Death and all His Friends

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The house of empty memories.

I must have sat down during his story because I suddenly found myself on the ground.

Raith was sitting opposite me, watching me closely as I took in the words he was saying. His voice was one of the only sounds in the forest, weaving in with the sound of the trickling water. It was almost spellbinding.

I didn't want to believe it. I don't know why. I guess as long as he was hiding something then I could be angry at him. Now that I knew the truth, I couldn't blame him anymore.

It felt strange knowing what had happened. It didn't feel real. Then again, stranger things have happened.

"So Lucus is one of the Death Lords?" I asked once Raith had been quiet for some time.

He nodded.

"There were three. Tomb, Requiem and Lucifer. Requiem was the wisest and stongest, but Lucifer was more prone to his emotions. He was strangely attached to Tomb, almost as if they were lovers. I'm not surprised he's chosen to go after me on his own. Lucifer likes to go by the name Lucas though, when he is in the world of the living. Lucas Favole."

I felt a chill run down my spine.

Lucas Favole. L. F.

It must have been Lucas who had put those letters in my locker all those weeks ago.

YOU REALLY SHOULD HAVE MET ME. I CAN'T HELP YOU NOW

Could I have avoided all this if I had just met Lucas?

Smile was looking at me with his soulful eyes like he was trying to tell me something.

I sighed.

"Why couldn't you just leave me alone?" I whispered, turning back to Raith.

He stared back at me, looking solemn.

"I don't know."

I took a deep, haggered breath.

"If you had just left, Babu would have followed you and left me alone."

Raith shook his head.

"He was bent on making you suffer for helping me-"

"But you didn't do anything to stop him!" I shouted. "You made up some bullshit about doing something good for Sabrina!"

Raith ran a hand through his hair, his eyes downcast.

"It seemed easier than telling you the truth. It was easier than explaining the whole situation."

"But you let me be tormented! You let him kick me out of that damn window!" I cried.

He didn't say anything and we were silent again. It was an awkward silence that made me tense and fidgety.

"I didn't know what to do." Raith said softly. "I stopped you from falling the whole way but I couldn't confront Babu. I…when I fought with him on the rooftop, he was strong. He was much stronger than me."

I chewed on my bottom lip, remembering what Smile had told me.

"You preyed on my vulnerability so I would let you stay with me." I mumbled.

"No I didn't. I didn't manipulate you like that. I knew you were beginning to depend on me, even though I couldn't actually do anything, but it was never my intention." Raith suddenly let out a hollow laugh. "God, Tegan, I could have left and gone anywhere I wanted but I stayed with you because I was worried and…and it had been a long time since I had felt so comfortable somewhere." His voice suddenly cracked and he looked away, a frown on his face.

I wanted to cry. But I wouldn't. I wouldn't cry for Raith.

"I don't think I'll ever be able to forgive you." I whispered.

He nodded with his eyes still on the ground.

I took a shuddering breath.

I was overcome with raw emotion. It felt like there was electricity in the air, sizzling around us and sending small shock waves through my skin. I had to remind myself that the only reason I was here was for my sister. Once I got her back, everything would be okay. We'd return home and I could forget about all this. I could forget about Raith and Babu and this horrible place. I could pretend none of this had ever happened. It was better that way, because there was no going back and fixing this messed up situation.

"Do you know where Jess is?" I asked Raith, once the silence had become so heavy it felt like it was crushing me.

"I think I do."

We both stood up in unison and Raith rubbed his eyes with his hands.

I cleared my throat awkwardly and clutched Smile's hand in my own.

"Let's go." I said.


We were moving through the forest again, my dulls eyes barely taking in the twisting trees around me.

I walked behind Raith, and watched the spot on his back between his shoulder blades.

I could still see those hellish black wings in my mind's eye, sprouting forth like the wings of an enormous bat.

Raith's true form.

The monster Raith had turned into looked more like how I'd imagine an angel of death to look.

I stared down at Smile, who was still holding my hand and walking faithfully by my side.

Did he have an angel form that he was hiding too?

As if he knew what I was thinking, Smile looked up at me with a serene expression.

"Smile, why do you wear that tattered old clown suit?" I asked him thoughtfully.

"It reminds me of where I've come from. I used to be a clown in and old Venetian circus." He said in a small voice.

"So you're like Raith. You remember your life?"

Smile nodded.

"It isn't often that those in Purgatory remember their life. It happens only once in every few hundred years. But my life wasn't a very good life, so I have no intention of returning."

