Chapter 1: The Deal
Anathema Device was a bright woman. She did her best to stay informed on all worldly topics and affairs, including that of politics and global warming. She was stuck living on this planet now since Armageddon wasn’t happening so she best stay informed in all the ways she can rally against big oil companies and inform the youth.
The youth in question being the quartet of kids led by the Antichrist who would come to her cottage every weekend and ask if she was doing anything particularly ‘witchy’. Her answer to that question was always the same. ‘Probably.’
One morning, she was sitting out in the garden flipping through the latest issue of ‘Green Witch Weekly’, a magazine made by witches, for witches, about all the tips and tricks on how to keep their earth and magic strong. It was even printed on recycled paper! Genius!
“Anathema!” She looked up from her magazine and saw the bikes of Adam Young and his friends riding up to her gate.
“Hey guys. What’s going on?” She asked as she went over and leaned on the gate door.
“You’re not gonna believe who we saw riding in the square.” Adam said.
“Let me guess it’s the Horsepeople again?” Anathema said jokingly, but when she turned to look at the kids faces she realized their answer. “Oh, c’mon!”
“Yep.” Adam popped the ‘P’ sound.
“Why are they here? Is it all of them?” Anathema said as she rolled up her magazine, grabbed her own bike, and opened the gate, walking out to the kids.
“Its only one. Not sure which.” Pepper said. “If it’s War can I handle her?”
“Do you still have a flaming sword?” Anathema asked rhetorically. “No. Your parents would never let me live it down if something happened to you.”
“Shouldn’t we call Uncle Crowley or Uncle Aziraphale?” Brian asked as Anathema got on her bike. “Since they’re kind of the supernatural ones.” Aziraphale and Crowley had taken the liberty of pseudo-adopting the Them. They were now the ‘wacky’ gay uncles who you see every other weekend at your baseball games and who definitely will be the one who teaches you how to drive without screaming at you. That was only in Crowley’s case, as Aziraphale himself still hadn’t quite grasped driving.
“I got this. I’m a witch. Also, I’m an adult. You guys don’t have to save the Earth anymore. The four of you stay here and I’ll go handle it. How hard can it be to make them leave if they’re all alone?” Anathema said as she started biking off. “There’s cake in the kitchen if you get hungry!” she yelled back at them.
The ride into the village square wasn’t very long. It was about three minutes up the road from Anathema’s cottage. When she got close, she saw a thick gray smog covering the area. It was so heavy she could barely see through it and it smelled of oil-soaked eggs. She heard the roar of an engine and the heat coming off of it, but she couldn’t find where it was coming from.
Anathema’s bike screeched to a stop and she got off of it, very carefully. The roar was getting louder. She looked around, trying to find its origin. The smog was hard on her lungs, and she started to cough.
“Hello!” she said in between a fit of coughing and wheezing. “Show-“ wheeze “yourself!” Anathema covered her ears as the roar became so loud she couldn’t even hear herself. On the bright side, when she looked over and heard the sound of tires grating against the ground, she found the source.
A low-riding motorcycle stopped not even an inch from where she stood. The smog, which Anathema soon realized was all from their tailpipe, started to clear. On the bike was a person, in broad terms, dressed head-to-toe in white, helmet included. Anathema remembered the Horsepeople and their stunning commitment to color-coordination. This was Pollution.
“What do you want?” Pollution groaned, taking off their helmet and shaking their head. A candy wrapper fell loose from their hair.
“Why are you here ?” Anathema asked. “Shouldn’t you be off ruining the planet or something? Isn’t that your job description? Why are you doing donuts in Tadfield?”
“I’m letting off some steam. You tend to bottle up your aggression when you get killed by children.” Pollution said as they stepped off their bike. Anathema cocked an eyebrow at them and crossed her arms.
“More like letting off some smog.” She muttered under her breath. “That doesn’t explain why you’re doing it here ?”
“The Antichrist lives here, doesn’t he?” They asked. “It’s to be petty. He ruins our fun, I ruin his village’s air supply. Seemed to be doing good against you.”
“You are such a child.” She shook her head and scoffed. This only made Pollution more upset.
“I’m over 300 years old and you’re a human! You don’t have any room to be calling someone a child!” Pollution snapped.
“Yeah, yeah, and you’re the one being petty against kids who can’t even order takeout yet.” Anathema said. “Besides right now all you’re doing is minorly affecting people with asthma.”
“That’s still a win in my book.” Anathema rolled her eyes and got her rolled up magazine which rested in her basket. Recycling’s supposed to combat pollution, isn’t it?
Anathema threw the magazine at Pollution’s head. It hit them right in the nose.
“Ow! Ok, that was just mean!” Pollution groaned and rubbed their nose. “What even was that?”
“My environmental witchcraft magazine. Printed on recycled paper.” Anathema said that as though it was perfectly reasonable to yeet it at a person’s face.
“ Witches, ” Pollution huffed. “Always so lovey dovey about this stupid hunk of dirt.”
“Yeah, I live here!” Anathema said “You do too, asshole.”
“Yeah but it’s my job to ruin it. I’m a rider for the Apocalypse, remember? You were there when a snotty kid stabbed me. It took weeks to get my corporation back! I had so many oil spills and commercial fishing issues to cause!” Pollution stomped over to Anathema, handing back the magazine which was now coated in a blotches of oil. “Here’s your stupid magazine.”
“Gee, thanks.” Anathema said, taking it back and trying to shake some of the oil off. “Can’t you just leave?”
“And why should I?” Pollution crosses their arms and raised a brow at Anathema.
“If you do, I’ll do you something in return. Tit for tat. However that saying goes.” Anathema said that, not really expecting the Horseperson to really give a shit about anything she could really offer to them. When she looked at them again she saw a wicked grin spread onto their face.
“Well..” Pollution said as they leaned in to Anathema’s ear and whispered to her. Her eyes went wide with disbelief.
“ Really? With me? ” Anathema asked. “You’re joking.”
“Sorry, witch. ‘Fraid not.” Pollution chuckled. “Do we have a deal?”
“...I mean, I guess?” Anathema blinked and fixed her glasses. “Don’t see why that’s what you want, but ok?”
“I’m only fulfilling my job. Part of that is making green hippies like you miserable.” They said. “I’ll be over tomorrow then? Say.. two o’clock?”
“You can say it but I still think it’s weird.” Anathema watched as they climbed back onto their bike and revved the engine. “I live down in Jasmine Cottage, it’s all the way at the end of the path. Can’t miss it. Really I have a huge garden.”
“Let me guess, everything in it you use to cook? Farm to table or whatever?” Pollution asked as they put on their helmet.
“Yeah, actually.” Anathema cocked an eyebrow at them again. This was a strange Horseperson, that was for sure.
“Well, I gotta motor. See you then, witch.”
And just like that, Pollution rode off into the distance. Anathema blinked twice and went back down to her home where the Them were devouring the cake on her kitchen table.
“They’re gone?” Adam asked, his mouth half full.
“Yeah.” Anathema nodded. “They’re weird.”
“How weird?” Pepper asked.
Pollution pulled up to a luxury apartment building and parked their bike beside three others. They turned it off and stepped off, removing their helmet as they walked up a flight of stairs to a room at the end of a long hall, a trail of trash following them on the wind. They knocked twice on the door before it clicked open.
“I’m home.” Pollution called out as they walked in. On the couch was War, also known as Carmine, wearing a black tank top and had her hair tied in a tight top knot. She was sitting by a fan which was placed in front of her freshly painted nails. Red, of course.
“Ay, Chalky. You get all that emoness out, yet?” She called, not even looking over to the door. In a chair opposite her sat Death, who they all called Grim when they weren’t working, who nodded at Pollution.
“Be nice.” Famine, commonly called Raven, said as he walked in from the kitchen. Funny enough for a being whose sole purpose was to spread hunger, he was a good cook. Takes one to know how to defeat one, he said. Really, War believed he just liked the smell. The smell of food you can’t yet eat prompted hunger, in a kind of masochistic way. “How was your ride?”
The Four Horsepeople had been renting an apartment near London for the last few months. At first, it was just to have easy access to the area incase any signs of an Apocalyptic restart was going to happen. No need to pay for expensive first class tickets or waste your time at Border Security. But now It was also because the Horsepeople hadn’t seen each other in a few decades and all felt their reunion had been very short lived. They used to get together every ten or so years but with tensions rising all around the world at all times at an all-time high nowadays, they hadn’t had much time to spend with each other.
“It was fine. ‘Till that witch from the air base showed up.” Pollution tossed their helmet into what was once supposed to be a nice cubby area where a family with kids could store their outdoor shoes together. Now it was where the Horsepeople kept their helmets and spare riding gloves.
“Oh, the messy haired one with the glasses or the old one who was fused with that angel?” War asked.
“Messy hair.” Pollution said as they plopped down next to her.
