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A Sister's Story

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Catherine shifted uncomfortably on her stool. She'd always been painfully shy, not prone to sharing many details of her personal life with anyone except Shelby, Matt and Lee. She waited while the makeup artist approached her and swirled her powder brush over her face for a second while the cameras and lighting adjusted. The only reason Cat had come here was to support Shelby, but then Sidney found out that she had lived at the Roanoke house too. Her hand shook before she clenched it into a fist. Sidney Aaron James was a sleazy dirtball of a man who Cat swore had no compassion or soul. Indeed, she believed that Sidney would film his own mother's death if there was a chance he'd win an Emmy with the footage.

Cat took a deep breath and tried to calm her nerves. Sidney was strutting around set barking out orders at the crew. Honestly, all Cat wanted was to put the house behind her. Tears came to her eyes as she remembered what had happened to Elias, Cricket, and Mason. All of them were dead, and maybe if Cat hadn't been so frightened and helpless she could have helped them. But no. Instead she panicked and hid in the kitchen cupboard while everyone else did all they could to escape.

A man in a old fashioned tattered costume walked by, and flashed her a smile. For a moment Cat held her breath, because he looked just like Ambrose White, who had been plaguing her nightmares every night since the escape. She shook herself out of it and realized that the man must be Dylan, an actor who had been hired to play Ambrose for the documentary. He had emailed her the night before asking to speak with her privately about her experiences in the house, without cameras. She shivered at the thought of actors reliving her worst nightmares. Dylan must be wanting to pick her brain about her experiences with Ambrose in the house, so that he could get a feel for his character. Cat of course didn't mind much. She understood that he had a job to do, and honestly if people were going to recreate her family's nightmare, she preferred that they did it well and to the best of their abilities. Shelby had been complaining to Cat about the actress portraying her, a British woman named Audrey Tindall. Cat thought that Audrey was actually doing quite a good job, but of course she didn't dare tell that to Shelby. Shelby was always insufferable when she was in a complaining mood; it was better just to let it happen.

Despite everything that had happened since the escape Cat was excited to move on with her life. Maybe this was just the thing she needed; to air the wounds instead of suffocating them with silence. She took a breath as the camera man signaled that they were ready to begin, and prepared to to tell her story.

 

Chapter Text

Cat took in a deep breath as she got out of her car. She closed her eyes and sighed, enjoying the Virginia breeze. Shelby had sounded terrified on the phone when she asked her to come stay with them, and Cat had needed time away from New York anyway. She was lacking inspiration there. Perhaps out here in the serene quiet she could finally find what her designs were lacking and start designing again. She grabbed her suitcase and bag from the trunk and headed inside before she stopped. She had the feeling that someone was watching her. 

Cat slowly turned around and saw a man staring at her from the tree line. Slowly he raised his hand and waved at her. Whoever he was, he was giving her the heebie-jeebies. She quickly spun around and marched to the front door. She knocked on the door and waited for her sister to let her in. 

"I'll be there in a just a minute!" Cat heard something toppling over and swearing. She smiled. Shelby, despite how calm she tried to make others believe she was, was always the one with the temper out of the two of them. The door opened and Cat was immediately embraced in a hug. When she pulled back she could see that Shelby had been weeping. 

"Come in, let's get you settled in". She led Cat in the house and closed the door behind them, taking Cat to her room. "Me and Matt's room is down the hall, and Lee's your neighbor. I hope you don't mind"

Cat shook her head. "No, Lee and I get along pretty well actually". She smiled, thinking of the stubborn woman who she secretly admired. Lee had been through some tough shit, and if she could get past that then Cat could get over her problems.

Shelby smiled. "Oh yeah, like I could forget how your everyone's favorite" she teased. She smirked and helped Cat unpack. "How was the drive?"

"Great! Really peaceful and quiet. Exactly what I need to be honest. The well has dried up for me in the city. I haven't designed anything for months."

Shelby frowned. "Months? Are you sure that that school is teaching you anything Cat?"

"Shelby, you said we weren't gonna talk about NYU while I was here." Cat pulled out a huge pile of scripts and set them down on the desk, and then started walking out to the car, Shelby following her.

"It's not that I hate NYU sis, it's that I'm worried about you. I know you love designing, I'm just worried that you don't have the support that you need. And what about your classes?"

"All of my professors were really understanding, and they've agreed to let me facetime the classes and turn in my work online. I brought my laptop and computer here so I could get it to work. Here, take my art supply box upstairs. Careful, it's heavy. I've got the dressform and fabric box"

Shelby rolled her eyes and went inside, and again Cat could feel the man staring at her. She turned around to stare back.

He was closer than before. His clothes were tattered and extremely oldfashioned. Colonial would be her guess. He had dark, sunken eyes, gaunt cheeks, and wild dark hair with an equally wild beard. He almost glared at her, and then his expression softened the tiniest bit, as if he recognized her. He started to walk to her, but Cat turned around and went in the house. She locked the door behind her, breathing heavily.

"Hey Shelby? Do you get historical reenactors out here often?"

"No. The only people who really bother us are the Polks, and they don't come around often." Shelby sat up and gave her a sharp look. "Why, did one of them bother you?"

"No, there was this man with a beard staring at me, and he started to walk at me, but I came inside".

"Well none, of the Polks have beards except the really old fella. Weird. Maybe he's a cousin? Either way, stay in the house unless you're with someone. This place is fucked up. I got held under water in the hot tub out back. What did this man look like?"

"Well, he had really dark hair, a beard, dark eyes, and he was wearing Colonial clothes"

Shelby stiffened. "I'm calling Matt"

"Why?"

"Because that's one of the spirits that held me under water."

Chapter Text

"Can we take a break? Please?" Cat's voice cracked halfway through her request. Cursing herself internally, she cleared her throat and looked away, blinking back tears.

She heard a scoff and associated the well known eye roll with Sidney. "Are you kidding me? We haven't even gotten to the juicy stuff yet!"

"Give her a break Sidney." Cat heard a quiet, deep voice speak up. "She's clearly upset. Give her ten minutes." She looked for the source of the voice and found Dylan, the actor playing Ambrose. She made a mental note to thank him later.

With another eye roll and scoff, Sidney turned to the rest of the room and clapped his hands. "Take ten everyone! We're back strictly in ten, and not a second more!"

"Thank yo-" Cat started to thank him but he stormed off without so much as a second glance. She sighed and made her way through the small crowd of people over to Dylan. "Thank you for speaking up. I appreciate it. I'm Cat, it's nice to meet you."

Dylan nodded. "It's no problem, I'm Dylan. I'm playing-"

"Ambrose. I know. I saw you in costume earlier and nearly jumped out of my skin." Cat joked with a sly smile.

Dylan grinned, and Cat noticed he was actually quite handsome. "It's that good huh? We went off you and your sister's descriptions, but from what I understand you had more encounters with him."

Cat shivered slightly, but enough for Dylan to notice. "Yeah. You could say that." She crossed her arms in front of her stomach and rubbed her upper arm, trying to soothe herself.

Dylan looked at her sincerely. "I'm so sorry for what you went through. I mean it. This must be so hard on you and your family."

Cat nodded. "It has been, yeah. Especially on Matt and Shelby. They say they're okay, but I know better. Experiences like this, they don't strengthen you. They either tear you apart, or they leave you picking up everyone else's pieces."

They were quiet for a moment, neither feeling the need to fill the silence. Dylan spoke first. "I was wondering if I could take you out for coffee sometime? We wouldn't have to talk about the house, or what happened. We could just be people, ya know. I want to know you, and I want you to know me as a real person, not just an actor playing someone who hurt you."

Cat considered it. He seemed nice, and it didn't sound like he had any ulterior motives, but this was LA. Everyone had a motive. "You promise we don't have to talk about the house?"

Dylan smiled and held up three fingers close together. "Scout's honor. We can talk about anything you want to."

Cat smiled. "Alright then. Coffee sounds nice." She grabbed a slip of paper, wrote down her number, and gave it to Dylan. "Here's my number. You can give me a call later or you can text me if you like."

Dylan's smile grew wider. "You can count on it." They both turned their heads as Sidney started clapping his hands, signalling that it was time to begin again. They turned to look at each other as Dylan sighed. "Back to work. I'll call you later?"

Cat nodded with a small smile, and Dylan turned and walked away. As Cat turned to go back to her place, she saw Shelby looking over at her quizzically. Shit. Shelby wouldn't leave her alone until she told her everything.

"Alright everyone, places please! We do not have anymore time to waste here!" Sidney stomped back to his position behind the camera as Cat took her seat. "Are you ready now Catherine?"

Cat took a deep breath, slowly let it out, and then nodded. "I'm ready."

"Alright. Sound speeds?"

"Sound speeding!"

"Camera rolling?"

"Rolling!"

"Alright. Action!"

