Picture and original post found here.
Title: Faded Blossoms
Rating: hrm... R. Very likely an R fic
Warnings: Uhh... Familial violence
Word Count: 414 (According to MS Word Count)
Disclaimer: Joss is god, I am but a minion. Please do not sue, I swear I make no money off this, and I will wash my toys when I'm done playing!
Cross Posted to: perverted_pages, indigo_crypt, darker_tara, btvs_lightsout, btvsatsdotcom, darker_vault
Archived outside LJ at: adultfanfiction.net , fanfiction.net and My IJ
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She heard him yelling downstairs. She looked up quickly, her large pale eyes creasing in worry. She knew what happened when he got angry. She panicked and got up, running to her closed bedroom door, and turning the handle… but the door wouldn’t open. He’d locked her in again. He’d planned this. Oh Goddess no, he planned this.
She stood frozen, thinking franticly about what she should do, about what she could do. She eyed the floorboard beside her desk, legs trembling as she debated her next action. If she used this, he’d know. He’d know and he’d punish her. He’d probably punish her mother again as well for teaching her magic in the first place.
She heard her mother cry out in pain, and her father hollering “DEMON!” at the top of his lungs. She sprang into action and pried the loose floorboard out of the way, scrambling to pick up the thin hand-bound volume. Her fingers closed around the stiff leather as her mother started to shriek, the blatant sounds of leather striking flesh assaulting her ears before each agony filled cry. Tara’s hands trembled uncontrollably, wedging the book in the opening she’d created, making her struggle as her panic grew. Tears welled in her eyes, which she quickly closed and tried to take calming breaths, the drops escaping from beneath her closed lids as she forced her mind to calm.
Carefully and calmly she removed the book. She struggled to stay in her near trancelike state as she flipped through the hand written pages for the spell she was looking for. She found the page decorated with a sketch of a songbird escaping a domed birdcage, and traced the fine lines.
Pointing at her bedroom door with her right hand, she held the book open with her right as she read the commands out loud. Her voice wavered as her stutter stilled words in her throat, but she pushed onwards, and smiled brightly when her whole door glowed bright green, and popped open with a soft thud.
Tara was running down the hall and towards the stairs when she heard a horrible crash. It sounded like something had fallen through the front bay window. She felt the bottom drop out of her stomach as her soft stockinged feet pounded on the worn wood of the floor and steps.
She saw her father standing in the living room, in front of the shattered bay window. She saw the blood everywhere, the upturned coffee table, the blood on his belt as it dripped to the floor, the broken lamp that had been a wedding present, the upturned chairs, the utter destruction of the living room, and through the shattered frame of the window, she saw the utter destruction of her life.
Her mothers battered and bruised body lay on the other side, she heard her father say something about how the demon within her had attacked him, and how he was only protecting himself and his family. He grabbed her by the shoulders and shook her hard, telling her to toe the line, and be a good girl, to turn away from evil and vile temptation lest she tempt her own inner demon to come out early and therefore put the family in danger… he looked pointedly at her mothers corpse before saying, again… the threat abundantly clear.
Tara stared dumbly, feeling cold, feeling empty as the sound of nothing echoed in her ears. She didn’t even feel the window glass cutting into her feet, or notice she left behind bloody footsteps as she moved closer to her mother. The cherry blossom tree in the front yard was in bloom. Her mother had planted that tree, because she loved the flowers, and now the petals covered her cooling body. She bit her lower lip so hard she tasted blood as tears silently streamed down her face. She hugged herself tightly and shivered the whole silent walk back to her room, shock propelling her.
She leaned back against the door as she closed it, her shivers graduating to trembling, her book falling from numb fingers. She looked around at the sudden sound, and hurriedly knelt to pick up the book, pressing it tightly against her chest. Her mother wrote this book, her mother drew the pictures and diagrams, and her mother had bound this book, had made even made the paper and ink herself. She had to show it respect. Carefully she crawled to its hiding place, and put it back where it belonged. Tara made her way back towards her bed on her hands and knees, feeling too exhausted to try to get up and walk. When she got to the bed the idea of getting up, even if it was to sit on the bed, seemed like a monumental effort that she was incapable of making, so she sat on the floor instead with her back pressed against her bed, legs stretched out before her.
She looked calmly around her room, eyes sweeping her meagre possessions, her attempts to personalize her closet of a room, and her eyes fell on the tiny porcelain cat on her nightstand. Her mother had given her that dollar store cat for her last birthday... her mother who wouldn’t be around for her eighteenth birthday which was in three weeks, her mother who was dead downstairs, killed by her own father.
She gasped in a lungful of air before beginning to sob in earnest… crying until she slipped into an exhausted sleep curled up on her side.
