"Years of Love have been Forgot, In the hatred of a minute" Edgar Allan Poe
Blood was splattered upon the countertop, on the cabinet, and even on the fridge but no amount of gore could faze him. Beetlejuice was used to scenes that were far more grotesque. The sickening sound of the way blood oozed from the flesh was as normal as listening to water running down a river.
What bothered him wasn't the death that he witnessed, no, it was the motionless woman in the middle of the carnage. As still as a statue, she took in the moment at the act that she had performed not but seconds ago.
"Aww Babes," Speaking gently, he didn't want to frighten her.
Floating behind her, Lydia remained still, while his feet never touched the floor for fear of making a bigger mess. Touching her shoulder with one hand, the other grazed down her arm to the hand that held the deadly weapon. Thankfully, her hand released it into his custody.
"Lyds." When he spoke, she turned to face him.
"I..." She started, "I think the blood got on the vegetables."
Beej grinned showing all his crooked teeth. While she was still vacant and taking in all that had happened, he was relieved when he realized that she wasn't going to go into hysterics.
"Come on, Babes." Placing the knife back onto the cutting board, he took her hands. He maintained his position behind her as he pulled her to his chest. His voice was still calm. "Say them."
Lydia's breath hitched, and a series of tingles went down her spine as she shivered in his embrace. As per their ritual, she said his name thrice, but the transfer was far less spectacular than usual before they were standing in his Roadhouse. Turning her head to him, her ear was close to his lips while her neck was exposed to him. No longer distracted by the bloody mess of her Step-mother's body, she finally was able to form words.
"I... killed her." She said softly.
For all of the years that he had known his Lydia, she had never turned her neck into him in such a way. The signal alone would have been enough for him to either push his luck or tease her relentlessly, but neither seemed like a good option right now. Not when he knew that her world, or at least the one that he helped to fabricate for the sake of her innocence, was starting to shatter.
Lydia had killed, and now the time had come...
He nodded when she admitted her crime. "Shit happens."
Letting go of her body, he allowed her hands to fall back to her sides until she wrapped them around herself. "Hang on a sec; I'll be right back." He grinned at her and was pleased to see her return it even though it had been a little lackluster.
Today would be crucial if he was going to get her back to the way she was before her old man kicked the bucket. Beej cursed himself when he tripped over the unintentional summoning of a bucket. Kicking it, he winced at the accidental pun. This sick place had a fucked up sense of humor.
Eventually, he got to his neighbor's door and knocked. Ginger cautiously poked her head out from behind the door; it was very unusual for him to knock instead of just popping in unexpectedly.
"What do you want, Beetlejuice?" The delicate pink spider glared up at him. He would have found it funny if he had not known that Lydia was about to be in for the shock of her short life.
"I need ya ta watch over Lyds for me. She's a wreck and not in the good way, know what I mean?" He shrugged and tilted his head over in the direction of the living dead room as they came to know it as.
"Why, you gotta hot date or somethin' that you didn't tell her about?" She rolled her eyes.
"Funny," Beej ignored her jib and floated off. Thankfully, there were no more attempts at puns tripping him up on his way back.
Still standing where he had left her was Lydia holding herself. Now that he had a good look at her from the front, he noticed that blood was all over her face and neck. It was everywhere, from down the path of skin that dipped into her cleavage, to her hands, and all over her dress. The kid was a mess.
"Beetlejuice, I don't know what's goin' on but..." Ginger walked into the room ready to tell off her ghostly neighbor but stopped dead in her tracks as she took in Lydia's blood-soaked body.
"Ging here is gonna help ya get cleaned up. I'll be back." He offered another grin and then vanished into thin air... well, sort of.
"Everything is gonna be ok, Lydia," Ginger spoke gently as she maneuvered her tiny legs over to the girl. "The first kill is always messy."
Beetlejuice took one look around the kitchen and chuckled. The girl sure did make a mess. Delia lay on her side, hand near her throat while the other rested helplessly reaching out to where Lydia once stood. Her throat was cut cleanly and showed no signs of force. It was still oozing, but he was sure that Lydia's knife was freshly sharpened. Leaning down, he lifted the dead woman's head to get a good look at the wound.
"Hey, Mrs. D." He said casually. "Went too far this time, huh? Yeah, you had it coming one of these days."
Releasing her head, it fell back against the floor with a thud.
