The Ruins of the Beach House.
In the span of a night, Tampa went from a sprawling city in western Florida to... a complete and utter wasteland. Dead bodies litter the streets, the National Guard is trying to pick up the pieces with other emergency services, and Annabelle Heart destroyed the Beach House. Madison liked the beach house, she looked at the collapsed building that probably cost around a few hundred thousand dollars to even erect. Madison stood over the ruins of the beach house wondering if she should try to fish out the clothes that she had left on her roof. She was wearing tights that stopped right at the top of her thighs, a hoodie, and Adidas slides... and in her right hand, she had a glass of wine. Her car was trashed, and she had little to her name... funnily enough when Annabelle trashed Tampa Blakey dipped and now he's nowhere to be seen. Typical rich people, but Madison couldn't blame him, because she saw what Annabelle could do.
Everyone got away from that night except for... Penny. Madison scowled as she looked towards the ruined city of Tampa. The Forgiven Compound was destroyed shortly after they all left, and the basement floor of the place is almost literally buried under a ton. Along with everything else the Forgiven had hidden in there. So it was kind of like a pyrrhic victory? Or something? Honestly, Madison had nary a clue as to what the Forgiven's deal was and she honestly wasn't interested in finding out. She realized that this fighting evil and eldritch abomination stuff was not for her, but if the Speaker was back... that meant that thing was back.
She heard someone walking up...
"Hey," Lyss asked softly as she approached. She gave Madison a knowing smile as she stepped over rubble to join her. Her head turned to the ruins of the beach house and she took a moment to remember her time there. It had been nice to call it home, even for such a brief period of her life. She released a small breath, and with it, her attachment to this place faded. It was time to move on, again. Her sisters were no longer here. Only one remained, and Lyss wasn't even sure if she was going to stick around.
"Do you know where you'll go next?" Lyss asked as she looked at Madison. Her own decision had been made before their encounter with the Messiah, but she had to know what Madison would do next. She couldn't bear the thought of Madison going far.
"The far the fuck away from Tampa as I can get," Madison shrugged as she laughed. "Well, I got a job offer in New York as a Computer Network Architect... so I'm gonna take my ass up there ASAP." She awkwardly laughed again... though, she was worried about what happened last night. The fight with Annabelle, Vashti getting the cure, the raid on the Forgiven compound, and the disappearance of Kimberly and Penny... and most importantly of all, the Speaker's return.
That didn't make sense.
"I'm just worried..." Madison said as she scratched the back of her neck, "I never told you about me... well, the truth about me. Honestly, only Kayla knows this, but... yeah, it's gonna be a mouthful, girl, are you ready for it?"
The corner of Lyss's mouth teased a smile. New York wasn't far from the DENs headquarters. The quirk to her expression faded as Madison mentioned her worries. She also had to ignore the stab of grief when Kayla's name was dropped. So Lyss nodded before speaking up. "I'm here for you, no matter what. I'm sure it won't be any crazier than the past few days have been." If not for the seriousness of the conversation, Lyss's tone would have made it seem like they were gossiping over brunch. Though it seemed like those days were far gone.
"Well..." Madison awkwardly smiled as she looked off to the side, almost her way of saying it's gonna be crazier than this. "I died. Kind of. It's a long story... but years ago I accidentally killed my cousin Jordan, but as it turns out, she made a deal with the Hound so that she would die instead of me." She started.
"Wack, ain't it?" Madison shook her head as she said. "But, before she died and finalized the deal, she and her friends fought some... thing. It was called the Glutton... it wasn't extra-normal or something, but something else. I don't know much about it, but it eats universes and emotions or something... and it should be gone."
Madison paused, as she said,
"The Messiah was its herald... and now Penny's missing... I hope she's okay." She scratched the back of her neck as she looked down, shaking her head.
That was when Alyss began shitting herself so fucking hard that she shit out all of her organs.
"The first flight is to Atlanta," Maxwell was telling Mariah as they sat, waiting, in the airport terminal. A sigh escaped Mariah, but she had asked hadn't she? He continued, "Then it's twelve hours to Alaska. Refuel. Twelve to Okinawa. Refuel and changeover... directly to Manilla. Then we can take a flight straight to Scotland but uh," Maxwell looked from Isla to Mariah disapprovingly, "Yall wanted to? Do some even cheaper shit instead, right? A boat? Or train? Or something?"
