Creature of Unknown Origin: Together for the Holidays


I bit my lip, setting the mixed vegetables on the table. Howie took his seat at the round

table beside me as Spencer set the sweet potato casserole down and took his own seat on my other


“Delia! Get your ass back here before there’s nothing left!” He called out to her.

I smacked his arm playfully. “Sh h … she might’ve heard you!”

“Let her snoop,” Howie said, already piling food onto his plate and passing the bowl of

steaming mashed potatoes to me . “More for us that way. Is Annette coming?”

“No,” I replied, pouring a generous puddle of gravy into the indentation I ’d made in my

potatoes. “ S he’s spending Thanksgiving with her family.”

“More pie for us then.” Howie lifted his wineglass in a toast before taking a swig . “Though

it would be nice to see her again. I’d like to ask her more about the—”

I lost herself in the delicious mixture of cranberry sauce and turkey flooding my tongue as

Howie rattled off some technical term I suspected had to do with the portal.

“Oh, Howie,” Delia sighed as she slid into her seat at long last , “I thought we were leaving

work out of the holiday and just enjoying the time off from killing people, hunting people down,

and building interdimensional portals in our free time.”

“I am! This isn’t work at all, it’s a hobby and holidays are all about what relaxes and makes

you happy ,” he argued. “For instance, what are you grateful for or happy for, Spencer ?”

Spencer’s fork stopped halfway to his mouth. “Um… the fact that I’m still alive?”

Delia snorted, raising her wineglass . “I’ll drink to that.”

“Ava, please, help me out here,” Howie begged. “These two are hopeless!”

“I—” I started. Being alive was a pret ty good thing to be thankful for, but I knew Howie

wanted an earnest answer. Between all of us, Howie had the most heart, and that was saying

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