AN: The last chapter of Wet Sands is next week, so I decided to start something new. It combines my love of spooky things, Twin Peaks and ghosts. I hope you in enjoy this story, but I do stray from canon.
A big thank you to the amazing Alice's White Rabbit for correcting my mistakes and being a wonderful friend!
Thank you for reading. I appreciate it greatly.
Black Butterfly Rising
You never forget seeing a dead body, especially one that is hanging from the rafters of your bedroom with their legs dangling in your face. A beautiful face, now bloated and devoid of any emotions, staring at you as screams change into tearful sobs. Those screams, the sobs are all yours.
I can see the note pinned to your sweater. The letters are twisty and swirly like I always remembered. They seem bright and cheerful in contrast to the angry, accusing words written on the ripped-out note paper that are all directed at me.
"You know how to turn that frown upside down?" It was that boy again with his wild hair and dancing moss eyes. The guidance counselor can't call me crazy with this loon in the group.
Ignorance is bliss, so I shall blissfully ignore the nut.
I pulled my legs up on the hard, plastic chair to hug my knees. Uncomfortable chairs must be Esme Murdock's way to get us to spill out our pain. The more we squirm on the seats means an increased likelihood of spilling our guts. It must be her wicked plan to increase our test scores before they have to submit them to the state to increase funding. That woman was an evil mastermind. She must have gotten her doctorate by using voodoo.
The boy sat next to me, much to my chagrin. I wondered if he stuck his finger in an electric socket to get those locks so out of control. I had seen the guy around. He seemed to be everywhere. He was probably still curious about the new girl, because in this town you leave never come back. No one in their right mind would move to this depressed little town after the mill closed several years back. I had only been at this school six months and really only hung out in one circle. My dead friend had embraced me into her world the first day. She took pity on the abandoned girl, dropped off to live with her distant father. Now, over a stupid argument, she had abandoned me too.
He stared at me until I hid my head in my arms.
"Do you want me to give you seven minutes in heaven in the janitor's closet? Dr. Murdock won't be here until eleven."
"Bella, just try for me!"
The husky timber of her voice had been haunting me since that night. It was almost like she was whispering in my ear like she used to do in Biology. Her seat was directly behind mine, but she would push herself almost entirely on the table in front of her to quietly regal me with the gossip that was provided by our peers. Her fingers gripped my shoulder tightly, as if to keep me near her forever.
The idea of her being prepared for her funeral at this moment on a steel table made me feel like I needed to vomit all over the burnished tan of the wood floors of the stage. Her once vibrant skin was probably being caked with make-up to cover her new pasty complexion by Mr. Cheney as his wife prepared to color my friend's face with the red lipstick that she hated.
Their son, Ben, snuck me into the mortuary right after I moved to town to see the body of old Mr. Waylon. He had drowned in the pond behind his shack on the edge of the woods. The man's face was bloated, and his eyes bulged out of his head. It was the most horrible thing I had ever seen before that night I found her hanging with the noose wrapped tight. The thought of her now lying where Mr. Waylon had once been made me cringe.
My eyes tightened, willing her voice and the memories of her swinging body to disappear. I opened them slowly to observe the living boy next to me. He was all bravado and misplaced ego. I couldn't contain the snort that erupted. "How about a knuckle sandwich?"
"Knuckle sandwich? Girl, you have an old soul." The boy stretched out his long legs clad in dark denim. He was all limbs. "I can help you unwind. I have magical fingers."
He waved them in my face, and I knocked them away.
"Are you a sex addict or just a deranged moron?" I questioned. He was handsome but the most annoying creature.
"A little bit of both. It's a deadly combination." His smirk would be infectious if I didn't already hate him so much.
I turned away and took in the stage where the plastic folding chairs we would sit on were placed in a circle. The hot stage lights beat down on my face making me feel sweaty. It felt like we were in a police station getting ready to be interrogated by the detective instead of in Dr. Murdock's high school therapy session. The bright lighting of the stage contrasted with the darkness of the audience seating. The thought of going down there after this mockery of a bonding session made me shiver.
Sure this was a public school, but surely, they could afford proper lighting.
"Let's get out of here," he suggested. The boy's green eyes danced with the idea. "I have a car, and Esme will just be saying stupid shit about feelings. The woman makes my ears bleed."
"Don't you have any tact? She's faculty here." I didn't care about the guidance counselor actually, but the guy was a jerk.
He gave a sharp laugh. "Old Esme's fucking my uncle, little girl. I think I know her pretty well. I'm Edward Cullen."
"I'm not interested. Did you know her?"
"The dead girl? Nope." I watched as he started chewing on his nails. It was disgusting, but his fingers were so long and graceful. They were mesmerizing. Of course, this Edward creep noticed. "You looking at my fingers again, pretty? I know the perfect place for me to stick—"
You're a dirty whore! It was her voice again. I whipped my head around. It sounded like she was really in the room and not a figment of my imagination.
Edward looked at me quizzically. "Are you all right?"
I ignored his question.
"Why are you here? This meeting of the minds is about her."
"Actually, Esme decided to combine the fuck-up group with the mourners," he pointed out. "I forgot to add that Esme is also lazy. Kill two birds and all that. Which is oddly appropriate given the topic of this—"
"Shut up!" I snapped.
That's my firecracker, her voice cooed. I was going insane.
"Stop!" I clutched my head.
"Bells, it's okay." A pair of large hands gently rubbed my hair. I looked up to see Emmett McCarty kneeling down in front of me with his kind blue eyes. "I feel that way too."
I flung myself in his arms. Emmett was the captain of the football team and the kind of living teddy bear that one could easily snuggle. I felt his dark curls in my fingertips. They were soothing to stroke. "I know, Em. Sit with me."
