And here it is. The final chapter of Right Beside You. I hope you have all enjoyed it, and I thank everyone who has read and reviewed!
I would like to dedicate this final chapter to WybiE'z KidNapPer, who has loyally read my story chapter to chapter, and we've had a heck of a time talking about it on the PMs! You rock, WK!
Disclaimer: I'll let you guys know when I own this.
I have to leave NOW!
Rosie…everything is going to be all right now.
Richard, what have you been doing in there?
And he's told me so many things about you..
L-Let me go!
Don't worry dear; it's so sharp you won't feel a thing.
I did this for US Richard!
You better stay away from my family you…you… VERMIN!
Well….let's see who's the vermin NOW!
Wybie didn't know where those voices were coming from, but they were torturing him. Torturing him in a way that made being strapped down by a possessed chair feel comfortable. This whole room is haunted, the boy thought, knowing that great horror had occurred in this eerily lit room. Heck, knowing that great horror had occurred in the very chair he sat on. Boy, was he glad the Other Mother had left to get some 'essentials' as she put it.
"Mom…." He whispered, weakly. He held his breath as he felt a single tear run down his cheek. It was all a lie…my family returning, the Beldam's kindness, the perfect world….it was all a lie.
He was going to die. He was going to follow in his mother's footsteps and have buttons forced into his eyes. Then the Other Mother would take care of him for a while until she was ready to eat him. Then, if Coraline's story was correct, he would become ghost. A very lonely ghost.
A terrifying thought struck the boy. Was his mother a ghost? Did the Beldam eat her? What had become of his mother's corpse after the Beldam destroyed her?
"Coraline…. Why didn't I listen to you?" the boy whispered to himself. If it was possible, Wybie would have been banging his head against something. If he had just listened to his friend- the one who had already lived through this torture- he wouldn't be in the mess he was now. Why hadn't he listened? Did he want a family so bad he was unwilling to listen to reason?
"Coraline…" he whispered, imagining he was speaking to her one last time. "I'm so sorry... I wish I could thank you for making me feel –"
If he hadn't been strapped down, the boy would have jumped out of his seat. Taking a few deep breaths, he listened carefully for any more sudden noises. Was his time up? Had the Beldam returned to take his life?
"B-Beldam?" Wybie whispered, terrified that she would appear out of thin air. His olive eyes scanned the room for sources of any life. Nothing. He was all alone, with no company but the eerie green flame glowing in the fireplace.
Wybie took a few more breaths, savoring them while he still had them. "There has to be some way out of here," he whispered to himself. "There just has-"His words were cut off by the sharp gasp that escaped his lips, for at that moment, he felt five sharp needles drum on the top of his head.
How did she reach him without him hearing?
It didn't matter. His time was up.
"The itsy-bitsy spider sewed up the young boy's eyes."
She was singing? That just seemed to shake his nerves up even more. He turned his head to look to the left of him, but didn't see her there. Just the fire. Biting his lower lip, he turned his head to the right to see if he could spot her. He saw nothing but the empty air. Growing more and more petrified by the minute, he one again looked over to the left…and saw the Other Mother's cracked face inches from his.
"AAAAAAAHHHHHHH!" Wybie screamed in horror.
The Other Mother simply smiled an eerie smile.
Wybie began to stutter. "H-How did you-?"
"Down came his blood, and washed out his sad cries," she continued her horrible song.
The young boy struggled against his restraints, trying desperately to get away from the crazy witch. "No, please! L-Let me go! I don't want to be a ghost!"
The Other Mother simply shook her head, and pulled a needle and a pair of buttons out of her dress pocket. "Out came his poor soul, trapping him here for good." Surprisingly gently, she laid one of the black buttons over his left eye, getting ready to condemn him to an eternity in her web. Oh, how she had waited so long for this!
But Wybie wasn't giving up so easily. He struggled with all he had, making sure to not hold still for a second. After many attempts at getting the needle through, the Other Mother roughly grabbed him by his hair, forcing him to hold still. Unfortunately for Wybie, her long needle fingers gave the Beldam the ability to hold his head straight, and hold the button in place at the same time. She did so by using her two middle fingers to hold his head, her pinky to hold the button, and her thumb and pointer finger to hold the needle.
It was amazing what this woman could do with only one hand!
The boy felt hot tears spill from his eyes. Although none would spill from his left eye, due to the button covering it. "P-Please let me go! LET ME GO! YOU'RE CRAZY!"
The Other Mother merely placed her needle on top of the button. "Good-night Wybie. See you in the morning!"
"NO!" Wybie cried, as he felt the needle point touch his eyelid.
"And the itsy-bitsy spider, soon then made him her food."
Wybie cried out in pain, as he felt the needle press against his eyelid, getting ready to pierce through-
The curly haired boy gasped as the needle and button were suddenly slapped off his face. He was relieved for the delay, but the sudden scrape of the needle cut right below his eyebrow, barely missing his eye. He looked up with curious eyes at the Other Mother, who seemed to be burning with rage.
