Afflictions: Part Six

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Vanessa and Anastasia sat in the living room, obtaining the prerequisite buzz for what they were about to have to do. The beer that Arte had bought for Vanessa’s birthday was actually really good, so she saved it for special occasions. The conversation with her dad the day before had been pretty draining, and she knew she wasn’t going to be able to handle talking to Paul in the same day, so they called it a day.

Paul had developed something of a pattern over the last few months. He would lock himself in his room for a while, then he would come out and do something strange. After whatever he did was done, he would go back into his room for a day, then he would come out and be an asshole. It was pretty much like clockwork. Granted the time lengths for each step were varying, but the sequence never faltered unless he went out for something Deven wanted. Currently he was in the first ‘lock himself in his room’ phase of the cycle. It wasn’t like there was ever really a good time to talk to Paul these days, so they figured they’d just go for it. Arte had tried to ask him for a favor a couple of days ago about Zoey’s missing friend, but he shut her down immediately. While there was no reason to believe this would go differently, she had to try anyways. After all, Paul was the one who suggested she go talk to her dad in the first place.

She reached the bottom of the bottle, and looked over to Anastasia.

“I think it’s time.” Anastasia sighed and stood to her feet.

They made their way over to Paul’s room, and paused outside of the door. Vanessa took a moment to collect herself, and then knocked.

There was a moment of silence, and then Paul replied, “What?”

“Can we come in?” Anastasia asked. Even after the last few months, she was still way more patient with him than anyone else.

“Who is we?”

“Vanessa and me.”

Paul groaned and there was a bit of clattering of something plastic, and then a click as the door unlocked. They waited a moment then Anastasia opened the door.

Inside, his room was a mess. Miscellaneous things he had taken were in varying places across the room, and the floor was completely coated with plastic water bottles and empty boxes of saltine crackers. Paul sat on his bed, wearing track pants and a t-shirt. He had scraggly whiskers, and presumably hadn’t shaved in the time since Jude had left.

“I assume you need something? I’m quite busy.”

Vanessa held back a retort about what he was busy with. “I went to talk to my dad.”

“Ah, good. Tell me everything he told you.”

Vanessa took a deep breath. She could tolerate his ordering her around if it just meant he’d help. “Well, he said he was working with two other people, Felix and Vonderham-”

“Vondrasek?” He interrupted.

“Yeah? How do you-”

“Doesn’t matter, continue.” Paul cut her off again.

She took another deep breath and sighed. “Felix was researching ‘artifacts’, which are items that grant superpowers, and Vondrasek was researching how to replicate powers. My dad was studying Jude evidently.”

“Did he tell you what Jude’s power is?”

“No, he just said Jude was really powerful.”

“Alright… Interesting.” Paul nodded. “Anything else?”

“The concentration camp was both a prison and also a holding place for test subjects. He said they probably didn’t make another one, but he wasn’t sure. He also said he’d been conspiring with them since the green light, but quit after he found out they abducted me.” She looked over to Anastasia. “Did I miss anything?”

She thought for a moment. “The DSR was started to monitor Jude, but Daniels broke off from them, and it’s doing its own thing now. Oh, and Jean retired. I think that’s it.”

“How did he look?”

“My dad? He looked old and tired.”

“I see…” Paul thought for a moment. “Was he coughing?”

“Yeah, a bit. Why?” Vanessa was a little worried that Paul had asked that. Did that mean her dad was sick?

“I see…” Paul nodded thoughtfully. “Alright, if that’s it then leave me be.”

“Wait! We wanted to ask what you knew about the people my dad was working with.” Like hell did they come her and jump through his hoops to not get anything.

“Not my problem.” Paul shrugged. “Anything else?”

“This is everyone’s problem! What is with you?” Vanessa raised her voice. She was done taking this.

“The force?” Paul replied.

“You never do anything around here anymore! You wouldn’t even help Arte with a missing kid! What the hell is wrong with you?”

“I am burdened with cosmic power, and surrounded by shortsighted dimwits.” Paul paused for a moment before adding, “Oh, also I’m blind. Don’t forget about that.”

Something in Vanessa boiled over in that moment. Everything about this situation was infuriating. Her dad betrayed her, and might be sick. Paul had the power to end all of this, but instead chose to lay around in his room and be an asshole. She was sick of everyone thinking they knew better than her. She slowly stepped forwards and raised her hand. She was winding up to hit him, when she felt Anastasia’s hand on her wrist.

Vanessa looked back and saw Anastasia, with tears streaming down her face, and sighed. She gave Anastasia a hug, before exiting the room.

Anastasia lingered for a moment behind him, and said something to Paul, but Vanessa couldn’t make out what it was.

She didn’t need his help. She didn’t need her dad’s help. She’d look into this herself. Between her and Anastasia, they had more than enough everything. Not to mention Arte and Ashley if they needed anything. Vanessa was done with relying on assholes.

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Hey everyone! Hopefully by the time this post has come out I will have come up with some kind of celebration for 100 newsletter/wordpress follower. Regardless, a special thank you to the people that have stuck with me while I worked out the kinks in the whole blogging thing. I’m about to begin the outlining process for Season 4, and hiatus content, with hopes of having it done before the end of this season. Hope you have a good weekend!

Also of note, maybe celebrate May Day. It was the original worker’s rights holiday that the establishment painted over to suppress organization. You owe 2 day weekends and 40 hour workweeks to the victories of workers in the past, so maybe look into that.

Photo Credit: Original

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