Chapter 2: Worryingly Helpful Friends

I’m going to tell you a secret. I hate my name. Loathe it. My parents were well-meaning, as all parents were, when they named me. They wanted to give me a name that meant something, that felt strong. And so they chose Atina, because even they recognized that ‘Athena’ was too much. And my last name, LeRoux, was the last remaining shred of French identity left to my family. My ancestors had fled from Basque country two hundred and fifty years ago, up Louisiana along the Mississippi, through to Ottawa, and then drizzled back down into the States over time. I got a few strands of copper hair, most of them turned to white now, and a name that got me picked on mercilessly for most of my life.

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Chapter 1: A Young Woman, in Dire Straits

A man has three sons. He explains to his sons that he wants them to prosper. So, he will make them a loan of one hundred thousand dollars for their education, on the condition that at his funeral, they pay him back. Many years later, at the funeral, his sons gather around him. His first son, an archaeologist, lays a pair of priceless golden coins on his eyes, each worth 50,000 dollars. His second son, a jewelry-maker, lays a diamond necklace around his neck, worth 100,000 dollars. His final son, a lawyer, places a check for 300,000 dollars on the man’s chest, and then grabs the gold coins and the necklace as change.

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Interim 2: Catfished

Hell’s Kitchen Sink will resume on September 24th, with Delectable Corpse, a continuation of the character introduced in Small Folks Court, which you can read again here. There’ll be another short story, The Wind Cries, on September 17th, which will be a short story showing some of the history of Ariel from A Serpent in Zion, and leading into a future novel which will feature Ariel, and two others, as the primary protagonists.

In the next seven days, you can send questions to me; Either asks on tumblr, e-mails to, or comments on Hell’s Kitchen Sink, about Catfished, characters, lingering uncertainties, and so forth. Anything that I don’t think will specifically be spoilers for the story in the future, I’ll answer, and post on Hell’s Kitchen Sink on the 20th.

I’ll be running two polls, this time. First, the character polls! Same rules as before, you can choose up to 5 characters that you want to see more of.

The last poll had some fascinating results. Nash had first place at 22 votes, with Pearl just behind at 20, and Bella at 17. Ariel was at 16, Gene at 14, and Heather at 14- Giving the Sisters and Bella a handy lead. Megara comes in at 9 votes, with Harry, Irayama, and Dio all holding a respectable place with 7 votes. Susan and Isabelle managed to get 5 votes despite barely being in the story at all, with Dean and Officer Crupky each getting 3.  Wendy and Kintaro each had a single vote each, and poor Megan Smith came in with a round 0.

Overall, we can see that people definitely had the most interest and fondness for Nash and those closest to him. An interesting result, and one I’m glad for.

And for our second poll, I’ve got something a little more esoteric. Who do you think would have been a better protector: Betty, or Randall?

Chapter 18: Horace Hunting

“-Military has stated that the unprecedented operation was in response to a major terror threat by the known cult, the Church of the Survivor, to detonate a low-yield nuclear device in Central Park. They attribute their victory to the quick actions of Dane Larson in tracking down the cultists, and the device has been safely dismantled-”

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Chapter 17: Betty Bye

My body was aching, wracked with feverish chills. The knife had hurt badly. And it kept hurting. Being in the warmth of Horace’s home wasn’t helping. I was becoming disconnected. I could feel the world flowing like wax around me. It was becoming difficult to concentrate on what was happening. Memories were echoing in my head. I heard a crack, and shook free of a vision of people who had been dead for millenia.

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Chapter 16: Randall’s Well That Ends Well

I was always the black sheep. My brother was kind-hearted, smarter than me, more athletic. All I had was my anger, and my ambition. But he didn’t mind that. In fact, I think that was part of what he liked about me. I had the passion to get things done when he would have let bygones be bygones. He never said it, but when we wound up in a fight, there was glee in his expression. I gave him an excuse to not be a good person. He needed that. And in exchange… He cared about me. He believed in me. He told me that I would do great things.

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