|Blame the Moon
Author: VoodooChild3000 PM
Movieverse. Semi-crossover, semi-AU, '89 finds Lydia Deetz and Sarah Williams high school seniors with a host of supernatural complications, namely one poltergeist and one goblin king. Throw in interdimensional war and it's a recipe for disaster. BJ/L J/SRated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Adventure - Chapters: 7 - Words: 39,857 - Reviews: 83 - Favs: 67 - Follows: 67 - Updated: 09-11-10 - Published: 12-04-09 - id: 5558278
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: Because this crossover had to happen sooner or later. Inspiration for this actually came from games my buddies and I came up with as kids - since opinion was divided as to whether Labyrinth or Beetlejuice was a better movie, we just mishmashed the two together and had at it. (I'll keep this simple and not add in all the other weird crap we'd sometimes toss into these games, She-Ra and Rainbow Brite and Jem and the Holograms. We were kind of the epitome of '80's children.)
Lydia's age is never given in the film, but for plot purposes I'm saying she was sixteen, as Sarah was fourteen in Labyrinth, which came out in '86, so she would have been sixteen herself in '88. I apologize in advance for how incredibly cracky and disturbing this will inevitably turn out to be, though I'm also a closet sap at heart, so expect shippiness sooner or later.
Sarah hadn't wanted to move, not really, but since it was inevitable she'd decided to try and make the best of it. She was still ridiculously attached to her old bedroom and all the things within it, but she trusted Hoggle and Ludo and all the others would be able to find her if she called. She had to hope so, anyway, because her new home and new school were so very different from what she had known that her mind still hadn't quit reeling.
While she could hardly call where she'd used to live a city, it was more urban than Winter River, the tiny town where her father's job had taken them. It was picturesque enough, with maple woods at the outskirts whose leaves had gone half a dozen shades of fire with the approach of September, and many of the public buildings looked like something off a postcard, quaint without being saccharine. She could, she thought, eventually learn to like it here, once she got over the horrible feeling of being completely uprooted and transplanted.
Currently she was on her bike, coasting down a leaf-strewn street on her way to the grocery store. Since they were switching states, she hadn't bothered to take her driver's test before they moved, and it would probably be another few weeks before they were all settled enough to head to the nearest city with a DMV. Just now she didn't mind, though; the air was cold, biting against her cheeks, but she was well-bundled up in a heavy coat and gloves, and the autumn morning sunshine seemed to pour down in golden bucketfuls. Leaves whirled and scattered in her wake, crunching dryly beneath her bike tires, and in that unobserved, unguarded moment she allowed herself to grin. Seventeen she might be, but when she wasn't around her supposedly-sophisticated peers she let herself be the child she still was, in some ways. Even yet she hadn't lost a certain sense of wonder, though that had to be in part because of Toby, and how easy it was to see the world through his big blue eyes.
That smile dimmed a little when she rode past Miss Shannon's School for Girls, the all-girl private academy she'd be attending come September. The thought of meeting so many new girls secretly made her quail; the people she'd gone to school with were used to her, and if they thought her a little eccentric it was no worse than that. It had been a big high school, populated with all kinds of sub-cultures - punks, preps, neo-hippies, Rastafarian-wannabes, even a smattering of urban cowboys, but Miss Shannon's was much smaller and likely more homogenous. She'd have to be careful, or she'd wind up a social pariah, and she remembered that feeling all too keenly from childhood. No thank you.
A little breathless by the time she reached the grocery store, she didn't bother locking her bike in the bike rack - it wasn't necessary, here. Off came the gloves, and she shook back her long dark hair - down to her waist, now, longer even than it had been two years before. She was a pretty girl who had no idea just how pretty she really was, a breath of nature compared to the perm-fried-hair and bizarre fashion worn by most of her peers at school. It might be in style, but that didn't keep it from being butt-ugly, in her opinion. She favored simple jeans and T-shirts, with little or no makeup - in a sense she refused to alter her appearance too much lest one day her friends fail to recognize her.
The little bell above the door tinkled when she went in, the soft warm bakery-scent hitting her and reminding her it had been a while since breakfast. With a smile at the solitary clerk she grabbed a basket and dug her list out of her pocket, scanning the contents as she made her way down the dairy aisle. Milk, cheese, eeew yogurt, ground beef for dinner tonight….
