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The Thorn

Chapter Text

“Dan!”

Kneeling in the boiler room of the Outlook Hotel, his body covered in his own blood, his energy sapped, the man known as Dan Torrance blinked as the spectra of his mother smiled and vanished from existence. He blinked again, willing the woman to return, to once again embrace him, to guide him to his sleep, as he had done for so many others.

“No.” He muttered softly, reaching inside himself to try and draw Wendy Torrance back to him.

“DAN!”

The voice was louder now, easily heard over the roar of the fire which should have consumed him and this cursed hotel by now. Still kneeling on the floor, the axe which the nightmare spectra’s had forced him to wield like his father before him lying within his grasp, Dan tried to remember the voice through the fog that had consumed his mind.

After a moment, he remembered a girl, a girl with amazing abilities. He remembered being hunted both outside and inside his own mind, of the nightmares out in the world trying to hurt this girl for her power, of the nightmare of his own mind overruling him, taking control and forcing him to try and do the same.

“Abra.” He found himself whispering.

What was she still doing here? He had told her to run.

The fire was hot against his arms now, creeping closer and closer, like long fingers reaching slowly towards him. He looked up.

In the corner of the room, a figure was standing. Not Abra. Not Wendy.

No, someone Dan knew, a figure who had shadowed him all his life. He looked into those familiar dark eyes. There was a sudden cool blast of air. Without looking, Dan knew that the fire blocking the door to the room had gone out, creating a safe passageway.

“Dan, get up!” Dan heard Abra shout as he continued to stare at the one figure he had both longed and feared to see.

Not Lloyd the bartender. No.

Jack Torrance.

“Get up.” The voice came from both directions, Abra’s high pitched voice mixed with the deeper timber of Dan’s father, the last victim of the Overlook Hotel.

A hand grabbed Dan’s arm, shaking him, willing him to get up. Dan could feel Abra’s Shining compelling him to try and stand, despite the pain and blood lose, despite the mental fatigue from the Overlooks Spectra’s. But he was too tired. His eyes started to close.

“Get up Danny!” The deep voice snapped him out of his daze. Unconsciously, he stood, sagging slightly on his injured leg as Abra grabbed his side, trying to take his more substantial weight with her limited strength. He looked over at Jack Torrance once more.

Slowly, the man smiled. Not the menacing smile which had been in Danny’s nightmares since leaving this place the first time, but his old smile, back before the Outlook, when he was sober and proud of his child.

“Go.” Jack said before shimmering out of existence as one of the roof beams crashed down on him.
Dazed, Dan looked down at Abra, the girl had grabbed his arm and had placed it over her shoulder.

“Come on!” She shouted, stepping towards the door, miraculously devoid of the fire which had so recently covered the area. The heat in the room was increasing, Abra’s face drenched in sweat.

With a grunt, Dan forced himself to walk with her, the pain in his leg almost unbearable.

Dan didn’t remember much of the walk out of the Hotel, pain and blood lose leading to a hazy recollection, like a film on mute, which you are only half paying attention.

The next clear sensation to hit him beside the pain was the biting cold of snow as suddenly, he was dropped face first onto the ground outside the burning building, Abra’s meagre strength giving out as she too crashed to the ground.

A pair of hands rolled Dan over, Abra looming over him now.

“You have to hold on.” Abra was saying. Her voice was coming in fainter now, as if from far away, shock, pain and blood lose finally doing their terrible work.

There were shouts from somewhere and then a new figure approached, a young woman in a uniform. Abra disappeared from Dan’s view. He could hear her shouting, calling his name.

Dan drifted as the woman before him tried to speak to him, as a dull pressure was applied to his injuries. Unflinchingly, Dan looked up at the dark sky. It was a clear night. Dan could see the very cosmos above him, opening up to welcome him.

A voice in his head, clear as day suddenly spoke. It was a soft, kind voice, like the one he used when guiding the hospice patients to their rest.

“It’s ok. You can sleep now.” It whispered.

