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Not Just In Dreams (Black_Out & Nymphadora)

Nymphadora

Planetoid
Joined
Feb 9, 2014
Location
East Coast
A lot of children had imaginary friends when they were young, they grew out of it. Most imaginary friends were a way for the child to deal with shyness issue. Only, Holly was never shy as a young child.

She had been about five when the night terrors began and she would wake screaming and babbling of dark places and horrific scenes. A monster that stalked her dreams. If only it were that simple.

The night terrors kept all of her family up. Breaking peaceful sleep with screams of pure terror and tears that were panicked. The child psychologist suggested hypnosis to delve into the issue. That was when the strange new behaviour began when she was awake. The fidgeting and chattering when she was alone in a room, heard but never seen. Only when she was alone did Holly feel that presence. In waking hours it was less malevolent, seeming to promise a kind of safety and companionship. It was her older brother who figured out Holly was seeing something no one else could. He’d managed to sneak to her door and watched as the young girl had turned and murmured something in a strange tone before twisting to look in a different direction as if whatever she saw was always flitting about.

The child psychologist assured Holly’s parents that an imaginary friend was very normal but still prescribed some mild sedatives to try and solve the nightly screaming. That was the first of many prescriptions and the start of a path that would drive a wedge between the poor troubled girl and her family.

______________________________________________________________________________________

Holly02-Nymph.jpg

“Hi, my name is Holly and I’m an... an addict.” She stood at the head of the group, her voice soft, her eyes puffy; a ragged knit cardigan, obviously not her own, wrapped around her.

“Hi, Holly.” In slow chorus.

“I’m 3 years 7 months and 22 days clean.” She pauses as there is clapping and congratulations said to her.
Hairpin-Nymph.jpg

“B--but … I’m struggling… I’m alone now. I had an amazing guy that could give me a feeling a hundred times better than any of the shit I used to smoke, pop or shoot. One month and 11 days ago he was stolen from me in a car accident. I’m lost… I’m — I’m so scared. I don’t wanna be alone.” She started to break down again and a woman in the front came up to rub her back. Holly only cried harder and accepted the arms that comforted her but knew she had to stiffen up and finish her tale. “Thanks… I’m sorry. Th--thanks.” She murmured to the woman who gave her a handkerchief, a real one, not just a tissue. “Thanks a lot.” She gave a watery smile.

“You can do it, dear. You’re not alone right now,” the woman murmured and returned to her seat. She looked down at the handkerchief and saw the embroidery along the edges. A swirling shaped similarly to something she used to have in the same stony, old metal colour. It reminded her of a hairpin she’d found once an eternity ago. Holly shivered as if a hot breath had passed over her neck.

Holly opened her mouth as she lifted her head again but faltered and only made a strange squeak, her eyes went wide. She paled visibly. It had just been a second but Holly had seen the shape of a huge man just as he’d turned out of the door. The shape had sent terror slicing through her mind and body. Images of a strange dreamland filled with alien shapes and sounds. Pain and fear blending to a level so high she felt ill with just these tiny flashes.

Heads turned, to see what had caught the young woman’s eyes. Nothing was there, the door was closed but she knew it had been open for HIM. A few people exchanged glances and for the first time in years, she felt that pity. Pity as if she were not right in the head.

“I’m sorry, I can’t.” She said softly and returned to sit in the group again. She felt their pity like it was fog that was dampening her skin and clothes. Heavy, cloying, making her feel almost as paranoid as the flash of Him had done.

An hour later, Holly was making her way home again. Back to the empty apartment that would feel big and lonely without Brian as it had every day and night since he’d been killed. Her mind was deep in thought but not of Brian. That shape. The fleeting glance in the open doorway that wasn’t actually open. Memories crept back into her mind and it felt like her arms couldn’t wrap around her tight enough to feel safe. It had been hard to find sleep for the past few days. She would wake suddenly, panting as if running hard but only blackness in her memory. No dreams. She dreaded going to bed. Dreaded the feeling of being chased or worse, being caught. The tortures of nightmares from her childhood that she could never remember. It all felt like it was coming back and now she had no one. Her sneakers slapped in a puddle as she stepped off the curb to cross with the light. The sound sharp in her ears, her head down and long, dark hair hanging around her pale face.
 

Black_Out

Semi-Pro Stalker
Joined
Jul 9, 2018

It had been a rather pleasantly welcome change for Brian, he was always a nice guy, but just never seemed destined to find that certain someone. That all changed when Holly entered his life. Ever since he had met her at the grocery store things had been really moving in a direction that just found him smiling oh so often. His future seemed brilliant and alive with promise, even on that dreary rainy day it felt like the sun was shining on his face. His love for her was profound, and it occurred to him that she just might be the one that he would spend the rest of his life with. Someone to settle down, move out of that little apartment, get a nice house with a picket fence maybe even get a dog to run around in the backyard, and raise a family with. All these thoughts warmed his heart and soul. Even his coworkers had noticed when his smiling face walked into the office where the dreadfully boring task of number crunching at the accounting firm he worked at caused most to sink into despair.

Today though he had a special surprise in mind for the new love in his life.

He had left in the morning with his usual soft kiss on her perfectly full lips, lingered within the warmth of her embrace before begrudgingly setting off for work after wishing her a warm and carefree day. He usually wasn't one to keep secrets, even though he knew Holly had her own. She had demons and troubles in her past that she rarely opened up about, which he figured was natural for most people. Maybe hers were a little more severe, but that didn't bother him, even though she did have a habit of ducking around conversations about her youth, childhood, and family. Those unspoken wounds only caused him to love her more and Brian never once treated her as anything less then the brilliant spark of light that had become so central to his life.

So, he wanted to wow her when she got home, to make her feel celebrated, one little harmless secret couldn't hurt.

This day had started to fall into place a few weeks ago, once his request for a half day had been stamped with his bosses approval. Come lunch time Brian was off the proverbial clock and out running errands. First up on his list of things to do was to stop by the local farmers market. Being single for a chunk of time had drawn a passion for cooking into the young man and he intended to showcase some of that self taught skill by preparing a five star dinner for Holly to walk in on. Carefully he picked out a lovely rack of lamb that would be the center piece of this evenings candle lit feast. Fresh vegetables, herbs, and spices were all inspected and selected to accentuate the main course. Despite the slow and steady cold drizzle the young man just couldn't that vibrant smile away from his face as he collected the fare for this evenings surprise. He made a pair of what he figured would be his final stops at the market, where he selected a vibrant and colorful bundle of flowers and picked up a little treat for himself, a fresh out of the oven soft pretzel to tide over his hunger when he was driving to his last errand.


[IMG='width:50%;']http://www.mens-hairstyle.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Sexy-Haircuts-for-Men.jpg[/IMG]​
The thought that something was missing from the evenings planned arrangement gnawed away at the back of his mind. Brian never shied away from providing everything that he could for Holly so it seemed quite natural to him to put a little ribbon on it all by selecting some sort of gift. There were plenty of options as his discerning gaze wandered from stall to stall as he walked happily through the crowded market. His eyes drifted about, searching for that perfect little something that would catch his attention and more importantly light Holly's face up with that adorable warm blush that he so often enjoyed seeing shine upon her rosy cheeks. Brian came to pause as he strolled past a little beauty boutique where an assortment of trinkets and various jewelry were laid out on display.

That's when he saw it, that dark rustic metallic hair pin.

It seemed so utterly perfect, elegantly twirled and formed, yet not gaudy to the point that it wouldn't mesh with almost anything Holly might wear . He just knew she would love it and he could already envision it fastened along the back of her silky soft autumn colored hair. For twenty meager dollars it seemed like a good bargain considering he figured he would pay ten times that at some ritzy jewelry store. The money changed hands and Brad dropped the simple yet seemingly perfect little gift in with the rest of his take from the market and headed out, pleasantly whistling to himself as the soft chilling drizzle of rain dampened everything except his spirit.

He had one last stop to make on his way home. There was a local bakery that Holly always raved about where they made the most divine cheesecake. Drizzled with fresh blueberry sauce it would be the perfect little guilty pleasure to cap off this evenings meal. It was a trip that wouldn't take him to far out of his way, and the scenic beauty to be viewed on the ride to that final destination made the drive something he leisurely enjoyed. Crisp rain, the smell of the wooded lane he passed through, and the occasional deer sighting along the sides of the roads wooded embankment caught his wandering thoughts as he softly hummed along with the radio. He almost forgot about his soft pretzel, warm and savory, still waiting for him to indulge in. Brian reached for it in the bag of produce and assorted items collected from the market just as his front right tire passed over a deep pot hole that scarred the road.

Brian never saw the tree he swerved into until it was far to late. The front windshield of his car snapped his neck in a grotesque and awkward manner when his air bag failed to deploy. By the time the paramedics and police arrived on the scene Brian Childress was gone from this world. The pot hole that he had struck was given the burden of the guilt for causing the horrific accident to occur,. Though some were curious as to what part the sharp metal hair pin that was found skewered through the palm of his right hand had played in the accident, or if it was something that occurred over the course of the collision.

___________________________________________________________________
The disruption of the puddles oil hazed dark surface seemed to echo around Holly like a deafening din as her foot sank into the seemingly abyssal depths of that polluted shallow pool. The prolonged blaring horn of a car streaking down the road and coming to swerve just enough to avoid her jolted away and silenced the sound of the puddles splashing from her ears.
The blur of her own distorted reflection was cast hazily back upon her as the vague shadowy shape of the driver pressed his middle finger up against the tinted window towards her. In that moment, she could of sworn that the background beyond her image in the window seemed eerily blank and empty. As if her reflection existed in an empty hauntingly ethereal realm. Except for the shadow of the driver that seemed to almost consume her own briefly viewed warped reflection and rise up around her as if she was in its clutches.

The deep red car and that briefly glimpsed specter of the drivers shape sped off down the road, leaving Holly with only the width of the roadway standing between her and the lonesome looming front door of her apartment that lurked in waiting across the street. The door opened with a groan from its hinges and the chill in the foyer welcomed her home with its frigid embrace. The air conditioner must of been running on full blast while she was away, leaving the place cold enough to see her own breath as it puffed out of her lungs. There must of been a brief disruption to the power, that would explain why all the clocks she saw were flashing noon when it was well past that hour. It might even explain away the despicable cold that had saturated what was a mostly quiet atmosphere within her apartment, beyond the distant dim rumbling of the ac unit that could be heard still running.

