Disclaimer: I own nothing associated with the WWE! Hello Kitty and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles also are not mine.
Summary: A ghost story. Sent off course on a stormy night, five superstars are stranded together in an old house. But they're not alone. Something is haunting them, and they have to find a way to combat their deepest, darkest fears in order to survive the night.
Author's Note: Hey, guys, thanks for the reviews! I hope you had a good Christmas if you celebrate it :) Well, things are getting a bit strange, as you guys can see. And things are only gonna get stranger. Also, I just wanna take a quick moment to say that this is also the darkest chapter in the story so far. So kinda like a warning, I guess. But we'll see where this goes! Enjoy!
Part VII– Dreamscapes
Mike kept a tight hold on Eve's hand as they carefully made their way across the soaked, muddy lawn. The house that sat before them was smaller than the one they had previously found, consisting of two stories and an old-fashioned root cellar on the side. A low rumble of thunder echoed in the distance as they made their way up the couple wooden steps that led to the front porch, and the Latina noticed that an old, battered pickup truck was sitting in the driveway.
"Someone's home," she whispered, tightening her hold on Mike's hand slightly.
"Already an improvement," Mike muttered, mainly to himself as he reached out and rang the doorbell. "Maybe we'll be able to get out of this rain. See, Eve? I told you leaving that house was a good–!"
But his sentence was abruptly cut off when the door suddenly opened, and his eyes widened when he found himself staring down the barrel of a hunting rifle. "Whoa, whoa, whoa..." the self-proclaimed Awesome One said, holding up his hands in a peaceful gesture as he made sure he was between the gun and his girlfriend. "No need for that, Sir. If you just let us explain..."
The man holding the rifle was portly and balding, the traces of dark hair he did have left flecked with gray. He regarded the couple suspiciously with beady eyes, not lowering the weapon. "We don't like solicitors or trespassers," he replied.
"We're not either," Mike tried to explain. "My name is Michael Mizanin. I'm a professional wrestler with–!"
"Professional wrestler?" the man repeated. "You? Kinda scrawny to be one of them, don't you think?"
Mike laughed nervously, his eyes not leaving the gun that was still aimed directly at him. "Well, that's what I am, Sir..." he began.
The man scoffed quietly, his gaze moving from Mike to Eve and back. "My boy and I used to watch that back in the day," he muttered thoughtfully. "You know Hulk Hogan?"
The self-proclaimed Awesome One exchanged an uneasy look with Eve before turning back to the balding man. "Not... not very well," he told him. "But please, if you just hear us out, we're not here to cause trouble. We were on the way to our next show in Jersey with some friends, and we ran off the road. We've been stuck in this storm, and..."
"Oh!" The portly man lowered the rifle, a slight smile forming on his pudgier face, which revealed that he was missing a couple of teeth. "Why didn't you just say so? Come on in."
Mike let out a relieved sigh and briefly closed his eyes before he turned to Eve, who was looking at him with slight confusion, before he tightened his hand around hers and led her into the brightly lit living room. They both set their drenched bags near the door and slipped out of their shoes, watching as the man leaned the rifle against the wall in the corner before straightening out the pillows on the armchair and the couch to make them look more presentable.
"You must be soaked to the bone," he said, turning to the couple with another smile. "I know, I'll borrow some of my kids' clothes for you."
"Oh, it's okay," Eve replied with a smile of her own. "We're not gonna stay long. Maybe just until the rain lets up a bit more or to just use your phone..."
But the man brushed her words aside. "Nonsense. Can't go without doing a pretty lady like yourself a favor. They won't mind, and they should fit you. I'll be right back."
Eve smiled politely until the man turned and started to hobble up the staircase that led up to the second floor, the look vanishing as she looked at Mike, who was watching after the man with obvious dislike. She hit his arm, causing him to look back at her as he rubbed it.
"Ow, what was that for?"
"Would you relax?" Eve wondered as she rolled her eyes. "I'm sure he didn't mean anything by that comment."
