|BACK TO FANFIC LIBRARY | HOME
Past Abandoned by TalgoM Past Abandoned
|[page 4 of 4]
Derek stood off from the rest of the group a bit talking to one of the police officers swarming around the Welsh home. None of them failed to notice the way Tangye's light eyes continually searched the street for something that none of them would see. Nick kept close to her, sheltering her with his protective form, but it was obvious he was also using her to avoid Philip. Rachel pulled Philip away from where Nick was leaning on the car and Tangye was sitting on the hood.
"So you two had it out?" She asked, her voice even in what Nick always called her 'doctor tone' and Tangye referred to as 'doctor kindness.' Philip struggled to smile at her but it didn't work.
"He decided to. Didn' really leave me much of a chance to say anythin'." Philip glanced back to Nick where he was whispering to Tangye. Alex had joined Derek with the police and left the pair alone. He saw the light in Tangye's eyes, and the easy smile on her face. He realized that she was comfortable with Nick unlike with anyone else. In the presence of everyone else she kept guards up, but not with Nick. He made her feel safe somehow. "You think he'll ever find it in himself to forgive me?"
"Nick feels everything so intensely, there's no halfway with him. When he does forgive you all this will be over, none of the tension will be left. You just need to give him time." Rachel placed her hand gently on his arm.
"More time I give him, the worse this whole thing seems to be. I don' know Rachel, what'm I supposed to do about all this?" Philip wished she had the answer. A simple sentence he could say that would fix everything, but he knew with someone as complicated as Nick no such thing existed.
"He loves you Philip, if he didn't he would have dropped the whole thing a long time ago. You have to do what's best for you, not for Nick. If you think the church is that then that's where you should stay. You've been there when we need you." She was surprised to hear the words come out of her mouth. She couldn't deny that on more then one occasion she had found herself angry with him that he ever dared hurt Nick. But as she looked at him, so full of regret, she felt for the pain that Nick had caused him right back.
"So what was with the scene at the house?" Tangye whispered to Nick hating that she caused the irritation to appear on his face.
"Philip and I have our differences, best you don't get in the crossfire." He was clearly warning her.
"Okay, if that's all you'll tell me." She turned to look down the street a wicked glint in her beautiful eyes. "I'll get it out of you eventually."
Nick seemed about to argue but was cut off when Derek and Alex walked back up to them. Philip and Rachel rejoined the group and Derek told them what he learned from the police. "Mrs. Welsh was found this morning just on the edge of the street. The door to the house was open and she was in only her nightgown. There was no sign of a break in so there doesn't seem to be an obvious reason that she would flee from the house. They're saying right now it looks like a heart attack."
"Were there any marks on the body to indicate an attack?" Rachel asked softly not wanting to draw attention from the nearby police.
"No, nothing at all to make it look like an outside attack. There was one interesting thing though that the police can't make sense of. Not far from where she was found the word 'habi' was scrawled in dirt. Whatever she was trying to write she didn't get to finish it." Derek looked back over his shoulder in the direction of the police who were obviously a little annoyed that this group of strangers was taking part in their investigation.
"What do you think it means?" Nick asked.
"I'm not sure, it could be any number of words. It doesn't even have to be written by her. It could have been put there by the spirit as a warning of some sort. I really have no idea." Derek shook his head. "Unfortunately we don't have the time to figure it out. This spirit is very dangerous and it must be stopped. I want you all to spread out in the area that has experienced the disturbances. Call me the moment you see anything." Derek clearly delivered the warning to Tangye who just shifted her eyes away from him nervously. "If you see anything do not approach it, don't draw attention to yourself. Understood?"
"Got it." Nick laughed at the adamancy in Derek's voice. But it was the agreement from the youngest member of the group that he waited for. She patted her coat pocket where the phone was and nodded.