“And?” Famine asked as he leaned over the couch in a slutty kind of posture. You know the kind.
“Well she wanted me to leave and I didn’t want to, so we compromised.” War started to laugh.
“You? Compromise?” She asked. “This is coming from the hard-head who wouldn’t watch ‘Happy Feet’ because of its message against commercial fishing.”
“And I still never will.” Pollution stuck their tongue out at her. “But, yes. We came to an agreement.”
“YOUR TASTE IN WOMEN IS QUITE HYPOCRITICAL, YOU KNOW?” Death said nonchalantly as they started reading an unmarked book. Damn their omniscient-ass. Pollution probably blushed for the first time ever as War and Famine looked at them in surprise.
“Hold on, you didn’t!” Famine gaped. “Chalky, that’s good for you but her . That’s seven layers of hypocritical.”
“Give us the deets. Was she good? You know one time me and Cleopatra had a little too much mead and honey so we-“ War started telling the story of the time she got to see the Queen of The Nile’s sacred oasis, if you catch my drift, only to be cut off.
“I didn’t ask her to fuck me, geniuses!” Pollution groaned, falling sideways, laying their head on the armrest. Their greasy hair stained the fabric. “I only asked if she’d meet me tomorrow. We’d go on a little excursion in town. It’s totally a job-related plan, nothing more.”
“Oh really now?” Famine questioned. “How so?”
“Enlighten us.” War said.
“I’m everything that she hates. I ruin her day personally by just being me.” Pollution motioned to their whole self. “Gross.”
“Sounds a lot like bullshit to me.” War rolled her eyes.
“It’s legit! You’re both just gay and dumb.” Pollution said as they crossed their arms.
“Guilty as charged.” Both of them said at once.
“But seriously, Chalks. Don’t go catching feelings for little miss green energy.” Famine said as he stood up straight. “Wouldn’t end well, probably.”
“At least she wouldn’t try to come at you with a sword. Teuta on the other hand?” War was prepped to go on another long ramble about another one of the human women she took as a lover in all her years on Earth. They weren’t like angels or demons who more than not abstained from physical contact with humans. They were in a league of their own.
Death had been on Earth the longest but he was mostly above human touch, save for one lover he had in the 30s. War, the second oldest, was known for her female lovers. The saying may have been ‘make love, not war’ but she decided why not both. Famine, who followed shortly after War, had taken a few lovers of his own but nowhere near as many as War had. He liked the touch of both men and women, but his type was more aligned with how well they can either line his pockets or support his efforts. Rumor has it that Famine had slept with his assistant Frannie one night after a long ‘business meeting’. War started that rumor just to see how flushed he would get and laugh. Pollution was only a few hundred years old and hadn’t really experienced humans on a very personal level. They were more reclusive than the others. They always believed that working with humans was just a sure fire way to get their plans either needlessly complicated or completely ruined by a pesky little things humans had called a ‘conscience’. It was Hell’s job to make that part of them silent, so the world could be their playground. Sadly, the Earth agent was a bit of a flake.
“I’m just gonna mess with her. Nothing more. No need to worry about feelings or whatever it is you old people have.” Pollution said.
“You’re such a little jackass.” War kicked at them, never moving her nails from the fan’s path.
Pollution stood up and mimicked War in a very bitchy tone before taking a turn on their heels to their room. Not that they needed a room, but it was good to have a place where they can stew in their own muck.
It was all to ruin the day of one pesky little witch, that’s it.
That’s what they told themselves, at least.
Chapter 2: Rabbits and Berries
Anathema isn’t going to be idle on this weird little not-date. She’s going to make things just as hard for Pollution as they’re trying to make for her.
The old rotary phone in the back room of Aziraphale’s bookshop started to ring one fine Saturday at 1:45 pm, right before he planned to open up for the day. He hadn’t been expecting a call from anyone that day, since Crowley had already called earlier to say he was stopping by with lunch. Lunch, in their case, was cannolis from a lovely bakery a few blocks up the road.
“Hello?” Aziraphale said when he answered.
“Hey, Aziraphale.” Anathema said. She had her phone nestled between her shoulder and cheek as she was trying to get ready. The reality of what she was doing today hadn’t really hit her yet.
“Ah, Anathema dear. What a pleasant surprise. How are you doing?” Aziraphale smiled hearing his adoptive goddaughter. They hadn’t spoken all week as he was busy ‘reorganizing’ the shop, which wasn’t ever really organized, it just had a strange system of book locations that only Aziraphale and possibly Crowley knew how to find anything.
“Overall? Good. Today, specifically? Things are gonna get kinda weird.” Aziraphale frowned slightly.
“Beg your pardon?”
“Ok, so you remember the Horsepeople, right? Well, ok one of them was doing donuts down in the village square.” Anathema put her phone down and turned on speaker as she started combing her hair. “So I went down there to tell them to leave.”
“Oh dear are you alright? They didn’t hurt, you did they?” Aziraphale asked, his voice full of worry. A human going up against a Horseperson and not dying wasn’t something that just happens.
“No, no, I’m fine.” Anathema said. “It was only Pollution, I think that’s their name.”
“Then.. what’s the matter?” Aziraphale blinked and pressed the topic.
“They asked me out.”
Aziraphale nearly dropped the phone when he heard that. It just didn’t add up to him.
“Yeah, they asked to meet me today and we’d go on a trip into town.” Anathema pulled at a knot in her hair and bit her lip. “Anyway, I just wanted to ask if this seems like some kind of trap I should be worried about or not?”
“Well, you see my dear- Ah! Crowley!” Aziraphale had noticed the Serpent of Eden, also known as his husband, slither into the front doors. He was certain he had locked them the night before?
“Afternoon, Angel. Who’s on the line?” He asked, falling into a comfortable lounge chair beside the table where the phone sat.
“It’s Anathema, she’s going through a bit of a tricky issue.” Aziraphale said as he covered the phone’s bottom half. “Perhaps you can help her, dear boy.”
“Oh yeah? She having trouble reading that grimoire you lent her?” Crowley asked as Aziraphale passed him the phone.
“No, that’s not it. I’m actually doing really well transcribing the finer bits of it.” Anathema said. “So, Crowley, I have a date in about twenty minutes.”
“Congrats, poppet. Good on you, getting yourself out there.” He said.
“It’s with Pollution.”
“I— I-I’m sorry, what? ” Crowley blinked rapidly as though he was speaking in code. “One of those bastards? How the bloody hell did that happen? Tell me it didn’t happen on Tinder that would be really weird.”
Anathema explained just as she did to Aziraphale while she tied half her hair up into a bun. Crowley pinched the bridge of his nose and let out a sigh.
“You shouldn’t be too worried. The riders aren’t very subtle beings, they like to do things with flare. Even Death. He loves to loom ominously over someone’s deathbed before taking them.” Crowley fixed his posture a tad so he wasn’t sliding down the chair. “But, Pollution’s a weird one. Think you can handle being with them for the afternoon?”
“Oh I have a plan for that.” Anathema’s words were laced with mischief and cunning, two traits that Crowley was particularly proud of humans for developing. He smiled fiendishly.
“Do tell, witch of the waste.” He curled the phone cord around one of his long, slender, well-manicured fingers. Anathema appreciated the nickname, since she was the one who picked ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’ at the last movie night.
“They’re obviously up to something. So, I’ll just act like a living nightmare.” Anathema said as she put in a pair of stud earrings that went nicely with her favorite black lace top. “I’m talking ‘people who stand on the corner and hand out pamphlets about recycling’ levels of nightmare. That should thwart or stall whatever it is they plan to do.”
“Oh Ana, that is positively terrible of you. I’m so proud.” Crowley said like a parent who just watched their kid score a goal in a football match. “Tell me all about it once you get back.”
“I will.” Anathema said.
Outside her window she heard the rumble of a motorcycle pull up in front of the cottage. There they were, and early too.
“That’s them.” She said.
“Carry hand wipes in case they want to be more than just your personal nuisance.” He teased.
“Already have that covered.”
“So you expect them to?” Anathema had good taste of course, but being prepared for them to touch her in any way, shape, or form? That raised questions. “Someone forbid they try and hold your hand.”
“Hanging up now.” Anathema said as she exchanged goodbyes with her godfather.
Once she hung up she got her purse which held all her tools of green rebellion before heading out the door.
Outside the front gate was Pollution, wearing a white tracksuit that only had medium sized splotches of black- something along the legs of their pants and up the wrists of their jacket. They took off their helmet and shook their hair out again. It almost glistened in the sun from how greasy it was.
“You’re early.” Anathema said as she walked to the gate. She dressed like she always did, semi-gothic but with a splash of color for good measure. The splash in question was her skirt, long and forest green. Fitting for how she planned to ruin the ruiner’s day. “Thought we agreed at 2?”
