"Her innocence was the first part of her soul to die." - Edgar Allan Poe
Her doll looked sad?
She couldn't understand how this could possibly be. Lydia had made her a new dress and even gave her a better hair color. Now she looked a bajillion times better, but for some reason, Mommy said the doll looked sad.
When she had first got the chubby-cheeked Cabbage Patch doll, Lydia winced at the curly blonde hair and rosy cheeks. Her pink dresses were far too common placed, and lucky for Annabel Lee, Daddy had recognized that and bought her a couple new doll dresses in blues and whites.
Mommy didn't agree with Lydia knowing about Edgar Allan Poe and his spooky tales, so she and Daddy both decided not to tell Mommy where her doll's name had come from. Especially since Daddy was the one who helped dye Annabel's hair black to match Lydia's raven tresses.
"Do you ever think about anyone other than yourself?" From down the hall were raised voices, Lydia acknowledged. Mommy was mad again.
"Evelyn, please!" Charles called out, "You can't do this to her. She's my child too!"
Picking up Annabel and hugging the doll tightly, Lydia carefully stood and crept down the halls of their two-story condo. Kneeling down, she leaned against the baluster.
"I don't care what you have to say in this matter. She needs help, and you are blind. Face the facts, Charles. She is not normal. She never was!"
"She's talking about me," Lydia whispered to Annabel, not expecting an answer to come from the cherubic effigy.
"You don't know what you are talking about. Lydia's just curious. She is an artist. You have never taken the time to understand her -"
A loud crack of flesh against flesh resounded off the walls. "Don't talk to me about artists."
"Tomorrow. Charles. Tomorrow will be your last day with her. Enjoy it while you can." Clicking heels against wooden floors began to muffle as soon as they came in contact with the carpet.
Charles sighed and rubbed his face, confused by how quickly his minor error in judgment was catching up with him. His only hope would be that this separation wouldn't affect Lydia. Turning his attention to the second floor, he spied the tiny little girl hugging her doll. Her eyes were wide and brimmed with tears.
Before climbing up the stairs, he released another deep breath and then finally knelt in front of his little girl. Smiling sweetly despite her tears, Lydia offered Annabel.
"Aww, Pumpkin. Everything is going to be alright. I promise." Taking the doll in one hand, he wrapped his other around the frail child and pulled her into his embrace.
"Mommy's mad," Lydia stated.
"Not at you, Kiddo. Trust me. This is all on Daddy this time." He squeezed her gently when Lydia sniffled against his collar.
Evelyn Deetz was furious as she began to stuff items into her suitcase. How dare he! How dare Delia… her best friend! It was beyond cliche. She didn't care if "nothing happened" as he claimed. The intention was there, and she could feel it.
At this point, she was just over how willfully blind he was to that woman's charms. Delia was after him, and he refused to see it. What's more, he even refused to see what sort of effect that woman was having on Lydia.
She saw. Oh yes, Evelyn saw, and she knew without a doubt that her little girl was learning the subtleties of how to charm the men around her. All because Delia had to throw her flirty ass in Charles direction.
At least, Evelyn had more discretion when it came to her own faults. She never let on that she had the skill to know and feel the way the universe shifted around the aurae of those she loved, and even those she did not. She had never let on that she had been unsatisfied with her marriage for years and, regardless of a few missteps, had the decency to keep her secrets from ever coming to light.
Fury was but a single emotion that ran through her veins at this moment. Disappointment in Charles, disgust for her former best friend, fear for the child she bore and brought into this hell… The list would continue if she had more of a mind to care.
Destroying her bedroom should have calmed the rage inside her or at least tamper down the high energy that radiated off of her. Spite filled her, whereas before it would have been nothing more than an annoyance. She wanted to take everything that she had of value before she left the luxury apartment that her snob of a friend refused to call anything other than a high-end condo.
She had gone to great lengths to pick through each drawer. Every shiny bauble that Charles had given her and every heirloom left to her at the passing of family over the years, all of it crammed into one bag or another.
This was her third suitcase.
Forcing the case to close, Evelyn grunted all the while as she pushed her tiny weight into her work. She was rail thin, delicate even, and nowhere near as curvaceous as Delia. It irked her to no end that she had spent that much time in a friendship that neither had found comforting.
Always one-upping each other at every turn.
Oh, but she thought that she had won. Evelyn felt that she had the upper hand with her handsome, successful husband, an adorable child with a perfect porcelain doll face, and money. They had plenty of money, and that alone was enough to turn Cordelia Hart's head in the Deetz's direction.
