Charlie really did not know what to think about the whole situation. On one hand, the hotel could be in complete chaos right now and she would be the last to know. On the other hand, she did not have to lift a finger to do anything about it. She was clocked out, on vacation, completely free of responsibility for the next 36 hours, and she would make sure she savored every minute of it. She could not help but worry though, Vaggie could be rather…harsh. She was easy to piss off, and extremely hard to calm down. She had been enraged with Angel Dust for days after his involvement with Cherri Bomb’s turf war.
“She’ll be fine. She has Philip and Sally to help her.” She thought, leaning back on the pool float she was currently drifting on. The Hotel pool was in a bad state when she and Vaggie first arrived, and it was one of the first things they had Niffty help them clean before they refilled it. It was a lot of work, but Charlie certainly felt like it paid off now that she was lounging in a bikini and sipping lemonade on a pool float. She let out a content sigh, allowing herself to relax. She was just about to close her eyes and take a nap when she suddenly heard raised voices and the sounds of a struggle in the hall outside the pool. She groaned with annoyance but listened carefully. In order to ensure she was not disturbed today, she had asked Anna if she’d mind patrolling the corridors outside the pool and redirect anyone and everyone (except for Vaggie, who she had told to come to her in the event of an emergency). She immediately identified the southern drawl that was indicative of the hillbilly.
“C’mon! I wanna use the big ol’ bathtub in there!” Max whined.
“Нет, no bother Charlie.” Anna said gruffly. Charlie smiled a bit at that. She had been teaching Anna a little bit of English, and it seemed like it was paying off.
“But Anna, I need to use the big tub! Snuffles destroyed the one in my room after Miss Niffty and I tried to wash him. He didn’t take kindly to it.” Max said with a chuckle. That made Charlie sit up. While Snuffles had been gentle to Charlie, she was not sure if that behavior extended to the rest of the staff. If the Demogorgon became enraged with Niffty, and neither Max nor Charlie were around to calm it down, the results could be grisly. If Max had come directly to Charlie, then that meant Vaggie was busy handling some other issue. Charlie sighed and slipped into the water, swimming over to the edge of the pool to dry off and open the door.
“It’s alright Anna. Max, what’s this about Snuffles?” Charlie smiled. Max looked down at his feet guiltily.
“M’sorry for ruining your day off, but you know how Snuffles gets.” Max said sheepishly. Charlie laughed and shook her head.
“You haven’t ruined anything Max. Where does Snuffles usually go when he is upset?” Charlie asked sweetly. Max just shuffled his feet.
“Dunno. He always comes back though! But sometimes he gets a bit destructive. He’d go visit the other killer realms within the Fog and tear em up.”
“And you think he might ‘tear up’ the hotel?” Charlie frowned.
“Normally I wouldn’t pay it no mind, but Niffty gets angry when he makes a mess of things, and I don’t want her to get angry with me too.” Charlie nodded at that, knowing that Niffty was quite terrifying if one was unfortunate enough to make her angry. Angel Dust had been on the receiving end of her wrath after she had cleaned up after one too many of his 'pranks'. He made great effort to avoid making messes with his pranks ever since. Not wanting to see Max face the wrath of the hotel custodian, Charlie made up her mind.
"Alright, Anna and I will help you find him." Charlie said before quickly explaining the situation to Anna. Max was elated as the group started walking.
"Great! Between the four of us, we'll find him in no time!" Max declared. Charlie tilted her head in confusion.
"There are only three of us here, Max." She said gently. She didn't want to upset him in case he couldn't count.
"I know that, but we're gonna be four real soon! We're gonna go get Evan's help!" He explained, making Charlie's eyes widen with panic. They were already halfway down the hall, it was too far for them to turn back now.
“So, that’s how it works.” Vaggie said with a sigh, closing her browser on her phone—which Caleb was now looking at with intense interest.
“I see…and how—” He began, but Vaggie wasn’t going to let him get any further than that.