She was so intent on it that she almost ran smack into the only other person in the store - a girl about her age, a short, slight girl swathed in black, with hair and eyes as dark as her clothes but skin the sort of pale that comes from studiously avoiding the outdoors. Sarah had heard of her; only one person in town could match that description. Lydia, Sarah thought her name was, Lydia Deetz, the girl who lived in the haunted house just outside of town. She'd heard all kinds of stories about that one-almost everyone in town had something to say about it, though no two accounts matched.
"Jeeze, I'm sorry," she said, holding her basket out of the way. "Wasn't looking where I was going."
Lydia - her name had to be Lydia - smiled a little, a small smile that transformed the slight reserve of her expression. She really was tiny - Sarah had to have a good three inches on her, though the effect was probably augmented by her clothes, her long black coat that was almost a cloak. "That's okay," she said. "I do that all the time. You're the girl who just moved here, aren't you?"
Sarah nodded, feeling unaccustomedly shy. There was something distinctly different about Lydia, something quite apart from her clothes-something slightly unsettling, in no way she could define. She had no way of knowing that Lydia was coming to the exact same conclusion about her. "Yeah-we're in this little house on Ninth Avenue. Still unpacking."
And there was that smile again, swift, elusive, but strangely warm for such a pale little girl, like a momentary ray of sunshine breaking through clouds. "The one with the purple trim, right? A…friend of mine made a model of the whole town," she explained, apparently belatedly realizing how stalker-tastic that sounded. "That's the only one that was up for sale."
Sarah's eyebrows went up. Yes, definitely different, but there was something curiously likeable about her, a peculiar sense of kinship Sarah couldn't have defined if she'd tried. "Yeah, that one. My stepmother's already digging up paint samples - she thinks it's hideous."
Lydia laughed outright. "Mine would do it on purpose," she said. "She thinks she's an artist, but like her agent said, she's mostly just a flake. You should see some of the sculptures she's made. They look like something out of a drug addict's nightmares."
Now it was Sarah who laughed. She'd heard a few stories about Delia Deetz from the selfsame nosy neighbors who told every bit of gossip they knew about the haunted Deetz house. "Mine is just so boring," she said. While she'd learned to get along with her stepmother much better since the Incident, they still had next to nothing in common; the woman might be steady and reliable and a good mother, but she didn't have a particle of imagination in her, and couldn't even begin to fathom her stepdaughter. At least she wasn't a pest about it, though, for which Sarah was mostly grateful. "She almost never does anything that deviates from her routine, and she always wants everything quiet - which is kind of hard, since I've got a three-year-old brother."
"Delia can't stand quiet. Which is unfortunate, since my dad's really jumpy." Her dark eyes danced a little. "You - you really should come see some of Delia's sculptures," she said, almost shy herself now. "I mean, if you ever get time." Sarah got the feeling inviting someone to her home was not a thing Lydia did on anything like a regular basis.
"I just have to get my groceries home, and then I was planning to get out of the house before my stepmother can load me down with chores. Your parents won't mind, though?" she asked, a little doubtfully.
Lydia rolled her eyes. "They might not even notice," she said. "I'll give this stuff to Delia and try to keep her from talking your ear off about all the weird crap she's made."
Sarah grinned a little. "Okay," she said, surprised to find herself actually enthusiastic about the idea. Until now she'd largely avoided any of the other girls in town, wanting to avoid that kind of social pressure until she absolutely couldn't anymore. Lydia, though, was someone she thought she wanted to get to know. "I think I can figure out how to get to your house, it's so visible from town."
"I'll keep an eye out for you," Lydia promised.
Lydia didn't know what the hell she thought she was doing, inviting this girl she'd just met up to the house. Even the quasi-friends she had at school had never been there, though it was true her house's reputation meant none of them really wanted to. Like Sarah with her, though, she got a distinct sense that there was something different about this girl, aside from the fact that she dressed almost as differently from other girls as Lydia herself did - just not as…noticeably.
In any event, once her purchases were paid for she tore off for home as fast as her bike could take her, depositing it in the garage and unloading Delia's groceries in the kitchen before hurrying up the stairs to the attic.
"Adam?" she said, knocking on the door. "Barbara? Can I come in?"
