Once Upon a Time – Chap. 9.1

The humble home where Sylvia’s uncle resided looked much as she remembered it from infrequent visits in the past with her family. Made from crude bricks of stone and clay, the single-story structure appeared to be no more than a makeshift hut. It would hardly be sufficient housing if not for the fact Uncle Albert lived in what he referred to as the basement – an underground level lined with stronger walls than above and three times the size of his actual house.

Random springs, slabs of metal, and other objects from previous would-be inventions littered the yard like dandelions. The yard itself happened to be a lush green carpet despite being in the middle of a desert.

You say your uncle is not a magician?” asked V, eying the grass under them suspiciously. “How does he manage this?”

It’s not by magic,” insisted Sylvia. “He does it somehow using science and what he knows about plant growth. It involves soaking grass seeds overnight in a purplish solution that looks like watered-down grape juice.” That was truly all she understood about her uncle’s foliage accomplishments and all she wished to; as was the case with most of Uncle Albert’s experiments and inventions, one always felt a bit better if left in the dark.

Are those sculptures?” Bastiick pointed at a pile of unidentifiable metal structures.

No, those are-,” Sylvia paused, trying to use memory and logic to identify the haphazard art before them but neither helped. “I have no idea what those are.”

Deigen finished tying his horse to a wooden fence encircling the property and let out a yell after tripping over a smaller collection of debris. “Is your uncle this good a housekeeper inside his home?”

Sylvia scanned the yard. “This actually looks considerably better than last time I was here. Though don’t expect inside to be neat and tidy. He’s always working on three or so projects at a time so it’s a cluttered mess at best.”

I hope you have a key to get inside the cluttered mess,” called out Seth as she reached the front porch. “I don’t think your uncle is home.”

There’s a key he keeps hidden but I doubt he’s gone anywhere. He the type of person who rarely leaves home.”

Okay but-” the zombie wiggled a finger between her and Bastiick, “-I can sense the two of you but nothing living from in the house. Maybe you’re throwing me off though.”

Wait a minute!” V turned after tying his own horse to the fence post. “You can sense the living?”

Seth paused and shrugged. “Well, can’t you?”

No!” whined both vampires in unison, sharing a look of feeling cheated.

And neither of you are slowly decomposing either so stop complaining!” Seth stuck his tongue out and continued hobbling along in typical zombie strut.

Sylvia rolled her eyes and raised a hand to knock on the door; she froze as something caught her eye: a dried pool of blood spreading from the door handle down to the weathered boards underneath.

Looks like someone may have paid your uncle a visit before us,” said V, stepping forward and pushing Sylvia to the side. She was about to protest against being treated like a defenseless child again when several faint creaks emanated from inside. V drew his sword, aiming the blade toward the door. “And it sounds like something knows we’re here to visit as well.”

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