Chapter Text

Catherine looked out the window, a furrow in her brow and nursing a mug of tea. She was pacing almost nonstop these days, and it had only increased since Flora had gone missing. She couldn't sleep anymore. She couldn't think. Everytime she sat at her design table or sewing machine her fingers would shake and shiver to the point she would prick herself with needles. She finally had given up on designing and took to pacing and sneaking cigarettes when Shelby wasn't looking. Shelby would kill her if she knew that Catherine was smoking.

There had been so many happenings since she had arrived, it was making her head spin. And it seemed she couldn't get that man out of her head. Everywhere she turned or every time she closed her eyes he was there. She didn't know what was happening, but she didn't like it. She kept having visions of the man and a group of villagers, and fire. They terrified her beyond doubt.

A phone rang in Matt and Shelby's bedroom, and Catherine jumped. She heard Matt talking to Shelby and then saw him go into Lee's room. Shelby came to her.

"Any news about Flora?"

"They found a body."

Catherine dropped her, which shattered on the ground. "Shit! Shit Shelby I am so sorry!" She dropped to her knees to start picking up the glass, but instead started crying and hunched over.

Shelby fell beside her and held her little sister, cradling her in her arms. "Shhhh, I got you Cat. Look at me, hey?"

Catherine sniffled and looked up at her big sister. "This is seriously fucked up Shelby. Seriously. I don't know how much more any of us can take."

"I feel the same way Cat, believe me. But right now we have to go be strong for Lee and Mason and find Flora, no matter what happens."

She nodded and stood on shaky legs. "I'm just gonna go clean myself up."

Shelby patted her on the back, and headed back to Lee's room. Catherine walked to the bathroom and grabbed a soft cloth, ran some warm water and washed her face. When she looked up, she saw the man standing behind her in the mirror. She shrieked and tried to run out the bathroom door, only to turn and see no one was there, let alone the man in the ragged clothing.

"Catherine! Catherine are you okay?" Matt pounded on the door and opened it to find her hunched in the corner, breathing heavily and nearly sobbing.

"I saw something, someone!" She looked up at Matt, her lower lip trembling. "I think I've gone mad." She broke down, sobbing softly into her shirt.

Matt rushed in and picked her up, soothing her. "Hey it's okay. You just need some rest. You haven't slept in days Cat. You need to sleep, you need rest." He carried her to bed and  tucked her in. "Get some sleep. We'll be right back, okay? We just need to go meet the police with Lee."

Immediately Cat sat up sobbing. "Please don't leave me alone, please! I don't want to be alone here, I'll go with you!"

"Catherine, you need rest. Let me get you some tea okay?" Matt got up and walked out of the room, and returned a few minutes later with a mug of tea. "Here, drink this."

Catherine blankly took the mug and drank. A few minutes later she was asleep because of the sleeping pills Matt had put in her tea.

Matt sighed and walked out in the hallway where Lee and Shelby were waiting, both with clear concern on their faces. "She's asleep. Should be for a while. Let's go see what the police have, okay?"

After everyone left, an unsettling feeling settled over the house, and the whisper of a man could be heard.

"My dear Prudence. Thou hast returned to me after so long. I shall keep thou safe and sound with me, and Mother will not touch a hair on thine precious head."

Catherine awoke suddenly and sat up in bed, breathing heavily. "Matt? Shelby? Lee?'

She heard voices coming from downstairs. Quietly she got up and padded down the spiral staircase. She saw her family standing in a clump in front of a short, white haired gentleman who spoke in a high voice.

"Ah! Hello young lady! So pleasant of you to join us. I'm thrilled to have a fellow gifted soul like myself on this."

"I'm sorry, but who are you?"

The gentleman smiled. "My name is Cricket Marlowe, and you must be Catherine, am I correct? You haven't had much training in your gift it seems. No matter! I'm here, I can give you some tips and pointers after I help your family find Flora."

Catherine looked over at Matt. "Why is this man here?"

Matt sighed and said "Cricket claims to be a psychic. He says he knows where Flora is. But he needs to prove it before we entertain this nonsense any further."

"And I will. Come to the parlor and we'll talk to Priscilla. And after, Catherine and I need to have a chat."

Catherine looked confused. "Why me?"

"Because my dear, you have some deep power, and you just don't know it yet."

Chapter Text

Catherine adjusted her blanket scarf and pulled at the cuffs of her shirt dress. She was nervously tapping her foot as she waited for Dylan to arrive at the coffee shop. She had made sure that she looked presentable, going so far as to touch up her makeup in the bathroom of the cozy cafe. She observed her surroundings while waiting, noticing the dress forms that had been painted with wild swirls and bright sparks of color, the eclectic artworks on the wall, and the children's corner which had crayon and marker streaks along the walls. She smiled at the children who drew on the walls, their loud laughter brightening the cafe.

"Is it alright if I sit here?"

"Hm?" Catherine turned her head towards the voice and saw Dylan standing there. She smiled and said "Yeah of course."

Dylan sat down. "Have you ordered your coffee yet? If not, I'll buy."

"I think I'll take you up on that Dylan."

Dylan took her order and went over to the barista. He came back a few minutes later with the drinks, handed Catherine her drink, and sat down. "So. Tell me about yourself. Obviously you're pretty tough to have survived what you went through. But I wanna know more about you."

"Well, my name is Catherine Adrina Moore. I'm 25. Graduated from NYU with a degree in costume design and a minor in history this last fall. I was in the graduate program, but then the house happened. I'm the youngest Moore sister. Shelby is the middle kid, she's nearly 30, and our sister Leia is 33. She has a few kids of her own. I haven't really seen them much since the house."

Dylan nodded. "I saw you sketching on set the other day. Were you designing a costume?"

Catherine shook her head. "I was drawing Ambrose. My therapist said it might help with the trauma. She thinks that if I draw them, and then burn the images it'll be healing for me."

"And is it?"

She debated lying to him. No use in burdening him with her problems. But something told her that he genuinely cared. "Not really."

They were both quiet for a moment before he spoke up. "When I came home from Afghanistan, my therapist said the same thing. He said that I needed an outlet for what I went through. That's when I got into acting."

"You toured?"

"Twice. I was a SEAL. Me and a part of the team carried a guy on our backs for miles in enemy territory. We made it back to camp, but he didn't pull through the surgery. Blood loss. I couldn't help but feel a bit guilty. When we came home I didn't really have anyone to talk to. Folks died before I left for the military. No siblings. My friends had all moved on. They had kids, jobs, families of their own."

"I know the feeling. When I went back to NYU it was too much at first. I lived off campus, got a dog to help. Every little noise was jarring. I couldn't cope. I dropped out of grad school. Moved out of the city. Came out to LA and moved in with Shelby and Matt. Shelby needed help with her leg anyway."

Dylan nodded. "I'm sorry. If you want, I can send you some tips for how I handle it? Or we could keep meeting for coffee." He smiled a bit when he said, and Catherine blushed ever so slightly.

"I'd like that Dylan. I'd like that a lot." She tucked some loose hair behind her ear and looked at Dylan, appraising him. He had kind eyes, dark hair, and a trimmed beard. There was a stark difference between how he looked in makeup and costume. He had a kind face, bright blue eyes, and he was handsome.

Dylan's smile brightened. "Good. Maybe we could make it a tradition? Go get a cup of coffee after filming for the day? It'd be a chance to wind down."

Catherine laughed. "Yeah. I'd like that. Especially after dealing with Sidney."

They both laughed, thinking of that slimy cantankerous producer. "Yeah, he's a bit of a weasel isn't he?"

"He sure is." They were both quiet again, each taking sips of their drinks. The silence was comfortable and easy. They didn't need words, they were comfortable just with each other's presence.

"So. You have anyone special?" Dylan asked. Catherine couldn't quite tell  if he was truly curious or if he had another reason for asking, but she found herself hoping that it was the latter.

"Nah. I never really had anyone before, and I didn't think it was a good idea to get involved with anyone after. No one could really understand except someone who had gone through what I had. And after Ambrose-" She stopped herself short and cleared her throat.

"You don't need to explain yourself to me. I understand. Dating is hard. Especially after what you went through." There was silence again, and then he asked "Why did Ambrose go after you so much? He seemed pretty dedicated to getting you alone."

Catherine sighed. "I reminded him of his wife. Prudence. She was killed by the Butcher. Ambrose went mad, never recovered from the loss. Even in death he was looking for her, Cricket's theory was that I was her reincarnated. That I shared a piece of her soul or something. I don't know if he was right or not. But I hope he wasn't."

There was more silence. Dylan took her hand. "You have scars on your hands and wrists. Were they self inflicted?"

Catherine withdrew her hand. "The ones on my wrists were. The Butcher put the ones on my hands. She burned them. It took quite a bit of physical therapy to get them back to what I used to be able to do. The drawing was part of the therapy."