Edward was glaring at us. He was probably saddened that the quickie he imagined behind the curtains wasn't going to happen.
Emmett glanced around the room. "She wasn't friends with half of these people."
The stage was now filling up with our fellow students. Some we knew were close to our fallen friend. Mike and Lauren clung to each other with red-rimmed eyes. Our friend Jane clutched her bag tightly to her chest and talked quietly to herself as Jessica followed her in with a sour expression. The funeral was on Saturday, but the way everyone was acting today, it was going to be a long time coming for the mourning to subside a bit.
Alice Brandon, with her black baby doll dress that fit perfectly the spiky hair she created with use of a pair of rusty scissors, danced in followed by her constant companion, Jasper Whitlock, whose yellow curls peeked out of the knitted cap perched on his head. They plopped down across from us; Alice promptly blew me a kiss. I didn't want to admit it, but I found that pair intriguing.
"Dr. Murdock decided to combine her therapy groups," I explained in a nicer way than Edward had told me. "I thought you weren't coming today."
Emmett shrugged. "I wasn't. Dad is afraid I won't be able to concentrate on my game if I can't get over things. She just died and all that asshole cares about are some stupid NFL dreams he has for me. I hate him. Maybe he's right. The fucking nightmares every night are killing me. I can't sleep, and I don't understand why she left me."
I held his hand. One thoughtless decision left so much pain.
"Because you're a pussy," Edward chimed in and scooted his chair closer to me. His thigh rested against mine. The heat from his body coursed through me. "Daddy wants you to cry, and you go running with your tail between your legs."
"Edward!" I yelled. He was a jerk.
Emmett reached across me and grabbed Edward by his dirty, ripped Nirvana tee-shirt. "I can break you, shithead!"
"Boys! We are here to heal!" A voice trilled.
Esme Murdock jogged into the middle of the circle carrying an easel covered with a sheet. She put it down and spun around, making her patchwork skirt swirl around her as she took all of us in. Dr. Murdock was still quite the hippie with her peasant shirt and jangling bracelets that made such a racket that they were giving me a headache.
"Children, today is not a day to mourn. Instead, I think this is a chance to celebrate life and work on the issues that stop us from being our best possible selves," she announced and flung off the sheet.
The face before me was the beautiful one I wished to remember and not the lifeless one that was haunting my dreams. Blonde waves framing a heart shaped face and glacier blue eyes that made one feel as if you were drowning. She was lovely, and the smile on her primrose-colored lips was full of cheer. Her signature gold butterfly necklace was, as always, proudly resting between her breasts. It was a close-up picture of her before going to Homecoming the year before. I had seen it on the mantle of her parents' home in a place of honor. It was heartbreaking.
"Children, today we celebrate the life of Rosalie Hale."
"She looks like Laura Palmer," Alice pointed out. Jasper somehow maneuvered his head into her lap with his body hanging awkwardly off his chair. I watched as she stroked his forehead and proceeded to remove the diamond stud in his ear without him noticing. I had learned a few minutes earlier that Alice was a kleptomaniac.
Actually, I had learned many things about my fellow students that day. Jasper liked to take drugs as if they were candy. Little Bree, who wore oversized fisherman sweaters, was a glue sniffer. Jane, who I had thought I knew, admitted to liking internet porn. It was as if this impromptu gathering was where everyone went to verbally vomit out all of their secrets. It was unnerving.
"Who's Laura Palmer, freak?" Jessica asked with a sneer. I was never very close to Jessica. She was always trying to be perfect. Even today, she looked like the perfect student with her button-down shirt looking perfectly starched and not a strand of her auburn hair out of place.
"A character on some old show called Twin Peaks. I found it on Netflix," Alice explained. "She was a dead body too."
"Shut your mouth!" Jessica screamed.
Alice started to giggle. "Laura was wrapped in plastic. Hey, Isabella Swan, was that how you found Rosie? Was she looking all pretty in plastic? I heard she was swinging around like a piñata. Sexual hijinks? You found her, right? Give us the dirty details."
The vision of the last time I saw her came flooding back. Her face. . .
Jasper started chuckling as I jumped up and rushed off the stage into the wings and started hyperventilating.
Love me, darling. Love me, dear, the memory of her sang. She would brush those long locks of hers and sing that song while she looked in her mirror. I felt as if she was actually watching me.
There was an icy feeling on the back of my neck, and I shuddered. It was like ice cubes were kissing me on the back of my neck.
Love me, darling. Love me, dear.
That cold feeling was replaced as two warm hands were placed on my shoulders. I jumped and spun around to face emerald green eyes.
He moved those hands to my face. "You okay?"
"We need to get back." I tried to move away, but his grip was tight.
Edward Cullen kissed me.
His warm lips momentarily made me forget the memories of Rosalie. He tasted like cinnamon and bad intentions that could quickly become good if I could continue to forget. He's arms moved to embrace me, and his hands caressed my lower back.
Love me, darling. Love me, dear, bitch! Rosalie's voice screeched in my head.
I pushed Edward away. "What the hell was that? You don't kiss people you don't know!"
"I know you, sweetheart. I can promise you that," he announced cryptically. "I was just trying to help you."
He took my arm and I struggled to get away. "Go away!"
Edward wouldn't let go and instead held my arm tighter. His face paled. "You're bleeding."
I looked down and the arm of my shirt was soaked in blood. Slowly, I pulled back my sleeve and carved into my skin was a bloody butterfly.
"Did you do that? You're a cutter?" He pulled off his shirt and wrapped it tightly around the wound.
"No," I whispered. It had just appeared and only now had it begun throbbing painfully.
He didn't look as if he believed me, and as Edward opened his mouth to speak, there were screams and a loud crash.
We ran back onto the stage and found Mike Newton pinned under a fallen stage light. At that moment, I was certain of only one thing. We were all cursed.