Disclaimer: Not mine.
**before you read, if you want to get into the same head space as me, which is pretty terrifying I might add, go to my profile, scroll down to where I have the QSS banner and click on the audio inspiration. That's the creepy version that inspired this whole mess and I listened to it on repeat while writing this chapter. Thank you for finding it Jo, ILY**
"The end of this unhappy chronicle is like its bad beginning, as each misfortune only reveals another, and another, and another..."
"One down," Isabella muttered again, her throat dry, her eyes red and swollen.
She rose from the floor and looked down at her blood stained nightgown, the material dry and stiff. The glowing numbers on the clock showed it was a little after four in the morning. Isabella had no idea how long she'd been tucked away in the corner of her bedroom, her sense of time all but lost.
Pulling the gown from her body she dropped it to the floor and stepped into the jeans she'd worn earlier. Absently she moved to the closet and pushed around the few ratty hand-me-down tops that hung from the rod. She paused when her fingers brushed against the worn material of a sweater Renee had given her last year when it was no longer suitable for her.
The sweater was nothing special, the neck stretched and torn, the material pilled and scratchy, but it wasn't the sweater itself that made tears spring to her eyes and tumble down her cheeks. It was the deep, jade color that reminded her so much of Edward's eyes.
She yanked the sweater from its hanger and pressed it to her face, a choking sob caught in her throat as she pictured his face. A face she would give anything to see again, to touch and kiss and hug against her. But she'd never be able to do that again now. She pushed her arms through the sleeves and pulled it over her head, ignoring the dried blood caked on her hands.
It was inconsequential. As was the source.
She paced around the room, her mind blank and overflowing as she stared at the walls, the floor, the ceiling, around and around. Memories played on a loop in her head, memories from her childhood when she couldn't understand why mommy and daddy were angry with her. When they would yell and scream and her sister would tell lies about Isabella to get out of whatever mischief she had caused.
"Isabella!" Renee screamed, her staggered gate showing the severity of her alcohol intake, the hateful pitch of her voice preparing Isabella for the violent blows that were sure to follow.
"Please, please, please," she chanted as the blows rained harder, hate thickening in the air like tar until the oxygen was snuffed out, coating her pain like quicksand ― pulling her under.
"Mercy?" Renee sneered, her grip tightening around the soft leather of the belt, while the bite of the hard metal cut into the pliant flesh of her pathetic daughter.
"You were bore from the Devil, you deserve to suffer all his sins." And with that she raised her arm and struck her child over and over again, leather and metal lacerating her tender human shield of skin, welting and breaking open all that was good and pure, turning it into the blackness that would consume her soul.
Then later she finally understood, she grasped that her parents thought she'd somehow been responsible for the death of her twin brother. She realized that her mother was a drunk and a whore, and her father was a bitter man who was too much of a coward to confront his wife and demand more from her.
But none of that mattered now, they would have an eternity to bicker over all the ways their lives were miserable and it was everyone's fault but their own as they shared their own corner of Hell together. Because that's where they would go, Isabella would make sure of that.
The constant physical and mental abuse they had inflicted upon Isabella―which she thought she'd built walls high enough to combat―all came crashing down when they took away her love. Her broken mind now matched her broken body and the quiet, compliant girl they had forced into a life of misery was no more.
Isabella stood at her bedroom door, her head bowed, her hands slack at her side when the lock of her bedroom twisted. Charlie grunted when he saw her standing at the door dressed, his head pounding from his excessive drinking the night before, his body craving the sleep it needed to recover.
"Make the house shine, Isabella, and have breakfast waiting on me when I come down," he barked before stumbling back to his bedroom, intent on getting a couple more hours of sleep.
She nodded and stepped out into the hall, having no intentions of cleaning another thing in that house ever again. She moved down the hall and through the living room until she was standing outside of the small workroom Renee used when she was pregnant with her and Emmett; when Renee was actually happy and enjoyed hobbies other than drinking and sleeping with other men. She'd only been in the room a few times, the colorful quilts and soft, blue baby bibs and hats too much of a reminder of how differently things would have turned out had her brother lived.
She moved to the corner where a paint easel stood, covered in dust and grime. She pushed it to the side and grabbed the box underneath before setting it on the desk,flipping open the lid. Inside the box was a dozen or so bottles of different fragrances along with some other items used for making soap.
But Isabella wasn't interested in those. She grabbed the container filled with lye and turned from the room and into the kitchen. She hummed a song quietly as she opened the fridge and pulled out everything she would need to make a spread for breakfast. Daddy will be pleased to have such a meal to help with that dreadful hangover he was suffering from.