But of course, she had never expected her husband's affection to fade.
Evelyn noticed how proud Charles was of her baby. The day that Delia picked Lydia up, cradling the infant while commenting on the lovely contrast of the girl's features, was also the day Delia turned up her charm.
Both women knew that Lydia had become the center of Charles's world the moment life's air had touched her skin and entered her body. The underweight miracle, who came before they were ready, had somehow wiggled her way into her husband's heart. Pushing out the last remnant of their romance out of their marriage.
He never came home to her anymore. Nope, he only came back for Lydia.
Blind Charles Deetz never saw the tiny bugs with torn wings. He never saw the way Lydia picked up a stray cats body on the way home from school and prepared it for a funeral. He also never saw the way the girl's eyes would widen during the tales of horror that her husband read to her, nor the enthusiastic way she leaned into the TV while watching her favorite video, Night of the Living Dead.
There was only one recourse. Only one path left.
She needed to get Lydia away from Charles and into therapy. She needed to get herself away from Charles and Delia's goo-goo eyed puppy love. She needed to prepare for her meeting with the lawyers.
At least then she would be able to get alimony out of this.
"Mommy?" Sweet young Lydia cooed from the doorway of the bedroom. Her wide innocent eyes looking around the room as she took in the destruction. "What are you doing?"
Turning towards her child, Evelyn put on a smile to hide her irritation and anger. Lydia stepped back for a moment to analyze her mother's face. She took in the way her long black hair came down her shoulders in waves and how her eyes, blazed on with the rage that she had tried so hard to bury deeply over the years.
"Lydia, go get your Care Bear suitcase. Mommy needs to pack." She watched as the little girl squeezed her doll closer to her chest.
"Are you leaving Daddy?" she asked with sadness in her voice.
"We are going on a trip, baby girl. Now, go get your bag. I don't have time for this."
Lydia nodded once and then again before Evelyn watched her little girl come closer while her posture changed as she tilted her head up.
"He's gonna be so sad."
No one had ever told Evelyn how difficult it would be to have to curb her tongue around a child. She was never meant to be a mother. All that she ever wanted was to be a model; to be the one girl who could knock those beachbody bimbos off their pedestal. She could have even kicked Cindy Crawford down a notch.
Instead, she got involved with a man who needed her to stay at home with a child that made her uncomfortable. Her senses were on high alert whenever Lydia's eyes darkened with a desire every time someone sustained something as simple as a papercut. Unconsciously, Evelyn knew there was a bottomless well of horror under that innocent surface.
"Honey, you need to listen to me. Go get your bag. Now." Stepping forward, she reached out for the hideously altered doll.
Poor little Paula Posey no longer wore her adorable pink frilly dress, and her yarn pigtails were dyed as black as the genetic trait that prevented her from getting a natural dye job.
Lydia tugged Annabel Lee back from her mothers reach.
"I don't want you to hurt Daddy."
Short tempers often win out, and Evelyn reached her breaking point. Whether it was from anger at her husband or fear of the calm that radiated off the child.
"Lydia, go get your bag. Do as I tell you, or so help me."
"Mommy? Can I have a hug first?"" Lydia's voice was soft and sad, but her eyes, however, betrayed no emotion. Along with her aura, she was null, a void filled her empathic channel, and that infuriated Evelyn. She was desperately upset that she couldn't fix her baby girl. Regardless of her feelings on motherhood, the urge to protect her child and set right the wrongs that she and her husband committed while rearing such an unusual creature, always won out.
"For Christ sake," Evelyn dropped her suitcase off the bed and onto the floor. Exasperated, she stomped forward and knelt down to Lydia's level. "You are going to be the death of me one day, child."
"I know." Was all Lydia said when a sharp pain entered the soft tissue right under her sternum.
Eye's wide and gasping, Evelyn tried to pull back, but Lydia grabbed the sleeves of her mother's blouse tighter and shoved the blade in deeper.
"Daddy needs me, Mommy." She said while Evely n's lungs filled with blood until she was choking on the fluid that was pooling inside. With her vision blinking in and out, she tipped over and fell to her side. Lydia stood over her with Annabel hanging from one hand and a large kitchen knife in the other.
Opening her mouth, Evelyn tried to say something, but the liquid made her gag.
"You can't hurt Daddy again." She smiled gently while her mother quickly bled to death all over the bedroom floor. "Don't worry. I can help take care of him."
With a final gurgle and a drip, Evelyn faded into the darkness.
Lydia glanced down at the body of her mother.
