College Life: Part 2 - Field Experience

BY : FlameWolf
Category: 1 through F > Beetlejuice
Dragon prints: 80
Disclaimer: I do not own anyone or anything from the Beetlejuice franchise. This is just for fun and no profit will be made.

Author’s Note:  Sorry for the wait.  Writer’s block hit like a freight train.  Also I happen to live in one of the states on fire so I’ve been understandably distracted.  Hopefully I can get back into the swing of things for real now.




 

College Life

Part 2: Field Experience

 

By: FlameWolf






 

    She already knew the answer to his question all too well, still, she had no desire to go back there.  Even in an extremely vivid dream.  Some part of her was very aware that she had to tell him at some point.  That it was only right.  That it would help this whole nightmare end sooner.  Rubbing her upper arm, she furrowed her brow while keeping her eyes shut.  “Its... its the center of this entire reality.  The source of everything, even our own souls,” she whispered, hugging herself tight while dread and apprehension filled her.

    Immediately, she felt something thick and muscular wrap around her; a massive head coming up next to her as if to offer comfort.  “I had a feeling that was the case but I sincerely hoped it wouldn’t be,” rumbled the ambient voice of her beastly lover.

    “Getting there without transportation will be a bit difficult,” he continued as his titanic body moved up so she could get onto his back.

    Fumbling blindly, she felt around until she was patting his stringy, greasy mane.  As gently as she could, she heaved herself onto him, grateful when he used one of his paw-hands to help her.  Once she was settled he was off and running again, leaping onto the buildings to get higher.  Once he reached the top, he began to run across them; moving toward where the city ended and the wastes began.  The very edge of sanity and madness.  The place where many have gone mad or died trying to reach to one truth.  The epicenter of all lives and all realities.  Even in a dream, it was still incredibly dangerous.  Perhaps even more so.

    This place had shaped her mindscape but the same could also be said for it.  Being the cause of this, the center had likely taken on a few of the horrors from her own mind.  To add to this, she would have to face it alone.  All he could do was get her close safely.  If he attempted to enter with her, he would be transported back to the waking world instantly.  A fact that set his fangs on edge.  As powerful as he was, there were still rules he couldn’t break.  Rules that could very well kill the one breather he cared about.

    Scrabbling across the roofs, he tried to shove these thoughts to the back of his head.  He had to focus on the present as well as getting them both out of here safely.  Her especially.  After all, he couldn’t very well die again.  Even if he was torn apart by the horrors here, he would eventually piece himself back together and come back.  Leaping from the final building to the rock wall shielding the city, Betelgeuse climbed up the mountain to perch on its tip; staring across the maddening hellscape he would have to cross.  Just beyond, reality started to break and become surreal.  Baring his teeth, he hunched up before taking a massive leap, barely scrambling onto a piece of sky that was floating beyond the mountain.

    Feeling the jolt, Ellie instinctually opened her eyes for a bare two seconds.  Yet, that was enough to catch a glimpse of the horror she was currently riding on.  Clenching her eyes shut, she tried to push the image to the back of her head.  After all, it really didn’t matter to her that he was some cosmic horror.  No matter the form he took, he would never harm her.  She refused to allow his true self to drive her away.  Instead, she forced herself to focus on the task ahead of her.  Once they reached the center, she had no idea what she was supposed to do.  Would she have to fight?  Or was it more of a face your fears type of thing?

    For something so important and dangerous, she had very little information.  She was just going off what Betelgeuse had told her.  Yet, as much as these questions bothered her; she was understandably reluctant to distract him from the acrobatics he was currently performing.  Though she couldn’t see at the moment, she could feel the movements of his body.  There were honestly moments she was surprised she hadn’t fallen off.  All she could do was hold on and hope she had time to ask her questions before she was sent in.

    Unaware of his passenger’s worries, the massive creature continued to leap from the bits of reality floating through the abyss of chaos.  It was taking every ounce of his concentration to make sure he completed the jumps successfully.  Thankfully it would only be a few more minutes until he reached a safe place to set her down.  One of the few pieces of stable ground in this insanity.  The area around the center.  The area past the guardian.  Taking a moment to catch his breath, he craned his reptilian head backwards to check on Eleanor.  To his relief, she still appeared fine but he knew the sooner he got this over with the better.

    Lunging forward, he continued his journey; only stopping when he felt something stirring in the void below.  Something ancient and hungry.  Hissing curses through his croggled fangs, he kept moving, hoping the thing wouldn’t have time to notice him.  In fact, he did his best to ignore the dark shapes moving below him and the dull roaring noise that was beginning to fill the air.  His passenger, on the other hand, was all too aware of the thing.

    All around her, she could feel the presence of something powerful and dark.  Something unlike any ghost she would encounter on the waking plane.  Something her soul screamed at her to escape lest she go mad.  Gritting her teeth, she buried her face in his mane and did something she had never done in her entire life; she began to pray.  If there were any greater forces out there that cared for her safety, she would be able to reach them here.  Unfortunately nothing happened and the noise around them increased to almost resemble being inside a tornado.  “Betelgeuse...,” whimpered out of her without her consent, her all out terror beginning to take over her senses.

