Haunted Melodies



Scene Title Haunted Melodies
Synopsis Strands of music, strands of color, strands of darkness combine.
Date November 26, 2014

Elisabeth and Ygraine's Apartment

The web stretches around her in all directions.

Multitudes of colored strings, densely packed into a tiny space. They crisscross one another into an infinite darkness beyond. One of these strung paths will lead her out of this maze.

But the darkness isn't quiet. It creeps between the webbing like tendrils of lightless smoke, the tattered wisps of shadows whispering in hideous, sibilant sounds that she can't separate from one another.

The tense, jumbled susurrus had to be all in her mind. Shadows have no sound.

Uneasy, she is careful as she moves. The green string at shoulder height chimes a soft melodic riff through the half-light of the space, the sound incongruent with the nature of strings. She can feel the vibration wafting into the distance and fading away; it is as if beyond the small circle of light in which she stands, the starless void is unending.

Home has never seemed so far away.

And yet, she is intrigued by the promise of the tangled skeins of floss. She slides a fingertip along a red thread and then a yellow one. The sounds aren't simple chords; they're musical refrains. Each piece of music holds meaning, she knows it. She forgets for a moment that the shadow stalks her in the low light.

Her fingers touch one after the other, seeking the right one. She's almost excited — surely she'll recognize the right melody when it sounds.

When she finds it, the hauntingly familiar melody line sends electricity up her spine. 'Take my hand…' One of her mother's favorite songs. The first song she and Richard ever danced to. She whips around to follow that string, a deep indigo line that looks black in the near-dark- - and stumbles backward. Under her foot, another string snaps, unnoticed. There is a man's form made of shadows, and for a moment, she is elated.

Yesterday, upon the stair, I met a man who wasn't there.

She knows that shadow. The silhouette is intimately familiar, but the whisper is ragged, with many layers of sound. Are those… other voices?

"Another timeline cut short," he hisses in that scornful whisper made up of echoes from the past. People screaming on a bridge even as she flung them backward. Children screaming as they burn in front of her eyes.

"Whose was that one? Felix? Ygraine? That soft, lovely yellow makes me think of gentleness. Cassandra, perhaps?" Shreds of shadow reach forward to wrap themselves around her ankle and calf. It is not a lover's caress of shadow, but the climbing, thorny bite of a hungry vine.

He wasn't there again today. I wish, I wish he'd go away…

The shade laughs, shifting from one silhouette to another- - Gabriel to Richard to Gabriel to Eileen's petite form, while a tangle of dark arms, shredded but still powerful, seeks to twine itself around both ankles. They have more substance than she's ever known, and she trips again- -

Several threads snap apart, songs cut short as she lands in the strands. They are sticky, and she's trapped there, unable to pull free.

When I came home last night at three, the man was waiting there for me.

"You can't run. There's nowhere to go." The shadow form morphs into Arthur Petrelli's stolid shape. "I'll find you wherever you hide. You are an invader. Look at what's happened around you," he taunts. "Two worlds you've stepped into. Two worlds where people have died when you passed through."

Faces appear and disappear in the roiling darkness. Spectres of so many people, all of them screaming. Gillian. Lynette. Ling. Bowie. Dave. Brenda. Steve. Rickham. Aislinn. Quinn. Lucille and Ben Ryans. They merge one into another, each more horrifying and familiar than the last. Monica. Peyton. Adel.

In a flow of clouded shadow, the amorphous dark explodes outward into a morbid parody of the mushroom cloud above Antarctica. It becomes a tsunami that swallows her in the same way Richard Cardinal engulfed Gabriel Gray's possessed body.

But when I looked around the hall, I couldn't see him there at all.

She closes her eyes, and panic cascades through her, worse than a moment before. Even when she opens her eyes again, the darkness is stifling. Still suspended in the web of strings, her body is unable to move. The violet blue strand knotted around her wrist glows hauntingly and roars the hated tune of "Mack the Knife" against her ears every time she twitches. Sweat breaks out across her entire body and she begins to fight the grip of the web in earnest.

Go away, go away, don't you come back anymore!

"Oh, no." The spirant, insistent whisper is right in her ear. Edward Ray's voice is chilling. "Oh, no… you can't escape your fate. Do you know why this keeps happening?"

Go away, go away, and please don't slam the door!

The reverberating music stops abruptly as a slamming sound echoes around her. A low light returns, without any sense of a source. She finds herself on the ground, no longer bound. Most of the strings are now broken, scattered like pieces of confetti. Small bits of color that seem almost festive… except for the feeling of menace around her. "Have you found the answer yet?"

Last night I saw upon the stair a little man who wasn't there…

The shadows twist and roil like living things, coming at her from all angles.

"Have you figured it out?" Her heart beats like a drum deep in her chest, straining painfully in its force. "The universe took you out of your world on purpose," Edward croons in her ear. "It doesn't want you there."

I wish, I wish he'd go away…

"You are the danger."

"Mummy? Mummy, stop!"

The sobbing brought her awake, sweating heavily and wrapped in a tangle of sheets. "Aura?" Elisabeth jolts upright, instinctively responding to the distress of the little girl standing next to her bed.

"Mummy, it hurts."

Unraveling the mess of her sheets, she reaches out for the toddler. "What hurts, baby?" she whispers, drawing the little girl into the protective curve of her body and hugging her.

"You hummed real loud," sniffles the child. "It hurted my chest."

Jesus, Elisabeth thought, rocking her daughter. Glancing at the mirror over her dresser, she realizes that it's broken. "I'm sorry, Aura," she whispers into her daughter's soft hair. "Mummy's sorry. I had a bad dream and I didn't know I was doing it."

Looking up, the little girl's hazel eyes study her mother's face with a frown and she reaches up to pat her cheek comfortingly. "No more bad dreams?"

Elisabeth wishes it were so simple, but she draws the little girl up into the bed and rearranges them both so they're cocooned securely in a nest of pillows and blankets. The bedroom's nightlight, ever present, casts shadows on the wall and she watches them warily.

As they snuggle down together, Liz breathes in the soft baby scent of the little girl and whispers, "No more bad dreams, little one. I'm all better now."

She isn't sure that will ever be the truth again.

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