NOTE: Click the scene titles below to toggle them open/closed on this page.
🔽 🔼 Bonus Scene - Wilson & Oliver's One-Year Anniversary
Bonus Scene - Wilson & Oliver's One-Year Anniversary
Originally posted on the JMS Books blog July 12, 2020 in celebration of JMS’s ten-year anniversary.
The traditional ten-year anniversary gift is tin or aluminum, representing durability and flexibility. Unlike JMS Books, which was celebrating its ten-year anniversary (woot, woot!!!), Wilson Banks and Oliver Hughes from Weekend at Bigfoot’s have been together for only one year in this bonus scene, but I made a point of working in forms of those four ten-year words (tin, aluminum, durability, flexibility) as prompts, because as anyone who follows my blog/website and/or receives my newsletter knows, I love writing bonus scenes and flash fiction using random prompt words!
Told from Wilson’s 3rd-person POV, and written using the words tin – aluminum – durability – flexibility
Oliver raised a well-groomed eyebrow, and Wilson returned the gesture with an added waggle. The bonus twitch to one side of Oliver’s captivating lips narrowed down the possible meanings behind that cocked brow to ones at the positive side of the mood spectrum.
“What?” Wilson pressed a hand to his knee to stop his bouncing foot, then gave up and stood again, because his exuberant mood could not be willed away.
Oliver snorted. “You’ve been ricocheting off the walls all morning like a cat trapped in a closet.”
A slight exaggeration, perhaps, but not entirely wrong. “Maybe someday it’ll feel like just another day, but I’m not there yet.” Wilson flashed a grin as he paced laps around the cabin’s main room. “And you, my dear, are way too put-together for dark-o’clock in the morning.”
“I like to feel normal, right up until I’m … not.” Oliver sniffed. “Besides, some of the glitter sticks through the shift. I kinda like knowing it’s there.”
“Right?” Wilson had noticed flecks of it on Oliver’s Bigfoot form last year. “I mean, I know people joke about how you can never get rid of that stuff, but seriously, its durability factor is sky high sticking through that wind. What’s it made of, anyway?”
“I think it’s a combination of plastic and aluminum.”
Oliver spread his legs and stretched upward before bending forward and placing his palms flat on the ground, demonstrating a degree of flexibility that took Wilson’s breath away despite having a year’s experience with that lithe, energetic body. And more importantly, with the good-humored, intelligent mind atop that body.
“How much time?” Wilson pulled out his phone and checked the screen for about the dozenth time since they’d woken that morning. They’d spent the night in the cabin.
“Chill.” Oliver’s grin took the edge off his admonition. Even his eye roll when his gaze passed over the cases of tinned fruit cocktail, which Wilson had insisted on bringing as backup to Oliver’s cooler o’ fresh food, conveyed appreciation of Wilson’s concern rather than derision.
“No, really.” Wilson looked out the cabin door. The sun would be rising in less than ten minutes. “Shouldn’t you be getting naked or something?”
When Wilson turned around, Oliver was already half-stripped.
“This isn’t my first time, you know.” Oliver kicked off his shoes and stepped out of his pants.
Wilson crossed the room and pulled Oliver into his arms. “Happy Birthday, love.” He planted a brief kiss on Oliver’s forehead. “And Happy Anniversary.”
Technically, the anniversary of the day they’d met, which was also the anniversary of their first date, had been a couple days earlier, but this was the anniversary of the day Wilson had decided to actively pursue Oliver in hopes of turning a weekend fling into something more, and it was the anniversary of the day he’d learned Oliver’s secret.
Oliver didn’t call him on that technicality. Instead he pulled Wilson’s lips down to his and murmured, “Love you,” into his kiss.
When they came up for air, Oliver snapped into action. He opened the closet door and looked meaningfully at Wilson. “Gear up, babe.”
Wilson saluted. He remembered the precautions he needed to take during Oliver’s shift, of course, but Oliver’s mother-hen act warmed him, anyway. “Love you, too.”
Oliver gave a jaunty wink and with an exaggerated sashay, he waltzed his naked self out the cabin door.
Wilson stared after him for a few beats, then murmured, “See you again in a few,” before closing and bolting the door.
