Commission for Anon. Thanks again!
It was late December, the start of winter back home with only snow to look forward to, but down below in the southern hemisphere it marked the beginning of summer. The heat of the South American jungles made sweat roll down my skin and soak into the light cotton clothes I had on. The hat on my head hardly kept the sun off of me, making me feel like I was being roasted by the hot midday sun. A wide and deep river nearby ran over rocks along its river bed, making soothing noises as they went by to contrast the loud, shrill shrieking of the birds overhead. Though we wanted to desperately stop and wash the sweat off ourselves we were forbidden to even dip our toes into the river by the locals. Whether that was a custom of theirs or a warning against danger, none of us dared to ask. My team was led along a thin dirt path by said locals. A few ocelomeh, beautiful, tanned, jaguar-like monster girls who lived in tribes deep within the sparsely inhabited jungles. They hadn’t wanted much in trade to be our guides, they just wanted a few of my colleagues to take as their new husbands, which, thankfully, we had enough willing souls. I had been passed over quickly, due to me being quite scrawny, as the ocelomeh set their sites on some of the bigger men. The reason was obvious, it would take hardy men to live in these harsh conditions, and I did not meet that criteria in the least. Aforementioned newlyweds now led the way for us after a night spent in their camp and my ‘lucky’ colleagues now had a spring in their step. We came to a stone bridge with moss and vines growing up through it. Carvings of men’s faces and beasts adorned the pillars that dotted the bridge’s edges, wooden beams acting as guard rails between each one. The eyes on the beasts in question felt as though their gaze followed me, which I admit was very unnerving, but the feeling of being watched didn’t ever leave me after we crossed over. My professor stopped me as the ocelomeh leading us all drew their wicked looking clubs-- ‘macuahuitl’ as my professor’s hakutaku wife called them, “What is it?” One of the recently married men asked. “Do you smell it, sisters?” One ocelomeh asked the others. The second nodded, “I do, sister.” “Camazotz,” The third hissed as her eyes scanned the underbrush. “Death bat,” A student next to me clarified with a grimace. “The sun is starting to set,” My professor’s wife noted, “We can’t stop due to your superstitions!” The ocelomehs all glanced at one another then to their husbands who gave them looks of encouragement. With a few sighs, they nodded, “Yes. We are near the site. We can camp there.” One of the ocelomehs scowled, “Do not say we did not warn you,” The monster girls began, once more, to lead us deeper into the jungle. “What’s the deal with this camazotz thing?” One of my school mates asked the other who had translated earlier. She was a small mouse girl carrying a big backpack. The translator, a tall and slender man, rubbed his chin, “I’m not really sure. It’s an old Mayan god. A god of death; a death bat to be specific. These ocelomehs seem to have a culture and some beliefs that run parallel to the ancient Mayans from this world. Fascinating, isn’t it?” “Think it's possible that there’s a monster girl based on this camazotz thing?” I asked, half jokingly with a little smile on my face. The translator sighed, “It’s possible. There are monster girls out there that seem to be like old Japanese yokai legends, western legends like dragons, and stuff even parallel to the works of H.P. Lovecraft, Anon. Who knows what kinds of girls are yet to be discovered.” “Did you say LOVECRAFT!?” The freshman cheshire sprinted over from the back of the group, “Hey, hey, did you know what his pet cat was named!?” “We’re not having this conversation again…” The translator groaned. “I… I haven’t heard of it. What is it?” The innocent mouse asked quietly. I turned away from them as the cheshire’s big, wide grin got even wider. I caught up to my professor and his wife and listened to them idly chat about the foliage. I watched as the leaders of the group chopped through some vines and branches with a sharp machete. As the foliage was cleared, the orange sunlight across the jungle made the scenery glow. Tucked within a valley, with a waterfall flowing down the cliff on one side, a large stone temple stood. It wasn’t Mayan, it was a recently discovered ancient, monster built ruin, “Finally. There it is,” My professor wiped his brow and stood at the mouth of the valley, a steep hill leading down between the sheer cliff sides. “I still don’t get what the big deal is,” One of my bulkier companions muttered as we all began to trudge down the wide open hill, “We trekked out here just to see some ruins.” “They’re not from this world,” I shot back with a little shrug. The translator looked over, “They weren’t here before the monster girls came. And five years after, here they are. Fresh for us to examine.” “Exactly,” My professor smirked as he adjusted