20th Jan 2020, 10:35 PM
Stay the night at Cici's

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Stay the night at Cici's
Though you may no longer have to run from the cops, you still don't...


want to deal with the dream dungeon tonight.

It has been a very long day.

"Thanks," you tell Cici and Bebe.

You hold out your beer, still unopened.

"Awwnah, I'm goin' to bed," Bebe chuckles. "You kids have fun. Cici, don't forget you got work tomorrow."

Cici, on the other hand, gladly takes the beer, twisting the cap off with minimal effort. "I know, I got it! Goodnight Bebe!"

"Goodnight, errbody."

Cici turns back to you and Kate as Bebe wanders off to her room.

"So..." Kate begins, "you guys got any like... board games or something?"

"We got playing cards," Cici replies. "Chips, too, I think. Bebe taught me to play poker, but I kinda suck at it."

"Well," Kate says with a smirk, "that's because Bebe also sucks at poker."

After fumbling around and discovering that Cici's couch does, indeed, have a fold-out bed, the three of you stay up late playing poker. ...Well, you stay up later; the night's activities have already kept you out a while. You and Kate play from the fold out bed, while Cici sits on the floor but uses the bed like a table. Cici feared she might break the bed itself, citing "they always make these things for regular sized people."

Cici is also, as she confessed, not very good at poker.

Kate's decent--she's experienced, at least, and not afraid to play aggressively. You and Kate mostly go back and forth; she wins just a little more often, but not much, and you can tell she's really pressing herself to keep up. It quickly develops into a small rivalry, with Cici only barreling in as a wild card when she gets an exceptional hand.

Cici finally asks the question you've been dreading to answer--and that Kate may be dreading to hear:

"How much poker have you played, Plaire? You're pretty good at this!"

You hesitate

but you don't want to lie.

You don't have to lie.

"This is, uh... my first time. Actually."

"Dammit," Kate blurts out, half laughing. "I fucking knew it. I saw you kinda fumbling the cards and I was like, maybe it's part of her bluff. Maybe I'm struggling against a master. Maybe she's like a card shark or something."

"No," you're forced to admit, shaking your head, "I just know waaay too much about poker odds. I... I research a lot of video game mechanics. If you start looking into how RNG works in a lot of games, you start rabbitholing into probabilities and game theories for way older stuff. I didn't understand how arrays and random generation worked together until I started thinking of them like a deck of cards. ...Also the concept of luck is just, ruined for me."

Cici shrugs, smiles, and shakes her head. "See, you lost me at RNG."

"Random number generation," you reply.

"Ohhh gotcha," nods Cici sagely.

You add, at a half hearted mumble, "Also I guess gambling runs in my family, but I don't think a genetic predisposition is making me better at it. I'm just more likely to get addicted...?"

"A likely story..." says Kate in mock suspicion, "but tell me this, Plaire--if that IS your real name--where the hell are these bluffs coming from? I have sat here and watched you play some of THE most bunk ass hands I've ever seen, and the whole time you have this face like you're about to cure cancer. I like to think I have a pretty finely tuned bullshit detector but you are just a fucking monolith."

"I..." You smile a little, in spite of yourself. You let it fade on its own before you finish replying. "...I used to lie a lot. Used to... have to... lie a lot."

The room falls quiet for a moment, but before you can become self conscious about it, Cici speaks up. "Wait, how can you be genetically predisposed to gambling?"

"Cici." Kate looks her square in the eye. "You guys are genetically predisposed to the gay but you're confused about hereditary gambling?"

Cici audibly scoffs, huffs, and blusters. Kate almost drops her cards and you almost fall off the couch trying to contain your respective laughters.

"That...!" Cici finally manages to say, "is not the same as gambling."

"Well fuck, I've been doing it wrong then," Kate manages to blurt out in between stifled giggling.

"To be fair," you interject, "that is still kiiind of pseudoscience. I don't think anyone's done a study on whether all... uh... genetically engineered people are... um...

you know."

"I don't," Cici says bluntly, fighting back a grin. She leans in, giving you the most serious expression she can muster while staring straight into your soul. "You're gonna have to tell me."