🔽 🔼 Bonus Scene - Weekend at Bigfoot's ~meets~ The Recruit/The Choice
Bonus Scene - Weekend at Bigfoot's ~meets~ The Recruit/The Choice
Originally posted in my April, 2021 newsletter:
The first part of this scene is told from Wilson’s (from Weekend at Bigfoot’s) 3rd-person POV, and the second part of this scene is told from Neil’s (from The Recruit & The Choice) 3rd-person POV. Written using these reader-supplied words:
Oliver turned his gaze from the obelisk in New Orleans’ Chalmette National Historical Park and cocked his head at Wilson. “You seem tense.”
Wilson sighed and shook his head. “Sorry. I just…” But what could he say that wouldn’t sound paranoid? “It’s nothing.”
One perfectly groomed eyebrow quirked skyward. Oliver said only one word. “Oh?” But the glint in his eye added, “Honesty is the best policy.” Which was something they’d had a whole discussion about before moving in together.
“Well, you know…” Wilson shuffled his feet then glanced around to make sure nobody was within hearing distance. “It’s just that I’ll never be able to approach my articles with the same I-know-this-is-utter-bullshit-but-I’ll-write-an-interesting-and-respectful-story attitude I had before meeting you and your…uh…people in Tallbear.”
For all he knew, he might’ve spoken to Yeti shifters, too, when the tabloid he wrote for, Sensational News (Never Fake, We Swear!), sent him to the Himalayas last year to research an article. This week the features editor, Jerry, had sent him here to New Orleans to come up with a story on vampires. His boyfriend/partner, Oliver, freelanced so he’d tagged along so they could do touristy things during Wilson’s downtime.
“Ah.” Oliver smirked, but it didn’t mask his involuntary shiver. “Yeah, before you asked about it last year, I hadn’t thought too much about the possibility since we’d never heard of other kinds of shifters, let alone different paranormal creatures, but good point. Bigfoots exist, so why not vampires?”
“On the plus side, if they do exist—and that’s a big if—they’re not like vamps in books and movies. It’s not as if there are a lot of unexplained blood-drained bodies showing up, so I don’t think they pose a danger to humans. If anything, much of the lore is crap, and they’re secretive but have otherwise assimilated into our society.”
“And yet you’re still tense.” Oliver flipped back a few strands of his well-glittered hair that’d fallen across his eyes. “Did you find something?”
“Not really.” Wilson shugged. “I just got to thinking about which bits of lore would have to be true—like consuming blood—since that pretty much defines what vampires are. Probably also the immortality thing, otherwise if vampirism is some affliction people could randomly catch like a virus, and there weren’t organized immortals taking people in when they caught it, or were deliberately turned, or whatever, then vampires would be commonly known.”
“So I figured, if—IF—they exist, they’re organized. At least these days. And other bits of random lore may or may not have come about from possible misinterpretations of behavior in olden times.”
“Still makes sense.” Oliver nodded. “So what’s making you so antsy like you’re ready to jump out of your soggy new socks?”
Wilson grinned. Oliver was referencing an incident from their earlier visit to the Mardi Gras Fountain. Long story short, they’d fallen victim to an impromptu water fight between some kids, Wilson’s new pride-themed socks had gotten soaked, then after he’d wrung them out, he’d accidentally stepped in some loose dirt before putting his shoes back on.
“More like muddy new socks.” Wilson winked. “But no, I didn’t actually find anything. I also figured they probably weren’t holding a bunch of people captive, feeding them and feeding off them. Over time, they’d surely be discovered. If they exist, they’re probably hiding in plain sight like you Bigfoots.”
“Nice. I could get behind the existence of benevolent vamps.”
“So yesterday, I visited blood banks to interview people about their processes. Because they’d still need blood, right, or they wouldn’t be vampires?”
“Right. But you didn’t find anything suspicious?”
“No. But, I didn’t really expect to. Even if it’s true that vampires exist and they’ve infiltrated blood banks, nothing would be obviously out of whack.”
“So I’ve had a weird feeling like I’m being watched since then.”
“I know. I’m being stupid and paranoid for no good reason because I’m not even going to pursue the potential reality of vampires for my article because outing any paranormal creatures pretty much opens up the potential for outing them all, and I wouldn’t do that to you. Besides, my interviews with the people claiming to have been bitten will make a more interesting article.”
