Disclaimer: Uh huh.

Author's Note: All righty. I'm not quite sure what I'm doing here. . . to be honest, I doubt I'll ever update this. But it was one of those ideas that sort of lodged itself my brain and refused to leave. And before anyone mentions it, yes— in many ways, it is a lot like Questions and Idle Hands, and, in that sense, an idea which is admittedly getting old. But this is different. . . and in all actuality, more a combination of Chrono Crusade and Elfin Lied (if anyone has seen that) than anything else. . . but whatever. I'm just trying to expand my writing horizons— I've done so much romantic comedy, it's nice to do some serious stuff. (That. . . and I'm a sick, twisted person. XD)

Anyway, again, before anyone says anything, I AM in the middle of Double Trouble's next chapter. However, as it is on my laptop, which currently has no battery, and my dad has the cord—meaning I have no way to charge it— I'll have to work on that update later.

Finally, many of you have been wondering why my updates have been so few and far between lately. So far, all I've said is because I'm busy and there's been stuff at home. Which is true—but I promised on my bio that I'd give a better explanation. The complete paragraph is in the next chapter of DT's AN, but for those of you who read this, I'll give a quicky version here: My dad has been abusing alcohol and prescription medication for the past year and a half, and things have only been getting worse. So my family (especially my mom) has really needed my support, help, and time for the past few months. Also, I'm in a play which has rehearsals nearly every night until 6.

. . . um. . . that said, please enjoy this little teaser/taster/chapter/thing! XD (sweatdrop)

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Excerpt from: Report #23748666

Location: Magdalene Clinic for the Mentally Unstable (BURNED DOWN: 10/1/XX; NEVER REOPENED)

Original Print Date: October 31, 2XXX

There are some patients who everybody knows should be here. You recognize them when you see them; they're hard to miss. The ones who reek of— pardon my political incorrectness— insanity: screaming down the halls, writhing in their rooms, bound to padded walls. However, once in a while I run across a black sheep— a man or woman who, had I seen them out on the streets, I'd never have given a second glance. Boys who smile and nod; girls who laugh and wave. But after having seen them at a bloody crime scene or in a stomach-turning police video, psychoanalysts like myself tend to think of them differently. However— "different" isn't always "right".

Yes, it is also crucial to remember that first appearances are deceiving; that you can't always believe what you see on TV or read in the newspaper. After all, even the crazy were sane once; and many of the sensible find themselves locked away due to madness.

In my mind, Rosette Christopher was one such patient.

. . . Though to be honest, I cannot trust my own mind anymore.

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DEVIL MASTER

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I hate my job.

Sighing as I adjust my lab coat, I haphazardly brush a few stray locks of hair over my shoulder; heels 'click clacking' down the pristine linoleum halls. White, white, white. . . everywhere I look. So overwhelmingly pale; the only light the artificial stuff that pours from the wide tiles on the ceiling. A window would be nice, I think— if only to break up the monotony. Passing locked doors and wrinkle-nosed doctors, I unwillingly allow depression to set in.

Maybe it's not so much my job I hate; it's this building. So eerily immaculate and quiet; soundproof walls swallowing the patients occasional screams. Really, the only cheerful noises are the occasional hellos I receive from passing physiatrists and nurses— 'hello's which are few, far between, and not very heart felt.

I press on.

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"New patient today?"

Giving a little jump of surprise, I whirl around— eyes widening slightly as they land upon Edward Hamilton, manger of the equipment department. He always manages to sneak up on me. . . I'm not sure how he does it. "Yes," I respond carefully as soon as I can find my voice again, bending over to gather up the papers I'd accidentally dropped. I cast him a warning look when his attention slips towards my rear. Damn these business skirts. . . "One, Rosette Marie Christopher. A convicted serial killer, if I'm not mistaken."

"You're not," he assures with a small smile, though a worried glitter has sprung to life behind his glasses. "At least a dozen dead in her wake, I hear. . . Though journalists do like to exaggerate. Quite a few vandalism charges, too: fallen buildings, wrecked cars and such. But. . . why did they give her to you?"

The incredulity in his voice causes a small frown to mar my features; fingers darting to busily rearrange my notes and clipboard. "Obviously the Board of Directors feels I can handle her," I retort coolly, careful to keep a note of pride out of my voice. Regardless of whether I hate my job or not, to be trusted with a task as big as this is turning out to be—

"Then the Board of Directors has lost his God damn mind," Hamilton says simply, swiftly cutting off my mental congratulations; stuffing his fists into his pockets. "Look at you! You're a newbie!"

My glare is ignored. "I've been in this business for four years, thank you very much, and would like to believe that I'm well prepared for any physiological problem this girl can throw at me."

The man snorts darkly. "She may be throwing more then that at you. . ."

"?" I give a small start, reluctantly (but undeniably) taken aback. "What?" Glancing down, I hurriedly flip through my papers. Did I miss something important in my debriefing? "But it says here that each patient is carefully chained and put—"

"Into straightjackets, I know the procedure," he finishes coldly. "But this girl. . . I. . . I've heard stories about her. She's been in here for a month, you know. And has been through five therapists already." His brow furrows as my eyebrows shoot upwards in shock. "Be careful, my dear. And make sure you know what you're getting yourself into."

Swallowing, I force myself to meet his gaze. ". . . I do. And I'm prepared."

Or so I would like to think.