The door opened on its own, and she shut it carefully behind her. "Hi, guys," she said, still trying to catch her breath. "I was wondering if I could ask a favor - I've got a…maybe she'll be a friend…coming over, and I wanted to ask if I could show her the town. She's the one whose family bought the house with the purple trim."
The two ghosts raised their eyebrows at one another. Lydia had been a much happier and more cheerful girl since the Incident, but she had yet to really talk about any friends, let alone bring them home with her. "Sure," Adam said. "I don't mind if Barb doesn't."
"I don't, either," Barb said, shaking her head. "Thank God I dusted."
Lydia grinned, exposing a dimple very few people ever saw. "Thanks, you guys. I didn't want to bring her up into your space without asking first."
"We won't shift anything around, I promise," Adam said. "Best behavior, I swear."
"I won't, either," Lydia promised. "Especially not after all that work we put into the church."
She dashed back downstairs to wash her sweaty face and shove anything too questionably bizarre out of sight, particularly the Handbook for the Recently Deceased, which she was still working on translating into layman's terms. By the time she was finished and had made it back upstairs, Barbara was squinting down the long driveway.
"Someone's coming," she said. "Girl on a bike."
"That's her." It belatedly occurred to her that she didn't actually know the girl's name-the family who had moved in was named Williams, according to her father, but hadn't volunteered anyone's first names. Oh well, she hadn't given hers out, either.
Lydia met her guest down at the driveway, watching her take in the admittedly bizarre architecture. The house might lack purple trim, but it had that distinctive Otho touch about it.
"You know, I forgot to ask your name," she said, a little awkwardly, and the other girl flushed.
"It's Sarah," she said. "Sarah Williams. Your name's Lydia, right?"
"Yeah." Lydia was suddenly guarded, but it didn't last long. Whatever Sarah might have heard, it was neither weirding her out nor making her laugh. "Come on, I'll show you the model town first - Delia'll be cooking lunch soon, we can laugh at her stuff without her breathing down our necks."
She led Sarah inside, through the eclectic weirdness that was the first floor, up through the even more pronounced weirdness of the second, until they reached the dusty attic staircase. "The people who lived here before us built it," she explained.
"They died, didn't they?" Sarah asked, and sneezed. Lydia paused a moment.
"Yeah," she said. "I've kind of been taking care of it for them." Helping, at least, with photographs and stuff. It wasn't a total lie, even if the wording came off a little odd.
The attic was warm and sunny, and Sarah's reaction to the little town was all Lydia had hoped it might be. "It's so detailed," she said, leaning over to peer at the school. "That must have taken forever."
"The church took a month," Lydia said. "All the little boards are separate pieces."
Adam chose that moment to wander by with some paintbrushes, and to Lydia's amazement, Sarah jumped.
"Hi," she said, obviously startled, though not half so startled as Adam, who froze. "Are you Lydia's father?"
"You - you can see him?" Lydia almost stammered. "What the-"
Sarah was looking at her like she was insane. "Of course I can," she said. "What, shouldn't I?" she added, a little uneasy.
Adam swallowed. "Um," he said, "no, actually." He was obviously too pole-axed to offer further explanation.
"This is, uh, this is Adam Maitland," Lydia managed, only a little better off than he was. "He's - one of the original owners."
"I thought you said they died," Sarah said warily.
"We did." That was Barbara, as confused as her husband. "Most people can't see us, now."
Sarah had paled about five shades in as many seconds, but to Lydia's continued amazement she didn't laugh - or sneer. "So - what, are you ghosts?" Her tone was very, very odd - not quite wholly disbelieving, though it was clear she wanted to, and Lydia really wondered why. Why she could see them, why her reaction was so…unexpected.
"Well, technically," Adam said. They were certainly as unthreatening as people could be, ghosts or living, thank God. His astonishment was tempered with curiosity, now. "Lydia's the only one who's ever been able to see us without help, though."
Sarah stared at him, and Lydia stared at Sarah. What was this girl, who not only saw ghosts but (apparently) accepted them? Barbara and Adam certainly didn't look like ghosts, but Sarah didn't seem to be questioning it - too much. What had happened to her, to allow that? Lydia was self-admittedly 'strange and unusual', but Sarah certainly didn't look like the kind of disaffected person who would be pre-disposed to see spirits.
