Author: enRAGEd PM
CT2 AU. Leanne Rosier, sole survivor of the Clock Tower Killings, thinks that the worst is over. But when the brutal game of murder begins again, will she and an all new cast of characters be able to make it through alive? A deviantART community project.Rated: Fiction T - English - Horror/Supernatural - Chapters: 6 - Words: 32,478 - Reviews: 3 - Favs: 3 - Follows: 3 - Updated: 04-17-11 - Published: 07-30-10 - id: 6190944
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: This is the first chapter of a deviantART community project being run by myself and my beloved Shakahnna. Essentially, we played a little bit too much Clock Tower 2 and decided that we wanted to write a story along the same lines, but with a host of new characters based on our friends over at dA. Turn out for this project was amazing, with around thirteen characters applying, and we now have the story planned out in detail. I will be writing and submitting it here, and on dA.
A note I should make about the story: This takes place in an Alternate Universe, in which Leanne Rosier, an original character submitted by one of our entrants (123LeaLea on dA), was the fifth orphan sent to the Barrows Mansion, out of which she emerged the sole survivor, as you will soon see. The real story will begin with the next chapter, but this is necessary, I feel, to set the tone for the story and also explain the differences between this new story and the original Clock Tower: First Fear game. I hope everyone who reads this will enjoy it, as I think it will be an excellent piece of fiction.
Prelude: The First Fear
She splashed through the mire, treading sludge, arms flailing frantically as she fought to stay upright. Tears streamed down her cheeks, cutting tracks of pristine skin through the abysmal muck staining her face. She threw herself at the opposite bank, dragging herself inch by agonising inch up the muddy incline. Her feet skidded out from under her, dropping her into the grime, her hands gripping at the sodden earth, all to no avail. Her breath escaped in ragged sobs as she climbed, clawing at the dirt, sliding back one foot for every two she managed to gain.
Behind her, the freakish abomination from the Cradle under the Star let out a hideous gurgle, crawling through the bog after her as she fled. She didn't know what it wanted with her, she just knew she didn't want to find out. It was evil in mind and body, that much was clear the moment she had first seen it, when the crimson curtain drew back to reveal its immense, corpulent body, a bloated sac of flesh, black as sin, with eyes that practically glowed with cruelty.
Her pace quickened as she scrabbled desperately up the slope, her body caked in mud from the climb. Her lungs burned with the effort, so much running, so much crying, so much terror. Dragging her aching form over the lip of the pit from which she'd pulled herself, she lay panting for a few moments. She watched the abomination as it began to come after her, hauling itself onwards on its deformed forelimbs like some monstrous infant. She let out a hoarse croak, her throat feeling as though it were coated with sandpaper, and she realised that she had no more screams left in her.
She rolled over, catching sight of the generator that powered the lights strung from the ceiling. Her eyes locked on the metal drum standing beside it, and the warning label stuck to its surface. She crawled to it, movements mimicking those of her pursuer, until she had reached its far side. Her bare feet lashed out, meeting the cold iron, and then it toppled, spilling gasoline as it tumbled down the muddy hillock. The monster let out a groan as the barrel slammed into it, wedging against its huge frame.
Without waiting another moment, she aimed a second vicious kick at an electric lamp beside the petrol engine and watched it fall, smashing in a flurry of sparks in the puddle of flammable liquid. Fire sprang up, a searing wave of it rushing down towards the creature, washing over it, engulfing it, consuming it. It let out a horrific moan as it burned, its fatty flesh melting off its bones, the stink of it filling the cavern.
And with her flame-red hair matted and dull, with her clothing soaked and dirtied, with her body battered and bruised, and with her eyes wide and wild, Leanne stood atop the slope and watched it die.