"Plaire." Kate, likewise, tries to be as stoic as possible. "I did a study. Just now. Cici, how many straight people are in your family?"

"Zero," Cici says, still maintaining solid eye contact with you. "It's Lesbian Central out here."

Kate nods solemnly. "Plaire, I regret to inform you that I, too, am a raging homosexual. You've actually walked into a really dumb and let's be honest, needlessly elaborate trap."


It's funny but

you're not sure you've ever just... said it. Out loud.


you don't have to lie.

"...I'm like 80% sure I'm gay."

"Well, nobody's perfect," says Cici as she finally breaks eye contact.

"Ahem," Kate enunciates out loud, "the response the judges were looking for was oh well I can fix that."

"I, uh..." you stare down at your cards for a moment. You realize you've gotten caught up in the moment, and entirely forgotten about the game. Not that it's a great hand, anyway. "...I'm not used to people being. Like. ...Open about it."

Cici's expression changes rapidly. "...Oh, dang. Is that why you moved here? You from one of those kinda towns?"

Kate keeps her smile, but it softens a little.

"...Basically, yeah." You swallow roughly. "It was... smaller than Ninelives."

"Hard to believe," Kate pipes in with a bit more smirk, "but go on."

"Everybody knew everybody," you continue. "My teacher went to church with my mom. My dad worked for... for my ex-girlfriend's dad. The local drug dealer was the son of my mom's best friend. There were no secrets. Nothing ever happened so everybody gossiped. Everybody needed to know everything, to tell everybody everything. Everybody wanted the fucking scoop. ...So if I got caught doing something, my whole family would know by the end of the day."

"And your family, uh..." Cici winces, "...they didn't approve of you, uh...?"

"You know," interrupts Kate, copying your language from earlier. Cici grins, and you can't help but smile a little, too.

"Yeah," you finally reply. "My mom's super religious--"

You don't have to lie.

"...My mom likes the appearance of being super religious. She has a reputation to uphold. I don't think she really cares beyond what the churchfolk would think. My dad..."

You don't.


To lie.

"My dad... just... hates. I didn't understand hate until I heard my dad talk about," you put your cards down to make finger quotes, "the queers."

"Damn," says Cici, taken aback.

"Like..." You stare at your hands. It feels weird even talking about it without the fear he's going to somehow find out. "He still advocates for ECT. Strongly. Unironically. That kind of hate."

"Fuuuck," adds Kate. "Dude. That's nuts."

"ECT...?" Cici asks.

"Electroconvulsive therapy," you mutter.

"Where they try to shock the gay out of you," Kate adds.

"Oh. Damn."

"The whole town's like that," you continue. "Just... small-minded, primitive assholes. They're a witch trial away from grabbing the pitchforks. I'm surprised they're not still bloodletting with leeches and shit. It was killing me. Living there felt like I was... like I was fucking--"


In prison.

A barbaric, medieval prison

with monsters, always trying to get under your skin

and to possess what's in your head

no matter how much it might hurt you to do so.

"...Oh. Oh, shit."

"What?," Cici asks.

"I just..." Hmm can't really explain that to her right now. "...I just realized something." You shake your head before gently arching your eyebrows toward the big MondolGroup logo floating across Cici's TV screen. "I'll tell you later."

"Ohhh, gotcha," Kate says.

"You guys have gotta fill me in better at some point," huffs Cici. "I'm not down for all this head waggling code business. ANYWAY--" Cici, having apparently realized this game has run its course, throws her cards down to put a hand on your shoulder. "You're not there anymore. You're safe here, and if anybody gives you trouble I'll whip their ass."

Kate grins. "And then I'll jump in like yeah fucker you just got wrecked by a librarian. You still picked a painfully small town, but yeah we're not gonna chase you off like you're Frankendyke."

"Ugh," remarks Cici. "I hate that word. I don't know who all's memories they pumped me with, but somebody got called a dyke once and I'm not a fan."

"That sucks," Kate replies, "because Frankendyke is 100% what I'm calling my next band."

"Speaking of your band--" Cici segues, "what's the deal with your singer--"

but Kate interjects. "No."