Mariah knew he was only feigning ignorance to be obnoxious and she instead took her phone out. For whatever reason, she saw it fit to send a message to the "Coven" group Snapchat, now... of all times--
nice meeting yall I guess and I wish you the best <3
"We ain't all made of money," Isla piped up, swinging her legs back and forth on the uncomfortable airport chair. Her whole expression was bright - excited to be going home, and bringing some friends back with her. She peered over as Mariah took out her phone, very rudely reading it. "You think any of them are still alive? Weren't they raiding some top secret shit? Damn, I'm glad we left before that."
Isla had a point and Mariah answered, "I mean, just in case they alive, you never really know." It was at that moment she gave a very meaningful glance over at Maxwell. He winced and looked away. "Besides we kinda. Like. Uh," Mariah struggled to figure out just what, if anything, gave their relationship to "The Coven" meaning. Mariah snapped her fingers, "We bonded over sports that one day. In that field. Yeah."
Mariah fucking exploded.
There was the constant beeping... the other senses (the barrage of light, the repugnant smell of antiseptic, and the sound of nurses talking in the very same room) barely registered to her. Tampa was still a mess weeks later and... Emily couldn't find it in herself to really give any less of a damn. She stood right in the doorway, in no good shape herself with a cast on her arm and bandages all over her body.
As they put the cover on her younger sister Jacqueline and began to carry her out on a stretcher.
Emily's face was soaked wet with tears for her dead sister, the chance at saving her robbed from her by Vashti and Madison. She couldn't care less if Vashti had killed her in that situation, but now everything that she's worked towards is wasted. Gone in a flash... and the only person here to see this tragedy was her sister Miranda. Both of their parents were killed in Annabelle's rampage, unfortunately, and yet Emily found it hards for her to care anymore. She's lost so much that...
... She just wants someone else to feel the same pain.
"Yo, um, Em," Emily heard the voice of Madison behind her and turned her head around to see those two bastards behind her.
She barely reacted at all as she said, "You two got a lot of nerve coming here..." She said it completely monotone. Not a hint of venom like her phrasing would imply.
"Yeah that's fair," muttered Vashti as she gave Emily and who she assumed to be her other sister a pained look. When Vashti had talked to Madison about visiting Emily she hadn't planned on seeing a body bag being carried out of the room. They should've just left then. Hell, Vashti had already been half-turned to walk away when Madison had opened her mouth. The flowers and chocolates in her hand felt like stones sinking her to the bottom of a lake as she was drowned by the excruciating discomfort of the whole situation. Turns out just because she was able to claim fault for her stupid decisions didn't mean that was over making them.
"I...uh...I don't think there is anything I can say that can make this right, but I want you to know that I'm sorry, Emily. If I had the—" Vashti swallowed the excuse she was about to spit out. She set the stupid gifts down, shook her head, and scoffed at herself before looking back at Emily. "Did you know that you were like my only friend? And I know I totally fucked that up and don't deserve a second shot, but I think you should know that no matter how much everything sucked I did enjoy hanging out with you and that I'm really, really sorry."
Emily was quiet and Madison saw the look on her face as she began to bear her teeth. More tears began to run down her face. "... You think that fucking cuts it?" She hissed, though it was bordering a shout, barely restrained because she didn't make a scene. "I don't give a shit that you liked me, and I especially don't give a shit that you're sorry. If you were really sorry, you wouldn't have guzzled down the cure that was meant for my sister."
"Vashti was gonna kill you if I didn't!" Madison stepped in, a tear running down her own eye as she put a hand on her chest. She wasn't going to waste time for half-baked apologies because Emily wasn't going to take it. "I was too weak from fighting Annabelle to stop her."
"And then you should have let her kill me," Emily said.
"Can you even say that the potion would have even survived?"
"Shut up!" Emily shouted at her as she grabbed her surviving sister's wrist before she stormed on past them.
"Em, I know how it feels to lose someone you care about!" Madison shouted at her, but she didn't listen. Madison sighed, as she looked at Vashti, "Well, we gave it a shot... but, why do I have the feeling that this isn't the last we'll hear or see of her...?"