She practically fell into the elevator compartment, barely feeling the impact as her body hit the metal. She jabbed at a button - any button, they all looked the same - and lay on the floor in a crumpled heap waiting for the ascent, waiting to be free of the nightmarish cavern. With the death of the unholy abomination, the cave beneath the Barrows mansion had begun to collapse, almost as though its demonic power had been all that held it together in the first place. Weathered stone had fallen like rain all around her as she fled. Finding the elevator had been pure fortune. She could still hear the rumble of destruction, growing fainter as she rose.
She lay, almost catatonic, consumed by the horror of what she had witnessed that night. Images of her friends, happy and smiling, turned to screaming faces stained with gore, flashing through her mind.
She saw Laura, hung from the shower fitting above the bath, drenched to the bone with scalding hot water, eviscerated, her blood spiralling the drain beneath. She saw Anne, dragged to her death beneath the surface of the leaf-strewn swimming pool, her features slack, eyes water-logged and upward staring. She saw Lotte, bleeding to death from a bullet wound to the stomach, gore slick hands clutching at the hole, lips stained red as she coughed away her life. She saw Jennifer, strewn upon a sacrificial alter, her chest carved open, her heart removed and used in some vile ritual.
She saw it all and then the shadow of the Scissorman, the dread stalker that had killed her friends and doggedly pursued her through the manor, loomed in her mind. Though it was only a figment of her overwrought imagination, she still flinched when his scissors snapped shut, the familiar noise bringing abject terror even as a memory. She shook away the fear, forcing herself to remember that she was alone, the silence broken only by the gentle hum of the elevator that bore her to the surface.
But then the box shook with a sudden impact as something landed on its roof. For a moment, she thought that the shaft was collapsing alive, that the extent of the damage was so great that she couldn't outrun it. She was going to be crushed to death, or worse, buried alive. Instead, two silvery spikes crusted with dried blood speared through the ceiling, rending apart the steel. She backed away in silent panic as the Scissorman's grim death mask, slack and leathery, like a peeled human face worn over his own, glared down at her. Her finger found the controls and she pushed them all, hammering at the panel in blind terror.
That was when the doors opened, revealing nothing but empty corridor. She fled, naked feet slapping wetly on cold tile, shivering in the sudden chill. She ran as fast as her aching legs could carry her as the doors slid shut behind her, carrying her inhuman pursuer upwards and away.
She staggered into the wall, dragging herself into the shadows of an open doorway, shuddering in the darkness. She clamped her mouth shut around her chattering teeth, pressing her flesh of her right palm against her lips, holding her breath as she desperately tried to stay quiet. She had heard footsteps in the hallway and, when she strained her ears to listen, she heard them again, the unmistakable clack of high heeled shoes. Fear rose in a swell inside her as a woman in a grey suit jacket and skirt stalked past, light glinting on the blade of the butcher knife clutched tightly in her hand.
"Where are you, you little whore?" Ms Mary snarled, standing with her back to the room where Leanne hid, struck dumb and petrified with fright, "you killed my son. He was everything that was important to me and you took him away. You were nothing - you and your friends - just sacrifices, just food, just blood and meat to help him grow strong, to give him the power to open the door. How dare you interfere!"
With each word, her voice grew tighter, working herself up into a frenzy of hysterical rage. Her quarry reeled at the flood of revelations. Somehow, Mary had given birth to the freakish abomination that she had seen in the basement. It really had been the spawn of the devil, born to fulfil some dark purpose on the earth.
Worse than that was the knowledge that she and her friends had been lured here deliberately to feed the monster. They had come willingly, thinking it would be their last chance for adoption, their last chance to escape a life of poverty. They were all nearing eighteen. Soon they would have been forced out into the world with what little possessions they had managed to accrue during their time at the Granite Orphanage, left to fend for themselves.
Mary had offered them more than that meagre fate, so much more, in the form of Simon Barrows, the kindly but childless owner of a sprawling estate in the hills, who wanted nothing more than a family.
But it had all been lies, a ruse to lure them to their deaths, nothing but sacrificial lambs to an unholy slaughter at the hands of the Scissorman.