She cracked the eggs in a bowl and added several shots of hot sauce just like he liked before shaking some of the lye into the mixture and setting it aside. Over and over she repeated the same process, with the bacon, and the pancakes, and the creamer for his coffee.
She began cooking everything and started a pot of coffee, even pulling out the tomato juice for a Bloody Mary. Lots of hot sauce, lots of pepper and a little lye, just to add a bit more heat.
She giggled as she thought about just how much heat he would soon be feeling.
Charlie rolled over in bed and looked at the clock, unsure why he was awake again when it was only a little before seven. His pulled in a deep breath and tried to swallow around the cotton in his mouth. His stomach rumbled and he sat up a little straighter, the smell of bacon and coffee and something sweet making his mouth water.
He pushed out of bed and stumbled down the stairs, his eyes widening as he looked at the spread of food set out on the kitchen table.
"What is this?" he barked, not understanding why Isabella would make such a huge breakfast.
Isabella turned slowly from the stove, sliding the hot pan from the burner and releasing it. "I've been bad," she answered, her expression contrite as she twisted her fingers together in front of her. "I've caused so much trouble. I want to be better. I want to give you everything you deserve, it's the least I can do."
Charlie narrowed his eyes as he moved around the table to his chair and pulled it out slowly. "You have been bad. Don't think that this will make a bit of difference, Isabella. You'll never be able to make up for all that you have done."
"I understand," she whispered, her bottom lip protruding slightly, her eyes repentant. "But I can try harder. I can try and make sure that you are taken care of properly."
"Fine," he huffed, a feeling of unease crawling over his skin. "Pour my coffee."
Isabella nodded and turned to grab the coffee. Charlie stared at her back for a moment before loading up his plate, unable to see the slow smile that crept over her face as her flat, dark eyes unfocused, her pupils so wide her eyes were black. Eclipsed by the darkness inside her.
"I made you a Blood Mary as well, I even doubled the hot sauce, just as you like."
Charlie's eyes slid to the drink, his mouth watering at the thought of letting the fiery liquid slide down his throat and burn away the remaining traces of his hangover. In three quick gulps the drink was gone and Charlie's mouth was an inferno.
"Holy shit," he choked grabbing a piece of bacon and shoving it in his mouth. The fire clawed at his throat, burning like acid as the heat worked it's way down to his stomach.
"How much―" he gagged, his eyes watering, "how much fucking hot sauce was in that?"
Isabella turned to her father, concern etched in her features. "Too much?" she asked innocently.
Charlie grabbed at his throat, his mouth moving, but no sound coming out as the fire grew hotter.
"Maybe have a bite of the pancakes, it might take away some of the heat. And here's your coffee, maybe you just need to wash down the Blood Mary," she offered helpfully.
Charlie, desperate for relief, shoved a piece of pancake in his mouth, the warm fluffy substance doing nothing to curb the pain. He sipped the coffee, his hand shaking as he lifted the cup to his mouth, the scalding heat from the temperature nothing compared to the flames licking the inside of his body.
Saliva filled his mouth as his stomach twisted and his vision warbled. He stumbled to the sink and heaved, the burn only intensifying each time the acid in his stomach rose higher. Isabella stood to the side, her fingers laced together, her head cocked as she gazed impassively at the white foam starting to bubble from Charlie's mouth. Each time he gagged the color darkened, from white, to pink, to red when more blood mixed with his vomit as the lye ate away at his body.
"What―" he gurgled, staggering around to face her, "did you do?"
Isabella straightened her head and beamed at her father. Her smile stretched wide across her face, too wide, making her appear cartoonish and terrifying. "I," she sang taking three graceful steps over the the counter and grabbing the knife she'd used earlier, "am giving you everything you deserve, Daddy."
The smile vanished from her face, transforming into narrowed eyes, flat lips and angry drawn brows as she approached him slowly, her pulse accelerating with each step.
"Does it hurt?" she taunted, pressing the tip of the knife into the first layer of skin on his stomach.
Charlie knocked her hand away and reached for her throat, his gasping breaths and clumsy movement making it easy for Isabella to step back smoothly as his hand swatted through the air.
"Oh no, Daddy," she tsked, shaking the knife back and forth in front of him. "You don't get to ever do that again."
"You...bitch," he choked, the skin around his mouth welting, red angry spots breaking open and bleeding.
Isabella stepped forward and in one quick motion drove the blade of the knife deep into his abdomen. Charlie doubled over and groaned in pain as she ripped the knife from his body and drove it in again, twisting it this time before snatching it back out.