His words triggered something in me and I suddenly remembered the strange dreams I had when I was pulled into Raith's demonic eyes. I was suddenly wrecked with guilt at seeing something that I had no right to see. Regardless of what he had done, delving into someone's mind like that and seeing those sort of memories made my stomach twist.

I stopped walking and looked down at Smile, who appeared to be the epitome of innocence.

"Smile, you were the one who hurt Raith back there." I said quietly, watching as various emotions flashed across his face.

"I told you before. He's dangerous. You had to see him as he truly is." Smile said venomously. There was something sinister about the young boy's expression that made me shiver.

I swallowed nervously.

"So you also made him transform into that monster?" I enquired.

"You needed to see it. Wherever he goes, he puts you in danger. He had tricked you and lied to you so many times before. I had to reveal to you what he is."

Smile said all this with conviction and a wave of uncertainty passed over me.

As angry as I was at Raith right now, what Smile did was wrong. I know he was trying to protect me, but making Raith relive those terrible memories was too much.

"Smile, you need to let me take care of myself now." I said softly, kneeling down so that we were at eye level.

Smile frowned.

"But I promised your sister…" he started.

"I know, and I'm grateful. But you've done your job. You've been with me for five years now but I think I need to do this on my own know. I can't be sheltered and protected for the rest of my life."

Smile stared at me, his large eyes confused at first, then angry.

"You're picking him over me?" he demanded, referring to Raith.

"No!" I cried, feeling unsettled over how similar his words sounded to Cory's.

I looked over at where Raith should be but he was gone. The idiot hadn't noticed that I Smile and I had stopped walking. What a douche.

"It's just that, this is something I need to do on my own." I said to Smile, begging him to understand. "This whole thing has to do with me and Jess. It's something only I can fix."

The angel stared at me with a blank fance, then he nodded.

"If that is what you wish." He whispered almost solemnly. "But I beg you to be careful. This place plays tricks on you. Nothing is as it seems."

Then he disappeared and I was left kneeling alone on the forest floor.


It took me ages to catch up with Raith, partly because I was pretty uncoordinated and the forest looked identical from every angle I turned. The forest had changed too. Sometime throughout my wander, it had transformed from a watery, vivid rainforest into one of dark green pine trees. The little pine needles littered the floor like stiff strands of brown hair that tickled my feet and pricked my ankles.

When I did find Raith, night had fallen and I was pretty much stumbling my way through the dark, hoping that I could trust my instincts.

I ended up at the edge of a large clearing of long, wild grass; much larger than the one we had been in before. I took several steps forward only to have my foot collide with something solid. I fell forward, literally tripping over Raith who was sitting on the ground waiting for me.

I regained my balance at the last second but once I was standing upright, I saw the last thing I expected to see in the middle of the clearing.

There, amidst the unkept, green and brown grass, was a house. It wasn't just any ordinary house though. It was the house from my memories. It was the house that I used to walk past almost every day when I was twelve. It was the old, abandoned shack that marked the short cut Megan and I used to take home from school.

I collapsed.

I fell into a limp pile onto the ground, only it wasn't the ground that came crashing against me knees.

Raith caught me.

He caught me in his arms and held me tight around my waist as I started to tremble.

"What is this place?" I whispered, my eyes glued to the decaying wood and boarded up windows of the abandoned building.

"It's a strange house." Raith replied, his voice low from behind me. "Everyone who comes here sees something different. If there are two people here at one time, the person with the strongest emotional tie to the house they see projects that image so that the other person sees the same house. But why is it that you seem to recognize this place?"

I stood up straight and pulled away from Raith.

I took a few steps forward and let my eyes take in every detail.

It was a two storey, Victorian style house with a large pointed green roof and several rectangular windows that had been boarded up with scrappy bits of dull grey wood. There was a balcony on the top floor, but the wood was old and decrepit and probably not able to withstand any substantial weight. The paint was scratched and flaking, and there was a smell of rotting timbre that wafted towards me from the building.

It was exactly the same as I remembered it.

"Why do you recognize this place?" I asked as I turned to Raith, my expression incredulous.

Raith frowned.

"Tegan, I used to live here."

I felt like I was going to collapse again. This wasn't possible. What the flip was going on?

"You…you used to live here?" I whispered.

Raith nodded and I knew he was telling the truth.

"I lived here with my mother and father until my father left and my mother moved us away. I don't really remember much of it, but for some reason, this house always looks like the one from my childhood." He said solemnly.

I wanted to scream at the irony. It felt like someone was playing a trick on me.