the backpack on his shoulders, “This will be a wonderful experience for you all. Especially those of you going into archeology.” “I can tell from here that these ruins are pre Maou,” His wife pointed out, “Very interesting.” “What are you expecting to find here?” One of the ocelomeh asked with a wary look. The cheshire giggled, “Aliens,” She contorted her face into that old, cringey, History Channel’s ‘Ancient Aliens’ meme. I could almost see the white with black outline impact font phase into reality below her reading one simple word: ALIENS.. The mouse gave her an exasperated look, “Y-you could AT LEAST have the decency to use modern memes!” She spat. The purple colored cat giggled, “But then how would I piss you off? Here, I’ve got another one for you. I can haz cheez burger?” I watched the mouse girl nearly pop a blood vessel at the purple cat. “On a more serious note,” My professor directed the ocelomehs’ attention away from the mouse and cat, “Ancient lore, long forgotten stories, historical artifacts or anything of the like.” One of the ocelomeh shook her head, “I do not understand people from the city… I do not understand why you would brave the wilderness with your weak forms to stare at old rocks.” “There could be something of great historical significance,” The hakutaku explained, “We wish to learn from the past.” Another ocelomeh nodded, “It is not too different to us learning from our ancestors,” She stopped the group in a clear area in the shadow of the valley walls, “We shall stop here. I do not recommend going and examining the structure at night. There is no telling what is lurking there, especially with a camazotz on the prowl.” “Why should we be worried about them?” I asked foolishly. “If you are caught by one, you are in for a world of terror, that is what one feeds on,” An ocelomeh warned with wide, almost terrified eyes, “Captured and tied up as she feeds, eating you bit by bit until all that remains is a husk, and your soul is sent to Xibalba where it is further tormented.” I started to sweat a little nervously as the jaguar woman slowly turned away from me, a few other people in the expedition looked just as terrified as me. The mouse girl was now clinging to the cheshire she had begun to loathe. Everyone was silent for a time, now feeling a little on edge. The professor’s hakutaku wife cleared her throat, undeterred by the ocelomeh’s warning, “Start setting up camp!” She ordered, “Night will be here soon!” Everyone started to move, finally spurned to action as they dug through their magic bags and produced tents while some of the ocelomeh began to build a few fires. Still more went hunting for themselves, wanting to distance themselves from the ruins. The expedition was loaded down with hearty rations and whatever camping supplies that they might need. Soon, I had my little tent set up and I was sitting by one of the fires, staring up at the stars with a few others while slowly eating our food. I shot a glance at the large stone face that adorned the ruins. The ghoulish faces illuminated by soft orange light were a little spooky, making me wonder if that was what the camazotz looked like. I felt like their stoney eyes were staring right at me with murderous intentions. I quickly retired early, taking my food into my tent to finish it up and went to sleep in my thin sleeping bag. After a magical cleansing spell was cast on me, removing all the dried sweat from my body and making me smell like oranges, I set to work. With a small team of other archeologists in training and a few history majors as well as one of the ocelomehs who was there to keep an eye on her hubby, we walked to a smaller outcropping of carved stones and got to work cataloguing anything we could find. The mouse girl and cheshire stuck close to me as we began to set up a tripod for a high powered camera. One of the more old-fashioned mamano used parchment and a stick of graphite to get a rubbing of it. As I watched the mouse take a few photos, my mind wandered to the camazotz. I began to imagine what the beast looked like, or if it was even real. BANG! A deafening noise roused me from my thoughts. I looked around with my ears ringing, seeing one shocked looking man standing near another pillar of stone. Everyones’ eyes were fixed on him as he slowly reached for the revolver on his hip, “H-how did that happen…?” He asked with a little half hearted chuckle. There was some upturned dirt next to his foot, one of the rounds had gone off somehow. “Hey!” Another man shouted from where he stood between ocelomeh and leapt back toward one of them. “What is it, husband?” His wife asked, defensively gripping him. “She grabbed my ass!” He hollered, pointing an accusatory finger at the other jaguar woman. “What!? Do not blame me on my sister’s grabby mitts!” She angrily shot back. “I know what my wife’s hands feel like!” The man cried, “That was NOT it!” “Stop shouting at my wife!” Another man joined in on the argument. I stepped away, the cheshire and mouse following me as