Everyone, it’s just as I feared.
As of immediately after posting this, I’m no longer allowed to write on this blog.
For all three of the people upset by this news (hi mom) don’t worry: I’m allowed to come back to it in September when I’m — well okay hang on let me back up a little bit.
Last we spoke was five days ago on Saturday, right after the dog saints had made their super power debut.
Since then, most of the people that were tied up have been freed. The rest have escaped.
Yes. Billy Ace is at large.
You may be asking yourself, how in the fuck did a group of people that included literal witches allow this dude to slip through their fingers? And to that I say good question, but it’s actually easier than you’d think.
Anyone heard of swatting? I’m guessing most of you have, but it’s when you call the cops and tell them there’s an emergency somewhere, so they go in with the full SWAT team for no reason and cause a huge scene for what turns out to be no reason.
Yeah, that’s exactly what they did to us.
Apparently, Ace missed a certain number of phone check ins with a contact, and that contact took some ACTION. It was total chaos, but also we do have magic users so they were able to cover most of the really incriminating stuff — like all the weapons, and the dead cryptid heads they keep on the walls.
But still, in the chaos, Billy and his inner circle, INCLUDING FUCKING ALEC escaped.
I mean, they’re on the run from an entire genre of person that hunts a lot badder prey than a tech bro and his minions, but still, how fucking annoying.
On the bright side, the vast majority of these new hunters that used to answer to Billy were pretty much happy to answer to us.
We held a vote yesterday, and everyone unanimously agreed that Beverly be recognized as our leader.
She requested that she not be called the leader though. Instead, she’s officially known as The Coordinator which is a much cooler moniker anyways.
Also, yes, you read that correctly: unanimously.
The new hunters were all relieved to have somewhere to look for guidance and everyone else… well, most everyone else figured Bev was doing the job anyways. Also, I think that when she said that her first move would be to put together a circle of ambassadors, that pretty much settled everyone’s concerns.
The only person with any real concerns was Lana. She called to cast a unanimous vote for Beverly from everyone at Palefish, but with a side note I fully did not understand:
“I can promise you as many of my resources as will agree to work with you,” Lana said. “But I can’t promise that the families will honor my alliances.”
“Yeah well,” Beverly sighed. “That’s a bridge we’ll have to burn when we come to it.”
Who are the families, you ask?
Great question. I don’t know the answer.
When I asked the Hawthornes, Neal made a face. “Rich assholes with a god complex,” he said. “Don’t worry about them.”
And you know what? I’m not gonna. I’ve got enough to worry about. See, Beverly wasn’t the only one who had business with Lana over the last few days.
Let me finish tying up the loose ends real quick, and then I’ll get to the Worst Part.
1. Eden and Cosima left literally Saturday morning. Eden isn’t comfortable around this many people, and I understand why — like, Neal knowing when I lie feels invasive hahaha. Eden can change my very experience of the world.
“They’re going to meet Jade,” Cooper explained in the morning when we found they’d suddenly disappeared. “I told them to go. We have a handle on everything around here, and if there’s anyone who can help Eden, it’s Jade.”
2. Marco Torres is going to make a full recovery. He’s got a lot of physical therapy in his future, but he’s gonna be fine.
He’s also gonna be one of Beverly’s circle. She sat down with the hunters Ace left behind first thing on Saturday and told them that she figured they’re about to represent the largest numbers of our circle, and that they should have someone to represent their own interests. David nominated Marco immediately, and everyone agreed.
We love to see a good guy win
3. Celeste is calling a SECOND witches summit hahahahaha
She is not thrilled about this. But Beverly wants Celeste in her circle of ambassadors, and Celeste can’t just accept that without actually talking to the rest of the covens.
“This summit could be an email,” she sighed as she pulled out the little clay coin from her wallet.
4. Yes, Beau is thrilled with this whole turn of events, and is deep in plans to further expand the emporium, despite Paul begging him to slow down.
5. Most everyone else is long gone — back to their hunts. Hunters don’t stay still for long
Knock, Daryl and Rook left Wednesday.
Before they left Rook texted me one more time to see if we could meet. It was horrible to see that little text bubble at the bottom of a whole column of texts I never responded to, so I took a deep breath and said yeah.
