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Servant of Evil

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Tin box of poison in your hands you steadied your breathing. You could end this. Just a few teaspoons would do. Into Lady Sharpe's morning tea. That wicked woman. You were the only maid in Allerdale Hall; desperately needing a job and home you took any amount of money they offered. Oh how you hated that decrepit house of death. You knew what they did to Enola and Thomas' previous wife. Lucille- your hatred for her grew daily- said it was all necessary to bring the Sharpe fortune back. To rebuild Allerdale Hall and aid Thomas in his inventions. Dear Thomas. He was always so kind to you. Meeting you with a bright smile every morning. Ashamed when you couldn't meet his gaze. How could you when you knew their dirty secret. It sickened you. She sickened you. Her fate lay in your hands when she asked you to make her tea. You would be ridding the world of this Mistress of Evil and saving another innocent girl from an untimely demise.

But. . . You would be a murderer just like Lucille. Your conscience was too great. Plagued with unending guilt for the rest of your life if you dared to extinguish her light.

You put the box away, back on it's shelf. "I can't do it. . ."

"Do what?" Thomas' silky voice echoes in the empty kitchen.

"Oh! Sir Thomas." You quickly compose yourself and let out a breathy laugh. "You startled me."

Thomas chuckles. "I'm very sorry."

You shake your head and pick up the tray that held Lady Lucille's tea. "I was just about to deliver Lady Lucille her tea."

"Allow me to." When he goes to take the tray from you, his long fingers cover your's. "You work too hard (y/n)."

You really can't help but smile at him as you relinquish the tray. "If you insist Sir Thomas."

The dark curls on top of Thomas' head bounce with every step he takes. You turn to clean the tea kettle but you feel eyes watching you. Thomas had stopped in the door way.

"Is something wrong?"

Something undefinable flashes across his face, a small smile returning to his pale pallor. Thomas shakes his head. "Nothing. As you were." He turns back and leaves you alone in the kitchen. Your eyes flicker back to the box of poison. Finger nails bit into your palm. You couldn't free him from her.

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Confused, you tilt your head to the side like a befuddled dog. "What exactly am I looking at Sir?"

His grin brightened, prompted by your inquiry. You wanted to giggle at his child-like excitement. But one does not laugh at their master. "That, (y/n), is the blue print to my machine! The machine that will save lives and bring the red clay out from the earth!" With a flourish of his hand, Thomas removes a white cloth that previously obscured his unusual looking invention. "And this is a small prototype." He presses something that makes the small little gears start to move. Beaming blue-green eyes wait for your impression of his hard work.

"It's wonderful my lord." You clasp your hands together and return his smile. "Although I must be honest, I don't know how it works."

"If you'll lend your ear to me, I can explain. It will be good practice when I show it to investors."

You dust off a seat and settle down. "By all means, proceed!"

Enthusiasm for his device took over him as he fervently moved around, explaining to you all the inner workings. Though you didn't understand at all you merely enjoyed how happy he looked.

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In Allerdale Hall, there were always bumps in the night. It was to be expected of an old manor. Even making noises akin to breathing. None of this bothered you. Your first few nights were quite pleasant. That is until one night you started hearing actual breathing in your room. Bringing you right out of your deep sleep was the feeling of someone breathing in your ear. Your dark room looked much more sinister. Outside your door you heard someone wailing in great agony. Fearing that it was one of your charges you pulled on your robe and threw open your door. Only to find a ghastly figure in red. Jaw hanging open and eyes darker than a crow's wings. Releasing a horrid sound it staggered to where you stood, frozen in complete horror. You couldn't muster any noise. The frantic beating of your heart deafening you. Natural instinct over came you: you ran.

That was your first encounter with a ghost at Allerdale Hall. And it sure as hell wasn't your last.

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You didn't speak a word about the crimson phantom that you had seen. Nor of any others after that. The first night you had thought it a nightmare. After the fourth time you couldn't deny the truth. Blood had been spilt in this decaying house. Mixing with the crimson clay below the earth.

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From the moment you first met, Sir Thomas had unknowingly charmed his way to your heart. Like there was a magnet in your tummy, you were drawn to him. His tender welcoming smile put you at ease when you started your first day. So different from his frigid sister Lucille, he caught you off guard. Thomas' smile was truly contagious and a wonder of the world. His passion for his inventions were admirable. He made your job bearable. Lucille, however, showed from the very beginning her icy nature. She had nothing but sharp words for you and intimidating glares when you were too close to her brother. You didn't know what you had done to garner such resentment from her.

 

You'd learn soon enough.

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You stared up at the sour face of Lady Beatrice Sharpe. Her piercing gaze much like Lucille's. Familiarizing yourself with Allerdale Hall you stumbled upon the hanging portrait of the late lady of the house. A sens of eeriness crept along your spine making you shiver.
"There you are (y/n)!. . . Ah, I see you've found mother." Thomas whispers and averts his eyes from the portrait. His handsome features harden.
"Hm. She seems like a lovely woman." Your voice drips with sarcasm and to your delight Thomas' smile returns.

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"Now I must warn you, do not go below this level." Thomas stops you before the iron cage elevator.
The elevator itself appears unreliable, ready to break down any moment. Everything in this grand manor seemed to be decaying. Walls oozing the blood hued clay gave you the sense of suffering from the house.
Pursing your lips you dare to ask him what is below.
Dark eyebrows knit together momentarily only to smooth out and relax. "Down below are the clay pits. It can be very dangerous. For your own safety you must not go down there."
Leading you away, you can't help but glance back at the black wrought-iron elevator.

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Her hand came hard across your face. Biting into your soft skin and sending stinging waves to spread. A shocked breath left you from Lucille's action.

"Learn your place." Deadly eyes set on you and her full pink lips contorted into a snarl. Lucille turns on her heels, the heavy skirts of her dark blue velvet gown swishing behind her.

Your hand goes to cradle your throbbing cheek. Tears threatening to spill over.

Soft footsteps enter and you hastily compose yourself. "Sir Thomas. What can I do for you?"

"(y/n)." He whispers with a slight cracking to his tremor. "I'm sorry."

"For what?"

