perditus in mala somnia
lost in nightmares
by: notanotherfanficauthor & Chaed
Rating: M (for later chapters)
Disclaimer: Capcom made the soup and we put the salt into it.
A/N: This story is based on the roleplay of Lost in Nightmares, with the characters Chris Redfield (notanotherfanficauthor) and Jill Valentine (Chaed). Don't let yourself be fooled and presume that this is a simple novelization of the mini-game. It's far more than that. It has more plot, gore and tragedy than Capcom would have ever dared to put in it. Enjoy.
The mansion looming before them, the scent of greenery and death, the heavy night air which clung to them like a sick sweat. He didn't even need to close his eyes to feel himself pulled back to 1998 and the day everything changed forever. The moon threw bizarre shadows on the ground, the canopy around them alive like ghosts from the past. The only thing missing was the sound the chopper, the shouts of his teammates and the barking of dogs.
And of course, the curt order from his trusted Captain to head for shelter in the place which would eventually become a tomb to so many of his friends.
But this wasn't Raccoon City. His home town had long since been wiped off the map. This was different. This time Wesker, not STARS, was the prey and he'd be damned if Spencer wasn't going to lead them right to the bastard.
Chris felt his back teeth grind together, his fists clenching at the thought of the double agent.
"You sure you want to see this through?"
Jill's voice pulled him out of his reverie. He was so lost in his memories of Arklay that he half expected to see her wearing the STARS beret, her short hair framing her face, instead of the BSAA cap which hid the ponytail she'd grown. A set of rapid blinks brought him back to the present.
He let out a forced laugh."Sure thing, partner. You've seen one creepy mansion, you've seen 'em all. Let's check in with HQ and get this over with."
Chris knew that his flippant façade was fooling no one. Jill had been on one mission too many with him to buy his easy-going attitude. But at least she had the good grace not to call him out on his bullshit. After all this was more than a normal mission for both of them.
Pressing the radio to her ear Jill patched herself through to HQ. From where he was standing the line sounded shaky and, somehow, that made the whole sense of foreboding that little bit more tangible.
"HQ, this is Eagle One. We're preparing to infiltrate the building. Signal might be weak inside, but we'll keep in touch. Over."
When HQ transmitted a thumbs up, Jill nodded and checked her gun.
They mastered the last hundred metres without encountering any hurdles, which did nothing to appease Chris' sense of suspision. If Spencer truly lived here, where were all the cameras, the traps, the guards? The castle-like building looked completely deserted to him.
Just like Arklay did, he reminded himself. And that was a beacon of false hope.
They jogged up to the entrance, stopping in front of the massive oak doors. Jill turned the knob. Neither of them was surprised when it didn't budge. If anything at all it calmed Chris a bit. Finding the mansion completely open would have reeked of a set up.
He glanced at Jill as she fumbled in one of her pockets, producing a familiar set of different sized and shaped wires.
"Let's see if I still live up to my old nickname, shall we?"
Chris couldn't help but grin. Good old Barry and his less than stellar way with words. Damn if he didn't miss the old-timer. He was glad Barry was out of the fight and safe with his wife and kids. The Burtons were another good reason to put Albert Wesker in the fucking ground after what he'd done to that family.
"Right." He kept his weapon raised, scanning the vast expanse of forest for any sign of a threat.
He was trying to keep things light, to choke down the memories and the rage and everything that this place evoked in him. "Not even a lone zombie dog. Spencer sure has let his guard drop in his old age."
Or, more likely, he simply wasn't here. But he had to be. Chris was done chasing lead after empty lead. If this one turned out to be a bust as well, he felt as though he might lose it once and for all.
Giving him a nod of agreement, Jill gestured towards the door. A shared glance, a moment to ease the sense of apprehension, to wipe his sweating palms on his combat trousers.
Here began the horror. Full concentration was needed.
Jill unlocked the doors with a few skillful turns of her tools. Lockpicking was a science Chris had never felt attracted to. Jill couldn't get enough challenges.
