1.54: I Saw Myself

Content Warning for: Gun & Sword violence, blood, racial slurs


“I’m not sure how this works, so you’re gonna have to shoot me.”

Annette said it while glancing over at a handgun on the counter. The kids were at a sleepover across town, and Amy and Sinbad had just finished breakfast. Annette decided that if a gunshot could kill her, she needed to leave her spouses with the good memory of her waffles.

“There has to be a better way-” Sinbad said, before a lone bullet cut him off.

He grasped Amy around the shoulder, his mouth agape as she held up the weapon.

“You…just shot our wife like that?! You can’t just do it because she asks you to!” The whole thing pushed Sinbad to hyperventilate. And he didn’t seem to look at the floor.

“I dunno, she looks fine,” said Amy. She looked down at Annette on the floor. Although shot, Annette had to trouble sitting back up. The floor was spotless. And all she did was hold a hand over her right eye.

“That could have been a disaster,” said Annette, with a weak laugh. “I like having both my eyes.”

“So, you’re fine?” Sinbad asked.

“Good as ever.” Annette then ran her fingers under her eye, along a new ridge on her skin. It reminded her of her c-section scar, feeling tight and tender. And it seemed to extend far along her cheek. “Uh, do I have something on my face?”

Amy and Sinbad just cringed a bit.

“Whatever,” she said. “It’s probably nothing that’ll kill me. But if I just ate some dessert that made me bulletproof, we have work to do.”

Annette later got a look at her face, after she took a shower. She certainly didn’t mess up her face as much as, say, Harwood did. Most of her face was as fine as it was the day before. But the scar that was left was long and illogical for a bullet wound. It winded from her eye socket to the side of her jaw. While it stung a bit and had a strong brown color, the scar felt old and stable when she poked it.

It was all the proof Annette needed to see that she was a living bulletproof shield. And such a shield was all Annette needed for her latest mission.

She had enough of a moral code back then to not go back on her promise to Julienne. In the unholy trinity of Annette’s adversaries, Julienne deserved the best, fitting ending. Swap out prison for a lesser punishment that wouldn’t screw over her children.

The other two were the reason why Annette armed herself with a sword.

She and Julienne agreed on a night to sneak out of Twinbrook, and to a private jet parked in the capital. Julienne could take it from there. She had a wealthy cousin on the coast of Monterey who could help her and her kids “disappear”. Or maybe just hide with him. But whatever their plan was, Annette and her crew needed to get the Knacks out of Twinbrook first.

Annette took the most elite minds she knew: Amy, Sinbad, and Sagebear. The humans could wield a gun, and a soft old dog could lighten the mood.

Julienne was not convinced. While Amy and Sinbad tried their best to orient a trio of teenagers on what was happening, Julienne crossed her arms and grumbled to Annette.

“Did you have to bring that cur again?” She asked Annette. “The place still smells from the last time.”

“Nothing happens now without my best buddy.” Annette focused on where Sagebear was sniffing. No commands could tear her hound away from one of the blue satin sofas. “Even if she is being a weirdo right now.”

“How old is that thing anyways?”

“30, I think? If she’s magical enough to do that, who knows what else she could do for us?”

Sagebear then turned to Annette and whimpered. She wagged her long tail and led Annette to the underbelly of the couch.

“Whatever you say, you little nugget,” said Annette.

She got on all fours and felt under the couch. Affixed to the fabric was something smooth and hard, with a mesh opening. Once Annette yanked it out, she noticed that it was the protective mesh for a microphone.

“And fuck you too, buddy!” She said into it, before smashing the device under her boot. “Okay, this is bad.”

“What now?” Julienne asked.

Annette gave her a worried look. “It was a bug. They could hear us. We just gotta outrun the cops…or the gang.”

Sagebear had fallen asleep inside, but the other seven were ready to run down the street to Annette’s van. But outrunning was soon not an option. Three armed men in leather jackets were parked in the driveway.

“Annette, you’re a fucking monster,” Julienne whispered to her.