Raith and I must have lived in the same city, only he moved away before I was even born.

"This was the house I used to walk past with my sister on my way home." I told Raith. "It was the red haired man who lived next door that…that…" I couldn't say it. Even now I couldn't say it.

Raith nodded and looked past me.

"Lucas and your sister are inside." He said softly. "I'm sure of it. I don't know why but it's just a feeling I have."

Felt a shiver run through my body, but I closed my eyes and counted to ten. I had to do this. I couldn't hide anymore. I couldn't run anymore. I had to finish this once and for all.

I felt Raith's hand lightly tap my shoulder and I opened my eyes slowly. Even in the moonlight his face made my heart race. I didn't hate him. I don't think I ever could. He had hurt me but regardless of what I felt at the moment, I was glad he was here with me.

We walked towards the house together, and the moon shed a ghostly silvery light over the rotting planks of wood.

The front door was open, as if it was waiting for us.

I could only see darkness inside; a cold empty darkness.

"Come on." Raith said softly, walking up the soft wooden steps that led inside.

I followed reluctantly. The chill in the air seemed to be a bad omen, but I swallowed my fear and held on to any remaining courage. If Jess was inside then I needed to find her.

We set foot into the alcove of the house, and I was surprised by the warm, golden light that illuminated the room. It didn't make the atmosphere feel comforting, but it did make it feel less like a haunted house from countless horror movies.

There was an old mahogany staircase on my right, and an open doorway to my left, revealing what looked like a sitting room.

In front of me was a long hallway that was lined with old portraits, gas lamps and closed doors. The floor was dull, polished wood covered in a faded, long green rug. It smelt like varnish and lavender.

"I've never been inside before." Raith said as he stared around him in wonder. "But it looks exactly the same as it used to when I was a kid."

He had a peculiar expression, like he wasn't sure if he was dreaming or not. Once again I was dumbfolded by the irony. What were the chances that Raith used to live in this house; the very same house Megan and I used to walk past?

"We should check the rooms." Raith said abruptly beside me. I glanced at him and nodded.

"After you." I mumbled.

He didn't look at me as he walked down the hallway and opened the first door on the left. A small cloud of dust rose from the rug at his feet and I quickly pinched my nose so I wouldn't sneeze.

"How about I check upstairs?" I said as I watched him stare into the room with sad eyes.

I had a feeling he needed to be alone for a bit.

Raith nodded with his eyes still glued to the room so I turned away feeling a little awkward and out of place. I didn't feel like I should be here in a house that held such intimate memories for Raith. I was an intruder.

The floorboards squeaked as I walked back to the tall wooden staircase and I cringed at the sound. I didn't realise how quiet it was until the silence was broken.

I slowly ascended the steps, my eyes drifting to the portraits lining the adjacent wall.

They were old and covered with a light layer of brown dust. It made the colours seem dull and washed out. Each one sat in an ornate gold frame above a small bronze plaque that held a brief description of the person in the picture. Even in the yellow hue of the lamp light, I could barely make out the inscription on the plaque beneath the first portrait. After several moments, I realised that it was in another language.

I moved closer to the picture and stared at the unfamiliar characters. It looked like Russian, but I could only guess with my extremely limited linguistics skills.

Curious, I raised my hand and wiped the dust off the portrait itself. The figures were slowly uncovered and soon enough I was staring at what appeared to be a large family gathering. There were around twenty people in the picture, arranged neatly in three rows; ten in the back, six in the middle and four in the front.

They were twelve men standing around eight women in the portrait, their ages varying from early twenties to late sixties or seventies. The men wore stark black military jackets with high collars and a thick gold sash that ran from their right shoulder down across their chest to their left hip. Some had prominent medals in the shape of eight pointed stars scattered across their uniform and several men had their hands wrapped around the hilts of thin decorative swords.

The women in the group wore elaborate, long dresses that dragged along the floor. They were all in soft, pastel colours; the whites, creams and pinks contrasting against the black jackets of the men. Each dress was a similar style too. They revealed the the shoulders of the women but had sleeves that covered their upper arms that cut off a few centimetres above their elbows. The bodice of the dresses all came in tightly at the waist, giving each woman an unnatural hourglass figure. The dresses were adorned with bows and ribbons and small lavish rossettes. The women wore excessive pearl necklaces and earings, and their hair, which was intricately weaved into a braid, were adorned with many ornate clips and headpieces.

It was like an image out of one of my history textbooks and it fascinated me.

