Thank you to mauigirl60 for her beta magic and RFM86 for pre-reading!
Disclaimer: From here on out it things get scary. Really scary.
Chapter 16: The Monster isn't Always in the Closet
"Damn girl, this place is fuckin' huge!" Embry looked in awe at the Hale's mansion.
He was correct, it was huge. It was also cold and foreboding. When Rosalie was a young child, she'd thought it looked like a castle and would imagine a prince coming to whisk her away from the constant and cruel reprimands of her stepmother. Rosalie's father was a distant man who was always striving for his next million, but like most young girls, she strove to be the apple of her daddy's eyes. If it weren't for the need to gain his approval, she would have fled those decadent hallways long ago.
"It's just a house," Rosalie stated as she stared up at the turrets that her great-great grandfather had added to the design. He believed himself to be a king of industry and he'd wanted everyone to know it. "Let's go through the garage."
It was unlocked and the lights in the garage were off. Something wasn't right.
Mr. Hale had a phobia of dark places and his home had always been lit up to keep the imaginary monsters at bay. Rosalie now knew that monsters were real and it made her shiver.
She flicked the light switch. Nothing.
"Fuck, girl, we should just go find Mr. Clearwater!" Embry could smell something off. His nose wrinkled up at a stench that was turning his stomach.
"If my dad is in here, then we need to help him. Stay close!" she demanded, grabbing his hand. The garage had been her haven when she was a girl. Mr. Clarence, their chauffeur, was an older gentleman who took the sad-eyed girl under his wing and taught her the joy of fixing things with her own two hands. If she truly ever had a father figure, it was Mr. Clarence - the only person who really cared. Rosalie still visited him weekly at the retirement community he now made his permanent home. He was her family and she was his.
All her time spent in the garage made it easy for her, even with the lights off, to easily maneuver through it. First, she grabbed two flashlights from a drawer and handed one to Embry. "These should help. It looks like the power's out."
"Shouldn't we get a weapon or somethin'?" Embry questioned. He grabbed a rake in the corner.
"Really? Are we going to clean up the lawn to force them into submission?" Rosalie quipped. She had a tendency to joke when nervous.
"What do you suggest?" Embry threw the rake back in the corner.
She grabbed a pair of large and pointy gardening shears which hung on the wall and tossed them to him. Embry looked at them and back to her. "What about for you?"
Rosalie grabbed an axe and held it up. "Hopefully, we won't need either of these things."
Embry could smell the stench quite clearly now and knew Rosalie could as well. He didn't need the damned wolf curse and its heightened sense of smell to tell that death had visited the home quite recently. "You can't tell me you don't smell that!"
"Of course I can. Let me just have a few minutes more of delusional thinking, okay? I've had just about my limit of very bad things."
If she only knew.
The duo slowly made their way through rooms that had been previously overlavishly furnished, and were now marred by a thick layer of dust and a substance of indeterminate origin.
The dried blood splattered on the walls was jarring and Rosalie tried not to fixate on it. She was tentatively holding onto her sanity.
Embry whispered, "We should just leave."
"I'm not leaving without seeing if I can help my dad. Feel free to head wherever you need to go." Rosalie kept walking down the long and bloody hallways, peeking carefully into the rooms as they went past.
"Fuck girl, I ain't leavin' ya!" Embry exclaimed, as Rose stuck her hand over his mouth. She removed it slowly and he whispered, "Sorry! Should I wolf out or somethin'?"
"Will you try and eat me? It seems that you don't really have any control." Rosalie looked into a parlor once used for waiting guests. It was, thankfully, empty.
"Aww shit, you're right. We just don't know what big fuckin' bad is in here!" Embry was shaking slightly. He was rightfully nervous.
"So far, we have wolves and warlocks and vampires, oh my!" Rosalie said twisting around the words of Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz.
"There can always be worse things, girl." That's when Embry opened a door to a formal dining room to a scene so ghastly he gasped and shut the door quickly to shield the woman he was so taken with. "We need to fuckin' leave now!"