Mike sighed and raised an eyebrow as they then began to look around the small living room, trying to get a better idea of who the man who owned the house was. There wasn't much to go by other than a single photograph that hung on the wall. Eve took a few steps closer to look at it, seeing that it must have been taken years before since the man had a full head of black hair and had all of his teeth. Beside him stood a beautiful woman with blonde hair that was pulled back behind her head in a bun, and in front of them sat two children. The boy with dark hair, who wasn't smiling at the camera, appeared to be in his teen years while the girl, who had curly blonde hair, appeared to be no older than ten.
"Well, here are a couple shirts for you guys, along with some sweatpants. It looks like they'll fit."
Eve turned around while Mike glanced up as the man came back down into the living room, holding one set of clothes in one hand and another in his other. The Latina forced a smile as she took the first set, the look waning when she saw the mustard yellow sweatpants and the light red Hello Kitty t-shirt. She glanced at Mike, who was staring at the gray sweatpants and the light green Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles t-shirt with a raised eyebrow. The portly man watched them expectantly, but then a quiet ding from the kitchen caused him to perk up slightly.
"Oh! Dinner's ready," he said with a broad smile. "Let me go get that out of the oven... You'll be staying with us, will you not?"
"Oh, um..." Mike began to politely decline, but the man had already scurried away to get whatever was for dinner out of the oven. He sighed, glancing at Eve, who shrugged as she turned her back on her boyfriend to change.
The self-proclaimed Awesome One glanced down at the shirt he had been given with dislike before he pulled his soaked sweatshirt and t-shirt off. He then tried to pull the new one over his head, pausing when he heard some of the material rip as it stretched to fit him.
"Damn it..." Mike irritably grumbled under his breath as he finished pulling the shirt down as far as it could go over his torso, rolling his eyes when he found that it fit him so tightly he could barely move his arms. He then proceeded to slip on the gray sweatpants he had also been given, relived that the waistline was elastic before he glanced over his shoulder with an arched eyebrow when he heard a quiet laugh from behind him.
"And what's so funny?" he wondered when he saw that his girlfriend was looking him over with amusement.
Eve shook her head slightly as she crossed her arms in front of her. A slight smirk tugged at the corner of Mike's lips as he looked her over as well, seeing the Hello Kitty shirt fit tightly to her frame and came to a stop a few inches above her waist. Noticing his gaze, the Latina rolled her eyes. "If you're not careful, you're gonna rip your way right out of that shirt," she muttered teasingly. "I think these clothes are for teens."
Mike chuckled as he crossed the short distance between them, setting his hands on her waist. "At least I'm not the one wearing the ugly yellow sweatpants," he countered.
The Latina sighed in irritation, but a small smile appeared on her face when Mike leaned forward and lightly brushed his nose against hers. "What are you doing?" she asked quietly with a slight laugh. "Not here."
"What's wrong with that?" Mike gave her fake pout, which disappeared when his girlfriend gave him a quick kiss on the cheek.
"Why don't you two come on in here? You don't want to be the last ones to dinner."
Eve quickly glanced over her shoulder when she heard the voice, seeing that the balding man was smiling at them before he disappeared back into the kitchen. She sighed as she turned to follow after him, reaching out and taking Mike's hand in hers as they left the living room together.
The small kitchen was warm from the oven, and whatever had been cooking definitely smelled good. Mike set his hand on his stomach when he heard it growl, and he realized that he was hungrier than he thought. A square wooden table sat in the middle of the room, four chairs set up around it.
"So, I guess we just sit anywhere, huh?" Mike said quietly to his girlfriend.
"I suppose so," Eve replied with a slight shrug.
Mike nodded slightly in agreement before he walked to the nearest chair and began to pull it out from the table, Eve doing the same on his left. The balding man was humming quietly to himself as he pulled a pan out of the oven, but when he saw them about to sit at the table, his face contorted with rage as he nearly dropped what he was holding.
"No! That's where Penny and Jane sit!"
The couple froze, startled by the sudden outburst. "W-who?" Eve wondered, glancing at her boyfriend, who shrugged.
"My wife and daughter." The man stormed over to the table and slammed the pan down with more force than was necessary. He noticed that Mike's gaze had landed on the chair across from him and shook his head. "Erik, my son, sits there. They'll be down shortly."
Mike glanced at Eve before he looked back at the portly man. "Okay, so we sit where then?" he asked.