we quickly got away from the brewing physical altercation. “This isn’t really funny,” The cheshire huffed, “There’s no build up to these punch lines! Like if I just walked up and punched Anon here, that wouldn’t even be funny! Who would laugh!?” Almost as if on cue, gallons of water were dumped on the cheshire as a malicious, echoing laughter bounced between the natural walls and piercing my eardrums, “Oh, you poor thing,” The mouse girl frowned at her new found, and drenched to the bone, friend. She put her camera bag down and looked through her bag for a towel. Suddenly, the mouse’s camera case rolled off of the stone it was resting on and tumbled down a slight slope toward the valley wall, “Oh no! My case!” She cried, her hands full with the fluffy towel. “I got it!” I offered and started down the little slope after it. In the strangely dark shadows of the valley, I started to look for the small, black camera bag. I got down on my knees and looked into a little cave, spotting the bag sitting on a few stones a ways into it. I sighed and started to crawl into the darkness, reaching for the black and grey bag. As I grabbed it and pulled it back, something blinding flashed before my eyes. I was stunned, two hands grabbed my wrist and yanked me deeper into the cave. The whiplash of the sudden force yanked the blood from my head, knocking me unconscious, unable to even shout in fright. My body jerked to life as a cold drip of water splashed on my forehead. I was lying on my back, surrounded by nothing but inky blackness. Another drip of water hit my face, making me sit up and wipe it off. I stared into the darkness and listened to the noises of my surroundings. I was laying on a few furs fashioned into some kind of makeshift bed, making the stone floor beneath me somewhat comfortable. I felt my body quickly, other than a headache, I seemed to be in good shape. I still had my clothes, but these were meant for the hot and humid jungle, not a cold and dark cave. I shivered and scowled, I needed to figure out where I was and also figure out where an exit was. As I stood, I felt the stale, dank air of the cave. I had no sense of where an exit could be. I waited an undetermined amount of time for my eyes to adjust, only to still be faced with nothing but the unnatural feeling darkness before me. A sudden flash of light and colors blinded me again. I scowled and shied away from it, covering my eyes as I tried to get them to acclimate to the brightness. I heard a laughter that bounced and echoed off the cave walls, an almost malicious cackling that reminded me of the snickering I had heard outside near the ruins. Carefully and slowly, I revealed my eyes to the sight before me. The illumination seemingly radiated from the one other person in this cave. A woman with an orange and blue headdress with numerous vibrant orange feathers sticking from the top that sat on her shoulder length black hair. Long animal-like ears that stuck straight up, pierced with a few golden studs and a hoop in each. Her modest breasts were covered by a short, blue, and sleeveless tunic, adorned with yellow tassels and accented with some more golden jewelry. A knee length, tied skirt of a matching blue color with similar yellow tassles covered her wide hips. I quickly noticed her monstrous features as she grinned at me with sharp teeth. Wings, long, leathery, and bat-like of a bright orange color hung from her arms that ended in sharp claws. Her legs from the knee down were black like her hands and wrists and also ended in talons. To finish off her strange, gaudy look, she had a polished, star shaped mirror that seemed to float behind her, exuding the bright light from its shimmering finish. The bat woman strutted up to me, a little smug grin spread from cheek to cheek, “My, my, it is not often I have humans visiting me here in the underworld.” “U-underworld?” I whimpered, shivering from the cold and slightly from fear as I tried to adjust my vision to the brightness. “More of the realm between, but still, welcome, mortal,” She looked me up and down, her fingers grabbing my chin as she forced my head to turn as she examined me closely, “A quite handsome one too. Hopefully your visit will be… pleasant,” She giggled. “Visit!?” I slapped her hand off my face and glared at her, “You kidnapped me!” The woman sighed, her beautiful lips frowning at me, “Of course I did! I am the night hunter after all! If you want to skip pleasantries and twist my actions how you see fit, we can get right down to it,” The light shut off in an instant and I was left in the suffocating darkness, “The main event…” Her voice echoed off the walls of the cave. I reached out, unable to feel where she just was, “A feast, where you are the main course.” “W-who are you?” I demanded with a cracking voice. I felt something brush up against me and a giggle filled my ears. She was silent for a time, “Hmmm… well, it can’t hurt for me to tell you, my precious, terrified, snack. I am called, by the few I know, Kinozotz.” “Zotz… Zotz…” I