Who the fuck moves to a place called Silas?
Carmilla Karnstein apparently, that’s who.
Why did Will have to pick this bumfuck nowhere town to live in? Why couldn’t he just have stayed home? Her brother had griped for years about picking up and moving to the country. She just never thought he’d have the balls to actually do it. Then one day he left. Just vanished, leaving a post-it on her kitchen counter saying he had to get out before their mother destroyed his life.
He had a point.
Their mother would have very well done that if he had stuck around. Lord knows she had tried with Carmilla, but she wasn’t as interested in her daughter as her beloved son and gave up after awhile. A year later, the bonehead had settled in a small rural town that’s only landmark was a university that he happened to be attending. He sent her a letter telling her how great it was and that she should move out there with him.
She laughed hysterically, at first.
Then as time passed she started to consider it. Will was the only person in her life that mattered. She had stopped speaking to Mother ever since…well ever since the thing happened that made them stop speaking. Carmilla wasn’t the type of girl to have friends or anybody in her life for that matter; people made life complicated. Her philosophy was the less, the better. Except Will. He was different. Even though she was his big sister, the little shit never knew he was basically her rock. When he left, life got a hell of a lot harder.
She missed him.
It would take someone plucking off each one of her fingernails with pliers for her to admit that out loud. And probably a knife to her throat to get her to say it to Will. But, it didn’t make it any less true.
So, before loneliness threatened to swallow her whole at the ripe age of 21 Carmilla packed her apartment up and left. She didn’t bother telling their Mother; the woman wouldn’t care anyway.
Carmilla hated planes. Mostly because they were tin cans coasting thousands of feet above the ground and humans were not designed for that. Also being packed in like sardines with other people: eww. She must really love her brother to be doing all of this just to be near him. She had texted him “I fucking hate you,” right before the jet took off. He knew she loathed flying, and he was probably laughing his ass off about it.
The trip was nearly six hours, two books and a nasty flight attendant later, she was about done when they finally landed. Will was waiting for her at the bottom of the escalator. He had a sign that read “Kitty” in his awful handwriting. Alas, his clever pet name for her since childhood would never be something she could escape. He was wearing that smug grin of his as he held it; he knew it would aggravate her. Some things never change.
A small part of Carmilla was glad for that.
“You asshole,” she greeted as she stepped off the escalator. Will didn’t give her a chance to bitch much more than that. He picked his big sister up and swung her around making quite the scene in the middle of the airport. This was not the type of thing Carmilla usually partook in, but her brother never cared much for her stand-offish attitude.
“I missed you too,” he replied once he set a firmly shaken Carmilla down. She scowled at him as he laughed.
“Yeah, yeah. Don’t get all emotional on me now. I need your macho man muscles to help with my suitcase.”
“Already done,” Will cheered, pointing to the black bag sitting right behind him.
“You’re really fucking excited about this aren’t you?” Carmilla observed. She had literally never seen her brother so happy. He was smiling as if the sun rose specifically for him. It was strange... but good. She was happy he was happy. If anyone deserved it, it was Will.
“Come on leather britches, we’ve got to bolt before traffic starts. We’ve got about an hour drive ahead of us.” Will was about five steps ahead of her before she could even process what he just said.
An hour? Seriously, where the fuck was this place?
“Oh my fucking God Will you live in Mayberry.”
Her brother chuckled to himself as he brought her bag into his house. If you could even call it that. It was a rundown farm that had to be at least, a hundred years old. And that was being pretty fucking generous. It was in the middle of an actual field, in the woods. Yep. Pretty much the perfect place for any horror film to take place. They were surrounded by nothing, in a dingy old shack with miles and miles of trees as far as the eye could see. The windy dirt road that was a mile long that got them to the house completed the cliché. When Will said country, he meant it.
“It’s not that bad. The place rubs off on you, I swear.”
“You’re fucking insane. I feel like I’m in an episode of Green Acres. All I need is a pair of overalls and a straw hat.”
“Just give it a chance.”
Carmilla glared at him. Will was the optimist in this relationship. He always would be. He balanced out Carmilla’s constant negativity. The brunette needed all of the light she could get in her life. The main form just happened to come in the shape of an overzealous younger brother who had decided to take up farm living.
“I hate you.”
“Love you too,” he called as he disappeared down a hallway with her bag. Presumably taking it to her room. Their mother did raise him to be a gentleman (One of the only decent things she did for him).