“What? You’re not happy to see me?” Pollution leaned over their bike’s handles and rested their head up on their hands. “Get on. We’ll head into town.” They moved up to make some room, wiping off pieces of trash that sat on the small passenger seat like knick knacks sat on a shelf. Anathema’s brow furrowed as she watched the bits of plastic and crushed metal soda can fall onto the ground.
“Hold it.” Anathema said as they stopped what they were doing and looked over at her. “We’re taking my bike.”
“ Your bike?” Pollution sneered. “But it’s.. not motorized.”
“It helps cut back on carbon emission.” Anathema said as she pulled her bike out the gate.
“Yeah that’s the whole point of taking my bike. It doesn’t do that.” They said. “Besides, it’s barely a one seater.”
“You can hold on to me. I’m not toxic.” Anathema said as she climbed onto her own bike. It felt like a dig at Pollution themself, who was most likely toxic.
Pollution knew three things about Anathema at this point. One, she played some role in Armageddon. Two, she was a witch. And three, she was as stubborn as a rock. That was made incredibly clear when she would not get up from her bicycle despite their attempts to convince her it would take way longer to get to the town that was already twenty minutes away on motorcycle. She just would not budge. So much hassle for some stupid green cause.
“You are the worst human I've ever met. And I've met a lot.” Pollution grumbled as they begrudgingly parked their bike by the gate.
“Met and know are two different things.” Anathema said as they climbed onto her bike. “And you don’t know me at all.”
“Clearly.” Pollution rolled their eyes and wrapped their arms around her waist for support. That was all it was, so they wouldn’t fall off the stupid carbon-neutral bike. “Let’s just go.”
Anathema started to pedal in the direction that they pointed towards. It was a town farther south that, when Pollution last visited, had a lot of waste and trash and tons of litter. They weren’t trying to let Anathema enjoy her day after all. Of course not! They, on the other hand, liked the grime.
“So..” Pollution broke the awkward silence that had been persisting since the start of their ride. The two of them didn’t have much to talk about considering their situation. “I never did get your name, witch.”
“Anathema, Anathema Device. Friends call me Ana.” Anathema’s tone implied that they weren’t friends. Which was true. They really weren’t, and most likely would never be under normal circumstances. “Do you have any other name besides ‘Pollution’? It’d be a little weird to just call you that in a crowd of people.”
“Seriously?” She didn’t mean for that to be said out loud, but you can’t really blame her. Chalky wasn’t so much a name as it was an adjective. An appropriate one, yes. But it still was a weird choice.
“Somethin’ wrong with my name?” Pollution raised an eyebrow and tightened their grip on Anathema’s waist in an attempt to appear threatening. In reality, it was just more tender.
“No, no. Nothing. Just- it’s not a name I’ve ever heard.” She shrugged.
“That’s pretty funny coming from a girl named ‘Anathema’ .”
They went back to having a quiet ride, neither of them speaking a word about how Pollution hadn’t let their grip on her loosen.
They finally reached the town, taking almost double the time they were originally supposed to, but Anathema looked rather pleased with herself.
“You can let go now.” She teased the being of destruction who loosened their grip on her waist as they got off the bike.
“About time we got here.” Pollution grumbled. “Would’ve made it a lot faster had we had taken my bike.”
“But imagine the suffering air quality! I wouldn’t dare hurt the planet like that.” Anathema’s words were peppered with snark and jabs. In reality her words were true, she would never want to cause more harm to the planet than she absolutely had to. Sacrifices had to be made in the place of comfort and ease if she still wanted a home. Pollution didn’t see it that way.
“Yeah, yeah. We get it. Free love and all that. Fuckin’ hippie.” They muttered under their breath as the two of them walked on opposite sides of the bike down the street.
A street which, to Pollution’s surprise, was almost completely free of litter! That was the whole point of coming here! They bit their lip and the trail of garbage that followed behind them at most times had a few more water bottles and peanut butter cup wrappers thrown into the mix.
“Wow these streets are so clean. Must be that green living plan that a lot of the neighboring towns and villages are implementing.” Anathema was threading on the same ground that a bullfighter wearing red did when they encountered a bull. “So smart of them, don’t you think?”
“I hate everything about this.” Pollution hissed, oily venom nearly spewed from their mouth and their nose wrinkling. They were snapped to attention by the sound of laughter. When they looked over at Anathema, they saw her giggling to herself. “What’s so funny, witch?”
“When you get mad, your nose wrinkles up like a rabbit.” She said. “Maybe that’s what I'll call you. Rabbit.”
“My name is Chalky, thank you.” They said.
“Yeah and mine’s Anathema but I don’t hear you saying it.” She said. “So ‘rabbit’ it is.”
“I despise you.”
“Hey, feeling’s mutual.” Anathema’s eye got caught by something slightly off in the distance. “Ooh, look!” She started to run ahead, bike in tow. Pollution chased after her. “A farmer’s market!”
“Oh, someone help me..”
As Anathema dragged Pollution all around a parking lot with tents set up selling fresh fruits and vegetables and other goods, they were unaware they were being watched. Specifically by Pollution’s three nosey roommates.
“Are you sure this is a good idea?” Famine asked as he brushed his hand against a whole row of vegetables, making them spoil and rot just by the faintest touch. He was wearing a pair of designer sunglasses that had cost more money than the entire town had combined. “What if they see us?”
“They won’t.” War said as she hid behind a newspaper and red sunglasses, never taking her eyes from the pair that were perusing a raw honey stand.
“HAVE YOU NO FAITH IN CHALKY’S ABILITIES?” Death asked, sipping a boba smoothie they had gotten from another stand. Free of charge! The poor seller was traumatized, sadly.
“Of course I don’t. They’re Chalky . Not like they’re well versed in the arts of love. Or arts of social interactions.” She said.
“Sounds like another person we know.” Famine whispered to Death who only nodded. It took one to know one, after all. And War’s track record wasn’t exactly spotless.
“Quick!” She then spotted them making their way over. “Move this way, here they come!”
She grabbed her fellow Horsepeople and hid in a walkway between few stands about fifteen feet from where Anathema led Pollution to. It was a little baked goods stand, full of muffins and cookies and brownies and cakes as well as some fresh fruit.
“Oh these look delicious.” Anathema said. “How much for a brownie and a thing of strawberries?”
“Five pence, dear.” The nice elderly woman behind the table said
Cash was exchanged as quickly as it was discussed. Anathema picked out a specific piece of brownie, getting a corner piece. She was really lucky that day.
“Do you want a bag for the berries, dearie?” The question made a smirk crawl onto Pollution’s face. Even if a single plastic bag didn’t seem like a lot in the grand scheme of things, it was still another part of their job. And to make the witch take part in it was absolutely delight-
“No thank you, I have a reusable bag.” -ful.
They and their fellow Horsepeople watched, dumbfounded, as Anathema pulled out a small reusable shopping bag from her purse and loaded it up with a basket of strawberries. How the hell did she come so prepared?
“You want a berry, rabbit?” She asked as they caught the gleam of smug victory in her pretty hazel eyes. “They’re perfect.”
“I- No. No thanks.” They blinked, realizing a human was beating them at their own game. Oh that was not going to fly.
War was having to cover her mouth to stop herself from laughing out loud at the sight before her. This was rich !
“Did you see that?” Famine whispered. “She came prepared for this.”
“HUMANS ARE STRANGE AND UNPREDICTABLE.” Death agreed.
“Did you see the look on Chalky’s face!” War whisper-laughed. “They are totally losing at this little game they’re trying to play with her.”
“Be patient. Maybe they’ll pick up the slack.” Famine wanted to believe in Pollution. He really did.
“THEY’RE LEAVING THE MARKET.” Death said as both of them started leaving the stands. War removed her sunglasses and smirked wildly.
“Ok guys, let’s get going.” She said as she started walking. “Wherever they go, there’s a show to be had.”
“This’ll sure be interesting, I’ll give her that.” Famine said as he followed after his red headed companion. Death only nodded, following beside him.
So far the not-date-totally-a-plan was off to a rocky start.
Chapter 3: Indirect but Not Unwanted
Sharing drinks is totally kissing, right?
Ice cream shops were a prevalent landmark in most romantic comedy movies. It was where gushy couples would go to make googly eyes at one another over a sickeningly pink strawberry milkshake. Ice and cream and sugar with a handful of fruits in the mix all mashed down into a pourable form didn’t sound particularly appealing to Pollution, who followed a wandering Anathema into the little shop down the street who, when asked what she was doing, said she needed something to wash down the brownie. The other Horsepeople had been listening from the kitchen, where they had snuck in rather easily.
Anathema had ordered one vanilla milkshake and Pollution had got banana milkshake. When they were ready, Anathema pulled out a damn metal straw from her purse like it was some kind of greenpeace bag of many things and used it instead of one of the plastic straws that were right there! Pollution’s eye started to twitch.
