A/N: I've been away from fanfiction for a good while under personal and familial issues. This is my subdued version of therapy.
I want to thank my readers and many friends that have helped me through this rough month since something extremely unexpected and horrible happened. I have found unbelievable support in this fandom and the incredible women within it.
Some asked via PMs or reviews if I still keep in touch with the fandom and yes, I do it through Twitter. Link is on my profile.
(Here Comes the Bride)
The Grim Reaper sits precariously on its pedestal just below the gates of Heaven of and Hell. In its life it had been the first mortal die, encompassed by black tar as it ran from predators. There was no ultimatum, no choice of Eternal Bliss or Eternal Pain; it had been forced into purgatory for all of eternity.
The fog of a new arrival swirls thickly through the marshlands that it thrives in. The Grim Reaper enjoys this part the most. Inside the dirty marsh pool a scene bubbles and it jumps from its spot in front of the gate.
A young blonde woman walks hurriedly back home after a night of fun with her friend. She thinks of how her life will not be the same with a new fiancée. The Grim Reaper sits back on the charcoal like floor and sticks its hand into the bubbling water. The woman turns her head sharply, suddenly alert.
The Grim Reaper bristles in excitement as five men stalk behind her, drunk on fine liquor and hormones. She yells and the man who is her fiancée coos to her, but she is running quickly, the drunks following hurriedly behind her.
In a few seconds her scalp is bloody and hair is ripped away, her dress is torn into shreds. Even though she is being pawed at she thinks of how much she enjoyed the dress while she had it and how her mother would yell for the damage. She never stops fighting, even when the men decide to play their games.
The Grim Reaper waits for her arrival. She lies on the ground, panting away her life with a few last futile breaths to live. She wants to live, she will give anything to be saved, but her mind prepares her for death as her heart begins its crescendo into oblivion.
She shudders and fades, then she drifts through the tides and splits down the alternate path. The Grim Reaper stands to greet the newly arriving soul.
She has shadows under her eyes, her human beauty means nothing. Neither Heaven nor Hell wants her now and the Reaper must make the decision while she endures the purgatory test.
"Welcome," the Reapers calls urgently. The girl turns her head and shivers to her knees. She calls for her mother and father; invisible tears ache to leave her gaunt eyes.
"Where am I?" she wails and scrambles to her feet, moving away from the Reaper. It moves closer, unamused by her victim ways.
"Purgatory," it answers.
"Why am I here?" she snaps and brushes the black dust off her long ivory dress. The material is ripped and splintered with blood but she treats it reverently.
"Heaven and Hell cannot take you without my sole judgment. I will give you your ultimatums." The Reaper steps forward and her eyes grow wide as she looks at its shrouded face covered in a veil.
"D-don't," she stutters desperately. "I can't take another man—"
The Reaper lets out a short bark of laughter and pulls the hood from around its face. The pale fleshy face is smooth and unblemished. There is no giveaway to what gender it is or was. The woman gasps and her body shakes more at the sight of a human figure with nothing more than an expanse of skin.
"I am neither male nor female," the Reaper says to her. It has unveiled itself to many humans before; it has become a normal occurrence.
"What are my choices?" she trembles with each word and hopes that she can leave this place. It reminds her of the wine cellar back home. She found a large arachnid when she was a child and the door had locked when she fled from it.
The Reaper places the veil back and shrouds the smooth flesh into darkness once more. The girl can concentrate once again on the task at hand instead of the large figure before her. She tries to shake off the resemblance to the men, shaded by the dark twists of buildings and trees. Her mind goes to a small apothecary less than thirty feet from where she was attacked, it was the only one left—maybe even in the world. She could have killed herself, but instead her fate was left to ogres.
"The afterlife waits for you; I can send you through the Golden Gates." A shapeless hand points towards the arches of an ominous gate. "You can let the other side determine whether you move to heaven or hell, or you can seek retribution."
Her eyes flame. "Retribution?"
