It had been all Arthur said to him when they first arrived home. Right before he whips off his jacket and disappears into the kitchen. Matthew jumps at what can only be the basement door being ripped open and slammed shut behind him. He assumes Arthur means for him to locate the sister - he can't recall her name, he'll have to text Feliks for it - since Toris' friend is dead. It's a logical assumption and he dives head on in the search.
Katherine Arlovsky; he reads it over and over, writes it again and again, mutters it under his breath so he will not forget. One reason being because she is essential to their search for a solution, the other being simply because she isn't exactly easy to track.
Matthew scours whatever he can on-line, but sites like Facebook and other prolific networking sites only lead to dead ends and the wrong person. He does find a MySpace profile that may have belonged to her (the photo Toris had sent him matches well enough with the one he views), but doubts that he would receive a message back even if his own account still existed. All in all, his continuous failing of being able to locate one person frustrates him enough, so much to the point he begins to use other methods.
He spreads the name to the others, tells them all to keep an ear out in the off chance they'll hear something. In between his breaks at work, he runs his fingers over yellow pages looking for a listing and calling the ones he finds. He asks if they have known of a girl called Natalya, and hangs up the minute they answer "No".
"You ever think of maybe trying to find a forward address?" Eliza suggest one day at work. "It wasn't that long ago we got that box, so there should be something so that her mail gets to her."
"I was thinking of that," Matthew replies. "I even searched WikiHow on how to do that, and I tried it that way. Didn't get anything back though, so I thought maybe to call the old address and see if there was a new number to call, but the number Toris gave me only led me to a recording saying that was no longer in service."
He slumps across the front counter, arms stretched out, hands dangling over the edge and looks so worn out Eliza can't help the small pat she gives him shoulder for some reassurance.
"I don't know what to do," he groans. "I can't even really talk to Arthur about it, all he does is go straight to the basement after work. I don't even see him eat. I don't even think he eats."
"Are you eating at least?"
"Yes, mom, I am."
"Just making sure, you don't have to get snappy with me- Oh, God, that was such a mom response."
Matthew ends up laughing and feels a lot lighter afterwards, though still looking a little down trodden. He smiles up at Eliza, who returns it just as softly and tells him to go ahead and take his break. It's a slow day, she's able to cover it just fine on her own.
He takes the excuse and drags himself to the backroom. He knows that he should plop himself right in front of the store's computer and type in the same name he's been searching for into the search engine for days now but just can't bring himself to do such. A short break from it, that's all he needs, just some time to regroup and rethink what he should do next.
So, instead, he sits down at the break table and slumps over again. He buries his head into his arms, he's so exhausted, and ends up drifting into a sleep...
...Only to be awoken by his cellphone blaring away from inside his pocket.
He jolts away and scrambles for it. He ends up hitting an elbow against the back of his chair and swears loudly before he's even able to check the collar ID.
He answer the call with a simple, "Hello?"
"Be prepared to start loving me," comes the response from the other line.
"I'm flattered, Gil, but the last thing I need is a pissed Italian looking to cut a homewrecker."
"Shut up, smartass, and listen. I'm at work-"
"Congratulations, so am I."
"I'm this close to hanging up on you. Anyway- ahh, hold on."
Matthew waits patiently through the sounds of extremely loud fire alarms going off and someone yelling about how the new guy just toasted all of the pizzas. Then there's loud coughing coming from who he knows must be Gilbert and a heavy metal door being opened. In Matthew's honest opinion, this is far better than any elevator music.
There's a few more coughs before Gilbert starts speaking again, and even then it's to ask if Matthew is still on the line.
Matthew answers that he is very much still on the line.
"Right, okay, I found that Katherine chick you've been looking for."
A beat passes.
"No, really! 'Cept, okay, I'm pretty sure it's her. There was an order put in for someone named 'Katy' and she paid with a card under the name 'Yekaterina Arlovskaya'. So, I made the delivery myself, jumped at it and everything like a newbie, you're welcome, by the way. She looks like the chick in the picture you forwarded to me. Pretty sure it's her."
"And you still have the address and everything?!"
"Sure do, got it stashed in my car."
"Oh my fucking- Gilbert, that's awesome! Your job's fucking awesome!"