Reverend Mitchell had watched the commotion all morning from the window in his office. There were so many police officers out on the streets but now they were joined by an odd looking group of six people that he was sure were not police. Four of them had stayed gathered around the red mustang and black range rover while two spoke with the police. Now he watched as they all wandered off in their own directions. Two men in their late twenties, possibly early thirties, both in jeans and leather coats. One other man in his forties with wild gray hair and a serious face dressed in a leather jacket as well but wearing a tie and slacks. Then there were the three women. The oldest probably the one with the blonde hair wearing a short skirt and white blouse under her trench coat. There was a dark skinned woman who he could tell was beautiful even from the distance. She was taller then all but two of the men and wore an ankle length brown skirt and brown flannel jacket. Last there was what looked to be the youngest of the group. She came up to the shoulder of the younger man, her hair hung to her shoulders and in her eyes. She also wore jeans and a leather jacket. Just watching their mannerisms made him more certain they were not police.
"The woman paid, now I tell you it is your chance to help me." He jumped at the sound of a voice behind him. "Somehow Annie has been brought back, I must know how."
"I don't know who you are, and I can't help you." He pleaded.
"You have seen her, you must learn how it was done." The voice demanded not hearing the man's words. He knew this creature, whatever it was, had been responsible for Karin Welsh's death and he feared for his own life. But he did not have any idea what she expected out of him.
"I can't help you, I don't know who Annie is." He again tried to get through to her, to communicate that he could do nothing for her.
"You must learn how it " The woman stopped mid-sentence. "She comes here." He saw the woman appear before his very eyes. She wore a black and white robe that he recognized immediately. Her hair was curly, short and brown. Her face was well lined with her age and he saw a kindness on it that was countered by the anger in her voice. "She has returned to me."
Reverend Mitchell turned suddenly looking out the window behind him to see the youngest from the odd group he had been observing walking up the path to the church.
Nick didn't really know what Derek expected them to find. Unless the woman chose to be seen by them the only one who had any hope of finding her was Tangye. He hated that Derek had split them up, it still brought back agonizing memories for him, but with the new danger this spirit was presenting they had to do whatever they could. He hated being torn between two emotions like this. Knowing what little good he could do in finding the spirit but also needing to protect anyone who might be suddenly attacked. He glanced over his shoulder to the spot he had last seen one of his teammates but they were all out of view by now. He sighed and continued to wander between houses helplessly.
Philip tried to concentrate on the task at hand but these fights with Nick always bothered him more then he could ever say. He seemed to have earned the position as Nick's favorite target by making one choice that had been anything but easy. None of them probably expected just how long he had been struggling with the decision between the life of a priest and that of a Legacy member. In the end it had been his own belief that he could offer more to people by listening to them, being there for them, then by taking a more physical role against evil. Why did that have to mean that he let his friends down in the process, why could he never find an in between? He looked behind him to see Tangye walking up the front walk to the small church, her eyes directed upward at the steeple. Perhaps she could provide a middle ground, she seemed to be able to calm Nick with a word and she understood him, that much he gathered. He forced himself to concentrate on the task at hand moving on down the streets.
She stepped into the church with undue caution. So far she felt nothing, heard no whisper of minds that didn't belong but that old instinct in the pit of her stomach told her something was on the verge of crashing down upon her. Her parents had learned to hide themselves from her and appear out of nowhere, without warning. Those memories still sent cold fingers down her spine. Turning at the top of the stairs to be hit by the suffocating fear just seeing his face caused her. He would laugh so hard when he caught her like that, when he still managed to jump out of closets like a demented prankster and scare her. "Gone, they're gone." She whispered the mantra to herself over and over but it did no good.
She stepped into the isle of the church just beyond the doors to the foyer. The place was empty; pews on either side of her, an ornate wood alter at one end. The crucifix behind the pulpit was huge and seemed to mock her with its size. She thought how different it seemed from the church that she went to when she was young. That one had been modern and flashy. From the outside it looked more like a strip mall structure then a church except for the steeple and wrought iron cross above the door. Inside it had been cold but pristine. Everything had shone too much in her opinion, even the heavily polished altar. The Stations of the Cross had lined the walls as a reminder to the entire congregation but they too were too modern, more glittering art works then stories relating suffering done for mankind. She had shed most of her religion in that place, she just didn't like what it was becoming. They were trying to gather a flock with pretty things and showmanship rather then the lessons themselves. The place was always too perfect to her; not a place welcoming everyone but only pretty ones whom went well with the wood and colored glass.