When Armstrong said something about him or his lackies using Julienne’s kids as leverage, he wasn’t bluffing. The first three men surrounded those teenagers first, grabbing them or putting a machine gun to their heads. Maybe both.

The one with short red hair, who held one of Julienne’s daughters by the arms, made the objective clear. “Follow us and none of you get hurt,” he said.

Julienne tried to run after them, but Annette stopped her.

“You stay with me, unless you want your chest looking like Swiss cheese,” she said. Then Annette’s eyes narrowed. She noticed two other motorcycles and two other men with automatic rifles. As the other three led the kids away, those two aimed their guns at the four adults.

Julienne held her hands up in surrender. “Like this won’t?” She asked Annette, who had her sword raised.

“Relax…and run,” was all she said back. Annette then took a few slow steps towards the men, with the blade towards them.

“Alright, fire at the demon,” one of them said. They held down the triggers and fired round after round into Annette’s head and belly, as she moved forward without flinching. She started to feel the sting, but it hurt no more than getting a tattoo.

They both put down their guns, bewildered. “Wait…what?” “Ugh, and she’s the one we have to kill?”

“Yeah, pretty ironic, huh?” Annette said, before kneeing one of them in the crotch.

When he fell down, the other aimed his weapon again in a futile effort against Annette. But she just leaped in the air and landed on the fallen man, sword-first. It cut straight through his sternum, hitting the aorta deeper down.

The other one was paralyzed with fear and shock for a moment, leaving Annette with a prime moment to skewer him. She drove the blade in and up as he struggled.

“Nice try, asshole,” she said, before letting him fall down and bleed out.

She turned around to Julienne, seeing her holding her hand over her face and hiding a beaming smile.

“What?” She asked Julienne.

“Nothing…it’s just nothing that I expected out of this,” Julienne said.

Annette wanted to smile with her, until she heard another motorcycle rumble in the distance.

She bolted, trying to lead Julienne with her. “We’ll hide in your garden…might buy us some time,” she said, trying to grab Julienne’s arm. It was tough to grasp that and a sword, though.

But without another shot, they both made it to the garden, and hide behind a hedge. It gave Annette the first chance to lift her undershirt and take a look at her torso. A similar, huge, and winding scar had appeared there too, sprawling all over her belly.

“Does my face look any different?” She asked Julienne.

“Not…really.”

It was a longer wait for action than they expected. Annette kept an eye out for anyone sneaking in through the back.

“You know, they’re gonna see your sword from over that hedge,” said Julienne, as she sat cross-legged on the ground. It was true. Annette had her sword raised higher than it should have been.

“And then I just stab them. You know how it goes now,” she said.

“Fine. I guess you’ll live through anything. But this better not kill me. I plan on living, and my cousin Malcolm really wants to see me again.”

Annette sat on the grass and gave Julienne a bitter look. “Maybe trust me? I’m the only person left in Twinbrook who’ll help you now.”

“Unfortunately,” Julienne mumbled.

“So just do what I say for the last time, and you’ll be in Monterey before you know it.”

Annette was then about the pounce. Someone walked across the grass, albeit while sounding light and with four feet. She turned her head, and stopped worrying.

She scooped up her Sagebear for a hug. The dog was safe inside all along! But still hadn’t forgotten her great master. Sagebear put her paws on her shoulder and licked Annette’s cheek.

“Awwww, who’s my dog-baby?” She cooed to the hound.

“I thought we were in danger,” Julienne said, whispering.

“Not with my Sagebear!” Annette rubbed her dog’s furry back. “Really, she’s such a trooper.”

Sagebear then wriggled free and started baying like the hound she was. The whole neighborhood could hear her!

Annette got on her hands and knees, trying to see where the danger was. “Someone’s coming, aren’t they?” She asked Sagebear. The dog whined a bit in response. “Hide in the bushes! I know what to do.” While the other two were left to find their spots, Annette hid behind a gate to an empty dirt patch.

She watched. But while Julienne crawled under one of the azalea bushes, Sagebear stayed in plain sight. Sagebear stood and wagged her tail, even as the newest enemy walked into the garden.

