Lizzie should have known better. She shouldn’t have rushed outside, not even if she heard screaming. The night was cold, fall making its sharp descent into winter temperatures early this year and she hadn’t stopped to fully prepare for it. She wished being more prepared for the chill had been her only mistake.
Time would tell how costly it had been if it ever got the chance. Now she was trapped out in the dark woods, surrounded by many she had once thought of as friends. They were all dead now, and their piercing eyes were all the yelling she needed to know that the hatred hadn’t subsided in the week following their abolishment to hell and subsequent release.
Though there was one set of eyes that didn’t share the hate. Roland, who had joined them nearly a week ago, had not spent the time in hell, and still looked at her as though he cared. He was but one, in the many that still did hate, and she knew that as much as he wanted to help her, he would be powerless. Already as the rest of them circled her, Josh was holding Roland back, his head locked in a massive head lock as Josh’s large beefy arms held him secure. Roland struggled to break free, but he could barely match a portion of the larger man’s strength.
If the other’s, her dead friends, could spit on her, she knew that they would. They had tricked her into coming out there. During the day time, it probably wouldn’t have worked. She was surprised it had at night. That had been some dream, and when she had woken already thrashing as the fight from the dream crossed over into her struggle with the blankets in reality, she had already been in fight mode. Her heart had already been racing and she hadn’t been thinking. She only knew that something had been wrong and she was ready to strike back.
The scream had been a catalyst. It had also been bait. How had they known she would fall for it? Lizzie could see on Sarah’s face that she was mocking her for it, the sneer showing the contempt the woman held for her. That long ago friendship they had was lost.
Sarah had been her best friend. They had been besties since they were both eight and running around their neighborhood, teasing the boy’s that were trying to give them cooties. Now if Lizzie was lying dead on a the ground, and if Sarah was alive, she wouldn’t do anything but spit on her body.
What were they going to do with her? Lizzie had already seen that they could hurt her. They had done that at the coffee shop and she had been terrified of that moment happening again. Since she’d come to the cabin, she had been staying in the confined space, not even leaving to get groceries. She had yet to call in for a delivery though if she survived this, she knew she would have to come morning. She had eaten the last can of soup for supper and was thankful as she didn’t think she could eat another can of chicken and rice soup. There was only so much Campbell’s soup a woman could take.
This was why she was afraid of ordering. If not her, she was afraid her friends would attack the delivery driver and hurt him. She had never seen them attack anyone else and wasn’t sure if they could. She wasn’t about to put someone else in that danger if she didn’t have to. She also knew that she couldn’t take that chance.
“Why?” Lizzie finally broke down and asked as they circled around her.
“Poor little rich girl.” Sarah said.
“I’m not-“ Lizzie started, but she was stopped by a shove from behind and that grew sick with that sense of wrongness she felt whenever one of them would touch her.
“You’re not? Really? I know how much he left you.”
“You know what he really left me.”
“You don’t know that!” Lizzie was turning with them, keeping her eyes locked on Sarah though she knew that kept Chuck to her back. He had to have been the one to have shoved her as Elisabeth was always just to her right.
“You killed us.” Chuck said, and she barely had time to turn around before she felt the blow and seen the fist he swung. It hit her chin, but didn’t feel so much like a hand that smashed into her, but some kind of unseen force. She couldn’t really explain how it was different, but it still hurt, sending her to fall on her butt.
Lizzie had never been hit by a man before. She’d gotten into a few tussles with other woman, usually for ignorant crap like someone accusing her of stealing they’re boyfriends. It was dumb, and she never understood it. After all, had they really looked at her? She was never going to be the stealing boyfriend kind of girl, not when they could have someone like Sarah. Still, it did happen, and as Lizzie wasn’t one to fight back, had usually always ended up being the one on her backside, fighting off blows.