"Good to hear someone finally acknowledging that. Anyway, I'm on break right now but when I get back I only got like an hour left. I'm dropping Feli off for his shift afterwards, you gonna be there still?"
"Yeah, I get off when he clocks in. Gilbert, y'know, just thanks again. You're awesome."
"Again, good to hear someone finally acknowledging that. I'll see ya later then, man."
Matthew says his goodbyes and hangs up the phone. The second he does so he runs out to the front and tackles Eilza from the back all while shouting the good news.
Because good news it is, and it certainly brightens up Arthur's broody expression the moment he tell him. He then looks relieved, mutters something about being bollocks at translating, and asks for the address. Matthew gives it to him without hesitation, and through that he's able to locate a home number which he calls. After a brief conversation, Matthew finds himself being herded out the front door and into the car. He doesn't need to ask, he knows they're on their way to meeting this woman.
There's little conversation between them. The only spoken words are the ones Matthew says as he gives Arthur directions via GPS. It's not the longest of drives, and in little time they find themselves parking in a small lot adjacent to an even smaller apartment complex.
The one they search for is at the very end of the first floor, and Arthur leads the way. He even knocks, which for Matthew is more than fine, he's all nerves right now.
Arthur himself only fairs slightly better. He's spent the time Matthew's taken to search for this woman to not only strengthen his own power, but has done his best at translating what had been written in those journals. He hasn't gotten very far into it, the lack of any real knowledge on the language's origins has his estimated guesses mean little when the handwritten alphabet gives him such trouble in deciphering. However, he'd been able to notice the change in script, the calm and neat precision lettering turning into the quick scratches of emotion that shine through the pages and he's noted them all.
Those are the ones he wants to know specifically, those are the ones he needs this woman to translate for him, as well as give him everything that has happened to her sister in the time leading up to her death.
The door opens. Behind the threshold stands a woman near his age and dressed simply. She's quite pretty herself, and though she gives them a warm smile, he's able to see her shoulders tense and the lack of that warmth reaching her eyes. He steels himself for the guilt he'll later feel. After all, it can't be easy for her to have a conversation of a terrible tragedy that's plagued her family.
"Hello," she greets. "You're Arthur, right? The one I spoke with on the phone?"
"Yes," says Arthur. "Miss Arlovsky, it's a pleasure to make your acquaintance. This is my younger brother Matthew, I hope him also being here is not an inconvenience."
"Oh, no. No, no, that's all right. And please, call me Katherine." She steps back into her apartment, widens the door and beckons for them to follow after. "Please, come in."
They take up her offer and she leads them into her small living room, which consists of only a desk, a small paisley love seat, and a set of matching arm chairs. A walnut coffee table in the middle already hosts a tray filled with mismatched mugs and an old ceramic tea pot, the hum of a desktop computer accompanies the ticking of a wall clock hanging amidst family photographs.
"Would you like some tea?" she offers both of them. "I-I don't really have much to offer for snacks. To go with the tea, I mean."
"Oh no, that's perfectly all right," Arthur tells her.
His reassurances seem to settle her as she graciously offers them a seat on her sofa and takes one herself in an arm chair across from them. As she pours out the tea and offers a cup to each one, Arthur contemplates what would be the best way to delve into the subject. He decides to be straight forward.
"Miss- ah, Katherine," Arthur both begins and pauses simply to make certain he has her attention. He continues with a simple nod of her head. "Recently, you've made several donations to second hand shops, correct?"
"Yes. I'm sorry, I didn't know if there was a proper way to do that. If I caused an inconvenience, or had done something wrong-"
"No. No, it isn't anything like that. We only had a few questions on some items that were found in a box outside of my brother's store."
Her hands come together and she begins to wring them. "When I moved from my father's home, I gave much of what was inside of it away. I don't know if I can remember what I left where."
"There were several books inside this box," Matthew answers her. "Journals. Most of them written in, more of them blank. Black clothing, candles... There was also a ouija board."
When she only looks down into her lap and makes no reply, Arthur takes it upon himself to further explain.
"Or a scrying board," he says. "A simple plank of wood that has been used to communicate with the dead or other supernatural creatures-"
"I know what it is," she cuts him off sharply, startling both of her guests with her slightly aggressive tone.