    “We’re almost there, just hang on a little while longer,” assured his roughened voice as he continued to charge forward.

    Indeed, their destination was rapidly getting closer.  Unfortunately, so was the thing in the void.  In fact, he could sense it reaching for them.  Hissing deep in his throat, the striped beast made a final gambit leap; stretching his front legs to hopefully reach the singular spot of land ahead.  He hit the edge with his midsection, scrabbling at the dirt for purchase.  When he began to slide, his heart dropped.  Making a split second decision, he reached behind him to grab Ellie, tossing her onto the island.  If he fell, he didn’t want to take the chance of taking her with him.

    After slamming into the ground, Ellie could only lay there stunned; doing her best to catch her breath.  Behind her, she heard strained growling as well as the scraping of claws.  “B?!” she exclaimed, feeling around for him while keeping her eyes closed.

    “Forget about me!  You have to make it past the guardian and find the center!” commanded his ambient voice, prompting her to move toward the sound.

    “Never!  I would never leave you!” she spat out vehemently, cracking her eyes open just a sliver.  Just enough to make out a massive, blurred shape struggling to pull itself up.

    In an instant, she was grabbing one of his paw-hands and pulling, digging her heels in the soil under her for purchase.  Eyes widening, Betelgeuse shook his head while he tried to get a grip with his rear legs.  “I’m too large!  I’ll pull you down if I go!” he protested, trying to nudge her away with his huge head.  He wasn’t surprised when she resisted him, continuing to pull despite them both sliding backwards.

    “Then we’ll both go but I’m not letting you go,” she spat, tears streaming down her pales cheeks as the thing in the void began to close in.  To make things worse, she could also sense something coming up behind her.

    Something that wrapped a slimy, ephemeral tentacle around her brain and squeezed enough to get her attention.  Whipping her head around and opening her eyes against her will, she saw a dark, shadowy thing swarming with eyes and tentacles.  While its shape was vaguely reminiscent of a canine, the rest of it was out of Lovecraft’s darkest nightmares.  Several, red eyes focused one her at once, fanged maws yawning open to reverse croggles fangs and whip-like tongues.  “Babes!  Eleanor!  Don’t look at it!” snarled a garbled demand that she couldn’t obey no matter how she wanted to.  Something the mass of terrors seemed well aware.  In fact, it was even... smiling?

    *Do not fear my dear child.  I shall not harm you.  I wish to help you*  hissed a voice in her head, feeling almost oily and corrosive.  Screaming in pain, Ellie released Betelgeuse to clutch her skull.

    “Eleanor!  Stay away from her you * ,” the struggling beast snarled, finally managing to catch a tiny ledge with his hind claws.

    The abomination merely tilted its head before letting out a sound reminiscent of squalling demons mixed with the tortured laughter of the obscenely insane.  *ዝቅተኛ አውሬ am I?  Then what are you?  Not even a human and yet not one of us either.  You have no right to make demands* it reported as it began to stalk toward the crumpled woman.  As it got closer, she began to look up; a dazed expression on her features.  Slowly she got to her feet, moving toward the thing.  Roaring in protest Betelgeuse managed to push himself up onto the floating land mass.  Then he was charging, not even taking the time to center himself.  Bracing for impact, the darker creature took the impact without a flinch; its tentacles wrapping around its attacker.

    Its hold on her temporarily broken, Ellie stared at the ground while she attempted to make a decision.  If she stayed, she would only get in the way.  Especially if she wanted to keep her promise to a certain bio-exorcist.  Yet, if she left and he died...  Shaking herself free of the thought, she turned and began to run across the arid terrain.  She had to be logical.  She had to face her fears.  The faster she got through this, the faster she could wake up and they could both be safe.  Betelgeuse was strong, he could survive until this was finished!

    Ignoring the tears in her eyes and the burning in her lungs, she pushed herself away from the terrible sounds of the battle.  Just a few feet ahead of her was the center.  The swirling hole of realities and souls.  Of stories and possibilities.  A thing she had hoped to never witness again in her lifetime.  Yet, something in her was drawn to touch it.  To experience the rush of information just one more time.  To see the things no living human should know.  As she got closer, she could hear and feel an odd humming.  Like high voltage electricity.  Gritting her teeth, she reached for the thing, tensing the moment her fingers made contact.  Unlike before, however, there was a voice.  Dark, yet full of anxiety.  In some ways, it sounded like her own subconscious.

    Despite wanting to let go in that moment, she held on and endured.  Listening to her own, deeply buried fears.  After all, this was what this journey was about.  Facing herself and conquering it.  Then, suddenly she was falling into the hole in reality.  As if something inside had pulled her in.  All around her were flashes of her life as well as her secret dreams and nightmares.  Yet she continued to fall, as if descending into a bottomless tunnel.  Just as she thought she was going to be lost in her own mind, she hit what felt like a carpeted floor.  In fact, she suddenly found herself in the living room of the former Deetz house.

