Free Will (How "The Haunting of Molly Hartley" Should Have Ended)

By Erin

Author's Note: I was greatly disappointed by the movie's ending and thought I'd try my hand at an alternate ending. I was half writing it as a prose and then half as a script, so it might be a little… off. Unbeta'd.

Suddenly, the doors flew open, Molly's father and his captor flying forward, incapacitating Emerson. Silhouetted by the backyard lights, the police looked like saviors coming to rescue her.

An officer kept his gun trained on Emerson as he reached for the knife in Molly's hand. "Miss Hartley, drop the knife. They aren't going to hurt you, now."

The figures that had surrounded the pool house were being handcuffed and dragged off to squad cars that she could see as red and blue lights reflected off the fence. Molly could see Emerson turn from angry to worried as she handed the knife to him.

"Daddy, what's going on?" She backed away from everyone, hugging herself. It was all too much too fast.

An officer helped him up, Emerson and Joseph never moving, only appearing as though something had gone terribly wrong.

"Molly? Molly!" Leah slipped through the squad, embracing her tightly. This distracted the officers enough to cause Emerson to lurch forward, going for her father, but a shot suddenly rang out.

A shot to the shoulder spun Emerson around, sending her crying out onto the floor. Joseph backed away, holding his hands up.

"Good, good. You're parents weren't as smart, Mr. Young." The lead officer, handed the knife off to one of the cadets. "Evidence. Start bringing these two in, keep it quiet, Miss Hartley here has already had enough trouble as it is."

He reached out and grabbed Leah's shoulder. "Miss, as much as I bet Molly appreciates your concern, you're in a crime scene."

Leah gave everyone a look Molly knew meant she might lash out at anyone who pushed her buttons. "I'm the only sane person here, I think she needs that right now."

"Alright, alright." He motioned for another cadet to escort them out of the pool house, helping her father up. "Get them looked at, I'll talk to them after I get this all cleaned up."

Molly gave Joseph one last look before turning away, taking her father's hand and squeezing it tight. She hugged Leah, feeling tears burn behind her eyes. There were no words. There was nothing that made sense in her head to put into words. All she knew was what she thought was wrong was almost right until it suddenly wasn't right at all.

"I wasn't going to stab you dad." She finally got out, stopping to look at him.

He nodded, reaching out to graze her cheek. "Emerson's a doctor, it's why she was able to bring you back to life… Your mother was just so out of it that it all seemed like something evil." Her father sighed, squeezing her arm. "I was desperate to keep you alive… after so many tries…"

"Dad, I get it." She hugged his side, still holding on to Leah. "I don't get why you made me see her though."

"I didn't know it was her. Eighteen years changes a person… and people can change their names." He shook his head, angry with himself. "Your mother was never right after the first couple of miscarriages. I tried to help, but eventually…"

"Hey…" Leah finally spoke up, tugging at Molly to break her away from her dad. "Crazy night huh? Mom nearly stabs you again, Alexis tries to drown you, and a crazy cult wants you to be their demon girl! That's one way to celebrate your birthday."

Molly stops, "How did you know about Alexis…"

Leah looks off at the squad cars, people beginning to crowd around. "Suzie noticed y'all run off towards the church, figured you finally wanted to take Alex up on her offer. She was saying some pretty weird things about you… Cops pulled her out of the pool before coming here. Word travels fast, I told you – and word says she tried to drown you, in those Baptismal robes and all. That's so wrong."

Molly suddenly laughs softly, as if Leah's small joke has broken through everything that's just happened. Leah smiles and reaches out, taking her hand. "Come on, you look like shit. Let's go get some free coffee and blankets from the cute paramedics. I'm tired of hearing how your some Rosemary's Baby or something."

"But… what if I am?" She mutters, looking a little guilty at even entertaining the idea.

Leah laughs, "Right, well, if you are, awesome. You'll fit right in with my anger issues." She stops and suddenly squeezes Molly's arms, looking her dead in the eye. "It's called free will, Molly. Destiny is bullshit. If you were really saved by a demon or whatever everyone keeps saying, it's your choice to be good, evil or gray like the rest of us."

With a hard tug, Molly lets Leah lead her off across the backyard, her father tailing slowly behind them.