The man looked at the table for a moment before he smiled, a slight laugh escaping from him. "Oh, my mistake. Let me get a couple more chairs for you," he answered, starting to hum quietly to himself again as he walked over to a closet next to the refrigerator and pulled out a couple of old, rusted folding chairs. "It's not very often that we have company out here. Here you go."
Eve watched as the man unfolded one of the chairs and set it up on the left side of the table, slowly sitting down when Mike gestured for her to. Then, to her dismay, the second chair was set up on the other side of the table from her.
"Now," the man said as he sat down at the table with a sigh once his two guests were settled in. "I don't believe that we were properly introduced before. My name is Harold."
Mike cleared his throat. "Well, as I said, my name is Michael, and this is my girlfriend, Eve," he replied.
"Well, it's a pleasure to have you as our guests tonight." Harold smiled at them before he held his hands out, and Mike and Eve glanced at each other before they slowly reached out and took them before each grabbing the other's hand as well.
"If you two will join me in a quick prayer, then maybe everyone else will join us so we can eat," he continued before he closed his eyes and lowered his head. Mike and Eve exchanged another quick look before they dropped their heads slightly as well.
"Lord, we thank you for the meal we're about to receive, for our loving family, and for the guests that we have here tonight. In your name we pray. Amen."
Mike glanced up at Eve as Harold released their hands, squeezing hers before he let go as well. The Latina gave him a small smile before they both turned to the balding man, watching as he grinned broadly at them before he started to take the aluminum foil off of the pan.
"Well, we may as well start to eat."
"I thought your family was going to join us," Eve muttered.
Harold looked up at her, his smile lingering. "They'll join us soon," he told her. "But we also don't want the food to get cold."
Eve looked back at Mike, who just raised an eyebrow as he shrugged slightly. Sighing, the diva looked back at Harold. "Is there anything that we can help with?" she wondered politely.
"Oh, no, don't worry, dear." Harold finally finished getting the foil off, giving her a smile. "Help yourselves. I'll get some utensils for you."
Mike leaned forward on the table slightly, seeing it appeared to be slices of chicken with some glaze covering it. "I've gotta say, this looks really good," he said loud enough for Harold to hear.
"Good. It's been baking for about an hour now." Harold hobbled back over to the table, setting a knife, fork, and a plate by his seat as well as Mike and Eve's. But then, he proceeded to set them at the three empty places as well. "Go on, take some."
"Thank you." Mike took two slices for himself while Eve started with one. "We haven't really eaten much since early this afternoon when we left our hotel."
"And you're just going into the city, right?" When Mike nodded in answer as he started cutting a piece of his chicken, Harold smiled. "Well, that's only about a ten minute drive. Maybe if the rain lets up a bit by tonight, I can take you there myself. Or in the morning at the latest."
Eve cut a small piece of her chicken when she saw her boyfriend was continuing to eat his, quickly tasting it and finding that it was well-flavored and very tender. "Thank you, that would be great," she replied. "Or, if it'd be easier for you, we could just use your phone to call for a ride. I'm sure some of our coworkers wouldn't mind picking us up if we're so close."
But Harold just brushed her words aside. "It's no bother, dear, believe me," he muttered. "Wouldn't want them driving out in this weather."
"A couple friends of ours are still stuck as well," Mike added, glancing up at the man as well. "If it wouldn't be too much trouble..."
"Of course, of course." Harold smiled at the self-proclaimed Awesome One. "Where are your friends?"
Before either Mike or Eve could answer, however, a sudden loud bang came from upstairs, as well as what sounded like a bloodcurdling scream. The Latina looked at her boyfriend fearfully, seeing he looked just as startled as she did, while Harold sighed and set his knife and fork down on his plate.
"Sorry about that," he told them. "I'll be back shortly. Please, continue eating."
Eve continued to stare at Mike as Harold scurried out of the room. "What... what the hell was that?" she asked in a whisper.
"I don't know," Mike answered just as quietly as another bang and scream came from above them. "I thought the guy was just a bit off his rocker and there was no one else in this house."
"If that's even a person..." Eve knew the words would sound ridiculous in any other situation, but after what they had seen so far that night, she didn't think it was too much of a stretch.
Mike carefully reached across the table and took her hand in his, squeezing it reassuringly. "I don't care what he says. As soon as we get the chance, we're calling someone to come get us," he said. "We're not that far from the city. I don't trust this guy."
