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Paint It Black

Chapter Text

17th March 2013 

“Can you tell us what happened?”

There was no answer to the question, the only other noise filling the room was the buzzing of the overhead florescent light that illuminate three figures in the stark white room. A woman dressed in a suit and another man donning an olive shirt with a golden star on his left breast sat opposite a young woman. The latter was still, hazel eyes unseeing as they stayed fixated on the piece of paper and the yellow pencil that was situated beside it. 

The awareness that she could no longer speak brought her back to present, the loss of a normal familiar weight in her mouth making her breathe a little quicker. She blinked, clarity coming back into her gaze that fell to her dark hands that had a slight tremor to them. She spotted something dark underneath her fingernails and upon closer inspection she realised it was dried blood. 

Then everything came back in a sudden flash.

The screech of tires deafened her ear drums, making her jolt in her seat, the two opposite sharing a concerned glance, unaware of the images flashing before her eyes. She remembered the screams of her sister as someone dragged her away. A gunshot rang next and blood coated half of her face, entering her mouth to which to threw up violently after.

There was more cries, this befalling from her own lips as they held a knife in her throat. It remained there, slicing her soft flesh as the man stared at her through yellow tinted glasses. His voice was gentle and calm despite the very clear threat his words portrayed that had struck fear into her heart. When she closed her eyes at night, all she could see where two sapphire eyes glistening down at her, like T.J Eckleburg’s had done over the Valley of the Ashes, ever watching, ever knowing, something she couldn’t escape. 

There was a gentle pressure on her forearm that brought her back to the present and she snapped her head up from where it had been bowed over. Her chin length black hair whipped around her face, heavy strands falling over her left eye as her right stared wildly at Whitehorse before her, who watched her with a pained expression. The woman beside him could only watch on in bewilderment. 

“Maggie, you’re alright. You’re okay, sweetheart, you’re safe,” He told her, his thick accent gentle, his words acting like a warm embrace that made her relax. 

It was only then did she realise that her right hand had been gripping the pencil, her other hand flat against the table’s surface, holding the piece of paper down. Maggie let go of the pencil just as Whitehorse’s grasp fell away. The pencil rolled across the table, teetering off the edge and landing on the ground with a clatter that she didn’t pay any mind to, instead her gaze focused on the words that she had written on the paper over and over.

Genesis 3:1   

‘Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made’  

You are the Snake in our Garden.

The words echoed in my mind, the calming voice ringing in her eyes. And all Maggie could do was stare at Whitehorse in fear. 

Chapter Text

20th April 2013

There was nothing but grey painted across the sky today. Dark clouds hung heavily above, sagging from the burden of their weight as the condensation within them grew. A strong wind howled through the air, shaking nearby trees violently and rattling windows, a telltale sign that a storm was rapidly approaching the small town of Fall’s End. 

The doors to the Church opened, pushing against the wind as several people milled out, all donned in black. Six people held a black, sleek coffin between them, arms outstretched and gripping each other shoulders so they could bring each other strength. Those who were not holding the coffin ambled behind the six, heads bowed and clasped at their fronts as they followed behind. The Ryes, the Drubmans, the Fairgraves, the Neilssons, Whitehorse and even the Mayor were all in attendance, though most knew it was out of respect for Dinah and the circumstances surrounding Elijah’s death that brought them all here. There was a distinct lack of tears amongst the small crowd, instead, expressions remained somber, some of them even blank. 

 

Elijah Monroe was not a well-liked man. 

 

Throughout the Valley, he was known as the useless drunk who would sit in the Spread Eagle all day and stumble on home when the sun had dipped below the horizon to beat his wife and eldest child black and blue before repeating it all again the next day. His violence only increased when Earl Whitehorse had arrived on the scene, an old childhood friend of his wife’s and fell suddenly pregnant despite being unable to convince in the ten years since the birth of their eldest. 

