Chapter II:

A Solitary Sunday

Lunar Cycle:

Waning Crescent

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Violet was having a rather reclusive Sunday indoors.

Honestly, any person would have to be either down-right insane or incredibly desperate for their paycheck to be out and about in this weather, and she was neither of those. 'Take 5 Gourmet.' Cheesy name, but it's not too far.

She paused for a moment while she stuck the end of the pen in her mouth and bit the cap off before circling the name in blue.

'Bucks Country Cafe.' Closer. But not the best pay. Nonetheless, she marked that one too. Asking for a raise was always an option after a few months of hard work.

'Course, there's always 'Dunkin' Donuts.' She mused rather ruefully.

Violet sipped her drink, swirled it around in her mouth, and turned the page. The rustling of it was the only sound other than the rain against the window that filled the empty space surrounding her.

She told herself she revelled in that solitude—an empty sort of peace that settled like dust in an old house: thick and slightly suffocating.

But peaceful nonetheless.

And consistent. Her life had been this way for a while, just her and her coffin nails as she had so affectionately dubbed her Camel filter-less cigarettes.

Pausing in her search for a moment, she slid one from the small pack beside her left thigh and placed it between her lips, flicking the lighter she carried in her pocket a few times before a flame finally caught. With a deep inhale and a lengthy exhale, she found her peace.

First taste is always the sweetest, Violet noted as she took another good drag.

Truthfully, she was lucky to find an apartment that allowed her this vice. Most places had a strict "smoke-free" policy that would make her trudge down flights of stairs to seek poor shelter from the rain and wind. Not at all appealing, but she refused to quit.

She could—if she wanted to—but she didn't.

She was stubborn like that, and it's not like it was doing her any real harm anyway.

So with "smoker friendly" and cheap as her only requirements, she did finally stumble upon her "lovely" Robbinsville apartment. And while lovely might not be the word she'd use, the township was only about an hour's drive from New York if she took I-85 S and the apartment itself it was clean and...spacious enough.

She never had guests anyway.

Especially not now, when she was practically a guest herself.

The move from Woodmont, Connecticut to Robbinsville, New Jersey had been a bit spur of the moment, though Violet did have a habit of picking up and moving at the drop of a dime. Now that she was here however, she needed to find a way to stay—if even for only a short while.

That's why the day found her plopped cross-legged in the middle of her empty apartment, hunched over the Sunday Job listings. With a cigarette in one hand and a glass of Jameson in the other, she embodied "real world" problems: the stuff they neglect to teach in school.

Not that she'd gone.

Focused on the paper before her, she scanned for more coffeehouse openings, her go-to day gig. So what if she was the perpetual barista, trained in the art of making over-priced coffee for frou-frou housewives with too much money in their pockets and plastic in their faces? She couldn't complain. Besides, it's quite nice working in a place that always smells like freshly-ground coffee.

And with that thought, her stomach chimed in. Violet's brow furrowed as she tried to recall the last time she'd eaten.

Too long apparently.

Hauling herself up, Violet went to scrounge for food. She'd bought some meager staples on the drive over: cereal, milk, box of cookies, oatmeal, and carrot sticks, all morning foods and not substantial.

So she liked breakfast. Whatever, it wasn't anyone's business.

What's more, it's not like she had the equipment to make some five-star feast in her sub-par kitchen. But all those rich people with master chef appliances didn't know how to tie their own shoes, let alone cook for themselves, so she was perfectly within her own right to eat brunch twenty-four seven.

She snatched the oats since they were probably the hardiest food she'd find in the pantry. Though good whiskey wasn't the best thing when running on empty, she downed the rest of her glass anyway and placed it in the sink before she set about bringing water to boil.

Oats: 1/2 cup
Water: 1 cup
Salt: a dash

Boil water and salt on stove top. Add in oats. Cook about 5 minutes over medium heat; stir occasionally.

Violet lazily moved the water and salt around her pot and peered at the job listings simultaneously, not really paying enough attention to either. As a result, she ended up dropping the metal spoon from her grip and it sank to the bottom. She turned and stared at it for a beat, thinking of what she could possibly use to get it...

Before reaching in to fish it out with her bare fingers.

Once retrieved, she switched to spoon over to her left hand so she could shake off her wet, blistered right before she went for the job listings again. Her fingers swollen—red and blotchy—touched the paper tenderly. But by the time she'd turned the page, the burns had faded along with any evidence of her previous slip up, and she flexed her digits idly.

Quite the perk of her condition.

But she didn't want to think about it.

Not when she had other things to do.

Violet kept her mind relatively blank while she finished cooking without any more major mishaps before she spooned out the grey-ish glop. Leaning over the counter, she ate with all the gusto of a child forced to eat their peas before they could leave the table.

Sugar she thought irately. Forgot to buy sugar.

Violet ate about a fourth of the oatmeal she'd prepared before scribbling "sugar" on a sticky note. Then it was back to the matter at hand, and she chewed her bottom lip.

Would it really matter if she went ahead and turned in for the night? She was missing no opportunities if she quit now, since it was well past bushiness hours. She couldn't even call about any of the adds she'd marked.

Although it wasn't like she had anyone else she could ring, text, or email either.

Violet didn't really have any friends.

