This story is set in Thornewood Castle, the place utilized by Stephen King to film the movie Rose Red. Rumors indicate that Thornewood Castle is, in itself haunted, although by gentle spirits.
For my regular readers…just a warning…this isn't my normal type of story. Imagine a teen horror flick set with Twilight characters! It was written for the Darkest Temptations blog for the Halloween special. It is also totally non-betaed, so please excuse any mistakes.
Leaves brushed against my arms as I walked the pathway of the well maintained and elaborate garden. I couldn't believe that Edward had sent me a message to meet him here; he knew how I felt about this place, having been spooked from the moment we'd checked into Thornewood Castle. Chalk it up to the fact that I'd watched Stephen King's Rose Red with Jake many years ago and screamed through half of it.
He was infuriated with me. It was almost like I didn't know him anymore…the huge beast of a man he'd become from the boy that had once been my personal sunshine. I'd actually been scared of him several times; when he'd ranted that I had no business with the Cullens. The day he'd grabbed my arm and left bruises had irrevocably changed our relationship, even though he'd begged with huge tears in his eyes for my forgiveness. It was then that I'd realized why he'd acted the way he did, and I told him that I couldn't give him the type of relationship he wanted, having already given Edward my heart.
Where the heck was he?
I was scared to death wandering the gardens of the castle. Why couldn't he just invite me to his room? I knew that Emmett and Rosalie had probably taken over his and Jasper's room, and I'd let Jasper in the door for Alice as I left. They were probably already in bed together having fun, and here I was chasing my elusive boyfriend around the gardens of a haunted house.
"Bella,Thornewood Castle isn't haunted. Stephen King just thought it made the perfect backdrop for filming his novel," Carlisle had said to me as we were checking in, seeing the panic in my eyes.
The woman helping us had chuckled. "Actually the castle is haunted, but it is by positive spirits. Most individuals who report running into one of our ghosts state it is a truly peaceful experience."
"Sure, sure." Had been my only response.
They could believe whatever they wanted, but the place gave me the creeps, and it didn't help that we were checking in for Halloween weekend. For fun, Carlisle had sprung to bring us all, having garnered my father's and Rose's and Jasper's parents' permission. Carlisle was here to represent Forks hospital at the parent company's annual charity bash, Esme was the mastermind of the event, having come up with the idea to rent out the whole facility for the annual fund-raising bash. All the other guests would be arriving later today (it was after all after midnight, now October 31st) to check in – but for the night, we would have the run of the place by ourselves.
A twig broke to the front of me, startling me out of my thoughts, and in response I called out, "Edward?"
I heard a low snarl, like an animal, and that was all it took. I turned and ran.
Seeing the castle loom in front of me made it feel like I was in a cheap teenage horror flick, and I giggled realizing how silly I was being. Edward was probably laughing his ass off at me from the cover of the trees. Fuck him…well, really that was what I'd wanted to do…so he'd just have to come chase me and make it up to me before I took advantage of his body. Smiling at the thought, I let myself in to the door.
Seeing where I was located, I breathed a sigh of relief. I recognized the hall from when we'd arrived. Carlisle and Esme were staying in the Grandview Suite just ahead. I was going to have to be quiet, and imagined myself tiptoeing like a cartoon character as I passed their door. Didn't want to get caught sneaking around in the middle of the night, as I didn't think I'd fool Mr. and Mrs. Cullen any. Edward had told me that Carlisle had sat him down and had the whole "responsibility" talk after he figure out just how serious we were getting. "Get out of college and get married first before I become a grandfather," he'd said handing Edward a box of condoms. Edward and I had laughed about it, tossing the box in the drawer. I'd gotten on the pill as soon as I realized where we were headed.
The hallway was amazingly beautiful, and I looked at the decorations in the moonlight that filtered through the windows. The house was a masterpiece…even if I didn't feel like it was as "pleasant" as everyone was making it out. Getting close to the doorway that led to Carlisle and Esme's suite, I was surprised to see the door open. And then I froze at what I saw…several of the chairs were overturned as if a struggle had occurred.
