"And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor, Shall be lifted - Nevermore!" The Raven (1845) - Edgar Allan Poe
"Little" Janie Butterfield had no sympathy for her mother. Nor did she care when the police discovered that the blood from the Deetz's residence came back positive, proving that the crazy woman had indeed murdered her mother.
Although she was mostly unphased, there was one thing that bugged her and it wasn't for the reasons one would assume. Her day was tossed into the bin when she saw the discovery of her mother's heart on the local news and not from her state-appointed guardian. It was irksome at best that police did not disclose that aspect of the case to the victim's daughter but the irony wasn't lost on her. As a child, Jane never bothered to give any love and affection to her. So no love was lost when Jane's heart had been taken and discovered nestled in the floorboards of the house. A house… her mother's only heart had always been in some house and not where it should have been with her own flesh and blood.
Her friends found the whole mess hilarious while her guardian and teachers found it devastatingly tragic. The school faculty hid such things from the rest of the student body and took great effort to cater to Janie's "fragile" state. It was laughable how some people around town wanted to discuss her mother's murder and everyone else… Well, they avoided her like the plague because of what they dubbed "The lone survivor of The Peaceful Pines Killer." Like just being near her would bring their unfortunate end… if only.
Janie, on the other hand, didn't see it that way. That weirdo clearly had personal grudges against those she killed, and it wasn't like Janie was all that important. Her mother taught her that much, at least.
"Wow, Janie, you never said the house was this big!" The boy beside her squeezed her shoulder. He laughed as he and his other two friends began walking up the hill to the "haunted murder house" of Peaceful Pines.
Janie never thought the school in Winter River had students who cared about the events of the murder town. Her classmates didn't say much, and she had gone a year without incident. No one bothered her, no one asked, and that suited her just fine. But, even still, she wished she could just change her name.
"Your mom was murdered here?" A girl with fishnet stockings asked incredulously with a scoff. "This looks like a farmhouse turned into some stupid wannabe yuppie development."
Janie only shrugged, saying nothing as the teens dashed up the porch and began banging on the door.
"Helloo! Crazy murder lady!" The other boy called. "Come out and show us your tits!"
The teenage girl smacked the boy's shoulder, "Shut up, Danny. Do you want us to get killed?"
"Don't be such a chicken, Suz. The fucking house is empty."
Suz crossed her arms across her chest, pouting at the reprimanding.
"There has to be a way into this joint. Hey, who has the Ouija board? I wanna get this bitch to talk." Danny looked back to the others and reached out.
"Fuck, I left it in the car." The boy next to Janie smacked his head and then rubbed the spot where he hit.
"Damn it, Josh, you had one job!" Danny huffed, coming over to punch his arm.
"Alright, Kids!" A spotlight startled the group of teens, "This is private property."
"Run!" Danny yelled, tugging Janie along while Suz and Josh trailed close behind.
"Was that necessary?" Prudence meekly asked the moment Bertha started the engine to drive the cruiser back down to the bridge.
"Kids these days." Bertha snorted. "They want a cheap scare. They don't care about the tragedy or the families involved. Can you believe that little Janie would bring those snot-nosed brats here?"
"Bertha, you know we were just as curious when we were their age. Remember how Lydia took us to the cemetery or hosted animal funerals? They are just kids."
Prudence giggled at the memories along with Bertha.
"Yeah, she was strange and unusual, alright."
"I miss her." Prudence deflated while Bertha tightened her grip on the steering wheel.
"I miss her too." Bertha heavily sighed.
The cruiser's wheels reverberated in the small space of the wooden bridge, and memories of the past lingered heavily here. Then, just as they crossed the threshold and onto the gravel, a shadow crossed their path, causing them to swerve when Bertha abruptly hit the breaks.
Quickly, the two women looked at each other, panting, both startled by the near accident.
"What was THAT!?" Prudence cried out, swiveling her head around, hoping to catch a glimpse of what nearly killed them.
A tapping at Bertha's window made them jump into each other's arms and freeze, much too terrified to look. In the end, the curious compulsion won out to see what the source could be.
On the other side of the thin glass stood Lydia, her pale skin glowing with the light of the moon.
Quickly unbuckling her seatbelt, Bertha jumped out of the car with Prudence not far behind.
"Lydia! I can't believe it." Bertha cried as she held on to the surprisingly solid spectral form.
"Is it really you?" Prudence tossed caution to the wind as she threw herself into the hug too.
"I miss you guys," Lydia said, embracing them. "I'm sorry it took so long. Neitherworld bureaucracy is such a pain. It takes an eternity just to file one simple marriage license."
