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Fighting for the Other Side

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Chapter 1

1984 - The Murder House

 

You’re a part of my heart

And tonight you belong to me...

 

Tate was the one who found Rose, or, at least, the shell of what was once his twin sister.

It was Rose’s turn to hide and Tate searched for over an hour. He wasn’t worried at first, she had always been an expert at finding nooks and crannies he never would have thought of. But after Addie gave up, and Tate had searched every room three times over, he started to panic.

He found the ghost of Nora Montgomery in his mother’s bedroom, looking through a jewelry box.

“None of these are mine,” she murmured to herself. “Where did they come from? All fake. Where are my jewels? The beautiful jewels that Charles gave me…” She turned when Tate walked in. “How did you get in here? Are you the thief?”

“No,” Tate said. He had learned to be patient with Nora and knew she constantly had to be reminded of who he was. “I’m Tate. I live here. I’m looking for my sister, Rose. Have you seen her? She’s blonde and…”

“A lost child,” Nora said and placed a hand on her chest while her already bleary eyes filled with more tears. “Your poor mother. We must find your sister. Come along.” She took Tate’s hand and they left the room together. “Charles will know what to do.”

She led him to the basement door but Tate pulled away from her. There was something about the basement that scared him, something he couldn’t name. It wasn’t Thaddeus or Charles or Elizabeth or the nurses or any of the other dozen or so ghosts who allowed themselves to be drawn into the dark depths and languish there, Nora had taught him how to banish them whenever he needed. It was something else altogether: a presence behind a door that never opened, a presence that sometimes whispered his name. He had made Rose promise she would never go down there, especially while playing hide and seek.

“Don’t be afraid,” Nora said.

“She’s not down there,” Tate said.

“I’m afraid she is,” a voice said behind them. It was Moira’s ghost, another spirit Tate had never been afraid of. He had known her in life after all, but even though she had been a young woman when she died, he had only ever seen her as the old soul who stood there now, one eye clouded but kind. “I told her to hide somewhere else but she seemed resolute on making you search as long as possible.”

“See?” Nora said. “We will have your sister back in time for supper.” She held her hand out to him and he took it. She smiled and he knew he would always follow her into the darkness.

It only took the short journey down the stairs for Nora to become confused again. “Oh dear,” she said. “My baby. Have you seen my baby?” She let go of Tate’s hand and started calling frantically for Charles, who appeared and stumbled toward her. Sobbing, she threw herself at him, babbling incoherently while she beat his chest with her fists.

Tate watched for a moment, wishing there was something he could do to keep her from dissolving into one of her fits for good. But he couldn’t worry about her, he had to find Rose.

He searched every corner until there was only one place left to look. The always -locked door was hidden in a corner, largely ignored by every soul, living or dead, that had inhabited the house. Tate approached it and turned the doorknob. He was shocked when it opened, revealing a room that was completely barren except for the figure of a little blonde girl in a yellow dress. She stood in the center, her back facing the door.

“Rose?” Tate said. His sister turned slowly to him and Tate screamed.

Her eyes, usually big and brown like his, were yellow, like a wild animal. She snarled and leaped on top of Tate, knocking him down, and tried to scratch at his face.

Tate managed to push her off of him and scrambled toward the door. Rose grabbed his ankles and pulled him back until, suddenly, Moira was in the doorway, yelling a prayer.

Rose hissed and released her brother who jumped to his feet. Moira picked him up and ran as fast as she could, back up the stairs, to the seeming safety of the kitchen where Constance Langdon was pouring herself a drink.

“Jesus H. Christ,” she said as Tate ran to her. Moira had vanished, still not ready to reveal herself to the woman who had murdered her. “What on God’s green earth is going on here?” Tate hugged her, sobbing. “Tate,” she said, pushing him off her. “What have I told you about the constant crying? I can’t understand you. Pull yourself together. This better not be about your father.”

“It’s Rose,” Tate said.

“What about Rose?” Her composure melted as she instantly feared the worst. “What is it? What happened? Where is she?”