Dylan shook his head. "You have been through actual hell, and yet you're so strong. It's admirable." There was more silence as he ran his finger along the patterns of the scars on her hands and wrists. Catherine looked down and noticed his own scars.

"You too?" Dylan looked her in the eyes and nodded.

"Me too."

Catherine paused for a moment, and then gathered the courage to speak. "Do you wanna get out of here and go for a walk? It's a nice day out."

Dylan grinned. "I thought you'd never ask."

After a a few hours, Dylan escorted her back to Shelby and Matt's apartment. "I had a really nice time Catherine. I'll see you tomorrow?"

Catherine nodded. "See you tomorrow Dylan."

Dylan turned to walk away, but was stopped by Catherine, who gave him a light kiss on the cheek. He grinned and said "Now what was that for?"

Catherine turned a bright red and stammered out. "You're just really sweet and I wanted to thank you for walking me home and listening to me."

Dylan winked at her and said "Anytime Cat. Anytime." He gave Catherine's hand a kiss, turned away and left Catherine on the porch, who was still blushing a bright red.

Shelby opened the door to see her little sister looking after Dylan, and she grinned. She had thought that the two of them would get along, and she loved being right. "What are you just standing here for? Come on in, I've got a roast in the oven and Matt wants to hear all about your coffee date with Dylan!"

Catherine jumped and turned around, scowling at Shelby as she playfully hit her shoulder. "It wasn't a date you jerk! We just got coffee and talked!"

Shelby smirked. "It sure looked like a date after you kissed him on the cheek and he kissed your hand. You two are so cute!"

Catherine repeatedly smacked Shelby's shoulder lightly. "It wasn't a date! He's just a really nice guy who wanted to talk to me."

"Sure. A really nice, hot, kind guy who is definitely flirting with you sister dear. Now come on in and help me make dessert, and the next time you go on a date with Dylan, you be sure to invite him over for dinner!"

Chapter Text

Cricket pulled Catherine aside after the seance. "My dear, we need to talk. You and your family are in grave danger."

Catherine scoffed. "Yeah no shit. We have been for weeks Cricket. No need to point out the obvious."

Cricket grinned at Catherine. "I like you. You've got spunk. But you must listen to me."

"And why should I listen to you? Give me one good reason. You're gonna charge Lee $40,000 just to find her kid. How does that prove you're not a charlatan and fraud?"

"You've been seeing him. Ambrose. The man with a beard."

Catherine paled and whipped around to face him. "What do you know about this man?"

"I'll tell you, if you promise to listen to me. Ambrose isn't the only one you've seen, is he? You saw her during the seance. The Butcher. You saw her, I know you did cause I felt you."

Catherine thought about the seance that had happened minutes prior, and what she was viciously telling herself she hadn't seen, that she could not possibly have seen. She had seen the windows shatter, everything that Shelby, Matt, and Lee had seen. She had also seen a woman in the room, dressed in colonial clothing that was tattered and covered in mold. Her skin was green and rotted, her teeth blacked out, and she had a look of pure evil and malice in her eyes. She had started towards Catherine until Cricket shouted at her.

"You will not harm her again you foul beast! Leave this house, this is not your home!"

"Who are you to tell me what to do boy? You dare to speak in this way to me on my land? I will consecrate it with your blood, and you whore," at this point she pointed a cleaver at Catherine, "You will die slowly, painfully by my hand. Last I saw ye I did you not take enough time killing ye, and I will take my time enjoying your death. Ambrose will not save you."

Catherine was frightened and confused. She had no idea who Ambrose was, or who this woman was, but she had about had enough. Now she was being threatened with death again for the umpteenth time in less than a month. She nearly opened her mouth in retaliation before Cricket intervened and screamed "CROATOAN!"

The woman recoiled and seemingly disappeared as soon as the windows shattered. Catherine shrieked and dove for cover as some flecks of glass flew toward her, some cutting her cheek and getting dangerously near her eyes. She felt the glass streak over her eyebrow. She cried out as Matt rushed to her side and picked her up, looking over her face. "Shelby, go get the rubbing alcohol, some needle, and thread. Some of these gashes are deep and they need stitches. Get the vodka too." Shelby nodded and rushed to the kitchen.

Catherine looked over at Cricket and nodded. "I did see her. What did you mean when she said that she had killed me before?"

Cricket sighed and said. "We have a lot to talk about Catherine. That man is following you because you share a soul with his wife Prudence. Ambrose White was alive during the colonial period, and he was the son of Thomasin White, one of the leaders of Roanoke. I can explain more once the family is here, but Prudence was one of Thomasin's first sacrifices to a witch."

"Do you realize that none of what you're saying is making any sense?"

"I know, but you have to believe me."

Shelby came back with bandages, a needle, thread, scissors, and vodka. Matt took it from and had Lee hold her Catherine down. "Catherine, be calm. This is gonna hurt like a bitch, okay?"

"Just fucking get it over with Matt!"

Matt poured some vodka over the wounds and Catherine shrieked. They held the needle over the candle and started stitching up her cuts. She groaned in pain and cried out with each stitch. Shelby held her hand and squeezed, whispering soothing words in her ear. After her stitches were done and bandaged, Matt demanded that Cricket leave.

"Wait! He was going to tell me what's going on! We have to listen to him!"

"After he demanded $40,000? I don't fucking think so. Get the hell out of my house Cricket."

Cricket looked at Catherine. "Young lady, I'll be in touch. Don't you worry." He then turned on his heel and left.

Chapter Text

Dylan took a deep breath and knocked on the door. He looked over the flowers he had brought for Catherine, inspecting the bouquet. He only hoped that she would appreciate it, and as much as he hated to admit it, he was nervous. He fidgeted with his watch while he waited for Catherine to answer the door. He heard her voice say "Just a moment!" and he heard footsteps running toward the door.

Catherine answered the door and he took her in. She looked beautiful as always. Her beauty was a kind of beauty that only she could possess, it was timeless and almost suspended in time. She seemed breathless, like she hadn't expected him to arrive this early. He had arrived almost ten minutes early, but that had been instilled in him from an early age, not just his military days. She wore a light lilac dress, her hair was braided, and she wore a small locket around on her neck on a silver chain. He had noticed it before, and had meant to ask about it. Finally he couldn't keep quiet any longer.

"Wow. You look amazing." He breathed the words out, like he couldn't catch his breath.

She blushed. "I could say the same for you. Thanks for coming. Maybe we should go out instead of staying in?" She seemed nervous, and then he saw Matt and Shelby talking in hushed but heated tones. It clicked together in his head.

"Sure, if that's what you wanna do Cat." He went to grab her hand but was interrupted by Shelby.

"So. This is the young man who's dating my sister."

Catherine turned bright red, and so did Dylan.

"Shelby shut up!" Catherine hissed and stomped inside. It was so endearing to him.

Shelby smirked and looked him in the eye, her expression turning serious. "You seem like a nice guy. My sister has good taste, but I swear to god if you hurt her I will staple dead birds to your car."

Dylan put his hands up. "Fair enough."

Shelby relaxed. "Glad you understand. Now, are you gonna ask my baby sister out tonight or what?"

Dylan stiffened a bit. He had debated it for a while now. They had been hanging out for a few months now, both on and off set. He enjoyed her company and really liked Catherine. There was also the fact that they had so much in common, and she had this quality about her that he couldn't quite shake. "Um, well, I-"

"Easy there, relax. I just wanna make sure that you're not stringing her along. Trust me, she wants you to ask her. She's just really shy is all."

"I've noticed. It's charming."

Shelby nodded at the flowers. "Those for her?"

Dylan nodded. "Yes. I thought it was only right to bring her flowers."

She smiled. "Good. Come on in." She turned and walked into the kitchen. Catherine was standing at the stove, blushing and putting meat in a serving dish. Matt was standing next to her. He looked upset, and when Shelby walked in, he tensed a bit, but nodded at Dylan

"Hello Dylan. It's nice to see you off set, and looking normal."

Dylan grinned. "It's nice to see you too Matt. Thank you for opening your home to me. It's nice to meet Catherine's family in a more familiar sense. The set can get a bit stuffy."

Matt lightened up a bit. "Well Catherine certainly looks forward to seeing you on set each day. Her mood brightens up after she talks with you."

Catherine blushed even harder, while Dylan grinned. "I'm glad to hear that Matt."

Shelby took Catherine's hand. "Come help me set the table?"

Catherine nodded and walked with her into the dining room, and both men relaxed a bit.

"I'm glad you're here Dylan. I trust that Shelby has already threatened you with pain of death."

Dylan nodded. "Would it really be a first dinner with the family if I hadn't been threatened?"

Matt laughed. "No I suppose not." They were quiet for a moment, and then Matt said "You've been wonderful to Catherine. I have no reason to believe you would hurt her. And honestly, staying with us has been stressful on her. Shelby and I aren't really in a good place right now. It's been hard on her. Losing Cricket, everything at the house. That messed her up for quite a while. This stress with me and Shelby hasn't helped matters. Sidney's been hard on her too."