I thought we’d go get something to eat and we’d talk it out — and by talk it out, yes, I did have every intention of explaining what happened. Since Ace did almost kill him because of my little ability after all. I mean there are a few reasons I owe Rook at least part of an explanation, and besides that I really did want to tell him. Like maybe not EVERYTHING. But at least the reason I stopped talking to him. I want things to go back to the way they were.
I even got the rabbit’s keys from Neal so I could drive, but when Rook came and found me, I totally froze up. He reached to hug me and I just felt myself go rigid so he stopped.
He said, “Can we um… go for a walk?”
My brain went absolutely blank. Just the smoothest brain. I turned and started walking right there.
But there wasn’t really anywhere for us to go. We sorta wandered down the road towards the gas station, past all the side-of-the-road flotsam. Just the agonizing sound of our footsteps crunching on rocks and broken glass.
“…so,” he said. “I um… I don’t want to force you to talk if you don’t want to…”
But I did want to!!! He was right there!!! I’d ghosted the shit out of him, but he was here anyways, giving me the chance to explain!!!
“Look,” he said. “We never talked about like… being serious or anything. Whatever’s up, it’s cool.”
Hahahahahahaha ah how the icy fist squeezed my little pathetic heart.
I didn’t know what to say. Like if I could have just STARTED maybe we’d be somewhere else right now, but I didn’t even know how to start.
He asked, “Did something happen?”
And inside my head was screaming YES, but my throat was squeezing shut and I knew if I opened my mouth I’d totally break down, and I just couldn’t do that. I couldn’t do it.
I realize in retrospect, that I still haven’t said what happened out loud. I BARELY told my doctor. I don’t know why I thought I’d be able to say it to him.
“If something happened, you don’t have to tell me,” he said. “If it’s none of my business that’s okay.”
And when I couldn’t respond to that he asked, “Did you bring Julian back?” and oh god. It was like the inside of my head was on fire and everyone in there was trying unsuccessfully to escape.
Rook sighed, “Alright, well… I mean I hope you’re okay.”
And when I didn’t answer that, he said, “We can be friends at least, right?”
HAHA 💔💀💔 heart in a thousand pieces.
I managed, “we are!” but I haven’t been acting like his friend. Not for months now.
“Then why didn’t you text me back? I thought you’d died!”
I didn’t have an answer for him. I stopped in the road and realized that this whole conversation is totally pointless.
“I should get back,” I said and looked away so I wouldn’t have to watch his face fall.
All he said was, “Okay.”
We didn’t say anything to each other as we walked back to the parking lot. He said, “I’ll see you around, Shiloh.” Within an hour, they’d gone.
I didn’t see them leave. I was too busy crying in the back of the rabbit lol.
And if you thought that was the Worst Part haha nope.
This is the Worst Part.
So yesterday I was moping around and Neal and Julian came to find me. Together.
They’ve been pretty much at Beverly’s side this entire time, helping her deal with all the voting. and finding people to depend on, and trying to find Ace, and generally figuring out how to create a real system of government. They’ve also not let me out of their sight which is overbearing though I grudgingly admit that that’s probably for the best.
So I was lying on one of the tables with my headphones on, really living up to my full Sad Girl potential
(I’ve been experience a sadness snowball effect, I’m like fully miserable about Rook, but also you know who would know just what say? Cara would know what to say. And the only person on earth who could really understand any of this is Madelyn, Madelyn who I can still feel beside me if I close my eyes hard enough. Truly the grief never goes away you just learn to walk beside it)
and then there were both Neal and Julian.
“Hey, we need to talk,” Neal said and my poor little heart just stopped.
When I asked what we needed to talk about, Neal tapped my shoulder to nudge me along and said, “C’mon kiddo,” and I knew it was bad.
They drove us to a crusty little trucker diner a few miles out of town, and they refused to tell me what we needed to talk about until we were seated with menus. They were a little too focused on their menus too, like it was so painfully obvious that this was going to be awful I just sat there looking between them, 100% not hungry at all.
“Why do I feel like you guys are getting divorced,” I said and Neal blew out a long, horse breath.
“We need to talk about your future,” Julian said and I must have visibly recoiled because he made a pained face and glanced at Neal, who panicked and said, too quickly, “we can’t keep you safe.”
“What?” I said, looking between them.
Neal set down his menu and looked at his hands. “We’ve discussed your situation with Beverly and Lana, and I just…” He gestured helplessly. “Ace thinks you can raise the dead. Who knows who he’s going to tell. I can’t promise that the two of us will be able to protect you.”