"I've - well, I can't say I've ever seen ghosts before," Sarah said, and now it was she who stammered. Something in the way she said that made Lydia more curious than ever; her tone implied she'd seen other bizarre things. "Um - nice to meet you?" she offered, swallowing.
"You, too." Barbara at least seemed somewhat in control of the situation, and she gave Sarah a smile. "We don't bite, I promise. We just share the house with the Deetzes."
"Ghosts," Sarah said, half to herself, and Lydia wondered what the hell she could possibly be thinking. "You're - actually ghosts." The implications of that finally seemed to hit her, and she sat down on one of the rickety wooden chairs. "I…." She trailed off, as though unsure what she'd been about to say. "There has to be a story behind this."
Adam and Barbara looked at one another, and at Lydia. "I think Lydia ought to tell you," Barbara said, and Lydia caught the implication - she could say as much or as little as she wanted, depending on how much she trusted this strange girl.
"…I can do that," Lydia said at last, "but…not here. Come on down to my room."
Sarah, still quite pale, followed her down the stairs, stumbling a little. Even out of earshot of the Maitlands, she didn't question the explanation, which still struck Lydia as deeply odd. Lydia herself didn't say anything until they'd reached her room, and she shut the door behind them.
"Here, this chair's comfortable," she said, removing a pile of sketchbooks from a black wicker basket-chair. Her room was cool and dim, the black curtains mostly drawn, turning the corners into shadowy holes. The bed was a canopy, draped with red and black, the walls covered in artwork and black-and-white photographs she'd taken herself, and three of them were lined with tall black bookcases stuffed with books and odd curios. It still smelled like sandalwood from the incense she'd burned the night before.
Sarah took it all in, her dark eyes still wide, and turned to Lydia when she sat on the bed. "What-seriously, what's that all about?" she asked, a little uneven.
Lydia tried not to squirm. "I'll tell you," she said, "but you have to promise you won't laugh at me, or tell anyone else. It's…pretty weird, and unbelievable."
"There's not much I wouldn't believe, anymore," Sarah muttered, and Lydia raised an eyebrow.
"There must be a story behind that," she said. "I'll tell if you will."
"I'm not sure you wouldn't think I wasn't crazy," Sarah said, curling up in the chair and suddenly looking very young.
Lydia's other eyebrow went up. "Ghost in the attic, remember? Try me." Sarah smiled a little, and bit her lip.
"True. Okay, but you go first."
So Lydia did, starting with their move into the house, and her meeting with the Maitlands. She dug up the Polaroids she'd taken of them in Delia's sheets, and actually did a little pantomime of the trick the Maitlands had pulled on Delia's dinner party, with some killing impersonations of Otho and Delia's former manager. She also dug out her copy of The Handbook for the Recently Deceased, feeling it was safe to show it.
"You'll have to ask Adam and Barbara about the waiting room, and Juno," she said, and wondered fleetingly if Juno wouldn't get pissed at her for telling Sarah any of this. Oh well, according to Adam and Barbara, Juno was always pissed about something.
She went on, trying not to growl too much over Otho's hand in things, but hesitated when she reached the part about him. Betelgeuse. Beetlejuice, as he'd spelled it out in charades. Even a year later she'd not spoken of him to anyone - not her parents, not the Maitlands, no one, and she wasn't sure how to do so now, though she didn't think it fair to leave anything out in her tale to Sarah. In a sense it was incredibly cathartic, being able to share the story with someone who wasn't immediately involved, someone who wouldn't laugh, who would believe it.
"And there was this other…guy, I guess, though he wasn't a ghost like Barbara and Adam, I think," she said at last, slowly, and didn't realize she'd curled up just like Sarah had. "He said he was a bio-exorcist, and when Otho summoned the Maitlands and did-whatever happened to them, I still don't know just what it was - I let him out because I didn't know how to help them, and neither did Otho." Stupid Otho; he'd looked hilarious in that leisure suit. "He said he wanted out of the afterlife, which meant he had to get married, and told me he'd only help if I'd agree to marry him. I didn't know what the hell else to do, so I said yes." She winced, expecting judgment at the least in Sarah's eyes, but to her surprise found none.
