He made his way over, and Gavin reluctantly followed, almost afraid to leave the safety of the door’s alien light, a light that had a faint blue hum in his head that was like a comforting pressure, a mink-padded vise. He would like to stay. There was that poster in there with the saying that had picked its way into his brain in metal stylus points, writ in old crumbling blood: Dedicate your productive cooperation. He liked that. He liked T.W. Wilder and the dusty earthiness of his thrift store clothing, the soft bulge of his prodded veins. The cold rattle of Ruby Goodspeed’s horns, she wasn’t quick to come around to him but there was nothing bad in her, he almost admired her standoffishness because it came from the same place the warlock’s did: a desire to protect their town and everything that was familiar. Gavin wouldn’t hold it against them, it wasn’t their fault he was the one that was alien. It’s didn’t detract at all from the pull of the place, the spaceship halo of that lovely Strex-made florescence. There were traces of Strexcorp in there too, from the hands of the workers that had built it and departed and from the supervisors who visited from their distant city and stood in high heels or well-shined black shoes and checked things off on clipboards and made Dr. Cisneros very nervous. Gavin could taste the acrid sweat. But there wasn’t enough remaining to give Gavin a true sense of the corpocracy, only the faintest traces of sunshine and the scent of money and blood. It didn’t frighten him away. It made him hungry. And it whispered things a hell of a lot more comforting than Bishop Dufour, who gave off the stench of an animal anger and fear and whose finely-tailored waistcoat and leather shoes dyed the red of blood in a gutter set off alarms in his brain. He had read a lot on the man when he’d walked in the room, when he’d touched the savior-eyed face and most of it had not been easy to swallow. He’d been attracted to it like bright neon lights, and he’d related to much in his dark countenance but the werewolf’s reaction to him was starting to sour things and just as the deer senses the predator Gavin was scenting high the rage in the air and feeling in his long limbs like he needed to bolt. But he was used to this. He sensed a lot of dark things in people, and he’d been stuck in enough subway cars with people who he knew wouldn’t mind taking a chunk out of him that he knew how to hold his ground and sit with the feelings. He had seen worse monsters than this. He carefully sat down on the bench, leaving as much distance as possible between the two of them, and pressed his narrow knees together.

“I won’t bite, you know,” Bishop said, giving a wide, humorless grin, and took another drag off his cigarette. “But as I was saying. More importantly, how the hell did you know that my sister raised me?” He waved the hand with the cigarette through the air. “I mean, I know, I know what you’re supposed to be able to do, and the things you said before… about my mother…”

“Fransisca,” Gavin said, and immediately regretted it when he saw Bishop’s expression tighten, new lines coming out of nowhere and his whole face darkening, becoming somewhere else. Out in the desert, reflexively, there was a high and hooting cry, maybe a bird, maybe something else. Bishop’s gaze darted away to it, sniffing the air, and Gavin was grateful for the second’s relief from the darkness before he turned back.

“That’s her,” the werewolf said coldly, something guarded in his brow, in the stiff way he held his hand with the cigarette smoke trailing. Gavin saw her smoking as well, out on that settee on the back porch, the air humid and fragrant and green from the overgrown Louisiana backyard, one foot up on the faded cushion and her arm with its trailing cigarette propped up on her bony little knee, her long printed dress flowing in folds around her. Piles of handwritten pages lay on the seat between them, her and her son, and the anger and resentment he felt towards her in her absence had melted away the second he saw her face, strikingly beautiful, animated, haunted. He remembered so little of her inside the crumbing, ill-maintained house taking care of her four children, but she was always here, on the porch, stroking his dark hair out of his eyes, making everything all right just for a moment. Gavin knew she was dead. He knew where her body was, forever, in Bishop’s mind, not buried in the Baton Rouge cemetery because he had been drunk that whole day and the whole ridiculous affair was a damn blur except the times when Daphne had yelled at him and when he told her he would sober up when she stopped and really grieved and felt something, but instead in the mortuary in New Orleans where he had demanded to come in with Daphne to identify the body despite being underage, where his ferocity had cowed the attendant to bend the rules because of the inexplicable drive inside him to see her, to see her face, to really see her dead because he had to know. And he saw her. And he would always remember her like that, cold and three days dead because that’s how long it had taken to identify her body, because none of the junkies she’d been with had known her last name. Fransisca Gonzaga-Dufour would always be those two things, the woman on the porch and the woman in the stainless steel drawer, simultaneously, in Bishop Dufour’s mind.

i had previously had all my cathode springs fiction in one document and i just divided out the major threads that are character specific— bishops origin story, bethany and viola, gavin, the robotics lab/field trip with diego. so now i have a bunch of nice neat files and itll be easier for me to keep up with things. 

also even after taking out all that— and keep in mind viola/bethany is 50 pages and bishop is 40, gavin is 45— the general cathode springs file is still at 150 pages. 

god damn ive written a lot.

 can i just publish it all into one big messy novel where nothing is ever finished? no?