Carmilla took a second to look at her surroundings. She was in the kitchen that had a stove from the 70s. The walls were a hideous shade of lime green (that was pealing) and there was purple carpet to compliment it. Carpet in the damn kitchen: disgusting. The cabinets had to have been built whenever the house was first constructed, a billion years ago, because they were falling off the hinges. To be honest the place was kind of a dump. More than she could have ever imagined her preppy brother living in.
“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” Will said, sneaking up behind her and clasping a hand over her shoulder. He proudly took in his kitchen as if it was the world’s gift to him.
“Hate to burst your bubble William, but this place needs some work.”
“I know. I’m getting there. I just bought it three months ago. Can’t you see the potential? It’s gonna be great Kitty, you’ll see. I’ve got it all planned out.”
“Whatever. Don’t think I’ll be staying with you too long. I don’t do outside.”
Will laughed again. He always did that whenever Carmilla was being a pain in the ass. “Always a Debbie downer Sis.”
She missed this. Their petty bantering that would forever cement their unique brother-sister bond. Despite her current accommodations she could definitely see the benefits of living here. In the form of a stocky man-boy.
“I prefer the term realist, but call it what you want.”
“Do you ever get tired of looking on the dark side?”
“Do you ever tire of being so naïve?”
Will opened his ancient fridge and grabbed a grape soda, tossing it at her. “Nah, it makes life more fun.” Carmilla rolled her eyes, but she couldn’t stop the grin that took over her face (he had that effect on her).
“That’s more like it. Now go get changed, we have a party to attend.”
Carmilla’s mouth dropped open. Of course! Will would be one to think that she’d be in the mood for a party after a fucking seven hour journey to bufu Egypt. Her brother was always more of a people person.
It was her first day here. She was hoping for some quality time with her brother and Netflix. Not a fucking hoedown.
“Don’t give me that look. You’re living here now and you need to make some friends. Yes, friends. As in other people than me. I’m not going to let you pull that loner shit that Ma let you get away with. My buddy Kirsch is having a bonfire tonight and we’re going. I want you to meet him.”
The brunette could vaguely recall her brother mentioning this Kirsch character on his rare phone calls. For someone who carried a cell phone at all times Will barely used the damn thing, but that was beside the point. This was not ideal.
Carmilla could tell by the way Will’s jaw was locked that he was not going to budge. She let out a heavy sigh before take a swig of her favorite soda. Maybe it was time for a change?
“Fine. But, I’m wearing this.”
Will’s eyes wandered down to his sister’s attire: black skin-tight pants, and an old band t-shirt that was a faded shade of gray. The guys were sure going to get a kick out of her.
“Whatever, hot stuff.”
The fact that they road a four-wheeler, a vehicle she was pretty sure should be illegal, through the woods to get to this “party” should have been her first tip off that it was going to be awful. If that didn’t do it, the drunken country boys in their blue jeans and ball caps that literally hollered at them when they pulled up was a giant flashing sign that might as well read: “you’re fucked.”
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Carmilla grumbled.
“Give them a chance. They’re good people Carm. A little rough around the edges, but nice.”
Carmilla just nodded as her brother helped her off the machine that had gotten them there. It was another empty field in the middle of the woods. The only difference was the gigantic fire that was constructed out of a tree, yes a whole tree, and what looked like wooden pallets. There were nothing but pick-ups and jeeps surrounding this bonfire that was more like a forest fire (Smokey would be so proud). This was some picture of the country way of life. Seriously, this couldn’t get anymore hick if someone was lighting off banned fireworks.
And on that note a redneck yelled “yeehaw,” before a trail of smoke and an explosion took over the sky. When red sparkles rained down on them Carmilla starred at her brother: horrified. Will looked a bit remorseful at that.
“Okay, so they’re really ruff around the edges.”
“Will, how do I say this nicely? You know what, I won’t. This is fucking-“
“Bro! You made it!”
The sweaty redneck who had just set off the illegal firework jogged up to the pair. Carmilla immediately tensed as her rant was interrupted. Will’s face lit up as he did one of those weird hug/handshake thingys that guys do.
“Yeah! Told you we’d be here.”
“You must be Carmilla. I’m Kirsch,” the friendly country boy greeted, as he stuck out his hand for the brunette to shake. Carmilla starred at it for about ten seconds longer than what was socially acceptable before returning the gesture. She couldn’t remember the last time she actually shook hands with someone. Who did that anymore?
“She’s just jet lagged,” Will reasoned, gritting his teeth at Carmilla. His way of saying play nice or else.
“Oh! Sounds like you could use a beer then. I’ll be right back.” The guy was gone as fast as he appeared, and Carmilla turned to finish the business of killing Will for dragging her out here.