Blood splattered across Isabella's face and dripped onto the floor from the knife. "That's no way," she ground out, her voice low and hard as she reached for his shoulder and shoved him to his knees, "to talk to your beloved daughter."
She raised the knife, gripping the handle with both hands before bringing it down with all her strength into his back, over...and over...and over again, until her arms shook and Charlie was face down on the kitchen floor surrounded in a pool of his own blood, his body still.
Breathing heavily,Isabella tugged the knife from his back and leaned against the counter as she stared down at her father.
"That's two." She smiled before a frown ghosted over her face and her eyes flickered with recognition. Edward's image appeared before her, smiling eyes, a soft smile and true love's warmth. Her breath caught as she moved to step forward, her eyes glued to his beautiful face. But just as quickly as he was there he was gone, if he was ever really there at all. A tear dripped from her eye as she pulled in a stuttering breath, the ache in her chest so painful she just wanted to curl up into a ball on the floor and never move again.
She turned her head slowly toward the ceiling when music began playing from the old record player in her parents bedroom, breaking the eerie silence of the house. Discorded piano music reached her ears, the accompanying instruments reminding her of carnival music she'd seen on a movie at school once.
The funhouse mirrors came to mind again and just like that Isabella began to retreat once more. The darkness that swathed and protected her danced around in her head like a gleeful sprite, it's fanged smile full of mirth while it's pointy claws carved into her brain.
"One more," she whispered. She turned to the stove and flicked on the heat before moving the pan full of bacon grease over the flame. "One more."
Renee lit a cigarette as she stared in mirror, using her fingers to pull back the sagging skin around her eyes. She hated looking at herself in the mirror, watching as her youth leaked from her body almost as much as she hated seeing it blooming fully in the fresh faces of her daughters.
She pulled the bottle of vodka from the cabinet and took two large gulps before stumbling back into the bedroom. She sat on the edge of the bed and looked at her phone once more, her stomach twisting with nerves as she wondered again why she hadn't heard from Phil.
She laid back on her bed trying to fight off the sudden bout of nausea that washed over her, having no idea of the horror that awaited her.
Isabella waited until the grease popped and hissed in the pan causing splatters of the scalding hot liquid to burn against her skin. She looked down at Charlie's lifeless body before sighing in annoyance and stepping over him to grab the coffee pot. She poured the black liquid down the sink and dumped the remainder of the lye inside before stepping over Charlie once more and setting the pot next to the stove.
With a small grin she lifted the pan and poured the grease inside, the mixture of the grease and lye causing the chemical to smoke and pop. Flipping the lid down she wrapped her fingers around the handle with one hand and grabbed her knife with the other. With a satisfied nod she turned for the stairs.
It was time to pay mommy a visit.
Isabella glided up the stairs noticing that the same song seemed to be playing on repeat as the tinkling of the piano keys continued. She hesitated in the open doorway for a moment, gazing blankly at her mother lying across the bed, her phone clutched to her chest.
Isabella wondered if that was what Edward looked like as he waited for her to call and tell him that she had accused him of nearly beating her to death. Her jaw tightened and her eye began to dance, her muscles flexing and relaxing, fast then slow, almost in tempo with the music.
She crossed the room and stared down at her mother as a cruel smile spread across her face.
"Wakey, wakey, mother," she sang.
Renee's eyes snapped open, her mouth going slack as she took in her daughters face, twisted with rage and covered in blood. But that was the only reaction Renee was allowed before Isabella raised the coffee pot and poured the scalding hot mixture over her face.
Her scream was ear splitting as her skin was doused in flesh devouring heat. Her eyes squeezed shut, but not before the liquid seeped into their corners and began dissolving the top layer. She clawed at her face as blisters immediately rose then burst as the lye melted away the skin, causing pus to weep from her face.
She rolled from the bed and fell to the floor before crawling to the bathroom, her agonizing screams drowning out the sound of the record player. Isabella gentle set the empty pot on the bedside table and turned toward the bathroom, walking lazily behind her.
Renee leaned over the side of the tub and turned the cold water to full blast as she frantically splashed the water over her face. Isabella leaned casually against the door frame, using the knife in her hand to scrape away the dried blood from under her nails.
Renee's screams never lessened as she choked out a strangled, "why?"
"Well," Isabella began thoughtfully, tapping the knife to her chin. "I know how you like to burn things, I thought it would be only fitting to give you a little of your own medicine.