Eve shook her head in silent agreement as an eerie silence came from upstairs. Footsteps came down the steps, and a minute passed before Harold came back into the kitchen and sat back down at the table. He picked up his knife and fork again, smiling at the couple as they released each other's hands.
Mike met his girlfriend's gaze before he slowly picked up his own utensils again, Eve doing the same as they continued to eat in silence.
Phil stared at himself lying on the couch in horror. He didn't know how it was possible to be in two places at once, but yet there he was. He didn't know how it could be possible unless...
"No," he muttered, looking down at his hands. "I'm not dead. I can't be dead. I didn't..."
The Straight Edge Superstar looked back at where he was lying on the couch. He didn't appear to be lifeless, at least to him. There was still color left in his face, at any rate. But if that was the case, then he had no idea what could be happening to him.
"How's he doing?" he heard Nick ask as the Show Off rose from the couch to stand next to where the diva was still kneeling beside the couch, bending over a little to look at him better. But his voice was distorted as though he was hearing it through water, his movements a bit slower and their figures slightly blurred. It was almost as though he wasn't in the same room with his friends at all.
Phil watched as April sighed and met his gaze, running her hand down his own tattooed arm and wrapping her slender fingers around his hand. "Still okay," she answered. "I'm not sure what caused this sleep, but I'm just hoping he wakes up soon."
"Do you think it was when that thing grabbed him?" Nick wondered. "I mean, the cut on his hand wouldn't have done this."
April turned her gaze back to his body, and Phil watched as she turned his wrapped hand over to look at his palm. He took a few steps closer, seeing that there was a small tear in the wrist tape. "Do you remember if he touched that figure?" she wondered, glancing back at the blond man standing next to her.
"Um..." Nick shrugged slightly. "I honestly don't remember... Maybe to pull its hand away..."
Phil kept his attention on April, noticing the thoughtful look on her face as she reached out and lightly set her hand on top of his head while her thumb started to lightly rub circles into his hand. "Do you know something?" he asked quietly, walking forward before he came to a stop next to the new diva across from Nick. "April, do you know what's happening to me? April!"
He didn't expect her to hear him, but he found it frustrating regardless when he didn't get a response. Phil cried out as he lashed his foot out in frustration, shocked when it actually hit the small table next to the couch. He cursed heatedly under his breath as he rubbed his sore toes, more confused than he was before. If he was some kind of ghost, should he be able to touch anything solid? He wasn't sure of the answer, but then again, he didn't even really know what he was.
But that was when he noticed something different about the table than when he had seen it last. A framed photograph now sat on top of it, and the three smiling faces of an older woman and two young children looked back at him. Phil leaned over a little to look at it better, seeing that the woman had a bit of a darker skin tone and her black hair flecked with gray was tied behind her head in a bun. The boy on her left, who had black hair similar to hers, appeared to be in his early teens, and the girl next to him appeared no older than eight and had curly brown hair, holding a porcelain doll with a light pink dress and a bonnet tightly in her arms.
Phil instantly remembered the disturbing dream he had where the same doll's face had been cracked, recognizing the children immediately. But who the woman was, he had no idea. In front of the photograph sat a thick copy of the King James Bible, and Phil quickly picked it up and flipped through it once, finding its black cover and thin pages appeared newer. He set it back down next to a shiny silver locket, and the Straight Edge Superstar curiously picked that up as well and opened it, seeing that one half contained a photograph of the older woman and the other half held a picture of an old man with snow white hair who he assumed was her husband.
But when he set the locket back down in its place on the table, Phil also noticed something else that confused him greatly. The lamp that sat on top of it that had been there before was now turned on. His eyes narrowing slightly, he reached forward and pulled on the thin metal chain, watching as the light switched off, before pulling on it again as the light came back on.
Shaking his head slightly, Phil took a couple steps back from the table and turned his attention back to the couch, seeing that his friends were still there watching over him. But then, he watched as April slowly turned over her shoulder, her eyes almost seeming to land directly on him. The Straight Edge Superstar met her gaze, walking a little closer to her.
"April, can you see me?" he wondered.