 

His beatings had become so bad that it had left Maggie in a broken state, spending six months in the local hospital. It was at that point that his acts began to have consequences. Elijah was thrown into prison, remaining behind bars for eight years with sentences of attempted murder, child and domestic abuse. Even after he was released he remained a pariah amongst the community and remained that way until his tragic death.

 

The small number of people weren’t here for Elijah, no.

 

They were here for Ada Monroe. 

 

It’s been two months since the dubbed ’Incident’ had occurred that resulted in Elijah’s death and Ada’s subsequent disappearance. The case had been closed last week, the official ruling is that Ada had killed her father, harmed her sister before running away lest she reap the consequences. At first, the FBI had been involved, believing that the newfound Project at Eden’s Gate (the Cult arriving in Hope County two years prior) had played a part. Their lawyer, John Seed had given alibis for all individuals who were suspected to be involved and the Project had been left alone. All evidence had pointed in the direction that Ada was the culprit and wanted posters were displayed across every notice boards in the County. 

 

But deep down, everyone knew there was more to it than what was put down on paper. How was it possible for the angelic, not a single bad bone in her body, Ada Monroe, to commit such an atrocity? Because it simply wasn’t possible. No one knew the real truth.

 

Except for one person. 

 

In the far distance from the church, a figure sat with her back propped up against the fence in a playing field. A bottle of beer was clutched her hand, gripping it like it was her only lifeline. Next to her outstretched leg lay her significant copper-coloured aluminium bat, the metal scratched and weathered. Her Hope County Cougar hat sat securely on her head, the cap pulled down so that it could hide her red-rimmed eyes. Her hand shook as she brought the beer to her lips, the bitter taste washing over what was left of her tongue and she quickly swallowed it down. When she noticed the sea of black slowly washing its way over to the back of the church, she screwed her eyes shut, not wanting to register what was happening. 

 

Maggie didn’t want to comprehend what was happening because in her eyes it simply wasn’t happening. In her mind’s eye, she was sitting with her sister on their mother’s porch, the sun dipping lower and lower into the evening sky as Ada played a melody on her guitar. She could hear her younger sister’s beautiful voice carry through the wind, like a sweet lullaby that would always put her into a peaceful sleep. Her mother was there too, watching her children with a warm smile on her face, her arm wrapped around Whitehorse’s middle and his own arm slung over his fiancée’s shoulder. Maggie thought of her father then. While the two had the worst relationship known to man, she could remember the old movies they used to watch together, from the likes of Dr Strangelove to Psycho or even her own personal favourite, the Wizard of Oz. 

 

But even as she thought about them all, she knew she was painting herself a pretty lie. 

 

Ever since her baseball career kicked off, she had placed that first and her family along with her best friend second. And it had come to be one the biggest regrets of her life giving the state of what was happening now. With more negative thoughts came the memories of that night. By some luck, before she could ponder of what happened more, someone touched her arm. 

 

Her eyes shot open and she bolted up in a knee-jerk reaction, grabbing her bat and rising it as she did, ready to strike whoever touched her. The person before her was a blur and it was then when she felt something wet on her cheeks. Maggie blinked rapidly, willing the tears away as her vision became clearer and she saw who it was. Her best friend, Ariadne Neilsson, stood before her, arms raised and Maggie caught fear flickering across her features before it settled on worry. Whitehorse was behind her friend, Dinah next to him, clutching her fiancé’s hand tightly, the pair staring at her as well. Maggie looked away from her mother, unable to look her in the eye, instead her focus settling on her friend, using her as an anchor to bring her back to reality.  Maggie dropped the baseball bat and Ariadne approached carefully, reaching a hand out to softly touch her friend’s hand that dangled limply at her side. 

 

“C’mon, they’ve having a wake in your mom’s home, let’s go,” She told her carefully and Maggie could only nod numbly, her body feeling weary and sluggish. 

 

Ariadne’s hand that was still brushing over Maggie’s, edging her fingers closer and curling them into Maggie’s palm. There was a gentle pressure around her hand and Maggie barely registered Ariadne squeezing her hand, before tugging her forward. Maggie stumbled forward, following behind everyone else, her head bowed, eyes staring at her trainers. Another hand came to clutch her other one, its texture weathered and size small that caused Maggie to lift her eyes to give a brief glance to her left, taking note of her mother beside her. Dinah’s head inched to towards Maggie but the latter quickly looked away, focusing on Ari like she had done earlier. 

