ABOUT    CAST    ARCHIVE    FORUM    BONUS          
First Comic   Previous    Next   Current Comic
(Transcript and visual captions below}



       "Where do you go at this late hour?" Aubrey asked as Ellen bustled by him in a long hall of the abbey, and she jolted in response.
       "Ah, I didn't see you there. Why aren't you working in your craft room?"
       "All those rooms only remind me of those lost from me. I cannot bear the pain of remembering being there with him. ...You do not answer me."
       "It's nothing, Vitus just wants to ask me about some science things. You know. Not interesting."
Aubrey raised a suspicious eyebrow, and put his sewing down for the moment.
       "Science things? Well, 'tis true that I have little interests in those unnatural rules and laws, God has given us enough knowledge in his writings. You don't want to be like wicked Had who defied our Lord and sought out the flames of knowledge."
       "Yes Dad," she tried to turn to leave again.
       "Are you sure you should go alone? What about the murderers? Perhaps I should go with you even if it is about dubious matters."
       "No, it's fine. I'll just be gone for a bit."
Aubrey watched her trot down the hall. How quickly could he finish this mending?


       Jack, Allison and Vitus trekked through thick brush up the steep side of Observatory Hill. Thankfully being undead made this much less arduous than it would have been for humans, so they chatted genially as they went. Vitus had already let loose his "Introduction to the Supernatural" spiel in record time. During which, Allison sometimes shot dubious glances to Jack, who could only throw his hands up in response. Now though, they were free to speak about more general topics.
       "Are you from South Glenland?" Jack asked, "You kinda sound like some kids I went to school with."
       "Sort of, I'm just from Strickland, next to Parkville y'know. What accent are you talkin' about?"
Vitus looked off to the side and let out a low whistle.
"What?!" Allison eyed him, "Do I sound weird? You're one to talk, mumblemouth..."
       Vitus smiled a bit, "I don't think you sound much different from Jack to my ear."
Jack twisted up his face, "What?!"
       "I don't know, you're all... eh, Southern to me..."
       "Are you kiddin'?" Jack glared at him, "Just 'cos you are all Richie-Mc-Uppercrust don't mean that everyone who didn't go to diction class sounds the same!"
       "Yeah," Allison joined in the glaring, "You tryin' to say we're poor?"
Vitus smiled sheepishly, "Well, perhaps it's just that Jack's accent is getting worse around you."
       "HEY!" Jack scowled.
       "Yeah, 'worse?!'" Allison frowned, " 'Cos yer accent is so proper right? Mushy-mouthed Northern grumbler? That's soo much better."
       "Goodness, sorry I said anything." Vitus looked off in faux-angelic innocence.
       "GERDNESS, SOE-RAY AYER SET EHNYTHIN!" Allison stuck her teeth out in a dorky impression.
       Jack threw his head back in laughter.
Vitus gave her a doubtful expression, "Now that's just rude."



Ellen stood outside the old observatory, and watched the three vampires emerge from a dense thicket. "I suppose you won't have to worry about parking."
       "Ellen, this is Allison," Vitus gestured to a bloody young woman who gave her a wary, fearful look.
       "Indeed. I can show you to the restrooms, I have some old clothes that might fit you, if you don't mind being un-stylish."
The young woman nodded vaguely.


       "Do you ever feel guilty for not sharing this equipment with the public?" Vitus asked, "I'm sure other scientists would love to work here."
       "Are you joking?" Ellen made an incredulous face, "This building is a curiosity at best. Everything here is practically a century out of date."
       "Oh, I suppose I'm not up on my modern science."
       "Apparently not."

       She noted that Jack was avoiding her gaze, and furtively moving away from her.
       "I never did get to apologize," she said, "--for the uhm, killing you and all."
He smiled awkwardly.
       "Nothing personal, I hope you understand. Didn't really have any choice."
       "Oh um, sure." Jack tried to smile.