“I’m right here, mommy,” Rose said. Her eyes were back to normal as she watched her mother and brother with a look of complete innocence.

“Rose, darling,” Constance said, “are you alright? Tate said something happened.”

“We were playing,” Rose said. “I accidentally knocked him down. I’m sorry Tate, I didn’t mean to hurt you.” Constance sighed and took a long drink.

“Honestly,” she said, “as if I don’t have enough to worry about with Adelaide and Beauregard. Can’t the two of you manage to play quietly and not kill each other?”

“But mom,” Tate said, “there was something wrong with her. Her eyes-”

“I don’t have time for another one of your wild stories,” Constance said, pouring another drink. “Now make yourself scarce. I have a date coming over in half an hour.”

Tate knew there was no use arguing. She never believed him when he tried to tell her about the ghosts that lurked around every corner of the house. Still, he stayed away from Rose for the rest of the night, ignoring her pleas for him to play with her.

Unfortunately, they shared a bedroom, and the devil inside of Rose was not a patient one. The little girl did not suit him or his plan. He needed only to devour her soul and move on.

Tate woke to a low, growling sound coming from Rose’s bed. He sat up and turned on his lamp to see what was going on.

Rose was floating five feet above her bed. Tate didn’t scream or cry, he simply got out of bed and went to find his mother.

He walked swiftly down the hall, hoping that if he managed to convince Constance to go to his room quickly enough, she would catch Rose’s strange behavior before she returned to normal again.

“Mom,” he whispered as he opened her bedroom door. Constance wasn’t alone. Normally Tate would have avoided meeting one of her boyfriends at all costs. His father had disappeared less than a year ago, but Constance had already had half a dozen men in and out of her bed. But nothing about that night was normal, so he shook his mom awake.

“What is it now, Tate?” Constance said. “Haven’t I told you not to bother mommy when she is with a gentleman caller.”

“It’s Rose,” Tate said. “You have to see. Please.” He pulled frantically on her arm until she relented. The man next to her rolled over in his sleep.

“This had better not be another tall tale,” Constance said as she wrapped herself in a silk robe and followed her son down the hall. Tate opened his bedroom door for her. His relief was overpowered by terror when she stifled a cry with her hand and stumbled back.

Rose was still levitating above her bed, but now her head was thrown back, her eyes yellow and her mouth overflowing with blood.

“Oh God, no!” Constance screamed. Rose’s body dropped onto her bed and started writhing while she screamed.

“Help me, mommy!” It was Rose’s voice, but the eyes were still not Rose’s eyes.

“Tate, get help, quickly,” Constance said. Tate ran back to her mother’s room to find the strange man pulling on his pants.

“What the fuck is going on, kid?” the man asked. He didn’t wait for an answer but ran past Tate who followed. “What the fuck? What is that?” the man shouted before he ran down the rest of the hall and practically fell down the stairs.

“Wait,” Constance ran after him. “You can’t just leave me!”

Tate stared at Rose, her body suddenly still. Her head was hanging over the edge of the bed and she stared right back at him.

“Tate,” a voice said. It came from Rose’s mouth but it was not her voice. It barely sounded human at all. “Such a sweet boy. Such a fragile child. Tell me, what would you do to stop your sister’s suffering?”

“Get out of her,” Tate said.

“But I can’t,” the voice said. “I don’t have a body of my own. I need hers. Unless…”

“Unless what?”

“Unless you let me inside you. Would you do that, Tate? Would you let me live inside your heart? I promise you won’t even know I am there. Though we could be such good friends, Tate.”

“No,” Tate said, taking a step back. Rose started convulsing again and she spoke again, this time in her own voice.

“Tate,” she cried. “What’s happening? There’s something inside me, in my eyes…” Without warning, Rose jammed her fingers straight into her eyes, blood gushed out of her sockets as she screamed.

“Stop!” Tate yelled. “I’ll do whatever you want, just leave her alone.”

Rose lowered her hands, forcing Tate to stare into the gaping wounds. “Is that an invitation?” the voice asked.

