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[personal profile] amityville_sweetheart
Fair warning: very, very nasty stuff. It made me twitch to write it, but my brain wasn't going to let me sleep without writing it up. Also? This thing turned into a short fic somewhere along the way. Dunno how.

The house isn't as she left it. Corrine knows this much as she pulls up the driveway, stained with dark, frozen puddles in the early morning light. She's missed the way the sun comes up from the east and shines right into the windows of the house, illuminating the front yard in a breathtaking light.

Something's different today, though. She can see shadows moving inside the windows against the rays of sunlight. The axe isn't hanging in the barn where she always leaves it, it's in the ground next to the wood pile. There seems to be something in the yard, something black and moving around in the back corner closest to the barn. The back screen door is hanging open, there's glass on the roof of the porch, the curtains blowing inwards from the broken window.

She brings the car to a stop, climbing out slowly and examining the house. She leaves her bag on the passenger seat, the keys in the ignition and the driver's side door open. Caleb had once said during one of their training sessions, "In every situation, there are two options. Fight or flight. There are no others."

She's fought enough to fill all of the new year already, and her magic has been... less than cooperative since the fight in Trenton. The magic has an almost sentience to it again, deciding to work whenever it feels like it. She doesn't like the feeling of it being out of her control, and so for now, she would leave the option of flight open, be it going in reverse down the driveway at 45, or attempting to slide out.

She walks out to the yard, retrieving the axe and heading towards the front door. If her powers decide to fail out on her again, she wasn't going to be completely defenseless.

The steps up to the house are familiar, and there's a dull, hollow echo with her footfalls. The screen door is unlocked, as is the front door, which is actually cracked open. The front hall, the parlor on the left, and the dining room on the right all bear signs of recent use along with debris. The clothes, empty beer bottles, food wrappers and various drug paraphernalia about the place makes her shudder. This is her home. Her family's home, damnit. Even if so many bad memories painted these walls, it was the least tainted thing of her childhood that she had left.

She passes the staircase-- a post is missing from the rail, and there's more debris upstairs. She flinches at the sight of the used needle on the third step. Entering the kitchen, she peers into the dining room. The chandelier that usually hangs over the table is cracked and in pieces laying on the table itself. The antique cherry wood is ruined, water marks and gouges all along it. There seems to be spray paint of some sort on it as well, but she can't make out if it's part of a bigger image. The rest of the paint is covering the satin tablecloth which is ripped and torn to shreds on the floor.

It's in the kitchen that she finally spots the first one. A girl of no more than fifteen, passed out on the floor on her back near the fridge. There's vomit beside her head, her dyed and unnaturally black hair matted and dirty, her ripped jeans hanging open. Her shirt can barely be called that, and there are cut marks on her thighs and track marks on her arms. At Corrine's approach she lets her head roll around, her fractured stare falling on the woman standing over her.

Corrine bends down, setting the axe on the floor, grabbing the girl's wrist and bending up her watch hand. She counts the tiny thuds against the pads of her fingers. Too slow. Too fucking slow. Shit. "Are you alone?" she asks the girl softly, closing her pants up as best she can and trying to give her some dignity.

There's no response for a few seconds, and Corrine begins to ask again when the girl makes a motion something like shaking her head. "How many?" Corrine pushes. The girl's cracking and busted lips part, but no sound other than a soft wheezing comes out. "If I'm going to get us both out of here alive, you need to tell me how many," she says, trying not to sound anxious. This house has many secrets; places to hide within the walls, an old ventilation shaft that you could climb down into the disconnected cellar if you were small enough, and several floor pantries whose doors had long ago seen their demise and were now covered with curtains. "Three," are the whispered words Corrine hears beside her ear, and she sits up, nodding that she understands.

"Can you tell me your name?"

The girl lifts her shoulder and shifts her arm, a pathetic attempt to point at her back jeans pocket. Corrine gets the hint, taking out the wallet and finally finding a library card. "Okay, Kelly," she says, trying to be quiet and sound hopeful. "I'm gonna find your... the others, and then we're going to take you to a hospital. You're all banged up, but I'm gonna help you. I need you to help me and don't die, okay?"

The girl nods, more confident this time, and tears start running down her face. Corrine ignores that, picking up the axe again and moving with her back against the wall into the pantry. The door is open and the lightbulb is busted. Most of the canned goods are gone, including all of her homemade jam jars and any wine she had left. She ducks back out, peering into the downstairs bathroom. It's empty and mostly clean, to her surprise. She moves back into the kitchen, and sees Kelly has propped herself up against the cabinets. Her eyes are motioning out the front door, and then down to her feet. She does this a few times, Corrine standing there with the axe pulled slightly back before she realizes the young girl is indicating the cellar.

