A/N: If you could give this story a shot. I've worked really, really hard on it. And I've got a great Beta, and friends who've given me some feedback. This story happened one night when I was re-reading "IT" by Stephen King. It sort of sparked this newfound interest in me to see what that story would be like if we put the characters we know and love from "Glee" into that universe.
If you don't like horror stories, I promise this one will definitely be a page turner, and all of the characters we know and love will still remain canon in their own rights. This story will also be quite long, and perhaps what you see now on these first pages, won't necessarily remain the same as we move on. Either way, I hope you enjoy the story, and/or at least give it a proper try.
PART ONE: A FEAR THEY'VE NEVER KNOWN
THE STORM RAGES ON (1993)
You may have heard this story before. The terror- that was supposed to have ended with the final blow delved by the original seven – returned, so far as this tale can tell with a 1993 Sun- Jewel Barbie by the name of Tannie. Swept away by a strong gust of wind into a gutter clogged with deadened leaves and debris.
The sidewalks were still slick with wet and ice from the nights freezing temperatures. And as stampede's of rain water continued their trickle down muddied streets and waylays – the image of a newly clothed Sun-Jewel Barbie tanning amongst her Barbie Porsche 911 Cabriolet reflected the storm clouds above, the water still dripping from the stationary wheels.
You could say that the storm of '93 was unexpected – that was so, but in many other ways than one it was also a dispensation of the worry that still plagued the dwindling town of Lima. The fear had never left you see – and with the image of saturated sand bags along the banks of The St. Evan's, a new fear was borne in the wind and the rain. A terror that no one could have anticipated, and that no one had ever known before.
A small girl waiting in the wings of Laurence Boulevard could be seen on that fateful morning of fall 1993, sitting alongside Tannie Barbie, pushing an un-motorized car along the outside of a concrete curb with the joys of her imagination. Her name was Samantha Ivy Fabray; she was seven and a half. The remaining puddles leaving splotches of gravel and mud around the heels of her polka dot wellies. Her ladybug parka billowing out around her small torso and shoulders as the wind danced around her remarkably golden hair; she could feel the first drops of an afternoon rain melt against her cold skin. But she forgot about the worry her parents must be suffering at her extended hours of play in the wet and salty breeze.
Her sister Quinn was not here – she was recovering in bed at home with a broken wrist, her mind still hazy from the painkillers she had received from Lima General the day before. And while Samantha had wished that her older sister (only by a measly three years) could come out after the downpour to play with her – she knew that today, it simply couldn't be so.
As Samantha turned idly and walked ballet instructed feet along a well-balanced curb, Tannie Barbie clutched tightly within her small hand – she could see the remains of the great storm still clinging on to Lima's streets. Redding Larrity, The Laramie Brothers Frankie and Ulysses, along with Erin Scholes could be seen packing new sandbags along the far sides of Laurence Boulevard. Their brows were sweaty, and the orange and yellow reflected LIMA TOWNSHIP slickers clung to their bodies as they flung the bags against the wet concrete. The St. Evan was the heart of the destruction for the people of Lima, Ohio. And while it's murky water was calm today – it wouldn't stay that way for long as the clouds loomed dangerously overhead. "The storm will pass," they said as the rain continued. "It won't be as bad as '56," they reminded themselves. And still – the water rained on, saturating the soil with it's clarity, contaminating the tainted concrete with its foreboding. There had been hundreds of deaths in the storm of '56 – the St. Evan's creek was relentless in its duties. Some of the adults still remembered the fear, but this year "It won't flood," they said. But here they were, in a misty and foggy Lima morning – worrying their teeth beneath their lips as the St. Evan rose with almighty force. The Rocketeer Bridge could be seen past the streetlights of the intersection of Laurence and Eisenhower. The beginnings of pit pattering of rain droplets could be seen descending past its railings into the St. Evan below.
There had already been a casualty a little ways southwest in Shawnee Township. A Mr. Matthew Lloyd – his car was found two days ago flipped along OH-117 W, his tires caked with mud and fallen leaves. His body was missing from the vehicle. It turned up the next morning floating down the St. Evan's creek. His cheeks were already puffy – and the stench of his death could be smelled rather than seen as the Police Department removed his form from the murky water. He was missing a foot, and the end of his nose, and there had been gashes and chunks of flesh clinging on to his weathered bones and thighs. "It was the fish," they said as the coroner zipped his body into a black body bag– how wrong they had been.