However, Vashti was already moving. The stoneface she had held up while Emily had gone off on her slipped as she moved past Madison. She shouted and broke into a sprint after Emily, pushing past nurses and skirting around stretchers. Her hand reached out towards Emily's shoulder and forcibly jerked her around so that they were facing one another. To Vashti, it was like looking at a reflection of her past self. Tears were held back under a knitted brow as a red-cheeked Vashti thrust an angry finger at Emily's face.
"Listen here, bitch! You have every goddamn right to hate me, but you're a fucking idiot if you think you'd been better off dead. How could that have saved your sister? Madison at least gave you a chance to keeping searching for a cure by saving your ass. You need to grow up and stop blaming others. It's not her fault you can't accomplish shit!" A slap echoed throughout the hospital hall as Vashti struck Emily's cheek. Baring her teeth, Vashti violently jabbed her finger toward the room Emily had fled. "Now go thank her, you asshole!"
Emily held her cheek... which was stinging with a red color and pain. Many things went through her such as adrenaline and... rage. Her hand then balled itself into a fist as a part of her wanted to tear this bitch's hair out with one hand... however, all Emily did was say.
"Go." That was the first word.
"To." Was the second word.
"Hell." Was the third and last word before she whipped around and stormed out of the room holding onto her little sister's hand.
"Like I'm not already going through it!" snapped Vashti. She shoved her hands into the pockets of her shorts, tilted her head back to burn a hole through the fluorescents, and let out a frustrated growl that would've harmonized perfectly with a screaming tea kettle. It was moments like these that she almost missed the Leviathan. Violent fantasies spun out of control in Vashti's mind as she visualized painting the walls of the hospital and turning Emily's little sister into an only child.
She stopped venting, drew in a breath, and exhaled slowly. Vashti grimaced and closed her eyes, phantom images of the lights quickly fading as she squeezed her eyes tightly shut until they hurt. She counted backward from ten and opened her eyes, blinking away the spots. Vashti turned and headed back down the hall to meet up with Madison. She wasn't happy about it, but she knew it would be good for her to have someone like Emily out of her life. Vashti paused outside of the hospital room and thought about what she had yelled after Emily. She'd been wrong.
"I'm getting through it," she corrected herself. "I'm getting through it."
"Ah, I just knew you'd be back."
It was hard finding Dollhouse after they went dark... however, if they wanted a particular someone to find them, then the crumbs were right there. The door to the warehouse closed behind her and all the monsters that she was originally against came out of the woodworks. With Natalie right behind her with an AK in her hand, Sharon landing on a container after turning human again, Luis sitting on the edge of shipping containing with his legs hanging down... and Hemorrhagia floating at his size oozing blood.
Babylon was still inside of... whoever that girl was, Emily couldn't care less anymore. She had one thing on her mind, and it was obvious to everyone here... She stood there, completely silent as she balled her fist up.
"Come now, why did you come all the way out here?" Hemorraghia said, "From the look on your face, I can tell you don't have a grudge against us."
"Ooooooh, let me guess," Babylon said with the widest grin on her face. "When it stopped being convenient for those "Witches", they turned their back on you, didn't they?"
Babylon followed it up with about of cheeky laughter that Emily normally would have clap backed on, but she knew that every word out of Babylon's mouth was correct.
"... Yes." Emily hissed.
"I told you time and time again this was gonna happen, you were never one of them, but you didn't believe me," Babylon cheekily said. "And where did that lead you? Back to me."
"Yes," Emily said, far kinder.
"Well," Hemorragia said, that constantly dripping sound of blood coming off her body was infuriating. She put a hand on her hip as she gave Emily a narrow-eyed look, "Answer my question."
"I want to join you..." Emily said, "Because I want revenge on those bastards that took my sister from me."
"And why did you come here for that?" Hemorragia asked, putting a hand on her chin as she looked down at Emily. "What's stopping you from killing them yourself?"
"It's because..." Emily trailed off.
"... She's a monster and wants to be among her ilk!" Babylon burst out laughing again.
"I am tired of the life I lived, I realized that I have no place among people like them... people like you... are where I really belong," Emily explained.
"Well, that's convincing enough to me," She stuck her hand out and it unnaturally stretched as it went over to Emily. It was a handshake.
