I’ve been away for a bit, but as always, I couldn’t let a Friday the 13th go by without some type of treat. I’ve come to enjoy this macabre family I’ve created and thought it would be nice to revisit them and what they’ve been up to. Enjoy, you naughty minxes!

“Nope. Little Baby has to do it alone.”

Terra sighed with frustration as Manu placed his hand on her wrist, halting her movements. She’d been about to go out into the night, towards the direction they’d released Little Baby. She knew Manu was right, but waiting for her sweet little angel to catch his own food was making her anxious. The almost darkness of the night wasn’t helping either. Clouds had rolled in minutes ago, muting the bright glow of the full moon. If she could see Little Baby stalking his prey she’d feel a lot better.

She pulled absently at a piece of string that was beginning to unravel at the seam of her yoga pants. Her lips curved into a smile thinking of how Little Baby had loved shredding clothes and making a nest to sleep in when he was younger. It seemed like only yesterday he was a small ball of fur and teeth, wailing anxiously for Sweetie to feed him or give him attention. Now like Baby and Sweetie, he was sleek lines of iridescent scales and serrated teeth. Serrated teeth and claws that were going to be used on their first solo hunt.

Manu had found the perfect spot for Little Baby’s first solo hunt in the Paso Robles hills. The homes were spaced out far enough that sounds of distress wouldn’t wake a concerned neighbor. He’d been tracking locations through a neighborhood app to see which had reports of animals causing disturbances. He was a clever one, but she still felt uneasy thinking about her precious Little Baby being out on his own, hunting his own prey.

“I think we should have brought Sweetie and Baby,” she said, making sure she kept her voice low.

Manu wrapped his arm around her shoulder and brought her in for a side hug and a quick peck on the top of her head.

“Hon, you know that wouldn’t have been wise. It’s hard enough trying to control Baby and Sweetie on hunts, with Little Baby’s inexperience it would be nearly impossible.”

Terra sighed, knowing her husband was right, but she hated feeling as if she wasn’t helping Little Baby. When she’d gotten Baby as a pet, he’d already been fully grown and capable of locating his own food. Of course there had been a learning curve for her. Disposing of the body parts he’d decided to leave unfinished had been tricky in the beginning.

“Are you sure this is going to be an easy prey?” She asked, tugging at the zipper of her windbreaker.

“Babe, trust me,” Manu replied.

She snuggled more into his side and rubbed her palm against the base of his back. Terra did trust him, but their initial trial runs of teaching Little Baby how to hunt hadn’t gone as well. God, bits of brain and bone could burrow into the tiniest crevices of rooms. Terra had no idea what she would have done without Luminol.

“I want Little Baby to feel successful though. Sweetie and Baby have been patient sharing their kills, but I know Little Baby was upset after his last prey nearly got away.”

“Babe, I think Little Baby is going to be okay,” Manu said, his chest rumbling with a low chuckle.

She pinched the skin of his lower back with frustration.

“Don’t laugh at me. You know I can’t help worrying about them.”

Manu adjusted their positions so he could gently cup her face. The leather of his gloves felt cool against her skin and she relaxed into his hold. It was her own pavlovian response to his gentle but firm touch encased in leather. It both annoyed her she was so responsive, and eager for more.

“Terra, love, Little Baby is going to do well. You’ve done everything in your power to make sure of that,” he said.

Manu placed a kiss at each corner of her mouth, until she smiled. Her anxiety vanished when confronted with his assurance and patience. Terra’s heart wanted to burst with love for the man that made sure she and her precious darlings were always safe.

The respite of calm didn’t last long though as the strangled cry of a man disrupted the quiet of the night. Manu whispered words of calm into her ear and she relaxed into his hold. It would be okay. Little Baby would be okay. She continued to chant everything would be okay as night sounds settled around them.

“Ah, look how good you’ve been,” Manu cooed.

Terra turned from his embrace and resisted the urge to clap her hands with joy. Little Baby closed the distance between them, dragging prey toward them. The sound of blood and flesh squishing as it made contact with the ground settled the last bit of anxiety she’d been holding. Little Baby made clicking noises as he wrapped his whip thin tail around her wrist, and Terra had to fight back tears.

“My sweet Little Baby,” she said, placing a kiss upon his serpentine head.

“Good job,” Manu stated, patting Little Baby on the head.

In the almost complete dark of night she saw Little Baby preen as he nestled his head into her stomach. All of that stress for nothing she thought, giggling at how silly she’d been. Little Baby was going to do just fine.