Wait, what made her drop them? Why hadn't she finished? What-
"O.K, seriously. I don't think I've ever hated someone as much as I hate you…and that includes my math teacher!"
Wybie's heart began to skip a few beats. That voice sounded familiar. But…it couldn't be….
"Coraline!" he heard the Other Mother sneer.
The boy instantly turned his head towards the Beldam's gaze. Sure enough, there was his blue-haired buddy, in all her glory. She gently smacked a small sling-shot in her hand, a determined look on her face. With her perfect aiming skills, she must have shot the needle and button out of her Other Mother's hands.
Wybie just couldn't believe it. "Coraline!" he cried in joy.
She sent him a wink. "That's my name! Don't wear it out!"
A bone-chilling hiss escaped from the Other Mother's throat. "So…you have decided to join your ex-friend?"
Coraline shook her head, rapidly. "No way! I'm here to save the day! And who said he was my 'ex-friend'?"
"You did. You said you hated him," the Beldam whispered.
The young girl rolled her eyes. "Yeah, it took me about three minutes after I swore I'd hate him for all eternity to realize, that I could never abandon him when he really needs me."
"Coraline…" Wybie whispered, hating himself more and more every second for not believing her before.
"SHUT UP!" the Beldam suddenly screamed, scratching the poor boy across the face.
Coraline's mouth dropped open in at the witch's sudden rage attack. "Hey, stop! What's the matter? Your plan to split us up didn't work?"
The Other Mother stood there panting for a minute, before a cruel smile spread over her blood red lips. She gave a small chuckle. "When will you two realize that you belong to me?"
"When pigs fly!" the girl snapped. "Now you're going to let my friend go, or you're going to have to deal with us!"
As soon as those words left the Beldam's mouth, a tall, rather heavy lamp fell on her, crushing her to the ground.
"AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!" the Other Mother bellowed.
Coraline smiled up at the fireplace. "Nice work, Cat!"
Wybie's eye instantly widened at the sound of his other friend's name, but instantly closed again from the pain. He let out a soft moan, as he saw Coraline run over to him.
"STAY AWAY FROM THE BOY!" The Beldam screamed from underneath the lamp.
"Shut up!" Coraline told her. Her eyes softened, as she managed to pull away the restraints that were holding her friend hostage.
Wybie took a deep breath, finally able to breath freely. He winced as he felt his friend gently message the cut above his eye, concern written all over her face. She looks terrified of this one, little cut…and how did I treat her when SHE was hurt? Coldly. Not to mention her wounds were a lot more serious, AND she only got hurt protecting ME! the boy thought to herself.
"Are you okay?" she asked, softly.
"Coraline….I'm so sorry," Wybie told her.
"You should be," she said sternly, but instantly softened. "But this never would have happened if I hadn't treated you like crap." Smiling shyly, the young girl offered her petite hand, which Wybie gladly accepted. Roughly, but playfully, Coraline helped him stand on his legs after being tied down for at least an hour.
Wybie nervously scratched the back of his head. "You know, for a second there-"
"Look out!" Cat cried from his spot on the fireplace.
The two kids turned their heads to find the Other Mother crawling out from underneath the huge lamp. And boy, she did not look happy.
For a few minutes, Coraline and her Other Mother had a stare off. Both hating one another. Both wanting to beat the other. Both wanting to kill the other.
The Other Mother was the first to speak. "So…what next? How do you plan to beat me? You know very well you defeated me last time out of pure luck."
Wybie watched in dismay as he saw his friend's solid scowl melt away into a gaze of worry. "Actually…I didn't stop to think of a plan."
The Beldam allowed a sinister grin to spread over her lips. "The great Coraline Jones didn't stop to think of a plan?"
Coraline threw her hands in the air. "Well, can you blame me? The moment I realized I still liked this guy, I had to run all the way back to my house so I could jump through that creepy mirror! I was in a hurry!"
The young girl jumped as a crazed cackle ripped through the spider-like woman's throat. "Well…what's a painter without a brush? What's a carpenter without a hammer? And what good is a Coraline without a plan?"
Coraline nervously exchanged a glance with Wybie. Many different emotions were written on his face: fear, sadness, worry, concern, and above all, guilt. The blue haired girl could tell her friend was taking all the blame on himself, but she knew in her heart that this was both of their faults. And as much as she didn't want to admit it, it was mostly hers.
How could she blame Wybie for falling into the Beldam's web? Hadn't she done the exact same thing? Hadn't she completely ignored Cat's-or rather Richard's- clear warnings? At least Wybie was willing to sew the buttons for something important, unlike her. She could never blame Wybie for making her return to her personal nightmare, and she wouldn't let him blame himself either.
Taking a deep breath, Coraline turned back to the Other Mother, who had a confident grin covering most of her face. "Hm…give me a moment, I'll think of a- got it!" Swiftly, but surely, Coraline grabbed the edges of the large, red rug the horrifying creature was standing on, and yanked. All while admiring her strength, Wybie had to cover his mouth to stop himself from bursting into a fit of laughter, as the Other Mother tripped and fell onto the floor in an akward position.
