It's been quite a day, but that's a story for another time. Anyhow, here's the start of my mini-NaNo, which is an AU of season 2, featuring a few characters from season 1. I'm trying to write and post a thousand words a day. We'll see how long that lasts. The fic is gen thus far, but may include slash or het later on (I really have no idea right now). I'd rate the whole thing R, I think.
So, remember Kathleen from "The Benders"? She's the one who kicks things off.
She takes a moment to wonder which cage her brother had been thrown into, hers or Sam’s. It can hardly matter now, but she somehow feels it was hers.
She walks closer, looks into Sam’s cage, and sees the two men piled in there, one on top of the other; Sam had thrown them in separately, not concerned in the least as to whether they could move or breathe. If their survival instinct kicked in enough to make them shift, that was enough for him.
It’s not like she can claim to be any better. Their father, that cesspool of twisted love and demented logic, is dead by her hand. He died laughing, and the unfairness of that rocks her back on her heels. He and his murderous pack of children took Riley from her and Mom, so that Mom died crying for her lost baby boy, her frail arms stretched hopefully, goosebumps rising on the skin because of the hospital chill in the air.
Nothing about this is fair. She knows that. She checks the lock on Sam’s cage one more time and heads out to the shed, standing over the patriarch’s fallen body. She wants to tear him to shreds, piss on the remains, desecrate the corpse in some way, but she’s already stepped far enough outside herself by killing him, choking his laughter with a bullet.
The state police and the FBI will be here soon. She needs to lock the situation down, buy some time for Sam and his cousin, make sure they get away clean. She makes her way into the main house and whirls when she hears a relentless scratching. It’s the girl, Missy, she realizes, remembering that Greg - no, not Greg, she hadn’t pressed for his real name once his story of fire came tumbling out of him, lucky man - had said he and Sam had locked her in a closet. At the sound of her footsteps, the scratching subsides, so she takes advantage of the quiet to hear herself think, to assess the site. She steels herself to walk past the jars of teeth, the canisters of meat, the trophy case with jewelry and skulls jumbled together.
She turns the corner and finds a faded pale blue cloth strung up on hooks like a shower curtain, keeping one corner of the room hidden. When she shoves the dirty fabric aside, an enraged wail echoes throughout the house, and she knows she’s found Missy’s room, the hiding place of whatever treasures the girl has collected. There’s a twin bed, made up with worn but once-fine linens, doubled back on themselves for the narrow mattress; a braided mat made of human hair rests on the floor beside it. A crude bookshelf holding clothes has a jar of eyeballs sitting on top, where any girl but this one, with her sly eyes and cruel smile, would have put a little jewelry box full of beads and friendship bracelets. Next to it is the picture of Sam that Lucky had handed her, and she feels an absurd surge of triumph bubble up in her breast when she slips it into her pocket. Her own shirt is hanging on a hook by the bed, Missy’s fingerprints smudged all over the brightness of her deputy’s badge. She folds the shirt down until it’s the size of a washcloth and goes systematically through the compound, erasing fingerprints as she goes.
She comes across the body of Alvin Jenkins when she circles the buildings for a final sweep before the reinforcements arrive. She wouldn’t have recognized him. The picture his pretty wife had provided showed a handsome man in his mid forties, barbered and tailored for success. The reality is a bloody corpse, the face set in a rictus of pain and horror. She looks him over, trying not to disturb the scene too much. He looks like he could have been strong. There’s no telling who will be a fighter when the chips are down, but she guesses she could attribute that virtue to him without straining anybody’s credulity.
She’s huddled against the wall when Sheriff Biggs finally arrives, and she’s not even gotten through a quarter of the story when the state police and FBI show up, wanting her to start from the beginning, go through the whole thing, any detail you remember, ma’am. Please.
So she does. She tells them about an anonymous tip that spoke of a “whining growl,” how a little luck led her here to this horror show, how she found Alvin Jenkins and set him free, how their escape was blocked by three armed and dangerous men. She got knocked out early, shovel to the noggin, she thinks, and tilts her head obligingly for inspection. Jenkins must have tricked the sons somehow, led them away from her and gotten them into the cage where he’d been kept. The father had stayed behind, she supposes, and he must have been the one to take her shirt off. No one wants to meet her eye when she gets to this part, and it makes it easier to spin her tale. She’d woken up as he reached for her pants, and struggled against him, and she’d ended up with her hand on his shotgun, and he’d lunged for her and the gun had gone off. She’d called for backup and gone to find Jenkins again, but she’d been dizzy, couldn’t walk too well, and might have passed out again.
She lets herself be bundled into an ambulance, lets her head bow when she hears Williams call the morgue to pick up the body of one Alvin Jenkins. She closes her eyes and feels tears leak from beneath the lids. Her baby brother is dead.
Mercifully, she’s checked out of the hospital the next day, before the real work of sifting through the house and cataloging the findings has begun in earnest. Sheriff Biggs walks in as she’s tying her shoes. “Kathleen,” he says, a note of warning in his voice.
“Don’t tell me to take it easy, Mike,” she says mildly. She knows what she has to do.
He holds his hands up in a movie gesture. “There was a little girl in the house, locked in a closet. Wasn’t even screaming when we found her; must have been in there for hours, maybe days.” She nods tightly; she has no pity to spare for Missy. “We’ve got her and Lee and Jared Bender - the two men Jenkins subdued - here in the hospital.” At that, she knows she needs to get out of here immediately; there’s no way she can share space with Riley’s murderers.
Mike takes one look at her face and drives her home.
She’d packed up Mom’s house three years ago, when Riley went missing and Mom got diagnosed with cancer, and she’s relieved that in her own apartment there’s not too much more to do before her entire life is packed away in brown cardboard boxes. She cannot fathom waiting for the labs to finish unpacking the Benders’ trophies and calling to say that they’ve set aside the bones in the mobiles, the eyeballs in the jar, the teeth in the cans, that were once Riley’s; the list of families they will be contacting is terribly long.
In the back of her closet she finds the box the hospital had sent when Mom died. She knows its contents by heart. She knows that there’s a small envelope tucked inside Mom’s jewelry box that holds two locks of baby hair, a few baby teeth, and a couple of snapshots with “1971” and “1977” inked faintly on the back. This is all that’s left of her family. She’s all that’s still standing.
Word count (today): 1292
Word count (total): 1292 (4.31%)
I did try to get the ep details right, but I'd be very appreciative if you pointed out things I got wrong.
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