    Getting to her feet, she brushed herself off while looking around.  While it was the same house, it had been twisted into a nightmare.  The structure of the walls were tilted and nonsensical, the sight of them making her head hurt.  The furniture was also warped, looking more like fanged monsters waiting for prey.  Rubbing her right upper arm, she became aware of voices coming from the floor above.  Needless to say, a deep foreboding filled her.  Yet she forced herself to head up the dusty, impossible staircase.

    As she got closer to the voices, she came to recognize it as her own.  It was muttering a constant stream of fears.  Most of them having to do with Betelguese and the possible consequences of letting him free of his chains.  He was an eldritch beast after all.  A soul transformed by the afterlife itself.  An agent of chaos that wanted to shatter the safe little dome the Neitherworld was sheltered in.  He had made it no secret that he wanted to wake up booths sides to what was truly out there.  For what reason, she didn’t really know.  Yet, in her heart of hearts, she still wanted to see him free.

    She knew how insane it seemed and she supposed it had a lot to do with how she felt for him.  Still, was wanting to see him free to roam as he wishes so insane?  To see him have full freedom to traverse the worlds of the living and the dead? To be able to use his name, his true name without fear?  So, squaring her shoulders; Eleanor took the doorknob in hand and entered the room.  Before the aged copy of herself could even notice her presence, she was taking her into a hug.  “Its okay.  Him being what he is doesn’t change anything.  He’s no more dangerous than he was before.  No matter what happens, we can get through it,” the young woman assured as her copy turned toward the contact.

    Shuddering slightly, her other self began to cry; clinging onto the comfort.  Making soothing noises, she pet her shadow’s back.  While it felt weird, it also felt natural at the same time.  So natural, in fact, that she didn’t even notice the shade being absorbed into her body.  Or the fact that the room was spinning and blurring around her.  When she opened her eyes again, she found herself staring at a ceiling.  Groggy and disoriented, she sat up and began to look around.  When she saw Lydia helping a battered Betelgeuse to his feet, she was up and moving.  “Betelgeuse!” came out of her before she could stop it, her legs only carrying a few inches before she collapsed.

    “Easy Ellie,” gruffed in her ear while shaking arms wrapped around her.

    “I’m here.  We’re both back.  We’re safe,” the voice assured, a familiar cheek pressing into her own.

    Wrapping her own arms around her lover, the distraught femme allowed all her pent up fear to come out.  Sobs left her overwrought body as her tension flooded from her.  All her fear, her paranoia, it was gone.  It was as if she had restored a balance within herself.  Still, none of that mattered as much as the fact the poltergeist holding her was alright.  “When that thing attacked, I thought...  And I couldn’t help.  All I could do was...,” she stammered between hiccups.

    “Shh, you did the right thing.  If you’d stayed, we’d have both been killed.  While I would be fine eventually, you wouldn’t be,” he responded softly, pulling back to look her over.

    Already, his wounds were healing; leaving behind smooth skin.  “You seem a lot better,” observed another voice, drawing their attention back to a flustered Lydia.  The dead dean smiled uncomfortably at the pair before clearing her throat.

    “You’ve also done a lot of work as well.  I can see no reason why a long break for you can’t be arranged.  You need some time to absorb what you’ve learned anyway,” she continued as she walked over to the pile of the student’s paperwork.

    With a small smile, she picked up the sizable pile.  “I’ll take all this back to my office and study it.  With luck, you might even be able to move up in your classes,” she informed before simply disappearing.  Feeling a bit stunned, Ellie was only brought to the present with a gentle nip to the neck.  Squeaking and turning her focus toward the ghost over her, she felt her body heat when she saw a rather hungry expression in his yellow-green eyes.

    “You were a very foolish girl...,” hissed an animalistic snarl before she found herself in his arms.

    Next thing she knew, they were upstairs and she was being laid on a bed he had summoned in with his powers.  “You should have run when I told you,” continued the soft growl of his mid-tone while he covered her body with his own.  Then he was cupping the back of her head, his gentleness a sharp contrast with how angry he sounded.

    “Never, in life or death, have I ever had someone willing to risk their life to protect me,” he continued, biting her neck gently between words.

    As he spoke, he used one of his knees to open her to him, settling between her legs.  Instead of just laying there and allowing him to take the lead, the woman under him wrapped her arms around his neck; giving him an almost vicious kiss.  Teeth clacked against one another as the pair seemed to almost bite at eachother.  “You would do the same for me,” Ellie pointed out, her fingers winding in his wild hair and pulling.  This action elicited a low, dangerous noise that made her toes curl.

