~Chapter 15: Where Demons Hide~

Don't get too close

It's dark inside

It's where my demons hide

It's where my demons hide

"There you guys are," I said as I stood above the heads of Gilbert and Alice, the sudden rain wetting the three of us.

They both stared up at me, Alice eating an apple while Gilbert just looked angry. Sigh. Were these two fighting again?

I jumped down from where I was and approached Gilbert and Alice. "You sensed it too, I'm guessing," I said to Alice.

She nodded. "The scent is strong."

"Let's go back to Oz for now," Gilbert said.

Alice and I shook our heads and continued forward.

"If we do that," Alice began.

"We'll lose the scent," I finished off.

Gilbert followed a bit reluctantly and kept glaring around at his surroundings. "Is Grim . . . Is Grim really here?" he asked.

Alice chuckled and threw her unfinished apple away. "No mistaking it," she said. "There's no way I could forget that putrid smell of his."

"Is Grim strong?" I asked.

"Not really," Alice answered. "The only reason I'm going to fight him though is because he may have a piece of my memories."

Oh, Alice. If only you knew that I held many of your memories as well. Don't worry. I will tell you, but not now. In the future, when you're more prepared for the truth.

"I still say we go back to Oz," Gilbert said.

"Too late," Alice and I said in unison, a smirk crawling across both our lips as he looked up at the chain, Grim.

The large caterpillar loomed ahead, it's slime dripping onto the ground below. What a horrible smell it contained.

Alice and I jumped away just as Grim came crashing down. The ugly, revolting thing then quickly slithered over to the shadows and went behind someone. I stared, my eyes adjusting to the shadows and seeing the features of the man Grim was around.

He was a bony man who was hugging himself, shaking, and obviously going mad. His red hair was in complete disarray and his glasses magnified his crazy eyes. My eyes widened in shock as I quickly recognized the man.

This was Phillip's father!

"You're as revolting as always," Alice chuckled as she cracked her knuckles and stepped forward, not even a tiny bit afraid of the danger she was putting herself into.

"Y . . . You are . . . Pandora agents?" Phillip's father asked, his voice sounding sick and deranged. He had already been contaminated by the chain. It was too late for him, that was obvious.

"B-Rabbit. It's B-Rabbit!" Grim exclaimed. "Devour her. Devour her!"

Gilbert stood before Alice and I, raising his gun towards Phillip.

"Don't!" I exclaimed and pushed the gun down.

"What are you doing, Claudia?" Gilbert shouted.

"You can't shoot that man!"

"Why not?" he demanded.

"The Will of the Abyss will surely be pleased!" Grim continued.

"The Will of the Abyss?" Alice said and began chuckling. She stepped forward and slammed her foot onto the cement, breaking it into pieces.

"Oh no," I groaned and placed a hand on my forehead. "She's angry."

"Shut up, you scum!" Alice shouted. "Making that thing happy, I would rather be forced to do a stupid dance in front of that stupid clown, Break!"

Well, at least she's honest.

"Raven, hurry up and unleash my power," Alice said.

"No!" I protested, but Gilbert walked completely past me and took off his glove. But when he was about to unleash B-Rabbit's power, both Alice and Gilbert froze.

"If Oz isn't here," Gilbert said in a shaking tone.

"We can't unleash the power," Alice whispered.

Both of them looked completely shocked and suddenly began running as Grim came charging forward.

"You idiots!" I shouted as I ran to catch up with them. "That's the other reason I was trying to stop you two!"

"Damn it!" Alice shouted at the top of her lungs as we ran. "You two are nothing but a waste of space!"

"Don't talk to me like that!" Gilbert shouted back.

"It isn't my fault you two are a bunch of idiots!" I exclaimed.

"Oh shut up!" they both said as someone leaped over our heads.

The three of us stopped running and glanced behind just as Grim was attacked by a girl with short, bluish-white hair and dull gray eyes.

"Echo?!" Gilbert exclaimed.

"Echo?" Alice and I asked and stared up at the girl.

"Gil! Alice! Claudia!"

"Oz!" the three of us shouted as we looked up to see the blonde looking down at us.

"Where the hell have you been?" I demanded and pointed at Grim. "Grim contracted with Phillip's father!"

Oz looked up quickly, his emerald eyes widening as he stared at the man and chain.

"Really?" Oz asked in shock.

I jumped high up to where Oz was and landed beside him. His eyes were focused on Phillip's father, and I could tell he didn't like what this meant at all.

