She was carrying a small computer pad, which she held out to me. “Flick,” the girl said quietly while meeting my gaze. “You should look at this. Trust me.”

I took the pad with a frown of confusion before turning it around. On the screen there was a video playing. A video of a young, familiar boy playing with a truck on the floor in some kind of big room. There were a few other kids around, but he was in the center frame, and immediately recognizable.

The anger boiled up again, and I almost threw the pad even as the tears returned. “Bastard! Why’d Fossor send a video of Scott as a kid? How did he even get a video of Scott from years long ago?”

“Flick,” Twister said gently, head shaking. “It’s not from years ago. Look at the calendar on the wall.”

Confused, I looked at the pad one more, my eyes searching. Sure enough, there was a calendar there. A 2017 calendar, which was set to December. And all around the room, there were Christmas decorations.

The truck that Scott-that eight year old Scott was playing with on the floor… it was a Christmas present.

Twister’s voice cut through as my brain completely locked up. “It’s a live feed, not recorded. He’ll start getting his memories back over the next few months. Then his tail should come in. Probably doesn’t have the ears, or you would’ve noticed as soon as you saw him after the whole Heretic thing. Tails you can hide though.”

“Pooka.” I managed, as a tidal wave of emotions tore down every wall in my mind. “Pooka.” Turning, I went to my feet so fast the chair behind me fell over. I didn’t care. “Scott—you’re saying he—he’s a… He’s a Pooka?!” My voice was a shout. Still didn’t care. “Scott—he’s not—he’s a—he’s a Pooka?!”
The Stranger sense didn’t recognize Pooka, didn’t register them as Strangers at all, or anything non-human. The thoughts were coming to me in a jumble. My grief wanted to turn into delight and relief, but it was hesitant, terrified that this was some kind of mistake or lie. I couldn’t deal with that. Couldn’t deal with losing Scott and then having that hope dangled in front of me only to be yanked away again.

“Why didn’t you say anything before?” Asenath questioned while I was busy staring at the screen where the eight-year-old Scott was making engine noises as he ran the truck up over a green couch.

Dead. Not dead. I didn’t know what to think. I didn’t know what to feel. Could I be happy? Could I be relieved? My body, my brain didn’t know how to switch emotions that fast. I wanted to sob again. I wanted to cry and scream and laugh and… and everything in between.

“I didn’t know.” Twister shrugged. “Not like we recognize each other on sight. But—yeah, that’s him.”

Scott. Scott wasn’t dead. He was, but he wasn’t. He was a Pooka. He was still alive—sort of. He’d get his memories back in a few months. He was a kid again, but he was alive. He wasn’t dead. He wasn’t–

Tears, these ones of much better emotions, flooded my eyes yet again. It took me a second to find my voice, but when I did, a question came. “I—but if you didn’t know, where’d this pad come from?”

“Guy gave it to me when I was checking the neighborhood,” she explained. “Said he wanted you to know that Scott wasn’t dead, that he was sorry he didn’t get back soon enough to help.”

“Get back soon enough to…” I echoed in confusion, my eyes moving from the pad to the girl and back again. “I don’t… Scott’s a Pooka. He—oh my god. He was here on purpose. He grew up with me. They put him here to… to watch Mom. And then to watch me. He knew the whole time. He knew all of it. He was watching me, probably… protecting me. He was—he… but who? Who put him there?”

“I did.” A new voice spoke up. All of us jumped, even Asenath. Turning, we saw a man standing there. A tall, broad-shouldered black man whose form filled the doorway he was standing in, and whose aura seemed to fill the entire room, the entire house.

“And it’s probably time that we talk,” Gabriel Prosser announced.