    “That’s not the...,” began a snarled protest before he stopped to consider.  If she had been a ghost and he had been the one alive, he would have refused to leave her side as well.  Not that he would admit that out loud.  Instead, he bit her lower lip and tugged.  Not hard enough to really injure her though, just enough to give a slight sting.  The moan she released in response sent fire through his veins.

    With a wave of his hand, both their clothes were gone and her hands were moving from his hair to his filthy, rotting flesh.  The only warning she got was his fingers fumbling at her entrance before he was hilting himself inside her.  Hissing, she met his mouth once more with renewed ferocity as his hips began to move.  Breaking their lip lock, he leaned back to lift her hips, angling her so he could hit deeper.  Already, Ellie was writhing below him; cries leaving her as she pulsed around him.  Drawing in a breath through gritted teeth, the bio-exorcist reached down to cup her cheek while he continued to thrust.  “I love you Ellie, with all of my heart,” he growled out as he felt his peak begin to approach.

    “I l-love you too B,” gasped the woman under him, then they were both exploding, their cries of ecstasy intertwining almost seamlessly.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Year One: Month Five~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

    To say Eleanor had recovered would be an understatement.  In fact, she seemed more driven than before.  Even while on vacation, she kept up her studies; not wanting to fall behind.  In her mind, the sooner she got her degree the better.  She had to become a paranormal psychologist as soon as possible.  Not only to gain the trust of the Neitherworld itself but to help ghosts.  After seeing the Eldritch, she was filled with a renewed purpose.  Especially since she heavily doubted Betelgeuse was the only soul that had accidentally ended up in such a horrible place.

    The fact he existed at all pointed to something extremely concerning.  It certainly didn’t help that it seemed to be the real face of the afterlife.  A place where souls went to be devoured or twisted.  The one in charge of the Neitherworld now had to know and they had to be the ones that sealed it off.  Only the seal wasn’t enough anymore.  The things in there were starving, as was the dimension itself.  It was restless and if it broke out completely, it could mean the end of all realities.

    As of now, the only people in the Neitherworld who would listen were Lydia and Juno.  Suffice to say, they weren’t enough.  She had to get the ones in charge to listen, a hefty task for a breather.  The only thing that kept her from going overboard was her undead lover.  The poltergeist made sure she took breaks often, at least when he wasn’t on a job.  Not that she could blame him.  She’d already shown she didn’t really know how to pace herself when it came to achieving her goal.  Even now, he was watching her like a hawk; eyeing her for any sign of picking up a textbook.

    Chuckling slightly, she leaned into him as her gaze focused on the screen.  A copy of Elvira’s Dracula was playing and it was on one of the rare scenes where the host commentated.  “This is alright and all but I wish it had been more like MST3K.  There’s never enough Elvira,” she complained in a good-natured manner.

    “I agree.  Cassie is a great gal and deserved so much more,” her companion agreed, some of his words making her raise a brow slightly.

    “Cassie?!  Oh my God, do you actually know Cassandra Peterson?” Ellie exclaimed, sitting up slightly.

    Betelgeuse simply smiled down at her before pressing a kiss to her forehead.  “Met her on a job once.  She’d found one of my cards and summoned me by accident.  Even after her death, we still hang out on occasion,” he explained with a cocky expression.  Ellie only rolled her eyes, a slight pang of jealousy briefly flashing through her.  She was under no impressions she was B’s first.  Especially with how long he had been dead.  Still, she was only human and somewhat doubted she could ever measure up.

    As if sensing her thoughts the wraith next to her pulled her closer, nibbling her neck with a low growl.  “There was never anything there, not that I didn’t try.  She found me more of a curiosity than anything else,” rumbled in her ear as his mouth moved up to hers.  Just as they were about to share a kiss, the phone rang.  Getting up with a vicious snarl, he yanked it off the hook with a demonic howl; hoping to frighten off whoever was on the other side.

    “Hello Beej,” greeted an amused Lydia from the other end, instantly defusing his fury.

    “Hey Lyds, let me hand ya off to Ellie,” he responded, handing the headset to a waiting Eleanor.

    Immediately taking it, she pressed it to her head with an almost anxious expression.  “Hi Ms. Deetz!  S-sorry about that.  Is this about all the study papers you collected from me?” she inquired while shifting foot to foot.

    “Indeed!  Sorry to keep you waiting so long.  I had to look through that as well as the work from the other students.  I just called to say you could probably graduate around the end of the year.  I’ve already put you in advanced classes and made sure the professors are aware of the work you have done.  You have become our college’s golden child due to your efforts.  I hope you enjoy the rest of your vacation,” came some very welcome information before the call ended.

    Even as she replaced the phone, he was filled with an immense relief.  While her journey was nowhere near finished, graduating was a massive step.  All she would need was some support from Juno even getting her foot in the door.  Turning to face the ghost behind her, the young woman couldn’t keep the smile off her face.  Chuckling, he snapped his fingers to change the room into a darker, more twisted version of itself.  Then, ever so slowly, the pair was raising into the air as haunting, yet beautiful music began to play.  Taking her into his arm, he began to spin her as she let out a musical laugh.  “Good news, I take it?” observed a gruff midtone as she looked up at him with pure joy.

