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Amelia had never understood her grandmother’s fear of little girls,—something which explained why Amelia wasn’t allowed over—when her grandmother owned a statue of one. She remembered seeing it at her grandmother’s house but one week after her death. The child was a sad one, with stone hands and a depressing disposition. Her shoulders were hunched as if she was crying tears. Her hands covered pale, cherubic cheeks while wavy stone hair fell past her shoulders. The clothes where even more detailed than the face: the stone looked ripped and torn in places, with a large burn mark above the hip. The burns and tears were made of stone, yet looked as if they had been inflicted to flesh and cloth.
Amelia had only stayed for a moment to glance upon the child, as an instinctual fear had risen within her chest, squeezing her lungs and freezing her blood. She’d blinked, and something was wrong, different, dangerous. The air was colder and the child’s face seemed to have changed. An eye was visible! She’d blinked to clear her vision, and as her little hands shook, seven-year-old Amelia had torn out of the room. She never noticed that the face had gone back to its morose disposition and had lost all air of malice. She’d told her mother only to have a hand pat her dark blonde hair. Her mother had whispered words of content and complacency and simple sweet nothings into her hair.
“It was the grief,” she’d said as she drove back home. She’d waved her hands in the air
as if to ward away some malignant spirit floating above her. Amelia’s mother had a habit of doing that. Over emphasizing and waving her hands just to get her point across. Her father, John Harper, had said that she looked just like her mother, Rose.
“You have her eyes, and her hair, but you have my love for adventure,” he’d said.
With each new description he had pointed to her. To her blond hair that had streaks of brown, his brown, to her light blue eyes that were all too stereotypical of her lineage: German English. When he mentioned adventure, he’d pointed to her heart, the glasses, which he didn’t really need, glinting in the sun.
She’d hated that day. Hated that no one believed her aside from her father, that her mother disregarded her terror as something of a fairy tale, and that she had been patronized. It was not grief, or fear of death, or any other nonsensical thing her mother had come up with. It was something else. Something malicious and so very, very angry.
It was twenty years before she saw the child again. By then her parents had died. Realistic and opinionated Rose and sweet, lovable, enigmatic John, snuffed out by an eighteen-wheeler. She snorted dispassionately at the thought of her mother. How her dad had ever loved that woman, Amelia had no idea. Someone so loving and amazing shouldn’t have had to be tied down to a realistic, unadventurous, bint. At twenty-seven, Amelia was the heir to her parent’s fortune: absolutely nothing. The family had lived day by day to support the children and now all Amelia had to her name was her job, her father’s old pocket watch, and her grandmother’s house. Joy. She’d snorted contemptuously when she had finished reading the will before glancing at her name on the folder: Amelia Rory Harper. The name her father had picked. She felt a pang of grief at the thought of her father before pushing it away. There was no room for pity, or grief, or emotions. Rather, she needed to think and think and push all unnecessary thoughts from her head. Amelia glanced at the two lawyers in front of her. Two men, one with rugged looks and shaggy dark hair that seemed to have a perpetual “I just got shagged” feel to it. His accent was loose and casual. American, Amelia concluded. She’d disliked him from the moment she heard him speak. He’d flirted with her throughout the meeting, introducing himself in a sultry tone as Jack McCrimmon. Innuendo after innuendo flowed past full lips only to be met with a cold look and an air of disdain.
The second man was the one that Amelia took to like a fish to water. He had dark hair, a kind of black that reminded Amelia of a starless night, all shimmery and dark. It stuck up a bit in the front and seemed to make his face more boyish, despite his strong jaw covered in light stubble. She absently wondered what it would feel like against her hand, her cheek. He was dressed sharply in a simply suit and tie but it gave him an air of business. He also seemed to be at least a little empathic, if the way he directed the conversations away from Jack was anything to go by. She adored it. What she adored more than anything else, however, was his voice. It was stuck somewhere between deep and medium high, a sort of velvety tone that reminded her of melted chocolate; if, of course, a voice could be like such a thing.
It was his accent that made her desperately wish for a little motel room and his mouth near her ear. He stressed his vowels just a bit, enough not to be extremely annoying but just enough to make a world of difference. It made her want to melt into her seat and just drift off into a daydream. She had a new appreciation for the Welsh language and the accents that came with it. She didn’t know accent could be that attractive until he’d uttered his name: Ianto Hark.
She’d had trouble pronouncing his name.
“Ee-an-toe,” she said experimentally, trying to wrap her tongue around the odd pronunciation.