The Reaper shifts in excitement. "Yes, retribution. If you so choose I can send you back and allow you to take revenge into your own hands." As if she understands the concept she looks to her palms and flexes her fists in power. "You can punish those who have hurt you. But…"
"But what? I want to do that option. There's no guarantee I'll go to Heaven anyway, right?"
"If you seek retribution and act upon it, you will be sent Hell."
She remains silent, pondering that thought as the Reaper sits, ecstatic at the game that is about to be played. She looks into its face, and nods only once, but it is enough.
Rosalie Hale walks onto the earth, the Reaper following behind her as she returns to the spot where her body lies bruised and battered. A woman came across it hours ago and now her parents arrive in their sleek town car to call identification to it. They quickly leave and have the coroners take care of the body.
She bristles with anger when Royce—her fiancée—sobs uncontrollably for her death, only to return to his room and meditate on how to get away with the murder. Rosalie sits in the corner, watching him with black eyes. He calls his friends together and they meet at a pub.
The Reaper looms over her, keeping her mind calm and telling her to wait until she's positive she wants to make the trade. They all laugh over their drinks, never bringing up the murder of the young heiress. Rosalie is shaking with her rage and her thoughts race with a theatrical revenge.
"I want to do it," she hisses to the Reaper, eyes blazing with determination.
The Reaper backs away and lets her do what she needs to. She has a plan for each man, her goal is to shock each one into death, but she has a special plan for her former love. Rosalie breathes in deeply and laughs darkly, following the first to leave the bar. She can't even remember his name, but she remembers his face, his hands smelling of sweat and shoe polish.
His wife is on the couch when he arrives home, panting and groaning as her swollen belly jumps up and down. The drunkard sees it as a call for him to crawl between her legs which are wide open and twitching. He unbuttons his pants but the housemaid runs into the room and hands him a water basin.
"She's gone into labor!" the maid shrieks and pats a cool washcloth to her head.
The man finally gets his head together and remembers that he is married, that his wife is having his child and that he raped another woman last night. He feels no regret for it, though. The scotch in his belly makes him feel warm and innocent.
She knows immediately what she wants to do. His wife had been a schoolmate when she was younger. She had cut Rosalie's silken hair when she wore it in a braid. She helped the boys mash dead frogs into her desk and trip her in the stores. Rosalie finds a grin spreading across her face knowing that the two of them will be stuck together in eternal matrimony.
The Grim Reaper agrees and gives her what she needs, and then leaves to watch from its pedestal. She crawls inside the woman, the pain of Rosalie's small invasion unnoticed by the contraction fire sprinting up her spine. The woman screams and arches at the unknown invasion and the force of which she pushes the child out.
Her husband sits by, pouring a glass of alcohol for himself and watching with a grimace as the doctor arrives and prepares for delivery. He wishes he had stayed at the bar. He doesn't want to associate this child with the gore that is about to come spewing from a woman he's known no longer than a year. He only formed a relationship with her for her sister. He took her to balls and spent time with her to grow closer to her fair skinned, beautiful sister. But he had been forced into a marriage with a woman he didn't love, having many affairs on the side to cover up the pain of losing his first and only love.
His wife screams a disjointed wail as she pushes the child from between her legs. She sighs when it slips, but a shining crown of skin does not appear. He drops his glass to the floor and backs into the wall as a stream of long, flowing gold hairs drops with birth secretion. A woman emerges from her womb and the mother goes pale, all blood rushing from her opening where the figure comes into view, holding the crying child in her dead arms.
Rosalie's face is twisted in disgust and smug relief as the woman she is sliding from screams in agony and disbelief. She passes out from shock and the blood coming out is enough to kill her.
She turns her head to the male who is backed toward the wall. He watches the woman who is dead—who he saw laying unmoving with rats swarming her skinned knees only hours earlier, naked and glistening with his newborn child cradled in her arms. She glares at him, snapping the umbilical cord and laughing riotously at him. He is in shock, unable to speak and slides to the floor, his heart racing and racing until his body stills and he is dead with the sudden pause of his heart.
