13 Dead End Lane, Specter Yard
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, General Grunt.”
Olive Specter had put on her seasoned poker face for her military neighbor, General Buzz Grunt, when he arrived at her house for this confrontation.
“Specter, I know the truth. YOU killed Lyla Grunt and buried her here. And I know you have the means of bringing her back to life.”
“Grunt, just because my yard happens to be full of tombstones, that doesn’t give you the license to accuse me of random deaths. Knowing Lyla’s luck, from the type of husband she had, she was probably killed by a lightning bolt.”
“You heartless boolprop. Lyla was not randomly struck by lightning. She foolishly thought you were a kind old lady who would give her sanctuary the night she ran away. Instead, you took her away, and turned her into a permanent fixture in your cursed sanctuary.”
“How can you prove your wife is buried here? Can you find her name among the unmarked graves?”
Grunt fell silent. Before coming in to see Specter, he did walk through the graveyard for a while, and remembered seeing only last names like “Muenda”, “Nigmos” and “Specter”. The rest of the poor unfortunate souls, whoever they were, were condemned to an ignominious oblivion, the memory of their brief existence cruelly erased by their unmarked graves.
If Lyla were indeed among them, Grunt would have to try to convince Specter to release her. If not for himself, at least for the sake of his three sons.
“Specter, I know what you did in Midnight Hollow. After your son was taken away, you went nuts, and you took it out on the Doe family. You couldn’t stand the sight of the perfect family that you couldn’t seem to have. You killed John and Jane Doe first, then all their kids.”
“As far as I know, the culprit was never caught. You can’t prove anything.”
“Oh yes, I can. Just wait and see. As General, I have contacts that can bring up names that you wish you’d never hear again. Wouldn’t you just love a court case messing up your quiet old age? You can prevent all of this trouble, if you just bring back Lyla Grunt to me. Swear on the River Styx that you’ll bring back Lyla Grunt just as she was when she was alive, with no tricks and no deception.”
The General ended up not needing to dig up that old connection in Midnight Hollow, saving him the need to drag the aging recluse Lucien Hyde to court as a witness.
Olive Specter swore her River Styx oath, then excused herself and went to her room. Ten minutes later, she emerged with a blonde woman. On the surface, the form of Lyla Grunt was exactly as the General last remembered her.
Her eyes were cold and distant.
“Lyla, it’s me, Buzz Grunt. Even if you can’t stand me, our three boys still need their mother. Buck hasn’t been the same since you left. He keeps asking me where you are. And Ripp… you’re the only one who knows how to talk to him. Please, Lyla, come back with me.”
Lyla’s eyes met the General’s in a long and cold stare. After what seemed like eternity, she nodded.
“Thank you, Specter.” The General turned around too quickly to notice Specter’s nod of acknowledgment. Within seconds, the Grunt couple had whizzed out of Specter’s front door.
During the long walk home, they passed by Pollination Technician #9 (PT9) Smith, who seemed to be on a slow stroll back to his house. Lyla said “hi”. PT9 smiled and nodded. General Grunt had never been a fan of the alien patriarch and his family, but thought better than to show too much of his antagonistic side in front of Lyla now, so he simply looked away.
Tank, Ripp and Buck were delighted at the return of their mother. Over dinner that evening, Lyla told her sons how she had “gone away for a long walk”, but decided to meet their father one mile outside Strangetown, before coming home together.
The General added that he and Lyla would try to patch up their differences, so the boys can expect both their parents to be around for the long haul.
101 Road to Nowhere, Smith Residence
PT9 Smith reached home, and sighed in relief upon slumping into his favorite armchair. He had just spent an afternoon with his adult daughters, Lola and Chloe Curious-Smith, who were living with their human roommates Kristen Loste and Erin Beaker. (Lola and Chloe are not Jenny’s children, but that is a story for another day.) Like everyone else in his family, Lola and Chloe had been deeply concerned about his declining health, but PT9 endeavored to maintain a lighthearted, positive mood for his girls.
He ate only half of the spaghetti that Jenny cooked for dinner. He did not have much of an appetite, and was too exhausted to talk during the family meal.
But as Johnny and Jill were leaving the dinner table, PT9 summoned enough energy to speak.
“Kids, there’s one thing I need to tell you two before I go to bed. *cough* Johnny, I know you’ll do great at college and make us proud. That football scholarship would make you a real professional. Jill, I’ve also noticed your progress in swimming. You’ve made Daddy proud, and I’m sure if you continue like this, you’ll become a great swimming champion, and make many more people proud. I love you both very much, Johnny and Jill.”
“I love you, Dad,” said Johnny and Jill in unison. Jill instinctively went to PT9’s side for a hug. Johnny hesitated, but it was his turn next.
Later that night, PT9 lay awake in bed, as Jenny prepared for bedtime.
“I love you, Jenny. You are a wonderful woman. We are so lucky to have you.”
“I love you too, PT. Are you all right? You’re scaring me.”
“Jenny, please don’t worry. I am at peace. I want to remember your smile.”
Jenny’s eyes were brimming with tears. She made a valiant attempt to restrain herself, and keep her smile on her face.
“Oh PT, my dear husband. You are a wonderful father and an awesome guy.”
She cuddled her elderly husband in a hug, and they soon both drifted off to sleep.
The next morning, Jenny was not surprised, but nonetheless devastated, to find PT9’s lifeless form by her side. The alien patriarch of the Curious-Smith family had passed away peacefully in his sleep, surrounded by his family from his favorite planet.
 The Doe family is a canonically living family in Midnight Hollow, consisting of parents John and Jane Doe, and their children Joseph, Jennifer and James. In STSYC, Olive Specter supposedly killed them all.
In STM, Bella Goth was referred to as “Jane Doe” for most of the series, when her true name was yet to be discovered. Who knows if there may be any connection between these two women called “Jane Doe”?
Lucien Hyde has the Genius and Artistic traits in common with the STM Watcher Dr Prometheus Hyde, whose house in STM is next to Specter Yard.
Lucien Hyde is a Marilyn Manson spoof, with a “vampire-style” rocker vibe, while Prometheus Hyde (and the other Racing Men) is also fond of rock/metal music, but his hirsute appearance is more suggestive of a werewolf instead.
It is highly probable that these two Hydes are meant to be doppelgangers. In STSYC and STM, Specter lives in physical proximity to a Mr Hyde, and has every reason to be careful of him…
This scenario with the Doe family and Lucien Hyde is explored further in [OST #3: Midnight Hollow].
 Lola and Chloe Curious-Smith are from the Singles household, together with Erin Beaker and Kristen Loste. The Curious-Smith sisters’ background would be elaborated on later in an [Extra].
For the POLL on General Grunt, vote according to what happened in your game,
or what you like to happen in your own story.
Would the Smiths be jealous of the Grunts?
What is Specter’s next move?
How much does Ophelia know?
Find out in the [next chapter]…
1. The Pleas
2. Pizza and Family Gatherings
3. One In, One Out?
4. The First Battle
5. Two More Teams Join the Fray
6. The Second Battle
8. The Third Battle
10A. New Challenges
10B. New Beginnings
Olive Specter’s Timeline (STSYC Prequel)