"Carlisle? Esme?" I called out, to be met with silence.
Okay, I was going to kill them. They must all be in on the "scare Bella" plan. I was betting it was Emmett in the garden now, and I couldn't imagine how they'd talked Carlisle and Esme into participating. I was so going to pay them back, I thought even while the uncontrollable shivers went down my back.
"Ha! Ha! Funny guys." I pushed the door totally open and marched into the room, intent on finding out where they were hiding. I noticed that the door to the patio was open, so I headed straight for it, only to stop in horror.
Carlisle and Esme were on the patio, Carlisle leaned against the wall, Esme lying beside him. A huge gash had caused rivers of blood to flow down his pristine chest, something lay in his lap and I was almost scared to look. Esme's abdomen looked sliced open and in addition to what appeared to be her guts, it would seem that another organ lay propped for display.
Anger boiled through me at how far they'd gone to scare me, and I shouted at them, "Damnit, OK! I expected this from your children, but not you."
Not one eyelash moved as Carlisle stared straight at me. Angry that he would continue the elaborately and well done charade, I marched out onto the porch, and promptly slipped, falling just before them
Raising my hands to brush them on my pants, I realized that they were covered in blood. That is when the reality hit. Carlisle's eyes were glazing over and his heart lay in his lap, having been savagely ripped from his chest, the thing on Esme…her uterus…representative of all that she held dear, her children. Unwilling to accept what I was seeing, I reached for him.
"Carlisle! Wake up!" I shook him, unable to face the reality. "Wake UP!" I screamed, dislodging him from where he'd been propped, and with a splat he fell over onto Esme, his face come to rest in the bloody entrails that had been ripped from her.
Screaming, I pushed up and attempted to stand only to fall on the blood soaked tiles, landing across them both and getting their blood on the side of my face, my hair trailing through it. Crawling away as fast as possible, I reached one of the chairs to pull myself up and then shoved my hands down in my pants to reach my phone. Nothing… I'd left it in the room. Hysteria took over, and I lunged for the phone, but found it dead.
Emmett…I had to get to Emmett. His and Jasper's room was just down the hallway. Somehow, I ignored the panic that my screaming hadn't already brought them running for me and ran through the room away from the ravaged corpses that had been like second parents to me.
"EMMETT!" my screams echoed off the walls, and there was a point I almost felt like I was being followed. Risking a glance back, I saw nothing other than the bloody shoeprints I was leaving across the pristine floor. Stumbling every so many feet, I tore into Emmett and Jasper's sitting room.
"EMMETT!" I screamed again, waiting for the mountain to come to me. When he didn't, I stumbled to the bedroom door sobbing, hoping that they had their clothes on at least.
Slinging the door open, I cried out seeing Rosalie slumped over at the dressing table, Emmett leaned back against the wall to her right side. Great tendrils of something hung from his arms and legs, and I vomited over the carpet when I finally realized what it was. His muscles had been sliced into long pieces. His eyes were frozen in a ghastly stare, and I saw that he'd died looking at Rosalie. My body moved forward even as my mind screamed to run. Tracking through my vomit, I came to Rosalie's side and fell to my knees amidst the blood and gore. Her exquisite face had been sliced to where it was almost recognizable…only her eyes left undisturbed. I saw that some of her hair had been torn from her scalp and a horrendous notion took over. Someone had held her still as they sliced her…making her watch as the knife carved into her. Who'd died first, I wondered and knew it had to be Emmett…he would have fought to the death…
My throat froze…the screams building in me with no avenue for release. They clawed at me, keeping me incapable of movement. The smell overwhelmed me finally…blood, torn flesh, my vomit…breaking through the shock.
Alice! Jasper! Edward! Oh God! Who was doing this?
"Bella, Thornewood Castle isn't haunted." Carlisle's words came back to me as disturbingly maniac female laughter seemed to float through the air.
It was mine.
I spun and didn't want to think about the liquid that made it easy, that I was grinding into my knees of my pants. Pulling myself to my feet, I left my big brother and perfect sister behind, tears streaming down my face at the unreal situation in which I found myself, but I slammed into the wall as soon as I made the hallway. I could have sworn I saw a shadow pass at the end of the hall and turned to run in the opposite direction.