Then there had been seven years held in the hands of monsters, ignored by a God she wanted so much to believe in. 'God doesn't give us more then we can handle.' She had said it to Philip but left out the rest of the thought, 'but sometimes he expects a bit much.' She didn't want to deny her faith but found it was harder to find within herself, unable to feel that she had not been abandoned. She had gone to church the day before more for Philip then out of her own desire and despite Philip's excellent sermon she had felt painfully little for the God he spoke of. One of love and loyalty, which she knew hadn't intentionally hurt her but she couldn't help but feel a little forgotten in his eyes.
'Gone, they're gone.' She whispered and pressed forward into the church.
Alex hated the feeling of helplessness that had been clinging to her the whole day. A woman was dead because they hadn't considered all the possibilities quickly enough. As soon as she had thought about it they had discovered the most likely candidate for Annie but they were too late to do anything with that knowledge to help Karin Welsh. They were years too late to help any of the others this spirit had tormented. She felt the silent fear that strangled this area, the fear of madness the inhabitants faced. They were all so sure in their own experiences that what they had been through was a sign of madness and they had kept quiet in the hopes of keeping their secret. The one woman who had risked the suspicious glances, the side ways stares of neighbors was now dead. Karin Welsh had risked her reputation by refusing to ignore the impossible and instead lost something much more precious. Alex wished she had seen the truth sooner as she looked for people to question.
She wanted some time off, some time for her life to slip back into a normal routine that had existed before the trip to Ireland that had changed everything. At the same time she could not deny the importance of the things that she did now. Unknown by most of society her associates in the Legacy fought off evil that threatened to engulf the world. Rachel did it for Kat; she knew that without hesitation. She wanted so much for her daughter and would never give up the fight to make the world a little better for her ten-year-old child who had already seen far too much. She wanted a break but feared what it could mean. What if when she decided to take one it was when they needed her most? She understood Philip's turmoil well. She had never grown particularly close to the priest but she did understand him. He wanted to help people in the same way that Rachel did, he was torn by what the best way to do it was. He feared letting anyone down and the price it could mean. She let her eyes wander the street finding nothing there, wishing silently for a few moments without such importance.
She rested her hand against the swollen wood of the front pews, her light eyes exploring every detail, every crevice of the cavernous room around her. The high ceilings and sloped roof would do well to amplify sound she realized as she heard her own whispered murmurings coming back to her. She noticed the door to one side of her, she assumed it lead to the offices added on to the side of the church. She didn't know why she was lingering here for so long after finding nothing, the place certainly offered her no comfort anymore, house of God or not. Bad things happened and didn't seem to pay much attention to the setting they chose. "Gone, they're "
"You've returned to me." The voice echoed it's way down to her from behind. She turned slowly and looked up at the woman standing above her on the small chorus balcony. She had been hit by the presence joining her just before her words had been cut off. She reached into her pocket without thinking about what she was doing, just remembering Derek's insistence that she call. As soon as the phone emerged from her pocket the woman held up one hand and sent it flying through the air, shattering it against the wall just under the crucifix. "How have you returned?"
Tangye tore her eyes away from the destroyed piece of equipment that offered her only support. Looking up at the woman, her eyes wide, mouth slightly agape. "I don't know who you think I am, but "
"I know who you are, I know your face." Tangye remembered the photo of the woman, a few years younger then her, which held such a similarity to her own countenance.
"I'm not Annaliese." She stepped back and the woman vanished. Tangye still felt her close by and forced herself to stop her retreat. Her eyes patrolled the room but found nothing, suddenly she felt a cold hand on her shoulder. She fought back hysteria from being so close to a spirit, forcing herself to turn to face it.
"Be calm child, she rejoices your return." The old man spoke gently though Tangye clearly saw the fear in his dark brown eyes.
"I'm not Annaliese." She whispered back.
