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God willin' and the creek don't rise.


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Atticus Hammond

It’s mid-afternoon when his cell phone rings, summoning Atticus’s attention away from a thick black grimoire covered in hand written notes. The contact flashes across his screen – Sookie Hammond. Gray eyes crinkled, face twisting in frustration as he slides to ignore the call. Just as his body is turning back to his desk, the phone begins to ring again. With a ragged sigh, he lifts the phone up one more, swipes to answer, and presses it to his ear.

Yes?” His greeting is curt, never one to share sentiments with his mother.

“Atticus? Sweet Jesus, it’s been two months. Where in the hell have you been?” To her credit, her tone carries a degree more panic than he’s grown used to. What she lacked in maternal instinct, she made up for in gumption.

Two months? Don’t exaggerate.” Parched lips murmur in response, his twang crawling out as it often did when he spoke with his mother. Exhaustion creeped on his tone. How long had it been since he’d left this desk? A day? Two? And how much longer than that was his last decent meal? He could easily lose track of time, and this was no exception.

“You’re a father, Atticus. You can’t just dump your daughter on my doorstep for half the year and run off because you’ve got another one of your hunches.”

Don’t say it like that.” He replies irritably. “And don’t scold me on proper parenting. You didn’t earn any gold stars, Sookie, believe me.” His eyes wander back to the grimoire, feeling drawn back towards its inviting recluse. “I have to go.”

“Atticus!” She shouts, garnering his ever waning attention. “Are you okay?”

No.” He replies with a smile, pulling the phone away so his thumb could press the ‘End Call’ button.

Not that Atticus has moved much from his small slice in Paris since he arrived, his time in London hadn’t been much different. Something had happened in Olduvai Gorge, Atticus was… off. His normally well-groomed appearance had given way to shaggy hair, black bangs threatening to reach his eyes. His beard was unkempt, having been grown out in its patchy glory. He was sunken looking, dark purple circles under his eyes. And his attachment to the grimoire now lovingly held in his hands again… Something was wrong.

But Camille wasn’t here to know any better, and those around him were only meeting him for the first time – perhaps this was just normal Atticus. His phone would vibrate again moments later, only for him to upend the device in a glass of water. He couldn’t afford any further interruptions – time was of the essence.

October 11, 2018 03:38 pm

Atticus Hammond

A month, or more, since that brief phone call had transpired. Atticus has failed to keep track of time, and of many, many other matters. There were no longer fleeting moments of cognizance, instead only a mindless droning – his body captured in a limbo of his mortal ties and the deepest, darkest dies of his inhumanity – a curse that would bog his soul forevermore.

From Paris, Atticus travels to Charleston, back to his trailer where his grimoires beckoned him like a moth to a flame. The draw to these old Germanic texts had once been so significant Atticus had been left with no other choice but to put oceans between him and the tomes. And for some time, playing husband and father across Europe prevented him from being sucked deeper into the madness that licked at the edges of his mind, preying on him to steep further into the darkness.

Arriving at his trailer, he finds the land quite unlike how he’d left it. What was one concrete foundation and support beams had sprouted into a home, the ground he’d broken nearly a year ago finally forming a home suitable for his wife and daughter. Big Forrest has been hard at work, he can tell. But the sentiments are lost on him as he walks towards his trailer with purpose, the whispers having only grown stronger as his proximity to the grimoires shrank. Yet so poorly timed, his father appears.

“Atticus?” Big Forrest begins, his expression notedly shocked. Certainly he has seen his son lost in his studies before, but never so evidently sickly. His physical appearance, of course, matched with months of radio silence have left Atticus’s father failing to find the words.

But this doesn’t register for Atticus as he is now, who brushes past Big Forrest without expression. It’s when his father’s hand grips his forearm that a reaction stirs.

With the same brutal strength channeled in his more beastly form, Atticus launches Big Forrest back several feet in the dirt, a hoof of air leaving his lungs as he is clearly winded. He advances as his father’s fingers desperately dig at the soil, trying with all of his might to propel himself backwards. How simple it would be to scramble to his feet and run – but he would have no such luck. Instead his son’s hand would grab his throat and hoist him to his feet in a sweeping motion, the pressure on his windpipe further preventing him from gathering his breath.

There’s no moment of realization for Atticus as his grip tightens, as his gray eyes watch the same light leave his father’s. There is no opportunity for the scrapes of humanity left within Atticus Hammond to prevent this patricide. Instead, it could only be concluded that Forrest Hammond was in the wrong place at the wrong time, not just on this day, but 35 years ago.

The day he had met Sookie Williams was the day he was bewitched – literally – and the day Sookie had decided it was better to have the man for as long as she would have him, knowing that to have him would in fact be to lose him. In all of her wisdom, which was not much for a witch of only 25, she could have never guessed that his downfall would be at the hands of their child. That his life she had decided for him against his will, this son that they had poured their lives into, would quite literally crush the life from his body.

Forrest dies with his eyes open, and when his body hits the dirt again, there is no rush of wind. Only the hollow thump of a corpse as it returns to the earth.

And so Atticus continues on to his Airstream.

There is work to be done, after all.

November 26, 2018 08:40 pm
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