"He did what he promised, though I don't know how, but Barbara and Adam - helped me. A lot. See, the only way to summon him or to put him back is to say his name three times, and even though they only got two, Barbara got him eaten by a sandworm." And Lydia herself had almost passed out from sheer relief, for she'd had no idea how to extricate herself from that horrible situation - she hadn't had time to even really consider what Betelgeuse had been asking of her, she was so desperate for help, and it wasn't until afterward that the full impact of what might have happened to her hit her. Once it had she'd laughed, a little hysterically, and then she'd actually cried, which she normally never did - but unlike Adam and Barbara and her parents, she'd never really put it behind her. She'd got rid of that horrific wedding dress, but she still, unknown to anyone, had the veil in a box at the back of her closet - a small reminder that it had been real, that it had all actually happened, or so she told herself. The truth was that she didn't know why she kept it, only that she felt some obscure need to. It was intuition knocking, and she rarely ignored her intuition.
Now Sarah did laugh, though it wasn't a mocking one, or a laugh of incredulity. "A sandworm?" she said. "That…um. Sounds like something that might have been…. Um." Now she was the one who looked extremely uncomfortable, resting her chin on her knees. "I guess it's my turn, huh?" Lydia, oddly drained, nodded.
Sarah was silent a long, long moment, clearly trying to gather the right words, or any words, and Lydia had a feeling that whatever Sarah's tale was, it had to be about equally as bizarre as her own. Perhaps, she thought, that was where the difference she'd felt in Sarah came from; the subtle, intangible mark of someone who has seen things no ordinary mortal might even dream of - and not necessarily in a good way.
"Okay, you can't laugh at me, either," she said slowly. "At least ghosts kind of make sense…what happened to me is more like - like you said your stepmother's sculptures are. A drug addict's nightmare."
"I won't," Lydia said, now wildly curious. "I promise."
Sarah nodded, half to reassure herself as much as Lydia before she went on. She told her about baby Toby, about her own obsession with The Labyrinth, her fourteen-year-old discontent with her father and stepmother. She faltered when she reached the bit about wishing Toby away, mostly because it sounded ridiculous even to herself, and she'd lived it.
Sandworms, she reminded herself, and went on. She told of Hoggle, and the biting fairies, of Ludo and Sir Didymus and all the people she'd met in the Labyrinth, of the Firies who tried to pull her head off. Like Lydia, it was a story she'd never told a single soul, one that only found outlet in the few creative writing courses she'd taken in English. And like Lydia, she hesitated when she mentioned the Goblin King. Jareth, though she'd never once called him by name. There was - so much in there she halfway wanted to forget, yet wouldn't let herself, and before she realized what she was doing she was pouring all that out to this girl she'd only just met, this strange pale girl with such deep, deep black eyes who actually believed her.
"I know he was just trying to distract me into losing," she said, of the strange dream-ball after she'd eaten the peach, "and I actually fell for it, at first. I didn't want to, but at the same time…I sort of did." And that was a thing she'd hardly dared admit even to herself. "He was tricky and cruel and I hated him, but he was also…I don't know, I guess 'fascinating' is the word I want. And I feel weirdly - grateful to him, because even though his Labyrinth almost got me killed more than once, I think I…well, I learned a lot from it. Sometimes I have nightmares about it, but sometimes I have good dreams, too, and I don't think I'd take it back if I had the chance. I hated my brother until I had to fight to get him back."
And she'd felt so strange when she danced with him, in a way she hadn't understood until she was older. It had all been a trick and she knew it, but that hadn't changed its effect on her then, nor on her memory of it now. Ruse or no, she'd felt appreciated, felt wanted in some way more innocent than carnal - though that physical awareness had been there, too, as much as it could have been at fourteen. She hadn't understood him then at all, and even now she understood him little better, but she knew more about herself, and that gave her better comprehension of the world she'd navigated those terrible, wonderful, terrifying thirteen hours. She was immeasurably grateful she'd gotten away with it, but she couldn't help wondering what had happened after she'd left, what the Labyrinth was like now - what he was like now, what he'd done and what he was doing. And she hated that she wondered, hated that she cared enough to be curious, but that made no difference.
And Lydia, in some bizarre way, seemed to understand that without being told. From the sound of her story there had been more nightmare than dream, and whatever fascination her tale had held had been more of the trainwreck variety, but she was willing to believe. As she'd said, Ghosts in the attic.