mumbled to myself, trying to pull where I had heard that to the front of my mind. As I thought, I felt a gentle scratch along my exposed forearms. After I calmed down from that spook, I snapped my fingers, letting the noise echo off the walls as I stood as still as I could, “You’re a camazotz, aren’t you?” I demanded of my abductor. She chuckled, “My, my. A smart one are you? Smart and handsome. I have heard that smooth brains taste better, but I won’t be picky. As I said, I don’t get many… visitors. But you’re in for a world of fear, pandejo.” I had been trapped for a few hours now. Even if I couldn’t exactly tell what time it was, due to having no clock or even the sky to tell with and the camazotz had been tormenting and mocking me the entire time. Shoving me, scratching me, grabbing me, simply brushing up against me. Each one was more than enough to send my heart rate sky high. I was alone in the cold, silent darkness of the cave-- the underworld as that woman had called it, I had been wandering, desperately searching for an exit in the impossibly dark cave, “Was she telling the truth?” I asked myself in a hushed whisper, “T-this just has to be a normal cave, right? There has to be a way out…” “Oh, sure,” Kinozotz’s mocking voice bounced off the stone walls. It sounded like the flapping of her wings or the stomping of her feet were coming from all around me, “Maybe it is just a cave. But what else would you expect the underworld to look like?” My mind raced, I knew I couldn’t fight a monster girl that was bigger than a kobold. Even then a kobold could probably lay me out, I was a scholar, not a fighter. I wracked my brain, I needed a way to deal with this camazotz, “Oof!” I groaned with pain as I was shoved to the floor. She cackled at me as I scrambled back to my feet, “Cut that out!” Her stomping ceased for a few moments, “N-no! Fear me! Now answer the question! What did you expect the underworld to look like?” Fear? I silently played the word in my mind. I blinked and recalled what I had been told about this bat god, she fed on fear. I cleared my throat, “Fires. Brimstone. Satan,” I retorted, feigning a little bit of confidence. “Pendejo, you’re in the wrong part of the world to be thinking like that.” “There’s a pretty big Christian community in South America, isn’t there? Didn’t they get colonized by Christian Spaniards?” “Would you shut up!?” The camazotz shouted at me. “Why should I, you childish, overgrown brat?” I sneered. The lights turned back on, blinding me. Kinozotz stood before me with her lips pursed into the saddest pout I had ever seen, “Are you trying to infuriate me?” “Why do you care what I do?” I spat back, “Just eat me!” “That’s not what I want!” She screamed, her body shuddering, “I’m bored, surface dweller! I’m alone and bored! I live down here all alone with no one and you can just crawl back out there to your friends and leave me down here by myself,” Her voice oozed with jealousy as she pointed a long, clawed finger at me, “But I’m not gonna let you leave! You’ll be stuck here with me forever!” She grinned, trying to hide the obvious pain on her face. “Kinozotz?” I stared at the bat for a time. Like all monster girls she was unnaturally beautiful, but she was acting like a child, “I have no intention of staying down here,” I started slowly. “You don’t have a choice, pendejo!” She stomped her foot in frustration. My hand extended to her, palm up, “Why don’t you come with me? To the surface?” “...What?” The bat’s eyes flicked from my hand up to my eyes then back to the hand. “What’s stopping you from coming to the surface?” “I-I-I…” Her gorgeous eyes looked into mine, “Why aren’t you afraid of me? Everyone takes one look at me, screams and runs off…” “I don’t see why I would be. You’re just like my cat back home, you just want attention, you don’t really want to hurt me. Even if you do bite and scratch,” I felt the bruise on my back and winced with indignation. The camazotz stepped towards me, her arms folded, and she was still staring down at my outstretched hand before I returned it to my side, “I… I don’t know what to say. I am only used to humans and even other monsters running with fear when I go to the surface. The few men I drag down here, well they run and scream. But you…” She cleared her throat as if readying herself to recite something, “‘Those that can’t see through the darkness and trust in me are the ones who die first.’” “Huh?” Kinozotz chuckled at me, stepping ever closer, “Just something my ancestors used to say, pendejo,” She wiped her eyes as a bit of glistening water rolled down her cheeks, “But, I will accept your offer.” “You’ll leave this dank cave and enjoy the sunshine?” I sighed with relief. Somehow, I had beaten the bat goddess of death, or at least the servant of one. “No, pendejo! I’ll marry you! That’s what you want isn’t it!?” She teased, grabbing my wrist before breaking out into a jog, “Come on!” Her grip tightened, her surprisingly well manicured claws dug into my