"Ah, most amusing Coraline," Cat smiled, still standing on the top of the fireplace.
Wybie shook his head a few times. "Wait…so you really can talk?"
Coraline's eyes widened, as she saw the Other Mother get back up. "Wy? We'll have time to talk about it back home, now MOVE!" she screamed, as she pushed him towards the hallway.
Eyes catching the Other Mother's fierce scowl, Wybie nodded rapidly and followed his friend in pursuit of the mirror.
"You little brats, COME BACK HERE!"
"She honestly thinks we're going to go back?" Coraline asked her friend, incredulously.
"Coraline! There's the mirror!" Wybie cried pointing towards their destination.
Coraline smiled…but it instantly vanished as she heard sharp thudding echo from behind them.
THUD. THUD. THUD.
"Hurry, she's coming!" Coraline screamed, grabbing her friend's hand. The hallway to the mirror seemed to stretch on and on.
THUD. THUD. THUD.
"Wait, we're leaving the cat?" Wybie asked, twice as concerned knowing there was a small chance the feline was his father.
"Trust me. He knows his way on and out of this world!" the girl assured him. Finally reaching the mirror, the girl hesitantly let go of her friend's hand. "Come one, if we jump now we should-"
The two kids screamed and jumped back, as the Other Mother landed right in front of from seemingly out of nowhere.
"H-How did she-?" Coraline stammered.
"I-I'm not sure!" Wybie babbled back.
"Come here, my little darlings," the Other Mother said, extending her one hand. "Come to Mommy!"
Hearing the word 'mommy' gave Wybie an unexpected boost of courage. Growling, the young boy brought his leg up and kicked the Beldam's ankles, causing her to collapse yet again.
"That was for my mom!"Wybie glared at her.
Coraline made a mental note to compliment the bot later, but right then they had to find a way around the hag. "Okay Wybie! We need to-"
The two friends quickly put their hands to their ears. The Other Mother had never screamed so loudly. The children's eyes widened in fear as they saw the floor begin to give away, revealing an endless, white abyss.
"Run back to the living room, Wyb!" Coraline shouted, once again pulling her friend with her.
The poor children had never ran so fast in their lives. They gritted their teeth as they heard the floor boards break away at their ankles. It would seem like each step they took broke away with the departure of their feet.
"Well, look at the bright side!" Wybie shouted, still running with her. "At least the Other Mother can't-" He sadly ate his words, as he turned his head to find the Other Mother actually gliding across the abyss, hand extended out to reach them.
"Um, Coraline?" Wybie whimpered in fear.
"What?" Coraline asked him, without even looking at him….but her head instantly snapped around, as she felt something tug her friend out her grasp. Gasping in horror, her eyes widened at the sight of her Other Mother floating over the white hole, holding Wybie in a death lock grip.
"Let me go!" Wybie cried, scared that if he tried to struggle out of the hag's grip, he would fall into the abyss.
"You heard 'em, let him go!" Coraline shouted. Luckily the floor had stopped ripping apart, so that gave the girl an opportunity to strike. Pulling out her sling shot, she managed to shoot the Beldam in the gut, causing her to lose her focus, and fall into the abyss.
That had been a mistake.
Realizing what she had just done, Coraline managed to get a hold of one of Wybie's hands. She managed to keep her grip on him, but gasped in horror as the Other Mother finally let go…only to hang on to the boy's ankles. Even though she could somehow defy gravity and fly over this endless, white picture, she seemed determined to drag the young boy down.
"Let go!" Coraline screamed, as she tried to pull her friend up.
"I will as soon as you do!" the Beldam retorted.
Wybie looked up at Coraline with melancholy eyes. "Coraline…I'm sorry! Just let go! Get out of here!"
The blue haired girl rolled her eyes at his sappy plea. "Yeah, good one Wybie. Very funny." Like she was going to let her best friend go!
"You two cannot defeat me!" the Other Mother screeched from bellow them. "I will make sure you two-"
She didn't get to finish, however, for Wybie Lovat had chosen that moment to kick her with the foot she wasn't holding. "Take that!"
The Beldam screamed in anger, as the boy repeated his action, repeatedly. To make matters worse, she was unable to do anything due to her one hand holding onto her victim's foot.
"And this one's for my dad!"
With one final kick, the hag lost her grip, causing her to fall down…down…down through the abyss, screaming the entire way.
Heart pounding, Coraline pulled Wybie back onto safe grounds. Breathing heavily, Coraline checked her friend over for any serious injuries. "Are you okay?"
Taking huge gulps of air, Wybie nodded. "S-Sorry about that!"
Coraline smiled her pretty smile, and looked over the edge of the floor boards. She had done it. She had defeated the Other Mother a second time. Something victims of the Beldam feared that couldn't be done even once…of course, she had Wybie's help this time, but it still counted.
"So…did we win?" Wybie asked, hesitantly.