       Allison returned, but Vitus still did most of the talking.
       "...So she's not a Crowboy, she has some sort of goat-like form. Does that sound familiar?"
Ellen shook her head, and continued examining Allison's ruined clothing.
       "Do you remember being stabbed?" she asked.
Ellen looked thoughtful, "I think that's how you died," she gestured to the tear in the front of the t-shirt. "Progenitors don't generally remember their deaths. Something about the act of a true death, unlike the rest of us, we didn't remain dead for long."
       Vitus' mouth dropped open. "Wow, it didn't even occur to me, a progenitor? She's so young though...?"
       "It isn't about age, though yes, I have not met another one so young. Many are born over time, but do not live more than a few days typically. Killed by Crowboys, or even humans or themselves. It's a difficult life for a new vampire with no help." She glanced to Allison, "You must be strong."
       "So you're telling me, I got stabbed and died... and I became a vampire?"
Jack cocked his head, "Wow, you are taking that pretty well."
       "It just makes sense, doesn't it? I've been dead for a good month at least, gives me some time to mull it over. I thought maybe zombie for a while, but didn't crave brains or anything. I dunno."
       Jack furrowed his brow with sympathy, "Why would someone stab you..?"
Vitus looked intently at her, "Do you really want to know what happened? The circumstances of your death?"
She lowered her eyes, "...Unless it's to find out if someone is gonna try to come after me. Otherwise... fuck it. Yeah, that's creepy. I'm alive now, well.. Sort of. Maybe I shouldn't know."
Vitus sighed, "I'll ask Thierry to find out. He's already got to talk with the police since they've got Jack's car. I owe him a favor now. You two left quite the mess back there."
       Jack frowned, "What was I supposed to do?"
Vitus shook his head, "Sorry, I just hate chores, and I hate owing favors."
       "So we never get older?" Allison asked. Ellen nodded her head.
       "This means I'm going to be stuck with this freaky haircut forever?!"
Everyone made sympathetic noises.
       "I think it's kind of cool looking," Jack said with a gentle smile, "maybe we can work on some styles later. Hats? I bet you would look cute in hats."
Allison sighed.

Ellen asked, "Have you been sleeping in the earth?"
She nodded gravely, "I can't imagine you've been feeling very well then. Progenitors need to sleep in soil of their homeland or they become very uncomfortable. Perhaps that's why you needed so much blood."




       She winced in response, "Oh..." she turned her head away, "This means... they really were people after all..."
Vitus put his hand on Jack's shoulder, "You're better at this than me. I think we've found out enough for this night."
Jack led her down the stairs and into a spare waiting room, Vitus and Ellen stayed back in the atrium.



       "It's okay. You didn't know..."
Jack listened to the quiet sounds of bare trees creaking in the breeze.
       "I... I did the same thing too."



       "What does this mean, El? What... do you even do with a progenitor?"
       "I don't know. Doesn't seem like we'll be able to ask Tomasz any time soon."
       "You don't buy this whole thing with him either then?"
       "No. Francesca is no actor. What's your leading theory?"
       "He's not even in Glenland any more. Took a ship to who knows where. Maybe he's already killed Theodore and has moved on."
       "That would be easy, wouldn't it?" Ellen smirked, "I think you're right that he's not even around."
Vitus sighed. "This girl, she seems fairly lucid. What do you think..."
       "--is wrong with her? Who knows. Inka was lucid too, you recall."
       "I suppose. This one though, she seemed moved by the killing of humans. Is it just because she's young?"
       "I don't know. I wouldn't get too wrapped up in this though, who knows how long she'll be here."
Vitus cringed.
       "Sorry to be blunt, but how many progenitors survive their first year?" Ellen shrugged.
He nodded slowly.
       "Where is she going to stay?" she asked.
       "With Jack and Darren I suppose."
       "Are you sure that's a good idea?"