skin. “Wait-- That’s not--!” “Oh, come on, pendejo! Why else would you want me to come with you to the surface? You think I’m cute, don’t you?” She teased, stopping for a moment to poke my nose and cackle warmly at me. “Kinozotz--” “Just call me Zotz! It’s cute when you say it!” She laughed before stopping her run and pulling me into a hug, “Don’t you think it's a cute name too?” “Well, yeah Kino-- I mean, Zotz,” I gave into her demand as she gave me pouty lips again, “Can you stop yanking me around for just one second?” I pleaded. Kinozotz spun around and smiled with rosy cheeks, “I’m just so excited! Everyone is going to be so jealous of my… I… you never told me your name, pendejo!” “It's Anon,” I introduced myself a little awkwardly to the woman-- my girlfriend? I wasn’t sure at the time, “Now can we just walk? I’m still in pain from you dragging and shoving me!” “When did you turn into such a downer, pendejo!? Is my new husband going to be boring?” With a whine, Kinozotz threw her head back and flattened her ears against her head, “Just hurry up, Anon. I’ll make it up to you for hurting you, okay?” With a look into her beautiful, now cheerful eyes, I couldn’t bring myself to deny her. Especially as she swayed her curvy form for me, tantalising me and making me curious as to what she meant by ‘making it up’ to me. I could only sigh and nod, “Alright. Let’s go. Just get me out of this damn cave…” “Hey, I happen to like this cave!” After what felt like hours of walking, especially after Kinozotz had to drag me back to her domain to collect her meager belongings before taking me back to the exit, or at least where she abducted me. Weighed down with her collection of funny shaped rocks and animal skins, I shielded my eyes as the warm, orange glow of the sun was cast into the dank, dark cave, “Oh, thank god,” I sighed with relief as I gazed at the sky through the cracks in the natural, but very thin, cave opening, “I was starting to think I would never see the sky again.” Kinozotz used a wing to shield her eyes as she looked out at the setting sun, “You really thought I was going to eat you, huh, pendejo?” “Just a little bit. Come on, I need some fresh air,” I groaned, pushing her bag through the opening, “Hey, if people freak out because you’re a camazotz, why don’t we just play it off like you’re not?” “Why would we do that? If I don’t show my power they’re going to try and steal my perfect, wonderful husband from me!” Her eyes fluttered at me, “Are you saying you don’t want me as much as I want you, Anon? You WANT someone to take you from me?” I sighed and gestured to the exit, “No, I don’t want that. Just get out of here so we can go sleep in my tent tonight.” “Oh? You want to sleep with me?” She giggled as I helped her climb out. I took a good look at her butt under the skirt. I smirked and noted she wore striped underwear. I climbed through after her and stared up at the setting sun, the long, black shadows once again being cast across the valley. “Now where's the camp…” I wondered as I scanned the grounds, “There,” I pointed to a cluster of fires, “Come on,” I stomped through the darkness, relief washing over me as I saw a few familiar faces. The heat of the fires bathed my cold body as I stepped into the light. I could smell the meat being roasted on the flames by the ocelomeh guides. I dropped the burlap sack containing Kinozotz’s things before plopping down next to the fire, “Anon!” That small mouse cried, nearly hopping up and leaping at me. “We thought you were dead!” The cheshire laughed, nearly slapping her knee as if it was the funniest thing in the world that I had made it back. “What happened? We found the bag you went after but you were gone,” Another junior archeologist explained. One of the ocelomeh guides grunted at me as she started to take the meat off of the fire, “We could hardly smell you. We smelled something quite foul in your stead.” “It was a camazotz. It had to be,” Another ocelomeh hissed as she glanced around the clearing. “Cut that out,” Her husband nudged her, “You are just scaring the younger students. There isn’t a camazotz, we haven’t seen a single trace of one! You and your sisters keep claiming you smell one, but--” A hand lashed out from the underbrush, covering the man’s mouth before dragging him into the bushes. A few people scream as a cackle rings out, filling your ears with shrill laughter that bounces off canyon walls. The ocelomeh stands up, calling out for her husband as she draws her wicked looking club. You just sigh and rub your eyes, “Zotz! Give it up!” As you call her out, the laughter stops. Kinozotz carried the researcher by the scruff of his clothes and dumped him onto his ocelomeh wife, “You’re no fun, Anon,” She pouts at you before strutting over and sitting in your lap, “What are we eating? It smells really good. Can I have some? What are you all doing out here in the middle of nowhere?” Her questions and comments are shotgunned off as she pulls out her sun mirror and begins polishing it. All eyes