“Just try and have a good time. For me?” he whined.
“Have fun? How Will?! By setting myself on fire?”
Another firework went off, and this time it was green. Kirsch emerged again, handing them both a can of beer. Carmilla just batted her eyes at the foreign object that was currently freezing in her left hand.
“He’s the human form of a puppy dog,” Carmilla stated at her brother, while Kirsch stood between them clueless.
“Who?” Kirsch asked, clearly oblivious. Carmilla just gave her a brother ‘you see what I mean’ look. When no one replied to him the guy took it upon himself to break the silence. “A bunch of us are about to throw Doug’s old couch on the fire if you want to help.”
Will looked from his friend to his sister. Then back to his friend. “Sure thing.” With that he left Carmilla standing alone with her refreshing Busch Light and a death glare that would make Putin resign.
Carmilla couldn’t believe it. Well, to be fair she couldn’t believe a lot of things. She couldn’t believe that she was here in the first place. That she had packed up her whole life and just moved across the country on a whim. That she was living with her brother in the middle of nowhere. That she was standing in a field of mud in combat boots. That currently her brother was helping set an old sofa on fire like a Neanderthal. Or that it was probably the most exciting thing to happen to her in years (how pathetic).
Life, thou art a heartless bitch.
She decided to try and make the best of a bad situation. Mostly because she had no idea how to operate the machine that Will brought her here on, and walking was out of the question; she had no idea where she even fucking was. Carmilla sulked for about ten minutes before she realized that Will was not coming back for her. Even though it was a warm March night the air was still cold, so she decided to migrate closer to the fire for warmth.
It was pretty. That was enjoyable at least. They had plenty of fires back home; her childhood house and her old apartment both had fireplaces. As she wandered around the hoards of trucks parked around the makeshift circle that’s center held the bonfire she wondered why her brother found this life appealing. This was so different than how they were brought up. In the city, with money (maybe that was why?).
Carmilla popped the tab on her beer. Alcohol could only help this situation after all. She let some of foam filter out before she took a sip. Which she then directly spit out, “Holy fuck this tastes like piss.”
“You get use to it,” a meek voice offered up out of the darkness, with a giggle that resembled a small child’s laugh. Carmilla glanced around for the owner of that comment before spotting a tiny female sitting on a tailgate by herself. She was cast in the shadow of the flames enough that Carmilla could barely make out her face.
“I can’t believe people actually choose to drink this.”
“Yeah, it’s pretty bad. The only good thing is that when you’re drunk you really don’t pay much attention to the way it tastes anymore. And it’s cheap. Like super cheap.”
“I’d rather drink paint remover and pay $1000.”
There was another one of those giggles.
“You’re funny. And obviously new here,” the petite girl noted, slipping off the back of the truck and stepping into the light. “I’m Laura.” Again a hand was stuck out for Carmilla to shake.
Only this time it wasn’t quite so gross. Laura was cute, in that innocent way. She had a sweet smile, and blue eyes that Carmilla could see someone easily getting lost in. She wreaked of country girl and the brunette couldn’t bring herself to dislike that, because there was something about her.
“Carmilla,” she answered, giving the small hand a shake. “What makes you say that?”
“That’s a neat name. Well, you’re wearing combat boots and a band t-shirt at a bonfire. You stick out like a sore thumb around here. Not that that’s bad!”
“Relax, cutie. I get what you mean.” She was polite.
“Well Carmilla, want to join me in drinking this awful stuff to pretend like we’re having a good time?”
Funny. She was funny in a dorky sort of way too.
“Love to, cupcake.”
What did she have to lose?
Carmilla joined the girl on the tailgate of one of these fine partygoers truck. She wondered if it could possibly be Laura’s, but she struck Carmilla as more of a sedan girl.
“What brings you out here, Carmilla?” Okay, so the brunette really liked the way the girl said her name. That was strange. Most people butchered it.
“My idiot brother, Will.”
“Oh! You’re Will’s Carmilla. Kirsch told me about you.”
Carmilla’s stomach sank. Great. She was friends with the lackwit who provided the retched drink. They were probably dating (And why did she find herself caring?).
“Wish I could say the same thing.”
“No worries. Will and I don’t really talk. He spends a lot of time with Kirsch, which means we’re kind of friends of convenience. I like him though. Your brother’s nice.”
“He’s something,” Carmilla replied, taking another sip of her beer for some unknown reason. Laura laughed at her as her face soured. It just dawned on her how bad this stuff tasted, for a second time. Like the first wasn’t enough.
“The third sip isn’t so bad.” The petite blonde took a long drink from her own can; she didn’t even feign indifference to it.