 

Wanting to distract herself, Maggie studied her friend briefly, taking note of her appearance first. Her dirty blonde hair was pulled back into a tight bun, her full undercut on show. Ari’s normal sparkling sapphires were dull, almost grey in colour, reflecting the melancholy she felt deep inside. Maggie blinked, realising that Ariadne probably understood her situation more than anyone else for Ariadne’s mother had gone missing a year and a half ago. That was extent of her knowledge about the situation and Maggie felt her stomach clench, a strong wave of guilt churning within her, her hand clenching Ariadne’s subconsciously, which caused her friend to turn and face her.   Ariadne’s face lifted slightly, a small smile blooming on her lips, something that made Maggie feel warm and the corners of her lips quirked up. They broke eye contact and Ariadne rested her head on Maggie’s upper arm; Maggie moving her hand so that she could lacing their fingers together. She didn’t deserve Ariadne Neilsson as her best friend, far from it. Ariadne deserved better than a friend who hardly gave her the time of day once fame went to her head.

 

“We’re here,” Dinah commented, her hand falling away from her daughters and Maggie immediately missed the contact. 

 

In the corner of her eye, she saw her mother edge closer to her, standing on the tips of her toes to reach her cheek, pressing a chaste kiss there. Dinah returned to her normal height then, grabbing Whitehorse’s hand again as the two ventured into the house. Maggie felt like her feet were glued to the pavement, chest feeling tight and coiled, afraid to go into her childhood home. The last time she had been here was six months ago for Ada’s seventeenth birthday, an event she almost didn’t make it to because she had a baseball game. Maggie didn’t want to want to enter, knowing that the reality she tried so hard to deny would hit her all at once and she wasn’t sure what she could do. 

 

“Hey,” Maggie’s head turned, following Ariadne’s soft voice, blue meeting hazel.  

 

“You’re gonna be alright, there aren’t too many people, we can go straight to your room if you want?” Maggie nodded quickly, giving Ariadne a grateful smile, which her friend quickly returned. 

 

The pair made their way over to the front door, Ariadne latching a hand on the doorknob, pulling the handle down and entering first, voices clear from inside. Maggie stumbled in after her and a hush fell around the room, causing Maggie’s shoulder to tense up. She could feel the heat of their gazes and she took a deep breath, squeezing Ariadne’s hand. A flash of bravery overcame her then and she snapped her head up, morphing her features into a blank expression. Everyone in the the room was staring at her, uncaring that they were doing so and she felt her face heat up. Some looked away, having the decency to look ashamed, save for four individuals in the back, her eyes drifting over to them. 

 

The four were huddled together in a tight circle, speaking quietly amongst themselves in the kitchen, away from everyone else. The two facing her were two men she didn’t fully know but she’d seen their faces somewhere before, the shorter one she recognised more than the redhead. The only woman amongst them turned her head to the left, a smile on her soft face as her mother approached them, her blonde hair brushing against her shoulder. Maggie felt her breath leave her chest when the overhanging light glinted against yellow lenses as the last man inclined his head in Dinah’s direction. A hand that had a rosary wrapped around its palm, lifted, coming to caress her mother’s shoulder, bowing his head to exchange words with her more closely. Maggie’s heart sped up, blood pumping through her ears, drowning out all the surrounding noise as she watched her mothers gaze turn towards her and in turn, so did his. 

 

When Joseph Seed locked eyes with Maggie, her breath caught in her throat, her chest impossibly tight that she struggled to breathe. She untangled her hand from Ariadne’s, stumbling backwards, desperately wanting, needing to escape from this house and all the memories it brought with. She had heard a frantic call of her name from behind her but she was rushing out of the door without a second thought, running past the fence. Her body taking over from her mind that ran haywire, her legs taking her into the depths of the Valley’s surrounding forests. Outstretched branches snagged on her suit, ripping the fabric and scratching her face but she paid no mind to it. And so she ran, ran as fast as her legs would allow her. Even when the heavens opened and the rain came down heavily, she kept going until her foot caught itself on her thick tree root. 