Rosalie moves from the carnage that she is set in and places the baby warmly in a white blanket lying on the doctor's lap. He is shaking and she has no choice but to kill him. She sets the baby girl down in a crib and listens to it cry.
She wants to take it with her. She wishes the child had died so she could keep it, fawn over its warmth and life a little longer. But she feels the insistent tug, she only has a matter of time to do what she needs to and there is no sense in wasting it.
She drops the baby gently, sliding a cold dead finger over its cherubic face and walks away. She hears the maid come in from the kitchen and the resounding scream that masks the babies.
Rosalie finds herself looking in on the man who did unholy things with his fingers while another plunged into her. He was the third person to take his turn the night of her murder. He sits a table with a young woman, acting bashful as she gently touches his fingers.
He plans on having her tonight, he feels dirty losing his virginity to a woman he raped. He doesn't like that word, but Royce told him that's what they'd done and he's come to accept it. He was taught to treat ladies kindly, but his alcohol consumption made his decision blurred and the promise of pleasure that he'd only experienced in the tub late at night was thrilling.
He thrives at parties, loves the limelight that he is given. He is next in line to take over his father's business. He wants a woman who will give him the pleasure he felt nights ago. He wants a willing partner, someone tight and soft.
Rosalie doesn't like looking at his face. He has a naturally smug look and it angers her. She never liked this man. Royce brought him over for poker and he would leer at her when she passed to bring them drinks. He came into her room one night; looking at her while she slept. When she woke up he walked backwards to the door and left.
She feels mentally weak after her previous night's work, but she wants him gone, made a spectacle of in his home environment. He moves upstairs when the girl says she will be willing to try things with him, that she trusts his intentions.
She hangs loosely from his arm, nervous and jittery. Before he turns into the darkness of an unlocked room, Rosalie throws her backwards into another room and places her arm over his. He tries to light a candle, but she grabs his hand.
"You're so cold," he whispers.
She pushes him back to the bed, grabbing lace gloves from the vanity. He undresses quickly, pulling his clothes from his body and experiments in touching himself to prepare. Rosalie is disgusted but lets him continue. This will be the last time he felt pleasure.
"I want you to get on your hands and knees," she whispers, making her voice a falsetto to match the other girl's timid voice.
He quickly turns, his erect penis dangling between his thighs. Rosalie finds herself curious, but remembers the pain of losing her virginity and the way they had all disregarded her feelings. She smiles to herself. She had been violated, so would he.
"Have you ever been with a woman?" she murmurs quietly.
"Um… once," he answers nervously. "It was nothing special."
She seethes. "Did you finish?" she restrains her hiss.
"Yes," he sighs.
"Was she a virgin?"
"Did you know that virgins feel pain their first time?" Her jaw is shaking as she relives every moment. He remains silent. "They do."
"I wasn't her first. I will be very gentle with you, I will be the absolute gentleman," he vows. His hips begin to rock forward into the air. The position makes him open and exposed.
She grabs a parasol from beside the bed, spitting on the handle to make it slippery. Without a warning she has sodomized his rectum with the handle. He gasps and screams, worming to get away, but she pushes it further, grinning at his discomfort.
"Please stop, Anne!" he screams. "What are you doing? Stop!" His panic is almost tangible on her fingertips. She laughs and begins to thrust it in and out.
He begins to pant and she notices that he… that he has started to rock into it. He moans loudly, his pain still obvious, but his penis has gone from flaccid to erect again. It strains and she is disgusted once more.
"You pig!" At her sudden change in voice he squeals and turns, his bleeding anus staining the sheets.
He finally sees Rosalie and immediately his penis shrivels as if he has been dunked in the cold pool at the county fair. His lips and teeth move and he bites his tongue. Blood flows over his lips like wine and he chokes on it. Rosalie watches in amusement as he sputters and chokes and then she begins to cackle. He had ended up killing himself after all.