Vitus knocked on the door frame to announce his entrance into the room.
       "There's a taxi coming for you, we'll work on getting your car back eventually. Allison, I'd like to talk to Jack for a moment..."
She nodded, and briskly moved outside, and tap-tapped down the stairs.
       Vitus waited for the sounds of her footsteps to fade completely before he spoke,
       "She can stay with you at the hotel, but you should find a new place for her to live as soon as you can."
       "Why? She seems okay now?"
       "Jack... Progenitors are... hard to deal with. She might seem okay, but they all have,. ehm, problems. Please, someone more powerful than you should be around to take care of her anyway."
He nodded slowly, and turned to leave.



       "Thank you for being good. I know it's not because of me if you are. So just... thank you."




       Outside, Allison waited in a limp growth of untended grass. Vampires... It was all kind of preposterous, but what else could she believe? These guys were vampires, but they seemed alright. At least she could try to learn as much as she could before she took off on her own.
       She ran her fingers over her tuft of remaining hair. What did happen? Every time her mind neared that subject, she felt a boulder of dread drop in her gut. Something bad. Something really bad. Did it matter? Someone killed me. They cut all my hair off and stabbed me. She didn't feel sad exactly, but her rage was dulled by some other emotion. There was a lot to be sad about, though. While it was pretty cool that she'd never have to get old or go to school again, she'd never see any of her friends. Her parents, her sister... (Well that one was maybe a little less sad than some other things.) The dreary winter sky offered her no comfort, and the whole of Harlan seemed to sigh its indifference to her plight with rustling branches and chilly breezes. As though to complete the melancholy scene, an owl hooted an echoing cry.
       She glanced that direction, and saw two glowing orange eyes glint in the distance.
She smirked, and kicked a rock.
       "Yeah yeah," she rolled her eyes.
Allison stared in shock. Something fluttered out of the trees.


       "Heheh isn't that cute? My daughter Helen used to like to do that."
A hugely tall, gangly man in strange garb grasped her wrist before she could react.


He pulled the wrist to his nose and inhaled deeply, pausing and tilting his head back as though he were considering a fine wine.
       "Ohhh dear, what a... visceral death," the man rolled his eyes beneath his fluttering eyelashes, "Amazing..."
He spoke breathily with a bizarre accent. He gave her a pointed look. "What did you do to deserve such an ignominious fate?"
She frowned deeply, and jerked her hand away.
       "--And this creature..." the man continued, "This beast with the cloven hoof and dark wings. I don't know this lineage with its sideways eyes and jagged teeth. What are you? What is your family?"
       "Family? ...Chul." she said, with a defiant look.
       "...'Chool?!' "



      " 'Chool?!' The dark leader of the infernal hordes? Dorein's handmaiden?!"
       "Dude, what are you smoking? You never heard a Choihan name? You're talkin' some old North Metal shit, I got no idea--"
The sound of boots crushing frosty grass interrupted her thought.


         "Oh, um, hey..." Jack hurried over to Allison, putting himself between her and the stranger.
       "Little Jack, poppet, is this... Chool... in your charge?" the man asked.
       "Yeah I guess."
       "Please introduce us."
       "Oh right, um, Allison, this is Auberon?"
He frowned. "You may call me such, because we are family. Do not forget my title."
       "Sorry, this is, um, Lord Greyburn. OK, we better go?"
The two young vampires scampered away down the steep grassy descent without so much as a glance back.

       What a world, some slave creature of the dark ones gets preference over the noble?
Aubrey ran his dainty fingers over his face, as though to remind himself of his well-bred bone structure.
       The young and beautiful all must fall to the abyss, mustn't they? What tragedy.
He glanced back to the observatory. He could almost make out the low conversation inside, Ellen talking to that... man.
       No... I shall not go where I am not wanted. Ah.. My only friend, where are you? Do you look down upon me from God's mountain keep? I need you now, there is no one else who will hear the words of the pariah.



