Campaign of the Month: March 2017

Nocturnum: Rebirth

Closure

Anita Blake
Henry Anders

Private side bar taking place between episode 4 and episode 5. For this webisode, Anita was portrayed by Julie, her original player.

Sometimes while Emily and Darrek are working, Henry takes his laptop to the Hive Arcana to work on his schooling. His motivation for doing this, aside from not wanting to be alone in the house all day, is partially to work up the courage to have a difficult conversation with Anita. Finally, after recovering the Night Stone from the steam tunnels underneath Oakland, he manages to steel himself and knocks on Anita’s door.

Henry: Anita? Are you busy? I need to talk to you, if it’s okay.

Anita: Sure. You want a cup of coffee?

Henry: Yeah, coffee would be great. Thanks. Sooo… you’re a necromancer and stuff, huh? That must be pretty interesting. I’m sure you hear a lot of neat stories from the ghosts and what not…

Anita: More like incessant yammering…but as far as Gifts go, necromancy is pretty damn nifty. I once animated a frozen chicken and made it dance. No lie. Ask Matthew if you don’t believe me.

Henry: That sounds pretty fun. Darrek doesn’t let me do anything fun like that with my Gift (Henry pauses awkwardly, looking at his feet). Okay, I have to just spit this out, because if I don’t then I’m just going to yammer on and on until I end up running back downstairs and working on algebra homework. After my parents died and i ended up on the streets… all I can think about is how much I miss them. I never got to say goodbye… I didn’t even get to go to their funeral (Henry starts crying). Please, is there anyway you can help me talk to them? I know you’re busy and you have more important things to do and I’m just a stupid kid, but I just need to hear Mom’s voice one more time. I need to hear Dad make another one of his stupid jokes about French philosophy. I need to tell them I love them…

Anita passes Henry some tissues and is quiet for awhile.

Anita: You’re not stupid, Henry. I just don’t know if I can contact your folks. If they’ve already moved on beyond the threshold…well, no one living gets to access the Death Realms. It’d kinda be like epic cosmic cheating, and the Powers That Be don’t really go for that.

Her face softens.

Anita: I can certainly try, just understand that I make no promises. I can tell you, though, not to worry about whether they knew that you loved them. They always know that they’re loved. No matter how much of a pain in the ass you were to them. None of that matters anymore.

Henry wipes his eyes and blows his nose. He manages to compose himself, and looks a little embarrassed for having lost control of his emotions.

Henry: I understand if you can’t. It’s been two years. If they’ve moved on, found peace, then that’s good. Knowing it would still bring me some closure. It’s just with the way that they died… how sudden it was, and leaving me behind… I just need to know. And if they haven’t moved on, then maybe I can help them rest… I know everyone wants just one more minute with the people they’ve lost, and it’s probably really selfish of me to ask for something that almost no one else gets…

Anita nods.

Anita: You don’t have to explain, kiddo. Believe me, I get it. If you have a personal item that belonged to one of them, that’d be helpful. Not necessary, though, so if not, don’t sweat it.

Henry pulls a worn leather journal out of his backpack.

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Henry: This was my mother’s. She wrote down what she learned about the creatures she fought, the spells she learned, the people she helped. She had it with her the night she… the night she died. I had time to grab it after you guys left, before the police got there… It’s the only thing I have left of hers…

He hands the journal to Anita with a trembling hand.

Anita gets up, goes over to the door of her office and locks it, then walks back over to her desk. She opens one of the lower drawers and pulls out two black candles, matches, some chalk, a small bottle of rum, and three shotglasses. She clears everything off of the top of her desk and begins to draw an elaborate veve with the chalk. One finished, she carefully sets Henry’s mother’s journal in the center, with the two black candles on either side which she lights with the matches. Finally, she pours the rum into the shotglasses, sets one of them by the journal, hands one to Henry, and picks the other one up.

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Anita: Bottoms up, kiddo.