Slowly he makes his way over to you. You flinched when his hand moves to touch your abused cheek. "For what Lucille has done. Please do not think ill of her. She can be quite temperamental but it is not her fault."

"No. I was. . . Out of line." Face aching under the light pressure of his palm.

"Nothing you could've done could possibly justify her actions." Thomas removes his hand and ushers you out of Lucille's room. "Lets go get a cold cloth for you. It'll help for the swelling."

You watch his back as he leads you to the scullery. Fingers gingerly brushing where Thomas had so lovingly caressed you. You follow him, his warmth still lingered.

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In such a large house you tried your best to keep it tidy. It wasn't the easiest thing to do considering Allerdale Hall was crumbling. Dead moths and butterflies were to be found constantly on the ground and even on the furniture. The roof of the foyer itself was gone letting in the snow and rain. You took pride in what you did manage to clean.

The biggest task was carefully cleaning the Sharpe's already tattered clothing. Taking great caution at the loose threads that threatened to unravel the whole thing. Their garments must have been decades old. You frowned thinking how they had to live like paupers. Left with a broken empire. You run your thumb over the fabric of one of Thomas' coats. You knew all too well of poverty. The hunger pains. How it caused your body to become frail and weak. Imagining Thomas going through the same pain broke your heart. Everything that grew in Cumberland was tough though. Lucille and Thomas had survived their hardships. They were strong enough to over come any obstacle. No matter how many lives they had take.

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You hated to admit, but Allerdale Hall had become your home. Growing accustomed to the perpetual draft that numbed your fingers and froze the tip of your nose. Learning to tolerate the crimson phantoms that stalked the corridors with their pained filled breathing. You even learned to enjoy the mournful lullaby that Lucille played on the piano.
Even more so, you enjoyed those longing gazes that Thomas would fix on you that seemed to heat up every inch of your skin with desire.

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Movements clumsy and sluggish, your eyes burned with the desire to sleep as you bumped into table corners and making even the most simple task difficult to fulfill. Thanking your lucky stars that Lucille was not present to reprimand you. You were so tired. Having survived your first encounter with a scarlet apparition had it's price. Such a frightful face branded in your mind. Running all through the manor your fear kept you awake and alert. Already on edge with paranoia you had taken a knife from the kitchen and went back to your room. You knew it would not do much in fending off something that was already dead; it gave you comfort nonetheless.
You barely registered the gentle beckoning of your name.
"(y/n)?"
"WHA?!" Sputtering ungracefully, the tea kettle in your hand shakes. Thomas' cup was over flowing with tea that spilled over on to the saucer. You apologized profusely while hastily cleaning up the mess you had made.
"You look unwell (y/n). Are you alright?" The refined master of the manor was unsettled by your waxen complexion and red rimmed eyes.
Your shoulders sag with a sigh. "I must admit that I had a rough night. I didn't get much sleep."
Rising from his seat, Thomas' long legs strode around you to the counter; picking up the kettle you had put down in a fluid manner. He insisted on making you tea. Every so often he'd look over his shoulder toward you. "Perhaps you should try and get some rest."
"Lady Lucille would skin me alive if she found out I was sleeping instead of working." You point out, lips against the cold porcelain of the cup lingered languidly.
"I'll deal with her. You get some much needed sleep."
After finishing your tea you stop as you get up to leave.
"Sir Thomas?"
"Yes?"
It took you a few seconds to find your courage. "Do. . . Do you believe in ghosts?"
Thomas' shoulders squared, rigidness setting into his frame. After a sharp inhale he turns away from the sink to face you; a peculiar air about him. Pursing his lips in thought. "Why do you ask?"
"I-I'm just curious." Fidgeting around under his scrutinizing gaze your own concentration is aimed at the floorboards. "Please forget that I asked m'lord."
"Wait, (y/n). I have not given you my answer." Thomas holds up his hand when he sensed you about to flee. Something about him was different. At that moment before you, Thomas appeared much younger. Child-like fear glossing over his eyes as he looks about the scullery with wariness. He didn't need to tell you. Just looking at him you knew. Thomas had seen them too.

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"You would make a wonderful toy maker Thomas!" Up in his work shop you were free to treat him like a friend, not a master. A cute figurine lay on your palm.
Thomas' eyes brightened at that prospect. "Do you think so?"
"Oh yes! You'd make many children happy with your amazing inventions. If your clay harvester proves to not work you can simply become a toy maker." You continue to smile absent minded, imagining his bright future. He could get out of this dreary hole, away from the oppression of Allerdale Hall and all of it's nightmarish memories. "Sharpe Toy Company!"
From the little toy you switch your attention to Thomas. A bit thrown back. Thomas' eyes were so sad and shimmered like glass yet his smile was unbearably happy.
"A-Are you alright Thomas?"
A nervous laugh escapes him as he covers his face with his hand. "Y-Yes. Of course. Forgive me. It was just such a beautiful thing for you to say."
Deep down you knew though that Thomas could and would never leave this place. He couldn't leave Lucille.

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Your gasp alerted her to your intrusion in her cluttered sanctuary. Lady Lucille fiercely whipped around; her scar filled back now facing her mirror, still in your view those jagged lines that were cut deep into her cream skin. Some held a darker pigment than others, varying in length. Your hand quickly clasped over your mouth but it was too late. Even if she was cold to you you couldn't fathom who would dare raise a hand against your intimidating mistress.
"Y-Your back." Squeaking you back away when you noticed Lady Lucille stalking toward you with hard eyes that pierced you. "I'm-"
It happened so fast; that harsh smack to your face. Seeing stars momentarily you reel back and stagger.
"Learn your place."

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A picture of Thomas' first wife, the glass plate covered in a heavy film of dust that obscured the photo, made your stomach queasy. Thomas very nonchalantly told you she had grown ill and died. His brusque manner surprised you. Shouldn't a husband have informed someone of such a terrible event with a heavy heart? With genuine sorrow and remorse? To you, he appeared to be completely detached of the matter. It had not happened too long ago. Maybe he just didn't want to think about it. Maybe it did bring him sadness to think about it. You didn't pry any further. You let the whole thing go.
Until you found that the same tragedy befell his second wife and realized that the scarlet ghosts that tormented you looked exactly like Pamela Upton and Margaret McDermott.

