Violence in this chapter. Well, mentioned violence.
Professor Redding and I were both startled at the young man running down the hall. There was blood splashed on his apron and on his hands. Professor Redding took a step forward and raised his hand. “J-Jareth, is everything–“
But the young man, who despite his beard looked only a handful of years older than my own children, gave a scream and skid to a halt. He was staring at me looking completely terrified. “Kill it!” he exclaimed. “Professor Rood, kill it!” He was pointing at me with a very shaky, rather bloody finger.
“Jareth, wh-what is g-going on?” Professor Redding tried but the boy was crying now.
“Killitkillit please, Professor, kill it!” He fell onto his rear end and pushed himself back, leaving marks of blood along the floor. “Please please please please!”
I began backing up but the moment I made a move, it freaked the poor kid out even more. He began screaming for Redding (well, Rood) to kill me and then pulled a cell phone out of his pocket. He threw it as hard as he could and I managed to make myself go un-solid in time for it to go through me and shatter on the wall behind me. The boy began wailing more and searching for something more to attack me with.
Redding dropped the bag of helmets and went forward. “J-Jareth, calm d-down. Henri is nice, he w-w-w-won’t hurt you.”
“No it’s one of them, he’s one of them!” the boy sobbed, grabbing Redding’s sleeve. “Please kill him, I know you can, please!” He yanked at the sleeve nearly pulling Redding down. “It’s one of them!”
I was on the other side of the hall, but I was too afraid to go farther from Professor Redding. I knew the psychic ghost was probably down near the labs and with everything shut down he couldn’t get up here but with the flashing lights and alarm still sounding, it was pretty frightening. So I remained where I was, pressed back against the wall. It was so weird not going through the wall since I was still un-solid in case the boy tried to attack me again, or threw something else. Professor Redding was trying to get him to talk but the boy was blubbering and unable to answer.
“You have to kill it!” he finally screeched and then he was on his feet, running down the hall again. There was no where for him to go and we could hear him pounding at a door, completely freaking out.
Redding moved to go after him when someone else came down the hall. It was an adult, a male wearing a helmet. He came to a stop when he saw me but thankfully didn’t start screaming. He, too, had blood on him. “Professor Rood,” he panted. “I’m assuming Jareth Greyson came down this way?”
Redding nodded and indicated the corner. “Oh, P-Professor Everett! H-he w-went down there. Wh-what happened? What’s w-with the blood?”
Everett looked at his hands and then grimaced. “The Greysons are dead. Your sister sent me to look around and–and the Greysons are dead.”
Redding reeled back, shocked. “What…? Wh-what? What happened?”
“The ghost,” Everett whispered. “Your sister sent me to look up here,” at this he indicated the gun at his hip, “and I went into the Greysons’ room. They were on the floor, dead. The ghost left right when I got there–it was several minutes ago, right before the anti-ghost security popped up. Unfortunately, I screamed when I found the Greysons and Jareth woke up. But it was good, because if I hadn’t come in, D13 might have killed Jareth as well. I just… wish I had been a bit quicker…” He started to rub his face but then remembered the blood and let his hand drop.
Redding was very pale under the red lights. “Is the gh-ghost still around? Wh-where did he go? I’ve not ch-checked these rooms yet.”
Everett shook his head. “I don’t know, I was trying to keep Jareth calm but as you probably noticed… it didn’t work. Poor kid. I can’t imagine waking up and seeing your parents… dead like that… violently…” He raised his hands again and looked at the blood.
“How did he kill them?” I blurted out and Everett, seemingly have forgotten me, jumped.
“You aren’t one of the experiments, are you?” he asked suspiciously. I noticed his hand inched towards the gun as if he’d shoot me right there for no reason.
“N-no, Henri is a g-guest,” Redding said though Everett didn’t look impressed and his hand was still near the gun. I drifted a little closer to Redding, a bit afraid for my non-life around this man. He was obviously shaken up which I understood if he had come in to the sight of two people killed, and I decided not to make any sudden movements.