There were flowers and cards laid out, pushed away to the back end of a small breakfast table that sat next to a window where the curtains held the light from outside at bay. The frosty air had all but wilted the vibrant glow of life out of the assortment of sympathetic offerings, leaving them dull and despondent to look at now. There was a bleak brown box resting on the seat of a wooden chair that was pushed under the table, making it almost invisible to the casual observer. It was still taped securely closed, the contents of Brian's personal belongings that were recovered from the accident and had been collected and then returned to Holly several days prior by a pair of officers that seemed to dread the task so much that they simply left it at the doorstep of her apartment when they discovered she wasn't home.

The courtesy of a phone call was all that was extended to make sure she had received the box and its contents. The dispatcher assigned to contact her was very apologetic and sympathetic at least on the voice mail she left. If Holly had any questions or complaints she was welcome to call the number that she included in the message.
 
OP
Nymphadora

Nymphadora

Planetoid
Joined
Feb 9, 2014
Location
East Coast
Just get home. Just get home. Just get home.

The horn and car were gone but her ears still rang much like the vision that was like an imprint from a camera flash on her eyes. Like the doorway at the meeting, she had seen something. Or she was crazy. Well, she was, wasn't she... That had been established long ago in Holly's past. A weirdness that had always hung over her like its own spectre. Unable to focus properly as she advanced in school, she was eventually sent to the 'special' class because of her slipping grades. Exhaustion, hallucinations and the ever-present looming doom that seemed to seep into her from the shadows that always seemed darker when she tried to forget them. Like that thing that chased her in her dreams was making the corners into endless pits that led only to Hell or wherever he was from. Voices when she came close to dozing off that made her jolt awake and startle those around her. That didn't even cover the things that moved when she was alone. That imaginary friend had been shrugged off when she'd been a child but as she got older the 'games' that caused destruction were no longer laughable to people around her. Especially when other people sustained damage to their property or even themselves.

Why was she thinking about all of that? It was the half discarded gifts of sympathy. Brian was dead and all of the light was taken from her life. The gifts were a reminder of what she'd tasted and lost. That was the reason her mind was spiralling down those dark hallways of her miserable past. The minutes passed as she stood staring at the strangely greying gifts while her breath puffed out in a faint cloud in front of her. Why should there be light and colour in her life anymore? Why should there be any heat? Her love was gone and she was losing her mind once more.

Holly hadn't taken her heavy sweater off, it was Brian's sweater. It was too big but the cold air was too much. No, it was fitting. She turned her damp self away from the table intent of fixing the A/C problem only to look back as if she'd seen something move before her back was to it. The chair, it looked shifted. A new cold seeped into her bones and she closed her eyes tight, frozen to the spot and hating the feeling that she was not alone. With determination, Holly turned her back on that little box that wanted to be opened and headed through the house to fix the cold problem.

Not two minutes later she was back, staring at that little box. The chair was pulled out and turned. Had she done that? It was hard to remember for certain if she'd pulled the chair out before she'd left the room or not. Closing her puffy eyes, Holly moved past the chair and to the kettle. Tea would help. Chamomile to calm the nerves. The water poured normally. The kettle filled from the hollow, empty tin sound to a bubbling weight in her hand and she set it on the burner. It was as Holly reached for the box of matches that she saw the flash of black movement from the corner of her eye and gasped, turning fast and dropping the box so that matches clattered down over the stovetop and onto the floor.

"Fuck." She muttered to the empty kitchen and went about the business of gathering the red tipped wooden sticks up so that she could get her tea going. She was a jittery mess.
 

Black_Out

Semi-Pro Stalker
Joined
Jul 9, 2018
The chill still permeated through out the modest apartment that Holly called home. It would be sometime before the heat even got going. Down in the dank and cramped cellar was an old clunker of a furnace that was high on the list of things Brian wanted to replace. With the air turned off and the heat cranked up the dwelling rumbled and groaned as if the antiquated furnace were a set of lungs that strained for breath. At least Holly had Brian's overly large thick knitted sweater covering her as she knelt down on the cold tile lily white floor and worked to pick up the scattered sticks of matches that had strayed from her grasp.

Her apartment had certainly seen better days and was a bleak shadow of the former warmth and comfort when Brian was around. Gone was the orderly way he had everything arranged, now it was in a state of seemingly chaotic disarray that was fueled by Hollys grief. It would of driven Brian up the wall to see how disorganized and dysfunctional their little flat had become. He wasn't so much a nit picker, or white glove test type of person, but he always prided himself on a certain amount of tidiness and probably would of just cleaned up without much of a fuss.

His house keeping habits were a fact that he attributed to his mothers persistent efforts. Her visits were always mixed affairs. All smiles and warmth on the outside, but her eyes were keen and there were brief moments of disappointment that flashed across her face when her subtle inspections wandered across something that was below her standards.

Did she look at Holy that way? With that sneer of discontent camouflaged beneath the light curl of her pleasant smile. The way her hazel eyes considered her when they first met. The gifts of clothes she would bring over on the holidays or for her birthday always seemed like a indirect assault on Holly's sense of fashion. Most of it was just things Holly could never imagine herself wearing, let alone picking out from a store.

If there were low points in their otherwise brilliant relationship, they seemed to have always been influenced by something Brian's mother had said or done. This past Thanksgiving dinner had ranked as the worst of those pitfalls. Her knight in shining armor though had always stood his ground like a true gentleman. Never quite telling his mother off, but always defending with every breath his love and devotion for Holly.

Still, in some strange way the deep shrill yet weak groan of the furnace reminded Holly of the chiding tone that Eleanore's voice had taken that day.

"Are you sure about her Brian?" The raspy voice of his mother was meant to be a whisper while she chatted with her son at the dinner table. Such private conversations though were apparantely a common courtesy that Eleanore had never quite gotten a handle on and Holly easily had overheard it all while she slaved away in the kitchen. "I mean, where is her family? What does that say about a girl whose parents won't even call her on the holidays?" She was sure that Brian had stood up for her, but whatever he said, the rambling of the furnace seemed to only draw out recollections of what his mother had stated then.

When she passed on, Holly felt horrible for Brian and he needed a few solid weeks to get himself back together again. Could she really blame herself for feeling some sense of relief in the back of her mind, knowing she would never have to hear that voice of dissent again. But here it was again, sparked to memory by the furnace that probably was bound to join Eleanore soon.

"You could do so much better."

Finally with a shaky breath Holly was able to stand back up after plucking up the last of the matches and returning them to the box while she focused on taking deep breaths to collect herself. The match was struck, a small flicker of flame born upon its red tip and soon the old tin kettle was wheezing along towards a boiling state. Even the furnace had seemed to fall into order, silencing its complaints for the time being as Holly settled her twitching hand on the edge of the stove. Her eyes slipped to the floor as she let out a deflated sigh. There on the floor, off to the side of the stove along the bottom row of drawers was one last match. Holly bent down to pluck it up from the floor.

Brians loose fitting, woven sweater grazed over the drawers as Holly was swooping down to gather that lone red tipped stick. Some stray strands of Brian's sweater caught on a handle, unintentionally pulling the solid wooden door out just as Holly's head was coming down. The impact on the side of her skull was a flash of agonizing pain and as the young woman crumpled to the floor, she could feel her hand instinctively reaching up to cradle the side of her head. Even in her dazed state, it was clear to Holly she was bleeding as the first drops of blood swept over her hand and splattered down onto the white tile floor.
 
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OP
Nymphadora

Nymphadora

Planetoid
Joined
Feb 9, 2014
Location
East Coast
The wave of dizziness as she saw the drops of blood on that pristine white tile was shocking. Holly wasn't particularly squeamish about blood normally. Part of her was worried as one drop landed on the grout, a strange concern that it would stain the rougher surface. Why was that even a concern? Oh, right, the memory of Elanore's critical eyes. That woman would have considered the flooring ruined by such a stain. Slumping against the cupboard, Holly drooped as her vision swam and the sharp throb sent her to a different world entirely as the kitchen faded from view.

Everything was enormous, grimy and the smell was like a burnt match but stronger, making her nose tingle. Like she was a child in a grownup's world. Of course, she had been much younger when she'd last visited the hellish landscape. Red glowing and yet pulsing black shadows were everywhere as she looked around herself, dread permeating into her very bones. Holly knew exactly where she was yet was lost at the same time. She was in His domain. It had been so long since she'd been there but it felt very familiar even within the lost feeling. That was part of the magic of the place, conundrums were built into it as were the tortures to her mind and body. She could feel his presence without seeing him. It was where he dwelled and ruled. It was where he tormented her very soul and he would come for her is she stayed too long. He would feel her there and come for her again like he had when she'd been younger, before Brian. Before salvation. Memories flooded her of pain and terror. Sharp sensations that dug into her brain as much as scarred her body. Penetration and compression. All of the memories vague but so real at the same time. Here he could do anything to her.

There was a strange sound. It wasn't one of the usual sounds of this place. It gurgled and was soon a hiss. Cold pain instead of hot torment thundered in her head as the hissing became a sharp whistle of alarm. Her mind's eye saw a crazy cartoon steam whistle pulsing with its scream and she felt like it was a signal for the beginning of a work shift in hell. "I don't want..." She groaned and opened her eyes to see the white tiles of the kitchen floor from the perspective of lying on the floor. The kettle was whistling it's alert that the water was boiling. She had been out for a few minutes. Long enough for a full kettle to come to a high boil. The throbbing in her head made her groan again as she pushed up to lean against the cupboards and gingerly touch her bloody scalp, wincing as it stung. Bloody fingers reached over and flipped off the burner and the kettle's whistle died a long, slow death to silent steaming.