are on Kinozotz who seems to either not notice or not mind. You wonder if she’s enjoying the attention after being alone for so long. One ocelomeh gave her doubtful husband a smug look. The mouse girl gave me a look that made me think she was jealous or disappointed, “Who is this, Anon?” “When did you start collecting such… batty company, Anon?” The cheshire grins as her purple tail flicks from side to side. I sighed again, “This is Kinozotz.” “Sun bat,” The interpreter mumbles. “A camazotz, I presume,” Another guesses. “I told you it was real!” One of the jaguar guides exclaims. “Yeah, but Anon survived an encounter with it. And he seems to have tamed her,” Someone else points out. Kinozotz glared at him, “Tamed!? Me!?” She scoffed, “Anon, I wish to retire for the night.” “Alright…” I nodded before Zotz got off of me and looked at me expectantly. “She’s not… going to eat you, right?” The mouse girl leaned over and whispered. I shook my head, “She’s harmless. Mostly. I’ll see you guys in the morning,” I gave a little wave and went to collect my bag. Kinozotz stood nearby at all times, her hands randomly reaching out to grope and caress my exposed skin. I led her to my small, two person tent and stripped down before ducking inside. Kinozotz looked around at the barren interior then at me as I tried to hand her a ration. She pushed it aside and grabbed me, forcing me onto the air mattress before straddling me. Her claws raked over my skin gently as she licked her lips, “You’re all mine now,” She giggled as she leaned in. Her kisses were wet, a few were placed on my cheek, then my neck, and before she kissed my lips, she ran her long, wet tongue across them teasingly. She forcefully pressed her lips against mine, leaving a long strand of saliva between our damp lips, “Oh, Anon… you’re just as delicious as I had hoped!” She moved on to my neck, kissing it to her heart’s content as my hands held her against me. Her sharp teeth nibbled my neck, then my shoulders where she broke the skin, drawing a bit of my blood which she greedily lapped up. She grinned and sat up, a bit of blood running down her chin as she leaned over me, “Hope you’re ready, pandejo!” She giggled again as she started to disrobe, “I’ll show you ‘harmless.’” I sighed, wondering what I had gotten myself into… I stepped into the main room and looked around in the dark, my eyes hardly able to adjust to the near unnatural darkness. I could smell cooking meat nearby and hear the sizzling of the meal. The noise of blocks clacking together also reached my ears. I sighed and reached to the wall and flipped a little switch to turn on the overhead light. The little bulb on the ceiling switched on with a little CLICK noise. A little girl playing on the floor hissed and shielded her eyes from the sudden light, “Daddy!” She shouted in anger. I laughed at the little bat girl, “What is it, honey?” She was a lot like my precious Kinozotz. With clawed hands and feet, vibrant orange wings, caramel brown skin, and piercing blue eyes. Her hair was done up in a bun, a dark blonde color somewhat like mine. She was wearing a set of denim overalls and a red shirt as she pouted at me, “Huh? Come on, talk to me,” I pestered as I sat on the floor with her. “I don’t like the bright light,” My daughter grumbled. I grabbed a few wooden blocks and helped my four year old build a house, “You need to get adjusted to it just like your daddy got adjusted to the darkness. Unless you plan on living in a sewer, you won’t be able to just live in the darkness like this.” “Her mother got a man by lounging about in the dark! Why can’t she!?” Kinozotz smirked from where she stood by the nearby stove. While our daughter and I sat on a rug, the kitchen was set atop a stone, cave floor. We had spruced up a cave closer to town with furnishing, some walls, doors, and most importantly: lighting fixtures. It was cozy and very comfortable for the two-- soon to be three-- most precious girls in the world to me. “Zotz, you’re not helping,” I scolded as I watched her prepare her cooking despite her swollen baby carrying belly. Zotz scoffed back at me, “Nonsense! It will work out! My precious daughter will find a husband just as wonderful as MY husband! Darkness or no, she will succeed!” “Yeah, daddy!” My daughter gave me a smug look, making me sigh again. “Food’s ready!” Kinozotz called before I could further scold either of them. I brought my daughter to the dining room table and set her on a chair while my wife brought over the tamales she made, full of deliciously prepared meats, vegetables, peppers, and a light sprinkling of cheese, “Thanks, Zotz,” I smiled at my wife as my daughter immediately began to dig in. “Of course, Anon. I love you,” She smiled before giving me a small peck on the lips then sat down across from me. “I love you too,” I smiled before digging into her delicious cooking, “I love you as well, dear,” I gave my daughter a little smirk, hardly able to stay mad at her. She smiled, her mouth full of food. I love my family.