“You know what they say,” Anathema said as she walked over to the table where they sat. “Save the-“
“Do not dare finish that sentence.” Pollution groaned. They had heard it a plethora of times over the last year. It was so annoying! “You know drinking from a plastic cup is just as bad as using a plastic straw. So your little,” Pollution motioned to the milkshake with fluttery fingers “straw choice, is pretty worthless.”
“Actually plastic cups are accepted by recycling plants while straws aren’t due to their polypropylene composition.” Anathema’s gaze got intense, as though a fire had been stoked in it. “And while plastic straws are important for people who need them, like those with allergies or disabilities, I personally chose to cut them from my life because I can.” She took a long sip of the milkshake. Pollution’s eyes trailed down from her eyes to her lips. Her really soft looking lips. “It’s not an all or nothing situation, it’s a process.”
Pollution bit their lip slightly as they snapped back to looking at her in the eye. They hoped she hadn’t caught them staring.
War and Famine and Death watched through the window from the kitchen. War was sitting on a prep table, drinking a cherry slushie and laughing.
“Oh I like her. She’s got spunk.” War said. “Still wanna place bets that Chalky’ll one up her?”
“Last time I gambled against you I lost my vacation house in Tahiti.” Famine said as he ate an ube flavored ice cream cone. “Besides, you just like her because she can get a rise out of them.”
“Well, duh.” War snorted. “They need a taste of their own medicine, don’t they?”
“I SENSE THAT THEY’RE TO START A NEW DEBATE. LOOK.” Death pointed out the little window, making the two other Horsepeople jump to attention and peak out.
“Consider these bananas then.” Pollution said as they stabbed their own milkshake with a plastic straw, like was intended. “Exporting and importing them makes a hell of a carbon footprint.”
“That’s true.” Anathema said as she leaned onto the table. “But, sometimes things can’t be helped. Yet.”
“ Yet ?” Pollution questioned. “Your world is dying.”
“But that’s not because of bananas or straws. It’s because of capitalist companies that waste money and resources like there’s no tomorrow.” Anathema said. “Not all of us humans can take on big companies by ourselves. Luckily, my family set up several fundraisers in the name of helping the environment and battling against, funny enough, pollution.” She leaned over and in the cheekiest move ever, took a sip of Pollution’s milkshake, nearly touching noses with them. The sweetness of the shake was mixed with the taste of overippened and fermented fruits that she couldn’t quite name. “Mm, not bad. Kinda like it.”
“I- I-uh-“ Pollution was shortcircuiting from how gay that was. It took them a moment to come back to reality, only to see Anathema staring at them with those damn eyes again. “I-I know all of that, how do you know all of that?” They tried to get passed the fact they were just mildly aroused by that.
“Google is free.” Anathema said with a smile as she got up to go throw her now finished milkshake cup in the recycling bin. Pollution watched her ass as she walked away.
The Horsepeople inside the kitchen were, collectively, losing their fucking minds.
“Did you see that!” War gaped. “Bitch had them wrapped around her little finger!”
“I am shaken to the core.” Famine exaggerated, trying to make sense of it. “Chalks has it bad.”
“THRICE NOW HAS A HORSEPERSON FALLEN TO THE WILES OF A HUMAN.” Death said.
“Oh, don’t count yourself out, Grim. We know what happened with that Grazia girl when you were on vacation.” War said, slapping the dark robes of the literal embodiment of death. “Least Chalks didn’t fall for their secretary.”
“I told you, me and Frankie aren’t in love!” Famine snapped. “I just send her money and gifts and sometimes we sleep together and- oh I might be in love with my assistant.” He blinked, realizing how it sounded before shaking his head. “Not the time. What are we gonna do about Chalky?”
“They’re gonna have to learn the four important rules of courting a human.” War said as she listed them on her fingers. “One: Don’t anger them. Humans are sly creatures who will bite back.”
“Two: Watch yours and their back.” Famine said “They are prone to danger, especially with you around.”
“THREE: TREASURE THEM. FOR THEIR LIVES DWINDLE LIKE THE LIGHT OF DYING STARS. QUICKLY AND WITHOUT PROPER WARNING.” Death added.
“And last of all: Don’t be afraid to love them. Because they’re like us. Stuck in the middle.” War said, a deep sigh following her words. The air had gotten a little heavier all of a sudden.
It wasn’t wrong to say, after all. They were different beings than humans, definitely, but they were not aligned with Heaven nor Hell. They were created purely as an accident from the serpent and the apple giving the first humans free will. With free will came choice and with choice came death. The others followed shortly after. They were aligned with themselves, and that just so happened to play into Armageddon well enough to be deemed useful by the forces that be. The others feared that it was their only saving grace, while Death knew for certain that was true. She favored the four, technically five if you counted Pestilence, and let them live out their days on Earth. They may love, hate, eat, sleep, live as humans do if they so pleased, no repercussions from Heaven or Hell could touch them, as long as they stood up to the plate when they were needed most. That was to be Armageddon.
But now, in a world where Armageddon was never going to happen as far as they could see, what became of them? Well, they continued on with their jobs as they always had. But this time, they were to go home to the only family they had ever known. Eachother.
That’s why, even though they’d never admit it, they all worried about Pollution so much. They were the youngest one, the one who’s colorless eyes were filled with raw drive and willingness to destroy. They all had eyes like that once, filled with potential and power that humans never could understand. They hadn’t gotten to experience a drop in their influence yet. They were only rising and rising with each passing year. More oil spills, more deforestation, more electrical waste, it was all delicious. They loved the way the sun reflected off the rivers that they had personally ruined with boxes and plastics and chemicals. This planet was their playground and they intended to be its king.
That is, until Armageddon. Discorporated for weeks, unable to cause trouble, it made them itch. All they wanted was to wreak havoc. But when they came back, the world looked a little different. ‘Trendy’ green initiative plans were being taken seriously by the governments of the world. More and more forests were being replanted. People were actually recycling instead of just throwing whatever into the green bins outside! It was madness! In reality, it had started long before. But in the temporary time their influence was almost totally gone, people started to see what must be done. Things were changing and it didn’t sit well with Pollution. It’s what got them into this mess of a day to begin with.
And now? Now they could start a new chapter. Experience something most angels and demons never could bring themselves to. Love. If only they weren’t so damn hard-headed.
“You think she’ll stick around?” War broke the group from their silence. “The witch, I mean.”
“She seems to be trying to arouse some kind of reaction from Chalks. Even if it is annoyance. You know humans love doing that when they flirt.” Famine said as he finished his ice cream. “But I'm not sure if she likes them like that. I can't tell.”
“She better not hurt them. Or I’ll hurt her.” War nearly crushed her slushie cup in her hand.
“Thought you liked her?” He asked.
“Only if she plays nice.” She answered.
“THERE IS NO NEED TO MEDDLE IN THEIR AFFAIRS. CHALKY AND HER CAN HANDLE THEIR OWN DANCE OF PASSION.” Death wasn’t really a wax poet of any type, but they did have a flare for the dramatic. They all did. “BEST TO LET THEM UNDERSTAND ONE ANOTHER FIRST.”
As the three of them mused on the situation, Pollution’s mind was traveling a hundred miles an hour.
“Fuck.” Was the first thing they had thought when they had seen Anathema lean in. Her gaze broke through them like a hammer through glass. The moment her lips touched their straw it was like being hit by lightning. Was this considered a kiss? Indirect, sure, but she was just putting her mouth where their mouth was and wasn’t immediately repulsed. They weren’t gonna taste like candy and kisses afterall, they were Pollution. Sludge and grime was their thing. But Anathema just went for it, did it, and pulled off like it was nothing. Either she had some fucked up taste buds or she was into it. Pollution tried to chalk it up to being the former, but secretly wished it was the ladder.
They were so close too, had they just reached out they could’ve touched her face and curled their hands into her soft-looking, wavy hair and messed it up real nicely. How would it feel to touch her again? Cradle her waist with their arms, maybe even squeeze her ass? Her ass was really nice, they could see that when she walked away.
“Are you done daydreaming or can we get outta here?” Anathema asked, the same light snark in her voice snapping Pollution back to reality. Oh yeah, she was still an insufferable witch.
“Gladly.” Pollution said, standing up as the two of them walked out, their hands brushing as they went through the door. Something deep inside them wanted to reach out and grab her clean, gentle hand with their filthy one.
Before they could though, Anathema spotted some pieces of litter on the ground. She immediately walked over and started picking them up, making Pollution miss their chance. Anathema then went and placed them all in the closest recycling bin before getting her bike and continuing to walk. Pollution, pissed that their own special ability betrayed them like that, kicked over the recycling bin in frustration before following after Anathema.
The other Horsepeople poked their heads out from behind the building and watched them go.
“They got it bad.” War said. “Reminds me of when I met Boudicca. Oh god, was she incredible.”
