She knew she was sane. She was one hundred percent positive on it and goddammit, she would bet her soul to prove herself right. The problem was that her parents and the doctors and the world did not believe her. The words, bouncing freely as if without care, echoed through her skull and Ciel gripped her blonde hair, tugging and twisting till the roots begged to be yanked free from her scalp.
"Daughter.." "Schizophrenia.." "Insane.." "Psychopathy.." "Medications like Risperdal, Latuda.."
She knew she was not crazy. Ciel knew it. They had said she had schizophrenia since she was a child but just because the world could not see what Cecilia could, did not mean that she was wrong, that she deserved to be drugged, turned into a living zombie. That... That thing that followed her! It was not just imaginary!
The door opened and Ciel looked up expectantly, green eyes wide with alertness, waiting for the news that could unchain her from this damn hospital and these meds that were bitter with lies and disgrace. A doctor, dressed in a white coat and decorated with tools, smiled brightly at her like a clown.
She hated clowns.
"Hello, Cecilia! How are you today? You're looking mighty pretty if I may say!" the doctor grinned foolishly.
"My name. Is. Ciel." the blonde said in a monotone, eyes narrowed into dagger-like slits, teeth gritting dangerously. "Only my parents call me 'Cecilia'".
"Is that so? I am so sorry, Ciel." the white-coated man waggled a finger playfully. "The meds are working, I assume?"
"Of course." she lied, watching a shadowy figure just in the corner of her eye waver. "I don't need them though."
"You know you need them. Imagine if you weren't! Things would be a lot more stressful." he sighed, shaking his head. "Hey, have you seen the newest episode of Dr. Who? I heard you like that show..."
Ciel felt her heart beating faster as the shape danced teasingly between her line of vision and an area behind her where she could not watch it, chills rippling down her spine like some asshat had decided to slip a bundle of icicles down her back. Her will was a solvent and fear was her solute, meshing together until the two would eventually collide in a clash. Talons dug into the soft flesh of her side and she bit her lip until it bled before she looked back at the doc.
The ass was ranting about whether the answer to life was forty-two or not, back toward her, as his fingers pecked at a keyboard.
Hey, Ceci. Ceci. Play with me, Ceci! C'mon!~
The hairs on the back of her neck were solider with their backs a solid slab of wood. The voice was malicious and musical, the same voice that was the sole constant in the blonde's life. A wet lapping behind her made Ciel jolt.
"So, Ciel, are you walking home or are you being picked up..?" the professional questioned.
"Um, I... I'm kinda just walking home!" the patient blurted with a little too much enthusiasm.
"That's great. It's beautiful outside!" he agreed, handing her a prescription. "Just give this to your mum or something to get it filled.."
"Thanks.." she mumbled, shivering under the heavy paw of the shadow.
"Oh, Ciel? Don't forget to sleep well tonight." the man called cheerily.
Cecilia forced a smile on her face and waved in a false happiness before she rammed herself out the door, feeling nauseous at the phrase. The white shadow, face covered completely with a do-rag that sported a open fanged mouth design, had had its ugly tentacles wrapped around the doctor's mouth and throat, forcing his jaw open at a crooked angle like a broken nutcracker, and Cecilia knew that she would never see his smiling face again as she pushed open the hospital doors.
The moment fresh air passed over her face, Cecilia fell to her knees and regurgitated every single thing that she could before gasping and continuing her way home with a hollow look on her face.
Cecilia rocked back and forth on her bed, burying her face in a stuffed lamb given to her by an old friend, as her sister practiced piano in the next room. She hated how no one believed her, she hated her sister's talent, and she especially hated, absolutely loathed the godforsaken thing that crooned out a broken tune - that goddamn piano. Throwing down the little woolly, she stared around her childish room.
Every single corner of her room was lit up and Ciel found herself lighting yet another candle for her cupboard as she noticed a single flame flickering slightly. The shadows could never touch her. She knew better than to let them. The white shadow that followed her constantly would drag her away into the night if the dark even covered a fraction of her littlest toe for a jiffy. She knew it. Oh, yes, she most certainly did..