Dylan nodded. "I know. I've tried to stop him from being awful, but he's a bit of a weasel."

Catherine walked in to get the boys. "Dinner's ready if you are."

Dylan smiled at her and gave her the flowers. "These are for you by the way."

Catherine's eyes lit up. "Dylan, you didn't have to get me flowers! Thank you so much, they're so lovely."

Dylan smiled. "I know I didn't have to. I wanted to. You deserve them."

She blushed again, and went to the cupboard for a vase and water. Matt went to the dining room, trying to give the young couple a chance to be alone for a moment before dinner.

Dylan smiled as Catherine grabbed a beautiful crystal vase and placed the flowers in it after filling it with water. "So. You're sister's already threatened me."

She snorted. "I'm not surprised. Was it the birds stapled to the car, or was it something else?"

"It was the birds."

They laughed for a moment. "That's our go to. It's what I told Matt when she first got with him. I was just a teenager, a really moody teenager, and I was worried I was gonna lose my sister to some random boring stranger. I wanted to make sure that I left an impression before he took my sister away."

They stopped laughing after a minute, and enjoyed the silence. Dylan looked over a Catherine, and walked the short distance to meet her at the counter. "Cat, there's something I've wanted to do for a while now."

Catherine found herself breathless. "And what would that be Dylan?"

Dylan leaned in close and whispered, "It's better if I show you." He gently put his hands on her hips and pulled her closer to him.

Catherine was nervous. Her heart felt like it was jumping up into her throat with every pulse. She tilted her face up toward him, and they met in the center.

Catherine had been kissed before, but this was something completely different. Kissing Dylan was warmth, it was safety. She wrapped her arms around his neck and enjoyed this moment. This was a moment that a year ago she had thought she would never have again. She was going to cherish this moment, and every moment she would have with Dylan.

Dylan pulled away after a minute, and rested his forehead against hers. "Was that okay?"

Catherine smiled and nodded. "That was wonderful Dylan."

Dylan grinned, and kissed her again. After he pulled away, he looked in her eyes. "I was wondering. Would you be my girlfriend? I understand if it's too soon or-"

He was cut off with another kiss. They pulled away after a minute, and Dylan smiled mischievously. "Can I take that to mean the answer is yes?"

Catherine laughed, and said "Yes, of course I'll be your girlfriend Dylan."

They embraced and held each other. In that moment they were just two people who cared deeply about each other, and they wouldn't have it any other way.

"Dinner's on the table, we're waiting for yo-" Shelby stopped dead in her tracks and grinned at the sight before her. She was ecstatic to find her sister so happy and obviously in love. She wouldn't do anything to spoil this moment. She whipped out her phone and took a quick picture of the couple. She had to show this to Matt. Quietly, she walked back to the dining room.

Catherine finally looked up at Dylan and took his hand. "Come on, let's go eat huh? I make a mean pot roast."

Dylan grinned and walked to the dining room with her hand in hand.

Chapter Text

"We have to go quickly. All our live depend on this ritual." Cricket ran out to the Uber. "Catherine, I want you to come with me. Think of it as a training exercise, okay?"

"A what now? Why me?" Catherine followed the short man out to the waiting car and got in, utterly confused.

"You still don't understand do you? You share a soul with Prudence. Sharing a soul is like opening a gateway to powerful, deep magic. Possibly deeper than what's going on here. I need your help to stop this from happening. Will you help me?" Cricket looked at Catherine pleadingly. "Please. You may be the last hope your family has."

Catherine looked at Cricket. None of this made any sense. "How do you know I share a soul with Prudence? How do you know I have these gifts or magic?"

Cricket sighed. "There isn't any time to explain right now, at least not fully. I know you share a soul with Prudence because she told me so. Prudence has been hiding in the woods ever since she passed on. The Butcher burned her alive at the stake, and she has the same fate planned for you. Thomasin hated Prudence. She thought that she would turn Ambrose against her, so she decided to accuse her of witchcraft and have her burned at the stake. Ambrose was heartbroken at the loss. Little did either of them know that Prudence was actually a witch. Descended from a long line of them back in England. Her sister went to a different colony, Salem, and became the Supreme of the coven there until the witch trials. Then they disappeared to New Orleans, where I'm from. I'm a descendant of her sister, Catherine. That is why I noticed you so quickly. Spirits recognize one another. You have the same gifts that Prudence had but tenfold. But it comes with a price. Ambrose thinks you're her, and he has missed her. He will stop at nothing to get you back Catherine, and I mean nothing. For the past four hundred years he has been desolately wandering this place, slaughtering innocents, looking for Prudence. Now that he thinks he's found her, he's nearly unstoppable."

Catherine paled. "What will he do with me if he gets me?"

He shrugged. "Who's to say. I don't think you'll like it very much regardless."

He then turned his attention to the Uber driver who had been listening in on their conversation with a very confused look. "Excuse me young man, but have you ever heard the term gay for pay?"

The driver slammed on the brakes, and as Cricket sputtered "Well it was just a question!", Catherine saw Flora running into the woods.

"Flora!" She got out of the car and ran after her, and she could hear Cricket following behind her.

"Flora stop! Flora it's me!"

She continued to run after her niece until she ran right into someone. "I'm so sorry si-" Catherine looked up and saw the man who had been stalking her. He grinned, which looked hellish. His skin was dark with dirt and moss, and his teeth were black. His hair and beard were black and wiry, and he gripped her waist.

"Prudence. I have you at last! You've come home to me!" He tried to pull her closer into his embrace, but she struggled against him.

"I'm not Prudence, please you have to let me go. My niece is out there, please let me go."

"Now that I have you I will not let you go Prudence. I have looked for you for so long." He gripped her tighter, and Catherine pushed even more.

"I'm not Prudence goddamnit! Let me go!"

They struggled for a moment, and then Catherine heard Cricket's screams. "Cricket! Let him go! Don't hurt him please!" Next she heard Flora crying. "No don't hurt the girl! Please don't hurt her!" She looked up at Ambrose and swallowed. "If you promise to keep my friends from getting hurt I will do whatever you want Ambrose, I swear to god. Please just don't let them get hurt."

Ambrose looked her up and down. "Do you swear on your life Prudence?"

Catherine nodded. "I swear on my life."

Ambrose took her hand and took her to the crowd. She saw Cricket and Flora and broke free of Ambrose's grasp. She ran to Flora and held her. "Flora! Flora are you alright? Are you hurt?"

Flora looked up at Catherine and shook her head. "I'm not hurt Aunt Catherine. I'm just scared."

"I know baby, I know. I'm gonna get you out of her I swear. I'm gonna help you get back to your mama okay?"

Flora nodded. "I know Aunt Catherine." She clung to her and Catherine stood up holding the girl.

"Cricket are you hurt?"

He was bleeding from his forehead, and he moaned in response.

"It's okay Cricket. I promise we're gonna get out of this Cricket. I will do whatever I have to."

"You can't give yourself to him Catherine, you can't."

"If it saves you and Flora I don't care what I have to do. You got it?" She set the girl down to stand by Cricket

Cricket only groaned in pain and fear as a woman in black came up. Her skin was the same as Ambrose's and she was utterly terrifying.

"You have trespassed on my hospitality and mercy for too long. Tonight we consecrate the land with your blood." She looked at Catherine and snarled. "You vicious whore." She strode over and slapped her across the face and Catherine fell to the ground, crying out in pain. "Will you never learn your lesson? How dare you return to this hollowed ground after I banished you!" She dragged her up the hair and Catherine screamed. "I will not allow your vile existence to burden us any longer!" She raised the cleaver high and Catherine closed her eyes.

"Mother no!" Ambrose grabbed her and pulled her away from the Butcher. "Wait until later to harm her. Please."

The Butcher nodded. "Fine. We shall go to the usurpers and slaughter them there."

Finally Catherine allowed herself tears as Ambrose pulled her to him. "Come my dear. Death is not so painful, and then you will be with me for eternity." He pulled her head into his chest and Catherine openly sobbed.

They walked to the house, Cricket shaking with fear. He knew he would die tonight. He was scared that Catherine would be stuck here for all eternity with Ambrose. He was going to do everything he could to ensure that she survived. He grabbed Catherine's hand and she felt a power surge through her as Cricket felt his gift leave him. She gasped and nearly passed out, but she managed to stay upright. Cricket looked her in the eyes and whispered "It's up to you now. You run as soon as you get a chance. Do you understand me?"

Catherine looked at him, realizing what he was saying. "Cricket, no I can't let you -"

"I have lived long enough my dear. I am afraid, but I will not watch you and Flora die while I can help."