       "I will find you, gentle heart, I will find you I swear!"
With a light-footed hop, he ascended on feathered wing into the sky.



Vitus lingered, trying not to seem like he was performing an interrogation, but there was so much to learn.

       "What do you suppose the heart has to do with our condition?" he asked.
       "You keep bringing that up. I'm not sure really, you know that our working knowledge has been severely limited. How long ago was it that we thought only progenitors could produce offspring? Was it this century? Because of the Crowboys? I'm surprised Tomasz even encouraged it this time. I always wondered if he himself was curious what would happen with the children. Perhaps that was the reasoning behind all those awful games."
       " 'Curious?' Because they were not born of progenitors? What normally happens?"
       "Well, I don't know, honestly. You know about Crowboys more than me, they may be a special case, though they do seem rather powerful for their young ages. Good thing they don't live very long, I suppose. As for the rest of us, I'd imagine nothing special would happen but all of us were--" She stopped, lowering her eyes with a thoughtful look.
       "I remembered something. This is something like third-hand knowledge, but Helen told me that Thierry told her that Patricia told him that--"
       "Spit it out."
       "Fine, Patricia, she was that other child of Kellgren, rumor was that she was actually the one who created Theodore, not Kellgren."
       Vitus cocked his head, "Do you suppose that might be the reason for...?"
       "Those strange powers? Possible I suppose."
Vitus shook his head, "Lord, you should have seen what he did to our estate. We had to close that room off completely. Probably causing structural damage to the rest of the building to this day. ...So what does that mean for our children?"
       Ellen smirked, "Only time will tell. Glad I got out of that one, heh!"
Vitus shook his head again, "So the heart..."
       "Why are you so obsessed with that?"
       "I don't know, Demetri was asking me about it and it got me curious too. Also, it's just that Theodore's method was so strange. There are many ways to kill a vampire, why that one? Difficult, and obscure. Seems like he knows something we don't."
       "I could give you a bullshit answer if you want one so badly."
       "This... virus, or whatever you want to call it, --whatever has infected our bodies... I'd always considered it to be centered in the mind, because, well, duh. Where is the 'storage' of our personality? Our memories, our thoughts.."
       "--The soul."
She grimaced, "If you want to be crude about it. We know that we are recreated each day as we slumber, back to whatever form we last were in life. Why then do we learn? Why aren't we walking about in a state of permanent amnesia? I assumed the tissue of the brain was the source-- the biological headquarters for this thing that our bodies host. So somehow, the mind is able to avoid this daily reset. Thus the death caused by decapitation. We cannot live without our parasite.
       "Anyhow, I had never considered the heart as essential. Just another one of our useless organs. It can be removed from the body without causing death, remember that Inka lived at first even without it. Though I must admit that I've never heard of anyone having the heart utterly destroyed and having lived. Perhaps it has more significance than I thought."
       "Heart and soul." Vitus smiled.
       "You are the worst." Ellen rolled her eyes deeply.
After a moment of silence, she looked closely at him, moving a bit nearer.



       "Jack is living with Darren you say?"
       "Um, yes?"
       "You know that Helen has been looking for Darren for weeks."
       "Oh... Well, yes."
       "Shouldn't we tell her?"
       "Would it make her happy?"
Ellen closed her eyes in frustration, "Whatever. She is pretty happy to not be missing her shows. Though, why should she get off the hook for her responsibilities when we can't?"
As though to underscore her point, Vitus' phone buzzed. He looked like he already knew who it was, but checked anyway. "Oh Angela. Still haven't figured out how to leave a message. I'm not allowed a single evening to myself."
       Ellen smiled, "How do we get stuck being caretakers for our crazy old parents that we never asked to have?"
       "Because no one else will do it."
       "Shouldn't you have some elaborate moral justification about how wonderful we are for being the thankless martyrs?"
       "If you prefer. Honestly though, I wouldn't do it if I didn't feel like I had to."
Ellen raised an eyebrow, "Perhaps there is more personality to Mr. Whitestone than meets the eye."
Vitus looked blank, "There would have to be, wouldn't there? I'm not sure if I know how to work my face any more. Jack still treats me like I'm some ancient statue come to life, shambling about and leaving a trail of pebbles behind my groaning joints."
       "Is that inaccurate?"
       "Also, you read too much poetry, yuck. I'm going to have to use an air freshener after that metaphor."