Within a minute, I realized I was lost, having moved from the direction I should have gone, spooked by whatever it had been I'd seen. At another turn, I moved to the left, seeing an open window…the curtains billowing in ghost like shimmers. The image was terrorizing and I lost the flight or fight battle, screaming at the gossamer image even as I headed away from it.
Two double doors loomed ahead, and I plowed through them, hoping to find a way to lock the door. It was the main dining room. White table cloths covered the round tables, and I stumbled into the first one before turning to see if I could lock the door. When I was finally able to throw the lock, I leaned against the doors letting the sobs overwhelm me.
This couldn't be happening… This couldn't be happening… I chanted wishing it to be true.
They were dead! Butchered! Who would do this to them. Where were Jasper, Alice, and Edward? I couldn't even consider what I feared. A hole opened in my chest, and it was all I could do to keep standing. Knowing where I was now, and how to get back to the rooms, I realized I needed protection, something to defend myself with while I made my way back. We'd seen the dining room when we were given the tour by the owners earlier in the day, Esme wanting to see the facilities in preparation for the caterers who would arrive in the morning.
ESME… The vision of her dead body thrown to the tiles of the patio like trash, her mid-section mutilated, ran through my head, and I began to think I was going crazy. But I'd felt her and Carlisle's cold bodies…
A knife…I needed a knife. At least I'd have something to use. The doors leading to the industrial kitchen were at the back, and I ran across the room, barging into the large stainless steel dominated space.
It was there that I discovered the most horrific scene yet, my hysterical screams and sobs echoing throughout the cavernous area. Alice had been strapped into one of the chairs facing a stainless steel table. Jasper's body twitched as I saw electricity arcing from a frayed electrical cord that had been strapped to the metal, his mouth open in a silent scream. Sliding across the floor, I pulled the cord out and saw his body slump. Hoping that he wasn't dead, I ran to him and placed my hands to his chest, but it was then that I saw Alice. Jasper was gone…but she wasn't. She'd been gagged, and I saw her jaw working as if to push it away, although I didn't know how she still breathed. Her eyes had been removed and placed on the table behind her – pointed toward Jasper as if watching him – great tears of blood and tissue running down her face. Diving toward her, I tore the gag away for her to talk to me and shrieked when instead of the tortured voice I expected, huge Madagascar roaches raced from her mouth, falling out onto her chest and lap.
Edward! Where was he? I sobbed backing away from the horror before me. I slipped once before coming to the door, but then I ran into a wall…of hot warm flesh. As the arm cinched around my waist, I attempted to spin but was pulled tightly into a prison of rock hard muscles.
"Good Evening, Bella," the deep voice rumbled behind me. "Did you enjoy my gifts?"
"JAKE!" I gasped out, unable to believe what I was seeing or believing. "Jake, we gotta get out of here! Someone's killing everyone. We've got to find Edward…now."
"Edward! Always Edward. Always getting in the way!" He began dragging me backwards, and the last vision of Alice I saw was a final roach running from her mouth, skittering across her crimson stained cheek, and into her hair.
"Jake?" I murmured, understanding of my situation slowly creeping in. "Where's Edward?"
"Waiting for you…" he left off, pulling me up into his arms and beginning to stride through the dining room.
He pulled me hard into his body when I began to struggle.
"Jake, what are you doing? What have you done?"
"Hush, Bella. It'll all be okay in just a few minutes."
When I began to scream for help, he clamped his big hand over my mouth, covering half my face. I kicked at his legs, but even though I connected with his shins, it was as if I hadn't touched him.
"Alice and Jasper were my finest…saved them for last since I blame them the most for keeping you away from me. He had the audacity to threaten me when I tried to come for you. She supported him…tiny little roach. Who do they think they were taking what was mine?" he rambled.
It was then I notice the odd quality of his voice…the crazy sound to it.
Bells, I'm worried about Jacob. He isn't acting right since you've been seeing that Cullen boy. Something is off… My father had noted, his concern seeming ridiculous back then.