 

Maggie gave a cry as she tripped, her hat tumbling off her head as she landed hard on her front, face colliding with the must ground. She lifted body up with shaky limbs, though she stilled in a crouched position, her forehead pressing against the wet ground. Animals observed on between the trees as screams of agony fell from her mouth, the grief that she had tried to hard to withhold and deny completely consuming her. Maggie’s cries were lost in the howling wind, only being heard by her own ears, her body shaking completely.

 

Her sobs died down then, her throat having become to too hoarse to even create sound. Despite how weary her body felt, she managed to move upright, her head angling up so that she could stare up at the now starry night sky, the moon illuminating her weary face. The heavy rain still poured and she was grateful for it, the water washing away the mud and the tautness in her body. She fell backwards then, landing with a disgusting squelch into the mud behind her, her arms and legs outspread beside her. Maggie told herself that she’d stay here for a few moments more before she moved on, knowing it wasn’t wise to sit here getting soaked to the bone, she certainly didn’t want to pneumonia. For now, she lay there, more at ease than she’d ever felt before.

 

Something sparked deep within her then, something that caused her hands to clench into fists, embers burning a bit brighter.

 

Something like Wrath.

Chapter Text

29th June 2013

 

The music pumping across the main room of the Spread Eagle was borderline deafening, its vibrations felt by every patron. It was a Saturday night and the majority of Hope County were in the bar, all celebrating the Hope County Cougars women’s team victory in winning their first major league game. At the last moment, the recently returned Maggie Monroe had managed to strike a home run that had won them the game. The team were all huddled together in the furthest corner of the room, trying to hide away from prying eyes to enable them some privacy but most, especially the men, stared. 

 

The woman in the corner ignored the stares, all laughing and drinking together, save for Maggie who sat in the shadows beside them all, feeling out of place in this situation. Months ago, she would’ve been in the centre of the team, everyone trying to grab her attention or cheering, screaming her name as she did ten shots at once. But now she was a shell of who she once was, barely interacting with anyone at all as she nursed a beer, the bottle in her hand, warm. She was an outsider to the team she once saw as family and the way they acted didn’t make her feel any better about herself. 

 

When she came back to baseball last month (after she begged her manager to take her back), everyone walked on eggshells around her, giving her looks of pity and going to undoubtedly talk about her behind her back. It wasn’t even like they could avoid her as she was the team captain and they had to listen to her input. Well, someone had to translate what she signed to them in order to heed her advice. 

 

And she absolutely despised it.

 

Ever since her father’s funeral, she felt a deep anger simmering within her gut that burned brighter with every sympathetic glance, every soothing hug or every whisper about her. Baseball helped her channel out her inner wrath, putting the intensity of the emotion into each strike and letting herself cool down as she ran the bases. But she found that the outlet was becoming harder to control her anger, especially due to what she’d heard last week. 

 

After practice, she went straight for the showers, whilst everyone else went to the locker room. Once she’d finished she ambled back to the locker room but stilled when she heard her name. She heard them laugh and whisper at her trauma, saying that it was about time something bad happened in her perfect little life. Someone even had the audacity to say that perhaps she was the one who killed her father and did the same to her sister, hiding her body somewhere in the County’s woods and cutting out her own tongue simply because she wanted the attention. After that comment, she walked in, fixed them all a steely glare that had shut them up before she grabbed her belongings and stuck her middle finger up on the way out, still bucked naked under her towel. 

 

Maggie stood up abruptly, not wanting her thoughts to linger too long and besides, her drink was far too warm in her hand and she felt like she needed something stronger than Whistling Beaver beer to get her through the night, she’d only been here for an hour and a half. A few teammates glanced her way before turning back to their conversations, whilst others ignored her completely and she rolled her eyes.