I turned away from this portrait and took a few more steps up the staircase until I reached the next picture on the wall. This one showed two people; a man with a bushy grey mustache and silver hair, and a woman with long brown hair holding a little baby in her arms. The man was middle aged but still handsome, with cold blue eyes and a heavy brow. He was wearing the same military uniform that the other men had been wearing in the previous picture, although the amount of medals pinned to his chest were far greater than any on the men beforehand.

The woman was very beautiful. Her hair was the deepest mahogany and pulled back into an inticate bun clipped into place by several golden hair pins and combs. Her eyebrows were arched high over her dark green eyes, giving the slightest impression that she was surprised or shocked, though at what I would never know. Her gown, or what I could see of it, consisted of layers of cream and gold fabric that wrapped tightly around her body. The low, square cut neckline of the bodice revealed a small, delicate pendent that hung at her bosom. A shimmering green emerald was set in the middle of this necklace, and the colour mirrored the colour of the eyes of the baby the woman held.

The only way I could describe the baby would be angelic. He, or she, lay nestled in the woman's arms in what appeared to be a white shawl. His eyes were green, but much more vibrant that his mother's, and this clashed with his whisps of black hair that were sprouting out of his head like a little tuff of grass.

It was, of course, a family portrait, but I was uncertain whether or not Raith was the baby in the woman's arms. His eyes were the same colour, but Raith's hair was a little lighter that his nose was straighter.

I decided to move on to the next picture. I found the photos enthralling. It was like they were telling me a story and I wanted to know more.

I was almost at the top of the staircase when I saw the third picture.

This one was a black and white photo of a young woman and a small boy. The woman looked to be the same one from the previous picure, although she looked a little older. She was wearing a heavy white dress that revealed her thin, ivory sholders and long neck. Her hair was done up in an elegant bun and her eyes were focussed on the boy clutching her pale hand.

The boy himself was young, maybe five or six, with dark hair and large, soulful eyes. He was in a puffy white blouse, shorts, and long boots that seemed a little too large for him. He was smiling up at the woman and the radiance on his face was evident despite the grainy quality of the print.

I turned away and walked up the rest of the staircase. I was disappointed when I saw that there were no more pictures on the wall to oogle at. They were starting to get interesting and it felt like there was more to the story that needed to be told.

Then I shook my head. I had to focus on finding Jess, not getting lost in this house of memories and old Russian people.

Feeling a little more focused, I stood at the top of the staircase and looked at the hallway stretched out before me. From what I could see, there were six doors; three on the left, two on the right and one directly ahead.

My heart started beating a little faster.

Suddenly, the gravity of the situation sunk in.

I didn't know what I was going to find behind those doors. What if Lucas leaps out at me and skins me alive? Or what if he's done something to Jess and I walk in and see her there, covered in blood?

I felt faint as images flashed before my eyes; tangled hair and blood shot eyes, skeletal hands reaching out for me. Then it passed and I was left gasping as I clutched the side of the wall for support.

I was going to be sick. My stomach twisted and I swallowed hard.

No. I have to do this.

Putting it all out of my mind, I opened the first door on my left.

The knob turned smoothly in my hand and the heavy wooden door swung open smoothly without a sound.

I peered in and scrunched my nose against the smell of rosewood and wood shavings. At first there was nothing but darkness and I felt my heart skip a beat. Then the lights seemed to flicker on like there was an automatic sensor, although I'm sure there wasn't.

The room was bare, except for a few boxes stacked in the corner and the remains of an old fireplace against the wall. The wallpaper was a deep burgundy colour with yellow chrysthanthemums lined in neat rows. All in all, it was pretty ordinary.

One down, six to go.

I closed the door and moved on to the next door on my right. This one was also easy to open but it smelt of sandpaper and lavender. Inside was a huge wooden desk that took up more than half the room and an empty bookcase.

The panic in my chest was beginning to subside from the lack of scary things jumping out at me. However, at the same time, the relief I felt was marred by the sickening feeling that I was getting closer and closer to something horrible. With each step I took, I was moving further and further towards the point of no return.

I closed the door and tried the next one on my left. All I found was an empty guest room with a small bed and a large wardrobe pushed to one corner.

The next right was a bathroom of cold stone tiles. The taps on the sink and bathtub were so covered in rust that I doubt they'd even turn, and the bathtub was cold and empty.