A corner of Oliver’s mouth twitched up as if maybe he’d picked up on how Wilson had pointedly made that little speech for the benefit of any potentially listening vampires. But he didn’t address that, and instead asked, “So there are people who’ve been bitten?”
“Not by real vampires. That was easily debunked. Jerry probably won’t let me point that out in the article, though, since people who’ve been embarrassed in our stories are more likely to sue. They wouldn’t win, but it would still cost money.”
Oliver snickered. “It’s not as if sensible people reads those articles and walk away believing them.”
“Exactly.” Wilson patted his pocket, jingling the rental car keys, and suggestively flashed his eyebrows. “How about we go back to the hotel, light one of those scented candles they have in the room, and see how much of your hair glitter we can get embedded in the pillow cases?”
* * * * *
The eastern sky was lightening as the early morning sun rose, and a glass cat figurine on the window ledge cast an eerie shadow across Neil and Albert’s shiny new Paris apartment. Well, it was new to them, although the Paris faction had owned the lovely old building under one business entity or another for more than a century.
They weren’t technically members of the Paris faction, but since Albert was now on the global council, which was based there, and Neil functioned as Albert’s assistant until he mastered the French language and could contribute more meaningfully, the Paris faction had responsibility for their lodging and future identity changes.
Neil closed the refrigerator door and handed a bag of blood to Albert. He shivered and smiled as Albert’s fangs descended with a click, then frowned when Albert’s phone rang, interrupting their morning ritual.
Albert retracted his fangs and glanced at the phone’s screen. He answered with a cheery, “Hello, how are you?”
As a relatively new vamp, Neil’s hearing was nowhere near the caliber of a more-than-two-thousand-year-old vamp like Albert, but it was still better than it had been as a human. So he couldn’t help but overhear the other side of the conversation, too.
“Good morning,” the caller said, equally upbeat, but with a serious undertone. “I wanted to draw your attention to an email I just sent you. You might want to examine it before today’s meeting.”
Short and to the point. Abbreviated and unspecific since phone calls were the least secure method of communication. But reading between the lines, Neil knew the email was encrypted and would be virtually shredded immediately after reading. Both actions were done with highly secure vampire proprietary software. The referenced meeting was the daily council meeting Albert would attend later that morning.
“Thank you. I’ll do that.” Albert clicked off and placed the phone back on the table. He retrieved his laptop, briefly and securely connected to the Internet, downloaded his email, then disconnected.
Neil stood aside as Albert decrypted and opened the email. As Albert’s assistant, Neil was instantly privy to most council business. With their gradually increasing super hearing, the vamps didn’t bother even trying to keep most of their business private. Not from each other. Information would have to be incredibly sensitive to be discussed only within the council’s secure chambers, and even then, it usually only meant a delay.
The vast majority of the worldwide vampire population were, at a minimum, decades old. Most could count their age in centuries. A few in millennia. Among the very few (if any) annual additions, if a candidate wasn’t judged to have a trustworthy character, they weren’t given the offer to join the ranks of the immortal vampires.
A slow grin spread across Albert’s face as he read. When he was done, he destroyed the email before turning to Neil.
“Your face,” Neil said. “You look like the proverbial kid in a candy shop.”
Albert chuckled. “You’ll never guess.”
Neil bounced on his toes and turned on his best imitation of puppy dog eyes. “Please just tell me. I don’t know. Anybody I can think of that y’all might’ve turned would be eliminated due to their fame.”
Albert’s smile widened. “The email wasn’t about a new recruit.”
Neil’s blood might run black now, but his heart still pumped, and it was racing in anticipation. “Have I mentioned that you’re a big tease?”
“Bigfoot shifters exist.”
Neil’s jaw dropped at the same time something clattered onto the floor in the apartment above them. Nothing could be said aloud in vamp apartment buildings without everyone knowing it.
Albert laughed and looked up. “Like that, Pierre?” Another snicker because Albert could hear what Neil couldn’t. Yet. “Nope, that wasn’t for your benefit.” And after another short pause, he added, “Cross my heart,” then turned back to Neil.
“Seriously?” Neil’s wide eyes no doubt broadcasted his own doubt.
“Why not? Is it so far fetched considering you now know vampires exist?”
“Other than the fact that vamps have existed for millennia and have apparently never encountered them before?”
