The Trial of October Wyatt in Dread Romantic | World Anvil

The Trial of October Wyatt

  Within the confines of his rickety shack, Corey stares at the shadow. Despite the lack of features, he knew it stared back.   "Faith…" Corey has to take a breath before he can continue, taking a step back. He knew he was backing into a corner, but there was nowhere else to go. "... Not today. Please. I'm needed."   The feminine silhouette shifts, but doesn't pursue. He shudders, cowering from it with tears in his eyes. "Leave me alone." He whispers.   Memories flood his mind, little moments of passion, of happiness mired in a sea of misery.   He slams his eyes shut, then opens them to find himself alone. He hears footsteps from outside the shack. Moments later, Toby knocks on the outside of the opening that served as a threshold. "Cory?"   "Yeah?" He whispers, wiping the stray tears from his eyes. He flashes a smile when she appears.   "Are you okay? We were worried." Toby cocks her head and with a narrowed brow asks, "Were you crying?"   "Slept in a little late. Sorry about that." He shrugs and reaches for the guitar. "I'm ready."   "What happened?"   He looks her in the eye, a look that begs her not to push the issue. "Nothing. I'm just fine."
Toby concedes but it's clear she doesn't believe him. "Allright. The others are already headed to the courthouse. What's next?"   Corey laughs, "Take me to church."     Toby nods and leads Corey to the church, sits with her legs crossed in front of the altar, and waits patiently as Cory tunes the guitar.   "You ready?" He asks and when Toby nods he adds, "Don't worry about the outcome. We got you."   Cory begins to play, the music echoing off the stone walls, drawing the attention of numerous shambling corpses that wandered through the pews.   It was soft, mournful. The improvised progression between notes and chords practically flooded the room with sorrow. Everyone felt it. The corpses gently sagged to the pews and some even appeared to cry.   Toby felt a tear on her cheek as well, but as soon as she reached to wipe it away. She was gone.   With little warning, she found herself beside Mavis as they neared the courthouse.
    Toby immediately began to wonder if this was the best idea when she saw the crowd gathered around the courthouse. She watched as Whiskey and Olive disappeared into the sea of bodies.   Toby whispers. "Are you sure-"   "Don't worry. You're going to be fine."   The Inside was nearly empty, save for the same long table. Mitchell sat on one side and two chairs were placed for them on the other. Nancy sat at the head of the table and Toby felt her stare like a knife slowly skidding across her skin.   She didn't seem dangerous at first. She seemed just, like she really cared. "Are we sure about the judge?" Toby asks.   Mavis shrugs. "Doesn't matter. Let's get seated."  
Cory stares as Toby's head drops, the spark of consciousness gone. He keeps focus, but he senses something in the far corner, and not one of Toby's creations. He sees a shape, a shadow slowly approaching from behind.   The slightest error would disrupt the spell, his illusion. Then again, if the shadow got to him…   He felt an icy hand against his back, as if the shadow simply ignored his tattered shirt. The tune changed, less improvised and more deliberate.   He didn't know what came next. Would he die? Would this ghost destroy him in ways he couldn't even imagine? Would he find peace?   He felt a surge of emotions, memories flooding back and no way to shut them out, not this time.   He thought back to the day she left, the day she took everything away not in any physical sense, but from his very being.   He knew this song; a song he sang for her. He knew it as a promise that fell on deaf ears.   "You lie an inch apart on your own continuum." His voice cracked as he sang. He swore he'd never sing this song again. "So keep the freakshow talk to a careful minimum."    

I'll find a different harbor to lay my anchor in.

Toby froze in place. She heard singing, a lament that echoed not only on the breeze from where her body sat, but in her ear as if she had a front row seat. "Cory?"   Mavis turned to face her, listening intently to the song coming from beyond the courthouse. "What's he doing?"   "What do you mean?"   Mavis grabs Toby by the shoulders and whispers, "Do you feel something? Anxiety? fear?"   Toby shakes her head, focusing on the song and on the way Cory sang it. A tear runs down her cheek. "I feel so…" she catches her breath and forces the word out. "...sad."   Olive appears from behind. "What's going on?"   Toby's words spill out in rapid bursts "I don't know. This feels wrong."    