Coraline nodded. She didn't know how they were going to get to the mirror with the floor gone, but she would figure that out later. Right now, she was just happy they were both alive.
"Are you two all right?"
Coraline's head turned around to find Cat slowly walk up to them. "We're fine! Everything's great!" The girl failed to notice that Wybie hadn't turned around.
That voice, the boy thought to himself. That velvet voice…..
His mind flashed back to his infant years. The years his beautiful mother, and mysterious looking father would smile proudly at him. He could vaguely remember their eyes. His mother's olive green eyes. His father's icy blue eyes.
Wybie hesitantly turned his head towards the Cat, who just so happened to be gazing back at him. The bot had never noticed it before, but his feral cat had blue eyes.
His velvet voice…his icy blue eyes…..Coraline's story…..the way the cat was never far from his side….
Wybie looked over at Coraline with tear filled eyes. What he was feeling towards Cat at the moment was not at all how he felt about his Other Father. With the fake Richard, he had always felt doubt. As if something was amiss, or wrong. But now, looking at his old friend, knowing at last who he truly was…the boy felt his heart swell with happiness.
Coraline gave him a knowing smile. "This is going to be an awesome story to tell your kids one day."
Wybie knew she didn't mean the Other Mother. She had meant finally finding his father. Letting tears spill down his eyes, Wybie slowly made his way towards the Cat.
Coraline had to blink a few times to understand what she saw. Were those…tears in Cat's eyes? Cool and collected Cat? She bit her lip as she felt her own eyes swell up. Rosie was gone, and there was no getting her back…but the fact that her husband and son had finally been reunited….she had to be smiling from where she was.
Cat opened his mouth to say something….but instead, gasped in horror.
"What's wrong?" Coraline asked, concerned about her friend's expression.
Her question was answered as she heard a sinister laugh erupt from behind her. Coraline and Wybie turned their heads, to find a needle- fingered hand hoist a disfigured looking hag out of the white abyss, and onto the floor boards.
"Hey, that's cheating!" Wybie wailed.
The Other Mother sneered at the two kids. "That was fun…..what's next?"
Before either kid had a chance to reply, the Other Mother swung her extended tail at them-
-knocking them back into the living room, barely missing the fireplace. After finding the will to sit up, Coraline's eyes widened in horror as she watched the Other Mother advance upon them.
"You know, I've always said revenge before pleasure… but who said I couldn't have them both at the same time?" the Other Mother smirked.
Coraline bit her lip in frustration. She thought they had defeated this hag! What could she do? How could she protect herself and Wybie?
Using her swift thinking, Coraline's eyes slowly turned to a cane with a sharp end. It was those things adults used to poke firewood with when it was in the fireplace. She could never remember the name of them.
Slowly inching towards the sharp object, Coraline found herself saying, "If you really loved Richard, you wouldn't do this to his son!"
The Beldam's button eyes pierced through the young girl's soul. She had obviously hit a nerve. "Foolish girl! I have already expressed my love to the vermin….I changed him into a cat, remember?"
Coraline found this interesting, even as her fingers gently touched the poker. "That's not a way to show someone you love them! That's showing them that you're selfish! I suppose you think killing Rosie was a way of 'expressing your love', too!"
The witch sneered. "What do you know about love?"
"A lot more than you do," Her hand was now around her weapon.
"When you love something or someone, you hold onto them and never let them go! What choice did I have? He was going to LEAVE me!"
Coraline pondered this for a moment. "You're right, hag. When you love someone, you never let them go. Swiftly, she grabbed the poker-thing and thrust it at the creature. "BUT THAT DOESN'T MEAN YOU MAKE THEM YOUR PRISONERS!"
Despite this sudden outburst, the Other Mother was able to grab Coraline's arm, and stop her attack. "Darling, you should know better than to raise your voice to your mother!"
"Please don't start the whole mother act again. We both know you're not my mother!"
Coraline gasped as she felt the Other Mother's needle fingers wrap around her neck. She felt a strong wave of déjà vu, concerning her battle with the Other Rosie.
"You know I've wanted you as my daughter for so long, Coraline," the Other Mother sneered, as she tightened her grip. The little girl gave a strangled gasp, as she was lifted off her feet. "But you just don't seem to be worth it anymore."
"L-Let go!" Coraline struggled to say, as she desperately tried to squirm her way out of the death hold. She was starting to see spots, and her lungs were starting to burn. This wasn't how it was going to end for her, was it?
"You heard her, let her go!" Wybie cried, using his friend's words from before. The boy grunted as he head-butted the witch in the stomach, forcing her to release Coraline.
Coraline coughed violently as she was dropped onto the floor. It was that exact moment Coraline promised herself she would never wear a turtle neck again. It was a free neck from then on!
"Coraline, a-are you okay?" Wybie asked.
Before the girl got a chance to answer, the Other Mother had come up behind the poor boy, and grabbed him by his hair. "You little spawn of vermin!" Growling, the disfigured hag flung the boy into the wall, grinning when she heard a sickening crack.