Derek couldn't shake the feeling that she was going to wind up in trouble. He saw that look in her eyes that he knew so well. The defiance to authority that Nick so often displayed, that he saw in his own eyes frequently enough. She was a loose cannon, still feeling that she had to do everything on her own. He didn't know how to convince her the importance of the team, of counting on each other. It would be a lesson, he feared, that she would have to learn the hard way. Just to ease his worry he decided to dial the number of the phone he gave her. The phone rang and rang but no one answered it. "Dammit." He turned his phone off and realized now they would have to start looking for her.
"But " The old man struggled to understand what was happening. Tangye decided she didn't have time to deal with him though. She had no idea what the spirit had planned for either of them, and pushing past her own fear she needed to deal with the situation. She hushed him with an absent gesture and reached out with her mind as she had been taught to do. The woman was still close, veiled but not gone. She found the mind quickly, biting down on her bottom lip she focused on the thoughts she was receiving impressions of. The whispers of the mind she had to sort through.
"She's like a daughter to you. Adopted into your heart." She whispered to the woman with voice and thought. She saw the images in her own mind, heard the words spoken years ago and had to fight them off before they engulfed her. One at a time, focus on the important things. The problem was she wasn't sure what was important. "She was hurt when she left you, you never got to tell her things. What did you want to tell her?"
"Do not deny who you are, I know your face." The woman appeared grabbing hold of the man, her voice now desperate.
"I'm not her. I look like her, but I'm not " Tangye's words were forceful, hoping she could get through to the woman. She cursed herself for not making the man leave when she had the chance. Now he was in danger due to her lack of foresight.
Tangye stared at the woman intently and without thinking blurted out her next realization. "Habit, Dammit. She was writing habit." Tangye stared at the woman's attire, the black and white robe. How did she not realize that the woman was dressed as a nun the day before? She felt sick to think that someone who had dedicated their life to the pursuit of God's will would turn so drastically in death. That she would be willing to threaten a priest in a church. What the hell happened to someone after they died that they kept returning so wrong from the person they were? She knew it wasn't a general condition, so many of her visitors had been nothing but kind, but it happened enough to fill her with dread. She shook back her rambling thoughts and forced herself to focus.
"Stop, tell me how you have returned." She held the man's throat. Tangye swore in her own mind not sure what she should do. She had to protect the man but wasn't sure how to restrain the woman. She stared at her intensely forcing herself to see more then the surface.
The truth rushed over her like a wave and her head jerked around to the door she had noticed before. It led to offices and it seemed to be the only possible route to the steeple. With a disgusted resolve she remembered too well, she knew what she had to do.
"Nick there you are." Derek came running down the street toward the younger man. "I tried calling Tangye but she didn't answer. Do you have any idea which way she was headed?" He forced the words out between his gasps and didn't fail to notice the sudden fear in Nick's hazel eyes.
"I no." Nick yanked his phone out of his pocket and hit the speed dial for Alex.
"Alex More " The voice answered on the other end.
"Have you seen Tangye? Derek can't get her to answer her phone." Nick blurted out, cutting her greeting short. He knew it was a bad idea to separate, it always was. The scene in the field flashed in his mind, that horrible moment when they had found Julia's body. Why had he let Derek divide their forces again when he knew what the price could be?
"No. She was closest to Philip last time I saw her." Alex couldn't hope to hide her worry.
"Naturally." Nick swore a few times and hung the phone up. "Philip was probably the last one to see her, don't suppose you thought to give him a phone?" Derek wasn't at all surprised to see the anger in Nick's eyes. He had been facing the same memory.
He shook his head weakly. "Why don't you learn?" Nick ran off down the street with Derek close behind.
She vaulted herself over the pew that stood in her way and shoved the door open, thanking the luck that allowed it to be unlocked. She was sure the woman would follow her and abandon the man. Clearly she was now the focus of the spirit looking for answers she couldn't provide. She recalled the layout of the church looking at the four doors, trying to figure out which would be the passage to her goal. The steeple was to the front of the church so she took a left and ran to the last door on the hall. Yanking it open she was relieved to see stairs.