The final left was what appeared to be a nursery. Even before the lights turned on, it smelt so warm and comforting; like a mix of caramel and honey. When the room was illuminated, I almost gasped in shock. The colours were so incredibly vibrant compared with the rest of the house. The walls of the room were painted with amazing images of rolling meadows, fantastical castles of twisting glass and knights on horses slaying enormous dragons. The carpet with a brilliant green and the ceiling a soaring blue. The clouds painted on the ceiling were so realistic that I could almost see them move. Between the small balls of fluff were angels, floating serenely over the room with their hands clasped around trumpets and harps.

In the centre of the room was an empty white crib facing the window. A tiny circle of little golden suns and silver moons hung above it, blessing a child that wasn't there.

A wooden rocking horse sat in the corner, looking sad and forelorn with its peeling red saddle and dull brown eyes. There were a mirade of other toys scattered around the place; a forgotten game of ring toss, a brightly coloured ball, several colourful blocks stacked one on top of the other, a small pile of books, an old teddy bear and a few dolls lying on the ground with vacant eyes.

I closed the door slowly, not sure why I was overcome with a sudden feeling of sadness. I guess the room didn't feel complete without a little boy or girl playing inside.

Once the door was firmly shut behind me, the spell was broken and I was left in the hallway, facing the final door.

The flickeing light of the gas lamps beside me stretched my shadow ahead of me, and I stared at the dark figure of myself. A shiver crossed my spine as I held out a hand and placed it on the doorknob.

This was it.

I hadn't heard any commotion downstairs so I assumed Raith hadn't found Lucas, meaning that he must be beyond this door.

My fingers started to tremble and I had to focus hard to make them stop.

I didn't know what I was going to do when I opened that door. But all I knew was that I wasn't going to be afraid. At least not on the outside.

I took a deep breath, scrunched up all my courage and turned the door knob.

It didn't move at first.

I frowned.

It was stuck.

I jiggled it. Then I jiggled it somemore. Then I gritted my teeth and turned it as hard as I could.

It met resistance, then turned the whole way and I almost fell through the doorway as the door sprung open.

Like all the other rooms beforehand, it took a few seconds for the lights to come on. When they did, I was disappointed yet relieved at the same time.

There was no one in the room.

It was empty.

But there was, however, a lot of objects.

It was the master bedroom.

Against the wall opposite me was an enormous king sized bed with lush red and gold sheets.

Above the bed was a giant portrait of a man and a woman.

I stared.

It was Raith, only it wasn't Raith.

It certainly looked a lot like him; dark hair, piercing green eyes, high cheekbones and pale lips. But this man looked colder than the Raith I knew. His eyes were harder and crueler. His nose, too, was different. It was a little longer and more hooked than Raith's.

The man's expression was an overall look of contempt, but the woman's expression was totally different. She was smiling; a gorgeous, smile that was almost glowing with happiness. She was absolutely beautiful. Her skin was like flawless porcelain with a hint of blush, and her hair fell like a waterfall of ripened wheat over her bare shoulders. Her soft pink lips were luscious and full, and her eyes were hazel but not the dull, common colour that I was accustomed to seeing. Her eyes sparked with strange, secretive magic that drew you in.

They were dressed formally, the man in a black suit and the woman in a strapless blue dress. Was it a wedding portrait? I guess I'll never know.

I looked away and surveyed the rest of the room.

The colours were all very earthy and red; red and gold Persian rugs, mahogany vanity in the corner and the same burgundy wallpaper as the first room I saw.

The room smelt nice; like cinnamon and roses. It hung delicately in the air, as soft and fragile as the spiderwebs hanging from the doorway.

I walked into the room, curious.

The vanity was beautiful. It was an elaborate, decorative piece of solid oak that was engraved with swirling, twisting patterns that almost made it seem like it was alive.

I got close enough to touch it, tracing one of my swirls with a hesitant finger. There were some small photographs stuck up on the mirror. There was a picture of the woman when she was younger, her face merry as the wind blew through her hair. Then there was one of the man in the portrait, sitting on a stiff chair with a small boy in his lap. The third picture was of a small boy, smiling gleefully at the camera as he held onto a stuffed toy.

There were some pieces of jewellery sitting on the vanity; white pearl necklaces, diamond earrings and silver rings. There was an even larger array of antique gold and silver combs, hair clips and pins.

I picked up a small, silver hairbrush. It had a swirling, filigree design on the back that matched the design on the vanity. There were still some strands of long gold hair caught in the bristles.

"This was my parent's bedroom." I heard Raith say from near the doorway.

I jumped and almost dropped the brush.

"Far out Raith, you almost gave me a heart attack." I complained, turning to glare at him.