More tears flowed out of Catherine's eyes as the house came into sight. She wanted nothing more to to scream for Shelby and Matt to run, for them to escape with Flora. Her phone started ringing, and Catherine reached to grab it.

The Butcher caught her hand. "I said I would not kill ye whore. I will punish you for your insolence." She dragged her to the center of the circle and shoved her down. Catherine started shivering out of fear. Her hand was grabbed and she was dragged to a fire. She tried pushing away from her.

"No please, I'm sorry, I'm begging you!"

The ghost grinned evilly and thrust Catherine's hand into the fire.

Catherine had been burned before. She had been using a hot glue gun to make some pasties for a show at NYU and had suffered a second degree burn. That paled in comparison to what she felt now. The scream jumped from her throat. What seemed like hours passed and her hand was taken out of the flame. It was covered in bubbling burns and ash. The Butcher took the other hand and did the same to it. Catherine screamed again and nearly passed out from the pain. The Butcher shoved her away and she fell to the ground.

"Catherine run! Run Catherine!" She heard Cricket screaming and got to her feet. She started to run but Ambrose caught her around the waist. Flora took the opportunity to run into the house. Shelby screamed when she saw Catherine.

"Catherine no!"

"Shelby! Shelby take Flora and run! Go!"

"No not without you!"

She fought her way out of Ambrose's grip and ran to Shelby, barely making it into the house. She felt something slice by her side and she cried out and fell against Shelby and she caught her.

"Catherine! Catherine oh my god your hands! Oh my god your beautiful hands!" She was actively sobbing now and holding Catherine close.

"Shelby we have to get out. We have to get out right now!" Catherine tried to stand up and cried out, her side bleeding profusely from the wound left by the Butcher's knife. Matt wrapped her arm around his shoulder and helped her up.

"This wound needs to be dressed, now!" Shelby tore off part of Catherine's cardigan and wrapped it around her torso. Catherine winced and sat down.

"Wait, where's Cricket?"

They all gathered around the window and saw as Cricket was dragged to the front of the crowd. The poor man was shaking and terrified, and looked Catherine right in the eyes. The Butcher approached him and slashed his stomach and Catherine cried out, somehow feeling Cricket's pain. She continued screaming as they inserted a hook into his stomach and made him walk backwards. Their cries were in unison as he was disemboweled. Catherine shrieked in pain as he died.

Shelby and Matt looked terrified as they ushered her down into the basement. Catherine was sobbing as a searing white hot pain coursed through her body.

"What are we gonna do Matt?"

"Perhaps I can be of some assistance."

At that point, Catherine's vision blacked out, and her mind and body went blissfully numb as she passed out.

 

Chapter Text

Catherine shivered as she remembered her torture. "I don't remember anything after that. I passed out when Cricket passed on. The doctors said it was combined pain from the burns on my hands and the blood loss from the cut on my side. I don't know why, but I think it was something more. I think Cricket gave me something to help me survive when he passed on. Part of his gift maybe? I don't know. All I know is, I needed strength to survive what I did. I didn't always feel strong. I self harmed a lot after we got out. Tried going back to school. That didn't work. I felt so strangled, and alone there. I couldn't cope. Nobody would believe what had happened to me. I'm grateful I got to live. I'm grateful for the lives of my family. I regret Cricket's death, and Mason's and Elias's as well. I see them when I close my eyes at night. I don't think the nightmares will ever stop."

Sidney shouted "Cut! That's a wrap on Catherine Moore!" There was applause in the crowd as Catherine stood from the chair shakily and nodded at them. Sidney approached for a hug which she halfheartedly returned.

"Catherine, I just wanted to say thank you so much for agreeing to this. I know that all of America will empathize with your story."

"Thank you Sidney. If you excuse me, I need to find Shelby." She smiled shakily at Sidney and left, going straight to Dylan's trailer. She knocked on the door and waited for him to answer.

When he opened the door it looked like he was getting out of costume and makeup. "Hey babe. It's nice to see you!" His grin faded when she rushed into his arms. She was shaking like crazy. "Hey, honey what's wrong? You're shaking like a leaf. Did Sidney do this? I swear to god if he did-"

"No Dylan, it wasn't Sidney. It was the interview. I could feel it happening all over again, it was like he had me in his grasp again. I could feel his hands on me and I wanted to puke." She clung to him and buried her face in his shoulder.

"Hey, I got you okay? You're safe with me. I will never, ever let anything or anyone hurt you. Got it?" He cupped her face in his hands and kissed her, holding her close. "You wanna go home? I'm done for the day, I can walk you to the apartment."

"No, Shelby and Matt have been fighting nonstop. Can we go to your place instead?"

Dylan nodded. "Yeah, sure Cat. Anything you want. Let me just grab my bag and check out with Diana and then we'll go." He gave her a quick kiss on the cheek and left. Catherine sat on the couch in the trailer. She ran her fingers through her hair as she observed the space. There were touches of Dylan scattered all over the trailer. His flannel shirts, the smell of his cologne. She lay back on the couch and sighed, grabbing one of his flannels and draping it over her.

"Hey babe, you ready to go?" Dylan walked back in and grinned. "You know, if you wanted my flannel you could have just asked."

Catherine blushed. "I'm sorry."

"Don't apologize. It's cute. You can keep it."

She snuggled into the flannel as she walked out with him hand in hand to his car. She thought she saw camera's flashing but she chalked it up to being on set. She got in the car and Dylan got in after her. "So sweetie, what are you hungry for?"

"I don't care. I just want to get to somewhere I can be safe and alone with you."

Dylan smiled. "We'll order in then." He took her hand and kissed it, and started driving home.

Catherine's phone started to ring. She looked down and saw it was Shelby. She answered. "Hello?"

"Hey, I wanted to go grab dinner with you. What are you doing tonight?"

"Um. I'm going to Dylan's place. Wanted to spend some time with him."

"Oh I see. So you're doing Dylan tonight then."

"Shut up Shelby! God you're so annoying sometimes."

"Have fun baby sis. Use protection!" Shelby hung up and left Catherine blushing.

"What did Shelby want hon?"

"She just wanted to be obnoxious and tease me."

Dylan laughed. "Sometimes I get jealous of you and Shelby's relationship. You guys are so close. I never had any siblings. Were either of you guys that close to your other sister?"

"Not really. She left home as soon as she hit 18. Spent more time with her friends than with us."

A comfortable silence filled the car while Dylan drove. They pulled up to a modest looking home in the middle of nowhere about half an hour later. "This is your home? It's beautiful."

"Yep. It's all mine. I built it myself."

"God you are so talented it hurts, do you know that?"

Dylan laughs. "The same goes for you you know." They both got out of the car and headed inside. The house was small but cozy, filled with comfortable furniture and tasteful art. His dog tags were hanging on the key rack, and he hung his jacket and keys up. He grabbed two bottles of water and handed one to Catherine. "Here you go. I'm sure you're thirsty."

"Thanks honey. I appreciate it."

"So. What do you wanna do tonight?"

"I just want to hang out with you. Maybe watch some bad tv? But definitely cuddle."

Dylan grinned and sat behind her, holding her close. She smiled and snuggled into him. "Hey Dylan?"

"Yeah?"

"I know we've only been together for two months, but I have to say this. I -" She got nervous. She knew she loved Dylan, but she was nervous about telling him. She didn't want run him off. "I -"

Dylan cut her off with a kiss. "I love you too Catherine. I've been waiting to say it for a while now, but I didn't wanna push you to say something you didn't mean. I love you."

Catherine smiled and kissed him, cuddling even closer to the man she loved.

Chapter Text

Catherine stood in the kitchen as she listened to the TV. They kept talking about Shelby, Dominic, and Matt. She sighed, changed the channel and sipped her mug of tea. The house was always quiet during this time of the day. She walked over to her light table and turned on the light. The traces and drawings were illuminated and she sat down, pencil in hand. Catherine tied her hair back into a ponytail and started drawing. An elegant organza gown was in progress in the sewing room, and she had a buyer lined up with a possible contract with more commissions. Even though Will Drake had become a recluse, his agents kept looking for new talent.

There was a knock on the door. Catherine stood up and cleaned the graphite off her hands. The knocking was more persistent.

"Just a moment!" Catherine padded to the entryway and opened the door. "Sidney? What are you doing here?"

"Hello Catherine! Can we come in?" Sidney asked as he barged into her house.

"Sure I guess. Uh Sidney?"

"Yeah?"

"What's with all the cameras?"

"It's for the new show Catherine. I wanted to ask you to be a part of it."

Catherine looked at him quizzically and scoffed. "What show? And why are you asking me to be in a new show? I'm not an actor Sidney, that would be my husband."

"Oh yeah, how are you and Dylan doing?"

"We're doing great. Better than ever. Back to my questions. Why are you asking me to be in a show that I know nothing about?"

"Well, you do know something about it. We're going back to the house."