The newest of Armstrong’s lackies stood out to Annette only due to being the only woman on that side that night. But she stilled lugged around a gun with little effort at all. And for how evil someone working for Armstrong had to be, she warmed up a bit upon seeing Sagebear.

“Hey there doggie,” she said, with a smile. “I just need to find some pesky humans to threaten.”

Sagebear just raised a paw and stayed playful-looking. Julienne watched from under her bush. The woman didn’t raise her weapon. Not to the humans, not to the dog. She stayed rather enchanted by Sagebear’s cuteness.

Which made her the perfect target for a sword-kebab. Annette snuck out, tip-toeing before thrusting through her back.

She yelped, putting her hand to her chest. As much as she might have tried to get out some last words, all she did was yell while Annette pushed the sword further down. It didn’t take long for her to fall like the rest of them.

Annette put a cocky hand on her hip. “Let’s try to find your kids, okay?”

“If any of them get hurt, I’m gonna turn that sword on you,” said Julienne.

“Seems fair.”

Annette walked in the front door, and found Sinbad and Amy unharmed. They still had their guns and not a hair out of place.

Amy pouted a bit. “We were just making sure that no one got to the kids,” she said. “Uh…you like the work we did?”

She looked towards her feet. Annette’s boots were inches away from a huge, splattered puddle of blood and two corpses on the floor.

“It’s beautiful,” she said. “But…new plan. You guys get the kids and Jules into the van. I’ll catch up with you guys, but I think I’ll take care of the rest.”

“You mean it?” Amy asked.

“Well, I’m the immortal one, aren’t I?”

She ushered the kids out of the bathroom, noticing as they gingerly stepped over more dead bodies. Annette was almost speechless at the kill count her spouses racked up. It was even better than the work in the foyer! And a prime example of defense, in case the Terrebonne State Police got involved.

None of the corpses looked like Armstrong, though. Which is what Annette hoped for. She wanted that kill to be hers and only hers. She wanted his head sliced off and mounted for her basement chambers. A bloody trophy for all she put up with for almost two decades.

So that meant a lot of watching from the porch.

Annette waited on the stairs, watching the street and concerned passersby. They’d screw her over too, wouldn’t they? But she had her own case, in the event that the law caught up with her. Or at least she tried to form the scenario in her head.

“So, how many more do you think?”

Annette jerked her head around to find Julienne standing on the porch.

“Dude, you were supposed to go with the others,” she said. “Don’t you want to be in Monterey with your kids?”

“Look, we can catch up, or charter another flight,” said Julienne. “But…I guess I want to stick this one through.”

“You wouldn’t get killed in the van. But you’re gonna get killed here. They want your head…both sides do.”

Julienne took a seat next to Annette on the stairs. She even cracked a tiny smile. “It’s…it’s easy to get suckered into watching this stuff. Maybe that’s why so many people like siding with you. No one expects this stuff to ever happen.”

“So my life and struggles are just one big movie to you?” Annette asked.

“Sure.”

“That’s just so privileged…I’ll take it.”

Before Annette got too distracted by the crickets and cicadas of the night, she got what she wished for. And also what she didn’t. Armstrong and Goodwin, standing together with their guns.

She was ready to face their fire, but Armstrong had his rifle raised before she got far.

“Stupid mooks can’t do a damn thing without getting killed,” he grumbled, before firing rounds into Annette. He aimed for the stomach like the rest of them. She stood there and shrugged. It didn’t seem like she could even double-up on scars.

He put down his weapon. “And this was supposed to be the best day of my life! Killing that fucking demon…camel jockey…thing-”

BANG.

Annette sprinted over, with Julienne and Sagebear following. Armstrong was dead on the ground, bleeding out from his neck and jugular. The only other man with a gun was Goodwin, and her had the nerve to get Annette’s prize.

“What the hell, Sergeant?” She yelled out, clenching her hands. “That’s the only reason I’m here tonight!”

