#SouthernGothic: A style of story set primarily in the American South and focused on Southern American culture especially the darker elements found in it’s embrace spiritualism and the more morbid elements of fundamentalist Christian dogma.
That’s my definition anyway. Here’s a sample of the newest episode of Southern Gothic: Whiskey Sour:
She was tired of being told what she couldn’t do.
They’d been in St. Louis for a week. They’d found a local prime of a wolf pack and presented themselves as guests in the city. They’d tapped a few of his local informants, and they’d sat in a no tell motel for days and waited.
“He’s nearby, Brewer,” she grumbled. “Why can’t we just scan for him? Jack taught me how to distinguish from other bear shifters that could be in the area, plus there is the small fact that he’s mated to me. I’m not going to get the wrong address.”
“If the council has him, they aren’t admitting it, Adra.” Brewer tore open a fast food wrapper with yet another generic burger in it. They’d been eating them for a week.
“That opens a new possibility. I can track him as a containment case. It gives me more authority to act.”
He referred, of course, to his authority as the council’s hunter and henchman. Brewer was meant to track down those who were in danger of spreading the virus that caused vampirism, which at this moment, she supposed, included her fiance, Boyd Ramsey who’d been bitten over a month ago and hadn’t died.
Adra stared at the splotched paint on the wall before her. Her control of magic was getting sketchy, and Finn was due in to check on her this afternoon. But, she couldn’t help it. There was a buzzing under her skin that never quieted. She thought it must be related to not having her magical bond with a certain bear.
She needed Boyd yesterday. Part of herself, an integral part of herself, was missing.
She traced a water stain down that aged wall with her gaze, and said, “What if we don’t find him?”
It was probably the first moment she’d allowed herself to even have the thought. From his spot by the window, she heard his deep sigh, but she didn’t dare face the pity she thought she might see in his eyes.
“You would know.” It was all he said.
“I’d know if I wasn’t going to find him?”
“You would know if he was dead. Just as Jack says you’ll know when he’s near.”
“Jack’s been wrong before.”
Darkness might be creeping into her thoughts just a little too swiftly and stealthily, she realized. “But, I haven’t yet,” the vampire told her. “And, I agree with him. Mating bonds are strong enough to track when they aren’t fueled by weapons grade magic. Your bond has to be pulsing inside you, which….” He pulled her chin to face him as he leaned down to meet her gaze. “Which is why this is eating you up. Go to sleep, Witch. I’ll keep watch.”
“I can set a spell.”
He shook his head. “No need for it yet. I don’t exactly sleep, remember?”
“Indeed, right. I forget y’all can do that.”
He smiled and chuffed her on the chin like a little girl, irritating the fire out of her.
“What’s so damn funny?” She pulled away from him, annoyed and knowing whatever he said would make her even more irritated. They had this weird hostile peace between them.
“Your accent gets thicker when you’re tired. Go to sleep, little witch.”
“You aren’t my daddy, you know?” An argument they’d had before, but this time, he answered.
“Honey, for all we know, I’m your great grandfather.”
For the first time, Adra really contemplated the agelessness of a vampire that would live forever. Her mouth opened and closed as that truth settled into her reality. “Holy shit, Brewer. How would you keep track?”
He always appeared indulgent when he answered questions like this for her, as if he was imparting his eternal wisdom on her naive ears, and that seemed, in this case, to only drive his point further home. “I can’t father children now, but Family tree.com has been a real blessing in the dating pool. No getting around that.”
Her heart sort of toppled over drunkenly as his last words processed. “Of course, you can’t have kids.” The tone of voice said it all. It was one more revelation in a long line of devastation revelations over the course of her recent days.
“I’m sorry, Adra. I wasn’t thinking.” He truly looked like he wished he could take this one back. She waved off his apology.
“What did you do?” she whispered. “I can’t believe it took me this long to work that one out, Brewer. Vampires can’t have kids. Of course they can’t.”
He moved away from the window to sit on the bed beside her. “Did you want em?”
She lifted her head, stemming the sting of tears. Now was not the time for crying. “Like a wildfire.” She shook her head to clear the thoughts. “But, that’s not the most important thing right now.”
Had she wanted them before she met a bear shifter and found out she was a witch? Hell, yes. She’d wanted it all; the house, the kids, the dog. After she had learned the ins and outs of mating, she had ignored the questions and the problems. This thing. This changed everything. The choice had vanished like a puff of smoke. That seemed worse somehow than choosing not to have kids.
Adra felt his hand squeeze her shoulder. She stood because she couldn’t bear kindness right now while her heart was quietly breaking. “I’ll live, Brewer. What’s on the agenda for tomorrow?”
Check it out here: https://radish.app.link/3lcTU5HImP