Jack sat in the back seat of the taxi with Allison, talking in sub-audible-to-human tones for privacy.
       "--It's kind of gross, you know guys. Underwear and socks everywhere. At least they don't sweat or anything, so it's not as bad as it could be. I'll try to clean up though, I'm not really happy with it being messy either. Maybe we can find somewhere better for you soon..."
She nodded silently, and continued looking out the window. He watched her for a moment.
       "Is there... something wrong with you?" he asked.
       "Um... OK, I'll just say it. Are you crazy? I mean, literally."
She glared, "That's really rude."
       "Sorry, it's just that, I guess progenitors are all crazy usually."
       "Crazy? Oh, Like that weird weirdo back there? No way. Me? What do you think? I mean, I see those freakin' animals, but maybe cause I wasn't sleepin' in the dirt like that blonde chick was saying. I mean, I took stupid meds, but so does everyone in my grade, you know? Can't sit still in class? Meds. Talk back to your teacher? Meds."
Jack nodded.
       "I didn't think you were, that's why I asked. You probably shouldn't tell anyone that you're a progenitor though, because of that."
She turned to him for a moment, "Hey, um, I'm glad you found me."
       "So you didn't get eaten by Crows?"
       "No, dork. I mean, I woulda kept... eatin' people. You know? I guess this is about as good as it could be, huh."
Jack smiled, "Maybe so."



First Comic   Previous    Next   Current Comic
     July 2nd, 2012
     By:  Christopher

Kelly and I once again underestimated the amount of time it would take to do something different. The answer: dead Kelly in the corner.
I find this highly disagreeable. My dearest is no more, so I must affect the manner of a tortured Poe narrator and craft violet purple prose for the post. Does this feel doomy enough yet? DOOOOOOOOM!

See you next time! <3

             TRANSCRIPT:  This is the text of the comic, for purposes such as translation and internet searches.


(Ellen looks back at Aubrey, who is looking paranoid while he sews at some translucent cloth on a hoop.)


(Jack, Allison, and Vitus approach Ellen's silhouetted form in front of the observatory.)


(Ellen Jack and Vitus before a large telescope, which Vitus is looking at.)


(Allison has been cleaned up and talks with Ellen in foreground. Ellen holds Allison's torn old t-shirt in hand. Jack and Vitus are seated on a couch in the background, Jack looking concerned and Vitus inscrutable.)


(Allison wrings her hands and closes her eyes in remorse, Jack looks on sadly, and Vitus lays a hand on Jack to comfort him.)


(Jack hugs sad Allison in front of observatory telescope.)


(Vitus fidgets with the zipper of his jacket while Ellen leans on a windowsill nearby.)


(Jack and Vitus look gloomy, standing some distance apart.)


(Jack bears a sad or uncertain expression, then turns away.)


(An owl tranforms into Aubrey, who seizes Allison's hand before she can react. He is wearing the translucent cloth from before as a cape.)


(Aubrey clutches the wrist of very startled-looking Allison.)


(Startled Aubrey envisions a fiery demon-woman while Allison looks annoyed.)


(Jack tries politely to get Allison away from paranoid-looking Aubrey.)


(Aubrey dramatically clutches his heart with a sad expression, standing alone.)


(Ellen looms close to Vitus.)


(Jack and Allison sit in the taxi, looking glum.)


(Jack and Allison smile tentatively at each other.)

Comic Rank