For several moments, neither Arthur or Matthew know what to make of the sudden change in their host, but fortunately when she does raise her head to look at them again, she is apologetic and even says as much.
"I know what it is," she repeats in a much softer voice. "It belonged to my sister."
"Yes. But you knew that. That's why you're here."
They are not questions she asks, they both know this. Her statements are so simply worded that it's almost as if she is resigned to the truth. There is no point in hiding.
"I will admit," she goes on to say, "that when I received your call, I already knew what you needed information for. I think the main reason I invited you over today was a morbid curiosity to know what else it has done."
"It?" asks Arthur, under the guise of not knowing what she means so that she herself may give them an more in-depth explanation.
"The…" she begins and trails off. "The ghost, or the monster, whatever it is. The reason why my sister is dead. The thing that lives in that board."
"So you know what it is?" Matthew asks this time.
Katherine shakes her head. "No. I only know that it killed my sister."
On the table in front of them, the drinks she's provided grow colder and untouched. If any of them had an inclination to take them up before, it's certainly gone now.
"If I may ask," she says. "How did you know that I was the one to leave that on the sidewalk?"
"My brother and I are friends with Toris," Matthew tells her. "He says he recognized the scarf my brother was wearing the night we were all attacked from whatever it is that had haunted your sister."
From the small briefcase he had brought along, carrying the journals he had been studying, Arthur clicks it open to pull out the pink scarf Alfred had claimed for his own. Folded neatly into a square, he hands it over to Katherine, who takes it back hesitatingly.
"I haven't seen Toris in years," she says. "Not since Natasha left school. The last time I spoke with him must have been, last year, I think. It had been such a spontaneous call, I had found my sister's old address book after my father died and his was the only number written in it. I'm not surprised though, that he was able to recognize my work."
"No," she laughs lightly. "I was horrible when I first started. I used to say that this loop here was my signature, but the truth is I was terrible at finishing and only said that. She would also wear this everywhere, and he would follow her everywhere until their falling out."
She clutches the fabric closer to her. "Do you know, sometimes I think she liked him just as much as he liked her. I used to tease her with wedding talk and what their children would look like. My sister was very beautiful. She would have had beautiful children."
Her words begin to croak towards the end, eyes shining and it's obvious that in a matter of time she'll begin to cry. Arthur scoots to the edge of his seat and leans over the coffee table carefully to place a hand over her own as some comfort.
She smiles gratefully, and it's then that's he confident to ask, "What happened to your sister?"
"I don't know," she confesses. "I don't know... It started around the time she was thirteen. She was very lonely, and I knew that it was from when our mother left us. Our father was not a bad man, believe me, but he didn't know how to take care of children. I tried so hard to care for her like she needed but I know it's not the same, and somewhere along the way... I lost sight of her."
She wipes at her eyes, clears her throat. "She became interested in dark things. She started with buying tarot cards and other fortune telling things like that. She would talk about how interesting ghosts are and how magic is real, and I would humor her. But then she started bringing odd books into the house, things that would explain black magic, demons, monsters. She showed me once, but when I started to show my concern, she shut me out. I thought it was a rebellious phase, but when she brought that board home everything changed.
"When she began high school, she started skipping classes, and then she stopped coming down for meals, she would lock herself in her room and she grew more violent, more defensive when I would try to ask her if she was alright. She was the most upset when I would tell her I was worried. She would say that there is no reason for me to worry for her. That she had someone else to care for her."
"What did she mean?"
"I don't know. I thought she met a boy, someone who had changed her to do these things, but after a few weeks of following her and keeping tabs on her, I found that she actually had no friends. There was no one to influence her and so I didn't know what to do."
Katherine sighs, wrings her hands into the folds of the scarf in her hands and says, "She only grew worse and I didn't know what to do about it. She dropped out from school and would keep herself locked in her bedroom for days. When she would leave she wouldn't speak or eat, but she would leave for hours before coming back home and then lock herself up again. It went on for years until one day... one day she was just gone. The doctors had said it was a mix of starvation and exhaustion."
Arthur is able to sense that she is reaching her limit. She's clearly putting a lot of effort into not crying as she tells this story, and he does already feel guilty for what he's about to ask of her. That doesn't stop him though, from revealing the book he's brought with him and holds it in his hands.