"I've called them a few times since then, too," she said, speaking of Hoggle and the others. "Not often, but…sometimes life gets too hard, and I don't know how ready I am to be an adult in some ways. I never did quit daydreaming, and sometimes the thought of leaving home and going to college scares me. Most of the time I can't wait to get out of the house, but sometimes…the world's huge, and I still don't know what I want from it, or it from me." It was in the times that she worried herself half-sick that she called them, that she spent a while as something like a little girl again, the girl who'd beaten the Labyrinth. She'd never yet let herself wish she was back there, because that was a level of disconnect she simply wouldn't allow, but difficult and dangerous though it had been, it had also been straightforward in a way her 'real' life wasn't.
"It's-nice to have people like that, isn't it?" Lydia said, after a pause. "They're there for you, they don't judge you or make you feel like a freak." There was a little bitterness in that last word, and Sarah thought fleetingly of the school. Someone like Lydia wouldn't have stood out too badly at her old high school, but this town was so small that she likely had a hard time of it. It made Sarah herself look forward to it less than ever, but at least there was Lydia. She'd have one ally, even if she never gained others.
"It is," she agreed, after another little pause. "I love my parents, but they just don't understand - I know every teenager ever has said that, but they really don't because they can't - they weren't there. And Toby's too young to remember anything, so it's just my friends and I. And sometimes I need them to remind myself I'm not crazy."
Lydia laughed a little. "Same here, actually, only my parents were there. They were weird even before that, though, and pretty - uninvolved, I'd have to call it. But the Maitlands pick up where my parents fail."
She faltered, and Sarah looked at her curiously. Something was on the girl's mind, something she seemed to wonder whether or not she ought to share, but it only took a few moments for her to reach a decision. She rolled off the other side of her bed and dug through the closet - she definitely had a mess going in there - and eventually came up with a little cardboard box.
"I shouldn't need this, what with the Maitlands upstairs," she said, ripping at the tape. "I mean, they're evidence I'm not insane, but I had to hang onto this anyway." Off came the lid, and she held something out to Sarah - a veil of gauzy lace, brilliant red. "I don't know why I've hung onto it - nobody else knows I did, not even Adam and Barbara." She sounded almost defensive, but there was no judgment in Sarah when she passed the slightly rough material through her fingers.
"You don't always have to know why you do something," she said. The lace smelled strange to her, like damp earth and dead leaves and smoke - it wasn't exactly an unpleasant smell, but it was definitely strange. "Who knows what the rest of your family might have hung on to, in real life or just in their heads? I sometimes wonder if the Labyrinth won't affect Toby in some way, even if he can't remember it. If he maybe took something out of it with him."
A thought struck her, as she stared at the material, and she looked up at Lydia. "Have you ever called him again?" she asked quietly.
The girl blinked, and visibly twitched. "What?" she said. "Oh hell no. Juno-the Maitlands' caseworker - said he's too dangerous to let loose in the living world. From what I can figure out, he's too powerful for his own good, and he told me himself he doesn't have any rules. I don't even want to think about what kind of damage he could do, if he got out here again. Besides," she added, hitting what Sarah thought might be the crux of the matter, "he's probably really pissed off at me."
"Why?" Sarah asked. "You weren't the one who got him eaten by a sandworm."
Lydia was silent, considering that, and Sarah had a feeling it hadn't occurred to her before. "Still," she said, "I was lucky to get away from him the first time. Juno's never said exactly what he could do if he were free, but I'd rather not find out."
I think part of you would, Sarah thought. Not that she could blame Lydia - she understood that kind of curiosity a little too well. She'd wondered more than once what kind of havoc Jareth could wreak in the outside world - she'd seen very little of his powers in the Labyrinth, but one didn't get to be king of anything without superior abilities. She still didn't even know what he actually was, since he was manifestly not a goblin.
Lydia laughed a little. "Besides, B isn't like what your goblin king sounds like," she said. "He's creepy and perverted and he's growing moss all over his face - he doesn't look like the Maitlands, he really does look dead."
She sounded as if she thought she meant it, but Sarah wondered. She knew it was perfectly possible to be repulsed by something but also fascinated by it. And one only had to look at Lydia to believe she'd be quite fascinated by all sorts of aspects of the afterlife - even the nasty ones, as this B fellow sounded like. Hell, she was intrigued by the idea, and she had no great interest in the macabre. Lydia definitely had a way with words, and her descriptions of the man/ghost/whatever he was really were interesting, if disgusting. And who wouldn't want to do the things he did? Who wouldn't wonder what else he could do?