They charged into the mansion then, Jill to the left and Chris to the right. His arms turned to lead as he recognised where they were. He stood dumbfounded for a moment, his heart working overtime.
"You've got to be kidding me..." Jill whispered beside him.
They'd stepped through a time warp, right back into '98, into the Spencer Mansion in the Arklay Forest that surrounded Raccoon City.
"Holy shit," Chris observed simply as their footfall echoed loudly in the grand mainhall of a perfect replica of the source of his nightmares.
He felt pearls of cold sweat materialize on his forehead as he pictured his younger self, over by the banisters at the staircase, panting for breath with no idea of what horrors were to come. Now, eight years later on a different continent he found himself right back at square one. The same design, heck, even the same pictures decorating the walls. This was someone's bad idea of a joke.
For once he was at a loss for words. He'd thought the Ashford estate in Antarctica had brought back enough horrible memories with its creepy similarity to the Spencer mansion, but this was a whole new level. This was a perfect replica.
"Well." He turned to Jill, resisting the urge to reach out and give her hand a reassuring squeeze. "At least this time we know we're not coming here looking for shelter."
But the knowledge that this place, much like its predecessor would be filled with horror was not a comforting thought. He stared at Jill, casting his mind back to that fateful moment when he'd returned to the hallway and found her gone, her gun lying on the floor.
At least this time Wesker wasn't here to split them up. They'd survived this before. They could do so another time.
"We get in, acquire the target, and get out. Doesn't matter if this is a trip down memory lane or not, it's still just another job." His tone was gruff. Knowing. Foreboding. "Above all else, we stick together."
"At least we know our way around," Jill remarked, but the expression on her face emanated alertness a moment later.
The moment when she saw the blood. The marble stairs leading unto the upper floor were slick with sticky crimson, smeared across the staircase like some artistic homage to the destruction of life. The cold, viscous substance painted a stark picture of what had transpired there; whoever had lost the blood had obviously gone through a violent struggle.
But where were the corpses?
Silence told what words were redundant for. They were neither the only ones, nor the first ones here.
"I guess now we know why there was no welcoming party," Chris said. Perhaps they were far closer to their final goal than planned.
He pulled his radio off his hip. It was a trait of his on missions, his obsessive need to keep some contact with the outside. It came from having been in too many situations where he was cut off and alone.
"HQ, Eagle Two here. Looks like we've got a situation. Someone got here first and it's not pretty. We're proceeding with caution. Over."
HQ confirmed and they were on their own once again. Since the stains were accumulating at the top of the stairs, Chris deduced that the main part of the fight must have taken place there.
To both sides iron gates hindered them from proceeding further. There seemed no way around them. Naturally, they were locked.
Jill scrutinized the grates with a critical eye. "There's no keyhole. I can't pick those."
"Let's look around for another way."
Because, of course, this was Spencer and so the place would be teeming with riddles and traps. Nothing was ever straightforward where the old man had a hand in things.
They backtracked down the stairs and tried the big double doors to their right.
"The dining room, right?" Jill murmured beside him.
He nodded and tried the knob.
The dining room door refused to budge. He didn't fancy attracting attention by trying to blow the lock with a well aimed shot. They desisted from this direction and inspected the opposite side, where immovable stone blocked them from proceeding. In its middle there was hole where a crest should go.
The only way left to go was down, and as they rounded the corner, Chris thought of the Trevor family and their horrific fate. Just one more crime in a long list of atrocities that Spencer had to answer for.
There was a gate and it looked firmly shut, but his attentions were on the large lever on the wall behind. It couldn't have been more foreboding if it had 'PULL ME' written beside it in human blood, but it seemed like their only option.
"What do you reckon?" he said, looking at Jill. She'd always been the more perceptive one in their partnership. "Pull the lever, get a prize?"
Finally! I wanted to put this up a week ago, but FF was so bugged, I couldn't even access my own profile.
This is obviously not premansion and not the story I promised. My apologies. But since that one is only halfway done, I decided to keep you busy with this instead.
The plot starts off easy, but don't misinterpret the traces of humor. When I put horror in the description of my story, I mean it. ;)