Charlie was right. Jake wasn't Jake anymore. He seemed almost possessed.
Dragging me back the way I came, he came to a standstill just inside the door to Emmett's room.
"The blond bitch sneered at me, as if I was a big dumb Indian, and the ape of a man caught me unawares, beating me down. As he kicked me in the ribs, he told me that you were theirs. Theirs? You've always been mine, Bells. Always!"
I knew then where we were going next, and within just a minute he pulled me through the door toward the patio where I knew Carlisle and Esme remained. Through his hand, my scream sounded like a whimper, as we scared two raccoons away, who'd already began eating at Esme's intestines.
"Tried to replace my family," he mumbled. "Her with all her 'motherly' ways, and him with his good heart. Wasn't my dad enough, Bells? Did you have to have a mother too, since Renee never really loved you?" he taunted.
His verbal brutality hurt, and probably would've incapacitated me any other time, but I knew that his words were nothing in comparison to what was probably going to happen.
Edward…I hoped he'd gotten away, or that he was still asleep upstairs in his bed. Maybe if I agreed to go with Jake, he'd leave Edward alone. It was at least worth a try. As the tears for my second mother and father, sisters and brothers spilled over my cheeks, I hummed against his hand.
"Huh?" he replied as he pulled me into the hallway.
A hum again was my effort to let him know I wanted to talk. Finally, he lowered me to the floor, but he'd made sure to hem me up in a corner. I spun to face him and backed up a foot from the crazy man that faced me. His long black hair was straggly, almost matted, as if he hadn't brushed it in days. His eyes seemed disconnected to the world around us, and blood and other matter (which I didn't even want to identify) were splashed across his shirt. It had been ripped in places denoting the struggles that had been put up against him. I'd wondered just how he'd killed them all so effortlessly, but then I saw the tazer in his hand. The women wouldn't have been a struggle for him, but Jasper, Carlisle, and Emmett weren't weaklings. I guessed that he'd tazered the men first and then subdued Esme, Alice, and Rosalie.
"Jake, you don't want to do this…" I begged, walking to him, against all my better thoughts. When I touched him, he slung his arm out, and I screamed in pain, feeling the bones in my wrist shatter.
"OH yes, I do!" he cackled. "I was willing to give you everything. EVERYTHING!" he growled. "But as soon as Pretty Boy showed his face in Forks, it was as if old Jake wasn't good enough anymore. He and his 'better than everyone' family and friends. I showed them all, made them watch each other die. Now…" he growled out, the gleam in his eyes glowing almost demonic. "Now, it's time to take you to your precious Edward!" he spit out.
I swung at him with all my might, attempting to fight him off, but he topped me by a foot and 100 pounds. It was a futile effort, and he caught my arms securing them behind my back. I almost screamed when he swung me around and I caught a glimpse of myself in a mirror. My hair hung in clumps and blood was streaked across my cheek and clothing…compliments of the fall onto Esme and Carlisle, and Emmett and Rosalie, my face pale against the dark spread of my hair. I looked like a ghost.
"I'd planned to marry you, for us to have babies together," he said harshly. "I waited for you! Kept myself pure so that we could come to each other without stain. Do you know how it felt that night I saw the two of you naked through your window? To see him kissing you…touching you? I watched him fuck you, heard you call his name out."
Panic and fear washed through me…and disgust. To know that one of my most precious memories had been shared with a voyeur. Pulling me through the door to the outside, he began to walk quickly across the ground, heading toward the trees. Deep sobs escaped me though when he brushed through the greenery to come to stand before, of all things, a life size chess set flanked by benches.
The moon shone brightly against the white and grey marble, the large chest pieces facing each other across the game board in the eternal struggle. The true pawn, though, lay hog-tied in middle of the marble.
He was gagged, and his green eyes glittered brightly as they looked at me, anger and rage evident in the way he struggled against the ropes.
Alive! Thank God he was still alive!
Did he know what had happened to his family? How could he not? Just seeing me should be a sign, the evidence of their deaths all over my clothes. I wouldn't tell him, though. We'd deal with the aftermath after we'd taken Jake out.
