Over and Done With

By: E.R.M. Griffin

Summary: She tried to plea with him. Perhaps it was just basic humility. Perhaps just pity. In the end, she almost regretted it had turned out that way. But she had tried, after all.

It was still hard to imagine that everything around her was coming down. Probably why she found herself putting her full weight against the mock crib, pushing it against a door, knowing it would do little good anyway. It was just prolonging the inevitable.

There's no way out of this.

As the crib moved along the ground of the second floor, bits of wax went with it, dug up in thick chunks with the help of the inferno raging just under her feet. She could feel the heat from the fire. The fire had already spread through the first floor, and she didn't need to see it to know that the wax figurines--people, they were real, dead people--were probably meeting their final end as she cowered in this mock-bedroom. As she continued to push against the crib, the two figures inside caught her eye. Those were empty, she could see that without having to peel back their waxy exterior.

It seems right, somehow. Her mind was working in sporadic, panicked intervals. She tried, but found she couldn't hang on to that thought long enough to dwell on it further. There were too many other, worst things to think about to concentrate on that. To think about how, in a strange way, this crib, with it's two forgotten wax babies, was probably more real than anything she had seen in Athelston.

Another thought, bouncing into her mind and leaving her dumbstruck for a split second before the fear washed it away again: This room is more alive than any other. She may have dwelt on that a bit further, had the blade of a knife not come to rest about an inch from her nose, its silver body moving smoothly through the door.

Wax...it's all wax. She screamed, losing her footing for just a moment and stumbling backwards. Her eyes remained frozen on that blade all the same, watching it as it sliced down through the only barrier between--Vincent, he's here and he's coming and he's here and...--A shriek tore its way out of her throat, though she was too fixated on the blade to realize she had screamed. Even as it slid backwards, and two strong, adept hands moved the strips away, she couldn't look away. All she could do was take small steps backwards, until she felt the back of her legs connect with something, looking back for a brief moment to find she had bumped against the wax bed.

Looking back found her looking into a vaguely familiar face. For a moment, her terror made her dumb, and she found herself wondering who it was that peered at her through the hole in the door.

Vincent, it's Vincent and his face melted... But no, she shook her head sharply. His mask was melting, she realized, not his face. An absurd thought, He's a giant wax man, which was extinguished with another shriek as he peeled back the remaining bits of the doorway and stepped clumsily into the room. And his step was indeed, she realized, off-put.

Did Nick get him? Did he hurt him? Oh God, maybe Nick is...

He lunged at her and she moved. Yet even as she evaded him, she could see that he moved sluggishly. The bed separated them briefly, and she had the briefest reprieve during which she saw he was crying.

Bo is dead.

There was little of his face to be seen from behind his melting mask, but one eye was still visible, blue and swimming in tears. The image of a bloated fish, its eye staring dumbly from inside a tank flashed in her mind, long enough to let her-as absurd as it was-pity him for that briefest of moments.

"No! Wait! Wait, listen to me!"

She didn't really think. It was strange, but for the first time, she said what she meant. Really meant. No pussy-footing, no innuendo. This was far too late along to play games, best to just speak what was needed to be spoken.

"I heard you!" She saw him pause, his hand still tight on the knife but his one visible eye locked on her. She wondered what the face underneath would have let her see had she been able to see it. Would there have been an expression she could read? "I heard you talking!"

She kept talking-or maybe she was just babbling, stalling for time?-and he kept listening. She suddenly found herself desperate, her eyes pleading with her would-be murderer. Yet strangely, even though it would have been her intent, she felt as though it wasn't her life she was truly pleading for. But then, she had to ask herself, who was she pleading for? Was it for Nick? Was it for her dead friends? Perhaps it was for Bo, who she had taken an almost sadistic joy-and it sickened her now to admit it-in killing. Perhaps it was for him, for Vincent.

"You're not a freak..." She meant it. She really did. In a way, she understood, that even with all the killing and the death, when it came to the top of the pyramid..."...he was!"

Or for all of us, because none of us are going to make it out of here alive. There's no way. Not for any of us.

Maybe it was because, now, at this very moment when death looked so inevitable, she wanted it all to end. If this was truly the moment and if the two of them-she and Vincent-truly did die, couldn't it all just stop now?

A waste, it's all such a waste.

She was losing him, she realized. Even as she couldn't read his face, she knew she was losing him again. She wasn't sure to what, but there was suddenly an overwhelming terror inside her, because she knew that in the next few seconds, whatever plea she tried would only fall on deaf ears.

Without the death, without the decay underneath, it could have been so beautiful.

He was almost lost. Just another moment...

"Please, you're an artist!"

It was her last appeal, she understood that. Anything else she said from that point out would be lost to the storm, to the fire under them both. It was her--their--last chance.

It could have been so beautiful.

The last plea was over, and anything else was lost to the rage. He lunged at her and she moved away, and the next few moments were a blur during which she could only register that Nick hadn't died on the first floor after all. She felt an overwhelming feeling of relief which proved short-lived.

We're going to die, remember? We're all going to die in this little room, together...

She saw the weapon and was only half-aware of the fact that she was pulling it out of Nick. His skin yielded far easier than she would have imagined, and the handle of the blade rested firmly between the palms of her hands.

Don't make me. Don't. Don't. Please. Let it end now, let the...

"Carly! Do it Carly! Do it!"

...house take us all now, don't make me...

The blade hit home, and there was no sound. Everything was lost to the fire. Everything went to the storm. It swallowed them up a half-second later, the ground tearing to send them all falling. There was fire below them, and she found that knowing that was okay. Even falling into the fire might be okay.

She shut her eyes tightly, hoping that whatever happened next, happened quickly.