Turning a bit, Holly went to rise and found the chair was now right there to lean on. The small box sat there mocking her for her clumsiness and she closed her eyes as she pulled herself to her feet and finally picked up the box as she took the welcome seat. A flicker of movement had her clutching the box as her head whipped around. The movement sent a bolt of pain through her knocked head and she groaned. The chair was in the centre of the kitchen now, no longer even partly under the table. Holly disregarded it as she looked at the damage to her (Brian's) sweater. There was a big rip where it had snagged, strands of yarn straggled free and threatened to fully unravel. It was irreparable and Holly felt like crying. A weird sound erupted, like a sputtering hiss and the kettle steamed to life with its scream again. The flame rippled under the dented bottom and Holly leaned a shaky hand to turn the burner off, this time removing the kettle to a hot plate between the burners. Paranoia flickered like its own flame in the back of her mind as she picked at a corner of the tape on that small box, a nervous habit. Her right leg began to thump, the knee bouncing as she strained to listen. She didn't feel alone. No, that was the paranoia.

"No," she breathed into the empty kitchen and felt her head thump where she'd struck it. The box was set aside as she rose to make her way to the bathroom to finally see to her wound. The light was brilliant in her eyes and as she blinked her eyes caught a movement. The shower curtain had been flapping a bit, she was certain. An old habit surfaced as she stepped closer to the sink and the mirrored cabinet, Holly closed her eyes before she looked at the mirror and blindly reached to open it to dig out the gauze and antiseptic for her head. Her mind telling her He would not be in the mirror like a chant in her ears that was only in her head that she didn't truly believe. Her back turned from the cabinet as it swung closed. Her hand reaching to flick the light off as she headed back to the kitchen.

The box sat on the table where she'd left it. The chair in its normal place pushed in at the side of the table. Holly frowned, uncertain and shook her head, wincing once more for the pain. The box was partially untaped now and her blood was smeared across the top, partially obscuring her name and the address. She considered that she might need to call someone then thought better of it.

Alone was better.

But you're not alone anymore...

Holly shivered and set about cleaning the wound while that damnable box stared at her from the table.
 

Black_Out

Semi-Pro Stalker
Joined
Jul 9, 2018
Waves of warm moist air were pushed out through the deftly hidden vent panel beneath the cabinets while Holly leaned woozily against the sleek granite top as she began to dab the gauze at the still bleeding wound. Every little press of the gauze that gathered up her blood from around that throbbing trauma sent a jolt of intense pain cascading through her body. It might have been a damnably hard task, but at least she had the sleek mirrored surface of the microwave door to lend some assistance. Although her eyes never lingered for long as the very concept of looking into its warped surface conjured up unwanted thoughts.

The rolling tides of an angry storms approach and the accompanying drums of thunder drew Holly's fixated attentions towards her kitchen window. Already cold rain was pattering down across the panel of glass and the night time sky outside her abode bloomed with veins of yellow lightning that ripped out of the dense and dark clouds that were moving swiftly across the darkened heavens. The wind whistled along with the pounding echoing percussion offered by the thunder. A form of movement outside caught her by surprise, for a moment. Beyond her rain streaked window she glimpsed the silhouette of an elderly woman peering out across the way from behind her own rained streaked portal of glass towards the stormy skies above.

It took a moment, but the name Betty that belonged to her retired neighbor sprang to her mind. Brian had always said that he liked knowing the old woman was around even if she would talk your ear off if given the opportunity. A set of eyes on their humble home wasn't a bad thing to have after all while they were out and about over the course of the day. It was far better then the pair of stoners that lived on the second floor above their place, at least that's how Brian saw it.

Betty was standing in her own pale yellow painted kitchen, her wrinkled face practically pressed up against the glass, wrapped in her rosy pink night robe with her frizzy albino hair bundled up in a clear plastic cap. Her eyes were drawn away from the flashing fireworks of the storm as another crack of lightning painted the alleyway between their apartments with a coat of lemony neon warmth. She must of seen Holly because her rain obscured fragile form waved a frail hand in a pleasant gesture of greeting towards her window. Holly swore she saw someone else in the kitchen with Betty. A dark and shadowy presence looming in the background near the unlit entryway of her outdated kitchen. Her gossipy neighbor seemed oblivious to the existence of the disturbing slender shape that hovered in the background while her dainty hand waved and her thin lips smiled towards Holly. Another stabbing blast of lightning shredded through the darkness and it felt as if her very apartment was struck by it as the accompanying boom of thunder shook the very foundation of her home to its core.

The lights in the kitchen flashed and spasmed. The electronic face of her microwave went black. The soft red glow of an led clock fell away as the power went out.

Holly's entire world descended into darkness, even the yellow room that seemed a world away where Betty was fell into a lightless abyss as the storm whipped pellets of rain like a barrage of machine guns against the windows and exterior panels of her home. As the wind screamed with the vengeful sound of natures fury the sensation that she wasn't alone was amplified by the distinct sound of bedroom door creaking as it swung open just a few rooms away from where she stood alone in her kitchen. Perhaps she had left her bedroom window open, the day had started out as a pleasant spring morning, but with her thoughts so scattered it was impossible to remember. The chilling sound of a voice issuing from the direction of her bedroom though vanquished any consideration of that possibility from Holly's mind. Once recognition set in, Holly knew it was him.

"Three blind mice, three blind mice," The childhood rhyme had been all but wiped from her memory, but now hearing that low hissing tone reciting it in a dreadful manner drew the long lost memory out of the depths of her mind where it had been buried for so long. "See how they run, see how they run," In her youth she could remember the words being playfully sung by her imaginary friend, but now there was a sinister and predatory tone to the words that bore into her ear. "They all ran after the farmers wife, who cut off their tails with a carving knife." The voice seemed to grow closer in proximity and yet bounced around, emanating from different dark corners of her bathed in black apartment. Another flash of lightning stroked across the sky, penetrating into the veil of shadows surrounding her with its vibrant albeit briefly lived glow. It bore through the window and shined like a stage light across the box that sat upon the table before the curtain was pulled and the light fell away again. "Did you ever see such a thing in your life." The chilling voice sounded from the darkness in the direction of the box.

Then it whispered in her ear, the foul taint of its breath crawling across her neck like a line of soft feathers. "As three blind mice."
 
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OP
Nymphadora

Nymphadora

Planetoid
Joined
Feb 9, 2014
Location
East Coast
Darkness had been a fear for her from early years. He was the reason dark closets, deep shadows and night remained a little more than unnerving at the best of times. With her mind whirling in the absolute knowledge that poor Betty was now being stalked through her own house by that dark spectre, Holly could only stand frozen as the rain hammered her home. What should be a safe haven was now an empty shell to echo every sound the rain distorted to just below her hearing. It was cruel, the way fate timed things like the storm and the power failure. The slow fade of the heat was like a dying creature apologizing for abandoning her to the damp chill of a Spring storm.

Holly knew it wasn't fate that made everything work to His favour. He could do these things. She was certain. As certain as she heard that bedroom door creaking slightly as if someone were about to head into the hall. He could make a lot happen to her surroundings, especially when no one was there to witness the chaos. No, they only saw the aftermath and the madness in her eyes. Not tonight, though. Tonight no one would walk in and see what happened. She was alone. Betty was a world away. Brian was gone. Her head throbbed and that mocking, sing-songy hiss was coming for her. He was coming for her.

Frozen and on the verge of breaking down, Holly stood, eyes wide to try and see in the dark. A deepening dark that crept around her the way that voice crept closer. As that last flash of lighting came Holly jumped and her eyes fell to that box. The smear of her own blood across the tape, shiny still like her hand had swiped across it after cleaning the gash on her scalp. There was no memory of doing that.

She closed her eyes, feeling the voice as a tear trickled down her cheek while she stood trembling, knowing she would be pulled into his strange sort of embrace. His breath, so familiar and cold, damp despite the heat of desire thick along the tongue she could almost see. A lock of hair shifted along her shoulder as if brushed away by a finger and Holly whimpered. The touch of a lover and tormenter in one. He would ruin her, drag her deeper than she had been before.

"NO!" She said and drew away, turning around sharply in a fit of courage to see no sign of the presence she still felt. Denial had never worked before. He was never swayed. He took what he wanted when she was younger. He was back and she knew there was no escape.

At the meetings, they called it the demon but for Holly, they could never understand the truth in that word. The demon alcohol. The demon heroine. The demon oxy. Cocaine. Pot. So many things that were to others a demon addiction but for Holly were the only means of escape a very different demonic presence. A world where he couldn't affect her. Drugged to stay awake. Drugged to make it all seem less real. Drugged to near death. There was never understanding. Never patience. No one had cared or tried to hear the truth. Doctors had tried medication, thinking her psychotic as a young child. Sedating her only made things worse. Shock therapy, strapped to a table as He laughed in her ear while her brain sizzled. It only seemed to make His influence over her stronger. Medicine couldn't help her. The hospitals couldn't help her and she was too afraid to try and take her own life beyond maybe over-dosing. Even then, more shocks brought her back.

Only Brian had been able to help her. His love and warmth broke through the darkness and pulled her into light that was soft and mellow and angelic. He would be an angel now, up in Heaven. That was the place for him and Holly believed it. Believed in Heaven because she had seen Hell. Knew there was a God because there had to be some counter to this demon that stalked her. If she took her own life she would be His forever. If she let an accident kill her, he would drag her down for the technicality that she'd stepped in front of the car. Brian had been the only one who had chased Him away. Never questioning her strangeness only banishing it as if by magic. Defending her, protecting her, saving her. But he was gone and she only had that voice and the whisper of a touch.

Backing away from where she'd felt that breath on her neck, Holly felt the still and silent fridge at her back, her head banging back and pressing something solid into the back of her skull. She whipped around again as if something were between her and the fridge and finally noticed the weight in her dark hair. With a scream of fear she reached up and tried to drag the rough metal from her hair, yanking despite the pain like some creature was trying to eat into her skull before she understood what it was. Sobbing, the pin was pulled and shaking fingers brought the two pieces around and in front of her eyes as her hair fell loose again around her face. She knew it. It was old, older than time, and had already been hers long ago. "H--how?" She croaked and between her fingers, she saw the box on the table, the fresh smear of blood. Freshly taped. It had been in with Brian's things? It had been with Brian when he died?