“Oh, I remember when you met Boudicca.” Famine shook his head and sighed. “You wouldn’t leave her side. On or off the battlefield.”
“I’m a lesbian and she carried a huge spear, dammit.” War snapped as she slapped his arm. “What was I meant to do?”
“Not be such a disaster?” He rolled his eyes.
“If a child hadn’t discorporated you once already I would do it now.” War said. “Let’s go before we lose them.”
The day consisted more of Pollution trying to one-up Anathema and make her see the dirty mess that was the world and Anathema doing everything she could to thwart them before they had the chance. It was like a game of cat and mouse but with ever-rising amounts of sexual tension. So a normal game of cat and mouse.
On the way back to Anathema’s cottage, Pollution held onto her waist like before. This time, however, it was almost like they were cradling it instead of vice gripping it.
“You know,” Anathema said. “I had a good time today.”
“It was.. tolerable.” Pollution muttered, the softest pink spreading over their face.
“Oh bullshit, you had fun.” Anathema called them out.
“I did not!”
“Oh really?” She asked. “Then why were you laughing like that when we were walking by the pond?”
“Because I fell in!” Pollution chuckled. “At least some of my oil seeped into the water.”
“You cannot be serious. You had a good time with me.” ‘ With me ’ Those words rang in Pollution’s ears like church bells. Anathema leaned back, slotting her back firmly against their chest, making their heart nearly jump out of their throat. She was so warm, like she being kissed by the sun.
“Y-You damn witch.” Pollution muttered.
“I’ll take that as a statement of fact instead of an insult, rabbit.” Anathema said. They could practically hear the teasing in her voice.
They road up to Anathema’s cottage where the Them were all staring at Pollution’s bike. When they spotted Anathema riding up they all started waving and shouting greetings. Anathema couldn’t help but smile.
“Hi, you guys.” Anathema said as she went to get off the bike, startling Pollution as they hadn’t thought to let her go.
“Anathema, you really went out with them?” Pepper asked, looking over at the Horseperson who climbed off the back of Anathema’s bike cautiously. Those kids did try to kill them and their fellow riders, afterall.
“I told you, Pep. They just wanted to ruin my afternoon. Right?” Anathema looked to Pollution as though she was looking for the answer herself. They cleared their throat.
“Yes, of course. And ruined it was.” Pollution said. “Made a huge mess. Especially of her shirt.”
“Oh, yes,” Anathema said as she showed off the “stained” shirt to the children. In reality it only had smudges of oil on it where Pollution held her. “oh damn. I’m just gonna have to wash this and hope the stain comes out.”
“They won’t!” They never did.
“Well, I guess that wraps up our day, ra- Pollution.” Anathema stopped herself from letting the little pet name slip from her lips.
“I guess it does. I’ll be.. going now.” They said as they climbed onto their bike and drove off, not saying goodbye because why would they?
Anathema watched them go and felt a little bit of sadness in her chest. The day had to end so soon?
Unbeknownst to her, Pollution had the same gnawing feeling in their chest.
Chapter 4: A Crash Course in Love
Pollution gets tutored in amor by the three most unqualified people in existence.
Pollution ran into the apartment, slamming the door shut behind them as they threw their helmet into the cubby area. The other Horsepeople, who were just sitting in the living room, eating a pile of fries that they picked up on the way home, looked at them in surprise.
“Hey, how did-“ War started.
“She’s insufferable!” Pollution groaned. “All she did all day was be so- so- green!” They stomped into the kitchen. “She cared about the environment way too much! She recycled! She pulled out a reusable bag from her purse to put strawberries in! Who even does that?” They were violently opening up drawers and cupboards looking around “And you would not believe what happened when we got ice cream! She pulled out a metal fucking straw! Like?” They finally found what they were looking for, which was a fistful of ketchup packets, before stomping over and stealing one of Famine’s fries. “I am mad in ways I’ve never been mad before!”
“Sounds like an awful day.” Famine tried to hide the fact he knew that Pollution was lying.
“It was the worst!” They groaned as they started ripping open the packets with their teeth like a feral animal. “Then she did this thing where she kept looking at me with this smugness in her eyes and they fucking sparkled! They sparkled, guys! Then she drank from my milkshake like she knew she was getting to me!”
Pollution quickly fell to the ground beside the coffee table, criss-cross applesauce style and started shoveling greasy fast food fries into their mouth, alternating with squeezing ketchup into it.
“Wow, Chalks. So you’re happy to be away from her now?” War asked, raising an eyebrow at them. Pollution then suddenly slammed their hands on the table.
“No I'm not, and that’s the problem!” They shouted. “I wanna go back to her! I wanna fucking- I don’t know! Hold her? Kiss her? Squeeze her ass? I really don't know! And the fact that I don’t know is killing me!”
“Chalky, hey!” War snapped her fingers at them. “Look at me.” Pollution turned their head to War, that crazy look still in their eyes. “You are attracted to a human. Who you just met. And who is also a greenpeace junkie. Let that sink in for a minute.” Pollution blinked once, twice, three times. Their stupid heart wouldn’t stop beating so damn fast at the thought of her. “We saw the whole mess go down, so you can’t lie to us that it’s not attraction.”
“She drives me up a wall and I want her to pin me to it and do things to me that I don’t feel comfortable saying out loud to anyone in this room.” That response made War snort and Famine nearly choked. Death looked unfazed, but that was more because he had no face.
“Ohhh, we have to help.” Famine said as he turned between the two of them and Death. “We have to.”
“WHAT DID I SAY?” Death said, only getting shrugs from their fellow riders. Of course they didn’t listen. When did they ever take a warning seriously?
“We are gonna give you a crash course in courting humans.” War said, wrapping an arm around Pollution’s shoulder. “So you can get in her pants and in her heart all in a few easy steps.”
“You are so lucky you’re the embodiment of ‘War’ and not ‘Self-Help Books from Grocery Stores’ because if that was the case, you’d have never made it.” Famine said as he popped another fry into his mouth.
“I’ll tell Frankie you have her photo as the background of your phone if you don’t shut up.” War pointed at him accusingly. “And don’t say you don’t because I know you do.”
“Shutting up now.” Famine said, zipping his lip.
“Somehow I think this is going to end badly.” Pollution muttered under their breath. Then it dawned on them. “Wait you were spying on me?!”
“Yep.” War, Famine, and Death said at once, only Death’s voice boomed more than the others.
“OH, BE PREPARED, CHALKY.” Death warned almost ominously. “IT ONLY GETS WORSE FROM HERE.”
Pollution was sitting in the living room of their shared apartment alongside their roommates, a powerpoint presentation hooked up to the tv in front of them called ‘How to Woo Women in 5 steps. By: Carmine “Red/War” Zuigiber’ It was made in fifteen minutes on a rush of adrenaline and War was very proud of it.
“So! You’ve fallen for a lady and wanna get with her.” War said as she began clicking through the presentation. “Step 1 to wooing women!” she said as she slapped the tv screen as she hit the next slide. “Confidence! You gotta have some or else she’s gonna walk all over you. As we’ve already seen, Chalks, you’re into that.”
“Hey!” Pollution shouted. “I never agreed to a public roasting session.”
“We’re us.” Famine said, ruffling their hair, then realizing how gross his hand was afterwards so he went to go wash it. “You agreed when you asked for our help!”
“I didn’t, that’s the thing!” They groaned.
“Step 1 involves walking with confidence, head high, pussy energy massive.” War said, exerting very top energy. “I’m talking about the same kind of confidence a teenager has when stealing their parent’s credit card, knowing they’re gonna get away with it.”
“How do you both explain a point so perfectly and vaguely at the same time?” Pollution asked as they ate another, slightly colder, fry.
“Its a talent. Step 2!” War got the next slide onto the screen before Pollution could even blink. Its title simply read ‘Style’ in big red letters with pictures of War in her favorite outfits attached. “Looking cool for this girl. Being fresh gets you the best results. I’m talking showering , Chalks.”
“You cannot be serious!” Pollution sprung to their feet and crossed their arms. “I will not, I cannot! What if I melt?”
“YOU WON'T MELT.” Death assured them.
“Besides,” Famine said, walking back over. “you definitely freshened up for her today.”
“I-I didn’t!” They said.
“You definitely did. That’s your good tracksuit.” Famine pointed out. “I know because you always tell me that one of the stains on the left leg looks like Jimmy Buffet.”
“Oh now you see it?” Pollution huffed.
“Not just that, I saw you sneaking into my room this morning.” Famine smiled a wicked grin at them. Their face drained of any possible color that remained.
“What are you implying?”
“You used my stash of fancy italian cologne.”
“I did not!”
“You did! I know the smell of ‘Acqua di Genova’ anywhere.” Famine said as he went to his room to find the bottle. “It was a gift!” He shouted.