 

She squeezed and pushed her way through the sea of people, thankful that she was tall and built well enough to withstand the strong waves that pushed and pulled her between various people. Maggie stumbled once she broke free of the crowd, her chest feeling a little lighter now that she wasn’t pressed against sweaty bodies. She adjusted her leather jacket before wandering over to the stool situated in the middle, eyes catching onto a woman with a plait draped across her shoulder who was staring at her, her mouth slightly agape. An older man, whose hair was salt and pepper in shade, elbowed the lady and then snapped her head to the side, a faint blush dusting her cheeks that caused Maggie to raise her left eyebrow in confusion. For now, Maggie turned away from the mysterious woman, instead, locking gazes with Ariadne, who winked at Maggie, gesturing her head to the woman and the baseball player snorted. 

 

She sat in her seat then, placing her beer to the side and resting her forearms on the countertop, signing to Ariadne what she wanted. Her friend gave her a short nod before going about making Maggie’s drink and all the while Maggie stared at Ariadne, though her eyes were glazed over as her thoughts took over. Ariadne had been the one to find her sprawled out in the mud all those weeks ago when she’d run off after seeing the Devil himself in her childhood home. Her friend had wrapped a towel around her, escorted her into her truck before driving to her home in the Moonflower Trailer Park. There, Ariadne had showered with her and Maggie had felt too numb to feel any shame of being stark naked in the shower with Ari. They flopped into bed after, Ari’s arms winding tight around Maggie’s middle, holding her as she wept more, this time able to fully let go of her inner anguish in front of the person she trusted the most. 

 

The next morning, no words were shared between them, there didn’t need to be because Ariadne understood her completely and Maggie was grateful for it. Ever since then, the two had been inseparable, with Ariadne practically moving into Maggie’s apartment located in Missoula, always over after her shift at the Spread Eagle or spending time there on her day off. Maggie could tell there was something more to it all then keeping Maggie company, always spotting a glimmer of sorrow in her eyes before it vanished and was replaced with her normal mischievous glint whenever they made eye contact. After a while, Maggie didn’t question it but made a note to ask her friend one day when she had the chance. 

She was pulled out of thoughts when Ariadne slid her drink over the counter and Maggie gave her a quick smile, lifting her hands up to sign her thanks. Ariadne lent forward and Maggie mimicked her, bringing her drink to her lips as she did so

 

“Not a good night?” Ariadne yelled in her ear that made her flinch back slightly but she tried to keep it covered up by leaning back with a look of indifference. She placed her drink down again to be able to free hands, catching the brunette watching her again, which she tried to ignore. 

 

‘It’s absolutely shit, I think I’m going to go home after this drink,’ She informed Ariadne with a flurry of her hands, taking another sip of her drink after. 

 

Ariadne frowned, glancing behind her to look at the clock, the hands positioned at ten to eleven. She turned back to Maggie, the frown on her face still. 

 

“You can stay at mine, there’s no way I’m letting you drive home so just walk over, I don’t get off until one and it’s too busy to ask Gary to let me off early,”

 

This time, Maggie frowned, not wanting to seem like a burden; she’d only had three drinks and she didn’t even feel a slight buzz. She moved her fingers across her hand, ready to protest but Ariadne grabbed her hand quickly, something that caused Maggie to tense up and Ariadne let go of her hand quickly, sending her an apologetic glance. 

 

“I’m not hearing any protests, I’ll grab my key in fifteen minutes when I’m on my break and I’ll meet you out front,” Ariadne shouted, giving Maggie a final look that made her roll her eyes playfully before Ariadne moved away to deal with a customer was waiting rather impatient beside her. 

 

Maggie gulped down her drink,  the vodka in her drink burning her throat and soothed by the refreshing taste of coke and she placed the glass on the counter carefully. She took a deep breath, glancing to the right where the olive-skinned woman sat, her back to Maggie now, her gaze focused on the man in front of her. She must have stared for a little too long because the woman started to turn and Maggie quickly snapped her head forward, hand coming to scratch the side the of her head, feeling shameful.