    “I can graduate at the end of the year!  So much sooner than I thought!  That means I can work on becoming a paranormal psychologist that much quicker.  That I can possibly free you in my lifetime,” she gushed, happy tears standing in the corners of her eyes.

    “That’s amazing babes!  Just... don’t push too far ahead.  Remember, the ones in charge view me as a very real threat.  If they even get a whiff of this...  Lets just say some things are better left not said...,” he murmured, something in his expression becoming dark while they continued to dance.

    Eleanor could only bite her lower lip, flashing back to the things she had seen, what she had caught an accidental glimpse of.  Whatever Betelgeuse was, it was certainly not to be taken lightly.  She was certainly under no delusion she had him under any sort of control.  Yet, she doubted he was truly dangerous.  Chaotic and a troublemaker but not someone who would kill or destroy without discretion.  He certainly didn’t deserve his chains for all of eternity.  Resting her head on his shoulder, she furrowed brow as her mind began to spin.

    Was she doing the right thing?  Did she know him as well as she assumed?  Had he been playing her?  After all, he had shown himself to be extremely conniving when he wanted to be; if Lydia’s story was anything to go by.  Shaking herself free of those worries, she carefully placed them in the back of her head as she looked up at her beloved.  No matter his past, he had shown that he was willing to give his own unlife for her.  She owed him at least this much.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Year One: Month Six~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

    It was odd to be back in class once again, not to mention the fact she was surrounded by people that had been in the school for years.  Some part of her felt guilty for even being there.  Almost like she hadn’t earned it.  At least her classmates were friendly and didn’t seem to care that she had been moved forward.  Life had pretty much gone back to normal.  Which, in a lot of ways was a relief.  The only thing that hadn’t was her mindscape.  Every night, she found herself back in the center; the Elder Beast pacing just on the border.  All of this, she had kept to herself.

    Unlike before, this didn’t feel dangerous.  The area was calmer than before.  In fact, the only things that seemed to remain of the horrors were the center and its eternal inhabitant.  At first, she was terrified.  It wasn’t long, however, until she discovered it couldn’t get any closer to the center; to its clear frustration.  For the first week or so, all it would do was pace and snarl; threatening her in the ancient tongue.  Still, she tried to have conversations with it; ignoring its aggressive responses.  At a point, it actually began to talk back; albeit in an extremely nasty manner.  As it turned out, it had been alone for longer than humanly comprehensible.

    It wasn’t like any of that would stop it from tearing her apart the first chance it got.  It had told her such several times, despite the fact it didn’t seem to mind the company.  After a few tries, she even managed to find out that the creature in her brain was actually connected to the real being; giving her a rather unique opportunity.  While it wasn’t all that cooperative, it did answer the odd question about its realm.  One of the things she found out was Cthulhu had been getting a lot more active as of late.  Mostly due to the lack of food in the Eldritch.  This meant that her timeline was even more rushed than she thought.

    Sighing as she stared at the ceiling of the living room, she wondered if she should share this with Betelgeuse or if it would make him freak out all over again.  Groaning, she found she had known the answer a while ago.  She just didn’t have the courage to execute it.  Sitting up slowly, she reached for the remote to the Roke; flicking it over to Youtube.  Even if she wanted to tell him right now, she had to wait until he returned from his job.  A job he had been at for nearly a week now.

    While she knew this was part of it, she couldn’t help but feel a mixture of worry and loneliness.  It would be different if she had any friends on the living side of things.  Someone to talk to about her fears and dreams.  Someone to take her mind off her lover’s long absence.  Shaking her head, she went through the recommended videos until one caught her eye.  Maybe it would be enough to keep her mind occupied until she went to sleep.  With any luck, he will have come back by then.  A hope she’d had for three days now.

    Settling in, she began to watch the video; yawning slightly as she stretched.  Then without her noticing, her eyelids began to droop.  Curling up slightly, she continued to watch Youtube; every muscle relaxing.  Then, without even realizing, she dropped into a deep sleep; soft breaths leaving her.  Shortly after, another figure appeared in the room.  Quirking a brow and smiling, the ghost with the most simply floated Ellie over with his powers, placing  her in his arms and carrying her upstairs.

    While he had wanted her to be awake, he could sense she needed the rest.  So, laying her gently in the bed, he curled up beside her and held her close.  The job he had come back from had been, disturbing to say the least.  All in all, he would rather not think about it.  Not when he was holding his warm lover.  Not when all he wanted to do was relax.  Frowning slightly, he rested his lips on the top of her head; staying in that position until morning.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

    *You’re not alone!  Why aren’t you alone?!* snarled before she could even begin to get her bearings.

    Confused and disoriented, she began to ask what the creature meant when she felt a pair of protective arms wind around her.  “Babes?” hissed in her ear, making her blood run cold.