“Does it matter how they died?” he demanded, he brought his hands up so swiftly that I had a quick moment of terror he had his gun in his hand. But his hands were empty, he was just showing me the blood. “The point is, they were killed. Jareth is an orphan now. I can’t just leave him.” He unclipped the gun and handed it to Professor Redding who slowly took it, holding it as if it were a snake.
“If D-D-thirt-teen is still around th-then you sh-should keep it,” Redding said. “I have a sm-small g-g-g-gun. Just in c-case you need to have it. Especially t-to protect Jareth.”
Everett sighed and put the gun back on his belt. “Doctor Rood won’t like it if you go searching for him, so maybe you should head back to your room.”
“I n-need to finish handing th-these out,” Redding said. “P-plus if D13 k-killed the Greysons he m-m-might have harmed the other families. Did you check th-them?” Everett was silent and Redding nodded, digging in his bag for a helmet. “I w-will check the other families th-then take Henri b-back to his room. Unless you…”
There was a brief moment but then Everett was shaking his head no again. “I don’t think it’d be good for Jareth to be around any ghosts right now. Either you take Jareth and I take this… fellow to his room, or else I will take Jareth. He cannot be on his own, Professor Rood.” The way he said it was as if he expected Roo–er, Redding to happily abandon a young boy in this crazy place.
“You s-stay w-w-with Jareth, I will f-finish handing these helmets out and t-take Henri back. Wh-why I don’t you t-take Jareth into a r-room. You have k-keys? You w-were on duty when th-this started?”
Everett’s cheeks heated. “Yes. I was the second assistant in the lab when the security went down. It wasn’t my fault, Professor. It was Lieson. She… she was the–“
“It w-wasn’t anyone’s fault,” Redding said. “Go t-take care of Jareth. Lock yourself in a r-room and I’ll come f-find you when it’s over. Come on, H-Henri. We only have t-two rooms left since… the… Greysons…” He looked back as Everett followed the sounds of Jareth’s sobs. “D-do you mind waiting here f-for a minute while I… ch-check…?”
“That’s fine,” I lied. So I followed him down to the corner in the hall, that Jareth had originally run down, and I waited there as Redding went through an unlocked door. I chewed painlessly at my bottom lip, wondering if the ghost was still in there. Or another one of these rooms. He most likely was. I stared at the doors, wondering which one he was behind. If he attacked the Greysons in a way to make them so bloody, then what if Redding opened a door and was attacked? Was he thinking of this? I would have to remind him to have his gun thing out just in case.
There was a sound down the hall and I forgot all about the security. I imagined that psychic ghost popping out and–could he hurt me? Redding said he could use his powers against me but could he actually harm me? Could a ghost harm another ghost? I wasn’t about to stick around to find out, and went as fast as I could towards the open door. Which was a big mistake because I saw what had happened in this room. The two adults, the Greysons, were on the floor… covered–soaked–in blood. There was blood everywhere and bloody footprints everywhere. For a second I wasn’t even sure they had been attacked, it seemed as though someone had just dumped buckets of blood over them. Then I realized what had happened.
“Oh Grim Reaper’s dirty laundry!” I used my sister-in-law’s favorite expression and said it in my native language. Professor Redding, who had just been standing there and staring, whirled around. He looked on the verge of throwing up and I did not blame him a bit. This was a blood bath, and the cause of death was their throats being ripped out. Now I knew what this ghost was capable of and I didn’t care what anyone said, I had an adrenaline level and it had just shot up through the roof.
The monster started getting bored very quickly. He paced and watched the door then occasionally said somethin’ to me. I stopped paying much attention, just dimly aware of him twisting my emotions to feel sorry for him, to want to help him, to want him as my father. I tried to fight back by thinkin’ of Mom and everything that had happened to him but as the minutes ticked by I was worn out and after a full ten minutes I gave up fighting, and his emotion control consumed me.
“He will be back?” the monster asked and I looked at the clock, realizing Hen had been gone for nearly twenty minutes.
“He’ll be back,” I gulped. “You won’t… hurt him?”
“I will not hurt him unless I need to.” He pushed his hair back and then came close. I stood up, preferrin’ to be on my feet in case I needed to step away from him if he got too close. “Why don’t we pass the time, hmm? Tell me about yourself. How many grandchildren do I have? Oh, what ever happened to the other one?”