"Wybie!" Coraline cried, knowing that toss had probably broken a few of his bones. That was the last straw. Shaking with rage, Coraline grabbed the fire poker, and sliced the Other Mother with it, cutting off her tail.
"AHHHHHHHHHHHH!" The Other Mother screamed in pain.
"This is the last time you hurt a member of the Lovat family!" Coraline scowled, taking another swing at the Other Mother. However, due to the Beldam's thinness, slicing another injury on her was nearly impossible.
So focused into injuring the creature in front of her, Coraline almost didn't notice that the Other Mother had kicked her in the stomach until she felt blood spill from said spot. Groaning in pain, Coraline clutched her injury, and lost her focus. The Beldam punished her for this, by smacking her across the face, causing her to lose her balance and fall over.
"I hate it when I must discipline my children," the Other Mother said, her voice implying that she was lying. Snatching the sharp object Coraline had dropped on the floor, the Other Mother pointed it at the young girl's neck. "You should not have interfered."
The young heroin tried to scramble away, but the witch held her down with her sharp foot. "It is over, my dear. I'm afraid I don't have the patience to sew the buttons into your eyes, so I guess I'll just erase you from existence. I'll just pretend my failure never happened."
Coraline tears spill from her eyes. It wasn't just the situation she was in. The Other Mother had cut her in the stomach, and now her foot was digging in her wound. She was in unbelievable pain. "Why…?" the girl finally managed to ask. "Why are you so evil? What do you have to gain from your sins?"
The Other Mother chuckled a dark chuckle. "I guess you can say I'm just a woman searching for love…and those who cannot love me back, are forced to change their minds."
"I loved you before I discovered what you did to children. So did Richard."
But the Other Mother wouldn't hear a word of it. Pulling her arm back, the hideous monster swung the sharp object, expecting to tear the girl's throat.
It tore something all right. But not Coraline's neck. Rather, it had ripped through the dorky, yet loyal boy who had jumped in front of her. It had sliced through the boy who now collapsed in a bloody mess.
"WYBIE!" Coraline screamed, knowing her adventure was finally over. Knowing it did not have a happy ending. Heart pounding, the young girl flipped her friend over to find a deep gash engraved in his chest.
"NO!" Cat screamed. It almost made the young girl jump. His voice was usually soft and cool. Right now it sounded frenzied and loud.
Cat quickly ran to his injured son, his breathing ragged. He nudged the boy's face with his own, trying to lift his head up. "Wybie…Wybourn, please wake up!"
The boy didn't move a muscle.
Hot tears filled Coraline's eyes. He couldn't be…? He wasn't…? No, after everything she had gone through to save him? After everything they been through together?
"Wybie….I'm sorry," Coraline whispered, running her hand through his curly hair. "I should have come for you sooner. I should never have left you. Please…please don't die on me."
The boy never made a sound, as Coraline lightly fingered the cut above his eye. She had lost. She had lost the ultimate game. She had lost her best friend's life. Why couldn't she…why couldn't she save him? She had never lost anything in her life….so why did it have to be this time? With him? She had never felt so defeated.
"Wybie….please, don't go. I need you. You're my best friend. My partner in crime. My favorite troll." Gently, she grabbed his hand. "You don't deserve to die for me. You're so much better than me. You can see past the obvious, and I can't. I know this sounds selfish….but please don't go home to your mother. I want to know you longer."
Coraline could not believe how…open she was being. She had made a solemn promise to herself to not become a sappy, big-speech kind of girl. She always tried to be as hard as nails, but….for the love of pete, her best friend was dying! It would appear Wybie knew how to make her cry more than anybody else.
Just as he knew how to make her laugh more than anybody else.
"'Why-were-you-born?'" Coraline whispered her pet name for the boy. She gave a sad smile. "I think I know why now…"
The girl's eyes widened as she saw her friend's olive eyes open just a centimeter. But it was enough for her. "Wybie! Wybie, stay with me! Don't go!" she cried, grabbing his hand in a tight grip.
"No! Don't be sorry! Just stay! Everything will be all right! I'm right beside you!"
Wybie released a pained groan, signifying his time was running short.
Coraline let her tears fall on her friend's face. "Please….I'm right beside you. Right beside you."
Growling deep in his throat, Cat snapped his head towards the Other Mother. "Satisfied?" he whispered, his voice cracking a bit. "You won. You destroyed what was left of my family. Are you proud?"
But the Other Mother was not satisfied. Not proud. Not happy.
Something had just gone terribly wrong.
She had a clear shot of Coraline Jones. She had the young girl's life in the palm of her hand. She was just about to rid the world of the blue menace.
And the Lovat boy decided to die in her place?
The spider-woman let the sharp objet fall out of her grip with a soft twang. Her breathing became shallow and quick. All her life she thought she was the one in control. She was the one who pulled the puppet strings. She was the one who had all the answers and never gave them. She was the one who understood everything.
But every time she came across the eleven-year-old girl, she would teach the old witch something new. What was this deep bond between these two children that made them risk their lives for one another? And why did it make her feel like….like a monster?