This time it was Leanne's turn to feel the rage curdling in her gut, her pounding heart suddenly burning with fury, aimed at the person who had orchestrated this whole terrible nightmare. She fumbled in the darkness a weapon, her hands seizing a bulky statue of some kind from the top of a dresser. But even as she hefted the item, she saw her own wet footprints glistening in the passage, leading right to where she was standing. With horror, she realised that Mary had seen them too.
Even as she turned to look into the room, however, the redhead lunged forward, a grating, frenzied shriek escaping her lips as she brought her makeshift bludgeon around. The ornament's leaden base struck the older woman full in the mouth and knocked her to the ground. The knife clattered on the tiles moments before the statue slipped out of her quivering fingers and cracked the flooring.
Before she could even spit out the mouthful of blood and splintered teeth, the girl was already running, fleeing along the corridor. She pushed through a door at the end of the hall and emerged into the rain. Thick, dark clouds rolled overhead. Lightning flashed and thunder growled. In seconds, she was soaked to the skin, her hair hanging sodden around her face. She left a trail of watery filth behind her as the mud from the pit was washed away. Gravel sliced her feet apart as she ran across the pathway and onto the lawn beyond. She tried to climb the wrought iron fence that bordered the forest, but she couldn't grip the slick bars.
She turned back to the mansion and saw Mary striding towards her, gore-stained features twisted in an enraged snarl, eyes filled with murder, knife once again in hand. Lightning flashed again, bathing the yard in fierce, actinic light. It made the woman look almost as much a monster as her demonic child.
Leanne saw a tower to her left, ascending to the angry heavens, a huge clock face at its top. She ran to it, knowing that she was otherwise trapped, and pushed through the doorway at its base. Inside was silent, save the patter of rain and the crash of thunder. Ahead was a ladder and above was only darkness, but she was dead if she didn't escape. She started to climb, clinging tightly to the rungs for fear that her wet hands and feet might send her plummeting to her death. She didn't look back, but she knew that Mary would follow her all the same.
Sure enough, a hand grabbed her ankle roughly, almost making her lose her grip. She let out a yelp and tried to climb faster, but her limbs felt tired and heavy. The hand snatched at her again, this time catching hold of her dress's ripped hem. It had once been her nicest outfit, reserved only for the most special of occasions, but now it was little more than a dirtied, bloody rag. She held on firmly as another hand gripped her calf, icy fingers digging into her flesh, threatening to pull her off the ladder.
She clung tighter and then kicked out behind her in a panic, the skin of her foot smashing into Mary's nose. The other woman let out an ear-splitting scream that echoed through the tower's heights, and then stopped dead with a dull thud a few seconds later.
Leanne clutched the cold steel of the ladder's rungs for a few long moments. She didn't look down. She couldn't.
With nothing else to do, she kept climbing, until she reached the very top of the Clock Tower.
It was silent in the tower's uppermost reaches. The machinery had been shut off long ago, the gears still and heavy with dust, and the immense bells that hung above had been quiet ever since. The time had been mere seconds to midnight for years.
She pulled herself up, ignoring the splintered boards beneath her bleeding feet as she trudged away from the ladder, her arms wrapped around her own body in a protective embrace. Tears rolled down her cheeks, her eyes raw from the constant crying.
Her mind went back to Lotte. She had always been Leanne's favourite, a fellow redhead and an eternal optimist, in her own way. While the other girls had all been giddy with excitement about the possibility of finding a home with the wealthy Simon Barrows, she had remained stalwartly pragmatic. They had all worn their best clothes and finest jewellery to try and impress him; Lotte had worn a t-shirt and jeans, as though it were any other day. She was prepared to make her own way in the world; if Barrows had wanted her then that was good, and if not that was fine too. Leanne had admired her for that.
It had been Lotte who had released her from the cage in the courtyard, where the body of their supposed new father had lain rotting. And it had been Lotte who had confronted Ms Mary, while she hid and waited for the ordeal to be over. She remembered watching her friend die as her blood spread out in a crimson halo around her body, remembered the last words that had escaped her gory mouth.