“Yan-toe,” he said with a soft smile and a tilt of his head that had Amelia thinking of a puppy.
From then on it was all business however, and with a final dash of her signature, Amelia had the deeds to her grandmother’s house and the last of her families money. The only thing she was missing was the cute Welshman’s number.
Jack had tried to flirt with her on the way out, deepening his innuendos for a last hurrah what that lilting voice came out from behind her, a hand making it’s way between Jack and Amelia.
“That’s harassment, Sir,” was said in jest but with a look in light, intense blue eyes that made Jack back away with a grumble.
Amelia smiled at Ianto and asked if someone was necessary to see her grandmother’s house. He’d caught her glance, smirked in reply, and said:
“Of course, Ms. Harper,” and kissed her hand in goodbye.
It wasn’t until she’d gotten to her car that she noticed the little piece of paper with his number, a date, and a time clenched within her fist.
It was Wednesday, six days later, before Ianto and Amelia were able to meet up. Far too long in Amelia’s opinion, anyway. He’ picked her up in an SUV, something she preferred to a sports car, and whisked her away to her grandmothers dilapidated old house. It was just as creepy as she remembered only more…overgrown. Ianto had looked around in disbelief before asking her immediately, in a sort of deadpan, whether or not she’d like to tear it down.
She’d laughed before taking a flashlight and heading in.
The place was covered in mirrors with dust and debris everywhere. The room reminded her of the time she’d played hide and seek and hid in the closet. Dark and dusty and dank. There was nothing of value anywhere she looked.
“Hey Amelia, come look about here!” came the call from above her head.
She dashed up the stairs to find Ianto crouching before something. Placing her hand upon his back, distantly noticing how her light pink nails stood out against his black suit, Amelia glanced around his shoulder.
Terror seized her mind, her breath coming in short gasps, and Ianto dutifully took her out into the hallway. She dimly recognized the terrifying little girl and her cherubic cheeks just as she dimly recognized the mirror hanging on the inside of the door. The open door.
Instinct screamed at her to close it—just close it! —but her mind was swimming and her eyes were flickering about her head and she couldn’t breathe! Voices were screaming inside her head—or maybe it was Ianto—and as the black spots obscured her vision she arched backwards towards the floor, eyes swinging widely to the room to see—
And the world went black.
With a shout, Amelia wrenched herself into a sitting position, her lungs burning, and her vision swimming. She looked up into Ianto’s eyes, those beautiful aqua eyes, noticing his concern.
“Are you alright Amy? That was some panic attack.”
“Fine,” she said. And she was fine…wasn’t she? No, not really, she shouldn’t have had an attack over something so trivial, so little, so…in the room? What! She whipped around, to see what her peripheral’s had caught in their gaze, only to meet the little cherubic girl.
“Yes,” he was still staring at her, assessing her.
“Look where I’m looking and tell me that it was there earlier, please.”
Amelia knew the moment he’d locked onto her—its—figure. His body showed no physical reaction but his eyes seemed to harden and widen at the same time. She vaguely noted within her fear-induced haze that the air of both horror and protection that seemed to surround him made him very enticing. Focus! Her mind screamed at her.
“No, it wasn’t Amelia, I’m sorry.”
“We need to get out of here. Quickly,” something her grandmother had said when she was twelve came back to her. Don’t look away, don’t turn your back.
“We need to back out of here, head to the library, there must be something my grandmother was hiding there. Plus, it’s the only room that we haven’t checked yet.”
Ianto grabbed onto her hand, placing her slightly behind him, while they backed out of the hallway and around the corner. They’d shared a glance before bolting to the library that was at the end of the hallway. Once again, Amelia noticed that there was a mirror tacked onto the door.
Slamming the door closed, they both caught their breath.
“What are we looking for?”
“Something to do with that creepy *ss statue. Maybe something to do with the mirrors all over the house. H*ll! Maybe even why she had to renovate the house in the first place, just something to explain the stalker statue!”
Ianto glanced at her for her tone, before setting himself to the task before him. They poured over everything they could find, working their way through the library before finding a gold mine. There was a box stashed underneath a rotting desk that contained various newspaper clippings and what looked like a leather-bound journal. The texture was rough beneath her fingers, reminding her just how old this little peace of information was.
The newspaper clippings all screamed the same thing.
“BABY SITTING GONE ARY!”
“TEENAGER TAKES HOUSE AND GIRL WITH HIM!”