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44 comments

  1. Tags for this chapter are: And Now You See Why I Needed Pooka To Not Set Off The Stranger SenseAsenath, Emotional Rollercoaster Hell – That Was An Emotional Tilt-A-Whirl., Felicity Chambers, Flick, Gabriel Prosser, Lincoln Chambers, Scott Utell, Twister, Virginia Dare

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  2. Chapter very early today 🙂

    And now I’m kicking myself for not guessing that Scott was an Alter, even though there wasn’t really anything that’d have given it away. It does raise a few questions though, which will hopefully be covered in the next chapter. Foremost in my mind is that if Scott was around to babysit Flick when she was very young, then that’d imply that Gabriel (I’m presuming that Scott was working with him, but if not then all this is irrelevant) knew where Joselyn was for several years without restoring her memories. My best guess for why would be that he didn’t want to force her to choose between Flick and the revolution… or maybe I’m reading too much into this and should just wait for the next chapter. Yeah, I’ll do that.

    Thank you very much for “only” killing the immortal in today’s chapter.

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    1. Chapter very early today 🙂

      Chapter only took about 3 hours to write, counting a couple brief interruptions (so probably about 2 and a half hours not counting the interruptions). That’s… incredibly fast for this. Everything just poured straight out without much of a pause. So since it was done fast, I figured there was no sense making you guys wait.

      And now I’m kicking myself for not guessing that Scott was an Alter, even though there wasn’t really anything that’d have given it away.

      I was kind of afraid that reminding people about the Pooka immortality thing so recently during Twister’s conversation with Flick would be a giveaway. I know some people guessed that he was either another Heretic or an Alter, but gave up on that idea at various points (like when Flick saw him and her Stranger Sense didn’t go off).

      Foremost in my mind is that if Scott was around to babysit Flick when she was very young, then that’d imply that Gabriel (I’m presuming that Scott was working with him, but if not then all this is irrelevant) knew where Joselyn was for several years without restoring her memories. My best guess for why would be that he didn’t want to force her to choose between Flick and the revolution… or maybe I’m reading too much into this and should just wait for the next chapter. Yeah, I’ll do that.

      Answers on that to come. 😉

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  3. I have to be honest, this particular twosr feels a bit too “out of nowhere,” to me. At the same time, I am one of the people who guessed that Scott might be a Heretic, and all my reasoning for that prediction applies here too. Maybe the timing just feels too convienant? I’m not sure. I’ll have to see how I feel on the reread.

    Moving on, Prosser. Prosser is here, and I can’t wait to see what happens! I’m expecting Flick to be pretty pissed off after she got jerked around so much, inadvertently or not. Also, he would have had to know Flick and thus Joselyn’s location to plant Scott there, which means he deliberately chose not to restore Jos’s memories.

    So yeah, I’m expecting a fair bit of anger from Flick.

    And also I can’t wait to really meet this guy!

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    1. I have to be honest, this particular twosr feels a bit too “out of nowhere,” to me. At the same time, I am one of the people who guessed that Scott might be a Heretic, and all my reasoning for that prediction applies here too. Maybe the timing just feels too convienant? I’m not sure. I’ll have to see how I feel on the reread.

      Twosr, huh? 😉 lol. Yeah, sorry, I know what you mean. Yes, in a way I can see your point about ‘coming out of nowhere.’ I may have been overcompensating for my own knowledge, because I was absolutely sure that Scott as Pooka was going to be guessed almost immediately. I mean, plenty of people guessed that he was involved somehow, as I said. Him as a Heretic and him as an Alter were both guessed ahead of time and then dismissed because of Flick’s sense not going off and Calvin being alive. I just figured that one next logical step would take people to him being a Pooka (or some other Alter that didn’t set off the Stranger sense).

      I especially figured the Pooka thing would be guessed after a combination of Flick’s conversation with Twister happening (without the mini-interlude interruption) IMMEDIATELY before her conversation with Scott, along with the reminder that she knew Scott from the time he was a child.

      One of those ‘obvious to the author because of advanced knowledge that seems like everyone would guess it given a tiny bit more information’ things.