“Oh no, I am not spending another 10 minutes talking about technology. Telling you how a cellphone works would take at least an hour, and because I’m covering for Charlie today, I really can’t spare the time!” She said in exasperation. The Deathslinger chuckled.
“Fair enough. I’ll be seeing you around then Miss Vaggie.” He tipped his hat and headed toward the bar. Vaggie exhaled, relieved that Caleb—for whatever reason—was deciding to not be a complete pendejo for the moment. That just left her with Alastor, the Doctor, and the Clown to worry about.
“How does Charlie do this seven days a week?!” Vaggie knew Charlie wasn’t a pushover like most people thought, but Madre Dios had she underestimated how tough this all was!
“I’m going to need a vacation myself by the time this day is done.” She grumbled
The Trapper may not be the most frightening of the killers on a good day, but on a bad day he was the unquestionable king of the Fog Dwellers. There were days were the survivors in the trials had been extra slippery or extra sneaky, making trials longer, tougher, and often ending in more than two of them escaping. He would leave those trials feeling agitated—and feeling the sting of the Entity’s claws and fangs on his skin—and the other killers quickly learned to not trifle with him when he was in such a state. Evan was in such a state right now, but not because of any humiliating defeat he had suffered, but because of Charlie.
Their argument had made him rancorous, and he had left several traps outside his room as a warning to the other killers to fuck off. He tried to distract himself with sketches, but they were also tainted by his wrath. His drawings were now gruesome memories. The faces of victims—those he had felled personally as well as those he had seen struck down by his fellow killers—and bloody homages to the Entity. He remembered every detail of that terrifying god. The claws, the teeth, the eyes…all shifting and morphing into forms more nightmarish than the last. To gaze upon it for too long would be to invite madness, and the Entity—for all its apathy—was aware of this much at least. It only showed parts of itself to its servants and its prey. Even sketching the great Beast of the Fog was enough to unnerve Evan as his pencil moved across the paper. He put the sketch in a pile—he had done so many sketches he had to organize by piles. He had a pile for the killers, a pile for the Entity, a pile for memories—most of which were unpleasant—and finally, a pile for the demons of the Hotel. Unsurprisingly, most of them were sketches of Charlie. He was debating tearing them up when he heard a knock at his door.
“Whoever it is, fuck off!” Evan growled. He was in no mood to entertain guests.
“Evan, its me.” He heard Max say meekly. Evan groaned and stood, walking over, and opening his door. The one person he couldn’t force himself to be angry with was Max.
“What’s wrong—” The rest of Evan’s question died in his throat when he saw Charlie and Anna alongside Max. It wasn’t the fact that Charlie was there, but rather what she was wearing. Evan had never seen a bikini before—in his time most swimsuits were extremely modest—and seeing her like this was little different from seeing her in underwear. Evan was grateful he was wearing his mask, for he was sure he was blushing like a schoolboy. Charlie was flustered as well. Had she known Max was going to recruit more help for the task of hunting Snuffles, she’d have at least brought a towel. Anna had a slight smirk below her mask as she observed the sudden change in atmosphere. Max—bless him—noticed nothing amiss.
“We was gonna hunt Snuffles! He’s all riled up, ‘n we need you to help track him down so he can calm down.” Max explained with the enthusiasm of a child about to embark on a camping trip.
“Is that so? Alright, fine. Give me a second to gather enough traps.” Evan said, stooping down to collect the traps he had set in the doorway before retreating into his room to get his stitched bag. His mind was a whirlwind of confusion and conflicting emotion. Most of the confusion was focused on the fact that Charlie was practically naked (by his standards at least), and the conflict was a result of how he was reacting to her being here. Surely, she would not be at his doorway if it were not for Max needing all the help he could get. He was still bitter about their little spat they had earlier but seeing her still brightened his day. Meanwhile, Charlie was feeling quite underdressed.
“I feel naked.” She said in Russian to Anna, who laughed heartily.
“Because Trapper is here now, yes?” Charlie could see the smirk under the bunny mask grow. Charlie narrowed her eyes, but her deepening blush betrayed her.