"I'd like to say that I plan to drag this out, make you suffer an ounce of the torment that you've put me through, but I know how much you must be dying to crawl into your corner of Hell and cry about all the things I've done to you."
"I should have killed you when I had the chance!" Renee shrieked, falling away from the tub, her hands pressing against her face as flesh slipped through her fingers like melting wax.
Isabella's face grew serious as she dropped the knife to her side. "Yes," she said solemnly as she slowly nodded her head. "You should have."
Renee pressed her back into the wall and pushed herself to her feet. She stumbled to left and grasped the countertop, looking for something, anything to use to as a weapon. She grabbed the bottle of vodka, clutching the small end as she reared back her arm and launched it at Isabella.
Isabella dodged to the left, but the bottle still managed to slam into her side, the contact making her wince and stumble backward as her ribs took the brunt of the blow.
Renee took advantage of the opening and moved to rush passed Isabella, but before she could get out into the open space Isabella thrust the knife into Renee side before ripping it back out.
Renee screamed and staggered down the stairs, her vision distorted as her eyesight slowly faded. She clutched her side as she stood at the bottom of the stairs gasping for air before placing her blood-soaked hand on the wall for support.
Isabella came behind her and wrapped her hand in her hair before yanking her head back. She wrapped her other arm around Renee's waist and with a slow forceful motion she dragged the knife across Renee's stomach and split the flesh wide open.
Blood sprayed over the hallway as Renee mewled in agony. Isabella shoved her forward causing Renee to slam into the wall and leave a bloody imprint of her body. She fell forward through the kitchen door her scream growing impossibly louder when her cloudy vision took in Charlie's lifeless eyes staring vacantly back at her.
"Charlie," she sobbed.
"Yes, yes, yes," Isabella sighed. "Poor pitiful, Charlie. A man you no longer loved but refused to leave. A man that you cheated on constantly with a filthy pig who didn't love you any more than you loved Charlie. You don't get to mourn anyone, you have no idea what real love is. I did, but you had to take that away from me because you're a selfish cunt who can't see past her own needs."
Renee's vision had completely darkened at the edges, only a sliver of light remaining as she dragged her body over to where Charlie lay, leaving a trail of smeared blood behind her.
Isabella shook her head in disgust as she followed behind her,waiting to drive the final nails in Renee's coffin before she snuffed out her light completely.
"He never loved you," she taunted as Renee slumped over Charlie. "Did you know that he was waiting for me to graduate and then he planned on taking me away from here and never seeing you again."
"You're...lying," Renee mumbled, her hands shoving the parts inside her that had started to push their way from her gaping wound.
"You know that I'm not. Don't be so simple, Renee. You knew. You just chose to ignore it. You're all the same, everyone ignoring everyone. You all deserve one another."
A sadness ripped through Isabella as she realized she would be truly alone now. Not that she had any desire to remain with these soulless monsters another moment of her existence but... Edward was gone. She knew that now. He wasn't coming for her. She would be stuck in this world alone, only having tasted what true happiness really was before having it ripped away all too soon.
The knife slipped from her hand as she stared unseeing at the wall in front of her. Numbness washed over her as she floated on the edge of reality, hovering between here and becoming lost in the memories of her past. Her time with Edward, when everything made sense and she was loved.
She wanted to stay there, in those memories. To remember how she curled into his side as they would smile and laugh, and hold each other close. When he would kiss her nose and call her Bella and tell her how he loved her more than anything in the world.
Lost on her memories she never noticed Renee crawl across the floor and grasp the knife, nor did she notice her stagger to her feet. Renee clutched onto Isabella's shoulder, her eyes hate- filled and evil as she spoke. "You will burn in hell."
Isabella let her eyes drift, and spread her arms wide as Renee plunged the knife into her stomach. Renee fell back, blood spraying from her lips as she slammed into the floor.
Isabella looked down at the knife protruding from her stomach and grasped the handle slowly sliding it from her body. She fell to her knees in front of Renee and leaned forward.
"What will be, will be," Isabella sang before lifting the knife to Renee's throat and splitting it open.
Isabella closed her eyes and breathed in deeply, her hand twitching at her side as thick crimson liquid dripped from her hand. She climbed to her feet and moved out of the kitchen and to the hall, her smile small and satisfied as she gazed blankly at the walls surrounding her, blood covering every surface ― telling stories that voices would never tell, could never tell.
One step, two step, red step, red step. Music echoed in the background as she glided down the hall, her face blank, emotionless as the knife in her left hand dragged against the the worn wallpaper, slicing it open just like the people she'd left bleeding and dying behind her.