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      1. I think part of the reason this bugs me is because it’s built on things we didn’t know. For one thing, we don’t know exactly how pooka are reborn, so finding Scott… wherever that feed is comes out of left field. We also didn’t know that pooka could have different animal features, so him not having ears like Twister’s is unexpected.

        And more importantly, we had no idea that Prosser knew where Flick was for that long. If Scott had turned out to be a Heretic, that would have made more immediate sense because we know that Crossroads knew where Flick was when she was in dampers, while there hasn’t been any indication that Prosser knew for that long until now.

        So for me, these details conspire to make it seem more out of nowhere that Scott turns out to be a pooka, because predicting it relies on things the audience doesn’t know.

        Oh well, it happened. I guess I’ll have to wait for the next chapter to see how I feel on this revelation.

        The rest of the chapter was excellent. You have a semi-distressing talent for writing grief scenes very well.

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      2. I think part of the reason this bugs me is because it’s built on things we didn’t know. For one thing, we don’t know exactly how pooka are reborn, so finding Scott… wherever that feed is comes out of left field. We also didn’t know that pooka could have different animal features, so him not having ears like Twister’s is unexpected.

        That is all totally fair. On the animal feature thing, I could have sworn that I had Twister mention that they have different features, but a search doesn’t reveal anything of the sort. It was supposed to be around the time Flick was playing with her tail and all that happened. But I must have neglected to have it mentioned. That’s on me.

        Anyway, like I said earlier, I knew from the start that this would be a bit controversial. That’s no problem. Trust me, I get it. There were ways to make it come off a little better and be a little easier to guess. As I said, I think I was overcompensating a little for thinking that it was too EASY to guess, not too hard. Oops. But I’m going to stick by it, because as I said to landcollector, I think using it as a method of bringing Prosser into Flick’s life was the right way to go, even if the twist itself could have been alluded to a little more (which itself would have happened if Scott actually showed up more as he was originally supposed to).

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  4. So, Gabriel Prossor is on scene to have likely heavy talks with Flick. Interesting. I’m not a fan of having Scott being a Pooka, though. Seems too convenient and lessens the impact of the end of the previous update and the first part of this one, imo.

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    1. That is understandable, for sure. I knew from the start this was going to be a little bit of a hard sell. That said, I would like to point out that what happened is not suddenly rendered pointless/meaningless in the wake of Scott still being alive (though younger and for a few months, without his memories). Because…

      A: Fossor still demonstrated what he’s willing and able to do. And, as mentioned, Scott is still temporarily removed as an ally to Flick. Hell, it’ll take a decade or so for him to get back up to where he was in height, size, strength, etc. So it IS still a blow.

      B: Far more importantly, it pushed Prosser to reveal himself and approach Flick in a way that shows his character. He has been content to stay hidden for all this time. What made him decide to come forward? Stopping Flick from feeling that grief, saving her from that pit of despair. He could have just left well enough alone and let her keep thinking Scott was dead, since he clearly won’t be able to watch her anymore. That likely would have been the Crossroads Establishment’s method of dealing with it. Instead, he showed her that Scott was alive, and even stepped out of the shadows to explain things to her when nothing was absolutely forcing him to.

      Again, it was far more of a way of revealing Prosser’s character and giving him a valid reason to approach Flick that both stayed true to his secrecy AND revealed the kind of person he is, in that he’d rather reveal himself and explain things rather than either let her grieve forever or simply anonymously letting her know about Scott without any explanation. He could have let her see the truth through the screen without ever approaching and talking to her. But after what happened, he decided she deserved to know the truth without any runaround.

      That was the point of the chapter and why seeing Flick’s grief was IMPORTANT. Because Prosser saw it too, and that’s what led to him approaching her.

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  5. Too convenient. Scott shoulda died IMHO. I liked him, but characters have to die sometime, and this was too much plot armor to be realistic.