"Annie wait, please you must tell me how you returned." The voice called from behind her but she didn't pay it any heed. She just propelled herself up the stairs two at a time and found herself on the chorus balcony. She gave one quick glance to the altar below and saw the man lying on the floor. He was struggling, coughing for air. Alive, at least. Shoving a few chairs out of her way she went to the only other door on the balcony.
She fought her own fear, not knowing where the woman would appear next but knowing where she had to lead her. She ran up the spiral staircase, without thought, to the top of the steeple. She looked around the small open room. The walls were only up to her mid thigh and the top frame a few inches taller then she was. She leaned out over the ledge to see the small slanted roof no more then a few feet wide. The degree of the slope was severe, and the ground was now probably more then three stories below her but the images she had seen made her certain this was her best chance to reign the spirit in.
"Alright, now we can talk." She whispered to herself.
"Philip." Nick's cry cut through the silence of the neighborhood. Philip wanted to warn him to control himself, but when he saw the urgency of the speed both his friends were approaching him with the concern for decorum slipped away. "Where's Tangye?" Nick stopped only a few feet from him, his face covered in sweat but he wasn't at all out of breath.
"What's going on?" Philip tried to keep his voice calm then found Nick's hands gripping the front of his shirt, his face scowling at Philip's lack of an answer.
"Where is she?" His eyes were wild; this was when he was most dangerous. Philip had never really personally feared Nick but when he looked at him now he did.
"The church, she was going into the church." He struggled out the words. Nick released him without thanks or apology and went running back in the other direction, now Philip followed him on instinct alone.
"Annie what are you doing?" The voice asked pleading for an explanation as Tangye swung one leg over the short wall, planting her foot as solidly as she could on the roof.
'You are a fount of bad ideas.' She thought to herself as she glanced down to the earth that seemed so far away. 'But, you do what you must.' She moved the other foot onto the roof. One slip, one bad gust of wind and she was done for. Her face was hard as she looked at the spirit who joined her on the roof, seeming to struggle with the urge to grab her.
"I'm not Annie, last time I'm gonna say that." She warned, her voice lower then normal.
"But you are, I know your face better then my own." The spirit tried to reach out to her but when she did Tangye inadvertently took a step back making the woman fear that she would be the cause of her fall.
"Then look at it." Tangye's voice gained some volume.
"But " The woman struggled.
"No, listen to me. You've been hurting people. Last night you killed a woman in your search for Annie. For God's sake you're supposed to be an example to people. You gave up so much to be with God and this is how you serve him in your death? Tormenting people to get Annie back? You know where she is." Tangye demanded that she be heard remembering the image she had seen so clearly.
"I see her now." The woman said simply, studying the face in front of her. Tangye gritted her teeth in frustration. She dropped her hands away from the frame of the wall she had been holding on to.
"No. I'm not going to let you hurt anyone else. I've been ready for this a long time." She glanced down to the earth again, to remind the woman of how perilous the situation was.
"They deserved to pay for their crimes." The woman proclaimed desperately.
"What crimes? None of those people are the ones who hurt her. None of them took her from you. You've been carrying around your anger and taking it out on anyone, punishing them for the sins of another. And none of that was going to rescue Annie. I'm not going to let you do it anymore." Tangye stated forcefully.
"After what was done to you " The woman was still refusing to hear her.
"A lot has been done to me, things you can't imagine, but not what was done to her. It's over." Tangye wasn't sure who she was speaking of with the last two words, she hoped she meant both of herself and the spirit in front of her.
"No I can avenge you " The woman stated flatly.
"Dammit, look at me. I'm not the girl you loved. You told her you'd turn your back on God to be her mother and she said that you never should. Didn't she tell you that? She knew how much your religion meant to you and begged you not to turn from it. But you've done it anyway. You've betrayed everything you spent your life teaching, everything you taught her to be. You can't avenge her with blind justice, and she can't be brought back." Tangye proclaimed desperately. "She was robbed from you and that was a sin, but she was never yours really. You wanted her to be. But she didn't." Tangye wondered why she said the last bit, was it just to be mean, to get revenge in her own way? Despite the fact it was true she didn't really need to be cruel to get through to this woman.