"Do you know how poetic it was when Charlie let it slip that Daddy Warbucks was bringing you here? I mean, to know that you would be visiting Rose Red, and that I wouldn't be here to hold you when you were scared? I couldn't stand it…so I began to make my plans." He turned me slightly, and pulled my hands behind my back, and I struggled when I felt the rope against my skin. Pushing me to the ground, he wrapped more rope around my ankles, securing me.
"JAKE! Please, I'll do anything, if you'll just leave Edward alone. I leave and go with you, anywhere." Turning to him I pleaded as best as possible. "Jacob, look at me."
He glanced down to me, his deep brown eyes jerking spasmodically.
"Jake, please. Are you going to kill me? Me? We've loved each other since we were like two years old. You are my best friend. Let Edward go, and I'll be anything you need." I heard Edward's swearing behind the gag.
Jake's eyes zeroed in on me, assessing me. He scanned me from head to toe, and I could see the lust appear in his eyes before he got to his knees and then straddled me.
"Anything Bella?" he said just before grinding his mouth into mine. I forced a reaction, tantalizing him as much as possible.
When he broke away, I thought he might take me then, so great was his excitement. I felt what our kiss had done to him pressed against my stomach.
"If only I thought that was real," he murmured before backhanding me. I felt my lip split open, and heard Edward's muffled roar and anger. He began jerking hard against the ropes, and I saw blood leaking from them.
"They only get tighter as you struggle," Jake said nonchalantly to him before turning back to me. "You would do it for him, wouldn't you…leave him here and go away with me to insure that he survived. You'd give up your happiness to make sure that he lived a long life. Too bad you never felt that way for me, Bella, but I have somebody now who does. Leah…she'll protect me from the chaos that will come about when they find you here, and all the Cullens dead. She loves me so much that she'll swear I was with her all night. You see, I decided, when I mapped this out, to leave you alive…so that you can watch your precious Edward die a long and slow death, being eaten from inside by the fire that my poison will bring him. I have a nice concoction of drugs that will slowly deal with you Bella. By the time they are through, your mind will be like a five year old…only capable of remembering my little gifts to you…over and over…and over.
"Jake, PLEASE!" I begged as he rose, and my pleas infuriated him. He kicked me hard in the ribs. Pain flared out from my side, and I was pretty certain he'd broken some ribs.
But then, all of a sudden, Jake went down. Edward had wiggled close to us, while I'd distracted him, and had kicked his legs into Jake, making him fall. Before Jake could raise his hands to break his descent, his head hit the marble floor…he was out cold. Moving was agony, but Jake hadn't hog-tied me, so I was able to move quicker than Edward. Using my mouth, I worked at the knot of the bandana that Jake had used to gag him. When it fell to the ground, Edward croaked out, "Bella! The others?"
I shook my head quickly and heard his gasp of pain.
"Turn over, so that I can work on your hands," I ordered him and then began tearing at the rope that tied him. The blood from my cut lip and his wrists poured into my mouth, making me want to gag, and I sobbed at the realization it was taking too long. Edward heard me.
"Bella, I love you," he said softly, and it was all I needed to hear.
"I love you too, Edward," I couldn't help but saying before tearing at the ropes again. I wanted to cry out in relief when I felt them loosen.
"Turn around," Edward barked as soon as his hands were undone. "You first, in case you have to run!" he ordered.
"Bella, now!" he growled out, pulling me as gently to him as possible. He cursed hearing my intake of breath at the pain.
I knew his hands must be almost numb from the way the ropes had torn into his skin, but he was quick, and within just a few minutes I was free. "Now, you!" I cried, looking over to Jake's still body.
Our hands interfered with one another as we tried, so I gave up, letting him work at it, and I moved closer to Jake to look for the tazer. Realizing it was under him, I hesitantly approached wanting to get to it and shock the shit out of him for good measure.
"Bella, careful," Edward hissed.
"'kay," I said, just before the inevitable happened.
I'd seen enough horror flicks, and Jake pushing from the ground just reminded me too much of Halloween…Michael Myers rising again and again.