She makes as little noise as possible as she goes out the back door into the yard. She realizes the thing she saw earlier in the driveway is a black handkerchief, dangling from a piece of wood that's been hammered into the ground, only maybe a foot away from where her papa's body had lain until the coroner's office arrived. No, she thinks to herself. She knows what this is now, she's dealt with it before. It had been the reason she'd needed Trevor's help in expelling her mother.

Her home had been known as a sort of landmark among the clueless, gothy dark mage and satanist wannabes. The circles papa had run in considered him a martyr, and so did these stupid, wreckless little children. Her mother had nearly killed one of them, causing Corrine to finally do something about the haunting. Now they were back-- a small consolation, probably not the same kids-- and they had wrecked her family home.

She was angry now.

She rips the storm doors open. "GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!" she screams down the stairs, taking a step back as something moves. A pale face peers out at her, dirty and tripped out beyond comprehension. A second face joins it and then is coming at her, a knife from the kitchen raised as he ascends the stairs. Corrine moves aside with ease, letting the kid fall to the ground in his momentum. His two friends have now moved most of the way up the stairs, and she raises the axe over the first kid. "You don't want to try me after the week I've had," she tells them coolly.

"Traitor!" one of the kids calls from the stairs.

Corrine doesn't even take her eyes away from the first kid. "What?" She finally puts the axe down, turning her head to look at him. "A traitor? To what? To the torture and misery of the pits? To the early grave and shallow life your choice will give you? Is this fun for you?"

The kids don't answer and she scoffs at them, tossing the axe aside. "You're a bunch of stupid fucking kids. What do you think you know about hell, or heaven? Or power?" Her hands start to warmly glow and she looks down at it, raising her fist slightly. The light moves from her arm, eventually encasing her entire body, and she smirks down at them. "This is a house of God now. If you would like to suffer in the afterlife and in this one, that's your choice, but you won't do it here."

The glow dissipates, and she frowns at their stupefied expressions. She retrieves the axe, swinging just in front of Number One's face. "GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM MY HOUSE!" she screams, and watches in delight as they scramble away.

Just before the last kid reaches the makeshift memorial, he stops, turning towards her again. His eyes glow dark night, wide and dark, and his mouth opens in an amused yawn. "You can't escape legacy, Roary. Remember that. It will follow you to your grave. You are just as dark inside as generations before you."

Corrine blinks and the kid is running again, as if nothing ever happened. She realizes as she stares at the axe in her hand that the blade is bloody, and her hands are emanating a dark energy. She drops the axe, jumping back from it. The blood is gone.

Her bottom lip trembles as she steps around the axe, going back into the house. Kelly seems to be a little more coherent now, and she steps over to her. "They're gone," she tells her, and Kelly nods. "I'm going to take you to a hospital, just hold on--"

Kelly moans out a "no", and Corrine stares at her for a moment, thinking. "You need real medical care. I can't give that to you."

"Please," the girls says, and the look in her eyes strikes something in Corrine. It wasn't a fear of going to the hospital, it was a fear of going back home. She knew that look... she'd worn it for years after leaving home, even knowing there was no one around to drag her back, anyway. She nods a little, bending down to pick Kelly up. The girl is ridiculously light, and she ascends the stairs with her, trying to step around as much debris as possible as she goes.

The upstairs is almost exactly as she left it, besides the master bedroom which is just as trashed as the rest of the house. She walks past the bedrooms, coming to the third door on the left and pushing it open with a foot. The bathroom is clean, and she lays Kelly into the tub, beginning to strip off what little is left of her clothes.

She tosses them into a pile against the wall and begins running the water. Thirty five minutes later Kelly is clean and Corrine moves her into her brother's old bedroom, laying her down on the bed wrapped in towels. "I'll be right back," she tells her as she leaves the room, returning a few minutes later with some of her older clothes from her old room. She dresses Kelly carefully, eventually getting on the bed behind her and sitting her up, carefully beginning to brush her hair. Kelly's crying again and Corrine puts an arm around her, patting her side gently. "Shh," she says quietly. "It's okay. You're safe with me."

When Kelly is finally clean, her wounds tended to, fed and sleeping, she comes back downstairs, staring around at the mess.

The tears threaten as she begins in the kitchen, finding the broom leaning against a wall. She chokes it back, her mind moving to the events of the past few weeks automatically. She can't fight it down and she slides down the wall, hitting the floor with a small thump, her knees tucked up to her chest. She bows her head, one hand digging into her hair, the other clutched tightly around her cross, and she begins to softly sob in the early morning light.


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Corrine Bertrand

October 2009

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