"Not that it hasn't been tempting, sometimes," Lydia said, as though reading her mind. "I ought to warn you about Claire Brewster, the school's resident Rich Bitch. There have been a few times I would've loved to be able to set him on her. She'll probably give you trouble just because she can."
She hopped off the bed and dug through a drawer, pulling out a thick portfolio of photographs. "I took these at school last year," she said, sifting through the photos. "This one's Claire." She passed Sarah one of the pictures, a thick, glossy six-by-ten of a girl about their own age, her face locked in a rather unflattering sneer. Fake 'N Bake tan, blonde hair - almost certainly artificial - tortured into a massive perm, which was in turn gathered to one side of her head and secured with a pink scrunchie. Too much lipstick, too much mascara, all of it destroying what would have been prettiness if she'd just left the cosmetics and hair chemicals alone.
"She looks like it," she said, handing the photograph back. "We had a few like her back home."
"I think they pop up everywhere," Lydia said, putting the portfolio away. "Like mushrooms."
Sarah burst out laughing, breaking the slightly uneasy mood created by two such massive confessions. "You should draw that," she said. "Are all those yours?" She nodded at the various drawings along the walls - some graphite, some colored pencil, a few small watercolors.
"Yeah. I don't do too much - my mom was a lot better than me - but I like to, sometimes, especially if it's the wrong weather for photography."
Sarah stood, peering at them all - they were beautifully intricate, far more so than anything her amateur talents could produce; Lydia might well be able to make a living with them. Unsurprisingly, a lot of them matched the theme of her room - a graphite one of a graveyard in moonlight practically seemed alive, mist crawling and swirling between the stones.
"I have a ton of them," Lydia said. "I only hang up the ones I really like."
"Do you have any sketchbooks?" Sarah asked. "And can I see them?" She was vastly intrigued by people with actual artistic talent, not the producers of the strange…creations…she'd so briefly seen downstairs.
"Sure." Another rummage through another drawer produced about five sketchbooks, each full. Sarah flipped through them, wondering a little at the sheer variety of subjects. She only paused when she came across a particularly startling one - it was a colored pencil rendering of a man, a man with the blue-white skin of a corpse, wild green-blonde hair standing out like a Brillo pad gone nova. Strange greenish patches marred his neck and the edges of his hairline, and his eyes were sunk in deep purple shadows - startlingly green eyes, flecked with yellow, a little too bright and almost rabid. Wildly arched eyebrows, and the grin of a person who is completely and unrepentantly insane. It was even more compelling than the rest of the drawings, truly unsettling in a way even the darkest and most disturbing of the rest weren't.
Lydia flinched at the sight of that one. "I don't know why I drew that," she said, again almost defensively. "It was just…in my head, and I had to put it on paper."
"Is that the B man?" Sarah asked, unable to look away. She could see what lingering fascination he might hold in Lydia's mind - whatever else you might say of him, his was not a face you could ever, ever forget. The image almost seemed suffused with a kind of manic energy, a feral, dangerous sort of mischief that might be hilarious or might kill everyone within a five-mile radius.
Lydia bit her lip. "Yeah," she said. "Creepy, isn't he? He's even worse in person. He's scary, and I'm not scared of much."
That, Sarah would easily believe. The image seemed to radiate a kind of power somewhat akin to Jareth's; she wondered if the two were anything close to the same sort of creature. All at once she couldn't bear to look anymore, and shut the book before she could get too creeped out.
"It's a full moon tonight," Lydia observed. "Can you get out after dark? There's a spot I always take pictures at - it's creepy, but it's beautiful. There's an owl that nests near it."
Sarah considered that - she wasn't much of an 'after-dark' person, but this place was so new to her she wanted to explore it, even at night. "Why the hell not?" she said. A question she would later regret very, very much.
The picture in Lydia's sketchbook is based off this amazing one on DeviantArt: http :/ tavington . deviantart .com / art / Beetlejuice-69405804 (You'll have to delete the spaces, as FFN doesn't allow links, but it's an awesome drawing).
Anyway, like it? Hate it? Let me know. Next chapter will include The B Man himself, as well as some rather dangerous idiocy on the part of Claire Brewster. Sarah is also not going to like her English teacher's choice of reading material. XD