Catherine paled and stiffened. "Why the fuck would you do that Sidney? Did you not see what the hell happened to us? Why the fuck would you go back there, let alone ask anyone else to go back?"

Sidney laughed. "Catherine calm down. It'll be okay. We'll have 24/7 surveillance and police will be on standby."

"Don't try lying to me Sidney. I'm not stupid enough to believe you. You have my answer, now get the hell out of my house."

"Well that is disappointing. Shelby is not gonna be happy to hear that you won't be there."

Catherine stopped cold in her tracks. "What did you say?"

"I said that Shelby is going to be disappointed when you're not there. She'll be at the house."

Catherine tensed up. "You're lying. Shelby would never do something that idiotic."

"I don't know. She slept with Dominic."

"Oh shut up Sidney. What did you say to her to convince her? What did you do?"

"I told her Matt was going. That was all she needed. It'd be a shame if something happened to her because you weren't there to protect her."

"Sidney, I swear to god if anything happens to my family, I will hold you accountable. You got it? If they get hurt, I will come after you"

"I look forward to it not happening. So are you in?"

"Yeah I'm fucking in. Now get out."

"Glad to hear it. Let's go guys!"

The camera crew and Sidney cleared out. Catherine sat on the couch and held her head in her hands. She breathed in heavily, trying not to cry or panic. What had she just agreed to? Was she insane? She could feel herself starting to panic when the door opened and she heard Dylan's voice.

"Hey baby! Why is Sidney outside with a camera crew? What's going on?"

Catherine stood and walked right into his arms, trying not to cry.

"Hey hey, baby what's going on? Did Sidney say something to you? Did he do something?"

"I have to go back Dylan. I have to go back to the house."

Dylan's eyes widen. "Catherine no. You can't go back. You can not go back to that house."

"I have to Dylan, I don't have a choice."

Dylan paced angrily around the room. "What do you mean you don't have a choice? You know better than anyone what that place is capable of Catherine!"

"Do you think I don't know that Dylan? Do you think I don't see them every night I close my eyes? Do you think I can ever forget what happened? I'm not going because I want to, I'm going because I have to!"

"Why do you have to Catherine?! Explain that to me!"

"He got Shelby to go back! She'll die if I'm not there to protect her Dylan!"

There was quiet. They had had minor squabbles before, but never to this magnitude. Dylan broke it by crossing the room and taking her into his arms.

"I'm sorry baby. I'm so sorry." Dylan held her and buried his face in her neck. "I don't want to lose you."

"I don't want to lose you either. Which is why I need you to swear to me that no matter what happens, no matter what Sidney tells you, you cannot go anywhere near that goddamn house. Do you understand me? No matter what happens to me you cannot be near that house. I will not let you get hurt because of me."

"So you just want me to stay here and wait for you to come back alive? What if you die out there?"

"Then I die, and you will move on past me."

"Like hell I will. I am not gonna let you get killed or hurt. Ambrose is still out there, and if you go back he will be pissed. He will not let you go, and I will never see you again. I am not letting you go through this alone."

Catherine sighed, "Dylan please just listen-"

He cupped her face in his hands. "No Catherine. When we got married we promised each other 'til death to us part'. We are in this together, and I am not letting you do this alone. That is my final answer."

She closed her eyes and nuzzled into his hands. They stood like this for a moment, soaking up what could be their last moment of peace before Dylan kissed her. She clung to him, taking him in and memorizing every moment. She pulled away and looked up at him. "I love you Dylan. I love you so much."

"I love you too Catherine. More than you'll ever know." They pulled away and Dylan rested his forehead against hers. "I'll call Sidney and let him know I'm in. The moment shit starts going down, you stick with me and we will get Shelby the fuck out of there. Understood?"

Catherine nodded. "I understand love."

Dylan nodded and pulled out his cellphone. "Sidney. Hey it's Dylan Nolan. It's been good. Listen, I was talking to Catherine, and she said there's a new show coming out you asked her to be apart of. I want in."

Chapter Text

Catherine parked her car in front of the house and got out. She had to resist getting in her car and driving the hell out of there. She wasn't leaving without her family. Besides, Dylan would be here in an hour. Sidney said there was some paperwork Dylan still had to fill out. She sighed and shouldered her bag, grabbed her duffel bag and walked into the house.

When the door closed Audrey and Rory appeared in the hallway. Catherine smiled at the both of them. "Hello Audrey, Rory. How was the wedding?"

Audrey grinned and hugged her. "It was lovely my dear. I was terribly put out that you and Dylan couldn't come, but you understand of course? We had to keep the gust list small so we could keep the paparazzi out. We did miss the both of you."

"Audrey, it was fine. Honestly. We were busy planning on our own wedding to be honest."

At that Audrey grabbed her left hand and looked at her ring. "Catherine, it's beautiful! Congratulations to the both of you. Where is Dylan by the way?"

"He should arrive in a bit. I don't imagine we'll stay long though. I'm nervous about this. Why are you and Rory here? You both know what can happen at this house."

"I could say the same to you. Why are you here?"

"I'm here to protect Shelby. Sidney talked her into coming here, and the only reason she's here is for Matt. I'll be damned if I let any of my family die on my watch."

They were both quiet and then Monet and Lindsey walked in. Catherine enjoyed Monet and was excited to see her, but Lindsey, the actor who had played her, was another matter. She was a Hollywood kind of beautiful, but her personality was grinding. A spoiled, manipulative brat who had flirted with Dylan every time they had a scene. She was less than ecstatic to see her here, and reminded herself to bitch out Sidney as soon as she got out of this alive.

"Audrey! Rory! It's so nice to see you." Lindsey waltzed over and hugged Audrey and Rory before turning around and looking Catherine up and down. "Catherine. Didn't expect to see you here. Where's Dylan? I've missed him."

Catherine bit her tongue and smiled at her. "My husband will be here shortly, or so Sidney has assured me."

"Good! He really knows how to start a party." She said as she lit a cigarette and blew smoke in her face.

Catherine ignored her and walked into the kitchen with Monet.

Monet rolled her eyes. "That girl is so full of herself she's fitting to burst. How have you been Catherine?"

"Good. I'd be better if I didn't have to come back here, but here we are."

"You must be terrified." Monet pulled her into a hug and Catherine returned it. Monet had been incredibly supportive of her on set, and they had grown rather close after the show premiered. Monet had taught her how to handle fame and deal with the paparazzi, and had helped her plan her wedding to Dylan. If Monet were here, she thought she could handle this much better.

They heard the door open, and Shelby walked in. Catherine pulled away from Monet and pulled her sister into a hug. She whispered so no one else could hear her say "What the fuck are you thinking Shelby? Why the hell did you come back here?"

"Matt's gonna be here. He can't avoid me if we're locked in the house for three days."

"Shelby you're being absolutely stupid. We should get in my car and leave right now. Sidney and viewership be damned, it's not worth it if we die here."

"If I can't have Matt I'm not sure I want to be alive."

Catherine took in a breath. That cut deep. This was much worse than she thought it was. She now knew that her work would be cut out for her to protect her sister. Before, Shelby had protected her, and now that the roles were reversed she felt like the world was on her shoulders. Shelby shook her off and went to sit on the couch.

Sidney walked in to check in on everyone and Catherine pulled him aside. "Sidney? Why the hell is Lindsey here?"

"Catherine, she played a main role. Did you think I wouldn't invite her back?"

Catherine rolled her eyes and glared at him. "You are such a prick."

"I wouldn't have gotten as far I have if I wasn't a prick Catherine my dear."

"Where's Dylan?"

"Oh he hasn't arrived yet? That's weird. I'm sure he'll be here soon, don't worry."

Catherine's eyes widened in realization. "He's not coming is he? You goddamn son of a bitch!"

Sidney smirked and said, "And that's my cue to leave. Sweet dreams Catherine." He turned on his heel and left Catherine wheeling. Her mind was going far faster than she could keep up, and she could feel herself panicking. She and Dylan had planned exactly how they would get through this. They would grab Shelby, Matt, Lee, and anyone else who wanted to leave as soon as shit started going down and they would get the hell out of there. Now that Dylan wouldn't be here she had to replan everything. She wondered what Sidney had done to keep Dylan from getting here.

The door opened again and Matt walked in followed by Lee. Matt hugged Catherine, and when he saw Shelby he walked away abruptly. Shelby followed him, calling after him and begging him to talk to her.

Catherine looked Lee up and down and suddenly pulled her in. "Lee. It's been far too long and I've missed you."

Lee relaxed and hugged her back. "I've missed you too Catherine. Congratulations on your wedding. I wish I could have been there."

"Well we definitely missed you Lee. Why did you come back here?"

"I need to clear my name Catherine. My relationship with Flora depends on it."

"We could all die here Lee. You realize that right?"

"I know. I came prepared." Lee patted her jacket and Catherine saw her gun sticking out of the inner pocket. She was relieved to see that Lee still had some sense.