"Oz," I murmured softly. "Phillip's father . . . He's too far in to save."

Oz shook his head. "No. There has to be a way!" he looked at me, eyes full of determination and despair. "Right now, Phillips is waiting at home for his father to return! I won't let him lose the only family he has left!"

"Oz," I said in shock. I smiled. "Fine, we'll find a way, okay?"

Oz smiled at me and nodded, when all of a sudden, Grim attacked the platform we were on.

"E-eh?" Oz and I said in unison as we began to fall.

"Oz!" I heard Gilbert shout as Oz and I lay under some rubble.

I winced and opened my eyes, only to see Gilbert summoning B-Rabbit's power.

"NO! GILBERT STOP!" I shouted, but it was already too late. Alice was transforming, and there was nothing I could do now.

"No matter what, I'm going to tear you limb from limb," Alice chuckled as she transformed into B-Rabbit. "I'll carve you up beautifully!"

As Alice attacked Grim, Phillip's father also seemed to feel the pain. W-wait! The contractor also feels the pain the chain is going through?

"Oz!" I shouted to the blonde, but he was already a step ahead of me.

"Alice! Stop! Don't attack anymore!" Oz demanded, but she wouldn't listen.

"Don't joke with me!" Alice growled. "The price for insulting me, is paying with their lives!" Alice ran forward for the final blow.

I ran towards the large black rabbit, preparing to stop her, but as I was about to grabbed Alice, she swung her arm and batted me away. I slammed into a near by wall, pieces of cement falling around me as I hit the floor.

"Claudia!" Oz shouted, but I couldn't even turn my head to look at him, Alice had hit me pretty hard.

All of a sudden, my heart skipped a beat. An image flashed into my mind. An image of a person I wanted to forget. One of the men I wanted to forget. Jack's kind face flashed in my mind, but I didn't understand why.

I struggled to get up and finally glanced over at Oz. His emerald eyes were distant, as if he weren't actually here, but somewhere else. What's going on with him?

Finally, Oz came back and glanced at Alice. "Stop . . . ALICE! STOP IT RIGHT NOW!" I shouted at the top of his lungs.

I glanced at Alice and watched in shock as her transformation came undone and she was back to being the normal her. She was just as shocked as me as she slammed onto the ground below. When Alice tried to get up, something suddenly held her down.

Alice's power . . . Was . . . Suppressed? Oz suppressed B-Rabbit's power?! Unbelievable!

Oz slowly rose to his feet and began to approached Phillip's father. The man cowered in fear and began crawling away from the blonde.

"No!" Phillip's father whimpered. "Stay away! Stay away from me!"

"Oz!" Alice and I shouted in unison.

"Why . . . Something like this," Oz began. "Why? Why did you become an illegal contractor?"

Phillip's father suddenly pulled out a gun and pointed it at Oz. Fear gripped me as he shot and Oz stumbled back a bit. Oz!

"Why did you make a contract with a chain?" Oz asked, and I saw that his cheek was bleeding. So the bullet had merely grazed him.

"It's obvious!" Phillip's father shouted, suddenly filling with courage as he got up to his feet. "To change the past, of course! If I had listened to my friend, my house wouldn't have fallen into ruin. I wouldn't have had this wretched memory, my wife wouldn't have fallen ill, Phillip . . . I would have made Phillip happy! That's right! I . . . I KILLED PEOPLE FOR MY SON'S SAKE!"

"Phillip's . . .sake?" Oz whispered as I slowly rose to my feet, a bit of pain still in my body. Oz's face filled with so much rage that I had never seen him have ever before. He looked as if he could kill a man.

"You really think that's what Phillip wanted?" Oz demanded as he ran up to Phillip's father, only to have a gun pointed at his forehead.

"Y-you don't know anything about me," the man stuttered and was about to pull the trigger, but I ran forward and grabbed his arm before he could. I moved his arm away from Oz, and that's when the blonde moved forward.

Oz gripped the front of Phillip's father's shirt and shook the man once.

"Why aren't you there with Phillip? Why can't you just be with him?" Oz demanded. "Isn't your son important? Why . . . Why would you make him like me?!"

My eyes widened. Like Oz? What did he mean by that?

"If you were just there for him . . . If you would just be next to him . . . THAT WOULD BE ENOUGH!"

Oz's eyes widened and he released Phillip's father. The blonde stumbled back, his hands hovering over his face as if he just realized something terrible.