“You stole it from a king while you were spreading poison over his palace’s crops.” War corrected him as he came back with a small glass bottle of the cologne.
“I still consider it a gift.” He said as he handed the bottle to Pollution. “Here, we’ll ween you onto step 2. That girl seemed to like it, she was able to get nose-to-nose with you without being repulsed.”
“Ok, just never say ‘ween’ again.” Pollution said, slipping the bottle into their pocket which made the wrappers inside crinkle.
“No promises. Step 3?” Famine said as he turned to War.
“Step 3!” War said as she changed the slide. “Step 3 is go spend time with her and learn things about her! Get to know her! What’s her favorite fruit? Does she like sports? Can she sing the fast part in ‘Rap God’ by Eminem? I don't know the answers, but you’re gonna have to learn ‘em!”
“Wait,” Pollution raised their hand. “so how do I spend more time with her?”
“Ah, that’s unspoken step 2.5” War said. “It’s called ‘Don’t be a fucking wuss’.” She clicked back on the slides and it was just the words ‘Ask Her Out’ in big bold letters.
“You act like that’s easy!”
“It is.” War and Famine said at once.
“You just have to do it. Don’t think about it. The worst that could happen is that she says no.” Famine said.
“Yeah, what do I do if she says no?” Pollution exclaimed.
“Don’t worry about it. It won’t happen. These five steps have never failed me.” War said. “And I’ve had exactly 674.5 dates.”
“.5?” All three other Horsepeople asked at once.
“Ok so me and Artemisia were at sea one day and I asked her if she ever would like to ‘tend Hestia’s hearth in the way Aphrodite intended.’” The biggest air quotes were given to that statement. “And she threw me in the water.”
“Yeah, I would too.” Famine said.
“So yeah, don’t worry.” War said. “You can do this. Step 4!” Another slide change, another slap to the tv. “Be yourself.”
“Sounds kind of hypocritical to steps 1 and 2.” Pollution said.
“That’s because it is!” She said. “You can walk, talk, and look like a freshly printed dollar bill but can you back that shit up? Anathema clearly liked you. Sort of.” War had to pause for a second to think before shaking her head “She didn’t hate you, let’s go with that.”
“So be the same bitch you were that made her not totally want to punch you.” War said. “If she does punch you, refer to step 4.5: damage control.”
“Ok, ok, I think I get it. But, what’s step 5 then?” Pollution asked.
“Step 5 is really simple. Grim, you want to take over for us?” War said as she stepped back to let Death step up to the metaphorical plate.
“CHALKY. AS YOU KNOW, HUMANS ARE VERY DIFFERENT FROM US, BUT IN MANY WAYS THEY ARE NOT.” Death’s voice boomed through the apartment. “WE HAVE LONG SINCE CREATED A LIST OF RULES WHEN COURTING ONE. CARMINE, RAVEN, RECITE THEM WITH ME.”
“One: Don’t anger them.” War said, pointing up one finger. “Humans are bitches and will bite back.”
“Two: watch yours and their backs.” Famine said, pointing up two. “You know how crazy our existences are. They’re in danger constantly, especially being around us.”
“THREE: TREASURE THEM.” Death said, pointing three fingers up. “THEIR LIVES WILL FADE AS QUICKLY AS THEY BEGAN.”
“And finally, four: Don't be afraid to love them.” War said.
“We’re not like angels or demons. We can love in ways they don’t allow.” Famine said.
“WE ARE THE THIRD OPTION. PARALLEL TO HUMANS. THE SAME BUT SEPARATE. THEIR LOVE IS OURS TO HAVE.” Death said. “ONCE, EVEN I LOVED A HUMAN. HER NAME WAS GRAZIA, SHE WAS THE LIGHT OF MY EXISTENCE. AND YET, SHE DIED JUST AS THEY ALL DO.”
“It’s hard, loving someone, then fate making them slip away from us.” War said as her face started to both soften and darken with every second. “For me, it was Hippolyta. My shining amazon. I would’ve done anything to keep her by my side..”
“We all have lost one or another.” Famine said. “But remember, it helps make us who we are.”
“...Aren’t you afraid, Raven?” Pollution asked. “Of losing Frankie, I mean.”
“I know it’ll happen..” He sighed. “But, I can’t live in fear of it. I can only love her until it happens.”
“Immortality sucks..” Pollution muttered.
“It does sometimes.” War said, punching Pollution’s shoulder gently. “But, we always have each other.”
“I know.” Pollution smiled gently, their white eyes shone like pearls for a moment. “You get on my last fucking nerve constantly and you have no boundaries, but I couldn’t do it without you.”
“Oh, we know.” War chuckled.
“WE ONLY WANT THE BEST FOR YOU, CHALKY.” Death said.
“And we intend to help you achieve happiness, in anyway.” Famine said “Whether it’s by manufacturing more foodless food products and using even more plastic in our packaging,”
“Or having a war over resources that’ll only pollute the ocean,” War added
“OR HELPING YOU WIN A WITCH’S HEART.” Death finished.
“You all are so old and sappy!” Pollution chuckled as they hugged their little family. “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome. Now go get her, champ.” War said as she went to the door and tossed them their helmet. Pollution then ran out said door.
“Good luck!” Famine yelled.
Pollution felt all the adrenaline inside them as they hurried onto their bike and road back to that tiny little village that gave them so many problems.
Now all that mattered was two things: One, how did Anathema feel, and two, how were they gonna ask her to see them again?
Chapter 5: The Cards Don’t lie
Anathema seeks out another witch for advice.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
Madame Tracy opened the door of her little cottage to see Anathema Device, fellow witch, standing outside. She was wearing a different shirt than the one she had been wearing when she was out with Pollution.
“Ah, Anathema dear, fancy seeing you.” She said with a smile as she motioned toward her. “Come in, come in I just brewed some tea. What brings you over?” Anathema shifted almost uncomfortably as she walked inside.
“Hi, Madame Tracy. I was hoping you could do a tarot reading for me, if it wouldn’t be much trouble.” She asked, piquing the older woman’s interest.
“Why of course I can, dear. You take a seat and I’ll get you a cup.” Madame Tracy said as she walked into her kitchen. Anathema did as gold and sat at the kitchen table which was lined with a pretty flowery tablecloth. In the middle of it was the crystal ball that Madame Tracy insisted worked wonders back in the day, but now was just plain unresponsive. “Careful now, it’s hot.” She brought Anathema gold-rimmed teacup filled with freshly brewed black tea before walking off for a second and opening a drawer.
“Thank you, ma’am.” Anathema said, taking a sip as Tracy sat opposite her and placed a deck of tarot cards on the table. “I appreciate it, and the reading, too. I would’ve done it but you know how the cards are.”
“Tricky little buggers. Never wanting to give the reader a solid answer about themselves.” She started to lay out a traditional spread. “Now what is it that you need to ask them?”
“Well, you see, me and this person.. we went on a sort of date today.” Anathema said, trying to find the right words to describe it. It was sort of a date, she was pretty sure. Even if Pollution would say otherwise. “And.. I need to know if anything else will come of it. Or if I shouldn’t get my hopes up.”
“Ohh.. Ana, darling.” Madame Tracy cooed softly with the gentle tones of a mother as she reached across the table and held Anathema’s hand. “You don’t need the cards to tell you that. What you need is to be a little bold s’all.”
“I’m not sure they really like me, that’s the thing.” Anathema sighed, squeezing her hand. “The whole thing was supposed to be a revenge thing, sort of? And I was being a bastard but then I started like, flirting with them unintentionally. Thought it was a power move thing, sipping from their straw and being so close, but then the way they held me on my bike I just-“
“Anathema, sweetie, who have you gotten involved with?” Madame Tracy asked, almost knowingly. “Is it someone from the other sides?”
‘The other sides’, as she put it, was what their little world-saving lot started to call Heaven and Hell. Aziraphale and Crowley made sure to explain to their new friends that while Heaven and Hell were definitely afraid of them and Adam, for the most part, it was best to keep a head up for any suspicious characters wandering into their lives. But Pollution and the other Horsepeople weren’t from Heaven or Hell, they were on their own side.
“Remember the four bastards that Adam and his friends made evaporate? Specifically the one dripping oil, dressed in all white?”
“Yes, of course. Hard to forget characters like that.” Madame Tracy chuckled, but when she saw the look on Anathema’s face, her expression fell. “Oh my..” Anathema nodded in response. “Now that’s quite the pickle, innit?”
“I think I might like them, maybe.” Anathema said. “But I'm not sure because I spent the whole time trying to be a pest. But the way their face looked so surprised and a little mad whenever I pulled out my metal straw or my reusable bag or corrected them, well..” A smile crept onto her face. “It was so cute. Their nose crinkles like a rabbit’s.”
“What else about them makes you question it, dear?”