"Don't cry, Leanne."
But no matter how hard she tried, she just couldn't stop.
Her breath caught in her burning chest when she heard movement. Her heart, which had hardly slowed for a moment, began to race once again, thundering so hard that she thought it might burst. The sky flashed white once more, the lightning strike illuminating the belfry through the glass clock face. A huge silhouette appeared on the floor, the shadow engulfing her where she stood, a human figure with two immense wings jutting from its back.
And then the wings snapped shut with a metal clang that made her hammering heart skip a beat.
She spun around as the Scissorman landed in front of her with a heavy thud, grotesque, leathery head bowed beneath his cowl. He stalked towards her, eyes filled with menace, the sharp points of his twin blades pointing at her sternum, ready to impale her. She backed away, knowing that there was nowhere left to run, even as he advanced towards her, every slow, deliberate movement designed to terrorise her.
Her back struck a panel, the feel of it against her body almost causing her to yelp and leap forward, but fear of what stood before her kept her in check. He continued to bear down on her, snapping his scissors shut and visibly delighting in how she flinched away. Then, he drew them back and thrust them at her stomach.
She threw herself to the side at the last moment, letting out a cry as she fell to the ground, the rough flooring scraping the flesh of her arms. His blades plunged into the machine that she had collided with, slicing cleanly through the metal and into whatever mechanism lay beneath. Her stalker threw his head back and let out an animal scream of anguish as a surge of electricity raced through his body, his scissors acting as the bridge to mend the circuit. Gears began to grind in the darkness, chains clinking as they rose and fell. He recoiled, leaving his weapon rooted in the machinery, smoke rising from his head and shoulders, his breaths coming in heavy groans.
She watched him, transfixed and horrified, and then his head snapped around, his murderous eyes locking with hers. He raised his hands and advanced towards her, moving his fingers to encircle her throat.
That was when the bells began to chime, immense bronze goliaths rocking back and forth as the clock's hands finally, after so many long years, reached midnight. Leanne clapped her hands over her ears. Even the Scissorman was not immune, shrieking as he clutched at the sides of his head. As the deafening peels drowned out the sounds of the rain and the thunder, something huge from above slipped its moorings and plunged down, smashing through the dusty boards in a shower of splinters. The floor fell away beneath her stalker's feet and he slipped into the darkness below, vanishing from sight.
The bells continued their inexorable booming until at last they fell silent, leaving only the dull sound of the turning gears in their place.
Leanne tried to stand, pushing herself up, before slumping back to the ground, weariness setting in. Though the wheels continued to grind, and the rain continued to fall, and the thunder continued to rumble, she succumbed, slipping into unconsciousness.
She wasn't sure how much time had passed before she finally awoke, but when she opened her eyes it was to daylight. She felt weightless, almost as though she were drifting on some unseen current. She felt curiously light-headed and all of her pain was gone. For a moment, she almost believed that she had died, lying on the floor of the Clock Tower. But she could feel the soft touch of a light breeze against her cheek and smell the pollen in the air. She certainly wasn't dead.
Eventually, she realised that she was lying on some kind of bed, a soft pillow cushioning her head, warm sheets cocooning her body. She could hear voices, some raised in the distance, others hushed nearby. When she tried to see who was speaking, she couldn't get her eyes to focus. The sunlight was making it difficult for her to see in her hazy half-wakefulness.
The brightness dimmed as she was moved into an enclosed space where the shade allowed her eyes to adjust. White walls held a variety of boxes and instruments. Red crosses and complex instructions adorned everything she looked at. She recognised it as the rear compartment of an ambulance. As she lay, drugged and comfortably numb on her gurney, a pleasant female face appeared above her, a soft hand touching her hair gently.
"Don't worry. You're going to be okay," the nurse told her, "everything's going to be okay."