“So is Kirsch your boyfriend or something?” Carmilla wondered. Her brother really should have given her a rundown of these people or something. She was crap at small talk…and people.
Laura let out a seriously loud bark of laughter. It soon turned into a fit, as the blonde covered her mouth to try and make the uncontrollable giggles stop. Then she snorted and Carmilla smiled because that was pretty fucking adorable. It didn’t even seem to bother Laura. Once the small girl calmed down she blew out a steading breath.
“No. Definitely not. Kirsch is my best friend. Kind of like an older brother.”
“Oh.” (Why was that so hysterical?) “Not your type?”
“Not by a long shot,” Laura declared, as she drank some more of her beer. The blonde was starring off at the fire as if there was something obvious that Carmilla was missing. Who the fuck is this chick?
A comfortable silence fell over them as they watched the couch finally get tossed on the open flame. Embers shot out everywhere, but they were far back enough to miss them. A bunch of the guys took their shirts off and started chanting “Zetas” like a bunch of gorillas as black smoke filled the sky. Seriously?
“What the actual fuck William?” Carmilla couldn’t help but let that slip out. She was probably totally unintentionally insulting Laura by saying it, but watching her brother dance around with these guys was a bit much. Who was she even watching? He was a stranger here.
“I take it your not use to these kind of Friday nights?” Laura inquired.
“No, definitely not.”
“Lucky. This is pretty tame. Last time Kirsch decided to throw gunpowder on the fire to make it sparkle and ended up setting his hand on fire. I had to take him to the ER.”
Carmilla laughed. That really didn’t sound that implausible at this point. “He’s not the brightest bulb, is he?”
“No. But, he’s a pretty nice guy. Once you get under all the zeta stuff.”
Laura furrowed her brow at Carmilla. “Will didn’t tell you about the Zetas?”
“Uh, no. What are they?”
“It’s probably better if Will tells you himself.”
“Hey,” Laura said in the softest voice Carmilla ever heard. The blonde hugged her gently with her shoulder. “It’s nothing bad. Don’t worry, he’s okay.”
How did she know what she was thinking? And why does her skin the softest thing she’s ever felt? Was Carmilla really that transparent? She had always prided herself on being able to fool people with her tough exterior which wasn’t as concrete as she thought. At least not to Laura.
Laura who was still holding her hand. Who seemed to be slowly leaning in closer. To be fair Carmilla was pretty sure she was drifting toward the blonde too. The girl smelled like sunshine and summer (it was intoxicating).
“You’re a strange girl Laura,” Carmilla whispered as her brown eyes searched blue ones for the first time. There was something about them that was pulling the brunette to the girl; this was not going result well.
The blonde smirked at her. “Says the chick who showed up to a bonfire in all black.” Laura’s grin was enough to have the ends of Carmilla’s lips curling. She liked someone who challenged her.
Someone cleared their throat, rather loudly.
The girl’s sprang a part. Carmilla was met with the vision of what she could only describe as a female amazon, a grown-up version of Shirley Temple, and a probably hurt sapling. All of whom were staring at them - standing no more than a foot away. How the hell did that happen? Were they secret ninjas or something?
“Hey guys,” Laura said, her voice wavering a tad at the surprise.
“Hi,” the giant one said, never taking her eyes off Carmilla. “Who’s this?”
Okay, add rude to her character traits. Got it. She was trying to stare Carmilla down but the brunette didn’t let it bother her. She had dealt with far worse furious glares in her line of work; this was child’s play in comparison.
“This is Carmilla. My new friend.”
The brunette turned to the blonde. Did she just say friend? Carmilla’s never made one of those so fast or ever. Hearing the word was a bit surreal, but she decided not to read into it. The brunette offered the group a slight wave to verify the words coming out of the tiny one’s mouth.
“What kind of name is Carmilla?” the big one scoffed.
“Danny, be nice!” Laura scolded.
Well that solves the mystery of who’s who. At least the other two were semi-friendly.
“We have to go. As in all of us,” Danny proclaimed.
“Why?” Laura asked.
“Because we need to leave.” The frantic look in all their eyes told Carmilla that Danny wasn’t just a jealous control freak. There was clearly something wrong, with all of them.
The large one grabbed Laura by the hand and started dragging her off.
“Sorry. It was nice meeting you!” Laura called over her shoulder as her friends took her away. The blonde didn’t even fight it.
Carmilla sat, wondering if she should go after her. Then she figured tonight was bizarre enough already. She took another swig of the beer.
Laura was right, the third sip was better.