The old record player crackled and popped as music floated through the air, the happy upbeat tempo causing Bella to sway her steps, the knife's tip dancing along the wall, light and hard pressure mimicking the thrusts into her family's bodies.
Her voice rang out, echoing off the walls, both hollow and full, the pitch low and gravelly from her previous exertion.
"When I was just a little girl
I asked my mother, what will I be
Will I be pretty, will I be rich
Here's what she said to me."
Bright light flashed behind her closed lids, flickering to images that both made her pulse quicken with excitement, and her stomach knot with dread.
The look on the faces of her family as the life drained from their bodies, the cruel twisted mouth of her sister as she burned the last thing Edward had ever given her, and of course Edward.
Bella closed her eyes briefly, fighting off the fatigue, the undeniable end that would greet her in the near future as more blood spilled from her side.
She stumbled to the living room, her vision blurred as she sucummed to the fatigue of blood loss, the wound in her side seeping her life's blood out into the open air, freeing her from her flesh.
She fell to her knees, the knife clattering to the floor as it slipped from her fingers.
"What's this?" Edward asked, tracing a dark spot on her skin just below her breast.
"It's a birthmark," she whispered, her voice shy as she lay before him so openly.
He leaned down and kissed the mark, tracing it with his tongue. "The day the other half of my soul was born. It should be marked."
She groaned, the pain in her body warring with the pain in her heart for dominance, the beautiful image of Edward's face flickering from bright smiles and soft hands to flat, lifeless eyes and pale cold skin.
"Ed-ward," she choked, blood staining her lips and sliding down her chin like a delicate brush stroke.
She swayed on her knees, her vision shimmering, fading in and out from black to bright white. Her hands shook as she planted them on the floor in front of her, her elbows wobbling slightly before finally sucumbing to the weight of her body collapsing clumsily to the floor. Dull pain shot through her temple as her head slammed gracelessly against the hard surface, her teeth cutting through her tongue.
"Bella," Edward smiled, his hand extending out toward her.
She lolled her head to the side, her bloody smile dazed and blank, her mind struggling to wade through the murky images in front of her.
Was is really him?
Was he alive?
Was she dead?
"Come with me, baby. Me and you."
She blinked slowly, fat salty tears rolling down her blood stained cheeks, a pool of red forming around her body like a halo as her breaths became shallow, choppy, numbered.
He glided closer to her, kneeling slowly by her side and pushing her matted hair from her face lovingly.
"They can't hurt you anymore. No one can. We can run away, just liked we planned," he promised, his voice soft, reassuring.
"I―" she choked, blood spraying from her lips as she gasped for air, "can't run."
"You can do anything now, Bella."
"How?" she begged, lifting her arm in the air, her fingers trembling as she reached for him.
Edward reached out and grasped her hand in his, bringing it to his lips and kissing it gently, her creamy skin free of blood, clean and petal soft. "You can't fight fate," he whispered. "Not even death can keep us apart. Forever remember?"
The blackness that had consumed her, wrapped itself around her in a protective cocoon, began to pull away like fog burned away by the sun. And as it retreated it was replaced with light, like a budding flower whose delicate petals unfurled and spread, smooth and soft, innocent and pure. Isabella smiled, the light fading from her eyes as her body became slack, her facial muscles relaxing one behind the other, and with one last shuddering breath she whispered faintly, "forever."
*exhales* what a freaking ride man. This story pushed me off the cliff of my comfort zone in both content and 3rd person pov. But I had an amazing time sharing this tragically, horrific love story with all of you for Halloween. Honestly, this is the best ending BxE could have. Her mind broke, there was no coming back from that. At least now, they are at peace, and they are together. And really, that's what we ultimately wanted anyway.
Raggdoll of Twilight and DarknNerdy held my hand through this entire thing. Even when I panicked at chapter 10 and tried to change the rest of the story. They smacked me around a little and told me to calm the hell down and tell the story as I'd always seen it. So I did. And it was hard, but it's all about challenging yourself to write outside the box, right?
Right, Joo? Yes. Thanks to you too, as always.
Thank all of you for reading, reviewing, pimping, EVERYTHING! Horror isn't very popular in the fandom, so to have so many people give it a shot means the world to me!
Also, QSS has been nominated for fic of the week over at The Lemonade Stand! It would be super effing cool if my little tale of horror ended up in one of the top five spots, so if you are so inclined please stop over and give it your vote at tehlemonadestand dot net.
Love you all! Have a safe and happy Halloween!
Until next time!