She grabs his body and drags him through the hall, tying a cord around his waist and unceremoniously dropping him into the middle of the partygoers. There are screams and gasps, cries of all kinds and Rosalie sighs in the beauty of a corpse, hanging over the balcony with a parasol sticking out from his rear.
Royce has long received the message that his friends are being attacked. He has gone into hiding at his mansion. He's hired the best security team in country and has hound dogs surrounding every acre. She looks forward to killing him, thinks about it almost constantly.
On the third day of her death she goes after the two brothers. The eldest had forced himself into her mouth, dirty and disgusting until he spilled over her cheeks. She remembers biting him and the pain of him grabbing her throat and choking her. That was why she died, her windpipe had been crushed and the bleeding had been extensive.
The two brothers are only eighteen, only just turned into men. Their mother is in the garden with her friends, introducing them to young women looking for husbands and ripe for family. The girls are nervous around the two brothers. They've been known to go out at night and skip church in the morning. They are thrilled at the prospect of taming two wild young men.
They are playing a maze game, running through the stalks of corn that will be cut soon. It's a seasonal game and the brothers know it well. They want to get a girl alone and speak with them. They don't want to marry yet, they want to test the waters and find what they like.
The children run off away from the prying eyes of guardians and rush through the fields. The eldest brother follows a girl with a yellow dress; she's just grown breasts and likes to unbutton her blouse for boys. He's never seen a breast before, only at the burlesque house has he seen women in corsets, touching other men.
He catches up to her and she plays coy. Rosalie waits in the stalks, watching the two of them. He persuades her with touches around the waist and when he starts to untie her bodice she doesn't stop him. One breast pops out and Rosalie scoffs a giggle. The nipple is slightly brown and her breasts are not perky or shaped correctly. They remind her of a ram's horn.
He touches them eagerly, fondling and pinching the taught nipple. She slips the other out and he suckles them like a baby. She wants to show him more and drops her dress completely. Rosalie gasps and her anger boils under her skin.
She wants to willingly give her virginity away while Rosalie had hers brutally snatched. The boy's hand darts to her vagina and pets the hair that curls. He mimics what he's seen at the burlesque house and tries to find something that would lead him. She gasps and moans, her fingers touching her breasts as he parts her lips and violently shoves a finger inside.
She yelps in pain and tries to pull away but he's excited and wants more. He pulls off his pants and wrestles her to the ground. She no longer wants him to touch her, she's changed her mind but he's become overzealous and wants to plunge into her. He doesn't like that Royce got to go first and was only allowed to go after him.
Rosalie moves from the stalks, her dramatic death scene gone as she grabs him by the throat and yanks him up. He is turned to her, pants around his ankles and a naked crying girl on the ground with hand shaped bruises on her waist and breasts.
"Go," Rosalie snaps at her. "And tell no one."
The girl gathers her dress and pulls it up, running from the two former lovers wrapped in a deathly embrace.
"You're dead," he gasps, scraping at her hands desperately.
"I am," she says quietly. "And so are you."
She squeezes and watches with satisfaction as he dies painfully and slowly in her hands. She likes to grip tightly and then let go, making him think he'll survive and then snatching that hope away. Within ten minutes of his pathetic gurgling he hangs limply in her fist.
She rushes to the other boy, who is being cornered by two girls. They are shamelessly throwing themselves at him. He is polite to them, gives them the time of day by listening to what they have to say, and they want to thank him.
Rosalie cannot take it anymore, she cries in horror and the girls, seeing her, flee from the supposedly dead woman. The other brother begins to cry, begging for mercy, saying that he knew she would come. She doesn't care about him; he followed his brother and his friends. She breaks his legs quickly, the satisfying scream echoing and the sound of blood hounds barking comes quickly. She steps on his arms and the crunch doesn't faze her. She lets him live, only because when Royce struck her for the first time he helped her up from the floor.
Rosalie sits on the marshlands ground drawing shapes with her index finger. The Grim Reaper sits in its chair, watching, its shapeless face resting on its shapeless hand. It enjoys watching her contemplate her plans. She has more creativity than it has seen in a long time and her fury makes things more exciting.