"Cecilia Marie! Come down here right now!" a loud masculine voice bellowed. "Family meeting!"
One, two, this is bad for you.. Two, three, you're next, Ceci..~
Ciel hyperventilated and flailed wildly, Bambi eyes flashing from one corner to the next, and the white shadow stood in the farthest corner away from her where the bulb had apparently blown. Its head cocked to the side, the red eyes splashed against a pale face she would never see, and Ciel shrieked.
"STAY AWAY FROM ME! NO! STAY. AWAY!" Ciel screamed, chucking whatever she could grab at the unholy being. "STAY AWAY, STAY AWAY, S-STAY!"
The being laughed, eyes glowing with amusement. They will never believe you. They're coming up and they'll look at you with scorn before they cage you like a beast.
"SHUT UP!" the girl sobbed hysterically.
What power do you have over me, child? I have walked among men and angels for thousands of years, I am older than any mortal, dead or alive, and I have walked in the shoes of those who sin and those who have believe in their saintliness. And when I die, I will take them and cut them into little stars as they beg for the coming of night, gentle night, to come. But where is your god now, for night will never come. It's just a whisper. They are all ears.
Ciel choked back on tears and felt sickness well up in the lower pit of her stomach. Her throat started closing up on her and breathing became a feat best left to professionals. Behind her closed door, angry footsteps stomped up the stairs and the white being wandered closer, the lights dying behind it like stars behind clouds.
Daddy sounds mad, love. Are you afraid of me more or him? They will always think you're insane.
The blonde dug her nails into her scalp, screaming, confused, frightened, and the door rattled as her father furiously pounded on it with an yowl of fury. The shadow sadistically stopped a mere foot away, leaving just three lights on.
"CECILIA, OPEN THIS FUCKING DOOR BEFORE I CHOP IT DOWN!" her father snarled, hammering a fist against the wood viciously. "GODDAMN YOU, YOU FUCKED UP CHILD!"
One, two... This is bad for you.. Two, three.. You will be next, Ceci.
"P-please.. S-shut up.. Please..!" Cecilia wailed, feeling her nails scrape her skin. "...P-pl-please.."
The door banged open, her doorknob forcing a hole through the light blue wall, and the shadow watched in amusement as the man grabbed Ciel by the hair and thundered.
"WHY THE HELL CAN'T YOU BE LIKE YOUR SISTER?! HUH?!" he demanded, shaking her roughly. "CLAUDIA NEVER PULLS THIS SHIT!"
"James!" Cecilia's mother scolded from downstairs. "Get down here and stop your screaming!"
"Aw, shut your whore mouth, Rhonda! Ya goddamn Joker wannabe!" the father yelled, meaty fist still entangled in his daughter's hair.
"Leave my goddamn daughter alone, you no-good alcoholic! She's troubled enough and you-"
"What do you mean ME?!"
"Obviously, you messed her up!"
"Oh, right! Cause her whore mother-!"
"I AM NOT A WHORE!"
Cecilia trembled, mucus leaking from her cherry red nose, and closed her eyes. The world was dark, it was always dark even with all the lights on, and she gasped for breath as it began again.
Don't you want this to be over?
Ciel squeezed her eyelids shut until stars and lights burst in all the colours of the rainbow like fireworks. The slimy and dead breath of the the shadow flushed against her red face and bile rose up like an elevator.
"Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned.." Ciel whispered desperately, clasping her hands together like a pale porcelain doll.
The yelling, the breath, the insults, and the greasy, dark feeling like drowning in an algae-coated pond where the scum from the bottom was concrete became overwhelming as she felt the shadow suck the air away from her soul. Laughter from the pits of hell filled her ears and all Ciel saw beneath closed eyes was the ugly appendages like spider's legs peeling back lips from a broken, fanged smile that ripped the skin with each tug.