“Because another man is here now, not specifically Evan!” She countered. Anna chortled and shook her head.
“You weren’t acting this way when it was just Max. Ever since Trapper open his door, you act like small rabbit: wide-eyed, shy, and scared. I know how Trapper acts around you: he’d never hurt a hair on your head. So, you have nothing to fear for your own safety…you’re worried he’ll take more interest in your body.” Anna chortled. Charlie covered her face with her hands, wishing she could just sink into the floor and be swallowed up by her own embarrassment.
“Please stop, Anna.” Charlie groaned. When Evan opened the door, Charlie was almost relieved to see him. “Are you ready?” She asked in English.
“As much as anyone can be ready to hunt Snuffles.” Evan said grimly. “The traps are honestly just wishful thinking. It would hurt him, but it would not be enough to immobilize him long enough to do anything. It’s more of a way of keeping track of where he hasn’t gone yet. Max, where did you last see Snuffles?”
“My bathroom. Miss Niffty and I were gonna wash him, but he wasn’t having it. I told her not to touch the chains and collars on him, but she wanted to try to unlock ‘em.” Max explained.
“And where is Niffty now?” Evan asked tensely, slightly concerned that Max had opted to leave the diminutive demon alone with the dangerous Demogorgon loose in the hotel.
“She’s still in my bathroom, trying to mite…meta…mitten…mitigate! She’s trying to mitigate the damage!” Max said while Charlie explained the situation to Anna in Russian.
“Wait, we are hunting the Snuffle Monster? I…I shall stay with tiny Niffty…to protect her.” Anna said to Charlie after they had arrived at the scene of the tantrum Snuffles had thrown. The bathroom walls had deep gouging claw marks in the tiles, and the bathtub itself was smashed to pieces of porcelain. Niffty had already shut off the water and was currently struggling to move the larger fragments of the thick tub.
“Alright Anna, you stay and help her.” Charlie smiled, knowing the fearsome Russian huntress was still deathly afraid of the otherworldly creature that Max had befriended. Anna sighed with relief and immediately set about helping Niffty clear the tub fragments out.
“So, what’s with the outfit?” Evan asked Charlie once the three were out in the hallway again.
“It is called a bikini. It’s a swimsuit. I was swimming in the hotel’s pool when Max came to ask for help.” She responded flatly. She was still slightly irked with Evan, but she was not the type to hold a grudge. Right now she felt more embarrassed than anything, being this exposed to him.
“Ah, that explains it. You look good.” He said with a slight chuckle, noting her flushed expression. “I think this makes us even. You saw me without my mask, after all.” Charlie deadpanned, but then giggled too, remembering how completely bewildered and vulnerable he had looked when she had pulled Evan’s mask off. Max stopped dead in his tracks and whirled around.
“WHAT?! You let her see your face?!” Max shouted in disbelief and horror. “You never let me or Philip see your face! What makes her so special?!”
“Wha—” Evan was stunned by how outraged Max was getting. He had seen Max angry and upset plenty of times. Fortunately, Charlie stepped between them.
“It was my fault! I took his mask off without his permission!” Charlie exclaimed, hoping that would be the end of it. Max looked at her with horror, then revulsion, then fury.
“You…how could you do something like that? That ain’t right! YOU CAN’T DO THAT!” He roared, revving his chainsaw. Evan quickly pulled Charlie back and moved in front of her.
“Max, calm the fuck down! Oh for the love of…here!” Evan took off his mask, making Max stare in awe. Evan put his mask back on just in case Anna or anyone else stepped out into the hall to investigate the commotion. “Happy now?”
“I guess. But it still ain’t right that she just took off your mask and didn’t get any punishment for it!” Max seethed. “What if she does that to Sally or Anna? What if she tries to wash Philip’s face paint off?”
“We can talk about that later! Right now, we are going to find Snuffles, got it?” Evan growled. Max pouted and nodded, stomping off down the hallway. Evan sighed and looked at Charlie apologetically. “He’ll calm down…eventually.”
“So much for my day off.” Charlie laughed half-heartedly.