"Not fair... No! Not fair... HOW COULD YOU?!" She suddenly screamed into the not really empty flat as a fresh round of lightning and thunder tortured the sky and shook the house. It had been no accident that Brian had been killed, Holly knew that now. She sobbed throwing the swirl of metal away but holding the sharp pin in her hand like a weapon. "How could you?" She cried as she inched backwards as if waiting for an attack from the invisible but very palpable presence there with her.
 

Black_Out

Semi-Pro Stalker
Joined
Jul 9, 2018
Silence, pure undisturbed silence was all that welcomed Holly as she frantically waved the needle like pin about blindly before herself like it mattered. Even the storm seemed to have died in this unfathomably prolonged moment, as if the world itself had stopped turning on its axis. There was no wind, no crack of lightning, nor churning background sounds of the houses internal organs at work. It wasn't truly silent though, no, she could still hear the thumping, beating of her heart from deep in her chest and the sound of her own panicked breaths gushing out of her lips.

The deadly quiet was shattered as the television in the living room burst to life and the world wound back into focus around Holly, drowning the sounds of her own being in the renewed sensations of the storm wreaking havoc outside. The monitor flickered and danced with static motes of grey, black, and white that chaotically filled the screen as if it was caught in the core of a dense blizzard. The rest of the room remained devoid of power, every appliance, from the alarm clock to refrigerator behind her back was robbed of its utility. But the television shown bright, flung the washing glow of its light out over the floor of her clustered living room. The way the waves of light rippled and swayed about lent an aura of submersion to the room as it's screen drew Holly's attention like a hypnotist waving a pendant slowly before her befuddled and terrified face.

The storm still raged outside, whipped rain against the house and shattered the darkness with flashes of lightning that poured in through the windows. The storm upon the screen though broke away, as if wiped away by a surge of wind that blew across the face of the monitor. Horror gripped at her heart as imagery began to unfold from the scattering fuzziness, revealing a tree lined curving length of road. She could see it, Brian's car, watching as from behind as it was driving down the right hand side of the road. Rain fell and pelted the pavement, coating it in a gleaming thin sheet of water. Oil sparkled like small bundles of rainbows on the surface as the descending pellets fell and exploded in small bursts as they impacted with the ground. Then the view swung forward, charged towards the back window of his sedan, passed right through it and hovered over his shoulder.

Brian seemed happy, content as he steadily steered the car through the pouring rain while the wind shield wipers swung back and forth at a dizzying pace. His right hand slipped away from the worn dark leather steering wheel for a moment and played with the radio, turning it over to one of the local classic rock stations. A rather familiar song burst through the speakers as Brian began to hum pleasantly, occasionally singing along despite fumbling with the lyrics as he navigated his way down the winding rainy road. As the song broke into a momentary interlude before the massive guitar solo was set to begin, Brian turned his head over his shoulder. He stared directly back towards the screen, practically looking through it, his eyes locked onto Holly's own and the anger in them was clear as day.

"This was all your fault."

The words cut through the sound of the storm, drowned out every noise that existed around her as Brian turned back to face the road. His hand absently drew over towards a brown shopping bag from the local market. It reached inside as he hummed along with the song that only grew in volume as it blared out of the television. Suddenly the car jerked as it passed over a pothole, Brian let out a ghastly scream that curled through the air as he pulled his hand out of the bag. There, stuck through the middle of his palm was the same long sharp needle that Holly clutched in her hand. As the car swerved away from the roadway and barreled towards a dense patch of trees the windows in her home were flung wide open.

Rain flew in through the openings, the curtains fluttered wildly in the breeze as she watched in absolute terror as the car crumpled upon impact with the copse of trees that greeted it. Metal screamed and wood snapped as the hood of the car bent in over itself like an accordion as it wrapped about the wall of trees. In a flash the screen went dark, sparing her anymore of its torment as the smell of the storm flooded into her house and washed across her with a fury. Lost in the darkness, stunned by the imagery, it was in that moment that she felt that ominous presence take hold.

Something unseen, ashen tasting and full of smokey decay pressed her parted lips wide open as if fingers plunged into the very depths of her mouth. Her entire body shook, trembled, held in place by some force that completely overwhelmed her own motor functions and forced her head to strain backwards. Locked in place, standing within the darkness as the storm coated the floor with rain that poured through the open windows, Holly could taste the dread on her tongue. She could feel the long swirling unseen entity engulfing her mouth as it was kept pried open by some devilishly powerful force. Her reflex's demanded she swallowed, lest she gag and sputter. The weight of it all fell like an avalanche across her chest, expelling the air from her lungs, making her wheeze for every drop of breath she took.

As she crumpled to the floor, and laid there twitching and convulsing in a hideous display of forced contortion that she had no will to control the power came roaring back into her abode. The lights turned on, the refrigerator hummed back to life, the warm air gushed out of the vent at the base of the kitchen floor and swept over the muscles of her face that even were torn into exquisitely painful poses. As the windows slammed shut and the storm outside seemed to pass away Holly could feel another storm, far worse then anything nature could bring to bear building in her own body.
 
Last edited:
OP
Nymphadora

Nymphadora

Planetoid
Joined
Feb 9, 2014
Location
East Coast
The sudden strange silence almost hurt her ears as she strained to catch that voice again. Anything that confirmed she was not crazy. Holly stood still with her arm out a bit, ready to strike with that sharp piece of ancient metal. Her eyes so wide in the darkness they hurt her head. Maybe that was the throbbing lump. It didn't matter what it was, she felt the pain and knew she was alive and not tripping. If she'd managed to get herself something to numb her world her head wouldn't be hurting at all.

The sudden eruption of light and sound from the tv made Holly spin with a yelp. Static? No, snow... That's what those flickering pixels were called. Modern TVs usually went to a blue screen when there was no signal. Most TVs, modern or old did not actually come on when the power was out either, she reminded herself as she squinted into the brilliance. She was fixated. Even though she dreaded just what had done it and what it meant, Holly took a couple of steps closer like a magnet was pulling her along. She couldn't stop herself. Her curiosity burned as heightened as her dread. The show slowly coming clear on the screen was just for her.

Her heart leapt as she recognized the car and a second later it plummeted to her stomach as she knew with a terrifying certainty what she would see. Her chest heaved as tears burned her eyes. The familiar outline of Brian's head and side profile made her longing for him even more intense. The song that came on made Holly cringe even as Brian's rough voice tried to sing along, badly, as he always sang. She felt the swirl of mixed emotions. Love, terror, amusement, dread tumble like clothes in a dryer in her mind as his handsome face turned to look directly back at her.

Ice cold anger in his normally smiling eyes and a hard edge to his voice. Holly knew this was a manifestation but she broke down just the same with a slight shake of her head. "Brian...." She breathed as he hummed placidly again, the damnable song so loud now as his arm stretched to the bag, the music chaotic like the storm before disaster struck and she was forced to witness the truth. The long, sharp pin had pierced Brian's hand and a moment later he was dead against the steering wheel, the car smoking, that scream the last she'd heard before the windows slammed open behind her and the storm took over in the return of pure darkness.

The madness was clear in her voice as she screamed in terror, dropping the hairpin to the floor by her feet. Madness is what Holly felt as the attack came. Her body went rigid, out of her control. Her hair whipped around her face as she made a strangled, terrified sound. Invasion, dark and dirty. The scent was there as much as the taste soon coated her tongue. It was like the taste of old cigarette butts and stagnant mud. It stung like a sharp spice. Her lips felt as if they might split, her arms quivered, her body leaning back unnaturally at an angle to follow the hard angle of her head. Her eyes rolled up in her head as her entire body began to quake as she fought to swallow, breathe and expel at the same time. But nothing would stop it. Her moment of weakness made it so. Vulnerable. Terrified. Alone and still dizzy from her head wound, Holly was ripe for the taking. She knew it as she felt the triumph that was totally at odds ]with her own emotions. He was with her unlike he had been before. More a part of her than her own mind.

Holly opened her eyes to bright light. She was lying on the floor and the lamp was laying beside her, the bulb burning brilliant from under the tilted and crumpled shade. She groaned and closed her eyes again. Her head throbbed with sickening thumps in time with her heart. The sounds around her were normal. Peaceful. The heat ticking away gently. The fridge humming in the kitchen. She could hear water dripping and felt the dampness of her clothes and hair. And inside of her, there was a swirl of sensation like excitement and fire. Holly rolled carefully away from the light and opened her eyes again. The hairpin was there in front of her face. As she blinked she saw the vision of Brian's hand bleeding and pierced by that very piece of sharp metal on the inside of her eyelids. "No... It can't be,"

Oh, it be...

That voice, the greasy, creaking voice that had sung the nursery rhyme was there around her, inside of her. The swoop of triumph was again totally at odds with the dread and terror. She felt mad. Madder than ever and sat with her bleeding head in her hands, her body trembling, now wedged into the corner of the living room. What had been her imagination and what had been real. There was chaos in front of the windows. They had blown open in the storm. Water and leaves were splattered across the floor. The sky was perfectly clear outside of the closed windows. It made no sense. Holly gripped her hair as a low chuckle sounded inside of her and she turned her head

"This was all your fault."

She curled into a ball her arms hugging her bent knees and tried to will herself to calm down but felt a burst of low laughter inside of her head. It was not in her own voice. Holly gripped her skull briefly but felt the wetness and pulling her left hand away saw the blood. The cut had opened again. It gave her something to focus on as she climbed to her feet, dizzier than before. Her toes caught the hairpin and it spun off with a clatter, making her yelp in surprise. She looked around from this new perspective. How long had she been down this time? The storm was gone, she could even see the silver slice of a sickle moon through the window.

Madness... she needed help. Only Holly knew very well what 'help' meant. Shock treatment and heavy medications. Stupid questions she couldn't answer or she'd sound crazy. They would lock her away.

Throw away the key...
just me for companeeee...


