EIGHT || GET UP, JONES

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So," Fallon said, sitting down next to Jughead at one of the outdoor tables, "What do you think of the Beast?"

Jughead rolled his eyes and huffed. "He stinks. Barks all the time. He's got no boundaries."

Fallon laughed, seeing Jughead's shadows under his eyes. "Every new recruit has to take care of Hot Dog. It's tradition." Jughead shook his head and rubbed his eyes while Fallon took a sip of her banged up water bottle. "He's our third Hot Dog, by the way."

"Oh, Hot Dog the third? This is getting borderline ridiculous." Jughead laughed, and Fallon raised an eyebrow. "Kind of like Forsythe the Third?"

They laughed together, and Fallon had a feeling that Jughead was gonna fit in with the Serpents way better than she originally thought.

"I'll see you at the Wyrm, Jug. Trial number 2 awaits." She said, patting his shoulder and walking off, the last bell sounding in the distance.

"Hey, baby," Sweet Pea said as she met up with him and Fangs in the hallway. "Ready to go?"

"Yeah, just let me run to my locker real quick and then I will be."

Fallon walked a little further down the hallway, but let out a strangled gasp when she reached her locker. Pinned to her locker door with the first switchblade Sweet Pea gave her was a piece of paper and a ribbon sealed box. "S-Sweet Pea...?" She called in a wavering voice, and again a second time louder when he didn't answer.

She heard running footsteps as her boyfriend and brother came barreling down the hallway, Sweet Pea's hand finding her waist. "What's wrong? What happened?" He questioned, and almost as if her feet had minds of their own, Fallon walked forward and unpinned the note and the box from the locker, the knife clattering to the floor.

"Is...is that my knife?" Sweet Pea asked as Fallon unfolded the paper with shaking hands, her heart rate accelerating as her eyes skimmed the words pressed into the paper so hard it tore in some places.

hey zombie doll,
surprised to hear you're still breathing oxygen!
my ghouls are watching you,
it's only a matter of time till you come back to my bed.
I left you a little present while you wait.
see you soon,
~mal

Fallon's vision became blurry as hot tears filled her eyes, reading the awful nickname Malachi had given her based on her white blonde hair. "O-oh my g-god..." She choked and felt the note torn from her hands by Fangs, and her hands closed around the ribboned box, pulling the lid off just as Fangs yelled,

"No, don't touch the box!"

Fallon took one look at what was inside and collapsed, Sweet Pea catching her with a shout of alarm just before she hit the tile floor.

Enclosed was the strip of her skin Malachi had sliced off of her arm, the now leathery flesh tattooed with a Serpent emblem.

Malachi had sent her a grisly reminder of her worst nightmare.

_____

The Serpents at the Wyrm were just about to start Jughead's second trial when Fangs burst in, Sweet Pea following behind him and carrying Fallon like a baby, the poor girl in tears and clinging to her man like he was her lifeline.

"What happened?" Tall Boy barked as the rest of the Serpents looked on in concern and worry, some with angry looks on their faces.

"This." Fangs said, slamming the note and the box down on the pool table nearest to them. "Hogeye, get Fallon some water."

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