 

Normally Maggie wouldn’t be ashamed to turn away, she would smirk at the woman, shuffling her way over and charming the pants off of a lady. After a while, Maggie would have fixed her with a particular look, grabbing her hand and she would smile as the other woman’s pupils would dilate. They’d run off to the bathroom then or go into an alleyway where Maggie would press her lips to against the woman’s neck, hand travelling down to the lady’s thigh, or if she liked the woman enough, kissing down her stomach to put her head between her thighs. After the other woman had done the same, Maggie would give the woman a kiss and promptly leave with a wink.

 

A spike of anger shot through her and it wasn’t directed towards someone else but rather at herself. Maggie stood up from her seat and promptly left, not sparing the nameless woman another glance despite emerald eyes following her on the way out. She needed a goddamn cigarette to calm her down otherwise she might explode. The warm June air greeted her as she stepped out of the Spread Eagle, a slight breeze passing over her dark skin and combing through her ebony locks. Maggie wandered over to the fence as she stuffed her hand in her jacket pocket, fingers wrapping around her cigarette box and pulled it out. She leant forward, bending down significantly just so her forearms would be able to rest of the fence, bringing the cigarette to her lips and putting the box away she fetched for her lighter. Her thoughts consumed her again, something that seemed to happen a lot lately, as her body worked automatically. 

 

Romantic relationships had been a part of life that had never quite worked for Maggie. The first relationship she’d ever witness was the one between her biological father and her mother, one that hadn’t be perfect and had made her, timid, about searching for a relationship. Whilst her mother was now in a loving relationship with Maggie’s adoptive father, it still didn’t change how she felt. It’s not that she was totally against the idea, far from it, how she felt about people just made it little more complicated. 

 

Simply put, Maggie was a whole ass lesbian.

 

In high school, when she was in junior year, her first boyfriend was a guy called Jackson Frye. He was one of the most famous baseball players on the men’s team in school and she the same, but on woman’s baseball team. In cliché fashion, they ended up together, she supposed he was pretty cute but she didn’t view him as a romantic partner, friend more than anything. Every time he would kiss her, hold her hand or gave even her a wink, it made her comfortable. More often than not her attention would be drawn to the cheerleaders at the boys' games, lingering eyes on cute girls in the hallways and touches with other girls, namely Grace Armstrong, that set her skin on fire. 

 

The feelings had become so strong that Maggie had panicked, scared that she felt like way towards girls and the consequences it would have living in conservative Hope County where ugly fat old white men who practically owned the county frowned upon that type of behaviour. Maggie had confided with Ariadne about this and her friend had been a great comfort to her, Ari herself admitted she like girls just as much as she liked boys. Her best friend told her not to be afraid of how she felt, that Maggie should be damn proud about it and she should, quote ‘go and kiss the Hell out of Grace Armstrong who definitely felt the same way’. 

 

And so she did.

 

The next day, she took Jackson to the bleachers where they’d normally make out and admitted everything to him, trusting him with how she felt, only for it to be thrown back in her face as he punched her. She flinched thinking about it now and brought the half-lit cigarette to her lips to calm her nerves, her hand shaking. He’d spat in her face, shoving her to the ground as he kicked her over and over, spewing homophobic slurs until she lost consciousness. When she finally came to, she woke up in the hospital, a place she’d become too many times as a child. Her mother and her sister had been by her bedside, dried tears on their cheeks, eyes bloodshot from the lack of sleep. Dinah told her that she’d cracked a rib, broken her wrist and her nose and Maggie was impressed, never taking Jackson for such a weak bitch. When Earl had come in with another police officer, the latter the only one who was allowed to interview her due to Earl’s personal involvement, she told him everything to him, not even afraid to admit she was a lesbian in front of her family. Once her statement had been taken and the Deputy left, there had been an awkward silence that made Maggie reconsider whether or not coming out had been the best idea. But a few seconds later, her mother had taken her hand, Ada the other while Earl ruffled her hair and she knew then, they accepted her (which had caused her to burst out in tears of joy). 