"So did I," she said as she gestured to her duffel bag.

She had packed the supplies Cricket had needed for the ritual, but she was concerned she couldn't do it on her own, so she had brought some weapons to defend herself and her family. Dylan was supposed to have the rest of what they needed, but that plan had gone out the window. Catherine headed up to her old room and saw she was rooming with Lindsey. Lindsey walked out of the bathroom and rolled her eyes.

"Great. As if I wasn't having a bad time already being stuck in this boring ass house for three days. I am missing out on a screen test with Lady fucking Gaga to be here, and now I have to room with you?"

"I'm not particularly thrilled about it either." She sat on her old bed. It felt strange to be back here, as if she had walked into a museum at night. "Why isn't Agnes here?"

"Dude, she went batshit on Sidney and brought shit on set. Like dead baby pigs. She is nowhere near stable enough to be around us."

Catherine nodded and looked out the radio as she fiddled with her wedding ring. She was desperately hoping that Dylan would show up, and when a car pulled up she grinned and ran down the stairs. The doors opened and she nearly ran to hug whoever was walking in, but was disappointed when Dominic walk in. "Oh. It's you." She liked Dominic almost as much as she liked Lindsey. Almost.

"What Catherine, I don't get any love?"

"Not after the shit you pulled with my sister you don't." She turned on her heel and started to walk upstairs until she heard sounds of a fight. She turned around and saw Matt pummeling Dominic. "Good for him," Catherine thought, but she ran into the middle of the fight and broke them up with the help of Rory. "Guys, guys knock it off! Come on!"

Matt stalked off upstairs to his bedroom, and Dominic sat against the wall. "Well that's one hell of a welcome."

"Oh fuck you Dominic! And fuck you Sidney, you motherfucker!" Shelby shrieked into the hidden cameras. Catherine tried to pull Shelby away to console her, but Shelby stomped away before she could do anything.

They heard Audrey screaming and Rory ran upstairs to find her. "Audrey! Babe!"

Audrey came running down the stairs in a towel, crying hysterically. However, a strange feeling of dread came over Catherine. She ran up the stairs, desperate to find Rory. "Rory! Rory you need to get downstairs right now! Something's not right!"

"What do you mean something's not right?" Rory came out of the room he was in and Catherine saw the nurses behind him. She shrieked. "Watch out!"

"What? What do y-" He was cut off as a knife pierced his back and Catherine screamed.

"LEAVE HIM ALONE!" It seemed as if the whole house shook with her words and the nurses recoiled out of shock. Rory stumbled away from the position, but not before the nurse had stabbed him again. He cried out as he landed in Catherine's arms. She propped him up on her shoulder and went downstairs. "I need help! Someone help me, he's been hurt!"

Everyone flocked to the stairs to meet them, Audrey sobbing. "Rory, oh my god what happened to you?!"

Catherine looked at Matt. "The nurses."

Matt paled and helped carry Rory to the dining room and sat him down. Catherine ran to get her sewing kit, her hands slick with Rory's blood. Lindsey looked at her in shock and Catherine scoffed at her. "Now do you believe me bitch?"

Chapter Text

Dominic sat Rory down on the kitchen table, his hands slick with Rory's blood. Matt returned with the needle and thread and handed them to Catherine.

Catherine quickly washed her hands and put her hair in a ponytail. "Dominic, Matt, I need you to hold him down. Lindsey, there's painkillers in my duffel bag upstairs, please go get them."

Lindsey sputtered. "You're not the boss of me-"

Catherine got in her face and said quietly, "Rory is bleeding out on a goddamn table and you are such a precious stuck up little bitch that you won't get painkillers out of my bag? Get the fuck over yourself and GET THE GODDAMN PAINKILLERS NOW!"

Lindsey jumped and scampered up the stairs. Everyone looked shocked at Catherine's display of anger and frustration. They could tell something had changed since they had last all been together. She was more aggressive, more assertive.

"Well? What are you all standing around for? Let's try and help him!"

Everyone burst into action, with Monet grabbing some vodka out of the fridge and Lee grabbing towels out of the cupboard.

Catherine approached the table and nodded at Dominic and Matt. "Please, flip him gently." Monet handed her the vodka, but Catherine shook her head. "No Monet. I have some sterilizing alcohol under the cupboard." Lee handed it to her and she removed Rory's shirt.

He had been stabbed deeply, at least three times. At a few places Catherine was certain she could see bone. She could feel her stomach turning and took a swig of vodka, giving one to Rory as well.

"Hey Rory, you still with me bud?"

A weak whimper came out of Rory's lips.

"Stay with me pal. This is gonna hurt like a bitch alright? I'm gonna pour on three. One. Two-" At that point Catherine poured a generous amount of rubbing alcohol into the wounds.

Rory howled in pain while Audrey sobbed. "Shelby, get Audrey the fuck out of here now!": Shelby ushered Audrey out of the room, much to her protest.

Catherine worked quickly at cleaning the wounds. "We don't have much time. He's already lost a lot of blood. I'm no nurse but I'm gonna do my best to stop the bleeding and prevent infection."

Dominic and Matt held the thrashing man down as best as they could. At times, Catherine thought Rory would overpower the men based on his sheer rage.

Catherine burned the needle with the lighter in her pocket, threaded it with the surgical thread and got to work.

Half an hour later the job was finished. Her arms were covered in Rory's blood up to the middle of her forearms and she was exhausted. She had managed to finally get Rory to sleep with a healthy dose of painkillers and a few sleeping pills.

Audrey looked up at her worried. "Will he be okay?"

Catherine sighed and sat down on the couch, wiping her hands on the towel and staring at the blood. "I hope so. But honestly who's to say any of us will make it out alive?"

Audrey walked briskly to where Rory was, holding his hand and sitting next to him.

Catherine looked up at the others. "We need to get out of here. I'm no medic. I can't be sure that I've done enough to keep him alive."

Monet nodded. "We'll leave in the morning. Will he make it through the night? And why don't we get ahold of Sidney?"

"I think my work was good enough to last until morning as long as he doesn't rip his stitches he should make it a day or two. And Sidney is a worthless piece of shit who wouldn't even lift a finger to save his own mother, do you honestly think he'd get an ambulance out her for Rory?" Catherine walked to the bathroom and washed her hands, watching the water turn red as Rory's blood went down the drain. It was strangely hypnotizing in a way. She slammed her hands down on the sink and held herself up from collapsing. She needed to get out of here, but she couldn't do that without at least an hour's sleep. She picked up the locket around her neck and opened it, seeing a picture of herself and Dylan in it.

Catherine kissed the back of her locket and tucked it back into her shirt. She craved Dylan's arms around her, his hands in her hair, and his soothing touch right now. Dylan would know what to do. Dylan was a man of action, while Catherine was more reactionary. She didn't know what to do next to get these people out safely, and yet they looked to her like lost sheep. She ran her hands through her hair and took it out of the ponytail.

Shelby crossed over to her sister and touched her shoulder, causing her to jump. "Jesus Shelby, you scared me."

"You did good in there. I'm proud of you. You've changed so much. Are you okay?"

Catherine laughed and walked into the living room, taking a bottle of whiskey from Monet. She took a swig. "I am trapped in a house where I was stalked, kidnapped, mutilated, and nearly killed with people I have no idea how to protect. I just watched someone I consider a friend get damn near fatally stabbed and I had to stop him from bleeding out. I listened to him cry out for half an hour while I held his life in my hands. I have no idea where my husband is or if he's even alive. Do you think I'm okay?"

Shelby winced and nodded. "Sorry. Bad choice of words."

Catherine plopped down into an armchair across from Lindsey, raised the bottle towards her, and took a swig. "Cheers."

Lindsey looked almost afraid of her and shifted her glance away. Catherine took another swig and wiped her mouth, setting the bottle down. "Now if you excuse me, I need to stay sharp, and to do that I need some rest. Since it's just the first night it won't be too active after the nurses."

"How did you get them to stop? If it was the nurses how did you get them to stop?" Lindsey looked up at her.

Catherine sighed. "I don't know. I've always suspected that after Cricket died I received part of his power. I don't know if it was something I've always been able to do, or if it was something her gave me. Maybe it's something to do with Prudence. Who fucking knows the rules about any of this shit?"

With that, Catherine went upstairs and went to her room and laid down. She stared out the window and wondered about Dylan, taking out her hidden cell phone. She called the number and waited. After a few rings it went to voicemail. "Dylan baby. I don't know when you'll get this but I love you. Rory's been hurt. I did what I could, he's barely hanging on. I- I can't do this without you love. I need you Dylan. If I don't get out of this without seeing you one last time, just know you gave me the best time of my life. I love you so much Dylan." She hung up the phone and tried beyond all doubts to fall asleep.