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Scrubbing the tile of Thomas' wash room, you pause briefly to wipe the sweat that had accumulated on your brow and upper lip. Off in the distance you could hear Lucille playing away at the piano. That lullaby you now knew by heart.
"Let the wind blow kindly
In the sail of your dreams
And the moon light your journey
And bring you to me"

"We can't live on mountains" a deep voice continues the second verse. Your cheeks burn when you realize Thomas had caught you singing; rather poorly you may add. "We can't live out at sea
Where oh, where oh, my lover
Shall I come to thee?"
"You have a much lovelier voice than me." You chuckle and continue your cleaning. The soft sound of the piano still playing in the background. Thomas, careful to avoid the wet parts of the floor, eases himself on to the rim of the tub. To your shame your face was still incredibly warm at the presence of him.
"You flatter me." His laugh is airy, pleasant and carefree. As of late you had noticed this laugh only happened in private between the two of you. Never in front of his sister. Only with you. "But you don't give yourself much credit. I think you're voice is beautiful. Like a bird."
You dared to look up at him, rag clenched in your hand. Oh, how he managed to make you feel so unbearably warm in such a cold place.
Thomas continued to hum, keeping you company as you cleaned.

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Oh what a fool you had been! Thinking Pamela Upton's death so tragic and an unfortunate turn of fate that also took Margaret McDermott's life. No, you couldn't be blind any longer. Not after what you'd found on the shelf in the kitchen. How had you not noticed it before? Right next to the firethorn tea. You didn't want to believe it. No. Not your sweet Thomas. It all mad sense though. How he had acquired money for his clay harvester after marrying them.
You took a deep breath.
You couldn't tell anyone.
If the authorities were to find out they'd surely execute Thomas. You'd be without a home, without a job, and alone once again. You'd take this secret to your grave. For Thomas.

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Even if she was cruel, you couldn't help but feel pity for your mistress, even sympathy. One day, you and Thomas managed to evade Lucille and sneak away. Secure in his arms your eyes welled up as he told you of when he and his sister were children. How their parents were merciless. Especially their father. Sir Micheal Sharpe, what a horrendous man he was; even going so far as to breaking Lady Beatrice's leg. what made your heart throb was how Lucille took every beating, shielding Thomas from any harm. Even when the beating should have rightfully been his.
You didn't care too much for Lucille, yet after hearing of their childhood you regarded her with a different light.

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You had to prevent yourself from spitting out the tea Thomas had just serve you. The bitter kick of whatever herb was brewed took your taste buds by surprise. You forced it down your throat.
"What, um, what kind of tea is this Lord Sharpe?" Tilting the cup to take a look at the murky liquid you had just consumed. "I've never had anything like it."
"It's made from firethorn berries. I should've warned you it's a bit bitter." With a meek smile he retrieves the tea cup from your hands.
"I'm sure I'll grow accustomed to it." You assure him with a gentle smile.

*

Thomas' heart betrayed him. With such a lively beat it alarmed him. He had to turn away from the smiling girl in front of him. Such a foreign sensation quickly spread through his entire being. her smile was so incredibly warm, bright like a burning flame. Lucille. had always been like the black moths that skulked around Allerdale. He loved her, of course, but. . . Now he was the moth so dangerously close to the searing fire. if his sister ever found out about his faltering emotions he would be damned; Lucille would take it upon herself to extinguish this girl's beautiful flame. He'd have to keep silent.

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You wanted nothing more than to go to your room and cry.
"Married?" Voice sounding strangled as you forced yourself not to cry. How excruciating that word was. True he had been married twice before- both ending with him as a widow. A part of you hoped this bride would have the same fate. You scold yourself. Such an ill thought was not good. But you couldn't help it.
You loved him.
And this love turned your thoughts into wicked desires.

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Scarlet water rushed into the porcelain tub. Grimacing, you allow it to run until it turned clear. Yet you couldn't help shake off the feeling of unrest. It reminded you of blood.

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"You killed her!" you countered him with a seething snarl. "Just like I bet you did with the others!!"

"I-I didn't! (y/n) please!" He was holding onto the fabric of your skirts desperately, bright eyes brimming with unshed tears that pleaded to you. "It was Lucille! She's the one-"

"And you just allowed it?" Pulling your skirt out from his grasp you back away from him. If you weren't so furious Thomas' face would've tugged at your heartstrings. He looked like a scared child. One that sought refuge in your arms. But you couldn't forgive him so easily. Not for this.

The next part you spat out made you sick to your stomach thinking of the poor creature birthed from a foul love. "A-and the child. . ."

Thomas' complexion drained of any hint of color he possessed. "(y/n). . ." His hands reached out to you. Begging that you embrace him once more. The thought of him touching you with the same hands he touched his sister with repulsed you.

"Don't touch me Thomas!" He flinches, withering away from your cold glower. "Don't eve touch me again."

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The beginning of winter made the dye of the scarlet clay bleed into the snow. Thomas said this was why this land was called 'Crimson Peak'. After the spectral encounters the sight of bright rouge mottled over pure white snow. unsettled your nerves. Your coat gave you little warmth when you stepped outside; feet sinking into the deep snow as you tread over to a patch of red. Crouching slightly you inspect it with your finger. You'd never seen or heard of anything like this phenomenon that took place on Allerdale Hall's estate.

"What are you doing out here (y/n)?" Thomas' footsteps produced crunching noises as they fell on the snow. "You'll catch a cold."

"I'll be fine." Steadily standing with his strong hands as your anchor.

Snow slowly fluttered down from the gloomy sky, dusting Thomas dark curls and giving him a halo effect. His fine pale cheeks were alive with a pink glow from the cold. A shy smile made it's way on Thomas' lips.

He drew you closer to his side until you were huddled snuggly against his coat. "Let's go inside and warm ourselves up."

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Getting groceries always proved to be such a tiring event. Waking early to go out to the nearest town (which was miles away) on a rickety carriage along rough terrain that had you jostling around in the cart. Finally getting there you had to buy whatever possible with the small fund that Lucille gave you. There was never enough money to purchase all that you needed. It was completely exhausting; returning with scraps and broken spirits.