"Hmm, I think Cici's right," you persist. "Your frontman kinda--"

"No," Kate repeats, signalling for the cut with her hands. "Nope not tonight. I am tired and talking about it is going to make me more tired. Just... I know. Trust me. I know. He's one of the only three people that can play bass in this town, I have looked everywhere and I have counted.."

"Who're the other two bassists?," you ask, purely out of curiosity.

Kate flashes a fake, gameshow host sort of smile. "Why I'm glad you asked. One of them is already on drums and the other is me. Until I figure out how to mutate an extra pair of arms, we're stuck with what we got. He insists on singing and writing if he's gonna be our bassist. I know. I know."

"Isn't bass supposed to be real easy to learn?," Cici asks.

"It is," Kate replies. "Do you know how to play bass?"

"No," admits Cici. "I think my hands are too big."

"Me either," you admit, before adding with a poorly concealed grin "my hands, also, are too large."

"And there you go." Kate holds her hands up high, giving a strong contender for the real biggest shrug. "Doesn't matter how easy it is to learn if nobody does. Hope you guys enjoy the sultry tones and thought provoking lyrics of...

drumroll please--"

Kate looks at you, expectantly. With a forced sigh, you begin to drum your fingers on the arm of the couch.

"...Rip Brutalis," Kate declares. "And yes, pronouncing it wrong is part of it."

You briefly lose it. "You did NOT tell me--" You hold up one finger until you manage to stop laughing. "You didn't tell me his stage name was Rip Brutalis. I was fine with Rip, where did Brutalis come from?"

"I don't knooow," Kate groans. "I don't fucking know he said it sounded metal."

Cici, who is covering her mouth to try and hide how wide she's smiling, finally speaks up again to simply state "RIP."

"Rip," you add, barely between laughs. "Fucking Brutalis."

"He..." Kate actually hesitates, her face sinking like she's about to deliver the worst news in history, "he wanted ME to go by Demona Brimstone, but I can only be pushed so far."

"Oh my god," Cici laughs into her hand.

"Holy shit Kate," you manage to force out, "do you have to have a bassist?"

"YES," Kate exclaims. "Two person bands are just... weird. It gives you that aura of... folksy indie experimental shit. One of those bands you watch online and you go huh, how distinct and then you never buy their merch."

"You've thought about this," Cici points out.

"I constantly think about this," responds Kate. "If I have to put up with some dweeb's highschool notebook goth phase 80s van airbrushed tiger bullshit to get to play, then... well, fuck, that's the price I gotta pay."

There's a brief silence.

You finally add, "You just went through like... three different stereotypes. He IS pretty fucking awful, though--"

"I KNOW," insists Kate. "Eeeveryone can tell. You could have never heard a song in your life. You could be deaf, and look at that dude like hmm yes he carries himself like a guy that sucks at singing. He has negative stage presence. I hate him but I need a bassist but oooh do I hate him. CICI." Kate suddenly whips her head around to stare at Cici. "Me and Plaire are divulging all our darkest secrets here."

"Yeah," you agree, nodding, "you have to give us your backstory now."

"One," says Cici, "you just made it real clear that Rip suckin' is not a secret to anybody. Two:"

Kate quickly interjects, "Rip Suckin' will be the first album from Frankendyke."

"TWO," re-emphasizes Cici as her gaze steadily wanders off, "...I gotta work in the morning so I'm going to bed."

"Ohhhoho, I see, I see," says Kate, holding her hands up. "Pulling that shit on us. Alright. Okay. I'll remember that, Cici."

Cici grins as she gathers up the chips and playing cards. "Remember it. I think you'll find I work in the morning and have to go to bed a lot."

Once Cici's gone to her room, it's just you and Kate in the living room.

"Alright," she begins, "I'll share the couch-bed with you, but no funny stuff. I don't bang on the first date. That is the rule. THE rule."


"W... was this a date?," you ask.

"I mean..." In spite of how immediately flustered you've become, Kate's shrug is still very nonchalant. "That's how most of my dates have gone, yeah. We managed to avoid getting arrested, so--you made top three. Congrats. Pound it."

She holds out her fist.

You politely shake your head.

She tilts her head and arches her eyebrows, more and more enthusiastically, until you finally bump her fist with your own.