“Ah, there is that. My theory, amor meus, is that we might’ve crossed paths in the old days before there was easy global communication, and anyone who knew has died out. Nowadays, vamps live only in large cities, and Bigfoot shifters reside in rural areas. Very rural, as in mountains, giant sequoias, cabins, and forests with thick layers of pine needles. They actually live mostly as humans in nearby towns, but hide out in the sticks when they’re due to shift.”
“Wow. Today’s council meeting is going to be far less routine that usual.” Neil grinned ear to ear as Albert picked the bag of blood back up.
“Definitely.” Albert waggled his eyebrows. “And we may never know, but I’d be curious to know what would happen if a shifter were turned by a vamp. Would they continue to shift? Would they be stuck in either human or shifted mode?”
“I wonder if combo creatures exist, sheltered and hidden by the shifter communities?”
All food for thought, but Neil’s brain short circuited when Albert’s fangs snicked out. He’d think about the Bigfoots later. Much later.
🔽 🔼 Bonus Scene - Weekend at Bigfoot's ~meets~ (the universe of) The Recruit/The Choice ~ Birthday Panic! (part 1)
Bonus Scene - Weekend at Bigfoot's ~meets~ (the universe of) The Recruit/The Choice
Wilson Banks stuffed his hands into his pockets and stared at the ground as Oliver Hughes paced with increasing urgency. The asphalt where they were standing at the far back corner of the Bangor, Maine Walmart Supercenter’s parking lot wasn’t truly interesting enough to merit such focused attention.
He felt as useless as the nearby empty cart corrals as his mind vacillated between calculating the least-likely-to-be-disastrous solution to their predicament and desperately trying not to splatter vomit across that already grungy surface. That would help neither their situation nor the mood of any poor sap who might step in it. Might help the roiling in his gut, though.
“To say that Lena will have a cow is putting it mildly,” Oliver muttered. “Not that I’m likely to get back to Tallbear to see it.”
Wilson winced. Oliver’s sister had had enough to say when Oliver had made the decision to move to Chicago to live with Wilson. She’d predicted all manner of doom and gloom befalling the Bigfoot community if Oliver ever failed to make it back to Tallbear in plenty of time for his annual shift. Doom and gloom that might very well come to fruition, so she had a fair ‘I told you so’ due.
“I’m sorry.” Wilson bit his lip and finally looked up to meet Oliver’s gaze.
“Not like it’s your fault.” Oliver lifted his hands with dramatic flair. “I never should have cut the travel timing so close.”
To be fair, there’d been a reasonable amount of cushion in their scheduling. Not the full week or two they would typically allow—that had always seemed like overkill—but several days of leeway.
Who could have predicted that a terrorist would plant a bomb at the airport they’d been scheduled to fly out of? Or that it would effectively take out both the power grid and the backup generators? Best case scenario, the airport in question would reopen in a few more days, but in the meantime, all flights in or out of that airport were cancelled.
Of course, all the nearest airports were flooded with people rescheduling their flights. Oliver and Wilson had been bumped from three different overbooked flights in the past couple days. The most recent, which they’d been assured they would be on, had dumped them two hours ago. That had been their last hope for a flight back to Northern California.
“Shouldn’t have trusted them. Should’ve have just spent a day driving to our contacts in the Cumberland Mountains community.” Oliver looked at his watch and shook his head. His usual meticulous grooming had taken a back seat to stress eating and working the problem—or trying to—but quite a bit of hair glitter remained to twinkle as his hair flopped back and forth. “Stupid, stupid, stupid! There’s not nearly enough time left now.” He barked out a harsh laugh. “If I get out of this unscathed, please, please don’t ever let me talk you into letting me tag along on another of your assignments this close to my birthday no matter how appealing it looks.”
“You will get out of this unscathed. We can head back up toward Pocomoonshine Lake. There’s a decent amount of forest there.”
“It’s probably the best bet, yeah.” If Oliver’s hangdog expression was any indicator, he didn’t have any confidence in that plan’s success. “And sure, it is kinda remote, but it doesn’t feel as isolated as the sequoia forests around Tallbear. More importantly, we don’t know the area. Don’t know where people might have cabins or be camping.”
“We’ve got all night. We’ll find something.” But in his heart, Wilson knew Oliver was right.