Today was no different.

Horse and carriage finally pulling past the crumbling gates of Allerdale, you spot Sir Thomas waiting at the steps. He walks closer as your ride draws near the entrance.

"How nice of you to greet me Sir Sharpe." Your weariness evident as it accompanies the tired rims on your eyes.

Thomas helps you out. "It's the very least I can do."

However when you make a move to go inside he stops you. You look up, about to question him when Thomas places one hand on the small of your back; pulling you flush against him, his other weaving through your wind tangled hair and tilting your face upward to meet his lips in a sudden kiss. You're unsure at first of what is exactly happening; your brain turning to mush and all you hear is white noise. You'd always fantasized about the feel of your master's lips against your's. The intimate scent of his person as he held you close. Heart pounding fiercely with the surge of electricity that Thomas' kiss struck in you. His lips linger slightly as he pulls away; warm breath caressing your own tingling mouth wanting more of him. Hooded cerulean eyes spoke legions of secrets and sweet-nothings to you. You couldn't decipher whether his darkened cheeks were due to the nipping cold wind that raged around you or if it was because of the kiss he had bestowed upon you. You really didn't care. Stuck in the depths of his blue pools, body still buzzing from his kiss.

You wanted more.

Apparently Thomas desired the same as he leaned in to capture your lips once more.

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Agitation taking over, Lucille glances at the clock once more. The hands seemed to be going by agonizingly slow much to her chagrin. Her fingers fret and listlessly wring themselves as she paces back and forth in her cramped living quarters.

He should've been here by now. He's always here at this time.

Waiting was becoming maddening as she decided to march out of her room and find her brother. Lucille checked his attic workroom that was once their nursery, then down to the master bedroom. All vacant of Thomas. Each room she found empty only increased her jitteriness and agitation. Her breathing quickened as she became desperate to find him. In the midst of her madness she heard Thomas' tinkling laughter followed by (y/n)'s giggling that sounded to Lucille like nails on a chalk board. Lucille halted in her tracks, eyes widening with horror and blood turning ice cold.

How dare that piece of trash act so friendly with my Thomas!

(y/n) had proved herself to be quite useful, although meddlesome at times. Lucille hadn't made love to Thomas in quite a while. Her brother feared that (y/n) would discover them. She couldn't care less who saw them, but it would be quite a problem when Thomas chose a new bride. (y/n) could let it slip.

This, however, was too much. Already entertaining thoughts of how to kill her. Thomas was her's. Thomas only loved her.

Taking a deep breath to calm herself, Lucille put those fantasies aside for another time.

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"Shoot! I messed up again!" Grumbling you resist the urge to throw your knitting needles against the wall. "Why is this so hard? I just want to make something nice for him!" You let your body fall against your mattress in aggravation. Thomas was always so incredibly kind to you. The winters in this land proved to be brutal and you would catch Thomas shivering at times despite his insistence that he was okay and used to it. His own scarf bare of threading in some areas where moths had eaten away at it.

If you could give him at least some sense of warmth then all your efforts would be worth it.

You took a deep breath and picked up your needles to continue.







"This is for me. . .?" his voice revealed that he was unaccustomed to receiving gifts.

"It's not much Sir Thomas, but I would be happy and put at ease if you would accept it." You pushed the small package that was wrapped in newspaper towards him.

Like the sun breaking past dull gray clouds, Thomas' smile brightened up the gloominess of Allerdale Hall as he eagerly tore apart the newspaper. The pads of his fingers smoothed the material of the scarf you had put so much into. Almost in awe he holds it up, as if it were the Shroud of Turin*. "Did you make this yourself (y/n)?"

Instantly you took pride in your work. "Yes I did m'lord! Do you like it?"

He moves towards you and places a gentle hand on your shoulder. "I love it. Thank you so much."

Yes, all the sleepless nights you spent knitting it was worth it. You wanted him to smile at you like that again.

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You wished you hadn't been walking around at night. You wished you hadn't heard their mingling moans and ragged breathing. You couldn't bare to open the door to confirm your fear. It was obvious. Even you weren't that stupid. You gagged on the bile that quickly rose up in your throat as you made a mad dash to your quarters.

Incest.

Revolting.

Tears rolled down your cheeks, fingers clenched into tight fists. You felt dirty. You had allowed him to touch you in the same way he did with his sister. He made a fool of you and betrayed your trust and devotion. It was too much.

You threw up all over your bedroom floor.

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Feet beat viciously against the weather splintered floor boards as you aimlessly ran through the never ending hall. You screamed, begged for help; just wanting there to be an end. Voice scrapping painfully along your throat. You toppled, face first, something grabbing hold of your foot. A scarlet hand that had sprung from the floor held on tightly, refusing to let you get away. Slowly the rest of its misshapen body apparated, crawling on top of you.

"NOOO!!!" You sobbed and tried to swat it away. "Go away! Leave me alone!"

"(y/n)!" Thomas' voice yelled making you look around frantically while the crimson specter screeched.

You cried out for him. A figure appeared at the end of the hall and quickly advanced toward you. You held out your hand, thinking it to be Thomas. The cruel face of Lucille came into view. Full pink lips curling in a snarl.

"Thomas can't help you." she crouched in front of your fallen form. "No one can."



*

"(y/n)!!"

You woke up in Thomas' arms, face stained with tears and body trembling. "T-Thomas. . .?" Mouth quivering, Thomas' hands caressed your face; drying your cheeks in the process. "I'm gonna die!"

He pulled you into his chest almost possessively. "No you're not." Face nuzzling your head to try and soothe you.

"Lucille is going to kill me!"

Thomas pauses. Arms tightening around you. What he said next was laced with determination and somehow threatening. As if to ward off any evil will against you. "I won't let her."

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You couldn't look either one of them in the eye. Instead you kept your gaze downcast as you moved about serving them breakfast. You hadn't slept after your unfortunate discovery. All night you had just stared blankly at the ceiling remembering all the times Thomas had lovingly caressed your skin and placed adoring kisses on your bare thighs. Each memory made you even more disgusted when you started realizing that Thomas had probably had sex with both you and Lucille on the same day.