Dan felt a wave of comforting warmth wash over him as he closed his eyes and slept.

-----

Abra was acting on autopilot as she guided Dan, limping and barley conscious, out of the Hotel, her Shining working harder than it ever had to keep him on his feet and get him out of that hellhole.
In the distance, she could both see and feel the police arriving, no doubt drawn by the fire.

Behind her, the building cracked as beams gave way and part of the roof collapsed in on itself.

Suddenly, a wave of fatigue washed over her and, no longer able to hold Dan’s weight, Abra dropped to the ground. There was a loud thud. Abra could not tell if it was the sound of her hitting the ground or Dan or more frighting, if it was all in her head.

Rolling to her side, Abra scanned her honorary uncle. Dan was pale and looked close to death. So close that Abra had to feel his presence through their link to even tell that he was still alive.

No.

She had lost her dad. She would not lose Dan as well.

Using the last of her strength, Abra tightened her hold on the connection between them, not caring that she was using up all her power to do so. She would not let Uncle Dan go. Not now. Not when they had won.

While mentally engaged, Abra let her body go to auto pilot, pushing Dan into his back, her hands going to his bleeding thigh to apply pressure. Subconsciously, she knew he had bled a lot. Far too much, really. If it wasn’t for her commands keeping him here, he would be dead.

He was in agony, Abra could feel it, and she did her best to mute the pain, to help him through it but she was tired.

“You have to hold on.” She urged, gritting her teeth as a fresh wave of pain washer over her.

Behind her, she could hear the sound of vehicles stopping, of many people getting out and shouting to each other. She ignored them, holding Dan’s gaze as she tried to slow the blood lose.

Someone approached her, a friendly apparition. Slowly, Abra looked up, on guard. It was a female in a paramedics uniform. She smiled at Abra as she placed a bag down.

“It’s alright. We’re here to help.” The woman said. Abra felt the words inside her head, even as the woman said them. The woman had it too, the Shining.

“I know.” Abra said back in the women’s head, trying to let her know she was with friends. The woman hesitated for a second, clearly stunned by Abra’s words inside her head before she pushed them aside and got to work, placing her hand over Abra’s on Dan’s leg and gently moving it so she could see the deep cut. Within moments, she was moving, dressing the wound and trying to stem the injury.

“I need a stretcher here ASAP!” She shouted off into the distance, her eyes still fixed on Dan.

A second hand grabbed Abra’s shoulder. This one, a not so kind presence. The sudden shock knocked her from her concentration, breaking her connection with Dan.

For a second, Abra feared it was a spectra from the hotel, somehow come to try and finish them all off. She turned and tried to lash out as the strong arm

“Step away girl.” The voice grunted. “They need room to save him.”

Abra swung around, her fists hitting a solid chest of the police officer who had dragged her to her feet.
“No!” She shouted. She needed to stay with Dan, needed to keep him alive until he was safe.

She started to struggle as another officer rushed forward to help his colleague, the two pulling her back. She tried to reach into herself for her Shining, to make the officers obey her but she had so little energy left to do so and the men were strong.

Faintly, over the rushing sound in her ears, she could hear them trying to talk with her but she didn’t care, couldn’t listen. Dan needed her.

“No!” She screamed again as she was dragged further and further away from the man who had protected and trained her. “Dan!”

-----

The air was hot, thick black smoke spilling from the decayed wood as the building crumbled around the woman as slowly, painfully, she dragged herself out. Behind her, a thick trail of smoke, no…. steam wafted up to the ceiling, like a ghost leaving her body behind.

Groaning, she pushed herself the last few feet, sliding out the open door she had found and into the freezing snow outside the burning structure. Shuddering, she rolled onto her back, opening her eyes which glowed an eerie blue in the dim light. Then she gasped, arching her back as the steam above her floated back down into her open mouth. Her eyes flashed, the eerie glow growing brighter like a dim light gaining more power.