It wasn’t like they had either the time or ability to cover everything within a mile or so radius of some random seemingly-private spot. Oliver’s dramatic shift might draw unwanted attention to their presence, and there’d be nowhere to hide if anyone decided to investigate.
They both took a quick glance to the side where a mature man wearing faded jeans was ambling in their general direction. Presumably a Walmart employee, since that was who would park this far back in the lot, and there were a couple dozen vehicles scattered back here. And indeed the man—probably not quite old enough to be one of the store greeters—was angling toward a vehicle at the end of the row.
Wilson didn’t consider himself to be particularly brainy under pressure, but the nebulous idea that had brought them to this Walmart parking lot in the first place began fleshing out in his mind. A panel van might be the safety net they needed. They could rent one, then after Oliver’s shift, he could spend the day hiding in the back of that rather than wandering an unfamiliar forest.
They could go into the Walmart as they’d already planned, buy a huge cooler or two and enough fresh fruits and veggies to fill them, then go rent that van. Surely they could find somewhere remote enough before dawn for Oliver’s shift.
Oliver took Wilson’s hands in his as he whispered, “You know you’re going to have to abandon me in the woods, right?” His breath hitched, and his wobbly voice bordered on tearful. “We don’t have a breathing apparatus for you.”
“That won’t be necessary.”
Wilson and Oliver both jumped. That had come from the Walmart employee who was now veering toward them. His voice was warm and soft, yet his words were clear.
He seemed innocuous and friendly, yet something was off, because why? How had he heard Oliver’s whisper? Why would he think he knew what they were talking about, and why would he think whatever misconception he’d deduced was any of his business?
At best the guy was merely a busybody, but the possibility he was a serial killer felt further north of zero than the average encounter. Wilson’s stranger-danger meter pinged like a dagger to his heart.
Grasping Oliver’s hand, Wilson turned to scramble into their rental car, but in the very next instant, he found himself sitting in a moving vehicle—an RV?—buckled onto a sofa. blinking himself back to consciousness. Opposite him, buckled into an arm chair, sat the man who clearly was not a Walmart employee, smiling pleasantly.
Abject fear tore through Wilson’s mind, and his stomach clenched as if an icy fist were twisting his innards. “Oliver!” He turned his head quickly scanning his surroundings. There were four more men and women in the back of the RV with them, and two more in the driver and front passenger seats. Oliver was buckled beside him blinking like he, too, was coming back to awareness.
They were still holding hands. No…it was the opposite hand. Somehow that small thing—that they had been settled in a manner that might help ease their minds—helped. Not much, but he grasped that bit of hope like a lifeline.
Before either of them could say anything, the man spoke. “Rest assured, you are unharmed, and you will remain unharmed. We are here to help you out of the predicament you find yourself in.” His smile once again felt genuinely friendly as opposed to slick and cruel like one might expect upon waking up after an abduction. “Lena need never know how precarious your situation was.”
Wilson squeezed Oliver’s hand in a manner he hoped might be comforting, and Oliver returned the press. The man continued his monologue. “I sincerely regret the measures we had to take to contain the situation, but you were clearly about to bolt, yes?”
He didn’t wait for an answer, which was just as well. Wilson’s mind was too busy whirling with questions to decide whether or not it would be best to ‘fess up to that.
“Of course you were. I don’t blame you. That’s the sane reaction. But it was mission critical that the scene appear—for the sake of the security cameras, you see—as if we were all meeting up there as per some prearranged plans before heading out together. And that’s exactly what any casual observers and/or security cameras will see.”
“But, why?” Oliver found his voice first, and his eyes narrowed. “How do you know about my sister, and what is it you think you know about me and my so-called predicament?”
“Think?” The man outright chuckled at that. “We know everything about you and your people. We were quite excited to learn about the existence of another variety of paranormal beings when you pinged our radar in New Orleans a couple years ago. We’ve made quite a study of your people since then while also—” he nodded at Wilson. “—making sure you don’t write anything too on-the-nose about my people.”
Oliver’s grip on Wilson’s hand tightened painfully. The only time Wilson had been to New Orleans in the past couple years was when he’d been chasing down quotes for a story he’d been assigned about vampires for Sensational News (Never Fake! We Swear!). Oliver had tagged along for that one, too.
Wilson swallowed. “You’re not…uh…” But really, knowing that Bigfoot shifters existed made the idea of vampires also existing less insane than he would have considered it to be before learning Oliver’s secret.
