Piquancy and Phantasm @bdz_fanfics
All that is Profound

"Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence whether much that is glorious whether all that is profound does not spring from disease of thought from moods of mind exalted at the expense of the general intellect." - Edgar Allan Poe

Ch 6:

Corporeal Spectral Unions and Covenants:

Upon acceptance of the terms detailed in the agreement between the deceased entity and the living being, the pact is complete, regardless of the ceremonial habits of the mortal world.

The spoken word holds as much validity as a document provided by the Records and Registrations offices of The Great Beyond. As such, both parties must fulfill their promise to the fullest extent. Failure to perform said obligations is considered a breach of the contract, for which the Courts of Fate may intervene and persecute.

Unions and Covenants between the living and dead without set completion requirements will be deemed fulfilled and terminated upon the transition of the mortal's life to afterlife.

Unions under the guise of marriage are legal and binding in both realms and will not be terminated upon transition. Exceptional circumstances as in the case of alternate judgments will alter the placement of the former living soul to that of the deceased alotted haunting parameter. However, should the living soul be granted lesser damnation or grant to the upper echelons, the deceased partner is allowed entrance to their spouse's division.

Lydia bit carefully into an apple as she flipped the page of the leather bound book that had been left in her custody. A tome of information was right at her fingertips, detailing all the requirements and procedures of the afterlife. After all of these years of traveling between the world of the living and the dead, she found it baffling that she had never really known the Neitherworld.

The veil slowly lifted from her eyes in the days following her father's death and had continued to do so, albeit faster, when she had killed Delia. The truth was now left bare. Exposed.

Sucking the juices of her fruit, she chewed with deliberate pacing before biting into it again.

One drop, however, slid tantalizingly down her jawline and neck till it curved along her body and into the low cut sweater she wore. Smirking in amusement at the muttering from across the room, she looked up to see that Beetlejuice had been watching her. Eyes narrow and focused on the trail left behind, he shook his head.

"And people think I'm a sloppy eater." Feigning a look of annoyance, he crossed his arms over his chest with one eyebrow raised in silent admonishment.

Lydia giggled like a kid without worries. "You? The guy who willingly eats bugs and sludge? Complaining? What are you afraid that I'm gonna take your throne, Oh King of all Grossness?"

"Facts, Babes. Just pointing out one of your many perfections. You know I'm a sucker for a bad habit." Cackling, Beej leered in her direction.

Pressing her lips together in consideration, she grinned right back at him. If he wanted a cat and mouse game, then she would gladly play along.

Biting into her apple again, Lydia made sure to maintain eye contact throughout the slow crunch and sucking of the juice. Another drip and a soft moan were all it took for Beej to turn his gaze elsewhere.

Wicked feelings coursed through her when she saw how his cheeks flushed but rather than commenting or teasing him further, she celebrated her victory silently.

"How did you know that I would call you back?" She asked, lifting up the handbook as she did so. "Wouldn't the fact that I didn't remember put your freedom at risk?"

Beej returned his gaze to her and smiled with such affection that Lydia had to hold her breath. The tenderness in his expression was deep enough to cause her heart to ache. He seemed almost apologetic.

"I was always free, Lyds" He left his position and crossed the room to the shelf that held the family albums. "You were so tiny and so innocent after the cleansing. Just didn't seem right to take away your second chance so soon."

Casually placing the book down on the arm of her chair, Lydia crosses the room to join him as he flipped through the pages of one of the albums. Finally standing beside him, she rested her head upon his shoulder.

He didn't bother to smother his grin while his finger slid down to a photo of Lydia's seventh birthday. A picture that had been taken at her paternal grandparents home in their living room.

Charles looked frazzled but affectionate as he held the child who wore a little black dress with a red sash. Her doll, Annabel, was wearing a lacy ruffled dress that was dyed a deep purple. Along with the black hair dye that contrasted against the plastic skin, she resembled Lydia in a grotesque cherubic way that was almost ironic. The doll rested on the edge of the sofa that was nearest to the side-table, but upon that was a case. It was then that she caught a ghostly pair of eyes in its reflection.

Immediately Lydia reached for the book.

"How have I never noticed this before?" As if she had never before seen the likes of it, she held the book and flipped through the pages with fresh eyes.

"Part of the spell." He shrugged. "You probably don't remember all of the details of our deal but to put it simply, I gave you and old Chucks a clean slate."

"No wonder they never solved the break-in case." She mumbled while flipping pages before she took the book with her and wandered into the kitchen. "So, what happened? If you were able to move between worlds, why did you need me to call your name?"

Loud cackling filled the room while Beetlejuice began to float into the air. "Oh, this is just too good. You really forgot the best part."

"Beetlejuice" she warned when his face broke into a wicked grin.

Changing his head into a copy of her own, he spoke with her voice. "I have a great idea! How 'bout if I say a magic word to travel back and forth."

Shocked, Lydia protested "No! No way!"

"Y-yup" He drew the word out on his own voice. "Deal as it was, I was free to come and go until the time came when you discovered the "magic poem" that you wrote."