The power lines in most of the county were down. The storm having ripped through the lines with billowing pines and branches; It would be hours or days before the connection could be restored; the daylight a bright marker against the rainclouds that have wreaked so much havoc.
As the day continues on, Samantha Fabray continues her walk down Laurence Boulevard, her feet trailing one another precisely along the thinning curb. The tendrils of her ladybug parka extending out behind her with a gust of wind while she laughs as she loses her footing; her smile is wide and void of a few teeth as she unconsciously walks to her much too immature death. The clutch she once held around Tannie Barbie loosens as Samantha attempts to right herself against the concrete. Her smile widening as she praises the day. She wishes that Quinn could be out here joining her. Her Quinn. Her sister is only ten, and while that seems like a lifetime away for Sammie, she knows that she can't wait to reach that double-digit milestone herself. She looks down at the plastic billowing hair of Tannie in her new Barbie clothes, and smiles. Knowing that Quinn would be out here with her if she could. Rolling along in her rollerblades and skating around and about the small cracks and tilts in the pavement – probably telling Sammie all about some new facts that she read about in her Zoobook that day. She wishes that were the case – and since it cannot be true, her light hazel eyes – brighter than her sisters – shine with the thought of telling Quinn all about it later when she comes home.
Quinn Fabray sits up on their living room couch with a blanket covering her waist and a pillow propped up beneath her head and beneath her arm. The cast is already scratching her, and as her eyes clear she can feel the dull ache of her freshly broken wrist throbbing beneath the plaster. She clicks the remote to a new station, settling her eyes on the screen as the familiar music of Goosebumps catches her attention. She sees a quick motion out of the corner of her eye, and before she can turn her head Sammie is racing for the sofa to join her. Tannie is already settled on the coffee table in the nude, an array of clothes fanned out around her plastic body. "Did you get the clothes out of my toy chest Sam?"
"Yeah, I think I got the right ones."
"The polka dot top, and the jean shorts – you didn't take my new ones did you?"
Quinn's voice is still hoarse with sleep. But Sammie shakes her head as she places the small clothes on the table, making sure to follow Quinn's eyes as she pulls them over Tannie's arms and legs. Sammie has always listened to Quinn. Her sister could be strict and mean to people that didn't know her, but not Sammie. She waited for any other instruction and after getting none, she turned her gaze to the television, gasping as she saw the familiar glowing Goosebumps sign float along the screen. The glowing eyes of a dog sticking to her memory like a bad dream.
"Oh, sorry Sam – I forgot that you can't watch this one." Quinn's mouth had turned down into a small frown as she turned the channel quickly. When Sammie opened up her eyes again it was to a familiar theme song, and she turned around slowly to watch the Magic School Bus; her heart now beating at a much slower pace.
"I like this one." Sammie smiled as she tapped her small fingers to the rhythm of the theme song, her lips forming over the words silently.
"I'm sorry I won't be able to play with you outside today. Mommy sort of made me stay inside. My arm still kind of hurts."
Sammie turns and looks at the brand new cast on her sister's arm. It's oddly foreign and seems to be out of place. But Samantha smiles nonetheless as she strokes the baby blue plaster softly with her finger. And when she sees the pained look on Quinn's face she remembers that Quinn hurts. With a quick resolution she rises from the floor by the coffee table to hurry upstairs to her parents master bedroom – sure to find the familiar blue bottle that she'd seen before. Her wellies make squeaky noises against the hardwood floor and she smiles as she skids down the long hallway past her bedroom and Quinn's. She can hear her mother faintly downstairs humming an unfamiliar tune from the kitchen – and as she bounds through the bedroom door to a darkened room she pauses. The shades are still drawn in here, and no light can come through the large window. She can see the sheets on the bed still haven't been drawn. And while she knows that this is her parent's room – she can't help the shiver that has suddenly run down her spine. The bathroom door hangs ajar over in the corner, and the light is pitch black there. She eases her way over and a faint smell assaults her senses. It is her mother's perfume. Chanel No. 5 – it's familiar, but underneath it there lies a moldy essence. That smell of decay and rot, it burns her nostrils and she can't escape the prickles that have risen across her pale skin.
Perhaps this is what the sewers smell like –
Where has the light gone?