She shoots the rum, sits back in her chair, takes a deep breath, loosens up, and closes her eyes. When she speaks, her voice is in a lower register than normal.

Anita: What were your parents’ names?

Henry takes the shot of rum with a wince and a cough, making a mental note to definitely not tell Darrek about this particular detail.

Henry: Larry… Lawrence, I mean. Lawrence and Lana Anders.

Henry would feel a swell of Essence come from Anita, and then a long period of silence. Then Henry hears Anita murmur: “O God, Who commands us to honor our father and mother, look in the tenderness of Thy mercy upon the souls of Henry’s father and mother, Lawrence and Lana Anders; forgive them their sins, and grant unto Henry the joy of seeing them again in the glorious light of everlasting life. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.”

She crosses herself, opens her eyes, and blows out the candles.

Anita: They’re not in the threshold, honey.

She picks up the third shotglass of rum and passes it to Henry.

Anita: Go downstairs through the theater and into the back alley. Walk to the end of the alley to where it crosses the street, and pour this out onto the ground, then come on back up and we’ll talk some more. And be sure not to look back. Got it?

Henry fights back tears. Relief that his parents have moved on battles with the disappointment that, even with Anita’s vast powers, he will never get to say goodbye. He takes the shot glass and stands up.

Henry: Okay. Be right back.

He takes the glass to the alley as Anita instructed, and empties it onto the ground where she specified. He feels a strong urge to look back as he returns to the Hive, but knows enough about both magic and Anita to understand that she would not have made such a specification for no reason, and resists the temptation. He returns to Anita’s office and sits back down.

Henry: Even after two years, it still hurts. Knowing that I’ll never see them again, never hear Dad make some quip about Descartes or Lacan, knowing that I’ll never eat Mom’s lasagna again… I know you’ve lost people before. People you loved. Does it ever stop hurting?

Anita is flipping through the journal when Henry returns to her office. The veve has been wiped clean and everything is put away. When he sits back down she closes the journal and hands it to him.

Anita: No, it never stops hurting…but I’ve learned that it’s not supposed to. It’s a constant reminder of how much you loved them, and how much they loved you. And even though they’re not here anymore, their love will never go away, Henry. It’s inside of you, it’s a part of you, and it will make you stronger, if you allow yourself to feel it. It’s the most precious gift of the legacy that they left you.

She pauses and looks at him.

Anita: I’m not the biggest fan of talking about my feelings, but even I have to admit it does help. So does remembering. It will hurt…but it will be okay. You will be okay. And you don’t have to do it alone. You still have people who care about you, and if you give them a chance, I think you’ll be surprised by how much they understand. I know that I was…and I still am.

Henry is quiet for a long time, absent-mindedly tracing the edges of his mother’s journal.

Henry: Well, I should probably get back downstairs and finish my algebra work. Darrek and Emily will have my hide if I don’t finish it.

He stands and walks over to the door. He pauses, hand on the knob, and looks back at Anita.

Henry: Thank you. For trying, for talking. For everything. Can we keep this between us, though? I don’t want Darrek to know I came to you like this. I’m not sure how he’d take it, finding out that I opened up to you and asked you for help instead of him or Emily. I’m also pretty sure he wouldn’t be too happy that you gave me rum. Even if it was for magic related purposes.

Anita: I doubt he’d be surprised. I have a very unique skill set. So…that thing I said about giving people a chance? I was talking about Darrek. He has lost people, too…and I’m no shrink, but I’m fairly certain that he holds himself responsible for what happened to your parents. That’s probably a big part of why he’s being so hard on you. I think a sit down would do you both some good…but that ball’s in your court. And I won’t mention our talk, but if he asks me directly, I’m not going to lie to him…I’m trying out this whole transparency thing where he’s concerned…

She pauses.

Anita: …but we definitely won’t tell him about the rum. No thanks necessary, it’s what I do. My door is always open, kiddo.

And with that, she winks at Henry, and goes back to her paperwork.

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