"Welcome aboard..." Hemorragia said with a grin. "I am quite interested in reuniting with the Jaws... and showing those bastards what happens..."
She looked to the left, then to the right.
"... When you mess with Dollhouse."
About the next morning, Kimberly rose herself awake... except she smelled nothing but disgusting smelling antiseptic and was brutally assaulted by the light rays. Her head was killing her, and there was a pain in her side - she attempted to use her right hand to cover her eyes but there was something metal binding her to this fucking hospital bed. She looked and, to the surprise of no one, it was handcuffed. She had to force herself to fight through the pain as she looked around and then she saw Rowan sitting next to her on a chair.
"Hey, thank God you're up," Rowan said as he hugged her, "I thought you weren't going to make it."
"I... what the hell happened?" Kimberly asked, "What happened to Annabelle?"
"We were ambushed by Saul's men," Rowan shook his head as he said. "But, Annabelle's..."
"... Annabelle Heart has been neutralized," Maximillian said as he opened the door... with a bag of Chick-fil-A in the other hand. He held the door open for Director Alcott, who was pushed in by Helena - when Maximillian stepped in he closed the door behind him as Alcott was pushed all the way up to Kimberly's bed, directly next to Rowan. When she was there, Helena took a step to the side as Dana put both of her hands together.
"Hello, Ms. Walton," Director Alcott said with a smile, "How are you doing?"
"Fine... for someone that just got shot," Kimberly awkwardly laughed but Director Alcott's face was completely flat.
"... You know you're in a lot of trouble right now?" The Director said in a chipper tone. "Trafficking human body parts is no joke... regardless of why you did it."
"I... I am sorry-"
"You aren't," Dana chuckled, "And I have every right to throw you down into the Pit."
"... The what?" Kimberly asked with a raised eyebrow.
"Just the place where I shove the things I don't want to deal with anymore... a real nice place, you would love it," The Director chuckled grimly. "If you don't play ball, you are going to become very familiar with the place."
"... What am I agreeing to?"
"Well... last night, after we handled Annabelle Heart; we went after Saul and inside the Forgiven Compound we ran into something that is beyond our comprehension... something that isn't even Extra-Normal," The Director began her speech, "We encountered the Forgiven's "Messiah", who your friend Penny seemed to be very familiar with.... unfortunately, she's MIA"
"WAIT, PENNY'S MISSING?"
"Likely KIA," Dana flatly said, "Again, not important, because I decided to look into things and I found your little Snapchat group... who seem to be all very aware of something called a "Glutton" and a "Speaker"."
"Now, I am a very fair and reasonable woman... I know you're young and messed up, and we can forget any of this happened... My Agents are very tight-lipped or else I wouldn't have selected them, and as for the Coven... none of them matter. They're probably going to do something stupid and become our next target."
Maximillian got a sharp glance from Alcott before she continued, "This is a matter of national security... so if you arrange for a meeting with me and this "Support Group" of yours, so we can get to the bottom of this."
Kimberly's eyes were wide open, as she did not like where this was going. Not one bit. Nor did she trust this Director who she just met a second ago... and where the hell was Penny. Unfortunately, her camera was nowhere to be seen, and the same with her phone. She had nowhere to teleport to, or escape...
"Can you do that for me?"
Back at headquarters, in the Virginia wilderness, everything was fine under the sun yet again. It was unfortunate that it got so bloody there, but the Director did all that she could do there.... she rolled herself back to her desk in this pristine room. Blue rug with the DENS logo on the floor in gold, her desk was a dark-red color and made from the finest and fanciest wood around. Behind her were windows, but with the blinds down and the room was shaded with the barest amounts of light getting in. Just the way the Director liked it... her assistant had a fresh cup of green tea ready for her, as the Director always preferred tea to coffee. Especially after a stressful few weeks, the Director grabbed it, sighed in joy and took a sip, and felt everything about Annabelle Heart melt away...
The doors flew open and for a second Alcott was worried that this "intruder" was here to attempt her life. Which would be unfortunate; she didn't have her morning tea yet. The next second she saw Cindy Keagan right before her, giving her a narrow look as she walked in.