“Their voice is pretty.. even when they’re trying to be a jerk or tease me. And their hands did feel nice around my waist..” She let out a tender sigh.
“Now, I may be an old woman but let me tell you, nothing good comes of ignoring your feelings.” Madame Tracy chuckled as she sipped her own tea. “You know what the cards are telling me, poppet? They’re saying ‘Anathema Device!” she started speaking in a higher pitched, funny voice that made Anathema cover her mouth from laughter “You go on and win that fool’s heart, you hear us? Or else we’ll put a curse on your crop, witch!” Anathema snorted at that.
“Ok, ok, oh great cards. I’ll try.” She said and Madame Tracy nodded.
“That’s a good girl. Now, I have a tin of biscuits that not only won’t eat themselves, but go lovely with black tea.”
“I’ll have three.”
On the walk back to her cottage, Anathema heard a familiar engine roaring. She turned her head to see Pollution’s bike zoom around to the side of her, stopping just as fast as it was going, kicking up a puff of dirt.
When it cleared, Anathema saw Pollution taking their helmet off, panting slightly like they had ran the whole way there.
“Hey, witch.” Pollution said. “I- uh. I didn’t totally hate today.”
“Oh, me too. I thought we established this?” Anathema asked as she cocked an eyebrow in confusion.
“No what I mean is- Fuck,” Pollution half-covered their mouth and groaned, as a blush crept onto their cheeks. “I had fun. With you. Can we do it again, sometime, maybe?”
“You.. really enjoyed spending time with me?”
“Even after I took an hour to help those people plant trees while you sat on the bench?” They had to admit, even then..
“Yeah, I did. But wow you are such a hippie.” Pollution couldn’t help but chuckle at the memory of Anathema Device, bright eyed and helpful, all cute and dirty moving a tree. It would be the only time a tree-related memory would do that.
“I’m a witch, what do you expect?” Anathema said as she walked up to the bike, leaned forward on the head of it, and stared Pollution in the eyes, that same familiar mischievous glint in them. The one that made their knees weak and heart race. “So.. are you free right now?”
“I am.” Pollution nodded, Anathema’s eyes and smirk burning into their mind.
“Great. Me too. How about we head back to my place and i’ll make us dinner.” She said. “With the stuff from my garden. This is a minimal-waste house, after all”
“You are such a brat.” Pollution muttered. “A really.. really hot brat.”
“You say something?” Anathema asked, she had definitely heard that last part.
“N-Nothing.” They said, their heart skipping a beat.
“By the way..” She quickly switched off the key to the bike and pulled it out of the turner. “Save the turtles.” Anathema Device then started to book it home as fast as she could.
It took Pollution all of three seconds to come out of a gay trance and realize what happened.
“Hey!” They shouted as they quickly climbed off their bike and chased after her. Anathema’s laugh rang out like the most lovely music Pollution had ever heard, but they’d be damned if they didn’t get their bike key back.
a short chapter but i feel like it ends nicely here. Next chapter is porn be prepared for that
Chapter 6: God Forbid They Try Conditioner
Anathema helps Pollution shower for the first time.
-Gabriel voice- Pornography!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
In Jasmine Cottage there was a collection of knick knacks and crystals and ‘Found Family’ photos of Anathema and her little world-saving entourage sprawled through the whole house. In the living room, specifically, there was a newly hung up photo of Anathema and Pollution, the witch’s arm slung around their shoulder, taken by one Adam Young who accidentally barged in on them on their third date, which was watching ‘Happy Feet’, much to Pollution’s berguding dismay, and eating take out chinese. In the photo, you could definitely see a bit of soy sauce on Pollution’s cheek, but unless you were there you couldn’t really tell if it was a sauce or a random oil stain they were prone to having.
Adam questioned Anathema if it was really safe to be kissing someone like Pollution, because they were clearly kinda gross and maybe poisonous. But Anathema assured him it would be fine, she had kissed them a few times and everything seemed ok.
Once, Pollution had stayed overnight at Anathema’s house after a date, but slept on the couch as to not stain Anathema’s bedsheets. They had to sleep in a burrito of blankets that were already ready for the garbage anyway, though, so they wouldn’t mess the furniture. They didn’t mind, they quite liked worn fabric. It reminded them of rags, which were very comfortable.
Anathema walked through the living room early that morning, unaware that Pollution had already woken up, in a tank top and short pajama bottoms that barely left anything to the imagination. She had a few lovely purple bruises down her neck and a few on her thighs from where Pollution chose to claim her. In one arm was a basket of clothes that had been stained by oil from all the places Pollution had held her. She was going to need a new wardrobe from how handsy they were.
“Nice legs, daisy dukes~” Pollution called out from the couch, which made Anathema nearly jump out of surprise. She turned to look at them and couldn’t hold back a chuckle at the sight of their head barely poking out of the four layers of blankets.
“Good morning to you too.” Anathema said as she walked over and kissed them on the forehead. “Sleep well?”
“I was having a nice dream that involved you and me.” Pollution said as they sat up. “You were some spring goddess or something like that, trying to make the world all pretty.”
“Sounds like me, that’s right.” Anathema said as she set down the laundry basket. “What happened? Did I seduce you to the side of good, renewable energy?” She slung her arms around Pollution’s neck loosely. Their collarbone was equally decorated with hickies. Anathema was a biter.
“You wish, witch.” They chuckled, wrapping their arms around her waist and pulling her into their lap. “We had a wonderful battle for dominance. The noises you made were so sexy~”
“Mm, so that’s why you were moaning in your sleep?” Anathema said, running a hand through their frizzy hair. “Maybe after I put these clothes to wash we can relive that dream.”
“Oh, please , you tease me.” Pollution grinned as Anathema squirmed out of their arms, then inspected her shirt.
“Another stain.” Anathema said. “You’re such a mess, rabbit.”
“That’s my job description.” Pollution stood up and kissed from her jawline to behind her right ear.
“Didn’t you promise me you’d try showering?” Anathema asked a question that she knew the answer too. That earned a groan from Pollution.
“Ohhhh, Ana..” Pollution whined into her hair. “I don’t trust it.”
“I promise you’ll be just fine. I’ll even help you.” Anathema said, kissing their cheek. “Bonus incentive for you.”
“You could get me to do anything if it involves letting me see you naked.” Pollution said as the two of them went to the utility room.
“That’s because you love me.” Anathema said as she put her load to wash. “I finally made a laundry detergent that’ll get out most of the stains you leave me with.”
“Did you enchant it?” They asked, half joking.
“Yep.” Anathema said. She took off her top and bottoms right there because they needed to be washed, clearly. She tossed them in and wrapped herself in a towel from a pile she hadn’t yet put away. She grabbed another and nodded to Pollution for them to follow her to the restroom.
“We’ll start you off with just water and soap. God forbid we do conditioner yet.” Anathema joked, only Pollution took it kinda seriously. They barely knew what soap was, let alone conditioner. Anathema just shook her head and turned on the shower.
Once there was enough steam she dropped the towel she was wearing. The clouds didn’t do anything to hide her figure. She had nice curves that Pollution desperately wanted to wrap themselves around and worship in ways that would make a whore blush.
“Alright, strip down.” Anathema said. Pollution was slowly taking off their messy t-shirt and boxers as she watched. It was kinda cute, but it was taking forever. “We’re wasting water.”
“Maybe that’s my plan.” Pollution smirked at her. She rolled her eyes but a smile found its way onto her lips.
“Oh like your plan to ‘ruin my life’ by making me fall for a walking trash bag?” Anathema said as she helped them get the boxers off. They were covered in splotches of oil and other mysterious spots all over their body. “Because that worked so well.”
“I know, right?” Pollution chuckled as they shared a chaste kiss.
“Get in the shower with me, you dork.” Anathema said as she climbed in the shower, beckoning Pollution to follow.
They stepped in slowly, weary at the whole contraption. They immediately got goosebumps from the rush of hot water hitting their back, surprising the fuck out of them.
“I can’t fucking see.” They said as their wet hair fell in front of their eyes. Anathema held back a chuckle and parted their hair to get a good look at their pretty white eyes.
“Take a minute and get used to the water, first.” She said. Pollution rolled their eyes a little.
“I know what water feels like, Ana.” They said. “I just don’t like it.”
“Let’s try washing your hair, then.” Anathema said as she put some shampoo in her hands. Pollution’s nose wrinkled in the exact way Anathema adored. “I promise it won’t hurt you.”
They lowered their head and let Anathema run her soapy fingers through it. The bubbles started to turn a murky grey color almost immediately. When Pollution said they’ve never bathed, they meant it.
“I’m surprised you don’t have lice or some kind of disease.” Anathema said as she continued to scrub.
“Pestilence is the one who always was sick, funny enough. Every time I saw the old coot he was sneezing.”