The papers all talked about how the couple that had owned the house before her grandmother had lost a child due to a negligent baby sitter. No body was recovered and no motive was confirmed. The town just assumed that the boy had planned to kill the little girl. The thought of death brought her thoughts back around to her father and she fished within her pocket. Amelia pulled out her father’s pocket watch before rubbing the gold plated top with her thumb. It brought her a strange sense of comfort that she had a piece of her father with her.
Ianto’s eyes zoomed in on her watch. She stared as he pulled out his own.
They were identical.
And it warmed her heart. It brought a strange sense of camaraderie that as the clock was ticking down in this freaky house, she had someone who treasured something she did as well. Then they were back to researching. As Ianto raised his head with victory they froze. Little tiny footsteps were echoing down the hallway. A giggle reached their ears.
“Look Amelia, quick!”
And she looked. Amelia read the entry as quick as she could.
August 25th, 1965
It’s started again. The giggling. It’s always from that same room with that same statue. I can’t sleep anymore. I feel as if I do, the little statue will come. Those little feet will patter and I’ll freeze in place if only to fall prey to that tiny devil. With the giggles come pranks. My knife was jerked out of my hand last week and the giggle sounded behind me. It had found it’s way downstairs.
October 14th, 1965
It’s screaming now. It can’t get out. God bless all the mirrors within the house. It’s voice is deep, tortured. It sounds like a boy. But the statue is a girl. A little, giggling, and psychotic girl. I’m beginning to feel as if my mind made it up. Made up the statue that moved through peripherals and darkness alike. Made up the terror. Maybe I’m crazy, just like the neighbors say.
January 1st, 1966
It’s finally silent. Finally asleep. Finally I can rest soundly.
It was the last entry and Amelia couldn’t be happier! The mirrors disabled it, somehow, as if looking at itself was too hard to bare. Looking around she spotted one upon the wall before seizing it within her hands. Ianto helped her and grabbed every reflective service that she could right as the sound of shattering glass sounded from the hallway. The door was flung open just as Ianto turned around with his mirror. The girl—thing, Amelia corrected in her mind—was the stuff of nightmares. Its little hands were reaching out, grasping for anything it could find purchase on. The clothes looked even dirtier and more burned, more life-like. But its face, its face was what scared her.
She gripped Ianto’s arm tight as she stared at the face of a demon. The eyes were hard, intense, burning, just wishing to rip them apart. The face was twisted into a snarl, no sense of intelligence within its facial structure. It was feral and angry and waiting for them to slip up.
Probably to rip out our throats, thought Amelia.
They’d inched around the small figure before tearing out of the room, turning around and flashing the mirrors every couple of seconds. Behind they heard a snarl mixed with a giggle, a demented and twisted sound that left shivers trailing up their spines.
Ianto was yelling now, “Run, Amelia, run! Just keep running!” He’d gripped her hand and dragged her behind him, fingers clutching desperately at her own. The doors along the hallway were all shutting as they ran by, the creature behind them cutting off all chances of shelter. They raced down the stairs, taking two at a time, before disaster struck. Amelia had tripped, her hands flailing, only to push Ianto down as well. The creature was taking its time and as she stared into his blue, blue eyes, he arched his head forward and captured her lips in his own.
It was simple and chaste, a quick press of the lips in the face of danger, a need to reassure them that they were still alive, and then they were off again. The cherubic-devil-child had made it to the stairs and was looking down at them. Flashing the mirror one more time they darted to the front door while it was still dazed. Amelia lead the way this time and just as she reached the door and invisible force seemed to pull Ianto back. The force knocked her around, spinning, just in time to catch a glint of gold, a flash of gray, and a warm splatter of blood upon her face before the door slammed closed.
She’d screamed his name over and over. The screams were litany within her mind that she screamed to the air. Amelia’s throat was raw, broken, bleeding! —Or was that the blood drying on her face? She could hear him screaming too, and just as she got the strength to rush to the door she was blasted backwards. The air was on fire, her lungs were burning, her hands cracked and bleeding from scratching at the ground.
She could hear the fire department in the background, the sirens only adding to her distress because an outside force made this real, made it real, made Ianto real. And that means she’d lost him, lost him to the creature, the mirrors, the horror house of inheritance! Her legs gave out beneath her and her sobs fell on deaf ears. A glint of gold, reflecting the raging inferno before her, had her rolling to her side. There were two pocket watches. The pocket watches of her favorite, fallen men.
They were with her. Even as the world gave beneath her feet, the light blurred from before her, and her mind became numbed with pain, they were with her.
Maybe I’ll see them soon.