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  6. I didn’t understand the live feed part. I get that Scott’s a pooka, but I don’t understand what that was.
    Before Senny could say anything to that, the front door opened again. There was a brief sound of footsteps before Twister came into the kitchen. She was carrying a small computer pad, which she held out to me. “Flick,” the girl said quietly while meeting my gaze. “You should look at this. Trust me.”

    I took the pad with a frown of confusion before turning it around. On the screen there was a video playing. A video of a young, familiar boy playing with a truck on the floor in some kind of big room. There were a few other kids around, but he was in the center frame, and immediately recognizable.

    The anger boiled up again, and I almost threw the pad even as the tears returned. “Fucking bastard! Why’d Fossor send a video of Scott as a kid? Wait, huh? How did he even get a video of Scott from so many years long ago?”

    “Flick,” Twister said gently, head shaking. “It’s not from years ago. Look at the calendar on the wall.”

    Confused, I looked at the pad one more, my eyes searching. Sure enough, there was a calendar there. A 2017 calendar, which was set to December. And all around the room, there were Christmas decorations.

    The truck that Scott-that eight year old Scott was playing with on the floor… it was a Christmas present.

    Twister’s voice cut through as my brain completely locked up. “It’s a live feed, not recorded. He’ll start getting his memories back over the next few months. Then his tail should come in. Probably doesn’t have the ears, or you would’ve noticed as soon as you saw him after the whole Heretic thing. Tails you can hide though.”

    Isn’t he lying in the hallway? When did he get a random truck and why is he being livestreamed?

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    1. lol, not time travel as the previous response guessed. There will be more of an explanation in-story. But here’s the gist:

      When Pooka (like Twister and Scott) die, their old body stays dead. They are reborn a short time later (the length of time it takes depends on how long it’s been since the last time they died) in a new body in a different location (specifics on that to be explained in-story) as an eight-nine year old. Asenath explained most of this in 6-03.

      So Scott’s old body stayed dead, and he was reborn in a new body somewhere else. Since it’d been over a decade since the last time he died (remember, he was around since Flick was in diapers), his resurrection was almost immediate. All Prosser did was know where the newly reborn Scott was and set up the camera to give Flick a look at him where he is now.

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  7. We finally get to meet Prosser! Awesome!

    However, what I didn’t find awesome was the fact that Scott turned out to be a Pooka with zero build up what so ever. It also cheaper his death and robbed it of meaning, I don’t want anyone to die, but I expected it to happen at some point, since we are dealing with people are creatures that have zero qaluams about hurting others.

    I’m sorry, but that’s how I feel.

    Thanks for updating and I’m looking forward to Flick’s long awaited chat with Prosser. 🙂

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    1. Thanks. 🙂 The end of the chapter has been heavily edited and changed. See my comment below for the whole details on my reasoning for going ahead and changing it. Thanks for your input, and for helping make the story better.

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  8. How many people in Flick’s previous life have turned out to /not/ be Heretics/Alters? So far as I can recall, only her dad? I suppose Trevor and Pete who were co-workers at the cinema…

    Scott, Miranda, Jocelyn, and Calvin have all turned out to be from the other side of the iron curtain.

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  9. So hey guys. I’m not too proud or good to admit when I’ve made a mistake (as has been evidence before, hopefully). And I’m not going to stubbornly stick to something despite the fact that it was the plan from the beginning. It was my failure to foreshadow things properly, not the readers problem, and my mistake in sticking to something instead of recognizing/realizing that the story had moved to the point of that not being the best way to handle things.

    Scott being a Pooka was always in the cards, and he was supposed to play a larger part sooner. But that didn’t end up happening because we spent less time at home than I expected. I should have recognized that fact and adjusted things. Expecting the whole grieving/twist not grieving thing to go over well required that it be foreshadowed more and it wasn’t. That was my mistake, and one that I should have recognized. For that, you have my apologies. Again, I’m not perfect and the only way I’m going to improve is by admitting those faults when they’re pointed out and take the good advice of others.