"Agent Keagan," The Director said, "Thank you for blowing my tea for me, but I am not taking any appointments at this time, would you kindly-"
"Why didn't you do more to help, Director?" Cindy asked as she put her hands on the table and Alcott did nothing but stare. "Thousands of people are dead, Meifeng's almost literally on her death bed, and you know how close we were to breaking the masquerade?"
Alcott gently put the cup of tea down, as she put her fingers together. "You've figured me out... It was either you or Meifeng."
She made a poignant pause, "Women are wiser after all, but I know Meifeng wouldn't act on it."
"Fact of the matter is; I could have stopped this before it even happened... I just needed to show them how dangerous the Extra-Normal can be, and what we're really protecting them from. The reason why we're so underfunded is that everyone treats us as some kind of joke!" Dana slammed her fist on the table as she shouted, and Cindy was quiet.
"You let all of those people die... for fucking funding?!" Cindy slammed her fists on the table and rattled it so much that the tea spilled. Yet all Alcott did was shake her head and grab her tea and hold it to her lips.
"I realize that it sounds harsh but... look around you, Cindy. We barely have the equipment or the manpower to keep the masquerade going as is! If we had simply handled Annabelle, the people above me would just shake their heads."
Alcott sighed, "Truth is, Annabelle Heart is the tip of the iceberg and we're treated as a joke!"
She shouted before she composed herself yet again."Now we showed them what out there and how seriously it should be taken. And we're better equipped."
"Like what?" Cindy asked.
"The impending apocalypse, after all," Dana said. Her pendant began to glow a cyan color as the Director looked at Cindy. Before she dropped the bomb,
"Despite Annabelle Heart's death," The Director started before she dropped the bomb, "... There's still a one hundred percent chance of the world ending."
Saul screamed at the top of his lungs as he endlessly plummeted to... he wanted to say ground but first it was a black void. Then it was orange. Nothing but orange light... it was oddly comforting, and soon he found it hard to continue screaming.
When he stopped screaming, he stopped falling.
Saul felt grass beneath him, as he looked around and felt an oddly warming light bearing down on him. He opened his eyes and he saw the sky was bright red, and the orange light came from nowhere. Bearing down on everything as Saul pushed himself back up to his feet and then he looked around to see rolling fields as far as the eye can see. Nothing but beautiful fields of flowers, and tall grass...
... And people dancing and frolicking in the grass. It was a bizarre sight as they appeared to be the happiest they've ever been in their entire life. Just by playing around in the grass.
"... Hello Saul," Saul heard the unmistakable voice of the Messiah right behind him and he slowly pivoted on his heel as he turned to see the Messiah with their hood down. They had both of their hands together, obscured by their robe. "You've never seen this place before."
"What... is this place?" Saul asked, rubbing his head in confusion as he looked around.
"You're inside the very Womb that Births Worlds, Saul," The Messiah answered as they walked around Saul. "You're inside Mother."
"I..." Saul was at a loss for words as he looked around... and in the sky was a massive and strange being. A massive orange orb that was surrounded by a constantly moving weave of tendrils, this orb stared down at Saul almost like it was an eye. Saul dropped to his knees as he gazed upon the true form of Mother.
"Beautiful, isn't she?" The Messiah said. "Mother is displeased with you... however, she is more than gruntled by what transpired."
"How?" Saul said, "We've lost the stronghold, countless Forgiven, and the federal government probably wants my head."
"But," The Messiah paused as they followed up to that by saying, "Annabelle Heart's dead, one of those many nuisances are dead, and they likely are not sure whether or not you are even alive... or if you're even their primary target anymore."
Saul... didn't think of that as the Messiah continued.
"While that meddlesome bastard will be back in a different form," The Messiah added, "The war is just beginning... Mother will end it all for them. Then glorious Redemption will finally begin on the Promised Day."
"When is that?"
"New Year's Eve... the last day of the year," The Messiah grinned as they walked past Saul, then they said. "However, we have so many pieces that have yet to be placed... that's why I need you."
The Messiah grinned before they stuck their hand out and a massive swirling orange portal opened just a stone's throw away. Out that portal... came an army of Corrupted minions. Each wielding a different weapon.
"I will lead the army that will kill our enemies... I need you for the most important mission of them all..." The Messiah stuck their hand out towards Saul as they said, "I need you to lead the hearts and minds that have been lead astray by the False Light and bring them... back to Mother."