"Yeah," says Kate. "Hell yeah. So is-- uh-- the thing gonna happen tonight? Am I about to be sucked into your wonderland?"

"Not on the first date," you somehow manage to say out loud, prompting Kate to almost choke on her own laughter. You give her a moment to recover before you continue, grinning and probably blushing like an idiot. "Seriously though I have no idea. I might be taking this whole damn building with me."

"Well, shit," she says. Kate removes her jacket--finally, after all this time--and lays it carefully next to her guitar before throwing herself onto the fold out bed.


a lot going on

that's uh

easier to notice with the jacket gone.


"Kate..." you lay down next to her. You smile. You focus intently on eye contact because you do not trust yourself to start looking elsewhere. "You're good at a lot but choosing last words is not one of them."


You sigh.

You lay in silence for a while.

You're really not sure how this is going to work.

Eventually, the lack of motion in the room signals the lights to dim...

slowly fading to total darkness

save for the faint, blue glow of all the apartment's built in electronics.

The last thing you hear before you drift off is Kate sleepily muttering "Get 'er done."

You wake up at about noon.

You are still in Cici's apartment, sleeping on a fold out bed next to Kate.

At some point during the night you turned over, and also became the little spoon.

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Rate this comic:

average rating: 5

20th Jan 2020, 11:06 PM
Well now I'm wondering if other people can come into the dream with her..
20th Jan 2020, 11:27 PM
I have been wondering since page 2
21st Jan 2020, 12:23 AM
If the dungeon is literally a complete mindscape of the dreamer's worst issues, it's probably going to be different for everyone involved.
A possibility is each dreamer would spawn in their dedicated spot and those merge into a central hub of some sort - aside from that I don't see any dream multiplayer action.
21st Jan 2020, 5:55 AM
what if each floor is a separate mindscape then someone else's Mindscape could be the floor that Plaire fell asleep at before venturing down there
21st Jan 2020, 9:20 AM
It has a little something for everyone.
20th Jan 2020, 11:08 PM
hell yeah a decent night's sleep.

i say we just kind of... chill out and enjoy being cozy and in an environment where we're not being judged, chased by monsters, or harassed by mayors, police, or shadowy cabals.
20th Jan 2020, 11:36 PM
but we still have things to do
21st Jan 2020, 2:21 AM
Being in a better mental state will help us with doing the things we need to do. Let us continue to be smoll spoon and enjoy the positive impact this has on our sense of safety and well-being.
20th Jan 2020, 11:58 PM
Lunar Waffles
+1 to chilling out before getting busy(phrasing omg i do not think of innuendo by default) getting to the work of not dying x:
21st Jan 2020, 10:31 AM
If we do choose to chill out for a bit then that would be a good time to peruse the tourist brochure.
20th Jan 2020, 11:11 PM
Alright, we need to do something, ASAP

Step One: sneak out of bed without waking Kate
Step Two: Coat yourself, Kate, and as much as the bed as you are willing to clean in red liquids that look like blood
Step Three: Resume Sleeping position and remain until Kate wakes up or a member of this household returns
Step Four: Laugh in Kate's face as she freaks out
Step Five: apologize profusely

Hurry, Plaire, before Kate wakes up!
21st Jan 2020, 12:35 AM
I immediately vote to veto.
21st Jan 2020, 10:15 AM
Step six: Create a portal using the blood.
Step seven: Use portal to exit building without alerting Mondol

I mean...

Kate would probably find it a hilarious prank after she recovered.

21st Jan 2020, 10:29 AM
How about let's not-- if only because it would make a mess of Cici's couch and that's rude after she so kindly let us stay here.

21st Jan 2020, 10:33 AM
-1 Cici has we-don't-know-how-many VERY muscular sisters and some of them might not be as good-natured as her.
21st Jan 2020, 11:09 AM

Funny... sorta... But no.
20th Jan 2020, 11:14 PM
Cool, Only in your house then. Always good to know.
Wake up Kate and see if Cici and/or Bebe left some food out for the two of you. If not.... Eh, go out for lunch? Either way once getting something to eat's taken care of it's time and past for visiting The Back Room. Both for gaming and conspiracy theory stuff.