In reply to Wilson’s not-quite-a-question, the man smiled, and with a pair of loud snicks, extended then immediately retracted a set of lethal-looking incisors.
Before Wilson could react beyond further stiffening, the man said, “That wasn’t to frighten you. Again, we mean you no harm. It was more to wash away any lingering doubts and to establish some mutual trust. We know about you and your people, Oliver, and now you know about us.”
Oliver’s voice was little more than a squeak. “Why are you helping me?”
🔽 🔼 Alternate POV Scene - Exploring the Woods
Alternate POV Scene - Exploring the Woods
Originally posted in my March, 2020 newsletter.
Told from Oliver’s 3rd-person POV, and written using these words pulled from a random word generator (https://wordcounter.net/random-word-generator): match – vex – catch – fat – crave – delay – zesty – vigorous – mouth – ubiquitous
It’s mildly spoilery, but I wouldn’t worry about it. The blurb pretty much tells you (or at least very strongly hints) that Wilson will come across Oliver in Bigfoot form, and this scene takes place after that discovery. The story’s fun is in the journey getting there.
If anyone had told Oliver yesterday that today he’d be giving a piggyback ride—biggieback ride?—to Wilson, the sexy tabloid reporter he’d fallen for against all attempts to listen to the commonsense corner of his brain—not to mention his sister—he would have snorted an unbecoming, untwink-like laugh right in their foolish face. Hair glitter would’ve scattered from the sudden spasm of his head. Yet here he was with Wilson’s arms wrapped around his neck, and legs around his waist, traipsing through the woods surrounding one of the family’s remote cabins.
To say the leadership council in his ubiquitous extended family would be vexed by this turn of events was putting their expected reaction mildly, because who the hell knew what kind of headline the tabloid would dream up if Wilson went back on his word. But he wouldn’t; Oliver felt that to the center of his fat, furry soul.
“What about werewolves? Are those real, too?” Wilson’s voice was tinged with a twelve-year-old boy’s excitement.
Oliver spied a miner’s lettuce patch, gave a non-committal shrug, and came to a halt. Wilson’s inner twelve-year-old needed to chill until Oliver was capable of forming actual words again. Not to mention was less susceptible to the barely-controllable cravings that came with his shift into Bigfoot form.
Wilson hopped off and Oliver tore up clumps of the greenery and stuffed them into his mouth.
“How about vampires?”
Oliver affected a shiver.
“What’s that? A ‘you hope not’ or a ‘you’ve encountered them and they’re scary bastards’?”
Oliver tipped his head and heaved a sigh.
“Right…one question at a time. Was that a ‘you hope not’?”
Oliver gave a firm nod. Who knew for sure? Most people would scoff at the idea of Bigfoot existing, yet here he was. Just because no one he personally knew and trusted had ever encountered them, didn’t mean vampires and other shifters didn’t also exist.
“How much werewolf lore applies to Bigfoots? Is it all hereditary or can you bite someone and turn them?”
Again, Oliver tipped his head to the side and sighed.
“Sorry. Is it all hereditary?”
Oliver nodded, then some of the lettuce leaves still on the ground twitched. There was no delay in his instinctive reaction as he plucked up the small toad—whose camouflage green didn’t quite match the vegetation it was hunkering down under—and popped it into his mouth.
No catch and release for any hapless little critter that didn’t have the good sense to stay out of a Bigfoot’s sight. He narrowed his eyes and gave a vigorous chew as Wilson covered his mouth but manfully managed not to gag. Oliver kept his mouth closed and suppressed the sarcastic impulse to say, “Mmm, zesty,” because there was no call for rudeness and it would’ve just come out as a Chewbacca-like wail anyway.
Wilson’s face wasn’t quite as green as the leaves surrounding him. “Right. Not judging. Sorry.”
Sure. It was nice of Wilson to say, but would he really be able to keep himself from judging?
Oliver swallowed, winced—out of worry rather than from the toad’s taste—grumbled, and stood. He looked to the west. The sun was getting lower in the sky. He cocked his head in the direction of the cabin.
“We should get back?”
Oliver nodded, and oddly enough, he was disappointed that his time in Bigfoot form was coming to an end. Would Wilson still be with him for the next one?