"Katherine, I- What I have here is one of the journals that were in the box my brothers found. You know they are hers, but did you ever read them?"
She shakes her head. "No. No, I could never.. bring myself to do so."
The guilt settles heavy in him, but it needs to be done.
"All of it," he says. "Seems to be written in Russian, and translation has been difficult to say the least. When we had come to an agreement to meet, I had also hoped that we may have you read some passages, just so that we may have a better feel of what we're up against. A first hand perspective, may give us the upper hand."
Katherine looks at them with such uncertainty that Arthur is almost willing to pull it back, tell her to forget the plea, but he keeps determined and eventually she relents.
What Natalya has written in her journals, were mostly small bits of poetry, some research of paranormal interests, and a good amount of entries devoted to her loneliness. She mentions her neglectful father a few times, her mother almost never, and Katherine constantly. Though mostly of how she knows when her sister grows older and moves on to forge her own life, she'll forget about her. It's at this parts where their host is almost unable to read clearly and without having to wipe at her eyes. Once more, Arthur is almost brought to the point where he'll thank her for her time and have their conversation end there, but before that happens something else is mentioned.
She calls him Ivan, and it's a start. A name is a good thing, and he makes sure to tell Matthew to write that down as well as whatever may come next as notes. She mentions him coming to her in her sleep mostly, hugging her waist and giving her a feeling of security. She calls him her guardian angel and the longer the relationship goes on, the more she seems to fall in love with him.
This particular journal only reaches the point just after her fifteenth birthday, and it's where they must stop. At the first mention of him touching her beneath her clothing, Katherine is no longer coherent, she is sobbing almost hysterically, and Arthur takes the book away.
It's Matthew that does most of the comforting, gets her to settle down and it takes a good half hour for them to make certain that she will be alright on her own before they leave. They say their goodbyes at the door, and Arthur makes even more apologies for them coming to her and having relive all of this heartbreak.
In turn, she wishes them luck, and closes the door, leaving them on her doorstep. Both men turn away, a little changed by the whole ordeal, but it does not put Arthur off from wanting investigate more.
"We need to go to that house," he says and walks off back to the car.
"What house- Are you talking about Katherine's old house?" Matthew asks and trails after him. "The one that the demon thing used to live in before he ended up with Alfred? That house?"
"Yes," Arthur answer just as he pulls his door open. "That house."
There's a total look of disbelief etched on Matthew's face that it is almost impossible to ignore. Even as they both enter the car and take off once more, it remains.
"Why are we going to the house?" he finally asks, and there really is no reason for Arthur to not tell him the truth.
Matthew does not reply, and it makes Arthur take a glance at him and sees that he is not at all convinced.
"Natalya wrote in her journals about Ivan making her feel less lonesome, more loved, if you will. But she didn't go into any specifics as far as Katherine read. If we were to find out that the sole cause of this attachment is based on her missing mother, well then, we'd have our reasons behind why out of the three people in that room it attached itself to Alfred."
"What would that have to do with Alfred, though? We had both our parents."
"Yes, but.. there was something that didn't settle right with him, and he's never been able to forgive it since."
The car goes quiet, and it's not comfortable in the slightest.
"What happened, Arthur?" asks Matthew. "What happened that night you and Alfred fought?"
This is definitely not the ideal setting he had wanted for this conversation should it ever occur. However, there is nothing to gain from not telling Matthew the truth, especially now when it can very well do more damage than heal.
"Do you remember," he begins, "when you first came into my home and after the first questions of what I did in the basement happened, I asked you both if you wanted to know?"
Matthew shakes his head. "No. No, not really."
"Well, you answered me no, most likely because you were afraid and more cautious out of the two of you. But Alfred did, and he studied under me for about four years I think. I did give him instructions to not talk about what happened down there after the incident with my own board. He probably still believes that I don't know you were down there with him when it broke.
"He was doing fine, but then… Matthew, what do you remember from your parents?"
This time he does not take Matthew's silence for an answer on its own. He waits patiently for him to find the words and even then he can't really say anything more than, "Not much. I know dad worked a lot. Mom worked too but… I think it was only part-time somewhere because she was always with me and Alfred. Sometimes they would fight, and the day after we would go somewhere for like a family day out. That's all I pretty much remember."