Huffing air in like a drug, Ciel's eyes snapped up and her right hand fluttered up to her drumming heart. The girl's head swiveled around and she sat up. The room was too perfect and too pristine for it to be hers.
"Lili! You're awake." a tinkling voice cheered happily.
Ciel looked in the direction of the tone and Chloe smiled, closing the door with a slippered foot, as she approached her sister with a tray of soup and crackers.
"I was worried. I don't want you ever doing that to me again." Chloe chastised. "The neighbors called the cops on Mom and Dad. But I got you, ok? I even put you in the white night gown you love so much."
Ciel nodded, throat raw and jagged from pain, and her older sister brushed her hair back lovingly.
"I turned on all the lights, just like you like it." the brunette smiled. "You.. Really scared me. I thought Dad was murdering you."
The younger girl licked her dry lips, swallowing saliva, and studied the surroundings cautiously. True to her word, the eighteen year old had completely lit up the area and the white shadow seemed to have vanished from the universe.
"I-I.. I'm ok." Ciel stuttered, feeling sore.
"I know. I worry though!" Chloe chuckled nervously.
Outside, a branch scratched the glass of her sister's window and Chloe blinked. Ciel watched as Chloe closed the blinds and turned back to the injured youngester.
"Um.. Justin is coming over soon, ok? Just because I kinda feel on edge since what happened." the elder explained bashfully. "Not because I like him or anything."
".. Liar, liar, pants on fire." Ciel joked weakly, smirking slightly.
"I don't care, I don't care, I can buy another pair!" Chloe retorted, sticking her tongue out.
"So after he takes you for a dinner at an airport restaurant, are you guys going to an unfinished construction site?" the blonde remarked teasingly.
"Oh, silence. He isn't a bum. He just.. sucks at getting a job.." the other grimaced.
The two paused for a moment and giggled wildly, knowing how much of a slacker Justin really was. Ciel felt better at the warm moment that only sisters could craft and hugged a duck that sat on her sister's bed. However, the feeling faded away into an icy premonition as the door downstairs opened and closed with a slam.
Both girls stopped as the clutter of someone making their way up the stairs slowly reached their ears. Chloe motioned for Ciel to hide away from the door before locking it and huddling next to Ciel. The laboured breath of the stranger grew louder and something dragged against the floor of the house.
The sisters, clinging to one another, kept their eyes glued to the door, fear permeating the air, thick and dense enough with anxiety and terror to be a choking hazard. The doorknob rattled and a growl from outside the door made Ciel shiver. She knew it. The phantom, the white shadow.. It would get her now.
Her only comfort was that at least someone would believe her.
The raking of the door was enough to make her throat swell up with horror, the hissing puff greasy through the door, and the raking became a pounding, the pounding a hammering, the hammering a ramming.
"Goddammit, Chloe! Open your fucking door!" Justin complained from outside.
"Justin, you scared the piss out of me!" Chloe yelped in relief, unlocking and opening the door.
Ciel watched as the black-haired teen sauntered in, his satchel heavy and dragging against the floor, with light reflecting off the piercings on his face. Her heart half fell and the other half rose. On one hand, everything would be ok. On the other, no one believed her still. Justin hissed in shock as the lights stung his eyes and he flicked the light switch off.
The dominoes fell to the ground. Ciel shrieked, watching the phantom appear from the inky blackness.
"What the hell are you doing?! Turn it on! Turn it on!" the blonde pleaded, flinging herself towards the boy to flip the switch back on. "TURN IT ON!"
Nails raking deeply in the pale boy's skin, Ciel found herself turning almost feral. There was hope, the phantom could be stopped, really..
"Lili! You're ok! Look at me." Chloe begged, grabbing for her sister. "You are safe!"
"No! No! We're going to die! Please! Turn on the lights!" the younger howled manically.
"GET THE FUCK OFF, FREAK!" Justin snapped, trying to tear the girl away from his flesh.
The phantom drew closer, bulbs popping and flames dying, as the screeching and bickering erupted from the trio. Ciel squawked and she wildly bit down into the boy's hand which still rested on the light switch before she ripped a chunk of bloody meat away as the phantom's taunting laughter echoed around with its ever-nearing steps.