"Do you accept, Saul?"
Saul looked up at the Messiah as he answered.
"Without a second thought,"
Saul took the Messiah's hand.
Having a meat suit was the worst, especially an unattractive one like this. Babylon longed for the days she showed her true form to the world! However, it wouldn't be long until she had what she wanted, as she always did in the past. Maybe she'll talk old Hemmy into getting her a better body at some point, though. In the meantime, Babylon was in the bathroom completely nude, tying her hair into a bun. She was more or less certain that nobody would come after her this time... given that it was a complete and utter coincidence that she ran into that bastard Coven the first time. With the disaster going on in Tampa... she was certain that they had far bigger fish to fry.
After she was done with her hair, she put on her clothes and then walked out of the room out into the main office of the warehouse that Dollhouse was situated in for the time being. While she was walking, she was applying lipstick. Then she reached the room that Hemorragia told her to go in a hurry: The Warehouse main office.
Without care to decency or good manners, Babylon threw the door open. There Luis was, with his hands behind his back gazing out the window at a new sunrise over Miami. Babylon herself would care for it if she hadn't seen more beautiful things thousand times over.
Then a pool of blood materialized just a few feet away from her. Little droplets fell upwards until they formed...
"...Hemorragia," Babylon half-whispered, as she saw her "friend".
"Yes, but you can stop calling me that already," Hemorragia said as she reached for a glass of "wine" (that was definitely blood) and took a sip.
"Fine, Laurey," Babylon said as she put her weight onto one hip and slapped a hand on it. "Let me guess... you are still after that insane plan of yours."
Hemorragia laughed cheekily and placed her fingertips onto her bloody chest. "Of course not," She started, "I just get delayed, Babylon the Great."
She finished the glass of blood until it was all gone. "And you still have a debt to fulfill, Babylon, and until I have what I am aiming for you are in my service."
Babylon grimaced, "Yes, yes, yes, your insane end of..." She took a deep breath, before she said, "... replacing God."
"... And a little birdy told me you know how to get into the Oasis."
Babylon bit her lip as she looked off to the side. "I do - but can't we just do a more realistic goal and take over the multiverse?"
"Ah..." Hemorragia said, "What would be the point if you don't have absolute power? If an Ancient will come back and steal all your hard work from you... because somebody made a deal with them." She sighed.
However, the door flew open and Hemorragia was about to scream "kill him", but she saw the person in the orange cloak. The hood was up but Hemorragia recognized the lady's figure, dark skin, and dreadlocks... and the lantern in her left hand. Hemorragia smiled fiendishly when she saw it and said,
"Odessa Maxwell," She started, "You never fail to disappoint, do you?"
Odessa took the hood off as she said, "I would have brought him to you sooner, but you were busy getting your ass kicked," She giggled as she put her hand to her mouth.
"Alexi..." Hemorragia reached for the lantern but Odessa snatched it away. Keeping an odd grin on her face as she wrapped her arms around it. Like it was some game to her.
"I stuck my neck out for you to get it, Lauren," Odessa started, "You getting what you want without me getting what I want... doesn't seem very fair, now does it?"
Hemorragia rested her face on her hand as she sighed and said, "What are your terms?"
"One; this should prove that I am on your side, so I want into your little Dollhouse. And two..."
That grin disappeared as Odessa hissed, "... I want to know where Byron Williams is."
Hemorragia smiled, "Done and done." With a nod of her head, Odessa handed her the lantern...
And Hemorragia immediately shattered it onto the ground like it was trash. Exploding out of the lantern was a massive, werewolf-like, creature that had inscriptions all over its body. It howled as Odessa was eye level to... his werewolf dick. She winced as the creature faced Hemoraggia.
"Alexei!" Hemorragia clapped both of her hands together. "It has been so long, friend. How are you?"
"Laurey... I was enjoying a nap," Alexei said, "But, I am pleased to see you... so let me ask you..."
Hemorragia put both of her hands together as Alexei asked.
"... Are you ready to finally start this war?"
Where... am I?
Just what am I?
After it all went down?
I remember something...
I couldn't control myself.
I hurt people.
Because I was hungry.