"Lydia would never have been a normal kid. No matter what you tried. You had all the ditz, and none of the sense Ol' Chucky had. He knew to stay outta her way. I don't know what you did to finally set her off, but the kids got some stomach. First few times I killed I got queasy, nearly puked my guts all over. Not Lyds. She's a tough cookie." He paced around the kitchen, taking note of all the blood. "No thanks to you."
He nodded at the mess and clapped his hands together. Juicing all the blood off the walls, floor, and countertops, it floated in the middle of the room. It wasn't long before Delia's body joined in on the gravity-defying swirl of gore.
"Chuck never knew what I knew about the girl. You were getting too close, but I did my damndest to protect them. Tried my best to give that kid a good childhood with her old man. Neitherworld magic is so unpredictable. Sometimes it works, sometimes it don't but you, Mrs. D? You were so easy to mess with. Could never get old Chucky to fall into the kind of daze the way you did."
Beej floated the mess out of the back door and into the old car. The body flopped into the passenger seat while the blood continued to play mid-air blob in the back seat.
"Nothin' personal but I can't let Lyds get caught. You were a fun laugh at times, and I'm loving the red satin ribbon that she gave ya." Beej threw the car into gear and began driving away from the house. "What's wrong, Mrs. D? Got nothin' to say? Never knew you to be so quiet."
Beetlejuice cackled as he drove deep into the woods that connected Peaceful Pines and Winter River. Soon, he would find a nice icy ridge, and all of the heat would be away from his Babes. With luck, she might get some free shit out of the deal from the locals. Sympathy. Breathers were so easy to manipulate.
Lydia stood in the bathroom that Ginger called her own, and away from the disgusting growth of fungi that Beetlejuice had allowed to fester in his. Gently, the spider touched Lydia's blood covered hand. As she attempted to comfort the shocked mortal, she felt a light grow within.
"I remember when my first husband died. Oh, the mess was horrendous. I was lucky back then. The forensics that the recently deceased talk about wasn't developed the way it is now. You know that old trick, the first to cry, is the real victim? No one could imagine that such a delicate little flower like me was capable of murder." As she spoke, the remaining blood on her tiny hands had begun to lessen, almost as if it was being absorbed. "Take it from me, Lydia, if you keep looking frail and demure then no one will suspect a thing."
Lydia's top was splattered with blood and practically soaked through. She handed it over to Ginger, not caring that she was in nothing but her bra. Sadly, her skirt was in a similar sorry state, with a sigh, she removed it as well. At least black was easy to clean.
As Ginger held the garments, the moisture appeared to vanish around the edges of the splatters that were coagulating into the black fabric.
"Did I ever tell you I was in Vaudeville? Well, that was a time indeed. I was a dancer, and Marty was a bastard. He never believed in me, but I told him that I was meant for great things, and you know what he said? He said I was better off breeding his brats and scrubbin' his feet." Ginger laughed. "Oh, was he surprised when I took my kitchen knife to his gut."
"I used a knife too," Lydia said in a voice as clear as glass while her eyes glazed over as she mentally retraced her actions.
"Oh yes, it's terribly messy, but you will get the hang of it when Beetlejuice gets back. He can show ya the ropes." She laughed again, "Or maybe how to use them."
Lydia didn't know what to say to that, and so she turned to the sink to turn on the tap. Using the clean water, she washed off her hands and face until the last traces of blood were swirling down the drain. Fully satisfied that she was now clean, she picked up a clean towel and began to dry herself.
"Why didn't you tell me this before?" She asked. "We never talked about your life."
Ginger looked up at her, all innocence and smiles. "What are you talking about Lydia? I told ya, I was a dancer. I was fantastic too. Tap dancing is my life. Oh! I have a new move to show you, watch. Ta da ta tatata dada ta." She tapped along, her legs going a mile a minute.
"No, I mean about your husband." She prodded.
"Husband?" Ginger looked at Lydia curiously. "Um. Lydia, dear, where are your clothes?"
Satisfied with his work, he watched the blood turn the fresh layer of snow into a strawberry icy before mixing it with the car fluids.
Blood had been splattered all along the rocks in the ravine, and Delia's body was now placed in a way that it looked like she had been thrown from the window. The glass cuts on her body that he added helped to solidify the realism of the accident. He had even forced some of the blood back into Delia's body so that it could ooze out inline with the gravitational pull.
No one could say that his Lyds had anything to do with this.