An un-comfortableness settles beneath her chest and before she can reign it back the dog from the television screen is assaulting her vision. The yellow eyes are focused on her back, and she can hear his paws scratching against the hardwood from the hallway behind her. She knows that that was just nightmares. Quinn had reassured her time and time again that things like that weren't real. But as she enters the bathroom of her parent's master suite and flicks the light switch that won't turn on – she knows that her fears are real.
HURRY, the lights don't work Sammie.
Don't let the dog get you…
His eyes…I can feel them on my back – It's not REAL. It's not—
Her small fingers hurry as she opens the medicine cabinet above the sink. Her fingers toying with all of the bottles – she spots the one that she's looking for and takes a deep breath. Frowning as the stench now floods her mouth. She can taste it. There is a gurgle from the bathtub to her right, and she flinches as she latches on to the small bottle of Advil and makes a run for the door. She has to reach the light again—her steps are too slow, and she's sure she can hear growling growing behind her, paws descending on the back of her billowing Parka as she runs for the light of the hallway. She knows that she won't make it – and as she reaches the door, she flinches her eyes closed as she shuts the wood on its hinges. Finally opening her eyes to the light of the hallway – unsure of why she lets her nightmares always get the better of her. Quinn would be disappointed if she knew.
She bounds down the stairwell – the image of the dog burning faintly in the background as she makes her way back to the sofa. Quinn is looking at her curiously and smiles when she notices the familiar bottle in her sister's hand. Sammie smiles back and settles it on the coffee table, right next to Quinn's glass of water; The familiar voice of Ms. Frizzle soothing the beating of her chest now that she's returned downstairs.
"So, that's where you ran off to weirdo?" Quinn smiles at her. And Sammie shrugs her shoulders in return. With that faint smile the nightmare is all but gone. The feral dog with the yellow eyes buried within the confines of her memory. Her feet are itching now to leave the house, and to get a taste of the clear air now that the rain has finally stopped. "What are you doing still watching Magic School Bus with me, it isn't raining…go outside and play like a normal person."
Samantha smiles from the floor before biting her lip with a small frown. She looks up from the floor with small hazel eyes and locks them on her sisters. "I still wish you could come outside with me – if your arm wasn't broken."
"Well…next time you see Santana outside you can kick her for me. It's her fault anyway." Samantha nods. But she doesn't tell Quinn that she would never dare to kick Santana Lopez. That was almost like a death wish at Lima Elementary – no matter that she was one of Quinn's best friends. It never bode well to cross the brunette – even if she was a familiar face.
"Stop hanging around me…go outside. Take Tannie with you, I bet you can even bring her car if Mom says so. She's in a good mood today."
And with that reassurance Samantha Fabray rises off of the floor again and collects Tannie Barbie into her small hand before running into the kitchen and asking her mother Judith if it's really alright to bring along her brand new birthday present to play with outside. She's surprised that Quinn is right when her mother says yes – even though she really shouldn't be – because Quinn is always right. And as she grabs all of her things and zips up her small Parka she looks back again to see Quinn resting on the couch. The small bottle of Advil is popped open, and Sammie feels bad knowing her sister is in so much pain. She may just kick Santana Lopez after all if she sees her outside. And on a whim – she crosses the living room, smiling at the sound her wellies make as her feet squish inside of them. And when Quinn looks up from the TV curiously Sammie falls down to the sofa to wrap her up in a quick hug – making sure to kiss her softly against the cheek for good measure. Quinn doesn't flinch away or push her off – and when Sammie rises back up off of the couch with a cheesy grin, Quinn smiles back. And with a new lightness to her step she races to the door – Tannie Barbie and her Porsche 911 Cabriolet clutched between her pale fingers.
If Quinn had known of the day's outcome, perhaps she would have held on a little tighter – Perhaps she would have never let her go in the first place. But as the older blonde watches her sister close the door behind her she closes her eyes to sleep as the tablet of Advil begins to take effect. A small smile falling from her lips on a deep exhale.
The door shuts with a resounding click as a small blonde runs out onto the sidewalk.
And from that singular moment…Quinn Fabray never saw her sister alive again.
The clouds fall over the horizon with a deep foreboding. And here Samantha was, still trailing her feet along the curb in an attempt to regain her balance. It was with a particularly strong gust that her foot slipped, and Tannie Barbie fell from her wavering hand into the strong stream of water at the end of the curb. Leading her lithe plastic form down, down, down –to the clogged gutter at the intersection of Laurence Boulevard and Eisenhower.