.... Also we should get a nice, hefty crowbar and search the house more thoroughly. As I've said before, wouldn't surprise me for there to be hidden areas we just haven't found yet in it. Painted over doors, overlooked trap doors, those sorts of things.
20th Jan 2020, 11:24 PM
Portal In Time
Oh yeah, the Back Room! That's a good place to start the day with. +1

Probably couldn't afford to go out for lunch, though.
21st Jan 2020, 11:08 AM
I don't think we have money to eat out, but I agree that going to the back room is a priority. If anywhere is going to give us cheats, it's there.
20th Jan 2020, 11:26 PM
+1 to all of the above
21st Jan 2020, 1:45 AM
+1 to going to The Back Room
21st Jan 2020, 11:12 AM
+1 Lunch then Back Room.

Only have Cici's food if there is a note or obviously prepared food left.

Might want to swing past our own place to freshen up some.

We still need to do laundry...
21st Jan 2020, 11:52 AM
Edit: only -1 if Kate doesn't pay for our lunch

-1 to going out to eat lunch we need money to buy stuff at the back room. If Plaire wants to stop by her house and eat lunch at home, though, that's OK.
21st Jan 2020, 12:56 PM
.... Fucking hell I'm taking way too long to figure out a non-dickish way to say this but:
Kate also has money, given the beer and such from earlier.
Dunno about anyone else, and I have certainly never been in a relationship so can't really say for certain, but there's always the option of the other person paying for the meal... granted it should be hashed out before going out but still.
21st Jan 2020, 2:18 PM
+1 I can't resist having lunch with Kate so long as it's free (she pays or we have lunch at the spooky house)
21st Jan 2020, 7:45 PM
+1. forgot the back room was a thing. Kate can probably help us get friendly with the staff there.
20th Jan 2020, 11:21 PM
Portal In Time
The character development/exposition was really good, and the conversations seemed fluid, natural, and just overall a joy to read! I genuinely enjoyed this update, really well done Matt 👏👏👏

let's shimmy ourselves free from Kate's grasp and use the restroom, maybe use the apartment's complimentary Mondol Group™ SmartFridge™ and read some local news or something, whatever we need to wake up.

And I'm not sure about what others may thing, but we miiiight want to inform Kate that we're currently recovering from a pretty nasty break up, and that we won't be ready for anything beyond playful flirting for a bit? I would feel that way if I were Plaire.
20th Jan 2020, 11:28 PM
I demand that "Kate" somehow convinces Plaire to learn the bass so they can kick RIP out the band and rename it FrankenDyke
20th Jan 2020, 11:34 PM
I demand that some day, when the story of My Delirium Alcazar is complete and another story in this universe has begun, somebody at some point stumbles upon an album entitled Rip Suckin'.
20th Jan 2020, 11:40 PM
21st Jan 2020, 12:25 AM
21st Jan 2020, 2:14 AM
+1 so very hard

We have gaming fingers, so we should be able to learn an instrument relatively easily because we already have good manual dexterity. We might even be able to find used Rock Band equipment at the Back Room if we wanna learn via vidya! Plus that would be something we could use for our channel so it's worthy of an investment :D
21st Jan 2020, 11:10 AM
+1, large hands are not a no go for playing base. I knew people with massive hands who could shred.
21st Jan 2020, 1:43 PM
'Massive Shred' may be Frankendyke's second album.
21st Jan 2020, 11:11 AM
Not now though, bass is expense.
21st Jan 2020, 10:19 AM
+1 to learning bass at some point
20th Jan 2020, 11:42 PM
Just snuggle until Kate wakes up. Maybe think about learning bass?
21st Jan 2020, 12:52 AM
can I make a vote. when ever we talk about Plaire's Dad we call him The Bastard. and the The Mom The Bitch?
any one got anything for the EX?
21st Jan 2020, 7:43 PM
She Who Shall Not Be Named?
21st Jan 2020, 6:06 AM
Glad the dreaming really only works inside the house. And, well, let's try to slowly extract ourselves from our position of little spoon, lest we make Plaire feel even more awkward.
21st Jan 2020, 10:18 AM
I vote for a lil morning snugglin maybe? Please? Maybe not, I don't know.