Full metal panic broke loose. Justin wailed, clutching his ruined wrist in agony. Ciel felt the iron taste of blood swirl around her tongue, jaw locked on the gruesome prize, and Chloe's hands flew up to her mouth as she back away. The phantom latched itself to the brunette and its tentacles travelled down her throat, its mouth sinking into her neck to fuse the two together, and the eighteen year old wailed in pain as her jaw broke, hanging low over her throat.
Justin's brown eyes widened in confusion and fear as he turn away from his wound to Chloe, noticing the injuries of the elder sister. His fists clenched and he threw a punch toward Ciel who fell over and awakened from her frozen stupor, releasing his flesh as her jaw grew slack.
"Y-You! You fucking did this! Fucking freak!" Justin roared. "Why did you break Chloe's jaw?!"
"I-I would n-n-never hurt-!" Ciel started.
Chloe let out a gurgle, unable to breathe, and Ciel looked up in fear as the phantom took control of her beloved sibling's body. Tears welled up in her eyes. Not Chloe. Anyone but Chloe. She hated her sister's talent but not her actual sister.
"NO! LET HER GO!" Ciel cried, scrambling to her knees.
"Stay the fuck down, you fucking bitch!" Justin seethed. "This. Is. All. Your. Fault."
"N-NO! CHLOE! CH-CHLOE!" she groaned, barely able to disguise her bleeding and broken heart as her sister's eyes rolled over to her, milky white instead of jade green.
Justin grabbed a jacket from his bag, grabbed a knife, slashed off a sleeve, and wrapped the sleeve around his wrist before he shakily wobbled over to the elder. He did not see what Ciel had seen. He did not recognise Chloe's dead eyes like a fish belly or her still heart or the parasitic shadow that clung to her like a leaf to a soaking wet window.
"Chloe.. Hang on. I-I'll drive you to the hospital,"
"That will not be necessary." Chloe rasped in a voice that sounded like hardware nails caressing a chalkboard.
"Babe, you need it." Justin sputtered,
"No. I disagree." the husk smiled eerily. "I believe you do."
Chloe tackled Justin, propelling the two teens forwards roughly through the open doorway. Ciel crawled, head still reeling from the punch delivered earlier, and felt her heart sink as the duo rolled down the hallway stairs. Chloe - no, Ciel corrected, the thing that stole Chloe, vehemently shoved Justin's head into each of the stairs with a sickening crack and blood painted the stairs a sticky red colour. Justin bawled as he dug his fingers into the thing's shoulders and attempted to shove her- no, it- off.
In return, the thing kneed Justin in the groin and slammed his face into its fist when his head bowed from doubling over in pain. Justin's nose spurted blood, most likely broken, and Ciel winced in sympathy, wishing she was the hero Justin Gotham needed, not the one he deserved. The thing sank its top teeth into the boy's skull as they finally stopped at the intersection between the kitchen, the living room, and the entrance into the house.
Ciel hated the thing more than ever and she heard Justin scream in complete agony as she bolted back into Chloe's room, slamming the door and locking it. She sobbed into her hands, rocking back and forth, hating herself for her flaws, hating Justin for turning the lights on, hating.. Just hating. Her hummingbird heart bounced around in her chest, buzzing with fear, blossoming with adrenaline. Her hands scrambled over to investigate Justin's bag - not as if he would need it any longer, she cringed. She prayed there would be a saviour to this nightmare.
The thing grinned as the bullets from the gun that the punk carried in his jean pockets stabbed through the boy's skull with a pop and Justin's corpse - or what was left of the mutilated sack of flesh- shuddered as his mouth gurgled with blood and spit.
Its smirk spread as the heat left the human's body and it yanked away a morbid prize of the boy's teeth. A loud rolling sound interrupted the delicate procedure the beast had begun and suddenly, it remembered her. Its lovely Ceci hadn't been caught yet. It scuttled up the stairs in an unholy manner, part arachnid yet part human, with its spine contorted into an almost parody of double helix.