Arthur sighs. "The night we fought has a bit of a bit of a prelude to it. It started when he had been… fifteen maybe. There were exercises to stimulate memory, I had him go through it in order to begin our next lesson. What he remembered, were the subjects of those fights they would have, and being older, he understood what that meant. From what I understood, you both assumed that I was a child from a relationship that ended before your mother came into the picture, but that's not true.
"Your parents were already involved with one another before I was born. They were even married, a year or so before, I believe. But they couldn't have children, and it put a strain on them both for a while, and that was when our father met my mother and their turbulent love affair took off. He kept my existence a secret from her for six years, and when she did find out… it was not the easiest time of my life.
"To keep this story from growing any longer, despite having the both of you and proclaiming over and over again that he was not to leave his wife, their affair continued until the day of the accident. Which I believe was during one of those family day outings you remember. Which means that it was because of an argument from the night before, and since my mother is no longer alive for him to pin the blame on, that lovely privilege fell unto me."
Matthew says nothing, and so Arthur continues.
"Of course, none of that was my fault but after that he quit and a distance between us grew. I never realized how much animosity he had been holding up until the night he left. That night had been more or less a recap of everything he had been holding a grudge against, and he still doesn't know where to place that anger."
Again, Matthew says nothing and remains quiet for the longest time. As they continue to drive, Arthur gives him fleeting looks, watching for a reaction and growing increasingly nervous when he still says nothing.
"It wasn't your fault," Matthew eventually comes to say softly. "I.. didn't know that's what had happened, or was even happening at the time. But the fighting, and the accident, and the cheating, that wasn't your fault. Nah, two out of three, or hell maybe even all three, is all on dad. It's not your fault, Arthur."
A breath he hadn't even realized he had been holding is released, and Arthur can feel a great deal of relief flow right through him.
"You always were to more rational one as well," he says softly and Matthew gives him a small smile.
"I guess… I guess that has it make sense then. Like, if Alfred had been feeling this and wasn't sharing it, 'cause I sure as hell didn't hear about any of this from him, I guess that would make him the target if that's what this thing looks for. Talk about one helluva coincidence."
"Oh, please," Arthur scoffs. "It's a mere coincidence that the apartment Alfred finds available to him is above the thrift store the both of you would be working at ran by Eliza, who employed Feliks only a few months later, who just so happens to be a friend of Toris, whose mother not to mention was a former honorary coven member of my own mother's set, and knew the Arlovsky family personally? This was not a coincidence, this is the set-up of an eventuality, and there is a reason behind it."
He chances another glance at Matthew and is pleased to note that he is listening intently to what he says. "That's why we're going to the house, because if it's one string of commonality the major players in this production share, it is the lack of proper parental figures, and we need to be certain that is all there is to it."
He takes Matthew's leaning back into his seat as a sign of his acceptance of this and leaves it at that.
The home they pull up to has been left empty for some time. Windows have been boarded where panes have been broken, railings have fallen into a state of disrepair while tiles from the roof have gone missing. Graffiti takes up one side of the home, and it leaves Arthur wondering why such a thing was allowed to happen.
He parks his car on the streets, and both him and Matthew exit to approach the house. The hinges of the gate creak loudly when they swing open. Dry grass crunches under the footsteps and the stairs groan under their weight as they find themselves on the small porch before the front door.
Without even doing much, just by standing in front of the entrance covered in chipped paint, he can feel that there is something still here, behind the door. It grips at his insides and settles heavily in the bottom of his stomach, a sixth sense of what they may see, but only that. He doesn't feel anything too malignant, and there's nothing to suggest that there is anything here that will cause them real harm.
"Residual energy," he says to himself more than to his brother. "It may only be that."
"What does that mean?" Matthew asks.
"Just that there may still be something here," Arthur tells him and grabs at the handle of the front door. "Like a nightmare you can't forget, or a memory that always stays at the back of your mind, sometimes certain events leave an impression on a place and it stays there."