A man had never hit her. That was abuse. A man to touch her was something that just didn’t happen. That was for women who allowed themselves to be pulled into bad relationships and stayed with the wrong men. Woman like her, the ones who avoided those men, shouldn’t ever be hit by a man. It wasn’t right.
Her face still stung from where she had felt the blow, and her butt was cold from the wet earth beneath her.
“So you can be hurt. I thought you-“ Chuck looked behind Lizzie at Sarah. He was watching her as she walked around Lizzie to him. “said she couldn’t be touched.”
I’m not going to cry. I’m not going to- fuck no I’m not going to cry. I’ve been through too much shit, and have put myself in harms way not sending them back to that hell.
Sarah glared at her as she walked around into view. She had a smirk that Lizzie didn’t recognize. It was like the friend she had grown up with wasn’t there. Who was this woman who strode around her, able to plan and execute a deviousness Lizzie couldn’t fathom?
“It seems things have changed.”
“Sarah, you all don’t have to do this. I’m trying to find a solution.”
“We don’t need you to find a solution.” Sarah said. Lizzie felt that sickening feeling and knew that one of them had grown close behind her. She guess it was Elisabeth who was keeping very quiet.
“No, we’ve got that figured out,” Chuck said. He nodded to Sarah. “At least your friend did.”
“We don’t need to figure it out because all we have to do is kill you. Isn’t that right?” Sarah said and Lizzie felt as some force slammed into her back between the shoulder blades.
Lizzie called out in pain as she was pitched forward by the blow. She started gasping and realized that she’d been hit from behind, but whoever hit her hadn’t released her. They must have landed on top of her and that sickening feeling in her stomach had gotten worse, spreading to her chest.
“How.. would… I know.” She panted, struggling for breath.
“When I first came back, I couldn’t even move a coffee mug. Not by myself. You remember that. We tried, just like the friends we had always been, we tried to do things together.”
Lizzie didn’t like the tooth filled smile Sarah was giving her and their was a wildness to her eyes. They were opened wide, and Lizzie was sure her friend had lost her mind. She was moving towards Lizzie, as she struggled to pull herself back. It was hard, but Lizzie could push against the force that was trying to keep her there.
“You’re not getting away from me.” Sarah took another step towards her.
“Lizzie. You have to get inside. Trust me, get back inside.” Roland was struggling to get away from Josh, but Josh was a big man and it was like a grizzly bear taking on a wolf. Wolves can do well in a pack, but by himself, he was over matched. There was nothing he could do for her, she was on her own.
And she wasn’t about to let them hurt her. She had to fight them.
Lizzie laughed. It was hard at first and initially sounded more like a wheeze that barely escaped from her lungs. The force behind her pulled back though, and she could pull in more breath.
“What are you doing?” Sarah asked and Lizzie laughed harder. She looked at her friend, but the question wasn’t posed to her. She had asked the person behind her and Lizzie looked back to see that Elisabeth had been the one on top of her. Elisabeth had stood up and was now looking at both of them, pained.
Was she crying? Lizzie thought she could see the glisten of moisture at the corner of her eyes. Maybe there was still something of her soul left.
Thank God! Lizzie thought as she turned back to Sarah.
Why was it someone Lizzie had just met was more her ally, had more of her soul, than the person she had grown up with? Sarah had no compassion for her. That fiery intensity had only shifted to Elisabeth for a fraction of a heartbeat and it was now reaffirmed and directed back at Lizzie. She was walking closer, faster now, only a few steps away.
Lizzie didn’t have time to think, she only had time to react. Her gut told her to strike and so she did. She leapt forward into where Sarah was, unsure if Sarah had any mass or not. She pushed forward, keeping low so that if Sarah was solid, Lizzie would tackle her out of the way. With luck, Chuck would be so caught off guard that she could get past him and run back into the house.
When she hit where Sarah had been, it wasn’t that she went through Sarah, but that the shape of here disappeared from where she had been. Lizzie had felt the resistance of something there, but not the solidness of flesh, then there was nothing and she was fighting to keep her balance while running forward.