“Yes,” Tate said. The last thing Tate saw before everything went black was Rose’s mouth, twisted into a smile.

***

Tate couldn’t remember a single detail from that night and his mother decided that was for the best. He recalled opening the door in the basement but everything after that was a blur, a nightmare that would visit him occasionally for the rest of his life. It was the first of many lapses in his memory, accompanied by visions he thought were only fantasies.

His sister didn’t remember how she died either. She appeared to Tate first, and when he asked her how she died, she couldn’t remember. Just like her brother, she knew she had opened the basement door, thinking it a perfect place to hide, and then nothing.

Constance remembered though she managed to convince herself that she had only imagined seeing her daughter floating above her bed. Doctors were able to provide her with perfectly scientific reasons for everything else and she readily accepted them. What other choice did she have? That is, until Rose appeared to her for the first time, the first ghost to do so in that hell of a house.

The basement no longer scared Tate. He still felt the presence that had once hidden behind that door, still heard it whisper, but now it followed him everywhere he went. It lurked in the shadows of his room and hid behind him when he looked in the mirror. Still, it did not need him yet and so it slept, waiting patiently, for another ten years.

 

October 31, 2021 - Outpost 3

 

She comes in colours everywhere

She combs her hair

She’s like a rainbow…

 

Mick Jagger’s voice echoed through the cavernous halls of what was once the Hawthorne School for Exceptional Young Men. The song rang out like a spell to summon the three women who walked into the foyer. Or maybe it was their presence that triggered the song to play - the radio had always seemed to have an uncanny knack for picking up on the vibrations of the building’s inhabitants.

“Find our sisters,” Cordelia Goode said. Myrtle Snow and Madison Montgomery nodded before setting out to find what was left of their coven.

“Is he here?” Cordelia asked when they returned with the lifeless bodies of Coco and Mallory. Madison knew she wasn’t talking about Michael, there was no doubt the Antichrist was there. They could all feel his presence and it was only a matter of time before he would realize they had arrived.

“Not yet,” Madison said. Cordelia made an unsuccessful attempt to hide her concern. “He’ll be here,” Madison assured her.

“Handing the salvation of our coven, of the whole world, over to the father of the very man who has destroyed it,” Myrtle said, “I still think you are too trusting, Cordelia.”

“He’s nothing like Michael,” Madison said.

“The choices he made in life, and in death, make him sound all too similar,” Myrtle said.

“Not his choices,” Madison said. “He was used the same way Michael used us and the warlocks. Worse.”

“I do hope you are right, my dear,” Myrtle said.

“Believe me,” Madison said, “I don’t take kindly to rapists.”

“Though in the past you have had no qualms with murder,” Myrtle said.

“Like you can talk,” Madison snapped.

“Enough,” Cordelia said. “It makes no difference without Mallory and Coco.” The Supreme closed her eyes and inhaled, her arms stretched out with her palms pointed towards the corpses in front of her. She exhaled sharply, her eyes snapping open. Mallory and Coco sat up, gasping.

As Cordelia and Myrtle tried to explain to the two newly resurrected and very confused witches who they were and why they were there, Madison returned to the music room, determined to find the source of the soft rock that had been playing since they arrived. Carefully stepping over corpses and around puddles of vomit, she found the radio. Just as Madison reached toward the volume dial to turn it off, the music crackled, cutting off Maureen McGovern, and a new song started playing.

...hello...hello...hello…

Madison tried to switch it off but it kept on playing.

...hello...hello...hello…

“That’s not creepy at all,” Madison muttered to herself as she tried not to think about how the school had always felt like something straight out of a horror movie. After making another unsuccessful attempt, Madison shrugged and walked back to the foyer just as another figure walked in from the main entrance.

With the lights off, it’s less dangerous

Here we are now, entertain us…

“You’re late,” Madison said to the ghost of Tate Langdon. “What are you wearing ?”

Tate looked down at himself and the antique infantry coat he wore.

“I think it is marvelous,” Myrtle said. “We may have need of a soldier before our work is done. What a sight we must be. Five witches and a soldier boy. The last defense against Satan’s son.”