Holly walked into the kitchen and beyond to the bathroom again. Afraid of what she would see, as always, she avoided the mirror and began to try and clean her wound. She had passed out twice. Her head was bleeding. This was something that should be checked at a hospital. She knew that but didn't think she should be around people, especially medical people. She couldn't trust herself to behave normally. She had never missed Brian as much as she did at that moment. Brian had shielded her from all of this. From herself... from Him.
 

Black_Out

Semi-Pro Stalker
Joined
Jul 9, 2018
Everything seemed to fall back into place around Holly as she settled over the sink and quietly tended to her wound. The chrome faucet spurted to life when she turned it on like it always had, some issue with the plumbing, Brian had figured. Barely a trace of the storm remained, it's passing only echoed by the occasional breeze that rattled the siding briefly as it swirled past the side of Holly's apartment. Even the strange chill seemed to be quickly vanishing, replaced with a pleasant sense of warmth brushing over her feet from the floor vent. The television was off, the refrigerator could be heard quietly humming from the kitchen. It seemed so, normal, that Holly could almost picture Brian asking her what she wanted to do for dinner from the kitchen.

The only thing that physically reminded her that things weren't right, that this normalcy was just a malicious tease was the droplets of thick red blood that fell from her head, plinked against the porcelain surface of the sinks reservoir, before being sucked up by the running water, diluted, and whisked down the drain. Soon though, even those crimson reminders vanished as Holly finished tending to the gouged flesh on her scalp. Leaving only the sharp throbbing ache that resonated from the fresh wound across her skull that stung from the antiseptic gel she had liberally applied across it.

The mirror watched her the entire time, but Holly didn't once dare look at it as she tried to bite back the fear that was swelling in her, the panic that was coursing through her veins, as she quickly cleaned up. A quick pass of a damp towel took care of the more prominent drops of her blood that littered the countertop, and then with just a moment of pause, she folded the blood stained towel up and left it hanging over the edge of the sink. An exasperated breath fled her lips as she slipped out of the bathroom, flicked off the light, and shut the door behind her.

The house was still and quiet as Holly emerged back into the short breath of a hallway that connected the handful of rooms in her modest apartment dwelling. Her bedroom was to the left, the door slightly ajar and she couldn't remember if she had closed it or not. None of the lights were on, only shadows existed beyond the narrow crack that allowed her to peer into that room. She could see a portion of her bed, the sheets still in disarray, something that would of driven Brian's mother nuts to have witnessed.

To her right she could see the kitchen, the white tiled floor glowing in the soft lights that shone down upon it from the ceiling. The copper tea pot was still settled on the edge of the stove, but damn if Holly didn't feel a craving for something stronger then tea to calm her nerves. She knew Brian had kept a few bottles of hard liquor tucked away in cabinet out in the corner of the living room, and she could almost taste the gin on her tongue. It was tempting, beyond any level of temptation she had faced during her turn over into a life of sobriety. Sure she had sipped on a glass of wine from time to time over dinner with Brian, but she hadn't let loose, never once over indulged after she had met him. But Brian wasn't here now, the strength of his presence, his calming influence, comforting touch, and loving words were all but a memory now, a memory that grew fuzzier and faded away with every day that passed by. That booze, tucked away in the cabinet though was present, and it promised to ease that ache that shot shards of pain through her body, offered to let her mind slip into a foggy state, and assured her that this would all go away.

She just needed to get to the bottles, but that damnable hair pin, the very one she had dropped on the floor loomed like some sort of foul watch dog that would bite her if she dared try to sneak past it.
 
OP
Nymphadora

Nymphadora

Planetoid
Joined
Feb 9, 2014
Location
East Coast
So many battles waged violently in her mind as Holly stood in the standoff against the hairpin. The fear of what she was no longer sure she'd felt or saw. The need for that thirst quenching and mind fogging drink. Her head throbbed from the swirl as much as it did from the lump swelling under her scalp.

Crazy - addict - drunk - whore

Holly winced at the thoughts as they flashed through her mind. Brian had proven to her that she was strong enough to resist all of those temptations that had finally silenced the life-long haunting of her mind. Brian was gone and so was her shield against the madness. The hairpin mocked her, pointing its sharp end at her. The desire to drink and forget was vital and ultimately Holly made her way to the hairpin, her fingers plucking it from the floor to lay within its buckle on the table. "Ok, that's done... I can do this," she murmured to herself on an exhale she'd been holding and turned back to the kettle.

Tea was the wiser choice. The drink would muddle her mind and she needed to think. Why? She needed to feel peace and quiet. I light movie with humour and a simple plot. With the burner lit again, Holly left the kettle to heat while she moved over to choose a DVD. At random, she pulled out a silly romantic comedy and started it up while waiting for the whistle of the kettle. Some Advil would help too but Holly found herself looking over at the cabinet. The light movie began, bubbly music and bright graphics as Michael Bublé sang the opening theme. She couldn't bring herself to hum along with the catchy tune as she found herself bent over the cabinet full of assorted liquors that would soothe her head more than tea.

The kettle had not screamed at her. Not to stop her or warn her. It was long removed from the heat and cooled. Holly was on the third viewing of the same 60's romp through New York city by Renée Zellweger. Tucked in the back of the freezer, carefully hidden, the pack of cigarettes now sat thawed and nearly finished beside the knocked over bottle of gin. The rum was still going so it stood up straight. Holly was oblivious to the screen. She was so drunk she was likely close to vomiting. It felt wonderful too. No thoughts bothered her. No pain in her head. No deep forboding spirit threatened her from the mirror when she'd last wove her way to the bathroom. The sun was long up, the night passed and she was now sipping only to keep herself awake. It was a losing battle. A haze of smoke lay in the motes shining through the window. The last can of Coke was covered in ashes and its mouth bulging with damp butts.

Her arm slipped and the glass fell from her hands to the carpet, spilling the last of its rum and coke. Holly drifted in a daze of waves and spins as she took slow deep breaths. The deep breaths of an experienced addict fighting off the highest peak that could be one toke, drink, snort or whatever too far. Her eyes were open but she was no longer seeing the movie and finally, her limp form drooped further as she passed out entirely on the sofa.
 

Black_Out

Semi-Pro Stalker
Joined
Jul 9, 2018
The night wore on as steadily as it always does. Yet in her drunken stupor Holly was oblivious to the repetitive ticking hands of the clock. The luminesce glow of the television monitor faintly bathed her with light while the movie sat in a perpetually frozen state at the end of the credits, waiting for a command to exit from that film that Holly was incapable of giving. Blissful drunkenness had plunged her into a deeply comatose state, slumbering soundly as she lay sprawled out awkwardly across the sofa.

Fitful moments tore at her mind when she was given to briefly stir awake before being snatched back into her slumber. Those moments were befuddled by the level of her intoxication, making it difficult to separate reality from dreamy hallucinations that lingered in her mind when she woke. How often had she woken up, it was hard to even be certain when the only thing she could focus on was the feeling of the room swaying as if it was a boat being rocked by the ocean. At some point though she had managed to shut off the television as it certainly wasn't that soft glow that greeted her eyes when dawn was growing close to breaking in a new day.

Her head buzzed as if some electronic alarm had been implanted into her brain along with a set of drums that banged and banged and banged until she awoke. She was well beyond dazed as she pulled herself upright and let her back settle against the headboard of her bed. Another long screech of her doorbell resonated through her darkened dwelling and invoked yet another ache that split through her skull like an axe. By the time she had dragged her groggy carcass far enough out of bed for her bared feet to touch the wooden floorboards another round of banging thuds tortured her throbbing head. A glance at her alarm clock announced the hour, five fifteen am.

Stumbling out of her bedroom and into the hall, still drunk from a mixture of hard spirits Holly's eyes saw the strobing red and white lights reflected through her windows that faced the alleyway. The doorbell continued to wail like a banshee as she maneuvered down the hallway towards the front end of her modest apartment. The sound of her faucet on a low yet steady trickle caught her attention belatedly after she had passed the door and though she thought to stop to turn it off, the pounding of a fist at her front door beckoned her forward.

She was slowly beginning to regain some of her wits, some of her senses as she passed through the kitchen and living room that adjoined with it. Those red and white lights cycled through the alleyway that ran along the side of her home and at glance she could see that the lights were on across the way in Betty's apartment although the blinds had been drawn which was quite unlike her nosy neighbor to do. The incessant buzzing of her doorbell though wouldn't allow her fogged over mind to catch up with everything that was going on.

"Is anyone there! This is the police! If your home you need to come to the door now!" Even though it was muffled by the door that separated them, the demand in the voice was evident. Without even a thought to flick the front stoop light on or peer through the eyehole, Holly dragged the door open after unlatching the deadbolt. The blinding brightness of a flashlight greeted Holly's face which quickly drew away, leaving her eyes to adjust until the shapes of two men began to form. A pair of the city's finest, dressed for duty loomed over her as the flashlight peered past her into her home.

"We're sorry to wake you miss, but there was a break in next door at your neighbors house." One of them stated, though Holly wasn't sure which it was as her eyes still sought to blink away the motes of light that remained from the flashlights abrupt introduction. "Have you heard anything, seen anything at all over the course of the night?" All Holly could think to do as she held one hand fast to the wall for support was to shake her head no. "Anything at all?" As the officer pressed his partner reached over and put his hand on his shoulder. Holly immediately recognized him. He was one of the officers that had the unenviable task of giving her the news about Brian's passing, face to face.

"We're sorry." He handed her a card with his name and badge number along with a set of numbers as well as the name of his precinct printed upon its white glossy surface. "Couldn't tell it was your place in the dark. If you think of anything, you can give me a call at either of those numbers." With a suggestive push the officer began to push the door closed, which Holly was all to happy to concede. As it clicked, she lingered a moment, the muffled voices of the officers reaching her ears.

"Remember that accident, on Olde Miller Road, the one with the pin stuck through the guys hand?"

"Yeah."

"That was his girlfriend."

"She looked pretty blasted."

"Can't say I blame her, she took it really hard, anyways doubt she was awake to hear anything."

The voices were fading, but Holly moved closer to the door.

"We'll check upstairs, I just can't get the image of that poor old woman out of my head."

"Never seen anything like it. Someone has to be a sick fuck to do that to a person. I mean, her fucking eyes, what the hell."