"(y/n)." Lucille's voice dragged you back to what you were presently doing. Quickly flicking your attention to Lucille to let her know you were paying attention.

"Yes Lady Sharpe?" Your voice was unusually subservient and quiet.

Her dark elegantly shaped brow arched at your odd behavior. True she preferred you this way, but your sudden turn in attitude peaked her curiosity. Lucille was pleased by how empty and hollow your eyes had become. But what was the cause?

"You forgot my sugar." Lucille gave you a bright smile.

Your stomach churned as you mumbled an apology.

Thomas' gaze felt heavy on your back as you avoided his presence the most. Throat going dry when you feel his fingers hesitantly brush against your leg as you give Lucille her sugar. Every muscle goes tense, stiffly brushing him off and walking away.

You didn't know if you'd ever be able to look at him again.

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"Your fever isn't going down." Thomas' dark brows furrow as he withdraws his hand from your sweat covered forehead.

Groaning in despair you roll on to your side. Your room smelled of sickness yet Thomas had taken it upon himself to nurse you back to health. Lucille had sent you a vicious scowl when Thomas brought her to your room then left promptly. How Thomas fretted over your bed. You hadn't been capable of keeping much food down and your body burned despite the cold that filled Allerdale. he wanted to bring a doctor for you but Lucille insisted that your fever would pass.

"Thomas. . ."

"Yes?"

You reached out for his hands, they were cool against your fevered skin. He let his palm cup your cheek, pleased to hear your sigh of relief.

Dry lips part and croak out "Stay here. Please."

Thomas leans down and gives your damp hair a chaste kiss. "I'll stay as long as you want me to."

"Would you stay with me forever?"

You don't see his forlorn eyes and his forced smile. Sleep pulls at you relentlessly until you give in.

"I'll try." Thomas murmurs and dutifully watches your sleeping face.

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You held your breath when you heard your door creak open. It had been some time since your last spectral visit. You knew eventually they'd go away. yet you still felt a lingering presence beside your bed. Heart thumping loudly in your chest you keep your eyes closed.

"(y/n). . ."

"Thomas?" sitting up you smile in relief. "Oh, thank goodness its just you."

His brows furrow with confusion. "Were you expecting someone else?"

You shake your head. "What are you doing here so late?"

He tentatively pulls up your covers and slips in next to you. "I was lonely. No matter how many years I've lived here night time always makes me feel so unbearably lonely."

Slipping our arms around him you nuzzle your face into his chest. Thomas releases a content sigh. Listening intently to his heart beat you close your eyes once more knowing that Thomas was there to ward off any nightmares or phantoms that might wander into your room.

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You watched her from around the corner. Her back to you, blinding hair that streamed down her back like a river made of gold. This was Thomas' new wife: Edith Cushing, no, no longer Cushing. She was Lady Sharpe now. A tremor ran through you. Oh how Lucille must hate it. Even more than the fact she had to surrender her garnet ring that was now on Edith's fourth finger. Edith seemed to glide through the decrepit, rotting, corridors like a ghost herself. She was beautiful though, that you would not deny. So incredibly bright that you felt yourself become warm for the very first time in ages. She didn't belong in a place like this. This place full of death.

Following your admiration for her was a slight twinge of jealous that started from your stomach to rise in your throat. Unlike any of his other brides you saw the sparkle in Thomas' gleaming eyes when he looked at her. The same way he used to look at you. That gaze that made you lost for hours wanting nothing but to revel in the feeling of being loved by him, by this exquisite man, by this incredibly sad man.

Your jealousy was soon doused when you became morose, thinking of Enola. Would he allow Edith to perish? Certainly his love would protect her from Lucille.

The slight pressure from your foot made the old floorboards creak making Edith turn at the sharp sound. Her large dark eyes searching for the source. You had hid, clamping your lips tight to prevent any more noise from escaping you.

"Edith!" Thomas' voice called for her, pulling her back toward her husband but not before casting one more glance to the place where you hid.

Even if you were jealous you prayed that Thomas' love was enough to save her. That he would stop Lucille from taking anymore lives.

Then again, his love had done nothing for you.

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"L-Lucille can walk in at any minute..." you manage to stutter between moans as Thomas nips at your neck, sucking at certain places that produced breathy gasps from your mouth. Nails clinging to his naked back.

Thomas pulls away, eyes darkened with lust as he regards your concern. "Would you like me to stop?"

No. No you didn't. Too many times have you refused his advances due to fear of Lucille if she ever caught you. You could only suppress your desires for so long. You pulled him down in a hungry kiss. A sensual growl rumbled in his throat. The slit between your legs pulsated with need. His kisses trailed down your neck to your breasts where he took a bud between his teeth. Your voice went an octave higher at his actions, further down he ventured. His fingers fumbled with his belt. You hear his pants fall to the ground with a soft thud as he slowly crawls on top of you. Gently spreading your legs apart he positions himself between them to your throbbing heat. Pouting when he teases you with the tip of his member. Your whine makes him smile tenderly at you and he leans to kiss your forehead. His lips lingered, warm breath cascading over your skin as he slowly pushes himself into you. You hold your breath and open your mouth in a soundless gasp. His shaft stretched you ever so slowly as Thomas took his time, enjoying your warmth and slick that encased his throbbing, swollen, cock. A moan of his own flees past his parted lips once his pelvis smacks against your's. Your fingers curl tighter at the sound. You'd never thought such a sound would turn your on so much. You felt yourself melt against him as you felt him slide in and out of you.

Not once did Lucille cross your mind or the repercussions that might follow.

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Your teeth viciously bite down on your tongue at the impact of Lucille's hand against your face. You didn't know if your cry was from biting your tongue or from the slap itself. Either way you were in pain. You winced away but in her madness she grabs a thick strand of your hair and pulls you back toward her. In the split seconds between the first one she had managed to get a small pair of her crafting scissors. At the sight of the small blades you begin to thrash in her hold, not caring about the stinging sensation of your scalp as she tightened her hold.