And I must have been wearing an expression of absolute betrayal because he added, “I wish so much that we could — if it were up to me, we’d move to Antarctica and leave this whole mess behind us, but we can’t do that, and it’s putting you in danger.”
I was falling from a great height, falling and falling
“I don’t care about being safe,” I said.
“I know,” Julian said, and oooo I hated how gentle his voice was. “And that’s why we have to care for you.”
“I haven’t been safe all year,” I said. “That’s the gig, it’s dangerous!”
They exchanged a glance.
“It’s different now,” Neal said. “You know that.”
“So… what,” I said. “What, you’re just gonna take me back to Black Lake? Leave me on my mom’s doorstep? Because if you think that’s gonna stop me hunting —”
“Black Lake isn’t any safer than hunting with us,” Neal said. “We’re not taking you back to Black Lake.” He hesitated a moment, and then said, without meeting my eye, “Lana said —”
“No,” I interrupted seeing where this was going, but Neal just raised his voice a tiny bit to speak over me.
“ — she’d be happy to welcome you among her new students next year at Palefish. She said you’re an ideal candidate.”
“No,” I repeated.
“Shiloh —” Julian began but I wasn’t having it.
“No!” I cried. “I’m learning to hunt from you! I don’t need Palefish!”
The Hawthornes exchanged a look and they were genuinely devastated and that made it so much worse.
“You need space to learn,” Julian said, so gently. “A safe place where you can come to understand —”
“What?” I demanded. I was furious, hurtling straight down the rage road, no breaks, no windshield. “Understand what?”
I wanted them to say out loud that they were sending me away because of my power, because that was so unjust and they knew it.
Instead, Neal said, “What would you do if I died tomorrow?”
That brought me up short.
“I’d…” But my heart had begun to race, because I knew exactly what I’d do.
“You’d — find a way to bring me back,” Neal said. But that find a way was doing a lot of work, wasn’t it. “And while I can’t even begin to express the gratitude — Shiloh, truly, there aren’t words to describe the debt I owe you for bringing Julian back. But I can’t knowingly put you in that position again. Not until after you’ve had time and space to process and understand your power.”
And that’s when the waitress arrived.
“Alright, what can I do for you folks?” she asked, with a big red smile as I furiously smeared wet off my cheeks.
“I’ll have a burger, and she wants hash browns and the pie of the day,” Neal said (which was indeed what I wanted, how dare he know my order) and Julian added, “With a grilled chicken salad on the side.”
“She won’t eat that,” Neal said, and Julian rolled his eyes and said, “vegetables,” and I just sat there and let ✨pain✨ wash over me, just wave after wave of it, how dare they.
When the waitress had gone, I said, “It’s my choice. MY choice.”
“It absolutely is your choice,” Neal agreed, fiercely. “But if I’m lying there dead, or Julian is, and you have the power to bring us back, what kind of choice is that? That’s not really a choice at all.”
My throat was squeezing and I couldn’t breathe or see through my traitor wet eyes and my whole body felt stiff and rigid with rage.
“Shiloh,” Neal said, softly, looking for my eyes. “I can’t put you in a position where you have to tell one of us you’re not bringing the other back. That’s not fair to you.”
What I wanted to tell him was that I would absolutely always bring them back, I don’t care, I DON’T CARE what I have to do.
But what was I gonna do, tell Neal that the situation with Julian didn’t traumatize the shit out of me? He was there. I literally shaved my head. Also LOL I LITERALLY CAN’T LIE TO HIM.
Fuck Neal Hawthorne.
“Palefish can help you study your power,” Julian said. “In a safe, controlled environment.”
I gritted my teeth so I wouldn’t scream at them.
“We just want you to have some space and time,” Neal said. He was pleading with me, damn him. “Your best chance at having that is by going to Palefish.”
And then Julian added, “Plus Palefish can keep you safer than we could ever hope to. And given your particularly ability —” He stopped at a swift look from Neal.
“What about my ability?” I asked, somewhat defensive.
The boys exchanged a look, and shifted uncomfortably before Neal finally said,
“What do you think people would do to bring their loved ones back?”
The answer is anything, people will do anything to bring their loved ones back. If there’s anything I’ve learned in the last 2 years, it’s that the answer is anything.