“You mean Duncan?” I asked wearily and he shrugged. “He’s a cop now. A really good cop. He’s put a lot of bad guys in jail. Wanna know why he’s a cop?”
“Because of Sebastian telling lies about me?” he asked with a smirk. “You seem to think Sebastian and that fat cow are perfect. I’m the only one who can do wrong? They can lie just as much as I can.”
“I know when people are lying,” I said. “I know for a fact when they lied to me and when they didn’t, and when you kidnapped Mom, I felt a lot of what he felt. I know what you did, and for all you’re twisting my emotions, that won’t change. You’re a horrible person, dead or not. I want to help you but that doesn’t mean I like you.”
His hand lashed out, grabbin’ my throat just under my chin. He squeezed tightly and I couldn’t breathe. “I am your father, young lady, and it hurts me more than this,” and he squeezed harder, “to hear you saying such things. Tell me how sorry you are.”
“I’m sorry,” I gagged out, hardly able to even say anything.
His eyes, quite a lot like Henri’s but so different, stared hard into my eyes and then his let go of my neck. “What a good girl you are. I wish I had been there for you when you were growing up. I missed so much. What did you like? What did you do? Tell me.”
So I told him, because I wanted to and felt so comfortable with doing so. I told him about having so many siblings, and then learnin’ to ride and how much I loved riding. I told him I met Henri at a young age, and we started dating, and all the ups and downs we had. I told him about when Henri died and how hellish my life was after that. He seemed to perk up at that and began asking all sorts of questions about my show jumping. Or rather… how I won so many awards. That certainly piqued his interest.
“So, you would make the judges like you and that sort of thing?” he asked and I reluctantly nodded. “I see. Have you used this side of your powers often?”
“N-no… not often… well, not since I jumped. I don’t like that side of my powers. It’s wrong to do to people, to take away their will.” I shot him a look but he didn’t seem to care.
“How can you say that? You used it to get what you wanted, and then say it’s wrong? What does that tell me of your character? You are a hypocrite. Considering who raised you, that doesn’t surprise me.”
“And if you had raised me, I’d be a horrible person who doesn’t care about anyone and will do anything to get my way. Right?” I waited for him to grab my throat but he remained still. “Messing with your own daughter’s emotions…”
“I am merely claiming what is my right,” he said in a silky voice that made me wonder if that’s what he once said to Mom in a different way. Uuuuuggghhhh. That was a really disgustin’ thought that I felt like I might barf. “You are my daughter, I deserve your love and attention. I’m finally able to communicate with you and you just want to throw me aside like I am nothing.”
“You deserve nothing but what you got.” I looked up and he was lookin’ at me all questioningly. “Death. Alas, it was not permanent.”
“Oh, Serenity, my dear. You’re breaking my heart. Even if it is a ghostly heart, it is still breaking. Is there anything I can do to make you trust me? Help you trust me, I should say. Ahhhh I know, how about the reason you’re here.” My eyes were narrowed into slits and he just smiled. “You want to know about us, my dear. Isn’t that right? What makes us… us?” He was tappin’ at the side of his head once again, laughing. “Our powers. That is why you are here.”
“What makes you think that?” I asked, though I knew it was pointless to lie to him. He’d know I was lyin’ just as I knew all those people that lied to me.
“I know a lot of things. I’m psychic. And I know things about this place you don’t. Tell you what, you help me get out and I will tell you everything you desire to know. All those questions that Doctor Rood won’t give you. How does that sound?”
“Sounds like a bull just lost a load,” I replied.
The monster hit me across the cheek and I stumbled back, unsure why it was so surprisin’ that he had struck me. “I know a lot of things, Serenity. I know you’re here only to get answers and I can give you those answers. Now apologize to me.”
“I’m sorry,” I drew out, soundin’ as sarcastic as possible, which resulted in another smack.