"Tannie!" She yelled into the air, her words having no affect on the disappearing Barbie doll.
She ran after it quickly, her wellies sliding along the wet concrete. And she watched with sorrowful eyes as the gutter pulled Tannie in limb by limb. Her plastic body disappearing beneath the water and the drain as the seconds ticked by. Samantha ran for it, sure that she would lose it to the sewage forever, and she ran forward skidding to a stop and losing her balance – falling to the concrete just as she reached the gutter – she couldn't hold back the tears that were creeping up behind her eyelids.
"No! Come back Tannie!" Her small voice cracked with despair as she crawled over and peered down into the dark drain. And what she smelled stilled her tears. There was no Chanel No. 5 to cover the stench this time around – and as the smell of rot crept up from the gutter she had the sudden urge to run. Tannie Barbie pushed to the depths of her mind, as a familiar fear settled into her small bones. She wished that Quinn were here now. If only Quinn were here.
And as her body stilled and her eyes caught her murky reflection in the dank and rotting water a familiar scene played across her vision, and as the water drained loudly into the smelly abyss, something changed –
Her gasp was quiet in retrospect. Never having been heard over the steady drum of cascading water into the drain. But for Samantha Fabray – it was the expelling of every breath she held within her tiny lungs – the fear making her recoil with every ounce of her being as she stared into familiar yellow eyes – peering at her from beneath the waters depths. She's sure she's seen these eyes before – they bring up memories of dogs from Goosebumps and Werewolves underneath her bed. And she wants to run. She can feel her muscles moving beneath her paralysis. And before she can make headway – a pleasant voice echoes out to her from where those eyes stay transfixed on her own.
Samantha stopped – she wasn't sure if what she was seeing was real. It looked real and talked real. And if she were older maybe she wouldn't begin to believe what she was seeing. But she was seven and a half. And what she was witnessing on this cold and rainy Lima morning was anything but ordinary.
There was a clown in the gutter. He was staring up at her with those yellow eyes. But they weren't quite so terrifying now that she could see clearly. But perhaps they were…and maybe she should run. But he was smiling up at her now with white teeth and painted lips. His red hair was puffy and red on the sides of his head – and perhaps she should have been scared. But Samantha wasn't afraid of clowns – and she couldn't find it in her to turn away. She smiled back at the clown's face, and she realized that he held different colored balloons in one of his hands; they floated from his palm as if carried on a breeze.
But there shouldn't be a breeze coming from the gutter –
In his other hand, he held Tannie Barbie.
"Would you like Tannie back Samantha?"
Samantha smiled down at the clown with her missing tooth smile. She couldn't help herself—she thought Tannie would be lost forever. But seeing her again, now – in the clowns waiting palm. She couldn't help but smile, as he looked up and smiled in return. "Yes, please."
"Oh – and wonderful manners I see! Would you like a balloon Samantha?"
Samantha nodded quickly before shaking her head tepidly. She wasn't supposed to take things from strangers. And just as she was about to reach her hand out to grab one, she retracted it back to her side quickly. "I'm not supposed to talk to strangers."
She could hear the clown's laugh – and she watched, as his smile grew unnaturally wide. She watched him from her perch along the sidewalk – her eyes following his yellow ones beneath the drain.
"Well then, allow me to introduce myself! My name is Bob Gray, but everyone around here calls me Pennywise The Clown. And you are Samantha Fabray. Samantha, meet Pennywise, Pennywise meet Samantha. And now…we are not strangers, we're almost friends! Isn't that so-ooo?"
Samantha smiled as she watched the balloons in his hands bob and sway. "I guess you're right Mr. Pennywise…how—how did you get stuck down there in the gutter anyway?"
Samantha could feel her fingers twitching at her sides to reach again for another balloon and stopped herself. She watched as Pennywise the clown's lips pulled up into a bright laugh. "Storm just blew our whole circus away. The acrobats, and animals…we have elephants you know."
"I love elephants." Samantha breathed. And Pennywise chuckled.
"We have a whole circus down here. Can you smell it? It's so much fun down here Samantha. Can you smell the circus?"