    “B?!  How?  When?  What are you doing here?!” she managed to stammer out, noticing                                                                   his gaze refused to leave the creature pacing a few feet away.

    “I think I was pulled in accidentally, though I feel it more important you explain just what’s going on,” the wraith hissed, his wild, yellow-green eyes beginning to glow while his powers swirled around him.  Not that the beast was being anly less aggressive, snarling and continually pacing back and forth.

    “Ah!  I keep being brought here when I sleep.  I think the rest of the ‘world’ is gone.  This... island is all that’s left,” she responded carefully, tugging on his jacket in an attempt to get his attention on her.  Unfortunately, he kept his eyes firmly locked on the abomination.

    “Why is... that here?” he bit out, pupils changing to slits briefly as his powers intensified.

    “I... don’t know and neither does he.  As far as I can tell, he’s a mental projection of the real thing,” she explained, turning in his arms to place her hands on his chest.  At last, this seemed to get his attention and he was meeting her concerned eyes.

    *Did you bring the mistake to destroy me?  Have all your pledges of friendship been naught but a trick all this time?* hissed the thing they were currently discussing, its many mouths snapping in fury.

    Turning her head, Ellie wrinkled her brow before opening her mouth to respond.  **“ሰላም! እሷ ጥፋተኛ አይደለችም,” growled from above her before she could even speak.  To her relief, whatever he said seemed to de-escalate the situation.  The strange beast stopped moving, meeting Beteljuice’s eyes steadily.

    ****ለአንድ ጊዜ አይዋሽም ፡፡ ከእንግዲህ እንደ አንተ እንድሆን አያደርገኝም...,* it replied, its several eyes narrowing.  Then it was simply sitting, its tentacle tails wrapping around its front legs.

    Looking from the beast to her lover, Eleanor couldn’t help but feel confused.  Still, she was just happy they weren’t at eachother’s throats for the time being.  Before she could say anything, however, the creature was speaking yet again.  *We are at a bit of an impasse it seems.  The only danger left here is me and I can get no closer to the center,* it grumbled, some of its eyes moving to lock on the young woman.  Said femme could only rub her arms, feeling a bit left out of the conversation.

    The bio-exorcist merely huffed softly through his nose while beginning to pace.  Ellie and the beast watched, one far more concerned than the other.  “Still, none of this should be here..,” hissed his acidic mid-tone, wild eyes not leaving either of the others.

    *Unless she is like the author. An envoy for ****አሮጌዎቹ,* the creature pointed out snidely, the last thing out of its maw almost sounding like it was gargling mud.  Whatever it said had to be bad, given the reaction the ghoul had.

    His pupils shrank, turning into something almost snake-like.  His hair was beginning to float around his head, the feeling of static electricity hanging in the air.   It was about that point she took a couple steps back.  Whatever was happening, she really didn’t want to be in the crossfire.  “Don’t even think it.  She doesn’t deserve such a haunted life!” the protective ghoul snarled, his fingers gradually elongating into sharp claws.

    “You act as if anyone has a say over their fate.  Do you think I wish to dwell inside a fleshbag’s head while I sleep?” the horror snapped, its tentacles lashing violently.

    “Uh... Flesh... bag?” came a hesitant, gentle protest at the moniker.  All gazes shifted to a very confounded, slightly hurt Eleanor.

    The dark thing almost hunched for a split second, coming close to seeming just a touch sorry.  *That is what we call you unenlightened.  You humans are but lowly cattle to most of us,* hissed the guardian, its ears tilting back just a bit while it met her gaze.

    “Let’s get back to the matter at hand. If you didn’t forget, the soul and sanity of the woman I love are on the line here,” Betelgeuse gritted out, while his terrible energy slowly ebbed  Just observing the two, he could tell a bond had formed.  As much as he hated to admit it, her having the guardian as a liaison and protector was the best he could have hoped for.  Especially if all his fears came to fruition.

    *It was already given the moment you brought her over the threshold.  Her of all people should have never been brought here,* sighed a quiet retort, almost sounding accusatory.

    “What are you talking about?” asked both of the others at the same time.  The amalgam of nightmares could only give them a stunned stare.

    *Neither of you know...  Why do you think the center is the only spot left?  Why do you think I am here?* it whispered, head tilting slightly.  Silence was the only response.

Letting out a monstrous snarl, the thing shook its head in a mixture of disappointment and disbelief.  *Her family line is chosen.  Something the mistake should know.  In fact, the mistake should have felt the connection the moment her,* it chided, not seeming to care that it had insulted them both.

    “Just fucking spit it out, you oozing pile of ectoplasm,” Betelgeuse spat, bristling slightly at what the creature seemed to be implying.

    Ellie could only sigh, well used to how the thing felt about her species.  Then she was stepping forward and placing a hand on the ghoul’s right bicep, effectively getting his attention.  “Its okay B.  Let it go,” she whispered, earning a soft scoff from the dead male.