"You lie, you wear her face to lie." The spirit screamed, growing agitated. Tangye was at least glad that she seemed to recognize that she wasn't Annie. At the same time she had to fear what the spirit might do to her if she got her too riled up. Would she throw her off the roof just to stop hearing things that she had been trying for years to deny? Was she that desperate to hold onto the past lies?
"It's my face, and it is different if you'd look. Now let's get this done with. I give you a choice. You can stay and continue this hopeless vengeance, or you can let the past go and leave. Find your God again maybe even be reunited with Annie if she can forgive you for what you used her name for. Only way you get to do the first though is if I jump." Tangye's blue gold eyes were cold and showed her resolve clearly as they fell on the woman.
"Oh my God." Alex gasped when she got to the church. She looked up and saw Tangye standing on the tiny roof above them and she also saw the spirit with her. Fear swept over her at the situation. At the risk her new friend was in and seemed to be in willingly. She stood so still, not struggling at all, and the spirit didn't lay a hand on her to keep her there.
"No." She heard Nick whisper beside her as he took in the sight. His eyes were full of torment to see in her in yet another situation when her life was in danger. He couldn't even think of losing her now when he just found her, when he still had so much to learn about her. The previous night they had sat up talking until dawn when they finally returned to the control room to work. Her smile and laugh had both been so genuine as she listened to the stories he related to her. She was so interested in just hearing him talk about anything at all and he couldn't let that go now. He had so many more things to tell her about, things he knew she would understand like so few people could. It had been too long since he had felt he could trust anyone as his instincts told him he could trust this young woman. His body started to run into the church before his mind even registered what he was doing, but he was stopped when Derek grabbed his arm.
"You can't." Derek said sadly. He hated to face the knowledge that right now they were all helpless to do anything for her but he had.
"I have to get her off there." Nick demanded, trying to shrug the precept's grip off of him. Derek wasn't going to be put off though and he fought Nick. Nick turned to him, his face trying to decide if it wanted to be angry or fearful. He saw Derek's own desire to run after her, to find some way to protect her. But Derek seemed to have better control over himself, he was being logical and that infuriated Nick. How could he keep a calm demeanor at such a time?
"No, you could anger the spirit. All it would take is one move and she could push Tangye off. Or you could distract Tangye. She knows what she's doing." Derek wanted to believe his last statement but he wasn't sure. He remembered Nick telling him how she had held the gun under her own chin without hesitation. How her voice had not wavered when she proclaimed she was prepared to die. He remembered Charles telling him that she grew tired, that no one was threatening her but she wasn't out of danger. He had to wonder if she hadn't decided to do this on her own, spirit or no.
They all stood at the foot of the church with frozen breath, wincing at every move she made.
"Do you understand? No one else is getting hurt so long as I have a say. I'll forfeit my say; I'll join Annie if you won't leave. Hell maybe she was right to do it if this is what it all comes down to. If someone supposedly so righteous can turn into you." She was serious and for the first time the spirit noticed something in this face that she had never seen in her the girl she had once tried to love so hard. She had never been able to forgive herself for allowing the child to be hurt, for not being able to do anything about it. More then that though she had never been able to accept that her Annie had given up.
It never should have surprised her though. Annie, her Annie, had given herself over to the pain entirely. The child that she loved so much had been too weak to cope with what had happened. There had been such hopelessness in those blue eyes the last time she had seen Annie, she had already slipped away by then and she would never have risen above her pain. She had tried to counter the hurt she felt by focusing anger on the woman who fought to love her for so long but nothing could erase what was so obvious within her at that point. She said so many hurtful things in those last weeks while she was entrenched in her pain but nothing worked to distract her from the memories she had to carry, not even her own guilt. She was lost long before the time the nun who had tried so hard to be a mother to her, had to face the pain Annie had endured. Before the understanding had dawned on the woman that the child she watched grow had given up so completely. Annie was dead months before her body died.