Holly pressed her ear to the door in an effort to catch the last of their conversation before it faded away.

"Hopefully the murder weapon will turn up. Whatever it was it was something long and thin. Like a big needle"
 
OP
Nymphadora

Nymphadora

Planetoid
Joined
Feb 9, 2014
Location
East Coast
Flashes traipsed across her bleary vision and this time they had nothing to do with the flashlight beam or the cruiser lights that flickered through the windows still. That face. Deeply lined with sympathy and nerves. He had been very nice. Holly remembered him because he was the one who'd said the words while the second officer had looked on uncomfortably. It was hard seeing that kind face again. That same pity repeating as he observed her current state before pressing his card into a nearly numb hand. Holly heard them clearly as she leaned into the door understanding a bit more that something horrible had happened. Something else horrible. She drew bad things into her orbit like planets circling the sun. Some things whipped around and around repeating eternally while others took a long time to come back to the forefront.

A flash of lightning seemed to go off in her mind and Holly winced. Within the flash was a long metal nail. No, not a nail, that hairpin. She winced again, the flash happening and she thought of the pin she'd put back into that little box again during her drunken stupor. She'd only had masking tape left but the box was sealed, wrapped around so many times.

something long and thin. Like a big needle.

As she dragged her feet back down the hall, leaning heavily on the wall until she reached the kitchen door again, Holly intended to get a glass of water and go back to bed. Best to sleep it off. The police lights flashed brighter in the kitchen through thinner curtains and she winced again, lifting a hand to her head as she squinted towards the window beyond the table. The box was there, ripped open to near destruction and Holly froze.

a sick fuck.

"Betty??" She asked the stillness and flashing lights. She had a memory of Betty waving to her from across the way as the storm started. That warm light surrounding the sweet, elderly woman. The looming shape behind the old woman. Holly winced again as she saw the shape that was all too familiar. A shape she'd seen at the edge of shadows. In the darkness of her closet making it darker. Out of the corner of her eye. That looming shape that had shown himself at the meeting last night. Oh, more hours than that have passed... The night before? Holly was losing track of time. Had she actually been drunk that long? The ripped open box sat there holding her gaze like a living thing. She had to turn away.

Shuffling back to the front door, Holly opened it and shielded her eyes against the police lights. "Officer..." She called out and the same one turned back before jogging over.

"I saw her before the big storm hit... Before the power went out... Betty," Holly said, her eyes looking pained as she wrapped her arms around her body while leaning against the door frame. "She waved at me from her kitchen. Th-there was someone there... she lived alone but I saw someone... I think I saw someone," she winced and he put his hand out to her shoulder as almost teetered backwards.

"You saw someone in the kitchen with her? Can you describe any features?" His voice was urgent and his grip tightened a little on her shoulder.

Suddenly Holly knew this was a bad idea, the urgency in the cop's voice and, as his partner returned he looked at her a bit askance like he didn't believe her. "I did, really!" She found herself protesting with a firmer tone as she looked back at Carter, the second cop who raised an eyebrow at her.

"Yes, can you describe the person?" The question came with a little shake to her shoulder. The young brunette reeked of booze and looked more than dishevelled in the loose-fitting sweater. She had a bruise on her own forehead with a small healing cut within. Her hair looked as if it had been wet and let dry, not washed though like she'd been in the rain. There was a large rip in the sweater. Both officers looked at Holly more closely now and she very clearly couldn't hold their eyes.

"I just saw... like a big person behind her before the lights went out... a dark shadow of a big man," Why was she saying the words? Why was she drawing attention to her imagination? As soon as the words were out she saw the disbelief on the officers' faces. The concern on the one was stronger now like he was on the verge of more questions that could be hard for her to answer. "It was so fast... um, I don't know what I saw. D--did you find anything to show someone had been there? Big footprints or anything? Cause it was raining... he was probably all wet." Holly felt like she was going to be sick yet she kept talking. Her voice was low, gravelly and she had dark circles under her eyes.

"You don't look well, do you need help?" The nice one asked while his partner narrowed his eyes more suspiciously.

"Just need to lie down... sorry... Not feeling well, you're r--right. If I think of something more... um, I'll call, sorry..." Holly said as she pulled free from the grip on her shoulder.

"How'd that bump happen, miss?" The second officer asked before she could close the door.

"Oh..." She lifted her hand to her forehead and touched the tender bruise with another wince. "Yeah... I think I ... Oh just clumsy," she said in a jumble and dropped her eyes. "I'm gonna go back and put ice on it again. Thanks for checking ... err sorry to bug you," she stammered, becoming more unsteady as she reached for the door. A large black gloved hand reached out and took her wrist, pulling her hand into the beam of a flashlight. Holly saw right away the great smear of dried blood down her index finger and the ball of her thumb. Her nails looked like she'd been doing something grotesque with brownish dirt along the edges of her nail beds. "Headwounds bleed a lot..." She muttered and indicated her forehead again.

"You need to be checked out, did you lose consciousness?" Both officers knew that was a stupid question, one look at Holly told them she'd been passed out from drink for a while since the injury.

"Thank you... I--I'm fine... just a bump and cut. Really..." she felt interrogated and paranoid as she wrenched her arm free with a stumble. Ashamed and nervous and both cops saw it all in her face. "Please, I j--just need to go back to bed. I'm fine..." She fought the urge to both yell at them and throw up at the same time as she finally closed the door and locked it.

sick fuck.

"Shut up," she muttered to herself as the words rang in her mind again as she shuffled to the bathroom thinking a shower just might be a good idea, finally. As soon as she turned on the light Holly wished she'd never gotten up or better yet had drunk herself dead. The flash of lightning in her mind reminded her of the ripped open box. It was followed closely by the long, sharp pin in her hand covered in blood and some kind of weird goo. There was a dish towel on the floor beside the toilet that she didn't recognize. It was covered in more blood. Pink splatters littered the edge of the sink. A smear of red on the tap and the white bar of soap in the dish was a strange rusty colour. But the most telling was the hairpin, just the pin laying on the side of the sink in a drying puddle of pink-tinged water.

Holly backed away and looked back towards the front door. She ran back now and pressed her ear to the crack to see if she could hear anything the cops were saying now.
 

Black_Out

Semi-Pro Stalker
Joined
Jul 9, 2018
It was muffled and discordant by the time Holly got her ear back up to the door. The police had moved to far away by now and their voices were lost in the din of all the other activity emanating outside the front door of Holly's apartment. But the lights beyond, they flashed and strobed brilliant flares of color that bled under the door and passed in waves across her naked toes.

From behind her back the hum of the television monitor flickering back into activity caught Holly's attention. It reminded her of that earlier encounter that now felt like some distant nightmare where she was forced to watch the final moments that led up to Brian's demise. That alone would cause a startled jump of the heart, but she was soon to be far beyond being simply startled. It wasn't how the whisper thin hairs on the back of her neck stood up on end and warned her of the impending danger that lurked in the air. Or the ethereal sensation of static that seemed to tickle across her body. None of those were the root cause to the sudden feeling of panic that struck her like she was drowning in a endlessly deep pool of water.

It was the weight of him pressing down over her that fed her rising panic. As if her mind was being submerged in that abyssal reservoir of inescapable dark water. Drowned by the sheer force of his will. It was the feeling of a formless ghost of a collar slapping around her neck like a python that struck her and left a chord of despair resonating in her sinking heart. The sensation of his hand in her hair. Graveyard cold fingers that twirled through the strands of her hair and yanked her head back. How her mouth shot open only to scream a soundless cry at the impression of a force filling her parted lips that gagged her voice into a breathless whimper.

Then she moved, but not of her own accord. He moved her. Head tossed back, her mouth agape and left with a sense that felt as if she was swallowing her own tongue, Holly was twisted away from the door. She could taste him in the air, felt his hands, more hands than any man should have, grasping limbs that felt both distant and disconnected from her but far from numb to his touch. The fiendish presence moved her as if she was a poseable toy in some fascinated child's hands. Grotesque and awkward twitching movements were the method of the toys gait that Holly had become in his overwhelming hands.

The winter chill of fingers clenched around her throat while some unseen substance which was tethered to that unseen loop of collar bound to her neck tugged her forward towards the faded glow of the television that waited at the end of her short forced march.

The scene waited for her, suspended in a state of pause until Hollys head was pulled away from where it gazed at the shadowy ceiling above. Then the frozen image began to thaw, starting out at a snails pace that steadily increased before her transfixed eyes. But the volume was muted, leaving only the sound of his voice, of his breathing, of his presence to torture her ears.

There was Betty's window, the blinds pulled up revealed the warm yellow tint of her kitchen. The kind and overly polite old lady was nestled over her sink scrubbing dutifully away at the residue of food left in a sauté pan. A familiar shadow loomed in the open archway, obscuring the view into the family room and foyer beyond its ominous shape.

The cloak of shadows fell away and with its departure Holly was left to witness herself in its place. But there was insanity dancing in her wide open eyes. A grin that alone could kill was wrapped around her lips. And her hair was a frazzled mess that left her looking like an escapee from a mental institution. Then there was the gleam of the needle held high overhead in the tight grasp of her hand. The poor old lady never saw her coming as she worked to scour the pan to a perfect clean state.

She watched in horror as her form marched right out of the darkness lingering at the edge of the kitchen and stalked towards her oblivious prey. Her arm remained raised, holding the needle like a waiting dagger until it sunk without hesitation into the back of Bettys skull. As the deadly pin was yanked back out form the top of Betty's head the eyes that belonged to Holly but were not her own stared right back at her.

"Look what you made me make you do." The sinister voice assailed her ears and consumed her mind with a whispered breath that felt more like a scream that could shatter her soul. "Stab, stab, stab, again, and again, and again." As Betty crumpled to the floor of her kitchen and fell out of view on the monitor Holly could only watch in abject terror as she saw herself drop to her knees until only her upper body remained on the screen. The needle plunged downward repeatedly. Rising up over her head to the highest point her arm could reach before driving like a spike back down. Spurts of crimson flung upwards in small spats that began to grow into more gruesome explosions with every stab as fresh rich blood showered across her psychotically calm face.