    So, to that end, I’ve edited the end of that chapter starting from the point when Twister gives Flick the computer pad. It’s a very major change as far as Scott goes, but still introduced Prosser in the end, so the part that excited people is still there.

    Don’t worry, it’s nobody’s fault but my own. Little speedbump. Not using Scott the way that I planned really won’t change all that much that you guys need to worry about. His part can be filled in plenty of other ways. I hope you forgive me a mistake now and then, even if it means having to re-read and adjust to a major change like that.

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    1. Not going to lie, I was pretty confused before I read this update comment (having read the original chapter and then coming back to reread a few days later and finding it changed. Thought I was losing my mind). But I do have to agree with your choice to change it as it did feel almost cheesy and I for one felt cheated.

      I often find that authors try too hard to keep side characters alive, I mean plot armour is fair enough for main characters (but even then it can be a stretch), but it is easy to form attachments to side characters as they become interesting people themselves and granting them the same benefits as the main cast seems almost natural as you don’t want them to go.

      But the fact that you went ahead and killed off Scott (sucker punch I certainly didn’t see coming) was definitely the best in the long and short term. Short term because, well anyone can read how it affected Flick and by extension us as the readers, and long term because I think the Fossor issue has almost been relegated to the backburner recently (with everything else going on, like someone trying to kill Avalon, the whole family reunion thing, Roxa and the budding romance. Not to mention the Seosten and Fomorians and all that can of worms entails). But I think that this brings it back into focus and gives Flick even more of a personal grudge (I mean, I get that it’s just a drop in the ocean at this point) or it could act as the straw that breaks the camel’s back. I can kind of see Flick going ham from now, as in she sort of shuts down to everything but the need to fuck Fossor up real good and neglecting everything else, but then again I kind of can’t see Flick going that far.

      But either way I think you did the right thing by changing it and I am so interested to see where this is going (you have at least one dedicated reader here).

      Pls moar!!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. So… as far as the new conversation is concerned, the video with Ammon is messing with me a bit. How did Flick put it?

    The grief from Scott mixed with the bittersweet feeling of seeing my mother with a much younger Ammon was making me feel very weird things that weren’t easy to explain. Especially after what had just happened.

    Yeah, that. I’m really not sure how I feel about this. Ammon has never inspired as much rage in me as he has in others, but that whole section is putting my gut through this weird churning feeling. It’s just… ugh. I don’t know.

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  11. Personally, I think it’s weaker NOW – the emotional rollercoaster is just not believable. No way does seeing her Mother in a video offset having Scott die. Going to see how her mood is in the next chapter, if you set it low enough you might be able to salvage this retcon by removing the references to it and the tag.
    I liked the ACTUAL emotional rollercoaster that we readers got taken on by the, yes unexpected, pookah twist. We readers were just as surprised as she was, making the scene all that much stronger.

    Plus it feels like a betrayal from the author to let the reader feel relief at Scotts not-dying only to retcon it away, but that only matters to those of us reading update by update, of course.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I understand, believe me. I was kind of surprised at the vocally negative reaction to the original version of the chapter. But the points that were made, that we didn’t see enough of Scott to foreshadow him being a Pooka, that making him one would mean that all of the people we know anything about in Flick’s personal life were Heretics or Alters with no normal humans, etc, also made sense. In the end, it felt more… conducive to the story as a whole to change it. After reading so much negative reaction to it and going back over the chapter myself, it felt like changing it was the best way to move the story forward.

      You have my apologies for yanking your emotions that way. I mean, normally I enjoy yanking emotions, but not like that. It’s my fault that it needed to be changed, and I sincerely apologize.

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    2. Aaaaand, as noted several times now in other comments (I want to make sure to reply to as many people as possible who commented on the subject), the chapters are now changed to what my original intention (Scott as a Pooka) was. Thanks for giving input.