“No! You bitch!” Sarah was close behind her. Whatever had happened to her, it hadn’t moved her far from Lizzie, and Lizzie knew that she would be running to catch up to her. Lizzie didn’t have to make it far, but she was also not dressed to be out there. Each step she ran was a reminder that she had left the house with no shoes on.
The cold was bad enough, not enough that she had to worry about frostbite and losing a foot, but it did make the ground hard and every bump in the dirt, sharp. Sarah didn’t have such concerns and she knew it. Dead things didn’t feel pain, and she would be able to catch her.
Lizzie could feel the biting in her pants and knew that the talisman was in her pocket. She didn’t know how it got there as she had put it away, storing it in the box of books she had found that her uncle had left her. She had never pulled it out, and especially didn’t put in her pocket before coming out there. Still, she felt the sharp jabs from the teeth of the hideous thing and the desire in her chest to put it on and send them all away. All of them, get rid of all of them so she would never have to deal with them again. Then maybe she could live a life in peace out there, even if she couldn’t enjoy normalcy, she would have quiet.
She pushed herself harder to make it to the house. She was only a few feet away now. She just had to be ready to make the turn to go up the sideways stairs and then she could fall into the living room if she had to.
Lizzie already knew what was going to happen before she felt it. She had to slow down to make that turn to go up the stairs. If she hadn’t been running straight towards the house, she might have been able to get to it at an angle and she would have been okay. Unfortunately, she hadn’t been thinking about that as she had just pushed to get away. Now she did have to slow, and Sarah would be there to catch her. Sarah, the cheerleader who had always been more physically fit that Lizzie who spent much of her extra time in the library. Sarah, who liked to work out with Jessica while Lizzie would be there with them, occasionally commented while she sat off to the side reading a book. Sarah, who was determined to see her in pain and suffering as Lizzie wanted to escape into the confines of the house. I
Lizzie felt her feet got out from her first. She had been close enough that she was reaching out to shift her balance for the turn to go up the stairs. It was right when she had shifted her weight, and then she was falling. She had that brief moment when she realized it was happening and knew that now matter how she turned it was going to hurt. She had too much momentum against her, she was going to slam into the house.
The pain shot through her. First it was her shoulder as it slammed into the rough wood of the outer wall. Then her back twisted and that sent torrents of pain from all over as them her arm and legs slammed into places she wasn’t even sure of. She felt like a rag doll being tossed around as she hit the wall, then again all before landing hard on the ground.
She lost consciousness, but only for a brief second or two. It was enough for them to catch her and when she came too, she was feeling the force of their blows all along her body. They were kicking her into the wall, each blow was doubled as she felt it, then the pain as it would slam her into the house. She had somehow managed to get her arms over her face, so even when she had blacked out, some part of her was thinking, but the rest of her was exposed and she felt the blows.
She fought to pull herself towards the stairs. They hadn’t been far when she slowed and when she outstretched her arm, she felt the tip of them. That was when she was the shoe come crashing down on her face and felt the smashing force. She could feel the blood come from it, spilling down her face, and swore she heard something crack. It had to have been her nose as she felt lightening stabs of pain shooting through her eyes and into her skull.
It didn’t stop her. She knew where the step was, and pushing through, pulled herself towards it. Each blow rocked her towards the ground and the house, but she kept going. Each lifting of her knee was met with a kick from one of them to throw off her balance, but she moved slow, not pulling it to high so if it did fall back down, it wasn’t going to cause more pain.
She made it up the first step and then the other. She only had two more steps to go and there would be the open front door. At that time and more than any other time in history, she was thankful for being out in the woods and that she had ran out without closing it behind her. All she had to do was reach the platform and she could just fall into it.