He closes his eyes and pours his entire focus into the metal in his grasp. It takes a little longer than he expects, but he does come to see them. Small flashes of images fly before him; Katherine locking up the house for the last time, a coroner crossing the threshold, a young woman with long pale hair leaving and a looming shadow following close after her.
Arthur lets go of the handle as if it's suddenly become too hot to touch.
"We need to get inside," he says and immediately goes for one of the boarded windows.
Matthew follows him and helps. It takes a bit of force to get the plank of wood off with just their manpower but eventually they're able to pull off one and the rest follow suit easily enough. The window pane still has some jagged bits of glass attached that Arthur smashes inward. He pulls off his jacket and lays it down.
"Do you want to go first or last?" he asks Matthew.
"Neither, to be honest."
Arthur does pull a slight face but he doesn't reply. He throws one leg over and then the next, his feet hit the floor inside and he ducks inside.
The inside is still furnished, only with dusty sheets that are staining yellow covering everything. The floorboards are layered finely with grime and dust floats freely in the stagnant air around them. He takes a few steps forward, allows his eyes to adjust to the dim lighting and hears Matthew struggle to get inside himself.
As far as homes go, this one is fairly small. They're in a well-sized living, from here he can see the entrance to the kitchen from across a small hall attached to the entryway that has either a small bathroom or closet and a staircase leading upwards. There's no use in exploring the rest of the house, when it's definitely upstairs that they need to be. He tells Matthew to follow him and leads them up the stairs.
It's just as much in a state of dilapidation as the rest of the house. There is a series of spray painted murals lining up and down the hallway from where vandals have marked when having broken inside. Many pieces of railing have been kicked in and the door leading into the bathroom has been busted through and cut in half. A growing feeling of annoyance hits Arthur then, but he pushes it aside. No matter how terrible he may feel for everything that has been done to this place, he can't let it get to what he's really here for.
Natalya's room is not difficult to find. There are a total of three bedroom in the house, and it just happens that the first bedroom they peek into is painted from floor to ceiling (and even then, the ceiling is too) painted black. Faded posters of different symbols from different branches of magic are plastered to the walls, some even half torn off, and some simple fallen over from where tape has failed to keep. A small four poster bed covered in marker writing is stripped of bedding and mattress in the corner and like much of the rest of the house, the leftover furniture of a desk and set of drawers are covered in sheets.
Already Arthur is able to feel a difference in this room than the rest of the house. The air is heavier here, and he's not sure if Matthew is able to tell, but he finds it a little harder to breathe naturally. He feels as if he's being made to keep a calm façade when there should be no danger lurking here.
"We'll need to perform a small ritual," he says.
"What kind of ritual?"
"Something that will bring out the memories this room has." Arthur moves to the center of the room, and with his finger begins to draw symbols in the dust on the floor. "Whatever is clinging here is still strong. Did Katherine make a mention as to where her sister died?"
"Um… no. No, I don't think she said where."
"She may have died here."
"Are you serious?"
"Most likely. Come here." He holds his hand out for Matthew to take but keeps him from getting closer to him than an arm's length. "Mind the circle, and close your eyes."
"Nothing's gonna come out of this and go crazy is it?" he asks, but follows directions all the same.
"No, it's simply going to allow us to see a quick glimpse of things that have happened here. The images may startle you at first, but keep calm, and you'll be fine."
Matthew gives him a small nod of understanding, and with that Arthur begins a small incantation.
With his own eyes closed, it's a melting sensation that surrounds them. Though the temperature in the room remains the same, he can almost sense the area around them melting away and growing livelier as it restores into a more comfortable condition. The air is fresher, there is no dust, the furniture is being used and the posters are like in place, still intact. The first image that shows up is that of a small girl curled up on her bed. Her face is hidden by the long tendrils of hair that act as a curtain while her tiny body racks with quiet sobs.
She begins to call out for her mother, even as her body elongates and her voice matures, right before them as if years were passing by before them in mere seconds, she does not move and continues to call out for her mother. At one point everything suddenly pauses and comes to stand still, and even she herself grows quiet. Little by little, her body uncurls, and she brings a hand up to push away her hair and tuck it behind her ears.