"….No, Richard. I'm not satisfied….at all," the Beldam said, finally answering his question.
At first the feline looked a little confused, but he quickly resumed his glare. "What you're still hungry for more? Well, you're out of your mind if you think I'm going to let you kill Coraline too!"
The Beldam didn't say anything….but she did leave Cat in shock as she ripped the bottom hem of her dress. Absent mindedly, the hideous creature made her way over to the dying boy.
Coraline instantly caught sight of this. "No!" she cried, clutching her friend tightly. "Get away! Leave us alone! What more can you do to him?"
"Help him," the Other Mother said, her voice sounding in a daze.
Coraline's eyes shot up until they disappeared into her blue hair. Did her Other Mother just say she wanted to….help Wybie? She must have misheard!
Her surprise only increased as the Beldam gently knelt next to her. For as long as the young girl had known, the Other Mother had always tried to make herself look tall. Invincible. But now…she looked….vulnerable. As is if she was trying to prove she was no threat.
What was wrong with her? What had changed?
The Other Mother placed a sharp hand on the boy's head. As if reading the young girl's thoughts, she softly cleared her throat. "With you permission, of course."
Coraline gazed into the Beldam's black button eyes, deciding whether or not to trust the witch. What choice did she have? It wasn't like she could make things worse; the boy was dying for pete's sake!
Slowly nodding her head, Coraline gently handed the Other Mother her Wybie. Something she never dreamed she would do.
She knew she was letting her guard down, but her eyes didn't leave the scary woman for one second, as she wrapped the piece of dress around the young boy's wound. She was being so gentle…so motherly, and not the fake mother act she usually put on, but true tenderness. So…Un-Beldam like.
Finally, Coraline couldn't take it anymore. "Why are you doing this? You're the one who hurt him in the first place!"
The Other Mother never ceased her wrapping. "….I'm sorry," she said at last.
"SORRY? You've been waiting years for this! This is what you kidnapped him for! This is what you made those fake parents for! And now you're telling me you're SORRY? What happened?"
The Beldam paused for a minute. Taking a deep breath, the hag whispered, "Coraline….he knew what my strike would do to him….why did he sacrifice himself for you?"
Coraline was shocked. The Other Mother sounded genuinely confused. Truly lost. It almost made her feel….bad for the witch. She really didn't know anything about love, did she? "The same reason I came back for him….we care about each other. A lot. And sometimes…when you care about someone a real, real lot…you put their lives in front of yours….even if it cuts you out of the picture for good."
Such words had never touched the Beldam so deeply. She had always thought what she did to Richard and Rosie was right. She had loved Richard, so she had done everything in her power to keep him near her…. But he just wound up hating her. She hadn't been willing to make any sacrifices on her part.
Not like Wybie had just done.
With a slice of the boy's chest, her button eyes had been opened to real loyalty. Real love. She could feel it as her old victim clutched her injured friend affectionately in her arms. It was all so clear now.
Wybie Lovat had sacrificed himself for Coraline. He was a true friend.
Coraline Jones had returned for Wybie, even after he had broken her heart. She was a true friend.
Richard had stood by her despite her haggard appearance. He had been a true friend.
She herself had killed her friend's wife, so she could have him all to herself. She was dirt.
She saw that now. After a decade of feeling nothing but coldness and treachery, her ice cold heart felt human warmth once again. It was why she was helping young Wybie now. To apologized to Richard, for all the sins she committed. To all the children she had killed for her own selfish wants. To Coraline to whom she was very pleased to have met.
Finally done patching up her mistake, the Beldam swiftly stepped away. "Take him."
"What?" Coraline whispered.
"Take him! As soon you leave this world, his wound will slowly start to heal. Leave now, darling. Go home to your mother."
Coraline gave a small gasp. She had rarely ever heard the Beldam refer to anyone else as her mother. "Really….you're letting us go?" The young girl just couldn't believe it.
The Other Mother sadly nodded. "I loved you, Coraline….I just wanted you as my daughter. The children I've killed in the past….they were changing their minds. After a few months of having buttons sewn into their eyes, they began to miss their real parents. I loved them, so I acted selfishly. I destroyed them, hoping to keep their ghosts with me forever." The Beldam gave a soft sigh. "I've realized I still love you Coraline…..so I need to put you first."
Corline could not believe what she was hearing. Her worst nightmare, the Other Mother a.k.a the Beldam, was apologizing? "So….you're going to leave me alone?"
The Beldam nodded. "I must pay for my crimes. You will never see me again."
It might have seemed petty, but tears of happiness shone in the young girl's eyes. It was over. The nightmare was over….and by default, no less! "Thank you," she whispered, actually feeling gratitude towards the woman who had tortured her. Draping Wybie's arm over her shoulder, the young girl quickly ran down the hall way. (Which was surprisingly back to normal)
The Beldam watched her go with a sad, cracked smile. Who would have thought two strange children would have helped her see the light? What's more, they showed her without even trying. They were just being themselves. Best friends.