She dropped back down into the snow, her bare head hitting a patch of soft ice, her eyes closing.
After a few moments which could have been hours for all she cared, the woman became aware of a person drawing near. A voice reached her hearing.

“Ma’am?” The voice asked.

Opening her eyes, the woman looked up at the police officer who had come to kneel by her side. He was young. Foolish in his own way. Not much steam but he would have to do.

Foolishly, the young officer reached down and touched her shoulder. Quick as a snake lashing out with venomous fangs, she grabbed his arm in one hand, her other coming to rest at the back of his head, drawing him near and forcing him to look into her glowing blue eyes.

The officers face filled with fear as the woman opened her mouth, her grip tightening as she pulled the thin vapour from him.

After a few seconds of struggle, the vapour began pouring off the officer and into the woman’s mouth as she gaped hungrily for it, feasting on his essence.

The man’s struggles continued, growing weaker and weaker even as the woman’s grip on him grew stronger and stronger.

Finally, the officer slumped forward, his heavy body falling onto that of the woman’s, forcing a grunt out of her.

Huffing, the woman pushed the body off her and sat up, looking around at the fire before her. Somehow, she had managed to drag herself away from those blasted spectra’s and get to the rear of the building.

Slowly, she reached up to the back of her head where her hat normally sat, as if trying to adjust its position. Her fingers brushed air. Dropping her hand, the woman growled in frustration.

With a bit of effort, the woman rose to her feet, her customary bracelets, necklaces and jewellery jingling faintly as she moved.

She scanned her surroundings. On one side, snow and forest, on the other, a burning building. Then, in her peripheries, she noted flashing lights. Curious, she turned and made her way around the building, only stopping when she located the source of those lights.

Police cars, fire trucks and ambulances stood stationary in the yard beside her own vehicle and the one that brat and her friend had used.

Keeping her distance, the woman watched as police, fire fighters and medics moved around in a coordinated dance.

The fire fighters had long since given up trying to save the building and were standing back, watching it burn. The police were fairing little better. Not having noticed their missing colleague, they were trying to restrain a young girl.

The woman growled as she recognised the young girl, the brat who had taken her family. Why hadn’t the stupid bitch just accepted her fate, instead of trying to fight?

None of this would have happened if she hadn’t tried to avoid her fate.

The girl was screaming, kicking and fighting the police. She was powerful, the child but young. She did not take Steam like the woman and therefore her powers had to be replenished by rest. Rest which she had not had.

Had the girl been at her full strength, the woman had no doubt, the police would be on their knees before her, bend to her wishes.

It would be so easy now, to walk over, take down the police and claim the girls steam for her own. Leave the little bitch to rot. The woman took a step forward, intend on doing just that, when she stopped.

Several medics were a few meters from the building, raising a stretcher. The woman caught a glimpse of short, copper brown hair of the occupant of the stretcher as the medics began manoeuvring it hurriedly towards the waiting ambulance.

She hesitated as she recognised the man on the stretcher. Dan, his name was.

Full of Steam, much more then most his age. And oh so pure, not tainted like most adults. And such an interesting mind. The woman had to admit, when she had first saw the man, she thought he had been little more than a puppet, a controlled pawn the girl planned to sacrifice for her own survival. But no, the man was something else.

Rarely did someone with that level of power survive to adulthood. The woman and her friends should have found him first. Or, given the glimpse inside his head, those ‘Spectra’s’ he kept locked up there should have long since eaten him whole. But they didn’t. He had endured, his power barely even eroding over time.

What a gift he was.

The woman hadn’t gotten much of a look while inside his head, too busy with the girl, but what she had seen had impressed her greatly. Where she had a Cathedral, he had a Maze. And how she longed to explore that maze, the map it out and bend it to her will. Even the dark corners he tried to keep hidden, where he had kept the spectra’s.

And she would.

A plan started to form in her mind. Smiling, she woman stepped back into the snow, her eyes glowing again as the white dunes surrounded her. The last visible part of her, her glowing blue eyes.