    *To finish what I was saying...  Your female is one of the last of the bloodline of the author,* the creature concluded finally, the revelation hitting them like a brick.

    “Wh-what?” Ellie could only stammer out while the shade next to her stared at her incredulously.

    “No, I can’t be true!  He never had children,” she protested, shaking herself and avoiding the gazes of both her companions.

    *That does not mean his line was not continued.  ****አሮጌዎቹ... they have their ways.  Especially since all that's needed is just a bit of his soul being inserted into a developing foetus.  As easy feat for *****ሽማግሌው,* it responded matter of factly, some of its mouths sneering slightly.

    *And I, being a *ዝቅተኛ አውሬ, have been assigned as your... ******የሚታወቅ,* it finished with more than a little disgust.

    Confused and overwhelmed, the young woman staggered in place while it felt like everything was spinning around her.  While she couldn’t understand all of it, she did know something significant had happened.  She could tell by the sudden shift in the atmosphere.  None of this was helped when a certain poltergeist leaned toward her, only stopping when the tips of their noses touched.  Then his burning eyes were closing and he was inhaling deeply.  Shuddering slightly, he shook his head while taking her into his arms protectively.  “I don’t want to believe it but... it just explains so much.  Fuck.  I played right into their hands,” hissed out of him while the thing watching let out a horrible facsimile of a chuckle.

    *Even I am not immune to their machinations.  Do you think I want to be loyal to a creature far below me?  No!  I want to rip her apart!  And yet, I cannot.  Even if she were to... cross to my side, I would be unable to harm her,* it grudgingly admitted, a disgusted expression curling its many maws.

    “S-so... what am I?  Some sort of messenger of those horrible monsters?” whispered a slightly stunned voice, as a figure shifted slightly.

    Bewildered, yet determined eyes met theirs as a certain female walked toward the horrifying abomination.  “Well, I don’t have to be complacent.  I can use what knowledge I gain to thwart their plans and you are going to help me,” she continued, ignoring the protests behind her while she reached for the thing’s muzzle.  The moment her hand touched it, it was leaning in and the realm was changing around them.  Almost like it was being shaped by her mind.

    Ground sprouted from the center, the glowing ball shuddering and warping before it popped out of existence.  In its places, a massive, ancient, dark manion popped up; door opening while a thick forest quickly began to surround them.  *Come... my mistress.  We must get you to safety,* the abomination in front of her muttered as it bumped her firmly in the direction of the house.  Betelgeuse intervened rapidly, taking her by the arm and leading away from the tentacled horror.

    Pulling away from her lover, she gave both of them an exasperated glance before making her own way to the front porch.  “I can move around by myself.  As well as make my own decisions,” she whispered with her back turned to the both of them.  Then she was disappearing into the gloomy interior of the building.  The two left behind followed close behind, shutting the entry behind them.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

    Sitting up with a gasp, Ellie could only stare at the familiar walls around her.  Like all the other times, her dream had seemed far too real.  Almost like she had slipped into another reality rather than her own head.  Groaning, she leaned forward and held her head in both hands.  The man beside her also moved, wrapping her in a hug for comfort.  “Please...  Please tell me that was just a dream.  That none of that really happened,” she pleaded, despite knowing in her gut what the answer would be.

    “I wish I could...  Still, ya took charge like a friggin’ champ babes!  I’m proud’a ya!” murmured encouraging words while cold lips brushed along her neck.

    Leaning into the contact, the young woman let out a shaky sigh as she pulled her hands away from her face.  Staring down at them, she found her mind whirling with questions.  If her soul was partially someone else’s, was she even her parents’ daughter?  Just who was she as a person?  Was she even really her own person?  How much of her personality could be attributed to the author?  Whimpering, she turned to burrow her face into her lover; not even noticing when reality shifted around them.  “Shhh, its alright,” hummed a soft mid-tone as a callused hand brushed over her hair.

    “No, its really not.  I don’t think anything will be alright ever again, B.  I...  Who am I now?” she whispered, pulling away to meet his sympathetic gaze.  It was only then that she noticed they were in his room at the Roadhouse.

    Before she could ask about the change of scenery, a finger was crooking under her chin; lifting it to place a kiss on her lips.  A surprisingly soft, loving kiss that seemed to go on forever.  After what felt like an eternity, the embrace ended.  “You’re Eleanor Craftian.  One of the most stubborn, driven and weird chicks I know.  The woman I love with all of my unbeating heart,” rumbled out of him while happy tears began to roll down her cheeks.  None of what he said made her worries instantly go away but she did receive an immense amount of comfort from it.

    Sighing deeply, she let out a shaky chuckle before giving his lips a small peck.  “Thanks but I think I need to find my own answers.  It does help to know how you see me, though,” she responded quietly before pointedly glancing around herself.

“Ah... uh, I figured some time away from the living realm would help.  I could always take you back if you want,” the poltergeist hesitantly explained, rubbing the back of his head with a semi-guilty expression.