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  12. Please don’t ever do this again. Editing things after release is fine and it’s happened before but this is too much. Maybe it will be different for archival readers but this doesn’t suddenly give Scott’s death any impact back, if anything it takes it away. If you want to edit something this big do it when you release a book version.

    Scott staying dead is probably better for the story but dislike the video now, probably because I’ve read the original and that made more sense and had way more impact imo.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The reply I just posted to the comment above this one applies here as well. I’m sorry something this big had to be changed. Honestly, given the reaction the end of the chapter/reveal got initially, I assumed that it was pretty much universally disliked. But I get it, changing things like that, yanking your emotions around doesn’t work when you have to go back and edit the chapter that much after the fact.

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    2. To clarify more: You have me read an emotional scene, then days later you suddenly tell me “actually that was bad it didn’t happen”. I feel like I’ve been insulted for being glad he wasn’t dead. I get that that isn’t your intention but holy shit did reading that notice piss me off.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Don’t worry, I understand your feelings. I’m sorry your emotions were yanked around like that, honestly. I like to engage with the readers, not piss them off (I mean, to an extent I like to piss them off like with Fossor’s actions and cliffhangers and whatnot, but not like this). The initial reaction to the revelation just seemed to be so *thoroughly* negative (and good points were raised about why), that changing it seemed to be the best way to push the story on, even if it causes a little confusion and whatnot right now.

        Basically it seems like most of the people who hated it commented then, and now that it’s changed, the people who preferred it the other way are commenting. Which just makes the whole thing absolutely my fault. So again, I apologize. I’ll do my best to make sure nothing like this happens again.

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    3. And after all that, the chapter has been edited back to its original form and the next one was changed to reflect the original intention of Scott being a Pooka.

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  13. I’m going to join the chorus of people who are unhappy with the change. Not because I necessarily think one way or the other will be better for the story–you’re the author, and which one ends up being better for the story ultimately depends on what you do with it–but because it feels too much like people complaining on the internet bullied you into changing the details of your story.

    Please don’t let them do that; I’m interested in reading your story, not theirs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You have a good point. As do others. In the end, you’re right. It’s my story. To that end, I’ve edited this chapter and the next one to the original intention of Scott being a Pooka.

      Like

  14. Ugh. Where do I stand on the issue. Hmm… the position Cerulean’s put in kinda sucks. I see three options:
    A: Do nothing- My opinion, it’s been changed enough, and it isn’t terrible how it is

    B: Retcon the retcon- This is what I’d like in a utopian world readers don’t mind retcons; I am a big fan of plot armoring and non-realism, as long as it isn’t TOO overt, but it is probably too much to take the chapter and change it then change it back, and would probably piss off a bunch of readers

    C: Make a completely new ending- If it is well-written, it might be worth it, but again, too many changes

    As I said before: Ugh. These issues suck because there isn’t any real way to solve them that will make everyone happy. 😦

    On a happier note, you’re still one of my favorite authors, though, so thanks for keeping on writing throughout all of this. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awww, thanks. And yeah, you did summarize the choices pretty well.

      In the end, I chose to go with my original vision/idea. The chapters have been edited to make Scott a Pooka once again. My reasoning is given more thoroughly in a comment on the next chapter.

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      1. Yeah, I read the note. Whether or not Scott was a Pooka, I’m glad that it ended well (the real-life conflict, not the story one :P). Yay!

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  15. Hey Cerulean, I wanted to chime as someone who is not at all a fan of this retcon. I apologize in advance.

    I will fully admit part of my dislike is a gut emotional reaction. Reading the original version on Monday we got the same emotional experience that Flick did. We got the same sadness and joy when we thought Scott was dead and then found out that he was actually alive. I liked that Flick didn’t get completely screwed over on Christmas despite Fossor’s plans. Coming back today and finding out that got retconned away just sort of seemed like a screw you; both in story to Flick having something go her way with Fossor’s plan failing and to me the reader in enjoying that things didn’t terribly when they otherwise could have.