The hideous woman turned her head to see her past love walk up to her. She enjoyed seeing a hint of concern on his face. It made her feel a little better about the emotions that were taking over. "Richard…" she whispered.
"I don't understand. What are you doing?"
"…Just go, Richard."
"You won! " Cat exclaimed. He was so confused. His archenemy was…letting his son live? "Why aren't you celebrating? You spent a decade trying to get revenge on me, and you did!"
"What's my prize?" The Beldam shouted, suddenly. "Killing the boy is certainly not going to bring you back to me! I've spent my whole life killing people to keep them close to me! The strange thing is, they want nothing to do with me afterwards! I may be a hideous witch Richard, but I still have feelings!"
Richard was shocked to hear such words of sincerity leave his wife's murderer's mouth. He slowly lowered his furry head, and whispered, "Do you regret it?"
She knew what he was talking about. "More than you can ever know. I doubt you would have stayed with me if I hadn't though…you had discovered my secret."
"Any regrets there?"
"You mean the children I have robbed of their lives? Yes. All my killings…all my sins….I regret them all. Every button I sewed….Every life I stole…I thought I was doing it out love." She looked down at Richard's small form, and sighed. "But my love….it was fake. I must have made it up in my mind. Those two children….your son, and precious little Coraline…. they are so young, yet they have such a deep friendship. What I saw today…that was real love. The kind of love I can never have."
Looking down at the cat once more, the Beldam whispered, "I'm afraid….I don't have the power to undo what I did to you. That goes for your wife, too."
"….Beldam," Richard whispered.
The Other Mother turned her head towards the eerie green fireplace. Richard heard her mutter something under her breath…something that sounded a little bit like, "There's always one way to get rid of a witch."
Richard's eyes widened. He knew what the hag was planning. "Beldam…wait!"
"Richard…please," the Other Mother whispered. "Let me pay for my murders….let me do this…as a way of apologizing to Rosie."
The cat shook his head slightly. "….But…"
"Just go. Good bye, Richard."
Seeing as though there was no point in arguing, Richard nodded, and made his way after the kids.
The Beldam made her way towards the fireplace, but paused when she heard, "Good bye….Teri Hatcher."
The Other Mother smiled a warm smile. If buttons could produce water, she would be crying. Richard calling her by the name he had given her so long ago….it was a sign of forgiveness. She had Richard's forgiveness.
The Beldam took a moment to gaze into the green flame, before she placed her hand in it. Even though she was mostly made of needles, the pain was terrible. But a smile spread over her face, as the fire raced up her arm, burning it to ashes.
The magic fire was now burning her entire body. In a matter of minutes, she would be nothing but a pile of dust. But that was what she wanted. She had taken too many lives. She hurt many more. She needed to go.
As she felt the flames consume her, the Beldam mentally apologized to the children she had killed, to Rosie for murdering her out of jealousy, for changing Richard into vermin out of pure rage, and to Wybie Lovat, for messing up his life out of cruelty.
She could no longer stand. Her legs were disintegrated. Her time was running out. But she had one more person she had to remember. One more child. This one in particular.
"Coraline….I'm sorry….thank you….thank you….for everything…"
She's beautiful, Wybie.
I've never seen a girl quiet like her.
"C'mon Wyb! Wake up!
Stay close to her. She's your family now.
"Get up you lazy bum!"
Heh, although she does have a bit of a temper….I suggest you go to her now.
The hunch back boy wined in pain as he felt his friend pull him in a tight embrace. "Okay…ow!" the boy rasped.
Coraline quickly pulled away. "Sorry, pal! I've been waiting for you to wake up, for like two hours!"
Wybie gently rubbed his eye, trying to cope with what was happening. They were alive? How? Had that been his mother talking? What was tied around his chest? He decided to put the most important question into words. "Coraline….wait, how did we escape?"
Coraline gave him a cute smile. "There was no escaping. She let us go."
Wybie blinked. "No, seriously. How did we get out?"
She. Let. Us. Go. I think she felt kinda guilty for slicing you. She even tore off some of her dress to help you!" Coraline smiled.
Taking a moment to be creeped out by the fact some of the Beldam's clothing was tied to him, Wybie finally took a look at his surroundings. They were in Coraline's living room, sitting on her couch. They were bruised, beaten, and pretty shaken up…but they were alive.
"I'm having just a little trouble believing this…. The Other Mother, the creep, the killer, the spider lady, the Beldam, the-"
"Yes!" Coraline cried, exasperated. "Yes! She let us go! She's not going to bother us anymore!"
Wybie gently touched the place where the Beldam had cut him. That monster had released them? After everything she went through to entangle them in her web? I guess not all things are what they seem, he thought to himself.
"Are you okay, pal?" Coraline asked, softly.
Wybie slowly nodded his head. "Coraline….I'm sorry."
The young girl rolled her eyes. "I think we've both done enough apologizing for one night, don't you think?"
Wybie bowed his head in shame. "Still…I'm sorry I didn't believe you. I shouldn't have said the things I said to you."