 

Jackson had been arrested and sent to juvenile prison for assault, his baseball career over whilst hers grew bigger and brighter. She called it poetic justice. The next time she had been in school, she held her head high, wearing her black eye with pride and rolling her eyes at the few conservative idiots that sneered at her. She had walked up to Grace, taking the woman’s face in her hands before diving in for a kiss that had been returned. Grace Armstrong had been Maggie’s first love and she still cared about the woman deeply to this day despite having only seeing each other a few times since Grace joined the army and their relationship ended. Since then, Maggie’s romantic relationships had been few and in between, finding that no one quite clicked for her like Grace had. Her last girlfriend, Julia, had broken up with Maggie after her injuries, claiming that ‘she didn’t want to be with a broken woman’. 

 

Her cigarette reached its end, burning her fingers slightly, so she reached down to snuff the sparks out on the nearby ashtray. The door behind her opened, ABBA’s Super Trooper spilling out from inside that made her straight up and turn around, a slight smile on her face, expecting Ariadne to be there. It fell away however when she noticed who was standing there; Jackson Frye. Speak of the fucking Devil and he shall appear. He was as ugly as she remembered, if not worse. He’d gained a little weight, a poor excuse for a beard littered across the lower half of his face, his thin lips were cracked and his blue eyes were a bloodshot and dilated; a clear sign that he was high. 

 

Jackson was with an unrecognisable woman, a woman, Samara, who was a part of her baseball team and a man who she recognised from high school. Maggie turned around quickly, trying to avoid being detected, grabbing her phone to distract herself but she had been too slow because someone out of the four had spotted her. 

 

“Holy shit, is that Maggie Monroe?” One of the unrecognisable woman attempted it whisper but it was more of a yell in her clearly drunken state. Maggie tensed up immediately and tried to pretend they weren’t there, the blood underneath her sin starting to simmer. 

 

“Well, well, well,” The smug little voice that she absolutely despised rang through the air loud and clear, the sound of his pathetic little voice making her clutch her phone tightly. 

 

“Do you know her?” It was Samara this time, confusion clear in her voice. 

 

“Do I know her? We used to date in high school until she told me that dick wasn’t good enough for her and ruined my life,” Jackson told his group of friends, spitting the words out like venom.

 

Samara murmured something that was lost to Maggie as she whirled around, ready to give him a piece of her mind. She opened her mouth to do so but her jaw locked firmly shut when she remembered that she couldn’t scream at him.

 

“Oooooh that’s right, cat got your tongue huh? Heard about what happened,” He started. 

 

Samara grabbed his arm tightly, Maggie feeling glad someone was coming to her defense, the other two were just staring, one who had their phone angled rather suspiciously. Jackson shrugged Samara’s arm off of him, instead coming to walk towards Maggie. The latter stood with her shoulders hunched, hands clenched into fists by her side, nails digging her skin and her nostrils flaring. If he even mentioned another word about the incident, she wouldn’t hesitate to punch him in his smug little face, consequences be damned.

 

“A damn awful shame if I’m honest, especially about your sister, not so much about your Dad, he was a real piece of work!” She remained rooted to her spot, even as Jackson came to a stop before her, only a few inches away from her. 

 

He was the same height as her so her hazel eyes stared directly into his own that were bright with mirth. His alcohol tainted breath wafted over her face and she almost recoiled slightly at the disgusting smell, almost being that she didn’t want him to see how much he was affecting her right now and not at all in a good way. The longer she stared at his smug face, the harder she found it to control herself. At this point, the fists at her side were shaking and she felt something trickle out of her palm, flow down her knuckles and drip off the edge of them. 

 

“If I’m honest, I wish I was there myself, your sister cutting your tongue out to shut you up would have been very satisfying,” He teased and Maggie reacted without even thinking about it, something dark snapping inside of her.