She woke up stiff, a feeling of dread dragging at her stomach. Her face felt itchy and tight, the salt of her tears having dried out the skin. She tried to struggle to her feet only to cry out as pain laced its way from the soles of her feet. She fell heavily on her side before dragging her foot near her face, to take a look at the damage.
She saw the dozens of tiny shards in her skin, shredding her thick wool stockings, and staining them with her own blood. Tara shuddered, her honey coloured hair falling like a silk curtain over her face. She hurriedly grabbed and twisted her hair before tucking it into her collar, pulling the length out of her way.
Carefully she got to her knees, and biting back a scream, got up on one foot to sit on the bed. She pulled in tiny pain filled gasps of air between her clenched teeth, her lip grasped tightly between them.
She wriggled out of her stockings, and pulled them off her feet as tears started to flow from her soft eyes again. She blamed the tears on the pain of removing her stockings, and tried to ignore the ringing emptiness inside where her mother used to be.
She pulled out a meagre first aid kit from her nightstand, and pulled out the shards of glass with tweezers. She collected them carefully in a handkerchief before applying rubbing alcohol vigorously. She bit her lips together to hold back screams, but some whimpers still escaped. She looked fearfully at the door, but when she didn’t hear anyone approaching, she knew no one had heard. She finished her first aid, and realized the damage really wasn’t that bad, it had only hurt so much because the glass had still been in, but when it was removed she didn’t even really bleed.
Tara sat on the bed and stared dumbly forward, sniffling, her tears never stopping their steady flow.
He said he had to protect himself against her demon… that her mother’s demon had sprung forward, because her mother had started to think impure thoughts that she had fallen for temptation. But why would he have locked her in her bedroom if he hadn’t known he was going to confront the demon? Something wasn’t right here, something felt wrong.
She felt a pressure in her ears, like she’d suddenly gone up in an airplane and her ears were going to pop, she felt an uncontrollable urge to runrunrunrunrunrun. Something wasn’t right, she wasn’t safe, and something bad was going to happen.
She scrambled off the bed pulled out the large trunk from under her bed, money and her birth certificate sewn into the lining. Tara scrambled around the room, looking for her other stashes of money she’d earned from after school jobs she’d held that her father never knew about, that she told him she was in a bible study class instead. Her mother had told her this might happen, had told her that she’d be next, and that she’d be expected to take over her mother’s role in the house, and that scared the hell out of Tara.
She packed up her clothes, her money, she pulled out everything from its hidden compartment under the floorboards, the crystals and the few slim books, the jewellery, and tarot cards her mother had given her, she packed it all, and on top of everything put that ceramic cat, stroking it lovingly with a fingertip.
She pulled the mostly empty suitcase down the hall, and halted at the stairs. She didn’t hear anything in the house, she didn’t hear anything anywhere. She frowned and cautiously made her way down the stairs, leaving her suitcase at the top. Quickly she looked around, and saw no one, not inside or outside. They must be dealing with… with the… b-mom, she thought, not even able to think of the word ‘body’ in the privacy of her own mind.
She saw the old truck in the driveway, and hesitated. She didn’t have a drivers license, her father would never allow her one, but she knew the basics of “Right pedal FAST! Left pedal STOP!” but not much else… Her need for speed warred with her need to survive. She gave up her internal struggle, knowing she’d never figure out the complexities of driving in time, or safely enough to ensure the survival of all those she’d pass on the road.
She had to try something, she had to get out of here, she had to leave, NOW. She wasn’t going to be used and abused until she died like her mother, she didn’t care if she WAS a demon, if this WAS what she deserved, if this WAS what the men in their family were charged to do, to keep the demons in line lest they wrack havoc on the human population, she wanted a chance to LIVE. That made up her mind.
She quickly ran back upstairs to grab her suitcase. She lifted it, and hesitated. If anyone came back right now, they’d chain her in the cellar until her father came home. They’d keep her there on the filthy floor, and let the rats gnaw on her. They’d gag her to keep her screams from bothering them; they’d starve her for as long as her father told them to, until he came down. Then he’d chain her against the wall, legs spread wide, and whip her until her blood splattered the jam preserves.
If she stayed, if she didn’t try, they’d likely do that to her soon anyway, to put her in her place. At least this way she was trying. At least this way she hadn’t given up.
She carried her suitcase down the stairs before she could change her mind again. She grabbed her coats, her jacket, her shoes, boots, and sandals and shoved them all into plastic bags before cramming them into the left over space in her suitcase. She struggled to zip it shut, feeling the butterfly’s of panic fluttering madly inside her, when she finally got it done up, she forgot that her feet were bare and that she’d need shoes to get to the road.