I... lost control of myself.
I lost myself.
Everything after that is a blur.
But, who am I?
I remember something...
... A man.
Just what am I?
After it all went down?
I remember something...
I couldn't control myself.
I hurt people.
Because I was hungry.
I... lost control of myself.
I lost myself.
Everything after that is a blur.
But, who am I?
I remember something...
... A man.
The roar emanated outwards, carrying a primal force. Thousands of shadowy crows flapped their wings in the middle of the crater in which was destroyed during the battle with Annabelle Heart. They flapped in such a way that created a scream of sorts, a high-pitched shriek... the swarm of crows was scattered all over the place before they all flew inwards towards one point. Not like a swarm of birds, but something like a wave... a black liquid. They coalesced at one point and eventually made a shape.
They formed a replica of Annabelle Heart before her transformation... comprised of black feathers, that were messy and dirty. It was off-balanced and there was something wrong with how she was shaped: there were some limbs that were too long, her facial features weren't asymmetrical, and the legs, and beaks, and wings, of crows, were jutting out... and it had no eyes. It was like something tried to make a statue made out of the corpses of crows.
She panted as she knelt over, falling to her knees as she looked around. Seeing nothing but an empty void, and the night sky... she looked at the edge of the crater. I have to get out of here. Annabelle Heart thought to herself as she tried to think of some way to get out of this hole in the ground...
... Before she appeared there. She looked around, confused for a moment before she saw the barriers and police tape that was meant to stop anyone from falling into the crater... or finding something they weren't supposed to. Annabelle Heart couldn't care anymore about people, there was one thing in mind.
She had no choice why she came back, or what the hell she is, but she knew this was her second chance at revenge. She could feel something, but she didn't know what... beacons in the far, far, distance. Surely, she couldn't teleport that far... but... but what if she does the crow trick again? She took in a deep breath (except, it was actually a low caw, she was getting used to this whole "ghost" thing), and then fell apart again into a mass of shadowy crows.
Then she went towards the beacons as a mass of crows. They were her only idea of what to do next, but the idea of being a crow was... liberating. She was something new, something free, the bird that she always imagined herself being. She traveled for days - which turned into nights, then they turned back into days as Annabelle endlessly traveled for months.
Until she reached one of the beacons, which turned out to be the shape of a person... and she got closer to reveal it was actually a person. A red aura vibrated off of them, and Annabelle got closer. The person was a short, red-haired girl, that was missing her leg, replaced with prosthetics, sat underneath a tree, drawing the orphanage sign... Kindred Spirits Orphanage.
Annabelle had no idea how to approach the girl... she focused again, and appeared on the other side of the tree sitting in her alternate form.
"Hello..." Annabelle said.
"Aw, what the hell!" The girl said as she jolted, and looked around the tree... to see a living mass of feathers. A bloody living pile of crow body parts! Well, that was odd, she raised an eyebrow. "You're... a Wizard?" She said.
"... I don't even know what I am," Annabelle said, "I just... appeared, and I was lead to you... who... who are you?"
"Me?" The girl pointed a pencil at herself, as she said, "I am Sugar Reid. Who are you?"
"I... I think I'm Annabelle Heart,"
"You died didn't you?" Sugar answered.
"Yes..." Annabelle said, "All I know, is that I need to kill Saul."
"Good luck with that," She laughed, "He got outed as a crazy cult leader that's been sacrificing people to "something" and his little "religious movement" went underground. Everyone wants a piece of him now." She stopped laughing.
"But..." Annabelle Heart said, "I'm wondering whatyou have to do with that?"
"Not a thing," Sugar said, followed by a snort, "I'm not sure what lead a ghost to me... that's a bit weird, to say the least. Why didn't your abstraction lead you to Saul if you want to kill him so badly?"
"I... don't know," Annabelle looked off to the side, "However, there are other people who I'm being lead to."
"'Kay, friend," Sugar sarcastically said, "When you figure out the rhyme or reason, feel free to come back here. It's not like I'm leaving anytime soon."
"Okay," Annabelle said, drifting off into the distance to follow the trail, and Sugar felt the whole encounter was random. She felt something odd about the girl, there was more to this encounter than Sugar knew or even Annabelle. However, the girl just went back to drawing the sign, then back to the monotonous orphanage life until she goes to college or becomes a homeless crackwhore or something. It was just made beds, clean, eat food, school, come back, clean some more, draw, and clean, clean, clean... it was awful, but at least she had a roof over her head for now.