    A problem that I have is that I think the last portion of the chapter isn’t as strong as it originally was since Scott’s status as a Pooka and as Prosser’s agent to watch over Flick have been retconned away. In the original version Prosser showing up made sense. Scott was working for him, so making a beeline there when he found out that Scott was in danger/had killed himself made prefect sense even if it wasn’t explicitly spelled out. Sending Flick the video in advance before he showed up to talk also worked well if you assume that he wanted to give her something so that she didn’t have to deal with the pain of Scott’s “death” any longer then she had to. Whether or not this was because he wanted Flick in a better emotional state for their talk so that he could explain Scott’s role as his agent watching over her and fill her in on various other details or if he had other things he needed to deal with immediately regarding Scott’s “death” before he could go and talk to Flick it made sense to me and I thought it worked.

    With the current version I don’t think that Prosser sending the video/showing up is as fluid as it was originally. Scott is dead and Prosser knows about it. However, Scott wasn’t working for Prosser so I don’t think that there is any urgent reason for him to show up at that point (other then the fact that he did in the original version of the chapter). Similarly, my read was that the point of the video in the original version of the chapter was to ease the pain of Scott’s “death” before Prosser could come and talk with her. In this version, the video provided doesn’t make sense for that purpose. It’s basically a random video of Ammon and Joselyn. The video doesn’t ease Flick’s pain at Scott’s death at all (she thinks that Fossor was the one that sent it to taunt her). We know that the video is apparently an important clue to Prosser, but, there is no reason for sending it ahead when he couldn have just brought it when he came talk with her (other then it happened in the original version of the chapter). Without the impact of the reveal of Scott being alive in the video it sort of looks like Prosser just wants to make a dramatic entrance when he comes to talk with Flick.

    From what I’ve read it looks like there were two main complaints regarding the original version of the chapter. The first being that none of the important people from Flick’s childhood were just muggles and that is somehow a bad thing… I have to disagree with this. As far as I can remember Flick really has three important people from her childhood (other then her mom) Scott, Miranda, and her dad. Miranda was an ordinary human who became a heretic, Scott was a Pooka and Lincoln who is still a muggle. With how the universe has been set up (the bystander effect) there really is a hard limit to how involved a muggle can be in the plot. So I have to disagree with complaints along that line. I don’t think that there is anything wrong with setting up characters from Flick’s childhood so that they can interact with the main plot; especially since you have said you had the Pooka reveal planned for a long time.

    The second complaint being that the reveal that Scott is a Pooka wasn’t properly foreshadowed. You have said that you didn’t spend as much time with Scott as you originally thought you were going to in drop the hints as to his Pooka nature. I’ll completely admit that I didn’t see that reveal coming at all and that is 100% fine. You do a decent bit of foreshadowing and hinting at future events in your stories, but, everything doesn’t need to be foreshadowed in advance. There is something to be said for throwing something out of nowhere at your audience every once and a while. While the audience might not have seen the reveal coming, it wasn’t some asspull where you had to break the rules of your own universe to make a “shocking twist” happen. You had previously established that Pooka were hidden from the heretic danger sense and were reborn when killed. Scott presumably had his own reasons for not telling Flick and she hadn’t really spent much time with him between the time she became a heretic and this point. As I said earlier, in my opinion not seeing the reveal coming gave it a way bigger emotional impact when we found out that Scott was actually alive then it would have had if I had put the pieces together in advance.

    I really do enjoy your writing and plan to keep reading Heretical Edge going forward, but, to be honest my excitement of reading 19-04 today was really effected by this retcon.

    Either way, those are my two cents on the matter.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey, thanks for chiming in. I appreciate it. And given all the thoughts that I’ve had and the feedback, I have changed this chapter back to its original form and edited the next one. Scott is a Pooka and did survive. It was my original intention and that’s what I should have gone with.

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