However, April slowly looked away again, her movements not quite as distorted as Nick's but still slower than normal, and Phil sighed as he passed a hand over his face. He then started to look around the living room, seeing that all of the dust and cobwebs were gone and it was instead brightly lit because of the hanging lamp on the ceiling. There were a few porcelain dolls sitting on top of the mantle above the fireplace, all with intricate lace dresses of different colors, and the cushions on the armchair near the window and on the couch were clean and appeared fluffier. Looking out the window, the dark-haired man noticed that even though it was night, there was not a single storm cloud in the sky.
Then, Phil turned over his shoulder when he heard the soft sound of a piano playing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star," and he saw that a girl who appeared to be in her late teens or early twenties was sitting on the bench in front of the large instrument in the corner, her slender fingers moving over the white keys. Her dark brown hair wasn't quite so curly, and even though he couldn't see her face, he knew that she was the same girl that he had seen before and who was in the photograph. Once she finished the short song, she turned the page in the book she was looking at, starting to play through "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," her feet working the pedals as she went.
The door that led into the kitchen opened, and the older woman from the photograph stepped into the living room, a smile on her face as she gazed at the girl at the piano. "You're doing a wonderful job for picking it up again," she said just as a note in the song was missed. "But why don't you give it a rest for tonight?"
The girl looked up at her, and Phil leaned to the side a little to try to see her face. "All right," she replied quietly. "Good night."
"Good night." The older woman leaned forward and left a light kiss on the younger girl's forehead, and the dark-haired man was surprised to see that her light gaze then seemed to land directly on him before moving to the window.
Dong... dong... dong...
Phil glanced over his shoulder at the staircase that led up to the lit second floor when the sound of the grandfather clock echoed from the upper hallway. The girl walked past him, slowly making her way up the steps. The older woman sighed before she turned and made her way back into the kitchen.
... dong... dong... dong...
The Straight Edge Superstar watched as the girl disappeared up to the second story, glancing one more time around the living room before he hurried around the couch and took the steps two at a time to catch up with her.
... dong... dong... dong...
Phil reached the top of the landing, pausing for a moment as he looked around to see where she could have gone to. All of the doors in the familiar but lit, freshly carpeted hallway were closed, and he sighed quietly as he slowly started to make his way down it.
... dong... dong.
The dark-haired man paused when the grandfather clock at the end of the hall across from him stopped chiming. Eleven 'o'clock. A bad feeling formed in the pit of his stomach. There was something important about that hour...
Phil reached the end of the hall, glancing at the tall, ancient clock before reaching out and opening the first door on his left, the room where he, Nick, and April had found the sewing needles earlier. He was startled to see that more porcelain dolls were sitting on the bed that hadn't been there before, and judging by the photograph of the older woman with the white-haired man that hung on the wall across from him, the room belonged to her.
The Straight Edge Superstar was just about to close the door when he heard another one behind him open, and he glanced over his shoulder just in time to see a familiar dark hooded figure step out of the room across the hall. Phil kept close to the shadows of the wall, but the man didn't even seem to notice him as he crossed the narrow hallway and opened the door of the room that he now knew well. He waited for a couple minutes before he walked the short distance to the other room and glanced inside, seeing that the girl was sitting on her bed holding the porcelain doll with curly brown hair and the white lace and floral print dress and bonnet on her lap, the familiar crack running down her face. The older man stood in front of her, his hands stuffed in the pockets of his hoodie.
"I need you to stay in here until I come for you, okay, kiddo?" he asked quietly.
The girl slowly looked up at him, her face still hidden by her hair as her slender fingers twirled the curled locks on her doll's head. "Okay," she answered in a voice hardly above a whisper. Phil strained his ears to try to hear her. "Is he going to stay long?"
"No. I guarantee that." The hooded figure then reached forward and ruffled her hair slightly, causing a quiet laugh to escape from her.
Then, Phil looked over his shoulder when a loud pounding came from downstairs. The bad feeling continuing to form in his stomach, he glanced at the grandfather clock at the end of the hall, noticing that it was now three after eleven. The hooded figure swiftly passed the dark-haired man as he left the room, and by the little Phil saw of his face when he passed, he looked slightly anxious.