A few weeks later, she was back at the tree, Sugar just couldn't get the painting right... then she heard two things falling behind her, and she couldn't help but whip her head around to see behind the tree. Because it was just too heavy to be an apple... and it wasn't a fruit-bearing tree.
She saw Annabelle, and another girl with ratty dreads right next to her, with a smile on her face.
"Bláthnat!" The girl with the stupid dreads said as she tried to hug Sugar, but the girl stuck her hand out to stop her as she damn near shouted.
"Just who the hell are you? And... how do you know that ugly name of mine?"
"I'm... your sister, Sharon," She said, "I..."
"... You can't be Sharon," Sugar snapped at her. "Sharon's dead, unless..."
"I'm her Apparition, we're both from Farmer Hill... and I caused everything to go wrong there when I killed Dad," Sharon started crying.
"It's..." Sugar looked at Annabelle. "... Why did you bring her here, Annabelle?"
"I know why I was lead to you, Sugar," Annabelle said. "We're all the people who have a bone to pick with Saul and his master, so..."
"... We're going to kill him."
In the dead of the silent night, there was an empty field that was lonely except for the stars above. There was only grass, and say the small rodent creeping through the fields. However, there was a tornado of fire that swirled upwards, as it faded, away, it revealed a massive, demonic-looking bull. Annabelle Heart stood on the opposite end of the field than the creature, now with a body of her own... and she said,
"Annabelle Heart," The Bull growled, but its grin turned upwards as he said,
"There is great rage in your heart."
It was a wild ride, here in Tampa, but now Madison was aiming to leave it all behind.
She needed to.
Florida wasn't for her, and all the weird shit was just piling up. Maybe it was for somebody, but it definitely wasn't for Madison... especially since she has problems of her own that she needs to work out on her own before she thinks about tackling them. Unfortunately, that meant leaving the Coven and her former sisters behind, but truth be told, after everything that's happened the Coven isn't much of anything. Maya went her own way, Herik up and left (Good riddance), Lyss sold her soul to work with the feds, Emily's probably moping on her own, Vashti's gone, and, um, everyone else is dead.
A few weeks later, Madison had packed up everything, got herself a new car, and gazed at the beach one last time before she left... sitting on her car, as she looked at the shoreline. Which was empty except for her, and likely would be empty until they rebuilt Tampa. Wow, this place was a shithole but it had some great beaches.
Then she felt a cold chill from behind her, and turned around and saw a ghostly figure.
Like a living mass of diamond dust and cold air, except shaped in a very familiar way. Tall, lanky, a huge afro...
"... Mademoiselle," And that confirmed it for Madison.
"Claud?!" Madison damn near ran over to her but stopped herself when she realized just how cold the Apparition was.
"I... what happened here?" Claudette asked.
"I... it's a long story," Madison said, "But... in short, you were killed by Dollhouse, Annabelle went cray and destroyed Tampa and now... there's no more Coven."
"Oh... I missed so much," Claudette said.
"You did, but it's cool," Madison shrugged.
"Um, I hate to ask," Claudette asked, "But where are you going next?"
"New York," Madison said, "Wanna come? I could use a road trip buddy."
The Apparition of Claudette formed a smile as she said.
The Recollection that just played out faded away, everything that has happened so far, played before his very eyes. by complete and utter accident, one man has seen it all... and yet was helpless to do anything about it. He opened his eyes, after touching the ground with one hand and stood straight up. He looked around... seeing the ruins of Tampa, it was a mess here but now he realized something.
... He will do more to help here on in.
However, after Annabelle was put down for good, and Maximilian left, there was something else stirring in the burnt remains of Annabelle Heart. Hiding, waiting for the perfect time to come out... and it did. You see, Annabelle Heart wasn't the only apparition to spawn, as the Hunger had grown so powerful...
Out of Annabelle Heart's remains came an Apparition... taking the appearance of a black heart the size of a small house. It had screaming faces on the left side and a massive wolf mouth. It loudly screamed.
... It became an Apparition in and of itself.