"Have you finished?" it asks her.
"No," she answers quickly. "I have Royce left; I want him to suffer the most. But I want him privately, whereas the others were publically left for death."
"You have twenty four hours. It's all I can give you. Purgatory can only remain for so long before you disappear and walk the earth as a shadow."
Rosalie shudders. "I don't like that idea. I want to kill Royce and then I'll go to hell." She looks up at the Reaper and implores it with her eyes. "Would walking the earth as a spirit be better than hell, though?"
"You will feel nothing as a spirit, you will be completely detached. You will eventually lose contact from your mind without the physical touches. You will essentially be mindless, a catatonic creature."
Rosalie decides right away that she wants to go to hell. Nothing scares her more than being unable to feel her body, something that her mother always prided herself on having. She was beautiful and gorgeous, blonde shining hair, soft skin that people were eager to touch. She had been taught that she was better because of her looks and Rosalie can't help the draw to her physical features.
Rosalie sinks into the dirty pond, the link between humanity and purgatory. She appears on the other side in an elegant gown, the gown that she had spent years dreaming of. There is a bouquet in her hand, white orchids and blood red roses. She tucks it to her chest and breathes in the last of her life.
She walks past the dogs unnoticed. They are sleeping and she is silent as the ghost that she is. She pretends that the walk up to the door and past the long winding halls is her march down to the alter. Tears prick at her eyes but refuse to fall. How many times had she dreamed of this?
She makes her way past alert guards and to the room that is sealed like an envelope. Three guards stand outside the room. Rosalie kills them quickly and painlessly, easy slits across the throat and less than a second of realization before they die.
She unlocks the door and is surprised to find that Royce is waiting on his large bed. His sword and a pistol in his hand. He shoots the pistol at her but it only punches a hole through her dress. The bullet drops to the floor unceremoniously. He scrambles to his feet, the sword in his hand and his feet braced for battle.
"You can't kill what's already dead," she chuckles darkly.
His breathing picks up and he drops the sword to his side. He is sweating like he'd run a foot race and his breathing is so loud that it becomes obnoxious. Rosalie steps forward and Royce barks at her.
"Don't come any closer!"
"Why?" she sneers. "I believe I said those exact words to you when you threw me to the ground."
"I was drunk, Rosalie, not in my right mind. You know I would never—"
"I am dead, not in my right mind. I'm drunk off revenge and injustice." Rosalie steps forward, and Royce moves to greet her. He is intimidating even when she is dead and cannot be harmed.
He digs in his pocket and produces a crucifix. She laughs and walks forward, he throws it at her, a resounding smack as it strikes her skin and drops to the floor. She steps on the crucifix and kicks away the pieces. She doesn't want Royce to play with her mind. Her physical pain is nothing, but what he says hurts her the most.
She grabs him by the throat and squeezes, pushing him to the bed and straddling him in a lover's embrace. She is a scorned woman desperately trying to regain her foundation. He gasps and whimpers trying to push her away and speak, but she lets him say nothing. She watches his dying face and cries over him. His life force is the anchor that keeps her to this earth and once he sighs his final breath the grandfather clock in the corner tolls midnight.
She leans back and moves away from the body. The Grim Reaper is there and holds its hand for her to grasp. They are at the Golden Gates in an instant and she smiles at the shrouded creature.
"Thank you," she whispers. "I can finally feel peace." She grabs her chest above her heart and closes her eyes reverently.
The Reaper nods and the gates open slowly. Rosalie walks to them and spreads her arms out at her sides, like an angel walking through the depths of hell.
The Reaper watches her disappear and then turns to the bubbling lagoon as another scene plays through the tides.
A/N: This will be a short series of one-shots revolving around different characters. Some will be linked, others will stand on their own.
I would also like to say that this has nothing to do with religion. Nothing at all. This is just me messing with the afterlife and different versions of the seven sins which I'm trying to incorporate. I've wanted to play around with third person, present tense for a long time and this seems like the perfect opportunity.