Wondering what to do, the Straight Edge Superstar lingered in the doorway for a moment before he stepped further into the room, seeing the younger girl had turned her full attention back to the doll on her lap. Phil slowly drew closer to her, bending over slightly to try to see her face. But the closer he got, the more her head seemed to turn away from him, her hair still shielding her features.
But then, his eyes widened slightly when he heard her whispered voice speak two words that caused dread to fill his heart.
Suddenly, Phil turned around to face the open doorway behind him when he heard what sounded like a gunshot come from downstairs. The girl flinched on her bed, holding her doll close to her in an almost protective way. The Straight Edge Superstar stood frozen for a moment before he turned to her, taking a deep breath. "Stay here," he said quietly even though he knew that she wouldn't hear him. When he got no reply like he expected, he quickly crossed the bedroom and stepped outside into the hall.
Then, a second gunshot caused him to stop in his tracks. Who had come to this house that the two people he had seen in his first dream were so afraid of? Thinking quickly, Phil once again glanced at the grandfather clock at the end of the hallway, seeing that it was only six after eleven. He closed his eyes for a moment, remembering that when he had last seen it, the antique hands had stopped in seven minutes.
The dark-haired man then slowly turned back to the staircase when he heard heavy footsteps coming up them, and he stepped back into the room where the younger girl was. She had turned the lights off and was sitting curled up on her bed, her doll wrapped tightly in her arms. Phil came to a stop next to the bed and faced the door, her near silent crying the only sound in the room.
A moment later, a dark-haired, slightly portly man appeared in the doorway, what appeared to be a hunting rifle in his hands. The younger girl curled in on herself a bit more, trying to protect herself as much as possible.
"Please don't..." she muttered fearfully. "W-we didn't do anything to you..."
Phil kept close to the girl, his eyes remaining on the man intently. For an instant, it seemed as though he was going to raise the rifle once more, but then, he lowered it and walked out of sight. The Straight Edge Superstar let out a quiet sigh when he heard the man's fading footsteps, glancing back at the girl when he noticed that she was sitting eerily still. Hesitating for only a second, Phil began to make his way toward the door, but he once again stopped when he heard her whispered voice.
Confused, Phil turned back to her, seeing that her head was turned slightly in his direction. The dark-haired man narrowed his eyes slightly, but before he could say anything in response, she spoke those two words that chilled him once more.
Phil shook his head slightly as he took a couple steps away from her. "I don't think there's anything I can do..." he muttered. The girl continued to what he assumed was look at him in silence, and he quickly turned around and hurried out into the hallway. He ran down the stairs a couple at a time, nearly stumbling in doing so, until he reached the bottom, his eyes widening at what he saw. The man with the rifle was standing near the fireplace almost thoughtfully, but there were no signs of the house's other inhabitants.
But then, the dark-haired man glanced down, and his eyes widened slightly when he saw a limp hand sticking out from behind the couch. Recognizing it to be a masculine hand, Phil knew that this must have been who was haunting them, and it was then he wondered what had happened to the older woman. But it was also then that he realized someone else might have been in the house with him and his friends.
Suddenly, the man standing near the fireplace turned in his direction, and Phil took a few steps back away from him. He glanced down at the couch, seeing that he was still lying there with April and Nick, wishing that he could go back to them. He had seen enough. He understood the crimes that had taken place in the house, but he didn't understand why he had to be there to begin with. He didn't want to relive someone else's memories.
The man started to walk around the couch in his direction, and Phil turned around, seeing the only place he could really go was the door in front of him that led down to the basement. It was one that he hadn't been able to open before since it had been locked, but he figured that there was no harm in trying it now. The Straight Edge Superstar reached out a tattooed hand and turned the door handle, finding with surprise that it was unlocked. He quickly pulled the door open, but his eyes widened when he was met with the familiar hooded figure that was haunting them, reaching a gloved hand out toward him.
Author's Note: So, yeah, I warned you guys that this was gonna get strange, lol. But after being inspired by Insidious, I thought it would be kinda cool to utilize. So, Phil's experiencing someone else's memories. The question is, who do they belong to? Is it the hooded man that we've been seeing all along, or is Phil right in thinking that there's another ghost in the house with the three of them? Well, we'll have to keep going to find out! Thanks for reading! Your reviews are much appreciated. Thank you!