    Scoffing, Ellie simply rolled her eyes before nodding.  Of all places, the Neitherworld was the one she would want to be.  Though, the irony that she felt more comfortable around the dead was not lost on her.  “I prefer it here, B.  Let’s go say ‘hi’ to Doomie and the others,” she assured, getting to her feet and heading toward the living room.  She was only stopped by a hand on her shoulder.

    “For right now, I would like to just relax in here.  You’ve been through a lot,” came a gentle suggestion.

    As much as she wanted to argue, the instant relief she felt told her she could use a day in.  Still, she couldn’t help but want just a bit more privacy.  As if sensing her thoughts, Betelgeuse was on his feet and heading toward his closet.  With a flick of his wrist, he used his powers to move the beetle wardrobe to one side.  Behind it was a chalk door, much like the one in the attic back home.  Though, Ellie had doubts it led to the same place.  Sure enough, the shade next to her began mumbling in an arcane tongue; his eyes glowing a brilliant green.

    Soon, the edges of the entry were glowing in response, the entire room beginning to shake as the sound of separating bricks filled the air.  Cringing slightly, she covered her ears as she watched the wall pull apart.  Offering his arm, the wraith led her through; not even flinching when the wall closed behind them.  On the other side was pure darkness and a strong, musty odor.  “Just a sec babes, lemme get the lights.  Haven’t been here in a few... centuries,” echoed a chuckle just before there was the sound of snapping fingers.  What greeted her eyes was nothing short of neglect and decay.

    Pieces of the ceiling were either sagging down or just laying on the floor.  A thick coat of dust coated everything along with numerous, tattered cobwebs.  Rotting pieces of furniture were in the entry, along with an extremely broken staircase.  What architecture she could see was from the Victorian era, if not even later.  “Wh-where are we?” she whispered, the echo of her voice bouncing in the huge, mostly empty room.

    “Family home.  Was torn down years ago but, like most old buildings, it found a new life here,” came a simple explanation as a phantom breeze swayed a few of the webs.

    “Sorry ya have ta see it like this but I figured you would want to witness a before and after,” he continued, smirking as he took a deep breath and closed his eyes.

    All residual warmth in the air was sucked out, replaced by cold and electricity.  The current was so thick, Ellie could almost see it.  It was almost painful on her skin and she found herself biting her lower lip to keep in her sounds of discomfort.  With a low snarl, he raised his arms and sent a pulse of energy through the house.  In its wake, everything was instantly returned to like new condition.  In no time, the entire house had been restored; including the actual lights.

    The faded, torn wallpaper was now bright and full of color.  Almost seeming freshly painted.  The scratched, warped, dust caked floorboards were now a dark, rich ebony that was polished to perfection.  The caved in stairway now stood proudly, leading up to two separate wings.  A chandelier now hung from the ceiling, bright red jewels hanging from it in lieu of the normal clear ones.  “Wow,” gasped out of her as she took in the grand house.  From the looks of it, his family had been fairly well off when they were alive.

    Eyes glimmering slightly, he placed a hand in her lower back to gently lead her to the living room to the left.  It had a large couch, a fireplace and a bearskin rug.  Steering her toward the couch, he helped her sit before replacing the lights with sparse candles.  Watching the firelight dance on her skin, Eleanor smiled before looking up at the man she loved.  At this moment, she could almost forget her worries.  She could just be.  So, she willingly let go of all of it; if only for the night.  Right now, she wanted to enjoy her partner’s family home.

    Leaning into him when he sat beside her, she let out a sigh of complete contentment.  For the moment, she felt safe.  Yet, it felt like something was missing.  Almost like a piece of her wasn’t there.  Confused, she sat up with her brow furrowed.  Betelgeuse merely watched, not seeming concerned in the slightest.  Almost reluctantly, he raised a hand and snapped his fingers.  In an instant, an extremely familiar abomination appeared.  Before she even realized it, Ellie was rushing forward to wrap her arms around it.  Something she would have never thought of just yesterday.

    Yet, she felt more whole.  More protected.  More at home.  “He’s your familiar now.  It makes sense you would feel uneasy without him nearby.  His life and yours are interconnected.  He is not only your servant but a partner and protector,” sighed an explanation from behind her.  Turning her head with a shame filled face, the young woman slowly released the creature.

    “That doesn’t mean he’s gonna follow us home does it?” she asked.  Yet, the dread she felt at the thought of separation answered her.

    *I am afraid so Mistress.  From now until your natural life ends, we are tied together.  Though, do not think I will be a burden.  I can hide in your shadow to remain at your side while being unobtrusive,* it whispered, comforting her while sending a chill down her spine at the same time.  All in all, her new life would take a lot of getting used to.


 

   













 

*low beast

**Peace!  She is not at fault

***For once, you do not lie.  Does not make me like you any more...

****The Old Ones

*****The Eld

******Familiar



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