He twisted me into his embrace, and I felt my body jolt as he hit me with the gun. Somewhere in my altered state, I registered surprise that he didn't just let me fall, but as he lowered me softly, I saw Edward attempt to stand even with the ropes he hadn't been able to loosen. Maybe if he hadn't had those binding him and Jake hadn't had the stun gun, it would have been a fair fight, but as I watched, Edward got in a few licks before Jake hit him with electricity and let him fall to the ground unceremoniously.
"Nice trick, Bells, but I gotta start getting out of here," he said, looking up to the sky as he tied me again, but this time in the manner he had Edward.
Jacob went to a bag I hadn't noticed and rummaged through it. With horror, I watched him bring out two syringes. "I find it ironic that a little internet research gives you so much information. Amazing what you can get," he chuckled, and that was when I realized just how truly crazy Jake had become.
He wasted no time sticking something into Edward, tying him again, and then coming for me. I could sense his need to leave as the dark began to lighten with the breaking dawn. I didn't care now, knowing that there would be no saving Edward, no us, nothing…
He attempted to get me to talk, but I just continued to watch the face of the boy I loved in horror, waiting for some sign of what was to come. Finally after cursing at me, Jake unceremoniously stuck me harshly in my arm, tied a bandana in my mouth, and went over to gather up his bag.
"Too bad you couldn't figure out just which one of us was better for you. Bye, Bells… It's been nice knowing you."
With those anticlimactic words, he left us, tied on the top of a chess set. I was sure there was some symbolism there, but I was too scared to consider what it was. Twisting over to Edward, I moved to lay against him, hoping that he might regain consciousness in time to save us…not that I deserved it…I'd brought the monster down upon the family that loved me.
"Patient is non-responsive to stimuli, vegetative in nature."
"Isn't she the sole survivor of that horrific Halloween massacre over at Rose Red years ago?"
"Thornewood Castle, not Rose Red. That was just the name of the movie."
A snort echoed throughout the room.
"Why is she kept in the psych ward then?"
"Terrible nightmares where she attempts to attack anyone around. The only time she speaks is when she screams…blood curdling ones…begging someone to kill her. Calls the boyfriend's name out constantly. His death was pretty gruesome from what I understand. They found her beside him, covered in his vomit. The acid he'd been injected with ate him from the inside out. Speculation is she watched it all. I personally can't imagine that, the pictures were horrific, his eyes boiled out of his head."
"Did they ever catch the killer?"
"No, it is one of those unsolved mysteries. Poor thing, her father came to visit her every week until he died a few years ago. Now the only person that comes is her best friend and his family. Poor guy, he's an emotional wreck every time he leaves. Last time I saw him, his wife said she refused to bring their grandchildren with them again, because it upsets him so to see Ms. Swan this way."
"Bella, wake up…"
The voice called me, but I didn't respond. In my head, Edward was still screaming, his body writhing in pain against me. I'd begged and begged and begged, but was shown no mercy. His screams seemed to go on for hours before finally something more sinister was heard…silence.
"Bella Swan, open your eyes, I know you can hear me." Jake's voice called me. He came every year, on Halloween, to remind me of the hell he'd brought upon my life…the hell I'd brought on the Cullens. "Fine, but you know I'll only return again. They say that your body is healthy…and that you'll probably live many more years. How does it feel to remember, to know what you caused?" Then, as he did every year, he brought out the recording he'd taken of Carlisle and Esme…as Carlisle fought him attempting to save his wife, Emmett's grunts as Jacob pummeled his shocked body, Jasper's words as he taunted Jacob attempting to distract him, and Alice's screams as he pulled her eyes from her.
How he managed to get me alone every year, without supervision to do it, I'd never know.
He'd left without recording Edward…afraid that the dawn would bring help.
Thankfully, Edward and I had been able to tell each other one more time that we'd loved each other…during those moments that the sweet possibility of escape had seemed possible. For, as year after year of life continued around me, I was left with only the memory of the words and the sounds of my love's screams to keep me company until death came to claim me...