"Lucille? Lucille!! Stop it!!" Thomas barged into her little attic room. He grabbed her arm that wielded the scissors and pried them from her cold fingers.

"Let go of me Thomas! I teaching this servant a lesson. That she is only a servant and nothing else!" She sneers at you and yanks your hair harder. You refused to grant her the satisfaction of making you cry. Instead you glare at her. "Look at that. She has defiance in her eyes. It needs to be broken."

"Enough!" Lucille startles at the volume of Thomas' growl. Wide eyes stare at him questionably. "Release her. Right now."

To your utter surprise she obeys him and drops you to the ground. In front of you Thomas gets to his knees and gingerly lifts your head up with the gentle touch of his fingertips. He slowly turns your face this way and that to see what the damage was. Then he carefully helps you up.

"Lets go get you some ice." He gives you such a soft smile that nearly makes the tears spill out of your eyes. Leading you out of her room without a second glance to his sister, you wind up back down in the kitchen. Memories of the first time Lucille struck you flooded in your mind. Thomas hadn't been there to intervene that time. Again you found him pressing a cold towel that was wrapped around a few blocks of ice. He could've just used snow from outside and it would've been just as effective.

You thought back, tried to think of anything that might have made Lucille snap in the quick manner she so often does when you mess up. You couldn't come up with anything. You'd stayed out of her sight. You appeared meek in her presence when you were forced to be around her. The last time she had hit you was when you tried sweeping up the dead moths around the outside of her room. Really, that wasn't your fault. She had completely flung herself at you in a hysterical rage. Screaming something that you couldn't understand in her hysteria. Now you made sure not to even go near her floor. Her temperament toward you was getting worse. No matter how hard you tried to avoid her.

"Ah. . ." Thomas' gasp draws you out of your pondering. His brows are knit in the center, blue eyes darkening. "You're bleeding."

It's then you notice on the towel is a nice smear of blood. "Where?"

Cautiously he goes to dab the area of your cheekbone. You wince. "She must've gotten you with her ring. Oh (y/n). . ."

There was such utter sorrow in his voice. You grimaced. You hated hearing such a tone in his beautiful voice. "I'm fine Thomas. Honestly."

"If I had come any later she might've. . ." His head hangs.

"You arrived just in the nick of time like a night in shining armor." You manage a small smile trying to coax his mood to brighten.

"(y/n). . . I really think you should leave. For your own safety."

Sighing you shake your head. "I won't hear any of that nonsense again Thomas. I'm not leaving. She won't scare me out of here."

"But-"

"I'm safe as long as I'm in your arms." You scoot closer to his chest to hear his heart beat. Thomas shudders slightly, melting against you. His arms embrace you quickly; protectively pulling you flush against him.

"I love you (y/n)."

"I love you too Thomas."

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You wondered if Enola knew or had suspicions of the infants father. If she did, she didn't say anything and played the role of oblivious, naive, bride perfectly. In that room filled to the brim with the sick child's wailing, everyone was on edge. Lucille looked near ready to smother the little one in her arms. Eyes wide with all the sleepless nights she had ever since she gave birth to the abomination. There was clearly something wrong with it. She'd whirl on you countless times, screaming at you to 'fix it'. But what could you do? You didn't even know how to take care of a healthy child. Your thoughts often turned to the container of poison in the pantry. Perhaps it would be better to just put it out of it's misery instead of prolonging whatever ailed it. Just like what they were doing to Enola.

You glance at Thomas who looked even more shabby and worn down. He tried not to look at it whenever he could, but when Lucille thrust the child in his arms he had no choice. There was no fatherly gaze when he looked down at his child. Only fear.

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Storming down the hall you hear the frantic steps of Thomas as he hurries after you.

"(y/n)!"

"No Thomas." Hissing you continue your rampage. "I can't take this place anymore." That bastard. he'd had the audacity to try and touch you. Try and kiss you as if nothing was wrong. Every touch, every look, seared you like a hot flame.

"Please tell me what's wrong!"

"This whole damn place is what's wrong!" You snap and turn on your heels to face him. Thomas jumps back at your sudden advancement. "You and your sister- that's what's wrong Thomas! The sick, twisted, affection you have for each other!"

Wide blue-gray eyes stare at you in dismay. "You. . ."

"Yes. I know." Seething you wish you could strike him dead with your glare. "What a complete utter fool I've been."

"(y/n)-"

"You dare to touch me after you touch Lucille in the very same manner." Stalking him, curled fingers that threatened to strangle his neck. Thomas backs away, his gaze never leaving you.

His lips tremble unbearably, the rims of his eyes reddening. What could he say? At this point nothing would make this situation better. Gnawing on your bottom lip prevents you from crying. Arms wrapping around yourself in a protective hug.

The two of you are frozen in the hall, neither able to say anything else but stew in your turmoil.

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Warily you glance at the teacup Lady Sharpe had handed to you with skepticism. Did she really think you that stupid?

"You work so hard. I figured it would be nice for someone to make you tea every once in a while." Lucille's strained grin puts you off rather than relax you as she might have intended.

You refused to lose eye contact with her. Staring her down you press the rim of the cup against your lips and pretend to drink, even fake swallowing. Fighting off the urge to spit it back at her face.

Her frigid form trembles slightly at your defiance. She saw in your eyes a fire that threatened to consume and burn her.

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There wasn't much to hate about her at first glance beside the fact that she was wed to the man you loved. She was kind with a thick accent from her native country with dark glossy hair that was swept up meticulously in a bun. Even being a maid she placed small kisses on both of your cheeks in a greeting. You couldn't find anything that would make you smile the slightest. Your life just seemed to be perpetually in a downward spiral. A steely faced Lucille held a tight lipped smile. Her hands ghosting over where the child inside of her was growing. You could only feel pity for young Enola Sciotti. She had absolutely no idea what cesspool she had just dove into.

"Welcome Lady Sharpe." Slightly tilting your body forward in a curtsy you catch Thomas' solemn powder blue eyes. "We're happy to have you here."

It was all in the name of getting her money. To rebuild the Sharpe mines. They didn't care who they hurt in the process. And you were guilty by association.