"So, it's my fault." After closing the book and setting it on the counter, Lydia rested her elbows down upon the marble surface until finally burying her face in her hands.

"What can I say? You were a kid and let's face it, the Neitherworld was much more fun once you came around." Beetlejuice's smile widened, showing off all his grotesque glory.

Looking up, she glared at him.

"Nothin' but a bunch of stiffs in that dump, if you hadn't brought some mortal blood up into that joint, I don't think I coulda waited another 5 years."

Narrowing her glare further, Lydia stood up with her hands firm on the stone slab of the island counter that Delia had installed a few years earlier.

"Blood magic."

"Figured it out did ya?" He chuckled, but it didn't have the resonance that she was used to. This was dark and menacing. The dichotomy between the ghost she knew and the one standing before her struck hard.

"Beej?" She asked while tentatively walking around the counter closer to him. He settled down on his feet, he stood before her. Gently she reached up to touch his cheek and brushed some of his hair away from his face.

"Don't need to worry about my name anymore, Lydia," he took her hand from his cheek and held it in front of them. As if his touch was a black light, the blood from her kills began to glow upon her skin, exposing the truth. "How much further do you want to go?"

If you had asked anyone in Peaceful Pines, they would have simply said that Delia Deetz died in an accident. It had been nothing more than an unfortunate slip upon the black ice and fresh snow. Yet, for the girl who lived in the house upon the hill, it had compounded upon an already tragic year.

Prudence, the city's official medical examiner, knew that such cases were typically open and closed. There was no need for a proper autopsy, and yet she felt it was part of her duty to her best friend since middle school to give Mrs. Deetz an adequate exam.

Medical school may not have gone the way Prudence wanted, but she was content to serve her city as a replacement for Old Dr. Arty "The Suicide Detector" Reagan. Since his passing, Prudence gladly took over the job once her internship reached its conclusion.

Pulling open the freezer door, Prudence winced and shook her head. She had to remind herself that the woman was no longer her friend's mother. The body before her was nothing but a shell.

"My goodness." She gaped at the slashes and wounds that were now much more visible without the confines of clothing. "Poor Mrs. Deetz. You didn't deserve this."

With a heavy sigh, she began her examination.

"This is Medical Examiner Prudence Miller on the case of Mrs. Cordelia Deetz. The subject's body was found ejected from a vehicle and had suffered from severe blood loss. No autopsies are required in the cases of fatal automobile incidence where there has been no suspicious or intoxicating evidence that are present. However, upon this practitioners sense of duty to the deceased relative, I now begin a general examination to determine if an autopsy is indeed required."

Prudence began her visual exam by detailing the various marks and contusions on the corpse. A slashed shoulder, breast, and neck, with heavily bruised limbs and finally a fractured skull. Furthermore, broken arms, wrist, leg, and a then a deep puncture wound in her abdomen.

"The subject's body shows external signs of minor frost erythema, and by my estimates, the body was exposed to the cold for nearly 6-8 hours. Time of death is difficult to determine without a proper and complete examination. As for the major source of exsanguination, the majority of the lacerations appear to be caused from the shattered glass except for the puncture wound, which I have deduced to have been caused by the impact to a nearby tree branch. The shoulder laceration is nearly 5 millimeters deep and jagged starting above the glenoid, over the scapula until meeting the neck…. wait…."

Prudence paused and picked up the toothed forceps to lift the flap of skin.

"This… isn't a cut from glass…" Lifting the skin just a bit more, she noticed something that simply didn't look quite right.

"I'm reaching for a magnifying glass to see the edges a little better, and there appears to be something in the wound…. what on earth?"

Prudence gasped, dropping the tools, while stepping back from the body on the slab, she had to refrain herself from covering her mouth in horror.

—-

Things couldn't have better as far as Beetlejuice was concerned.

Lydia was well on her way to her eternity with him. One kill gets you a rebirth (or civil duty), two kills were enough to gain entry into the Neitherworld, and after that, well, the rules were relatively unclear, but he did his best to do as much research as possible over the last twelve years so that he didn't fuck this one up. Lydia was so much more than a deal.

Blood magic is tricky. Not even the typical suicides really understood most of the papers that they pushed between offices. In fact, the caseworkers were merely only half aware. Killing oneself, counted as far as the afterlife was concerned, to be counted as a murder. One body, one way ticket to civil servitude.

"Tricky, tricky" he muttered as he searched his bookshelf for the volumes of information that he had stashed well and out of the girls reach. "Good thing Neither-juice works on breathers."

Obliviousness was the key to this land, and he had used it to his advantage at any given opportunity. Hell, it had helped keep the kid in the dark for over a decade, and it made damn sure that her parents had never questioned the fact that an old ghost was sneaking around alongside their daughter.

Finally, he found the one book in particular that he needed to get back into the world of the living. The Neither Paths: Guidelines for Unhappily Never After Vol:1

"There we go. Time to turn up the Juice."

With a cackle, Beetlejuice, the Ghost with the Most - memory that is- left the Roadhouse. Free to move between worlds as he pleased was no longer restricted by a child's fancy. It was high time for a new deal.

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