 

Her hands travelled up to press themselves against Jackson’s chest, curling around and collected the fabric of his blue flannel into her fists. With all her strength she lifted Jackson up and the man’s eyes grew impossibly wide as she spun them both around to slam Jackson’s back into the post she was once resting against. Her hands remained glued to his shirt that was bundled around his neck with Jackson positioned so that he was held above her, arms quaking from the weight of him but the adrenaline and pure anger flowing from her veins gave her enough strength to keep him there. Maggie’s teeth were bared now, sharp pearly whites gleaming against the harsh glow of the Spread Eagle’s sign. Hands clawed at her shoulders but she was rigid in her form, Jackson’s rapidly reddening face the only thing she wanted to focus on. 

 

How dare he just waltz back into her life after killing her and start spouting out shit about the Incident and spewing lies about her sister in front of people? All the anger that had been brewing within her gut over the past few months; over herself and what happened, had now taken complete hold of her and Jackson was on the unfortunate end of it. She wanted to hurt him. She wanted to beat him senseless, black and blue, to make him hurt just as much as he had hurt her.

 

“C’mon Monroe, show me the snake you are,” 

 

Maggie’s vision blurred and suddenly wasn’t Jackson she was holding but instead a man wearing yellow tinted glasses. 

 

She dropped him as though he had burned her and she back away from his coughing and spluttering self, the hands once clutching her back falling away. Her fury started to simmer away as panic took hold, its invisible hands wrapped themselves around her neck and pressing against her chest, making it difficult for her to breath. Maggie stumbled away from the small crowd before her, the other three shaping into black, faceless figures that left her hands shaking. She tried to blink the darkness away but it was in vain for they all still loomed in her vision now huddling around the blue-eyed monster, who drew closer and closer to her before she had the chance to act. Strong arms wrapped around her middle and suddenly she was falling backwards, her head colliding with the wooden panels below, making her see stars. 

 

Something hard slammed against her nose and she felt something pop then liquid gushed out of her nose. The force came again, smashing into her cheek and her head snapped to the side, agony blooming against her skin and bone. With each subsequent hit, her Wrath grew and grew until a wildfire spread across her entire being and her hand snapped up to catch the approaching fist that she felt coming her way, her now only non-injured eye fluttering open to stare at the blurry figure above her. 

 

She would not let herself be hurt by him anymore, she wouldn’t allow a repeat of what happened again, not while her anger burned through her blood. She flung the wrist to her side so that she could grab the back of his neck, bringing her head up to whack her forehead against his. Maggie barely registered the pain, the adrenaline pumping around her body protecting her from the shock of it. Meanwhile, the man grabbed his nose and he was pulled up by a figure behind him, the other two seemingly vanished from the scene. Maggie, however, wasted no more time thinking about that, shooting up from her position on the floor, despite her body screaming at her not to and charged. 

 

She grabbed the front of his shirt again, bringing him forward for a few seconds to stare into his eyes, which were wide in fear and something along the lines of glee tickled the back of her head before she threw him to the side. He flew to her right, going over the fence and landing on the road in front of the Spread Eagle with a loud smack. Maggie hopped over the fence, wanting, needing to hurt him more. She wanted to hit him until her hands went numb, she needed him to understand the pain he put her through, what he was undoubtedly doing to her sister right now in the depths of his compound. She stalked forward, her steps slow, taunting him as he crawled away from her to little avail. Just as she reached the edge of his boots, she was side tackled and she slammed back down to the ground again, the side of her head colliding with the concrete below. The second blow to her head brought her out of her blood red haze, the harsh orange lighting of the street light illuminating the scene before her. Beside her, Jackson was on his front, the man with the salt and pepper hair on top of him, placing handcuffs around his wrists. But her focus wasn’t on that, it was on his bloodied face staring directly at her, hate searing in his gaze that made her recoil away. She had little movement to do so because something suddenly climbed on top of her, pushing her forward, her extremely sore face digging into the ground that made her wince. A cool feeling wrapped around her wrists, a voice reciting something above her that made Maggie’s anger completely dissipate.

 

She was in such deep shit.