“You’re such a brat. I hate hitting you, but you need to realize–“
“Just shut up! You need to realize no matter what you say or how often you say it, I know what you are and what you are capable of. I’m not some idiot who doesn’t know you can Reapering twirl my emotions around your fingers. I know you’re doing it, I know how you do it, and even though you are doing it, it is just false, lies, and not real. But you don’t care about that, you just care about what you can do, not the fact you have to do this to get anyone to pretend to care about you. The only reason my dad ever loved you was because you tricked him into it. The only reason I’m going to get you out of here is because you’re forcing me. It’s all lies, and you don’t even care.”
He chuckled in a creepy manner and then put an arm over my shoulders. I tried to get away but he held on tight. “So why spew forth that little speech? If you think nothing will make me care, you’re just wasting your breath. But because you did say that, you maybe think I am capable of change? That’s a good sign. I like that. Because I can change.”
“That is one thing I will never believe.” I pushed his arm away and he let me, as it remained solid. I leaned back against the wall and tried to tune him out again but he was just standin’ there staring at me. I wrapped my arms around myself feeling acutely uncomfortable which just made him laugh. Henri will be back soon and whoever is with him will be able to stop this monster, there will have to be somethin’ to stop him, I thought, looking over at the door. No way can he be running around with nothing to stop him. They have those helmets and have whatever it is that can stop him from going through walls so of course they have something to stop him.
Another thought popped up in the back of my head and, frowning, I looked back at him. He was smiling at me and then laughed loudly. “What is wrong, darling daughter?”
“How long has it been since you got out of wherever it was you were, to when you came in my room?” The initial alarm had gone off less than four minutes before the second alarm started which I assumed had cut the walls and doors off from ghosts. The labs were several floors down. “It can’t just be coincidence you managed to get up here, to me, so quickly.” He was just still smirkin’ at me and I groaned loudly. “You knew I was here. You knew who I was all along.”
“Did I?” he asked, folding his arms and raising his eyebrows. “Imagine that. All right, so I did. Every time you came here, I knew. At the old lab, as well. It only took me one time to know who you were because I’ve felt you before. It was ages ago, a couple times when you were a newborn baby and I tried to get Sebastian, and a couple times when you were a kid. And as soon as you came into the old lab, I knew who you were.”
That made sense to me because it was what I did as well. I could tell a person by their feelings. Although, it usually took a few times before I got a feel for the feelings, so to speak. “How could you know me right away?” I asked.
“Because you’re different. Like Sebastian, and like his mother. I knew you at once. I was so happy…” He continued talking but I wasn’t payin’ any attention now. Like my maternal dad and my grandma? The two I always felt? I knew he wasn’t lying about that because how come he could name the two I was connected to without knowin’? Not many people knew and I had never even talked about it here. So he had to know at least something.
“Why are we different?” I cut in.
The monster tipped his head to one side. “You feel something, too. Towards them. Ahhhhh… now you believe me. Now you trust me. You want something from me and you believe I can give it to you without lies? Do you trust me?”
“Yes!” I snapped. “I trust you, okay? Now tell me!”
One finger lifted and then he went over to the door that led to the bathroom. “I will tell you when we leave this place. You can prove to me that you are willing to get some answers. Remember, I will hurt your husband if you betray me. He’s on his way, as is someone else. A helmet-wearer. You will tell them that you have never seen me, if they ask, and you get a way for us to leave. Or else.”
I sat down on the side of the bed, noddin’ more because he was messing with my emotions again rather than the fact I wanted answers. I didn’t trust him completely not to just screw me over, so I wasn’t gonna help him out–except now I was because he really was making me want to rescue him so much, and partially because I was afraid for Henri’s non-life and for whoever he was with. I looked up when the door was opened, and then was very confused at the two figures in the doorway. Because accompanying Henri was Doctor Redding dressed completely different than I had ever seen her.
She had some sort of weapon with her and I opened my mouth at once to tell her that the monster was in the bathroom, but then he slammed me hard with the desire to keep him safe, so all I could do was close my mouth again and have a little battle of the wills.
He won, but I had a little victory myself as by the time he had won, Redding had shut the door again and Henri was wrappin’ his arms tightly around me. I hugged him tightly back and was a bit happy for a second because of the fact that I couldn’t help him escape at this moment… then I realized he was still locked up with us, and now he had someone to threaten to get me to do what he wanted.