"Mommy doesn't look happy, Annabel." Looking at her Cabbage Patch doll, Lydia smiled at the blood stains on her new dress, and it caused her to giggle. "You look like Lizzie from the Ax story."
From downstairs, a door opened and slammed shut until heavy footsteps rushed up the stairs. There were no words, just movement. Before the gasp sounded at the entrance to the bedroom, she already knew who it was.
"Hi, Daddy." Spinning on the spot, Lydia rushed to him with the bloody knife in one hand and her beloved doll in the other. She didn't think much about the blood that had leaked onto the front of her dress.
When she saw his reaction, she stopped just short of hugging him. Backing up in a rush and tripping over his own feet, he banged his head against the baluster that she had leaned against from the night before. The crack from the impact was rather loud, and Charles groaned in pain before effectively blacking out.
For the very first time in her life, Lydia realized that she was alone.
A low chuckle disturbed the silence in the room. Spinning around, she tried to decipher where the sound had come from… only to come face to face with the most terrifying visage that she had ever seen in her short life.
"What do we got here tonight, Kid?" He laughed and smirked at her from behind the glass of a vanity. The vanity. It was the one one that she admired so much that she had hoped to be able to refurbish it to suit her own tastes one day.
However, at that moment, the mirror... Rather, the inside of that mirror… was now occupied by a man in a striped jacket and wearing a grin like the Devil.
"Who.. who are you?" She let the knife clatter to the floor. "How did you get in there?"
Another chuckle let her know that he found her amusing.
"I'm the Ghost with the Most," He puffed out the smoke from the cigarette that he had held in his lips just moments ago. "You know, you look like somebody I can relate to. Maybe you could help me get out of here, you know because I got to tell you, this dead thing... it's just too creepy."
At 6 years old, Lydia Deetz smiled brightly right back at him.
Staring into the glowing eyes, she knew… she knew the truth that had almost made no sense.
"What do you… remember?" His voice grew husky, gravely, and yet there remained a gentle prodding.
"She was going to hurt my Father." Tilting up her chin, she could nearly feel his breath. Impossible as it may seem, she knew that the gentle invisible caress against her skin was nothing more than his ghostly aura.
Lydia closed her eyes and rested her head against the wall. "They said it was a break in gone wrong. Daddy had passed out when he got home and found her and then found me."
"Break in, huh?" Beetlejuice pushed away from the wall and summoned his handbook.
Confusion, exhaustion, frustration, all of it was beginning to build inside of her body like a rumbling bubble of molten rock that was near ready to burst from the earth. She knew as he did that she had an explosive temper when she was pushed to her limit.
Beej's cryptic behavior was toeing the line as far as she was concerned.
"Just tell me what the hell is going on?" She demanded.
The ghost chuckled. "Still got that fire, Babes. Keep it up."
A growl of frustration erupted from her throat, and he laughed even louder as she stomped off to the kitchen.
"Lyds! Get back in here." He called with his smug expression still firmly in place.
From the kitchen, he began to hear the sounds of ceramic dishes hitting the trash bins.
"Not until you tell me why I can remember seeing you the day my mom was killed." She called out to him.
Nodding to himself, he lifted off the ground to freely float along without concern. Once he was in the kitchen, he slammed the handbook onto the counter.
"You and I go way back, Lyds." Resting his elbows on the counter, he picked at an oozy green casserole that one of the 'mourners' had brought over.
"Apparently." She mumbled when she reached for that dish and tossed it into the trash with the other.
"Aww come on, Babes." He nearly whined but stopped mid-antic when he saw her stern face. She stood tall with her eyes fixed on her target. There it was: Her confidence. That strength that had been depleting since Old Chucky's death.
"I want answers," She demanded. Her hands would ache later when she realized just how hard she had slammed them down onto the countertop.
Beej eyed her before finding humor in this situation. His expression could rival a Cheshire cat.
"Ya ever wonder why Mrs. D and your old man never questioned my hanging around for all those years? Or maybe why they never really seemed in touch with reality?" He waited until she nodded before he continued.
"That's the Neitherworld, Babes."
"But I'm not dead." The crease in her brow changed shape as she raised her eyebrow questioningly. "How come I remember all that blood? These memories are in bits and pieces, I can't…"
"Give it some time, Lyds. Fresh blood and all. It's what breaks the spell, but it takes time." He pointed at a page in his book and shoved it over to her.
"'Corporeal Spectral Unions and Covenants' What's that?" She asked as she pulled the book closer to her, her eyes widening with each word.
"That's right, Lyds." He chuckled. "You and I have a deal. Long term in fact. Spell's broken…" "It's showtime."