"I deserved most of them," Coraline whispered. "I did treat you horribly. Sometimes I was even worse than Steve!"
Wybie didn't say anything, much to Coraline's disappointment. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity of silence, the young boy finally said, "My mom likes you."
Coraline wasn't sure she heard correctly. "Huh?"
Wybie gave her a small smile. "My mom….she likes you. I heard her… y'know…when I was dying? I heard her. She said she thinks you're pretty and unique!"
Now it was Coraline's turn to take a moment t pause. Soon after, tears began forming in her eyes. She had had a big day, and she had never been so in touch with her emotions. It was making her an emotional wreck. It was embarrassing. "Wybie….I didn't mean it. I take it back!" she sobbed.
The curly head boy was shocked to see his friend in such a state. Everything was fine now. They were alive, they were friends again…and they were alive! Why was she crying? "Take what back?"
Coraline wiped her tears away, only to have them replaced by fresh ones. "W-When I said I liked the Other Wybie more than you….I'm sorry! The other version of you….he was sweet and loyal, but he.. he wasn't you!"
Wybie smiled a sad smile, and whispered, "What made you change your mind?"
After Coraline had gotten a hold of her emotions, she whispered. "When I saw you….when I thought you were dead…I don't think I've ever felt so defeated, except for maybe when the Other Mother stole my parents. When the Other Wybie died, I was sad….when I thought you died…I was…..uh, stupid tears!" the girl cried, rubbing her eyes harshly.
The boy was glad his friend was finally treating him with respect, but that didn't mean he wanted to see her cry. He playfully nudged her shoulder. "So….you like me better?"
Coraline gave a wide grin, and pulled her friend into a hug. "Yeah…I do. You rock, Why-Were-You-Born! And from now on, I'll stop making fu-"
"Don't do that!" Wybie exclaimed, pulling her off of him. His olive eyes roamed her amber eyes as he said, "It's what makes you…well, you! I-I don't want you to stop teasing me! I just wanted to know you actually liked me! And I do now!" He hid his face bashfully at the next words that came out of his mouth. "It doesn't matter how many times you tease me…I'll still follow you everywhere."
Coraline was quiet for a few minutes, before she finally smiled a broad smile. She and Wybie were not perfect. They weren't even teenagers yet. There would be a lot more fights to come, some would be big, some would be small, but if they just looked back on that night-the night they had nearly lost each other- they would always pull through. "And I don't care how many times you annoy me, I'll always stick with you," she whispered softly.
Coraline and Wybie turned their heads sharply to the right, to find a certain cat striding towards them.
"There you are! I was wondering where you went off to!" Coraline gushed, as she watched her friend jump in between the two children. She actually felt her heart skip a few beats as Cat's eyes met Wybie's.
For a few minutes, the two just stared at one another, as if they were trying to guess what the other was thinking.
Wybie was the first one to break the silence. "….Dad?"
Cat began to purr loudly as he jumped into his son's arms, nuzzling his cheek. It was of his way of showing love to his son. His was in the real world now, he could no longer speak.
But it was enough for the young boy. He held his furry father in his arms, and began to weep in his fur. "Dad….all this time…all this time you were right there! Right there, watching over me!" he sobbed.
It was now impossible for Cat to purr any louder. He had his son. Finally. The Beldam hadpromised to never hurt his son again, and now his boy knew he had never truly been alone. He would never get to have a real conversation with Wybie, but this… it felt just as good.
Coraline smiled at the sight of the father/son reunion. She knew their relationship was going to be hard, what with Cat unable to talk, and the fact that he was…well, a cat! But they knew they loved each other. They knew that they were blood related. They knew who the other was.
It was enough to make the young girl's heart swell with happiness.
"Hey Jonesy! I almost forgot!" Wybie said, still holding on to his dad. "Thanks for that totally embarrassing letter you wrote for me!"
Coraline gasped in mock horror, and grabbed a nearby pillow. "You tell anyone about the letter, or the fact that I cried, I will haunt you in your sleep!"
"Can I tell my gramma?" Wybie asked, playfully.
"No!" Coraline said, hitting him once with the pillow.
"Can I tell your mom?"
"No!" Another hit.
"Can I tell your dad?"
"No!" Another hit.
"Can I tell…"
Cat made sure to stay away from their little pillow fight game, and gave a small chuckle. The man- turned- feline hadn't felt this happy in over a decade. Wybie finally had a father, and a best friend willing to die for him. They were their own little family. Their family of three.
And let me tell you. Fifteen years from now, when Coraline told her daughter that the cat sitting in the window was her grandfather, the little girl did not believe her.
Done! Man, this took forever to write! I'm sorry to those who were probably disappointed I made the Beldam have a change of heart, but I needed this story to be unique! At least a little…Hey, she did die in the end, and there was a pretty awesome battle scene, if I do say so myself. Maybe one day I'll make a one-shot about their lives after this incident, just so you can check up on them!
I thank you all who have reviewed! Please tell me what you all thought of this! Now, Blueflower1594, signing off!