Final Chapter: The Monthly Spell
It was a cold, dark night in April when Penny Dido met Tarquin Blood on London Bridge, overlooking the river next to Number One. She reports a range of feelings bubbling inside her, for she was recently abandoned by her parents who live far away in the North of England. An adoptee, Penny has never met her biological parents, and believe them to be dead. The relationship she shared with her adoptive folks was strained at best, and near-abusive at its worst. Tenacious as ever, Penny took her neglect all in her stride, and was originally happy to talk to a friendly stranger—who also happened to be none other than Blood. She says he was suave, charismatic, a real gentleman!
“This reads like a school magazine!” said Locke Walker, reading Dagwood’s interview with disdain.
“I think it’s really charming,” said Saffire, leaning over her husband’s shoulder to read it. They were in the kitchen a week after Penny’s visit to Lockview Village. The trip had sparked Penny’s need for self-expression again, and she had wanted to talk to someone about her life and all its complications, someone who would listen with care and attention. Dagwood was the only one she could trust with the task, but knowing her story was out there, and that the August issue of the Monthly Spell was on its third re-print, gave her much anxiety. She was grateful for the times she spent with Hollow in the garden training, or with Forrest and Riider on the Outside at their favourite Creep cafe, or with Chloe in the Manheim pool, or hidden behind the reams of pink, expensive paraphernalia—these activities helped to take her mind away from her own celebrity.
“I think it was sweet of you to get interviewed by Dagwood, to be honest,” said Hollow in the evening. They were on the Outside for Hollow’s hunt, and he had flown them to the top of the Shard overlooking the city. The terrace attraction was closed for the night, so they were comfortably alone amongst the golden lights of London and the hum of traffic and business below. “Dagwood’s a cool guy,” he continued, “and I think it’ll help bring the warlocks some respect.”
“I’m glad you think so,” said Penny, “I’m still self-conscious though.”
“Understandable,” said Hollow, “but I think you being down here’s done a lot of good for loads of warlocks… look at the school. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing at that prom! Warlocks getting along with everyone, the bloody Arrow Club having a good time… there were no divisions. I think you should be proud of that.”
“Thanks a lot, Hollow.”
“And we’ll keep checking on your parents, don’t you worry. You have a right to see them, they can’t force you away. We’ll get that Reverend, too. Tick-Tock said she’ll help.”
“Still hurts thinking about them, though. Hopefully we can get something sorted soon. I’m not in a rush, but I don’t want Reverend Joseph reigning supreme up there, either.”
Hollow put his hand on her shoulder.
“I’ll be back in a bit,” he said, “there’s like, ten people down there I want to feed from.”
“But we’re so high,” muttered Penny as she watched the vampire swoop down into the darkness.
In her mind, she recounted the end of her interview with Dagwood and his transcriber, an attentive gold faerie with matching typewriter.
It would be neglectful of me not to ask Penny how she’s finding The Cave, considering her peculiar and quite frightful experiences with the Creeps.
‘I count myself lucky,’ she says ‘you’ve all treated me well, I’ve done things I never thought I’d do, and I’m stronger than ever. I was unhappy before, but I think being down here helped me get to grips with my past, because really, it’s not my past, is it? My parents are still alive, and Lockview still exists. I can flick between the two at any time if I wanted to. Now, I’m more on a mission to reconcile my two “presents”, if you know what I mean? I have responsibilities outside The Cave too, and I don’t want to keep hiding from it. Even if my parents are unhappy with it, I want to get to a point where I can love myself to be happy with them anyway, and let any issues I had with them be sorted and buried. I think that’s when I know I’d have truly overcome everything. It’s more important to me than Tarquin, even. I can’t help others if I don’t help myself, and I can’t love anyone if I can’t love myself either. You could say that my parents back in Lockview are the Tarquin Bloods of the human world—my own personal mission.’
And that, friends, is the story that kept me sane through my teenage years. Reading it again after all these years has been so much fun, and I surprised myself with how well I wrote back then, and how engaging and humorous my writing was. When we’re writing, we can’t really see our progress, and so it’s been a bit of an encouragement looking back and seeing how far I’ve come since then. I’m no longer angry, or too heavy handed with messages, and my vocab’s certainly improved!
I wanted to end the year with the story fully published here, so thanks for reading this far if you’ve discovered it. I can finally say that I have a novel published, on my own little website. And I’m proud of it. It’s even inspired me to get back into fantasy, and to continue the rest of the series, because looking back, I had some good ideas here, and some fun characters (I love Armand, and Ulrich and Josh; love Cordelia, Klaus, Chloe and Charlie). And, because I had already planned the whole four-part story, why wouldn’t I continue it?!
Thanks for reading! And always remember; if you have a story you want to read, you have to write it.