Giving me a slow once over, Edward nods—pretending (perhaps for my own sake) to be satisfied with my answer. Still, he cannot seem to shake that look of concern from his face, even as he leaves.

. . . Maybe it was seeing that nervous expression; maybe it was my own curiosity, but—whatever it was— in that moment, some grain of foolishness possessed me. A fear. . . and a interest. An interest in what could have possibly happened to spook everyone away from Rosette's case. How horrible could one girl be? There was no way she could have. . . no. But still, I asked: loudly and towards his retreating back: "What happened to the others?"

However, if Mr. Hamilton heard me, he did not answer.

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There is darkness, in her room. If one could even call it a room. Hidden in the back corner of the clinic, beyond the shadows— with just enough space inside for two chairs; separated by two yards.

Two chairs and a thick blanket of darkness. . .

But though it is dark, it is much less desolate than the rest of the hospital; more alive. In a strange, strange way. . .

"Lands far across the sea, seem to be calling me. Far away, here them say, won't you come and see. . . ?"

The soft, feminine voice can be heard from just outside the thick white door; locked four times and with its own keypad code. It is a sound that is indisputably enchanting. . . yet its beauty becomes unmatched upon entering Rosette's sanctuary; upon submitting yourself to the gloom.

My eyes dilate as I close the barrier behind me; trying to see through the overpowering blackness. There is no light switch, no lamp, no pull cord. Her song continues to reverberate through the closet of space which has become her home.

"Someday when I am grown—when I am on my own— this I know, I will go, to the lands that call to me."

Silence.

I squint.

And there she is.

Tilting her head slightly, she smiles— a girl my age— arms bound to her sides by a straightjacket, bare legs and crossed delicately behind the ankles. She sits straight and tall upon what looks like a crumbling throne, eyeing my metal fold out chair with a hint of amusement. Golden locks and sapphire pools slice through the nothingness which spans between us like a knife.

"Hello."

That is how it began.

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"Hello," I respond with equal calmness, reaching behind my ear and retrieving a pen. "And how are you today?"

". . ." She stares at me for a moment; it unnerves me. Like she's seeing into my soul with those blue, blue orbs—orbs that flash in the darkness. "What a funny way to start things," she admonishes after a minute or two. "We haven't even been introduced to each other yet."

"—?" Faltering, I instinctively flipping through my papers—though they're impossible to read without light. How annoying. . . and yet; somewhere deep inside I must admit. . . I am glad to see the whiteness go. I push the feeling aside. "It says in my notes that you don't care to learn people's names."

Rosette's grin widens, a touch of disgust working its way into her tone. "Do you believe everything you read, miss? That's not very wise."

My cheeks instinctively flush; mind racing to try and justify my blunder. "That's not it— I don't think names are important, anyway." Why does she unnerve me so? "They're rather personal, and personal feelings will get in the way of our sessions." Why?

A little murmur of consent reaches my ears. "Mmm, yes. . . personal feelings do get in the way, don't they? Emotions— such silly things! They drive us from the threshold of heaven to the brink of insanity, and still. . . still, we follow them! Humans are weak like that; allowing our hearts to make up matters, rather than our heads."

She pauses, a little chuckle escaping her. "But. . . in a way. . . that is our greatest strength, as well. Don't you agree. . . ?"

". . ." My only reply is my appearance, which is surely comical: voice lost, eyes wide, mouth gaping—

Until I feel a gentle pressure against my cheek, a caress, like the slither of a passing snake. Warm, warm, warm— nearly too warm. Hot. Like a palm-sized fire. . . Something that seems to be a hand, carefully lifting my chin till my lips meet once more.

In a state of disbelief I don't fight the force, but as soon as its gone I feel my stomach fall away—confusion setting in. Whipping my head around, I frantically search to find the offending fingers, but. . .

A chill shoots through me. Who's—!

. . . No one. . . ?

Rosette's giggles pull my attention away from the shadows, a laziness in her never-ending stare. "You should be more careful, miss. You'll catch flies with your mouth hanging open like that."

My insides freeze in an instant; horror clawing at my throat.

"She may be throwing more then that at you. . ."

She— she couldn't have. . .

"I've heard stories about her."

But that's not possible. . . !


"What happened to the others?"

What happened to the others. . . ?—!

Heart pounding wildly in my chest, I subconsciously begin reaching for the door; shaking, sweating, frantic— clipboard falling from my lap. "Who— who are you. . . ?"

". . ." Her haunting beam grows a fraction, terrifying in its sincerity. So entertained. . . "Now you're curious? But I thought names would make things too. . . PERSONAL. . ."

"!" A second, harsher firmness encircles my wrist, yanking it roughly away from the door; the click of locks and the heavy slide of sturdy bolts snapping into place loudly echoing in my ears. I can feel bruises form beneath my skin, blood rushing and capillaries severing. And a faintness. . . it clouds my vision as I watch my clipboard float upwards on invisible threads, dangling in front of my eyes in an almost taunting fashion.

"But very well. . ."

The frigid room air leaves my lungs in a rush; a sure promise of unconsciousness. If only I could scream. . . !

"My name is Rosette Christopher," breathes a chilling voice in my head; fingers tracing, memorizing, scaring my flesh. Rough, tender, soft, hard; Hands, hands, hands everywhere—!

"And I am a devil master."

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Well, that's all for now! Hope you liked. . . And no—before anyone asks—that hands are NOT vectors, like in Elfin Lied. In fact, they're not even Rosette's. . . XD

Please R&R!