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Black moths always dominated any other creature in Allerdale Hall. Large, dark things that fluttered about and nearly scaring the daylights out of you. You'd viciously swat at them to clear your way. You tolerated the other crawling critters that roamed the walls, but you absolutely hated those that could fly. Especially the moths. They ate those that were beautiful: butterflies. Many were saved by your hands, but sometimes you were too late.

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"(y/n)." His voice quivers unbearably as he runs a hand through his thick curls. "I know I have no right to ask this of you. But please! Please protect her! I know you don't want anymore bloodshed. I truly love Edith as I did you. I know you're in here (y/n)!" Thomas adds the last part with an exclamation when there's no reply.

Dropping to his knees he holds his head in his hands. "I'm sorry (y/n)! I'm so sorry!"

Hidden in the corner of your room, covered completely by bleak darkness you observe the broken man with what you could only call pity.

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The cries were horrendous; chilling even, something so appropriate for Allerdale Hall. A monster. Despite what it was, Enola took it upon herself to nurse it and try to have it survive. Yet Enola herself was slowly beginning to deteriorate. The child was showing no sign of improvement. It was better to just let it die.

"Lady Sharpe. . ." Hesitantly you stand at her side. "It's no use. It's too sick. There's no saving it."

Vehemently she shakes her head. "No. I promised." Thick Italian accent made her words slightly difficult to understand at times, but you'd managed to pick out key words.

"You have to understand." Trying again you kneel beside her. "There's no helping it. It's beyond our reach."

She gazes up at you sadly all the while holding the babe to her chest. There was understanding in her tired eyes and at that moment you knew. She wasn't as naive as everyone made her out to be. She knew the baby's parents were the same people who were slowly killing her.

"I at least have to try saving one of us." Enola whispers, her eyelids drop down slightly; putting her attention back on the round head of baby Sharpe who still squirmed in a fussy manner in her weak arms. "None of this is his fault."

You thought you knew what love was. Looking at the two surrounded by complete darkness you doubted yourself. What Enola felt for that creature was unconditional love.

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Trying to ignore the dread that sat heavily in your empty gut you wipe your hand on your already dirty skirt.. With the conditions you had been facing you knew you'd get sick sooner or later. You were exposed to the cold with only a shabby shawl to lend you some warmth. Fingers already numbed through to the bone, you fumble with pulling your shawl tighter around you. Burning with severe hunger, your stomach rumbles pitifully. Resorting to digging through dumpsters and even sinking so low as to fight the rats off for a small morsel of food. Just like all the other hungry scum that walked the streets. Staggering due to light-headedness yous seek temporary shelter in an alley. It wasn't much but at least it was something. Insects scurried away in a panic as you sat down in a heap on the dirt riddled ground. Cold stream of blood leaked from your nose once more. Your sleeve, already mottled with blood stains, goes to wipe it away. Leaning your head against the brick wall you close your eyes. Maybe you wouldn't wake up this time.

"There you are." A gentle voice rouses your eyes to open. Coming closer is a woman wearing a nun's habit. Her face aged and withered offers you a soft gentle smile. "Poor dear must be freezing. I saw you from a shop window, wandering about."

You say nothing as she extends her hand to you. Skeptic of her intentions you simply stare at her thin, wrinkled, fingers.

"I'll get you nice and cleaned up. Perhaps some food?"

Your stomach replied for you.

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Rose. Sister Rose was her name. The servant of God who had saved you from dying that day. She nursed you back to health in the safety of the convent. At first you feared that she would expect you, in turn of the care she had given you, to become a nun.

Sister Rose laughed and shook her head. "Only if you want to."

Days after you recovered you knew your time was coming up where you'd have to leave. You owed this woman your life.

"I didn't help you so you could pay me back." Again with that same soothing smile she smoothed your hair in such a loving manner. "So young with your whole life ahead of you. How could I consciously let that light of your's be snuffed out? Live your life as you wish (y/n)."

Sister Rose could never have possibly imagined what monsters your life would lead you to. The very life she worked so hard to save.

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The piece of old, yellowed,, paper was pinched between your index finger and thumb. Cleaning the great hall you had come across Thomas' beloved two story high library. Intent on just dusting the shelves you became distracted, reviewing the titles of each book. That's when you came across something not right. Paper sticking out between a few books. Once you unfolded it you saw the deep crease lines. It was from a news article.

SHOCKING SAVAGE MURDER AT ALLERDALE HALL

Below the headline was an artist's rendering of the very bathtub you had scrubbed clean just a few hours ago. Engrossed you read further to discover it was none other than the late Lady Beatrice who had been slain in the tub, an axe to the head. Another small picture at the bottom depicted two young children. Thomas and Lucille. What shocked you though was in the article they suspected the murderer to be the young Sharpe children.

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It urged you with it's horrendous groans to follow. For the first time you felt sympathy for the disfigured specters that had previously terrorized you. Now it showed no sign of ill-will toward you. Dragging itself along the ground you found yourself following after it. Yet it stopped, unable to venture any further as a voice called for you.

"(y/n)? Is that you?" In his night shirt Thomas looks at you in confusion. "What are you doing up so late?"

"I. . . couldn't sleep. I'm a bit restless I suppose." It wasn't completely a lie.

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His head lay next to your's on the pillow. Eyes closed in blissful sleep. Smiling to yourself you gently caress his defined cheekbone with your knuckles. Warm and soft, so different from the rest of the house. His black curls fall and frame his sweet face in a perfect portrait. One of his arms lay across you possessively. Somewhat childlike in appearance when he slept, you felt a sudden urge of protectiveness. This house threatened to swallow everything in darkness. But not your Thomas. You wouldn't let this house have him

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You smiled down at the little Papillon dog as he jumped around your legs. Enola's dog was absolutely adorable. Playful and always loving, he brightened up Allerdale Hall. Getting down on your knees you begin to scrub the floor until the precious doggy barks at you to initiate play time.

You giggle. "No little one. Not right now. Go look for your mommy."

He wouldn't have it though as he dropped his red ball in front of you.

"I'm almost done." Telling him sweetly he lets out a little huff and begins barking. "Hush now or Lucille will be after you with her meat cleaver."