My blood ran absolutely cold.
“We just want you to be safe,” Julian said, so earnestly.
“So you’re sending me away?” I wailed, and saying it out loud is what finally got me. Lol face down on the table, face in my arms, bald and sobbing hahahahahaha. Classic Shiloh.
“We’re not sending you away,” Neal said sliding around to sit beside me. “Alright, we sort of are, but not because we want to.”
“And not for a while,” Julian added. “Everyone agreed that we can take the next few months to ourselves, just the three of us, until term starts in September.”
“And you won’t be the only one!” Neal added, too quickly. “Bass is attending in fall as well, and so is Rook!”
And to that I said, “oh god,” and dissolved further.
In retrospect I can imagine their dismay with some amusement but at the time I was 100% just feeling sorry for myself.
“You’ll get a degree,” Julian offered, helplessly. “College! It’ll be good! You can do whatever you want with your future!”
To which I said, (sobbed) “What future, the world’s like basically ending,” and then before either of them could say anything, I added, (sobbed) “Why am I bald?”
And that was the point at which the Hawthornes realized we’d passed the point of rational conversation and Neal just dragged me close and let me cry on him hahahahahaha. I didn’t even notice when the food got here, but when it did, I ate some of the stupid salad to make Julian happy, and I admit, I did feel a little bit better.
“Do I have to go?” I asked.
“Of course not,” Neal said. “What are we gonna do, imprison you?”
“But I can’t keep hunting with you?”
They exchanged a glance.
“If you stay with us,” Julian said, gently, “we’ll stop hunting. And that’s okay! It can be the three of us and Beverly, she might appreciate the help.”
And for a moment I thought maybe that was an actual option. I imagined the three of us at the Crossroads, organizing hunters and pouring drinks. I imagined how tan I would get living in the desert. I imagined my tan, tan scalp.
But we all know the problem with benching the Hawthorne’s right? Like… I don’t need to explain that do I?
And I realized that I’m going to fucking Palefish.
“You don’t have to decide now,” Julian said. “You have a few months.”
“And if you hate it, we can come get you,” Neal added. “Go find ourselves a bunker in Antarctica. Hang out with the penguins.”
But I don’t want penguins. I want everything to go back to normal. Just us on the road, and the occasional few minutes of absolute gut melting terror.
Since then, Beverly has given us the official okay to get out of town.
“You’re sure you’ll be safe?” she asked this morning, glancing at me. I watched her from behind my sunglasses.
I have endeavored to make my displeasure over this whole injustice everyone’s problem.
“We won’t let her out of our sight,” Neal promised, looping an arm around my shoulder.
“I mean it,” Beverly said. “You stay at the safe house. No hunting.”
“Okay mom,” Neal sighed. “We’ll behave, I promise.”
Beverly asked the Flynn witches to keep an eye on Black Lake, just in case Ace decides to show up there. She wants me to go to Palefish right now, where she can be certain I’ll be safe.
Everyone’s being very dramatic.
“Be careful out there,” Beverly said, hugging me. “And if you need anything —”
“Yeah, we’ll let you know,” Neal promised, steering me out towards the rabbit to give Julian and Bev a moment together.
The sun was shining. The wind was blowing. Neal and I hauled our gear into the car the same as we have how many countless times this year, tossing each other the keys and ducking into our seats. Neal pulled us around to the bar’s door and beeped the horn.
“Let’s go!” he shouted, squinting through the passenger window as Julian opened the door.
“Cool it, I’m coming,” he sighed, sliding into the back seat.
“Mountains or ocean?” Neal asked as we backed out of the parking lot.
“Just not desert, I’m sick of desert,” Julian replied, leaning up between the seats to grab a bag of chips off the floor. “Somewhere remote, I wanna run.”
“What should we listen to?” I said, reaching for the aux, already cuing up my Sad Girl Jams.
“Nope,” Neal said, smacking my hand away. “Driver chooses the music.” He grinned at me, cranking the volume and stomping the gas so the wheels screeched as we swerved out onto the road.
So I said, “I hate this song,” and Neal flipped me off and raised his voice over the music to call me a liar.
The windows are down and the sun is shining and this is the last post I’m allowed to write until I’m safely cloistered at Palefish.
I’ll see you suckers then (love you mom I’ll call you later)