That crimson smeared and stained visage twisted in thought as the bloody weapon was held at bay by the side of her head by her equally bloody hand. There was a focus in those dark eyes that was followed by a stab that fell off screen at the hidden target of her vicious attack. Her features contorted and tightened as the upper arm and shoulder that wielded the hairpin shifted before the needle rose back up into view. An ichor coated eyeball was skewered straight through the center of the lancing needle. Soon after another sharp and precise blow both gory orbs were impaled in the center of the thin weapons length. With a fading smirk the demonic looking visage that belonged to her upon the television monitor lifted the skewer of eyeballs towards her mouth, turning the long and thin needle flat and horizontal as it neared her opening mouth. But before the skewer could be passed across those waiting lips the feed blinked and stuttered before it came to an end.

"Such pretty little eyes she had, windows to the soul, do you remember what they tasted like? Like a wet slimy snail."

Those ghostly hands pressed against her body and she could feel the army of them pulling the sweater she had wrapped about herself like a shawl away from her. They tossed the garment aside, letting it fall across the back of a chair at the kitchen table. He stroked her soft skin with his frigid and icy smooth hands. The fabric of a simple thin blue shirt she had bought as gift for Brian that she ended up often wearing to bed began to rip and tear as cold claws yanked it from the warmth of her body. Soon the boxers that draped across her hips shredded away under the invisible onslaught that caused Holly's frozen body to jerk and twist about with the relentless force it held over her. With the trio of garments that belonged to her lost love stolen away from her body Holly was left to stand bared to the bone, nude in the middle of her family room.
The sly voice cooed into her ear and echoed in her submarined thoughts.

"Now that I have your attention." The power that belonged to the voice yanked and wrenched Holly's arms until they were crossed behind her back. It felt like a single serpentine vine started to spin into existence around her arms. Looping and weaving over the contours of her forearms as it netted them tightly together. "This is for your own good." The snaking spectral cord tightened, indenting into the tender flesh of Holly's arms. "You need some time to collect yourself. We can't have you acting irrational now can we?" Everything went dead quiet then and in the growing darkness Holly felt a gust of sandy wind swirling around her naked and unmoving body.

The room about her fell away as the sand rose up out of the floor and stretched beyond the crumpling walls of her home as far as the eye could see. Around her laid a loosely formed puddle of slack chain that led to the now materialized metal collar fixed around her neck. The end of the chain leash was sunken into the sandy floor at Holly's bare feet. But her feet were not the only things that were bare. Every ounce of skin was exposed to the stifling infernal heat that permeated across the twisted sandy dunes sprawled out around her.

From the puddle at her feet the rattle of the chain links moving, clanking against each other, causing little pings of metal on metal to sound. Slowly and tediously as if there was nothing but time to pass the long swirling mass of chains attached to her collar began to sink into the sand. Link by link the chains disappeared into the swallowing sands showing no sign of altering their course as the puddle began to unwind and vanish beneath her.

At its pace it might be awhile, but eventually that chain line was going to run thinner and thinner until it began to drag Holly down with it. Inch by inch, into the sands that were gulping down the chain line at her feet. "Don't worry, I'll handle things on your end while your busy here." The mocking tone rang through the endless landscape surrounding her as the chain continued to slink with a relaxed pace beneath the fine sands of the desert floor.
 
OP
Nymphadora

Nymphadora

Planetoid
Joined
Feb 9, 2014
Location
East Coast
The horror show that was her small bathroom faded as the TV burst to life on its own again, taking her attention with a chill of dread. She didn't want to turn and look. She didn't want to know what it would show her this time. Even if it was Brian's last moment again, Holly thought she would go mad if she had to see him die all over again. The very air around her told her different though. The whispers just out of earshot. The presence. His presence. Her chest heaved as she began to pant in growing panic.

The feeling of him was stronger than any previous time in her life. Except maybe with her dreams (nightmares). But she was wasn't asleep anymore. He was coming. He was there. Tears burned her eyes as she trembled in her growing panic and need to run. He would stop her. She had to run! There was this wash of sensation over her body like each little nerve ending was coming to attention and waiting for the slightest signal. A weird tingling that was like the ghost of sensation. That was his presence. She was his and as she felt the clamp of something around her throat, she knew she was lost and would never escape.

She was alone. No, she wasn't. Her head wrenched back with a painful yank to her scraggled hair and yet her mouth was unable to force a sound beyond the hiss of a squeak. Everywhere, controlling everything. Holly was helpless as she jolted under the influence coating her limbs and running over her torso. Her head jiggled loosely. Her hands out from her body flapped almost lifelessly as the halting steps born of resistance to the strength moving her joints in abnormal motions walked her into the living room against her will. She would see it. The pull on her leash and control of the tight fingers all over her would bring her to face the scene.

In place, she was forced to tilt her head down to look at the TV again. She felt cold and hot. Tingling sensations of gripping hands that cut off the circulation to her hands and lower legs. Fingers that stretched over her forehead and ensured her eyes would stay focused and open. The burn in her vision as she wanted to blink but couldn't and that foul stench she could smell as if something was leaning an inch from her face and huffing at her. She could practically hear the demonic growl as she was forced to witness what she'd done.

Tears began to roll from her held open eyes, her tongue waggled a little in a mad sort of way as the scene played out. Holly shuddered as her muscles reacted with twitches and flinches held at bay by the control being wielded relentlessly over her body. He was there with her, watching her reaction from inside and out. Nausea made her stomach turn as her own voice echoed back at her from the TV. That shadow that had hidden her was gone leaving just her petite form to perform violence she could not have believed possible. The bloody remains were flashed before her eyes even though the 'camera' angle did not show the poor old woman. It was like memory filling in the blanks. The feeling of the hairpin piercing through muscle and bone as the face, neck and chest were stabbed in that hard, violent wrenching of her arm. She felt the ache from the effort in her shoulder like a muscle memory as she choked on her reactions.

The final two stabs and those two wet blobs of eyes were coming up towards her own mouth as she opened her lips wide. She saw her own tongue sliding out to welcome the warm orbs but then it was over. Holly was able to close her eyes and she wailed in her mind, feeling the eyeballs on her tongue. Tasting the blood and ichor as he asked his question. In her mind she screamed, the sound translating to a helpless moan as she stood held in place in her living room. A helpless victim of some invisible force that was slipping that loose sweater of comfort from her body.

Holly trembled as suddenly there was a caress over her bared arms and chest. Cold burned her skin and suddenly the clothing around her was shredded by hundreds of cold needles.. claws that did not mark her in their invisible chore. She was left naked and very aware of what was with her.

Not real... not real

She sobbed shaking breaths as his voice oozed in her ears or was it her mind? Her arms were forced behind her and she whimpered, feeling the bonds wrapping over and over around the crossed forearms. Her bare chest was thrust forward and she felt that collar more than before as the strange vines began to tighten. Holly managed to shake her head ever so slightly as her world vanished around her.

Hot wind and desolate emptiness filled her vision. Her body was held in place by her own shock now. She was no longer in her own world and stared around herself as her hair whipped around her face. "No..." She breathed in denial and squeezed her eyes shut.

The tinkle of the chain opened her brown eyes again and she saw with dread that the chain was being pulled into the sand a short step away from her. That voice mocked her again and filled the near silence with its mad glee before the echo faded and she was left with heat, wind and sand. Sand that would swallow her if she did nothing.

The collar was there, the metal just snug enough to feel as she breathed and swallowed. The chain dangled down between her breasts and pooled all around her on the sands her feet had sunk into. Her arms were very bound behind her, tight to the point of pain. Holly stepped back with a yelp and the chain just continued its slow disappearing act one link at a time. She continued to back away, the chain stretching out from her body and with her. Eventually, she would reach the tension and Holly knew the feel of it pulling her back with break her. It didn't stop her as she turned and walked up a slight rise. "Come back!" She cried desperately as she worked towards the top of the low dune. The tension came eventually, without fail and Holly stopped, turning back to look at the point where it disappeared into the sand, pulled by some unseen hands that would drag her down and bury her alive.

She sat down, uncaring of the way sand stuck to her, and dug her heels in as the tension grew on her collar. "No." she said softly and leaned back a bit against the growing pull. Her feet slid a bit, the sand offering her no leverage to keep her place.

"No, stop."

The sand began to pool up and spill away under her heels and bottom as she was fought the inexorable tension. "Stop... you can't" She muttered, her voice a grunt of effort. She felt dry now. Her body being sapped of moisture as the hot wind blew around her. She strained to free her arms but the bonds felt unbreakable. More sand shifted past her as the collar dug into her neck. Holly stood up and started to lean away all it did was dig the metal harder into her neck. Closer and closer, the slow progression tramped her towards the small point at which the chain vanished until after what felt like forever, she stood over the spot. Her feet would not sink in which meant Holly stood with her feet braced against the pull as the chain slowly forced her to bend over. Her terror grew with every link that vanished.

"Please stop it. Please please," Holly begged as she was forced to her knees finally. Would it pull and pull until the collar was sucked down, snapping her head off?? Her face was soon flat to the hot sand, burning and scraping against her cheek as she knelt down on the ground. The pressure grew, frighteningly high then, with a sudden wail of terror as she sobbed for freedom, the ground opened and Holly fell into a pulsing red and black darkness.

The shock was sudden and as she tumbled there was a rushing of hot air around her but she couldn't breathe. The heat was everywhere but she couldn't see any source beyond a strange faint redness to the dark. It was like the glow of bright light behind closed eyes and it pulsed a little. Holly tried to look down as she fell and fell but only saw that red blackness. She struggled and suddenly she was back laying in the heat of a desert, the chain pooled around her, the collar locked on. Her body was sticky with sweat, the sand sticking and smudged over her pale flesh in places and it began again, that clink, clink, clink of the chain starting to shift as it disappeared slowly into the sand once more. "Nooo, no ... NOOO! FUCK YOU!" she groaned then screamed at the blank sky. Holly knew now, he had put her here in this prison. Endless terror and heat. The inevitable pull of the chain that would drag her across the sand to that space. What if it didn't pull her through next time? What if her head was cut off? What if it wasn't emptiness next time but a pit of hot sand that pressed down on her and suffocated her? What if? What if? What if? The endless loop of paranoia was a familiar one for Holly yet she couldn't help the need to drag herself away from the disappearing end to sit and watch and be pulled back again.