Samantha leaned in closer now, her small freckled nose almost touching the murky water-runoff that spilled into the drain. And she could smell it. She could smell the hay and the kettle-corn from the concession stands, she could smell the peanuts and the sunflower seeds roasting too. She could even smell the animals around the ring, and yet…beneath all of that she could smell something else too. That same stench, beneath her mother's Chanel No. 5; it was fainter than she recalled, but beneath the popcorn and the hotdogs she could smell the foul tang of putridity and dissolution. The rotting of sodden leaves and decomposition – and something else entirely; there was something else rotting beneath all of that decay – and it stilled her body as she looked into the yellow eyes of Pennywise The Clown.
"Sure I can…" Sammie's voice had fallen to a whisper as she realized that there was something else down there. The circus smells were still swirling around her like a fluffy haze.
"Would you like Tannie, Samantha?" Sammie nodded. He rose up slowly and for the first time Sammie could see his polyester suit. It was orange and white with giant floppy orange buttons down the center. He had a bright blue flower pressed against his chest, and he smiled up at Samantha as he held out a balloon-clad hand.
"And a balloon? … I've got a pink one just for you. That's your favorite color isn't Samantha?" He smiled as he extended his hand out even further.
Sammie could see the balloons beginning to crest at the surface of the drain. She nodded her head eagerly, as she slowly brought her twitching fingers out from where they rested at her side to reach for a pink balloon.
"Do they float like normal balloons?"
"Do they float? … Of course! All balloons down here float Samantha…"
And with a new conviction Sammie smiled as she reached down the rest of the distance to finally grasp the pink balloon.
Her arm reached to finally break the murky water.
The clown snatched her outstretched hand.
And Samantha recoiled as she watched the clown's face change before her wide hazel eyes.
And what she saw made the dog from her parent's bedroom seem like a fairytale. One to join the ranks of Beauty and the Beast, and The Little Mermaid; what she looked down into now was enough to cause the expelling of her bladder, all over her new floral dress – running beneath her wellies along the concrete. She froze in her shock as every ounce of seven-year-old sanity was wiped from her fledgling brain.
"They float." It chanted from the depths of the drain. It's voice now clotted and hollow with grime and sludge. Samantha tried to recoil back onto the pavement. Her wellies slipping and sliding in the fresh urine that was slicking to her legs and to the pavement beneath her feet, not granting her purchase; she could feel it's breath tickling her cheek and she couldn't stop the tears from peeking over her cheeks as the rotting stench of decaying flesh burned through her nose and mouth. She groaned as a fresh wave of force pulled her down into the gutter, and she shrieked into gurgling bubbling murky water as she felt that same force crushing her captured fingers – breaking them into shattering remains.
"They float – we all float down here Samantha, and when you join us. You'll float too…" It was growling now, the voice.
And through her wailing shrieks and tears Samantha Fabray could see the fangs that had taken place of perfectly whitened teeth – and the gleaming yellow pupils that had widened in murderous intent. Its warped face was pulling her in, and its clawed hands were not letting go. She screamed and screamed as her face was submerged under the water. And from anywhere on the street – from the suddenly turning heads of the LIMA TOWNSHIP sandbaggers: Erin Scholes, Redding Larrity, and Frankie and Ulysses Laramie, all they witnessed was a little girl in a ladybug poncho and polka dot galoshes screaming into a clogged and murky drain; her golden hair falling wildly around her face and wetting into the running water as her screams became muffled by the bubbles of water submerging her.
"Everything down here floats Samantha…even you." And with a cackling voice and sharpened teeth Samantha Fabray cried as she felt the crunch of her shattered fingers. And as her legs struggled behind her on the ground there was a terrible feeling of flesh being ripped away, and the gurgling of free-flowing blood, as she could feel those fingers no longer. And as her small hazel eyes glassed over the world turned black. And with the feel of sharpened teeth sinking somewhere on the side of her head, Samantha Fabray knew now more.
Eric Scholes was the first to arrive. He pulled the already cold body from the reddening depths of the murky water along the curb. He lost his stomach when he flipped her small body over to see the torn away remains of a fleshy shoulder. The small arm gone down into the gutters depths; he hadn't even noticed the missing ear, but as he cradled the small body of Samantha Fabray in his arms he yelled out into the empty street of Laurence Boulevard for help as the rain started to pour. And with blood on his hands he looked down into the glassy eyes of seven and a half year old Samantha Ivy Fabray. And he wept.