“Oh no you don’t bitch,” Sarah snarled behind her, and Lizzie felt a force behind her head, trying to smash her face into next step. It hadn’t stopped Lizzie, and she reached out for the step and pulled herself farther up. She was on the platform now. She had almost made it. “Shit!”
Lizzie didn’t try to run into the house, or anything glorified. She was too tired and in too much pain. She saw the entryway and fell past the threshold. First it was just her upper body, but once that had cleared, she pulled her feet and let them crash against the wall on the inside of the door frame.
Lizzie saw that Sarah had been trying to reach for her, but that was the problem on not really being able to use their hands against her. They could hit her with come kind of force, but it made it really hard for them to grab at her.
She was panting, just inside the door, not moving. Sarah stayed outside, watching her.
“Just die already.”
“No…” Lizzie wheezed out and then rasped into a cough. She thankful no blood came out. She didn’t know what that would mean, but she knew it would be bad if there had been. “Not yet. Brother.”
“Brother. Yeah, well, too bad. He’ll be dead soon, and then what will be your excuse.”
“I’m sorry.” Lizzie was catching some of her breath, now able to say short phrases and her chest no longer felt like it was going to seize up and quit working for her. Maybe she would survive the night. Maybe. There was still a long time before morning.
“You don’t get to be sorry.”
“Yeah, well fuck you. Fuck your whole fucking family. I’ve never liked you. I only tolerated you because your dad. Your mom was a fucking drunken whore who slept with the whole town. Everyone knew it. I felt sorry for you.”
Lizzie felt a new pain in her chest rise up, and a lump formed into her throat. She was having trouble breathing again, and not sure if it was from the beating or the words.
Her legs fell from beside the door, and she twisted her body around. It was hard, each time she moved a muscle they protested in agony, but she was able to turn so she could reach for the door. She grabbed the handle and pulled herself up so she could step to the threshold and look her friend in the eyes.
“Than why get an apartment with me.”
“Why still be friends with me, why come out here with me.”
“I came out here to die. It was my fucking time. That’s all I am or was, someone to die because I was close to you. Fuck You. Fuck you fuck you fuck you.”
“Stop saying that. I don’t fucking care if your sorry.”
“You know why I got the apartment with you? Because I was fucking your boyfriend. I was the one fucking Roland and I loved doing it when you were in class. I would fuck him on your bed, in your bathroom. I would fuck him wherever I knew you enjoyed so that way I could one day tell you how much I enjoyed fucking him and taking him from you.”
“But-“ Lizzie looked past Sarah to where Roland was standing at the bottom of the stairs and knew right then that it was true. She had known he was sleeping with someone, but never would have- No, how could she?
Roland’s eyes were staring at the ground. He refused to look at her. Had he always been screwing her? Had it all been some game to the two of them?
“Roland?” Lizzie’s voice was weak, and she barely recognized it.
“I’m sorry Liz. I never meant to hurt you.”
That pain in her chest twisted like someone had just grabbed her heart and started to squeeze the life right out of her. The tears were welling up inside her and knew they were getting ready to break free.
She tried to take a step back from the door, but her legs were weak. They wobbled from the strain of the abuse they had just taken and Lizzie found herself falling hard onto her butt. She barely even registered this new pain as she was still processing what Sarah was telling her. Why had Sarah kept this from her and waited for so long to tell her? Why wait until now? There were many times that if she wanted to hurt her like this, could have said something and ended all the lies.
“I fucked you’re dad once. He was a bad lay, but I didn’t do it for the pleasure. He had an old man dick and I had to do all the work. I walked into bedroom while your mom was working the late shift and you had fallen asleep early. I walked in there, in just my bra and panties. He was asleep, and I started sucking his cock. I don’t even think he was fully awake until I was on top of him, riding him until he cum into my nice young pussy.”
Lizzie was backing away from the door. She knew Sarah couldn’t get in, but her words were still hurting her more than any knife or fist ever could. She realized she was stepping back and stoped herself, forcing herself back to the threshold. She grabbed the door as she didn’t trust her legs not to give out on her again.