"So long, Mrs. D. Good knowin' ya. Have fun wherever you went cuz you sure as hell ain't in my world." For good measure, he cackled again and left the scene of destruction to return to his Roadhouse.
"Babes!" He called out. "I'm home!"
He snickered at how domestic the phrase sounded. Not that he minded.
"Lyds!" He called again.
"Beej." Leaning against a wall at the base of the stair, stood Lydia. Her familiar red outfit contrasted against the pale of her skin. She looked like death.
He watched her, waiting for any hint of movement. Finally, she moved across the room and wrapped her arms around him before she pressed her face into his chest and cried.
"What's going on here?"
Dedicated to the job, Bertha and her partner Allen drove along the streets through Peaceful Pines. While she drove carefully, she was exhausted and slightly disappointed in the fact she was unable to be there for her friend on what could have possibly been the worst day of her life.
"So stupid." She muttered under her breath.
Allen blinked and looked her way. He knew what today was, and he had felt obligated to help out his partner in any way that he could. He had even offered to drop her off at the cemetery for the funeral, but she had refused, saying that he would need backup in case the call that they had received would escalate beyond a domestic incident. Loyalty was a strong point in Bertha.
"I'm sure that she understands. So, don't beat yourself up over it." He encouraged.
"Oh, right, sure. You don't have to feel guilty for breaking a promise. It's not like she is your best friend." She grumbled, but Allen just shook his head indulgently at her.
"See, she already has two great friends already." He chuckled.
"Three," Bertha stated blankly as she turned a down a darkened street. The woods were an unfortunate separation between the town and residential area, but they didn't call it Peaceful Pines for nothing.
"Who's the third?" Allen asked.
"Why, getting jealous?" Bertha chuckled.
"Funny, Bertha. Really funny." He grumbled. "I'm just curious. After all, she is your best friend."
"And the crush that you have on her means nothing? I see how it is." By now, she had already poked enough fun at him that he no longer took offense at those kinds of jabs. Instead, he just rolled his eyes. "He's the old handyman that worked for her folks. He's cool as far as creepy old men go."
Allen frowned. "She hangs out with a creepy old handyman?"
Bertha laughed out loud. "Mr. Beetleman is just full of crap. He's no handyman. He only looked like he was one, so he had a reason to hang out with her."
The frown deepened as he shifted uncomfortably in his seat. "Why would she let a guy like that in her life? Is he some sort of smeerlap? A..." He trailed off as soon as Bertha's eyes shot wide open.
"Oh, hell, no! He would have never! He always took care of us and made sure that we were safe. He was like the uncle we never had to both me and Prudence. In fact, his niece was weird too, and as far as I know, the entire Beetleman family was off their rocker... but they would have never hurt us!"
Allen raised his hands. "Okay, okay. I was just checking. Seems kinda weird if you ask me. So, what's this guy like?"
Bertha grinned again and gave him a side eye. "If it's any consolation, you two had the same hair at one point. Maybe you are distantly related."
"Now who's full of crap, Bertha." He laughed, but she didn't join in. Instead, her eyes were trained on the road.
The road showed signs of recent travel due to the funeral procession; however, the officers noticed there were skid marks that ran along the edge of the road that veered in a hazardous direction. Not only that, there were plenty of dangerous patches of black ice, and the rail at the sharpest turn of the road was now suspiciously missing a large chunk.
Slowly Bertha pulled their car over and flicked on their lights so they could see while alerting any random passers-by that they were halted on the road.
As she got out, Allen followed.
"What do you think..." He trailed over and walked to the edge while Bertha examined the road.
Looking downward, he used his mag light to scan along the dangerous precipice. There he saw what looked like faded tail lights in the darkened pit. With the fading light of day, he could hardly see anything, but with a quick twist of his light, he then saw a body.
"Klote." A wave of raw energy washed through his body, causing his stomach to lurch.
"Uh... Bertha." Calling over his shoulder to her, she walked over while scratching her scalp.
"This makes no sense. There was just one set of tire marks. No other vehicles and... Oh my god!" Bertha cried out.
Taking her flashlight, she held her breath as she highlighted the car and instantly recognized the plates. She dared not breathe as she swept her light over to the body. With a sudden cry, she ran back to the vehicle.
"This is Officer Brown! We have a Code A-10... A-11 on Chester Drive, 1 mile away from the Peaceful Pines Cemetery... I think it's Mrs. Deetz!"