I walked over to Oz and gripped one of his sleeves. "Oz?"

But he didn't seem to hear me. Again, his mind seemed to be somewhere else. But, unlike the first time, he wasn't as far away this time.

"Go see Phillip," Oz said.

Phillip's father had raised the gun again, now pointing at Oz and I.

"Oz!" Gilbert shouted from behind us.

I looked back and saw the black-haired man pull out his gun. Oz saw too and quickly jumped in between Phillip's father and Gilbert.

"Don't shoot!" Oz said, but at that moment, a shot was fired.

Everything seemed to happen in slow motion as the bullet hit Phillip's father directly in his face. My eyes widened in shock as I turned to look at Gilbert. Why had he fired? Why didn't he listen to Oz?

When the body fell, Oz gripped his chest as if it were in pain and Gilbert came to catch Oz before he hit the ground.

"Let me go!" Oz shouted. "Don't touch me! Why did you shoot? I ordered you not too!"

"I didn't shoot!" Gilbert defended.

"If it hadn't been you, then who?" I demanded, tears in the corner of my eyes. "Who else could it have been?!"

"It was me," an unfamiliar voice came.

Oz, Gilbert, and I all turned towards the voice, and as the person stepped forward, I felt myself fill with fear and disgust.

Vincent stood before me, a smoking gun in his hand as he had his free arm wrapped around Echo's shoulders. That's right. The last time I had seen Vincent, he was with that girl. I had completely forgotten about her until now.

"Well, he looked like he was about to kill that boy," Vincent said. "First off, all that was left for that person was to die or fall into the abyss. So that's why . . . It was inevitable, right?" Vincent smiled as if he had done such a good deed.

I glared at the man with the two-toned eyes. Why? This damn man. There still could have been some way to save Phillip's father! I could have helped. I could have asked Alyss, and she would have spared him, I know she would have. But now . . .

"You bastard," I growled as Alice approached my side. I saw she was glaring at Vincent as well.

"Vince, is your carriage near by?" Gilbert suddenly asked.

"Of course," the brother answered.

"Let me borrow it. I need to take Oz to a safe place to rest."

"No, Gil!" Oz protested.

"It's fine," Vincent said happily, his smile sickening me. "Gil, since it is your request."

Sharon handed me a towel for my dripping black hair as I sat, wrapped in nothing more than a blanket.

"Are you sure you do not wish to join the others?" she asked.

I shook my head, wanting to be alone. "I'll be fine. Please, do not worry about me."

"I can not help it. You are my sister now, Claudia. Even if we are not related my blood."

I smiled and looked up at the purple eyed girl. "I'll be fine," I said again. "And if I need someone to talk to, you'll be the first person I come to, okay?"

Sharon smiled sweetly back. "Alright."

"Thank you, Sharon, for everything," I said as she left the room.

"That is what family does," she said.

I nodded and stared into the fire place, now alone once more. "Yeah. But Phillip doesn't have a family anymore."

My heart felt hollow as I thought about that poor child, sitting all alone in his home, just waiting for his father to return. But . . . He wouldn't be coming home anymore. Phillip was now all alone.

A tear ran down my cheek as I stared into the orange fire that warmed me.

Alone. How I hated that word.

I got up from where I sat and walked over to the window, staring into the night rain outside.

"Phillip . . ." I whispered.

Don't worry. I'm pretty sure that boy will be fine. came Alyss' sweet tone.

I glanced over my shoulder, and instead of seeing a rabbit, I actually saw her this time. The girl with the snow white hair and lilac eyes who looked just like Alice.

"How are you able to show yourself to me like that?" I asked.

I am borrowing some of your strength. I hope you do not mind.

I shook my head and sat next to Alyss, that's when I noticed she was a bit transparent.

"What did you come here for?" I asked.

To tell you someone is watching you.

"Watching me?" I asked.

Alyss nodded and smiled at me. Be careful.

"Can you at least tell me who is watching me?" I asked.

She shook her head. Because not even I truly know. I only catch glimpses here and there, but if I do discover, I will tell you.


Alyss stood up and stared away from me. I must go now. Cheshire is waiting. she giggled.

I smiled. "Tell him I say 'hey', and goodbye for now, Alyss."

She giggled once more and vanished before my eyes.

I sighed and leaned against the back of the couch.

Song used for this chapter is Demons by Imagine Dragons. A very good song that I thought fit this chapter perfectly because of Phillip's father. Please review and look forward to the next chapter.

~Alice Michaelis