“For a long time I did it because your mom fucked my dad. I hated you for that, but you know what? After I did it for awhile, started working on fucking up your life, I found that it was too much fun. I stopped caring about our parents and their fucked up relationships and started to craft new ways to torture you.”
This was too much. There was no way this all could be happening. She wanted to collapse again, just fall to the floor and let the cabin rot around her. She wasn’t against returning to her childish self and covering her ears while screaming “Na Na Na Na Na.”
“I even told your mom about how I fucked your dad.”
Lizzie’s glare shot back to Sarah, no longer avoiding her eyes. She saw the glee in how much she was enjoying this. Right then, Lizzie had never wanted to hurt Sarah or anyone else as much as she did right then, and Lizzie had a way of doing it. She still felt the bite from the talisman teeth digging into her leg. It was like it was taunting her, begging her to use it. If she did, it wouldn’t just be Sarah she would be hurting.
Roland was out there with them. He hadn’t been sent to the place yet and was still on her side. He was trying to help her. He tried to warn her. He has been talking with her whenever they could and was being nice to her. She couldn’t sent him there or else he would come back, no better than the rest of them.
But he didn’t have to come back did he? None of them had to. She could just keep on wearing the twisted looking object and never have to worry about any of them again. Something nagged at her though that told her that wasn’t a good idea. If her uncle hadn’t told her to always wear it, but only when she had left the house for long stretches, there had to be a reason for it. There must be some kind of cost associated with it that she didn’t know about. She had already made enough mistakes by doing things without understanding what was going on.
She still hoped that there would be some answers in her uncle’s diaries. She’d read through the first one, but had stopped, not wanting to read the next one. So far, her uncle didn’t have the talisman yet, and a lot of it talked about him taking long walks with his wife.
The other dead were upset with him, but all they could do is yell and shout at him. He was learning to accept that, though was having trouble sleeping as some would take turns screaming through the night. He was starting to experiment with watching television, or keeping it on through the night as the distraction made the screams less noticeable. He wasn’t rich yet, but his savings wasn’t hurting too much. He was learning to deal with it, and talked about this man named Bobby with whom he chatted with regularly. She wondered who Bobby really was?
Lizzie looked up from Roland, who tried to hold her gaze with his eyes. Sarah was still standing just beyond the threshold, some of the anger had edged off and that little smirk she had earlier had returned. Her eyes had a joyous sparkle at the corner that Lizzie hadn’t noticed before, and realized that Sarah was enjoying hurting her in this new way.
“Yeah, I told her. It was right before they left for the weekend trip.”
Lizzie felt her grip on the door handle tighten and that pain in her chest gripped twisted even harder. She felt like she had just been kicked in the stomach and she started shaking her head no. She didn’t want to hear this, but already knew what was coming. She saw it in the smile that grew wider, spreading across Sarah’s lips.
“I told her just as she was getting in the car, ready to drive away. I told her just an hour before they both died.”
Lizzie felt the fresh tears streaking down her cheek, but ignored them as she rushed to close the door. It slammed shut, and Lizzie crashed into it, her back hitting as it tried to support her up. She was falling, it was going to happen. Her legs were giving out, and she had no control. She didn’t want to hear anymore, but Sarah wasn’t going to stop. There was still more Sarah could stab her with, now that the dagger was firmly in Lizzies heart. Sarah knew how easy it would be to twist it before pulling out. This was her death blow, and she knew how much all of this was hurting Lizzie. Not only did Sarah not seem to care, she seemed to be relishing it.
“I killed your parents. Don’t you see. What else would have gotten them into such a big fight and not see the oncoming truck. I killed them,” Sarah went quiet, but Lizzie knew it was only for the effect and she was right. The next little bit came out in a harsh whisper that Lizzie knew could only take as a threat. “and I’m going to kill you when the time is right.”