She looks to them, or rather she appears to be looking at something behind them. It's at this point that Arthur feels as if something is definitely wrong. These are not the types of images he knows should be coming to them. Instead, it's almost as if they've both been dragged into a small pocket of time where something is about to happen. A fixed point, because while she continues to stare, the more he feels something solidifying behind them, and that is something that most certainly should not be happening.
"You'll stay with me?" she asks whatever it is that's behind them. "Please say you'll stay with me. I'll even give you the scarf you like so much. I know you do, you always come around the most when I wear it, so please?"
A low huff of air, something breathes out heavily from behind and it's for the best that they end this now and leave.
"My mother left me," the girl goes on to say. "My father doesn't care for me. Katyusha's growing and will do the same. I don't want to be alone. I don't…"
The floorboards begin to vibrate, and Arthur grips at Matthew's hand.
"Matthew," he calls. "Pay attention to what I'm going to say. When I tell you to run, open your eyes and run back the way we came."
"Why?" he asks. He sounds a bit scared, and Arthur doesn't blame him.
"A part of it.. may still be lingering here."
"Are you shitting me? Please tell me you're shitting me."
He doesn't answer that.
The vibrations turn into a slight tremble. The girl in front of them stretches her legs out, continues to grow until she's a lanky teenager with sunken cheeks dressed entirely in black. Her hair has lost its luster and hangs in stringy clumps around her face as a large dark mass suddenly emerges from the shadows behind her.
"It's fine," she says. "As long as he never leaves."
Arthur tugs at Matthew's hand.
Arthur's eyes flash opened and he's glad to see that Matthew has done the same, has even left the room just as he's told him to. He ends up staggering behind as the room comes back to how it really is left, still in shambles only on the path of being destroyed even further.
The trembling of the floorboard had not only occurred in their makeshift séance, it had also been something occurring right beneath them. It bleeds into the walls, into the ceiling, has it crack and plaster falls in large clumps at Arthur's feet as he sprints from the room. He exits right before the single window, covered in a large amount of grime shatters inwardly and scatters all across the floor. The activity soon escapes into the rest of the house, making it harder for him to race down the stairs as they threaten to give way in his rush.
How he's able to make it back through the window they've entered from must be from pure adrenaline. Him remembering to grab his jacket on the way back to the car must be pure luck. Either way, he's glad to see Matthew already sitting inside, a little shaken but safe.
He enters, ignores the way Matthew jumps as he plops down in the driver's seat and slams the door behind him. His heart is beating fast and he takes long deep breaths to try to settle it down.
"We shouldn't have done that," Matthew says, his face in his hands. "Oh my god, we shouldn't have done that, we probably pissed it off even more."
"Let it be," says Arthur and reaches for his pack of cigarettes. He places on between his lips and rolls his window down just before lighting it up. With the first drag he already feels less frazzled. "It's not like it won't make much of a difference when we exorcise the bastard."
"Will be fine so long as he keeps the charm I make him close. Right now… I'm sure of what needs to be done."
"So, what do we do now?"
With one last drag on his cigarette, Arthur crushes the leftover into the makeshift ashtray he's made out of his cup holder. He exhales in one large breath because that's the question, isn't it? He has some semblance of an idea as to lure the monster into his own home where this needs to be done, something that only has a possibility of working and maybe, just maybe, with some added thought and safety measures taken into consideration, it could very well work to be the best one of them all. He has no doubt that he'll have Matthew's full service at his disposal to see it through no matter how unreliable it seems.
He looks to his young brother, the very one who shares only half of his blood, who he would not even know if unfortunate circumstance had not thrown them together, and knows that none of that makes what he's about to suggest any better.
Mother forgive him...
"Matthew," he says. "Your hair's growing awfully long. Don't you think?"
-This took way longer than I wanted and there was so much bs going on that kept me from ever finishing it including a pc reset gone bad, two rewrites, and three jobs that both ended badly. Ugh.
-Anyway, two more chapters to go this fic is winding down~
-Stay shiny, lovelies, I'll be back with the next part on the 13th. xoxo
IT'S BEEN SO LONG AND I LOVE YOU ALL I'M SORRY THAT I'M NOT SAYING THANK YOU TO EACH ONE OF YOU BUT I'VE READ YOUR REVIEWS AND THEY ALL KEPT ME MOTIVATED. THANK YOU.