“Ironic. Geez, Chalky, you have a knot in your hair.” Anathema said as she tugged slightly to try and undo the really messy knot in Pollution’s hair.
Pollution, who was supposed to be hating the situation, was actually mildly into Anathema playing with their hair, even as rough as it was due to the previously mentioned knot. It was mostly due to her attempts only pulling harder and harder in the right ways.
“Almost got i-“
For a second, Anathema and Pollution both froze as their eyes met. There was something really paralyzing about making your significant other moan unintentionally. Especially when you’re both already naked. Their eyes met and it was like they were sharing a deep, complex dialogue with only their sight.
“I-I didn’t mean-“ Pollution started, trying to put words to said dialogue. “-Unless, you want to.”
“Let’s get you washed up, first.” Anathema chuckled. “Last time we did that, I couldn’t get the taste of straight up oil out of my mouth. How do you even do that?”
“Don’t ask me.” They laughed “I don’t really know how my body works.”
“Well, maybe this’ll help that.” Anathema said.
After about five minutes of straight scrubbing, Anathema finally deemed Pollution’s hair ‘clean enough’ she got to work on washing their body. Scrubbing up and down their skin, removing all the grime and muck built up from their centuries of life. It was actually really calming, the steam clouding their senses with a wave of relief as Anathema massaged their shoulders gently.
Slowly, her soapy cloth worked its way around Pollution’s ribs, right under their chest. Anathema pressed herself up against their back as she did so. Pollution bit their lip slightly as she made her way to their nipples. The heat of the water, the tickle of the bubbles, and the tender way Anathema caressed their chest made them inch closer to skipping the foreplay all together.
“You’re doin’ great, sweetie.” Anathema partially-whispered into Pollution’s ear. She was really the top in the relationship.
“Ana, you are s-oo~” Pollution squirmed slightly under her touch. “You piss me off.”
“But you love me.” Anathema chuckled as she worked lower on them and cradled her head on their shoulder.
“I do.” Pollution said as they laid their head on hers.
“Beg me and maybe i’ll hurry.” Anathema joked, only to have the sounds of Pollution’s low moan come out right above her ears. Her face immediately turned bright red.
“A-Ana, please~..” Pollution couldn’t help but smirk as Anathema buried her face into their shoulder and gripped at them.
“You’re gonna get it when we’re done here, Chalks.”
“Looking forward to it.”
“See? You didn’t melt.” Anathema said as she wrapped herself in a towel. “And you’re practically glowing.”
Pollution had never felt more exposed in their life and they had once skinny dipped in a ruined river on a dare. Their hair was dripping and their skin was smooth. It was a weird feeling.
“I don’t know if this is a thing for me.” They said as they tried to dry their hair. “It was a little soothing, though.”
“That’s ok, I appreciate you trying.” Anathema said as she wrapped her arms around their waist. “Now..” She trailed her fingers up their thigh, up their happy trail, and all the way to their lips, which Anathema rested her thumb on and pulled down ever so slightly. “Why don’t we get down and dirty again, my sweet rabbit?” Pollution’s eyes lit up like the Fourth of July.
“God, I adore you, my witch.” Pollution said with baited breath. They picked up Anathema, which got a laugh out of her, and practically raced to the bed, dropping their towel in the process.
Once they got there, Anathema hopped down from Pollution’s arms and discarded her towel.
“Since you let me put you through that horrible shower, let me also reward you for being such a good sport.” Anathema purred as she lightly pushed Pollution onto the bed. That had been the second time they had ever sat on it. The first time they only were able to sit there for about ten minutes before Anathema’s old bedsheets had been soaked thoroughly with unamable oils. They had learned since then to either rent a hotel room or learn how to fuck while sitting in a chair.
“Oh lord,” Pollution muttered under their breath as Anathema got on top of them, stared down at them with those hazel eyes that drove them absolutely wild.
Like a hungry predator she started to kiss and bite down their jawline, drawing a moan from their lips. Anathema has already claimed them as hers, this was just a reminder. Her lips trailed down their neck to their chest, where she did some positively toe-curling things with her tongue and their nipples.
Pollution clutched at the sheets as Anathema inched closer to their downstairs. They squeezed their legs together to get a bit of friction on their clit as they felt her lips reach their pelvis.
Anathema noticed their reaction and, damn her, Pollution could feel her smirk against their skin as she stopped her trail and started squeezing their inner thighs, trying to unhinge their legs.
“You’re so stunning.” Anathema cooed as she started to kiss the very most inner parts of their thighs, no more than half an inch from their cunt. Even when giving a ‘reward’ she was a teasing little bitch.
“Ana,” Pollution whined. “Please, j-just-“ They bit their lip as Anathema parted their lower lips and got to work with that magical tongue of hers. A series of moans slipped their way past their lips when Anathema flicked her tongue at their clit and sucked away at their twitching pussy. She made sure to write the whole alphabet with her tongue, forward and backwards. Pollution was rather into how she wrote ‘J’
“You taste different now, that’s for sure.” Anathema said as she came up for air about half an hour later.
“Don’t you dare stop yet,” Pollution breathed heavily. “Don’t.”
“Relax, rabbit.” She said as she climbed up on top of them again and placed two fingers to their lips. “I’m just getting started. Now won’t you suck these for me?”
She didn’t even need to ask, as Pollution immediately took them in their mouth, running their tongue between them. They needed to get them nice and wet. Anathema shivered a bit from how skilled they were with their tongue.
With a satisfying ‘pop!’ the fingers came free from Pollution’s mouth, coated finely in saliva mixed with whatever substance they were made of.
Anathema got to work as she rubbed at their entrance, slowly pushing in one and giving them a good few pumps before Pollution’s moans and whimpers signaled to add the second one.
“ Fuckfuckfuck ,” They whined
“Mm, you’re twitching.” Anathema said, kissing Pollution’s neck as she got to work on herself. Did you expect her to let Pollution have all the fun? She gasped a bit as she fingerblasted herself, her thumbs rubbing circles on both her and their clits. “A-Are you close?”
“Yes,” Pollution squeaked. They wrapped their arms and legs around her and rolled their hips so Anathema could go even deeper on them. “G-God, just like that!”
“You’re so fucking sexy.” Anathema growled lowly into their ear as she got closer and closer to release. “I s-should’ve gotten the strap out. I love seeing you bouncing on that thing. It splitting you wide open, the look in your eyes when I fuck you silly .”
“A-An-a~ F-Fuck!” Pollution was so close they could practically taste it. Anathema’s dirty talk definitely helped. “C-Call me what I like~”
“W-What,” Anathema hissed as she hit just the right spot on herself. “A dirty bitch? Is that what you are?”
“Y-Yes!” They moaned wildly. “God, yes !”
“You’re such a dirty bitch. A fucking filthy fuck-“ She kissed them roughly as they both got closer together. “ My filthy little rabbit. C-Cum for me, won’t you?”
Pollution whimpered and nodded furiously, tears started to well in their eyes from being so close.
With one final, good pump inside from Anathema it was like flood gates had opened as they came, screaming out her name, squeezing her tight.
Anathema followed suit only a few seconds later. She kissed Pollution with passion and fire, tasting every bit of them. They parted, both trying to compose themselves just enough.
“You are beautiful.” Pollution smiled as they caressed her face. “You make me so happy, witch.”
“I love you too, rabbit.” Anathema chuckled as she kissed the corners of their mouth and snuggled up to them.
“I could stay like this forever..” They said. They looked at Anathema’s smile and felt a twinge of sadness, as they knew this couldn’t go on forever . So why not revel in it while you can?
“You’re stuck with me.” She said as she propped herself up a bit with her forearms. “So are we still on for dinner with your family tomorrow?”
“Of course. They’re excited to meet you. Be warned, though, they’re probably going to give you the ‘Don’t dare hurt them or we will make you suffer and die’ speech.” Pollution chuckled. “I’ll try to keep them from going feral.”
“I can handle them. I’m Anathema Device, afterall.” Anathema said. “I saved the world.”
“You also wrecked mine.” Pollution kissed her softly once more. “In the best ways possible. Now, why don’t I give you the same treatment you gave me?”
“After that, I'll find the strap. I got this new cherry lube I think you’d like.” Anathema said as she rolled off them.
“Is it silicone based?” Pollution asked as they sat up. Anathema shook her head.
“Water.” Pollution groaned. Silicone base ones built up in landfills, though..
“You torture me sometimes.” They huffed. Anathema couldn’t help but chuckle at how cute it was.
“I can make it up to you if you want~” She said. “Split your cunt like the Red Sea.” Pollution’s face turned cherry red.
“That’ll do.” They squeaked as Anathema laughed.
The two of them were so deeply in love. And love was a beautiful feeling. One that Pollution intended to explore to its fullest with their witch. Anathema, too, wanted nothing more than to exist with her rabbit for eternity.
And that’s a wrap! I love these two so much y’all got no idea.