Yet he wouldn't stop barking. Frowning you sit up and open your mouth to reprimand him until you hear a familiar rasping moan. Turning around to face the tub you cut off your terrified shriek. You'd never encountered the ghost of Lady Beatrice before. You actually preferred the caved in face of Margaret McDermott to that of the slack jawed, bubble eyed one of Lady Beatrice. She lay in the very tub she was murdered in, reaching out for you. You pick up the yapping little dog and get the hell out of there.

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Walking into the master bedroom you go about tidying the place although there wasn't much to clean. Thomas made sure to always take good care of his room, especially since Edith was residing there. On one of the tables lay a large bundle of papers. You peered at the front cover. The title of the book followed by 'Edith Cushing'.

"Ah, so she's a writer." Thinking to yourself you pick it up and page through it. "A ghost story."

Oh the irony.

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You thought of Sister Rose. Of her kindness and how she went out of her way to save your life. Only for you to be facing death once again. You kept your memory of her close to you. She'd be with you as you took your last breath.

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You saw the tea cup placed right in front of her. If you had the ability to produce bile, it would have been in your throat at that moment. Making a distraction in the hall, assured that Edith would go investigate you sneak into the room and knock the cup to the ground. The delicate material smashes into pieces, spilling the deadly liquid all over the floor.

Enough was enough.

You'd do your best to protect Edith.

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"How long will you be gone?" You ask him while you pack his trunk. Thomas sits on the chair in his bedroom. Such sad eyes gaze at you that you had to keep your back to him.

"I don't know. Hopefully not for too long. All depends if I find anyone to fund my machine." Evident pining for you in the tremor of his voice. It had been months since you discovered the vile secret of his, months since he last touched you. You would be lying if you said your body didn't ache for him. But you couldn't allow yourself to lay with him as you once did.

You fold another pair of his trousers and expertly pack them with the others as your hand goes to grab another. However, Thomas' own hand stops your's and holds it. Pausing you contain your breath and close your eyes, waiting for the moment when he releases you. Instead his thumb lovingly rubs against the inside of your wrist.

"(y/n). . .' He keeps himself at a whisper. "Will you not look at me ever again?"

Lips press together in a hard line you consent and heave a forlorn sigh. Body betraying you as it relaxes a this touch. "You need to understand Thomas, what you've done. . . What you probably continue to do, broke my heart."

"I know! And I'm sorry!" Thomas is quick to spill out as he tries to pull you closer. "I never meant to hurt you (y/n). I love you."

"And you love Lucille the same way. She's your blood sister." Rooted where you are you finally cast your (e/c) eyes upon the broken man that you still loved dearly.

"Yes. . . I know what we've done is wrong. I've known it from a very young age. But Lucille had been all I had ever known. Our parents locked us up in that attic and when we dared stray they beat us brutally. Lucille killed our parents for my sake." Breathing heavy he's holding on to your arm like a life preserver. Begging you not to leave him again. "I'd never known a gentle hand beside Lucille's."

"You're an adult now Thomas. Yes what the two of you have been through is incredibly traumatic, but you must move on in order to make your life better. Her love for you is an illness. You said you know it isn't right, why must you continue to do it then? You had me. . . Does she have that much of a hold over you?"

"It would break her (y/n). Drive her further into her madness. And if she found out about you she'd kill you."

A soft, bitter, laugh passes through you. "I feel like that will be my end regardless."

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Baby Sharpe was the first to go. After just a few short months of life it was over. Not by any fault of Enola's. She had tried so hard. No, by the very woman who bore that putrid thing in the first place. At her wits end, the crying driving her to insanity, she smothered her own child; snuffing out it's life herself. Enola followed the baby. No longer having a use to them, Lucille killed her off as well. She tried to kill even the poor little dog too, but you bravely stood in her way.

"I'll take care of him. Don't kill him." You said while holding the orphaned dog in your arms.

"It's just another mouth to feed. Hand it over (y/n)." she hissed.

"No." Defiant in front of the crazy woman you glare at her vehemently. Thomas at Lucille's side tries to hold her back from lunging at you.

"You will do as I say!"

Again you refuse and tighten your grip on the papillon. "What would killing a poor defenseless dog do to benefit you?"

Wild blue eyes twitch at your boldness.

"Lucille. . ." Thomas held onto her arm.

She would not be placated though. Attempting to strike you, Enola's dog began barking; snapping it's little teeth in her direction. You're barely able to dodge her, her nails scrapping along your face. Thomas drags her away screaming obscenities at you.

You would be the servant of evil no longer.

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"I know you're here." She breathed; you could smell her fear as it wafted off of her. You did your best to stay out of view. There really weren't a lot of options to hide though. So you stayed put and remained absolutely silent as Edith drifted through your room. Her white night gown flowed behind her like a bridal train. "I know who you are. You've been helping me, haven't you?" Enola's dog scampers about her ankles. Sensing you he heads in your direction, barking happily. Edith hesitantly follows him and squints her eyes in the dark. "(y/n)?" When the ghastly groans of the other ghosts sounded behind her, she fearfully whips around.

"You don't have to fear them."

Her attention turns back to you.

Ever so slolwy you emerge from the depths of the shadows. "They're just trying to warn you."

Previously frightened eyes soften once you make your appearance. A part of you is happy that you're able to provide her comfort.

"Why?"

"Because this house is a death trap. I think you know that by now.

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Enola, with the ghost of baby Sharpe cradled in her arms looks you dead on. Just as the other three ghosts of the manor her body, head to toe, was completely red as was baby Sharpe.

"Even in death you're not free of this place, huh?" murmuring you hold out a hand. On her deformed face is a sad smile. "I'm sorry Enola. Truly I am. But sorry won't bring you back. I'm as guilty as they are."

At that comment she gravitates toward you. Her free hand goes as if to grasp your out stretched one. Nothing solid meets you though.

"I have a feeling my time is running out here too. There's no way she'll let me live. Not after the way I defied her. The only regret I have is not being able to free Thomas from her. My dear, sweet, Thomas."

The most twisted thing about this whole situation was that you still loved him.