"Marriage?" Bertha asked, wiping the tears from her eyes while releasing Lydia to take in the ghostly appearance.
"I married Beej." She shrugged, "I thought Allen told you."
Bertha and Prudence furtively glanced at each other before Bertha stepped forward to touch Lydia's arm gently.
"Lydia, Allen died the night you did."
Lydia softly smiled with a nod.
"I know. I just thought that maybe Allen might have mentioned the possibility. I shouldn't be surprised. He was always good with keeping secrets." A sigh of affection escaped her lips as she closed her eyes in an attempt to keep the feeling from fading away. "So much had been left unsaid, unfinished."
"Do you know who killed him?" Bertha questioned, then cried out in desperation at the next horrible thought, "You didn't do it, did you?"
Lydia summoned up a folder filled with documents with a wave of her hand.
"No, Beetlejuice was the one who ended his life. But, you know how Beej can be, and the animosity between them wasn't a secret." The two living women gasped at her nonchalant answer, but Lydia continued. "If it's any comfort, as it is to me; I perused his records in the Afterlife department. Still, I haven't found him, but time moves differently over there. I don't know why I can't find him, but I have hope that maybe one day I will see him again."
Lydia's face softened as she offered the files.
"Why?" Confusion painted Prudence's face as she accepted the envelope, "Even after all that, you still married him?"
Lydia opened her mouth to say something but stopped when she sensed a presence behind her.
"What? I ain't good enough for her? I thought you liked me." Beetlejuice chuckled, joining the group.
Quickly and wide-eyed, Bertha and Prudence fearfully scuttled backward, causing his grin to drop. Fear and mistrust began to tarnish the once-time fondness they had for Mr. Beetleman. A bond of camaraderie that had taken years to cultivate but merely seconds to destroy on that fateful Spring.
"Easy, BJ. You didn't exactly leave them with a good impression."
Grumbling, he slumped, walking away from the girls while muttering about the ungrateful, yellow-livered chickens.
"We have a job to do, but I wanted to give these to you both. These are the deeds to my family's properties. All of them, plus my will."
Bertha felt her jaw drop. "You can't mean…."
"You are what's left of my living family. I'll see you guys again. Death could never keep me away from my favorite people."
Prudence smiled at the thought while feeling braver, giving Lydia one more hug. On the other hand, Bertha continued to stare in awe at the ghostly haunting that faded away.
"Burp, Prune, see ya when I see ya." Giving a half-hearted wave, Beetlejuice called out before vanishing right along with his bride.
Even late at night, the bustle of New York City never let up or quieted, but Marvin Brewster was perfectly at ease. Sleeping in the arms of the buxom twenty-something-year-old blonde, he was doing rather well since the tragic death of his wife.
After inheriting her shares in the business merger, he no longer felt the need to recluse any longer in that god-awful town.
No, not anymore. He was free to do what and who he wanted in public without any backlash or suspicion.
Twisting while rolling over, the woman curved her ankle over his leg, rousing him awake. With a smirk, he grew hard at the thought of his young little lover having a scandalous dream about him. Slowly opening his eyes, he reached over to kiss the beauty in her sleep only to be startled by what he felt. Warm liquid smeared on her face while soaking into the pillow between them.
In the dark, he could only see her wide blue eyes while she gurgled up a dark liquid from her neck and mouth.
Shoving himself away from the now lifeless body, he heard a match strike accompanied by the scent of a cigarette.
"Who, who are you?" he stuttered, crying out to the figure in the dark, "What do you want?"
The man with the cigarette chuckled deeply as he inhaled before exhaling the smoke, which resembled a snake.
"It's not me," he said casually before pointing.
Looking back to the dead woman in his bed then back up at the man in stripes, Marvin didn't understand. Then, finally, he saw -Her- but it was too late. Before his blood could run cold, warm crimson plasma began to slip from his throat as his final vision beheld what he once feared most.
Note: This story was so much fun to work on. Both Ghostly and I spent a lot of time on this twisted tale and if you get the chance to visit us on Ao3, you will find amazing illustrations done by my co-creator.
Please leave reviews or comments, or screams... we would love it all. Thank you for sticking with us during the creation of this fic and hopefully, we will come back and check on this universe of characters once again. If you like Allen, please visit ghostly's stories. He makes an appearance in her stories as well and I thank her a million times over for letting me borrow him for this fic.
There were many quotes by the great Edgar Allan Poe but you may recognize quotes by Shakespear and Nabokov mixed into the narrative. That was the hardest part of this story. Sourcing and finding the right words for our Killer Lydia was super fun and yes, twisted. Thanks again for joining us on this journey. -BD-Z