In truth, nicotine and caffeine were her only constant companions now, and reliable ones at that. Hard to make any more more than passing acquaintance when she was only allowed to get so close. Of course, this technically was a self-inflicted ostracism. But it was also a necessary one. It was in human nature to fear the bizarre or unexplained and as it so happens, most people don't react well when they find out their colleague can take a swan dive of the Empire State and live to tell the tale.

Not the best ice-breaker.

More importantly, if any government folk found out her little secret, she'd be strapped to a lab table, two-hundred feet under some far-flung facility before she could even so much as blink, and she'd really prefer that that didn't happen.

Of course, that meant keeping everyone beyond arms-length, which apparently made her seem snobbish.

It wasn't that she hated anyone. People were people: good for the occasional conversion, but as soon as they started digging too deep she shut them down.

Just like that.

She knew how to pretend. She'd studied the masks.

Looking back to the papers spread out on the counter, Violet pondered for a moment more before deciding to leave them where they lay and instead, padded over to the second of the two cardboard boxes that held her stuff. She carefully rummaged through it for a bit before finding what she was looking for: her copy of The Celebrated Cases of Sherlock Holmes; completed and unabridged.

In her "library" of sorts, she had accumulated a total of nine books including the one she now held in her hand, the others being True Tales from the South at War; A Beside Book of Famous French Stories; As You Like It; Le Morte d'Arthur; Lost Horizon; From Here to Eternity; Animal Farm; and a Pictoral Webster's Dictionary. Quite the hodgepodge of titles, but that's what one finds in yard sales and bookstore clearances. Violet had read all of these through and through—even the dictionary—a thousand times over, but she delved into the writings of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle the most.

Any person who denied the appeal of a good detective novel was either absolutely dull or not a person at all.

Carrying the beloved book over to the corner nearest the kitchen light, she settled herself down for a spell and flipped to one of her favorite cases: The Speckled Band before she could slip into a passive, literary lull as she engrossed herself in the story. The familiarity of the words did wonders for her peace of mind.

And that was the way things normally went for little Violet Crawford. She was most certainly a creature of habit and did her very best to maintain the Status-Quo. People would know that if she let them know her, because it was evident in her lifestyle.

Small town just close enough to society, job at a coffee shop, cigarettes.

Staying indoors, reading a books, forgetting to eat, forgetting to live.

Loneliness.

Even in a new place, there wasn't any real change.

Everything stayed the same.

Boring.

Lifeless.

And she told herself she liked it that way.

"In glancing over my notes of the seventy odd cases in which I have during the
last eight years studied the methods of my friend Sherlock Holmes, I find many
tragic, some comic, a large number merely strange, but none commonplace; for,
working as he did rather for the love of his art than for the acquirement of
wealth, he refused to associate himself with any investigation which did not
tend towards the unusual, and even the fantastic...¹"


Disclaimer: As you can probably guess, I lay no claim what so ever to the wonderful characters, settings, and plots of Hellboy©. They belong to the brilliant writer and artist of the comic, Mike Mignola. I do however express my creative licence as a FanFiction author to borrow and to bend those aforementioned characters as well as my ownership over any original characters, settings, and plots I so choose to add in.

Quotations:

1) Introduction of The Speckled Band by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Public domain in the US since published before 1923)

Side note: To all followers of this story, be them registered members or continual guests, there have been a few changes to the previous chapter. Nothing so important that you couldn't do without, but if you would like to go back a re-read the chapter to catch my edits, please do so. If this is your first time viewing this story, please disregard this part of the note.

Dear Readers,

Let me say once again, thank you again for reading.

So here we finally see the leading female's depute chapter. I tried as hard as I possibly could to keep her from being a "Mary Sue," I even went so far as to take the international Mary-sue lit mass test on which Violet scored a thirteen landing her soundly in the category of "probably not Mary-sue." However, if you see Marry starting to creep in, please let me know, as that is my worst nightmare.

I've heard some questioning about the necessity of an entire introductory chapter solely for my OC.

That seems to be the problem with OC's in FanFiction and I saw now better way to introduce their situation with equal importance—because this is a story about both of their evolutions—therefore I wrote it like I would a regular novel which means you have to stay with me for a little while before you get as interested in Violet as the other canon characters. You've just read about a woman you don't have any particular emotional attachment to, unlike Nuada whom you've come in knowing his whole back-story, so I can understand if you're rearing to read about their meeting already. This is happening soon, mark my words, but not yet. The pace is certainly going to pick up in the next chapter and come to a head in the one following that.

Speaking of more chapters, as far as additions go, I'm afraid I won't be able to keep a steady update rate as I had previously planned. Real life seems to keep getting in the way (as is does for all of us), and I can;t help but come down with the occasional case of writer's block, so I'll post new chapters when I can. That being said, if there are long periods of silence from my end, don't dismay, because I'm probably swamped and will get back to the story as soon as I get through my studies. If I were to ever decided to discontinue Perennial—which I wouldn't—then I would certainly tell you about it.

Anyway, if you have any questions, concerns, or cries of outrage, please leave a review or shoot me a private message. It's so much more fun writing what y'all want to read, and I am open to suggestions so please give them. That being said, I will bid you adieu, and hope you enjoyed this latest chapter of Perennial!

Sincerely yours,

Ella Mantry