The door to the Chloe-beast's room was closed firmly and the creature pawed at the fixture with a frothy drool dribbling down its chin.
Did the mortal know what she was getting into? Did she recognize that she had trapped herself?
The door gave in with a squeak of protest and the critter scuttled in. It smelt of the girl but where she was remained a mystery. A soft noise from the closet alerted it to a carbon-based life form and it dove head first into the tiny cupboard. Lo and behold, she sat in a pile of artificial animals made with some sort of synthetics.
Ciel's hands hid her eyes and she choked back sobs, not waiting to see what her sister had become because of that forsaken phantom. She knew from the acrid breath that it was in the closet with her but in memory of Chloe, she refused to look at it.
Cecilia froze, her sister's voice croaking from the thing in front of her. It was a liar.
"Li-Li... Ll-ook." the faint voice forced out.
Ciel had to. She looked up and the creature's eyes were no longer white. They were a dull green.
"C-Chloe.." Ciel panted, struggling through tears.
"Ich liebe dich.. Li-Li.." Chloe murmured. "K-Kill.. Me.."
"I-I can't! N-no! I-I-I.. Can't..!" the younger panicked.
"You.. Do not have.. Much.. Time.." the elder rasped.
"I-I'm just a freak.. I'm too weak.." Ciel whimpered.
"No.. You are.. Strong.You.. Make me so proud.. You are.. My sunshine.." the zombie sang. "My only.. Sunshine."
"Y-You make me happy when s-skies are grey.." Ciel cried softly, picking up the knife she had swindled from Justin's pack.
"You never know, dear, how much I love you.." Chloe smiled, closing her dead eyes.
"S-so.. P-Please d-don't take..." Ciel warbled, lifting the knife up slowly.
"M-my.. sunshine.." The blade began its drive downward.
Ciel sobbed as the blade kissed her sister's skull and the thing hissed in pain as Chloe vanished. The white phantom twisted, melting and bubbling away from her sister's body, and Ciel vomited as the stench overwhelmed her. Black smog wrapped itself around her head like a demonic halo and Ciel felt herself go insane before the darkness embraced her lovingly and the voice of her sister became her lullaby.
Regina Kartow flicked the last of her cigarette's ashes away in the cold night and snorted. Charlie was late picking her up yet again. She spat on the asphalt, straightened out her miniskirt, and walked down the street, heels clicking and clacking against the cement.
She shivered as a sudden feeling of being watched passed over her. Though the street had been deserted but seconds ago, Regina still glanced over her shoulder to assure herself that she was just imagining things before continuing her way.
A cold gust of wind blew itself over the back of the girl's neck and she smacked the hair that jumped up back down. She spun around and glared at the abandoned street. Nothing but air, she grunted to herself. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a white shape dancing alone in an alley.
She spun back around and let out a startled yelp as a petite blonde in a white nightgown smiled at her with wistful eyes of green.
"What the hell are you?!" Regina snapped.
"... I'm the innocence lost in this world." the girl mumbled in a hushed but chilling voice.
"I'm the sins that plague this earth.." a malicious yet playful voice tease from behind Regina.
"What the.. G-git away!" Regina yowled, feeling afraid and small, before turning.
The owner of the evil voice turned out to be a pale figure with a do-rag that had a fanged mouth printed against it who teasingly pressed a cold steel knife to her throat. The girl in the white gown watched as her companion shredded the girl into unrecognizable piece and her heart felt cold though warm blood splatter against it.
... Are you still proud of me, Chloe? Though I'm just as bad as Sin?
Yes, Lili. I will always be proud of you.
With that response, Ciel began to sing the song she would associate with Chloe and the last thing Regina heard as her dying body began to fail.
"You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.. You make me happy when skies are grey.. You never know, dear, how much I love you... So please don't take.. My sunshine away..
Please don't take.. My sunshine.. Away.."