He shrugged, his hands in his pockets as his eyes scanned the room.

I looked away and put the hairbrush back down.

My fingers then houvered over a small hand mirror.

I picked it up, surprised at how heavy it was, and brushed off the layer of dust clouding its surface.

My own dull brown eyes were reflected back at me, not nearly as mesmering as the woman in the portrait.

I suddenly felt a presence beside me and I froze as Raith reached out and took the mirror from my hand. His fingers brushed mine, leaving a tinging feeling on my skin.

He stared into the mirror for a moment before putting it back down on the vanity with a loud clack.

"What happened to your parents?" I asked as I looked at the pictures stuck to the mirror.

"My dad left when I was really young. I don't remember much of him and I don't remember where he went or why. Maybe he died. Maybe he had another family. All I know is that my mother wouldn't talk aout it. My mother and I lived here for some time after he had gone but she was lonely and miserable. She wasted all her money on drugs trying to relive the past. She used up all our money so we had to sell this place. Then she met some guy who promised her the world and we moved away with him."

Raith's voice was blank and emotionless and even as I watched him, he looked totally calm.

I couldn't understand why he wasn't angry.

"That's awful." I whispered, remembering the parts of his life I saw; the abusive man and the blank, vacant woman. I thought about the nursery next door and all the happiness that Raith had been deprived of.

Raith just smiled at me.

"These things happen Tegan." He said, looking me in the eyes. "I've had ten years to think about it; ten long years to mull over the whole damn thing. I'm not going to pretend that everything is alright, but to be honest, it's not that big a deal anymore. It's sad, what happened to my mother, but life can be cruel like that. My mother made some bad decsions. She chose to loose herself in delusions and fantasies and trusted a man who did nothing but abuse us. She messed up. I need to accept it and move on. I need to forgive her."

His smile was bleak, but there was a quiet assurance in his gaze that made me think.

It made me think of my own life and everything that had happened to me.

Raith had forgiven his mother for giving him a life of misery and pain. I looked at him now and although I saw sadness, there was no bitterness.

Perhaps after all this time, Megan too had forgiven me for letting those awful things happen to her. And yet, I still couldn't think about it without feeling the sickening twist of guilt in my gut. I guess forgiving someone else is easier than forgiving yourself.

I sat down slowly on the old bed, listening to the creak of the old springs under my weight.

Raith sat down next to me and let out a heavy breath.

"They're not here." I said quietly, my eyes glued to the dusty red curtains in front of me.

"I was so sure they'd be here." Raith added.

"Why?" I suddenly demanded, turning angrily to him. "Why were you so sure? No one told you. It's not like Lucas left us a message or anything! How can I even trust you?"

Raith glared at me, his eyes cold and hard.

"I can't explain it, but it's just a feeling." He said with gritted teeth.

"You can't seem to explain a lot." I snapped bitterly.

We were both tense and I didn't know if we would ever go back to normal.

Every time I looked at Raith, I'd remember the black monster in the forest. I think Raith knew that too, because he looked away from me abruptly and buried his head in his hands.

"Tegan, I'm sorry but I really thought they'd be here." He said, his voice muffled.

"Well you were wrong." I muttered, trying not to sound as disgruntled as I felt.

"No, this definitely has to be the place." Raith said suddenly, lifting his head back up and staring at the wall blankly.

I rolled my eyes.

"And why is that?" I asked.

Raith turned to me, his green eyes almost glowing with ferocity.

"Lucas loves mind games, and this house means something to the both of us. Tegan, are you sure you've never been in this house before?"

"I told you, I only ever walked past this place with my sister. We never went inside. Why would we? It was a dilapidated old shack." I snapped, getting annoyed.

"What about in your dreams?"

"My dreams have always been in the forest!" I shouted with certaintly. Then something tugged in the back of my mind and I felt my heart stop.

Images flashed before my eyes; a gaunt, bloody face, thin, brittle limbs, a mouth open in a blood curling scream and sallow hands that reached for my throat…

"Tegan?" Raith asked uncertainly, his eyes worried at he watched me. Only, it wasn't his eyes I was seeing. It was the dull, bloodshot eyes of my nightmare.

"Oh my God." I whispered.

"What?"

"Raith…I know where they are."

My chest suddenly felt tight and I couldn't breathe properly. I shuddered, my breaths becoming sporatic and short as I clenched my fists so tight I felt the nails dig into my skin.

"Tegan, where are they?" Raith asked.

"They're in the basement."


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