"What is it?" Rosalie pushed him out of the way and when she took in the scene before her, she barely stifled her scream.
Seated around the ornate oak dining room table, which had been passed down from generations of Hales, were the ladies who lunched with her step-mother. Only now, they were the meal.
Millicent Price's torso was ripped apart. Allison Grant was missing her eyeballs. Claire Worthington's head was hanging halfway off her neck, eyes staring forever in horror. Finally, the regal Bunny Harrison had her leg crammed into her mouth. The women were set up purposely to look like they were drinking their tea. It was a sick joke to the utmost degree. Rosalie had a horrible suspicion of who the culprit of this horrendous deed was. Her step-mother hated Bunny with a passion. She was also a woman who was a vindictive bitch with an even sicker sense of humor. That was Charlotte. Rosalie had no doubt.
"We need to go upstairs. That's where my father has to be." She couldn't stop staring at the macabre scene in front of her. It would haunt her nightmares for eternity if they ever made it out of here alive.
"He's probably dead."
Rosalie shuddered. "I need to know for sure."
Embry followed Rose up the stairs and watched as she traveled with a steadfast purpose toward a room at the end of the hall. He knew this was going to be very bad, but he couldn't stop her from her goal.
They had reached the master bedroom and, as Rose opened the door, the stench made her physically ill.
Swallowing back vomit, Rosalie rushed into the darkened room. She tripped over a book and fell onto the floor. In her line of vision was a hand wearing her father's college ring. Daddy, she thought. She grabbed the hand and slowly pulled it toward her. It wasn't attached to an arm. She screamed.
Embry pulled up a weeping Rosalie and aimed his flashlight on the bed and saw the ripped up pieces of Mr. Hale. He tried to block Rose from the scene with his chest, as she murmured, "No...Daddy! No! Oh, God, no!"
That's when they heard the hissing sound. It was soft at first and increased in volume. Embry moved Rosalie toward a wall and tried to shield her body from the frightening sound.
"Rosie-Posey, Rosie-Posey, Momma is so hungry!" The hissing noise now became an even more frightening snarling voice.
Eyes wide, so wide, Rosalie took in the creature that dragged itself into the room. It was what was left of Charlotte Hale. The skin that she was so vain about was hanging off in chunks. The bones and tendons of her face were clearly visible. Charlotte's blond hair was almost gone and instead of teeth, she had sharp fangs.
"Oh, sweet mother of fuck!" Embry looked two seconds from fainting. "What are you?"
"I'm what's eating her for dinner, wolf!" The thing cackled. It was bone chilling. "Daddy was so yummy in my tummy, Rosie. You, little baby, smell sooo much better!"
It licked its lips.
Embry held out the shears. "We're goin' to leave right now, ya fuckin' corpse!"
"Pastor Ben said I was a good girl. I let Emmett kill me. He was a mighty good fuck, Rosie. He thought you were awful, so he came to Momma," it hissed, as mucous dripped from its mouth. "Pastor Ben said I can eat whatever I want. I want to eat the girl, mutt. You smell like wet dog. I'll kill you and eat her!"
Suddenly, it sprung at them. The first thing, other than fear, that struck Rosalie was that the monster was insanely fast for a decomposing body. Embry pushed Rosalie out of the way and thrust the shears into the monster's body. Yellow pus squirted out all over his face and body. "Nasty shit!"
The monster's decayed hand grabbed Embry's throat, squeezing so tightly that his eyeballs started bulging, as its sharp teeth ripped into his stomach. Rosalie took her shovel and hit it hard on its head. Embry was thrown across the room, hitting the wall with a thud. Rosalie glanced over at him and saw he wasn't moving. Oh, God! she thought.
There wasn't any time to worry because she wouldn't be any help to Embry if she was dead. Rosalie held up the shovel and the monster formally known as Charlotte Hale hissed, "Get in my tummy!"