Tara scowled; she knew she didn’t have time for this! Her brow furrowed as she berated herself for not thinking ahead. Shaking her head, she ran for the truck barefoot, suitcase in one hand, keys in the other. Suddenly she paused, and quickly picked a blossom from the tree. She put it in her shirt pocket before finishing her limping voyage to the roadside, struggling with the suitcase as she tried to pull it along on its wheels on the turf beside the gravel drive.
When she reached the roadside, she took a deep breath, trying to calm herself, to find her center once more. She pulled her hair out of her collar, and straightened her shirt. She smoothed her hair nervously, her hands tugging and smoothing, smoothing and tugging, as she waited for someone to drive by. Her heart hammered in her chest as thoughts of her father and brother returning before she could find herself a ride played out in her minds eye. She saw what would happen to her, knew what would be done to her, what would be done because of her.
She saw puffs of road dust in the distance, and felt a moment of panic. She fought down her body’s urges to go back to the house, to pull away from the side of the road, to hide in the ditch behind the hedge. She had to be seen if she was going to hitch a ride. She needed to fight her fear, or at least ignore it for the next little while. If her family returned there was nothing she could do to stop the punishment, if it wasn’t her family she’d have to stand there and wave down the vehicle.
A shiny dark blue SUV pulled up with a chirpy woman with a rather patient and quiet husband inside. Tara felt her heart beat return to normal as she asked for a ride. She knew hitch hiking was dangerous, that she could get kidnapped or raped, or killed… but that would be so much better then what awaited her at home… besides she could see the aura’s of the cars inhabitants, she knew she’d be safe.
After discussing where she needed to go, they agreed to take her, but they’d do even better then just dropping her off at the dinky train station of her little village. They said they’d take her the next city over since they were on a road trip and headed there anyways. The Goddess was smiling on her, and she hurried inside the car, taking the offering of bottled water from the smiling woman.
When she finally made it to the well kept train station, her anxiety had seemed to dribble out of her, leaving her slightly light headed when they pulled into a parking spot. She thanked them profusely and even offered to pay for gas but they politely turned her down, stating they were already going in that direction, they didn’t waste more gas because of her.
They got the impression from her answers to their questions that she was leaving an abusive home, and that she was a sweet young woman who just wanted a fresh start. The woman leaned over and pressed two roast beef sandwiches and another bottle of water into her hands. She promised to take care of herself, and thanked them over and over again. They’d likely saved her life, though they didn’t know it.
She approached the tiny ticket wicket, and then knelt as she opened her suitcase, scrambling for some cash. She pulled out her sandals and put them on while down there, and blushed a bright shade of red as the teller cleared his throat pointedly, even though the station was empty and she was the only one in line.
“O-one w-w-way to su-su-Sunnydale please,” Tara stammered out, making her blush even more heated.
“Business, first class or coach?”
“Oh! Coach please.”
He looked her over, and leaned heavily on his hand as he rested his elbow on his desk. “Of course, 109.78. You’ll have to transfer twice to make it to Sunnydale proper, just follow the map and listen to the announcements.”
Tara handed over $110, and took back her change and tickets timidly. She whispered a forgetting spell and watched his eyes seem to dim and dull as his memories of the last ten minutes got wiped clean.
Tara made her way to the platform, struggling with her large and bulky old leather suitcase. When she got there, she realized she didn’t know what time the train was due, that her family might find her before she had time to get away. He breathing started to escalate, her vision started to blur, her anxiety started to skyrocket as she sat down on a bench and bent over at the waist, pressing her head between her knees, trying to gasp in air. She didn’t even hear the approach of the train until it crossed into her field of vision.
She ran to the car that was listed on the ticket, showing it to the conductor when he asked. She felt a knot of ice at the base of her spine, as she looked out the window, panicking, thinking that person, or this one, might be her father, or brother, or one of her cousins. She didn’t even relax when the train got into motion. She only felt the ice melt when her small town was two cities behind her.
She was free… she was finally free! She could do this! She could!
She only wished that she’d been able to do it while her mother was alive, that she could have brought her mother with her.
She may only have just over two years of being human left, but she’d live them free. By the time her family found her, she’d be in a town they’d never think she knew about, that they never knew her mother told her about the magic that blossomed there, and she’d be 18, they wouldn’t be able to take her back.
She’d live the rest of her life free, because she knew she’d have to kill herself before her demon came out, before she hurt innocent humans… but it would be worth it.
Her family might have the secret to keep the demon in check, but she’d rather just have two years of life and freedom, than a lifetime of… that.
Two years… she could accept that… it was so much better than the alternative.
She pulled the blossom from her pocket, and drew in its fragrance, trying to hold back the tears that didn’t obey her commands as they flowed freely down her round cheeks.