The next morning Catherine woke and immediately checked on Rory, who somehow looked better than he did before. "Rory? Can you hear me?" Audrey was asleep with her head on his bare chest.

Rory stirred and nodded. "She said you saved my life. You healed me."

"I did the best I could with what I had. Do you think you can make a walk? I think we should head to Sidney's trailer and get the car there, and then get the fuck out of here."

"What makes you think Sidney has a car at the trailer?"

"Do you honestly think Sidney Aaron James, the modern day embodiment of Narcissus, wouldn't have a car there to save his ass in case things went to shit?"

Rory chuckled. "You got me there." He tried to sit up and winced.

"Don't. You'll rip the stitches without help. I'm trying my best to get you out of here in one piece and you're gonna mess up my work?" Catherine said the last part teasingly and Rory laid back down.

Suddenly a scream pierced the calm. "Shelby!" Catherine sprinted up the stairs behind Dominic to her sister's old bedroom. She saw Agnes standing over her sister, who was bleeding profusely and slumped against the closet door. Agnes held a cleaver high above her head, ready to strike.

"Get away from her you crazy bitch!" Catherine went to run at her, but Dominic beat her to it with a tackle that would put a linebacker to shame. The cleave clattered to the floor and Catherine ran to Shelby, helping her up and out of the room. The mirror shattered and Agnes fell the the floor in a clump.

Catherine helped Shelby down the stairs and Audrey ran towards her. "Get her in the kitchen. I'll help dress the would after you and Dominic take care of Agnes."

Catherine nodded and went back upstairs. Dominic went with her, but when they got to the bedroom Agnes was gone. "Fuck. Shit!" Catherine kicked the dresser with the flat of her foot, grabbed her duffel bag out of her bedroom, went back downstairs.

"Agnes is gone. Audrey, change Rory's bandages regularly. I'm gonna find Agnes and take care of her, keep her away from the lot of you. If I'm not back by sundown, assume the worst. I have instructions and supplies for a ritual to stop the spirits here. Do it as best as you can as sunset and you should be safe. Got it?" Audrey stopped wiping Shelby's wound clean and nodded at Catherine, while Matt helped Rory sit up. Catherine crossed to Shelby and kissed her forehead. "Be safe Shelby. I'll come back for you I swear to God."

Catherine went outside and saw Agnes. "You sick bitch!" She took a tranquilizer out of her jacket and a gun. Agnes stepped towards her, cleaver high.

"Catherine Nolan, you should not have returned to these hallowed grounds!"

"You wanna fucking hurt someone Agnes, huh? You want me bitch? Come and get me motherfucker!" And with that, Catherine turned on her heel and ran into the forest, hearing Agnes roaring and running behind her.

Chapter Text

Dylan paced the well tread carpet floor of his hotel room. He was worried. Catherine hadn't answered the phone when he called. They had agreed to only use their burner phones in case of an emergency. Sidney had personally escorted him to this hotel room, saying that everyone would be arriving at the house together tomorrow morning. But where was everyone? Catherine at least should be in the same hotel as him, if not the same room. Something wasn't right, and he had a gut feeling he needed to get out of the hotel room as quickly as he could. He had already tried getting to his vehicle, only to find that Sidney had confiscated it at the front desk. He tried ordering an Uber or a Lyft, but had found that his account was temporarily disabled by Sidney until tomorrow morning. He swore and sat down on the bed, noticing too late that his burner was vibrating. He went to pick it up but was too late. His heart sank as the call went to voicemail. Catherine needed his help. He tried calling Sidney, but there was no response. He ran a hand through his hair and listened to Catherine's voicemail.

"Dylan baby. I don't know when you'll get this but I love you. Rory's been hurt. I did what I could, he's barely hanging on. I- I can't do this without you love. I need you Dylan. If I don't get out of this without seeing you one last time, just know you gave me the best time of my life. I love you so much Dylan." Dylan bit his lip and sank down on the bed.

His wife was in danger, and he couldn't do anything to help. He started formulating a plan as fast as he could. But first, he was gonna call Catherine and let her know help was on the way.

His heart sank when Catherine didn't pick up the phone. That was not a good sign. "Kitty Cat, babe, it's me. I'm stuck in a hotel that Sidney put me in. I'm gonna be there as soon as I can okay? Help is coming baby. I love you." He hung up the phone and went back to figuring out his strategy to save his wife.

~~~~

Catherine ran until it caused her pain, and then she kept going. She could still hear Agnes behind her. She stopped by what must be Sidney's production trailer and hid so she could try and get the jump on her. As she was catching her breath, she noticed blood on the ground. Looking around further, she saw three bodies. She gasped and bit back a scream, remembering that Agnes was still after her. She hid herself again, waiting for the perfect opportunity to attack.

Agnes stopped when she reached the clearing, seemingly distressed by the bodies there. She searched for Catherine, but not very hard. At the moment Catherine chose to attack, she ran back into the woods, drawn by something Catherine couldn't see.

Catherine leaned back against the trailer, breathing heavily. She ran a hand through her hair and sighed. She looked over at the bodies and recognized Sidney among them, as well as his personal cameraman, and Alyssa. Her heart broke at the sight of Alyssa, who had a young daughter at home. She walked over to the bodies, and decided to search them for keys, any tool that could help her and the others escape. When she touched Sidney's hand he jolted up, paler than death and gripped her wrist. Catherine let out a small shriek. His face was covered in nearly black veins, his pupils retaining almost none of their original color. The rasp of his voice startled her; it was like a constant death rattle. 

"Catherine. You were right. Run. He's looking for you. Go. Don't worry about the others, they'll just slow you down." Sidney was speaking, but she could tell he was dead. His intestines on the ground next to his body ensured that.

"How are you talking to me?!"

Sidney smiled. "I always had a thing for you Cat. I always thought you were cute. I was jealous of Dylan you know."

"Sidney that didn't answer my question."

"There's still so much you have to learn. You need to go. Run!" Sidney let go of her wrist with a push and his body fell back down as if it had never been disturbed, his face taking the same expression it had before he spoke to her.

Catherine was astonished. She didn't know if she was going mad, or if this was some strange gift from Cricket. Her heart hurt, wishing she had had more time to learn from him about the gift they shared. She touched Sidney's wrist again, waiting for a reaction from him. Sidney didn't move, didn't blink, and certainly didn't breathe.

It was so dark in the woods. She had forgotten how fast the day would go during the cycle of the blood moon. The sun only granted a brief reprieve from the bloodshed.

Catherine heard the voices of Audrey, Monet, and Lee approaching and she stood slowly and turned to face them.

"Catherine!" Audrey came running and hugged her. "We thought Agnes had gotten you!"

"So why aren't you at the house doing the ritual?"

"We needed to find an ambulance for Shelby."

Catherine stiffened and glared at Lee. "You left her and Rory alone?"

"Matt and Dominic are both with them. They'll be fine Catherine."

"Will any of us be fine Lee?"

There was quiet and then Audrey screamed as they discovered the bodies. The trio argued while Catherine tried to locate the keys to the car that was parked in front of the trailer. She found them and tried starting the car.

"Fuck! The car won't start. It'll have to be hot wired." Catherine hit the steering wheel and got out of the car. She almost didn't notice when Agnes nearly got her with the cleaver. Diving out of the way, she quickly turned around on the ground and got a shot off. It narrowly missed Agnes's neck, but only because Lee's shot hit her in the shoulder.

Monet grabbed Catherine by the armpits and helped her up, running to the forest with the rest of the group. As they hid, they could hear Rory's voice.

"Audrey! Audrey babe where are you?"

Catherine saw the torches coming and swore. Audrey went to respond and Catherine covered her mouth as she whispered. "Don't! If you scream now, the whole mob will come for us. We'll try to help him I promise."

Rory kept calling out for Audrey, and Catherine swore she could see him through the brush. The bad news was that the mob was coming for him. Her heart fell in her chest, knowing there were two choices she could make. Distract the crowd, where Ambrose most certainly was, and help Rory get away, or let Rory get caught. She made her decision and stood. "Stay here. Don't come for me."

As she took her first steps toward the crowd, she was grabbed by the wrist and pulled into a man. When she looked up she fully expected Ambrose. Instead she saw a man with a grey beard who was wearing bib overalls. She tried fighting him off and he twisted her wrist, very nearly snapping the bone. She bit back the scream in her throat as she turned and stepped on the man's foot. He swore and bit her shoulder. Catherine drove her elbow into his nose, hearing the bone snap and feeling her flesh tear. She could not hold that scream back, but hers wasn't the only one she heard.

Rory's bloodcurdling scream pierced the air as another man came from the wounds with a long cow prodder. He stuck it into her ribs and Catherine shrieked, trying to stand tall. He shocked her again and this time she fell to her knees. The burner phone in her pocket began to ring. As she tried to crawl away, she felt a boot kick her head and her world went black.