“You were supposed to let him work,” Goodwin said. “I just wanted this case to end! And get back to chasing you!” He then covered his mouth in embarrassment. “I…I meant-”

“You’re a fucking pig…in every way,” said Annette. “You don’t deserve my promises.”

“Should’ve guessed,” he said, sighing. “Whatever, I’m shutting this case as fast as I can.”

He aimed his gun towards a scared Julienne. “I honestly don’t care if you’re dead or in prison. This shouldn’t have been so hard.”

“I’m sorry,” she said, trying to choke back a tear.

But Annette looked into Julienne’s big, frightened eyes.

Annette lunged forward, driving her sword right under Goodwin’s ribcage and up through the lungs. She cut through uniform fabric and a bulletproof vest and layers of muscle with ease. He couldn’t even yell and scream in pain. His arms went limp and hung by his side before he could fire anything at Julienne.

“I’ve had enough of you,” Annette said. “I think we all have.”

Julienne was on her knees, with her arms still up in surrender. “I…you…you saved me again,” she said, stuttering on almost every word. “Why?”

“For a moment, I saw myself,” Annette said, shrugging a bit. She walked over to Julienne, extending out a hand.

“So, why don’t we get you out of here?”


A/N: “I want to make you understand me.”

(Something from one of my favorite albums of 2010. It’s not exactly “Annette’s theme”, but it kind of fits her)

And with this, I wrap up Annette’s arc. And AT FUCKING LAST-

It was a nice journey anyways. 🙂

So, real notes!

Yeah, I’m pretty aware of how Sagebear is unrealistically ancient now. Half of it is magic, but the other half is me wanting to delay the inevitable. 😦 I actually do have real origins for Sagebear planned out, but for now, you gotta accept her as an undying old dog.

Sagebear forever. ❤

I’m implying that Monterey is its own coastal state. The Sunset Valley world always reminded me of Monterey, California a little bit (I have family from the area). Though much, much less pretty.

So if Julienne is booking it to Sunset Valley for her cousin Malcolm, am I implying that it’s Malcolm Landgraab? That Julienne is a secret Landgraab? Yes…through marriage. One of my friends posted a while ago why she thinks that Julienne’s dad and Geoffrey Landgraab are probably related, which was enough to show me the light! It helps that Geoffrey canonically married into the Landgraab family, leaving his previous last name a mystery. And you know how much I love forging secret blood relationships between pre-mades based on what others tell me. 😉

(Also, do read the story that the post came from. Really good stuff)

All I can say about Goodwin is that skewering him like a dick-kebab is the greatest feeling ever.

19 thoughts on “1.54: I Saw Myself

  1. This. Was. AWESOME! The screenshots were just amazingly done as always, and they really brought out the tense action in this one. And man did this chapter have a lot of catharsis factor for Annette (and by extension, me as a reader who roots for Annette). I also liked how she managed to at least somewhat bury the hatchet with Julienne at least. Again brings out the complexity of her character too. And the beginning with Amy just casually shooting Annette and Sinbad freaking out was hilarious.

    So yeah, this is probably my favourite chapter out of these all. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Favorite chapter? Awwww yeah. 😀

      If I hadn’t succinctly summed up Amy and Sinbad’s characters before, I think that scene settled it. She’s a blind follower of Annette, for better or for worse, while Sinbad thinks a lot stronger but isn’t always right.

      And there was so much catharsis in killing everyone. Julienne was originally gonna die, but I decided to save my rage for the worst.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I loved the beginning where Sinbad is like wait, hold on, and Amy just shoots Annette. XD

    Ding-dong, the dirty cop’s dead! Woo!

    Oh! Does this mean we switch over to Franco?! OMG! Can’t wait!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I love her scar. And… I’m happy to see Goodwin’s arc wrapped up, too! And #Sagebear4ever

    I always thought of Sunset Valley as Santa Cruz–even has the Monterey Bay there to the south and the lighthouse at the west end of the bay!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Finally catching up on all the chapters of this I fell behind on. I figured here was a nice point to take a break and comment and let you know I’ve enjoyed the twists and turns of the story thus far and think you’ve done a great job. Now onto Generation Two! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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