Mouth wide open, it came at her. It was faster and stronger, but through divine intervention, Rosalie was able to muster more power than she ever thought she possessed. She struck it in the neck and its head went flying. In a rage, Rosalie started to continually beat the corpse with the garden tool. With tears in her eyes, Rosalie let out all the anger of the abuse the woman had subjected her to in her childhood, the fear that she was being subjected to this night and the realization that there was now no way she could ever gain her father's approval.
"Damn, girl!" Embry said weakly. "I knew...you were...tough."
She rushed over and knelt down beside him. She stroked his head gently. "Let's get you out of here."
"I...I knew...I'm fuckin' no good. You're so...pretty...smart..." He started gasping.
"Shh...We need to get you to a hospital." She tried to stay positive.
"Maybe, you'll...think...think...kindly of me...someday..." He started to close his eyes.
"You're the bravest man I know!" Rosalie held his hand tightly. "Please, stay awake!"
"Take my... keys and drive... to Harry. Leah made...sure Harry will be..." He was fading.
"Stay with me! Please!" Rosalie pleaded. She kissed him softly on the lips, partly to thank him and the other part was in realization that he was dying.
"I think...if heaven... exists, I...just...just...was there." He took one last deep breath and closed his eyes for a final time.
Rosalie wiped tears from her eyes and grabbed Embry's keys. She grabbed her trusty shovel and headed out the door to find Harry Clearwater and help battle the demons that were wrecking her world.
Bella was cuddled into Edward's arms in her old bed at Aro's house. The family was circling the wagons and keeping all members close.
"So, that Brady kid turns into a hawk?" Edward asked, stroking Bella's hair. "My life has gone from bizarre to bat-shit crazy."
She just giggled. "He's not too happy about it. I've never heard someone complain about his spirit guide. Someone wants to be a big old bear like Jared."
The remaining young women and men of the tribe had been changing into the various creatures of the forest. It was an amazing display of bears, cougars, and coyotes, also a random assortment of birds and stags. Some of the tribe members were more enthusiastic of their guides than others.
"How is Jared?"
Bella had been in constant phone contact with Harry concerning the evil happenings that occurred under the tent. "Jared's healing quickly. Harry thinks a combination of me touching him and just the increased healing the members of the tribe have been exhibiting lately has been a big help. He'll be ready when we confront Ben."
Edward flipped her over, so he was hovering over her. He kissed her softly. What if Emmett hurt her? "I'm going to kill my brother."
Stroking his face, Bella shook her head. "You will not! I won't let you live with that. Someone else will. I'll do it first."
"Edward, he's a bad person. We both know that. Emmett is still your brother. You should never have to live with having that hang over you." She stroked his back.
"He would kill me in an instant. I know this now." Edward started to cry.
She kissed his tears. "I realized this long ago, but you aren't a monster like him. You, Edward Cullen, are a good man."
"I have a monster in me," he sniffed. "I tried to hurt you twice!"
"We are keeping that monster at bay," Bella stated. She nuzzled him with her nose. "I love you, Cullen. I'll protect you."
"And I you," Edward said, before kissing her again.
They needed to be close. Edward's hands wandered and their mouths latched onto each other tightly.
There was a knock at the door. Bella and Edward straightened up their clothing. Edward muttered, "Too many damned people in this place."
Bella jumped up and found a stressed-looking Garrett on the other side. He was the newest occupant of Aro's homestead. He didn't want to be far from Kate.
"What's wrong, Garrett?" Bella was instantly on edge.
He swallowed and said, "We need you and Edward downstairs."
Bella glanced at Edward and he hopped off the bed. They quickly followed Garrett to the living room.
There, sitting wrapped in a blanket in front of the fire, was the presumed-dead Rosalie Hale. Harry had a comforting hand on her shoulder.
"It's you!" Bella exclaimed.
"Hey," she replied quietly. "I think I have a tale to tell you all.
Bella sat and waited for fresh tales of horror to fill her ears. If only her life was a romantic comedy.