You'll find a different reason to keep from setting sail again

The crowd outside the courthouse stirs, fearful of the music but also intent on staying put. Screams and jeers can be heard, so much so the doors were closed and locked for everyone's protection.   "Should I worry now?" Toby asks.   Before Mavis can answer, Nancy speaks, "What is this?" Mavis stands and shrugs.   Nancy scoffs. "This looks suspicious. You know that?"   Mavis scoffs back. "Oh rightly so, but this wasn't part of our plan."   Nancy slowly rises from her Seat. "Your plan?"   Olive responds. "You already guaranteed she'd remain with us. I consider that contract binding, regardless of what happens here today."   "Excuse me?" Nancy says with narrowed eyes. After a moment, a slight smirk appeared and a knowing nod followed. "Well played. You still showed up?"   Mavis laughed, "Of course." She gestures to the crowd outside. "Look at all these people. This matters."  
  Seems your heart is locked up And I still get the combination wrong Or are you simply waiting to save your love For someone I am not?   Mitchell crosses his arms. "You can't be serious."   "Normally, no." Olive gave him a smile. "I'm afraid however this is an exception."   Mitchell glances at Nancy then back to Mavis. "Who gave you the right to circumvent the court?"   Before Olive could retort, Nancy took the words right out of her mouth. "I did."   When Mitchell raises a brow, she explains, "I agreed to put custody of October Wyatt in the hands of Dread Romantic. I can't take that back no matter how hard I try."   "This is ridiculous." Mitchell says.   "That's my point. This is our reality now. We have to learn how to adapt." Nancy looks to olive. "Be honest. What do you think?"   "The crimes were a necessity to practice her craft." Olive replies.   "Wait." Mavis shouts and it echoes off the walls. "What did you just say?"

"Given it's no longer just a religion, her craft is protected." Mavis points to Mitchell. "Do you have proof that public health was at risk? That she did these things and if so, that she did so irresponsibly? She's a professional, after all."   Mitchell says nothing, a surprising amount of nothing. He seems stunned, paralyzed even.   "Next order of business." Mavis turns to Nancy. "You're touched, aren't you?" Everyone expects Mitchell to speak but he remains silent.   Nancy frowns and shakes her head. "No."   "No?" Olive turns to Mitchell who no longer appears stunned. He looks like he's in pain. He's terrified.   "Well shit." Olive pulls a lemon from the satchel at her side along with three rusted nails. Before she can use them, a blinding flash of white light no longer than a foot crashes through the window on the far side of the room.   Shaped like an arrow, it darts around and land squarely into Toby's chest. Nancy screams as Toby's false body congeles and collapsed under the strain.   Toby experiences a brief but agonizing pain. In mere moments, she's staring up at Cory, a shadowy figure embracing him. The shadow seems to stare directly into Toby's eyes, as if taunting her before fading away.   "Corey!"
  He blinks and watches the shadow fade to mist. "That's why it follows," he says, "It's because we run." He clearly didn't notice Toby could hear him. He paces around the altar of the church. "Fuck, I don't want to feel all this." Tears welled up in his eyes. "Don't make me have to face this shit all over ag-"   "Corey?" Toby stands and finally his eyes meet hers.   "What happened? I stopped playing." Corey covers his mouth and shakes his head as he backs away. "I'm sorry."   "It wasn't you." Toby inched closer and when fell back against the altar she knelt to his level. "It was something else. Something bright. It hurt."   "I don't under-"   "What happened just now? What was that shadow?"   He refused to respond, desperate to his tears and the shame they caused him.   Toby asks. "What happened to you?" She reaches out with her hand to touch his cheek and as if on instinct, the man flinches. For only a brief moment, he cowers.   Toby's eyes go wide. "First of all, I would never…" she takes a breath, "ever strike you. Is that what happened?"   He shakes his head, but before he can explain the church doors fly open.  

"We need to run." Olives voice felt like nails on a chalkboard. "The town's gonna try and-" She sees Corey desperately holding back tears and Toby hovering over him. "Corey? What's wrong?"   He stands and shakes his head. "Nothing."   Toby and Olive reply in unison, "Bullshit."   "One day." He shakes his head and rubs the top of his head. "But not today. Let's go."


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Next Article: Witch Brew

The Trial of Toby Wyatt

Now keep the freakshow talk to a careful minimum...


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Oct 6, 2023 14:16

Woooow! So glad to read the next installment, and so sad for Corey. Hope all is well, and looking forward to more.

Oct 7, 2023 22:29 by R. Dylon Elder

This was very rushed and I do apologize. I'll be doing more when I edit it. I've just had big real life things happening. Wanted to get what I had out there.

Oct 6, 2023 22:21 by Catoblepon


Visit Daeliha, Iphars, Khulgran & Shattered
Love to code, but this one is driving me crazy!
My world Shattered won as the "Most ground-breaking premise new world"!
Oct 6, 2023 22:26 by Catoblepon


Visit Daeliha, Iphars, Khulgran & Shattered
Love to code, but this one is driving me crazy!
My world Shattered won as the "Most ground-breaking premise new world"!
Oct 7, 2023 19:12

I really love Cory and Tobys' dynamic so far. They are so sweet together!

Oct 7, 2023 22:30 by R. Dylon Elder

They are aren't they? Whats up with that? Lol

Oct 8, 2023 11:03 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

Aww, Corey ;-;

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
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