"STOOOOOP!" She screamed at the endless nothing that stretched before her.
 

Black_Out

Semi-Pro Stalker
Joined
Jul 9, 2018
"Every breath you take, and every move you make. Every bond you break, every step you take, I'll be watching you." The eerie voice sounded with the sandy wind that blew across the vastness of the desert void all around her. "Every single day and every word you say. Every game you play, every night you stay, I'll be watching you." A lump formed deep in Holly's throat as the call fell away into the distance with a mocking ring of laughter as it dwindled away into silence. "Oh, can't you see, you belong to me. How my poor heart aches with every step you take. Every move you make, every vow you break. Every smile you fake, every claim you stake, I'll be watching you."

That lump clogged at her air way, sealing breath from finding its way to her lungs. It boiled upwards through her throat as if Holly was giving birth to something solid from her mouth that was forced wide open. Long and sinewy black fingers that looked like they were crafted from latex emerged from her parting lips. Strands of her own saliva and fluids from the furthest reaches of her gut clung to rising form of the hand as it rose out of her mouth. Before her face the ungainly ebony hand twisted unnaturally about on the pendulum of a wrist that remained in the cavity of her mouth. It reached forward, spreading its claiming fingers wide as it covered her face in its slimy grasp.

Despite her inability to draw in a single breath, Holly would never suffocate. In this realm of his where nightmares were eternal and the suffering was both of the mind and body there would be no such release granted by death. Instead Holly would simply be left in that state of constant suffocation. Unable to draw breath, feeling on the verge of the end, but never crossing over into that threshold.

While the terror of the sinking chain rolled on in a seemingly endless loop the shell that was Holly's body was ruled over by the timeless demonic presence that was intent on driving her mad. It lingered by the front door in the darkness. Eyes wide open and full of calculated insanity. Her chilled breath fell out in a lazy pace over her moistened full lips, leaving growing fissures from the frost of her own breath upon them. Eager fingers stroked and tormented the naked flesh of the fiends host, working patiently to bring the body into a state of arousal. Her face pressed up against the tiny peep hole as the monster from her nightmares watched while the responders outside began wrap up the evenings investigation and slowly started to clear out.

One hand mauled the tender firmness of a breast while the other parted the fleshy pink folds of her sex and dipped into the wetness within. Lips that were starting to dry up and crack from the frost of her own breath curled into a malicious grin against the surface of the door. "Shoo, fly, don't bother me. Shoo, fly, don't bother me. Shoo, fly, don't bother me. For I belong to somebody." A voice that belonged to Holly but was far more guttural and deep sung softly out against the door as it watched while the last police cruiser left with the breaking light of dawn.

She turned away from the door way then and like some wall climbing lizard Holly sprang against the wall. Fingers sank into the plaster as her toes raked across the surface of the wall, leaving scratches in the wake of her passing. She clambered down the hallway, clinging to the ceiling as she continued to sing in that distorted gut born voice. "Shoo, fly, don't bother me." She turned along the ceiling of the kitchen and scampered down the hallway as her crazed eyes stared towards the door of her bedroom. "Shoo, fly, don't bother me."

It flung open with the force of a hurricanes wind as the possessed woman smothering the ceiling scurried like a spider into the waiting darkness of her bedroom where the blinds were still drawn shut. "Shoo, fly, don't bother me." Her head craned backwards as the tangled mess of her hair fell wildly down as she stared at the bed beneath her. As Holly's grasp fell away from the ceiling she floated gently downward towards the waiting bed like some gas that was just a touch heavier then the air around her. Her limbs spread out wide across the sheets of her bed as her bloodshot eyes closed. "For I belong to somebody." And as they opened, Holly was drawn out of the depths of the nightmare realm, left gasping for air on the bed as the clarity of her memories fell into a jumbled mess of confusion and disarray.
 
OP
Nymphadora

Nymphadora

Planetoid
Joined
Feb 9, 2014
Location
East Coast
Terror and pain. That hand that covered her face, clinging there as the arm filled her mouth, her jaws painfully wide. It was obscene. It was horrific. It made that eery telltale song on the wind seem like a lullaby. She couldn't breathe. She couldn't scream. And the tension of the chain began to pull her closer again to the point where it vanished into the darkness under the sand. She could only twist and choke, suffocating as she was dragged along on her belly by the collar. Her arms strained helplessly behind her back as her lung burned and her vision sparkled. That was Hell. This was Hell. Holly felt like her mind was snapping because she soon longed for the death that would not come. Suffering that would stretch on for eternity. What had she done to deserve this punishment? Her bleak and weakened thoughts begged for it to end.

Without any warning, she was on her bed. Holly gasped and coughed, gasped and coughed. Her eyes felt like they would pop out of her head from the force. Her hands flew to her face, feeling for the oily fingers and clutching at her throat. She could taste it in her mouth. That oily, slick, thick and rotten flavour came up when she coughed and was coating her tongue. She looked at her fingers after wiping her mouth but only saw a bit of blood from a crack in her lips. There was wetness though and Holly frowned as she felt the ache of her breast and stiffness of her nipples. She was throbbing gently as if her sex had been stroked and teased to near climax.

Laying on her back as she sought to unscramble the flashes of memories from her mind's eye, Holly realised she was totally naked and looked around. She had been dreaming. Sleeping and dreaming of the chain and the hand. The deep cold and the hot flash that had her sweating lightly now. Her lips stung as if raw and that taste was on her tongue. She remembered drinking enough to drown. There had been a storm. Hadn't that been days ago? Betty in her kitchen the dark shape looming. The hairpin. Betty's eyes.

Holly was up and racing to the bathroom as her stomach revolted. Her legs were weak, her knees buckling so that she stumbled to the tiles and managed to flip the lid up in time as her gut emptied itself. Alcohol. Bile. Dry heaving and finally some stringy, gooey chunks that splashed into the bowl and stained everything pink. Holly shrunk back from the bowl and covered her face with a sob. None of it made any sense. She slumped down to the tile on her side her head out into the hallway. When she lowered her hands she saw strange marks in the ceiling leading to her bedroom. Almost like claw marks but thicker. A flash of her kitchen and hallway upside down rocketed through her mind's eye and she heard the echo of a scratchy singsongy voice that was only sort of her own.

Holly curled up into a ball on the floor of the bathroom, shrinking backwards and closing the door, as if that could protect her. She could feel herself cracking inside. Her mind was going, that was it. She was losing her mind. She needed help. Inside, some tiny voice told her she needed help but who could possibly help her? Going to a doctor would get her locked up and put through treatments that would mean drugs and shock treatment like when she'd been a child. This was far worse than when she was a child though. There was so much more to be afraid of than a malevolent imaginary friend. Maybe she just needed to talk to someone. Maybe she could try a phone therapist or... There was a flash of a large church, ancient, almost like it could crumble down but the wrought iron cross at the peak of the steeple seemed like it would stand forever. The moment she saw that image she felt a jolt within her body and a flash of rage that was misplaced when compared to her thoughts and fear.

Noooot hhhimmm...

Holly woke sore as if she'd been through some kind of wild new physical workout with weights and running mixed together. It was not a hangover, not really. She was still curled up on the bathroom floor, her back against the tub. She rose carefully and checked herself mentally. There seemed to be a pause in the terrifying flashes that were so like memory but not and she carefully moved over to the sink and started the water, to splash up over her face. It felt good. Normal for the moment.

Showered and dressed, Holly emerged into the kitchen. She had managed to clean not only herself but the bathroom up. There were no more signs of pink hewed droplets and the hairpin was tucked neatly into her hair, holding a large swath away from her face. Denial was not helping her; facing everything head-on was what she needed. It was what she had done after meeting Brian and wanted to try it again. She was sober and seemed to have slept finally, almost dreamlessly and she had formed a plan. Her gut told her it was the right plan because every time she thought about it with any sort of clarity she felt that misplaced rage. Her instincts were warring with that rage and she was winning.

Daylight streamed cheerfully into the kitchen and she could hear birds. Holly felt like she could take on anything after the past few days and poured herself some cereal then grabbed the milk from the fridge. The moment the top was opened the scent told her it was turned. She took a sniff at the edge and flinched back. "Why do we do that?" she almost chuckled at the second nature need to sniff closer at something obviously bad. She looked at the date and frowned as she worked out how long ago she'd purchased the milk. It had been the day before she'd gone to the AA meeting... by her calculations that been three days ago and made it the 7th. The milk's past due date was the 10th. The scent of the milk told her it was well past a week old but she'd had some from it before the storm, before that meeting. Turning the water on in the sink she dumped it and grimaced at the clumpy nature of the milk. Horrifically curdled and the stench was fowl.

A bit of a hunt and she found her phone. The battery was drained completely so that didn't help her. Finally, she turned on the TV, flipped to the weather channel and felt her knees weaken as the dates flashed up. It was the 25th...

After fixing one of the seat cushions of the couch, Holly sat down and stared at the screen as the weatherman prattled on about some festival that took place in the city centre at the end of June and the weather looking promising for the outdoor venue. The screen flipped to an exterior shot and she saw the wrought iron cross standing tall as she'd remembered it. The building underneath was not the same but she knew the church. Knew the foundation had been there forever. The rage seethed under her skin and she rose from the seat with a jolt of effort. Too much time had passed. Something was wrong with her. She needed help. Grabbing her keys and the little purse she slung over her shoulder before heading out the front door. It was during the pause as she locked the door that she heard the voice.

"I was just coming to knock again. Have you been away, dear?" It was an unmistakable voice that froze Holly to her door step. Her hand clenched painfully hard on her keys, the metal nearly cutting her skin. Her heart pounded as flashes of the yellow kitchen, hot, wet blood and the feel of warm, slimy chunks going down and coming back up filled her mind.

"Holly, dear... are you alright?" Betty asked and laid her hand tenderly on Holly's shoulder.
 
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