But this young woman was different. Her eyes held strength that had never been in her adopted child. This young woman still fought against the things that tortured her and made sure that she rose above them. She had the strength of conviction that the woman had always prayed Annie would have found someday within herself, but it had just never surfaced. This girl was never going to relinquish to anyone's will unless she agreed with it. She was a fighter and her eyes cried that out to anyone whoever looked at her. She wished she could have found a way to teach Annie to be that way, wondering what it was that taught this child to be one. She was prepared to follow Annie's example but only if it got something done for the greater good, she would never submit to it willingly. Her hand would have to be forced, it would only happen if in a fight. A fight she realized that she had given her.
She thought of the woman from the night before, screaming in such terror as the church bells that Annie had once so dearly loved, rung into the night. An innocent woman who's only sin was that she lived. A woman not so different from her own loved one. Trapped in a situation she couldn't fight, destroyed by powers she was hopeless to fend off. She had become that which she sought to punish. And this child was right; she had betrayed every bit of the woman she once was.
"So? Do I jump, or do you want to push me? Give me that little shove, that's all it would take. Would it make you feel better, stronger, if you were the one who destroyed me? That is what you want isn't it? It's what you did yesterday. She paid for something that happened before she even lived here. But you made her suffer. Don't you want me to make me feel that just because I dare to have a face like the one you loved? C'mon I'm offering it to you. Choice is yours." The woman said nothing, did nothing? Tangye had noticed them all gathered below her, wished she could explain to them that she didn't believe herself to be in any real danger now. She could also in the distance see the cliffs above the shoreline, she hoped the woman didn't fail to notice them looming there.
"You can't imagine what it was like." The woman tried to explain. She had to make this child understand what she had done for love, fearing she would never have the chance to show her Annie what she had done. At least then someone would know her reasons for giving up so much.
"Cry me a river, we all have our baggage. Trust me I think mine would make yours look like a carry on. You can't beat me in the bad hand deal, I took the pot." Tangye said angrily. Annoyed that this woman was trying to justify what she had done. Did she really believe that any words would work to bring forth the forgiveness she probably felt she deserved?
"But you have something. Something she never did." The woman pointed out.
"Right, I'm stubborn. Yea me. That trait has gotten people killed, but never me. Stubborn little me just goes on surviving despite my better judgement and the worlds in general. Maybe it's time for that step, maybe Annie had it right." Tangye glanced down. For the first time in too long it didn't even feel like an option, though, when she saw all the people gathered below her looking up with such worry. She had known them less then a week but already she felt their concern giving her a purpose back.
"But I owe her, I " The woman struggled to justify her actions.
"You want to know something? I don't care what you think you owe her. You let your anger twist you, you let that happen, don't blame anyone else. Definitely don't blame Annie. She may have said some terrible things near the end but answer me this, did you ever believe that she didn't love you?" The woman looked away not able to answer that question. "You didn't, I know that and so do you. She loved you, and she loved everything you taught her. She wanted to turn away from it but she couldn't. You did it though; you abandoned everything she loved in you. There's a kid out there who doesn't have a mom now because of you. And why did you do it? Why? For what a revenge kick on anyone who has the audacity to live when she doesn't?" She couldn't really believe that she was antagonizing the spirit but in some way it helped to make her feel better, for these moments she knew she was the powerful one.
"No, it happened here." She gestured to the neighborhood.
"Yeah it did. But one person did it, not the whole area. What the hell is wrong with you spirits? What does it to you? You especially. You were a woman of the church for God's sake. How do you let yourself be twisted? Did you even try to fight? Did you have a single moment when you thought 'hey, this isn't me?' Answer me." Tangye yelled at her, searching for an answer to the question she had been asking herself. The woman just turned her head sadly, looking out to the distant cliffs. "You know what? I'm tired of waiting on you, clearly you don't plan on going anywhere. I just wish you people could get it through your heads that you're dead. Your chance is over."
She moved her foot just a tiny bit but it was motive enough.
The woman grabbed her arm and pulled her back to the small wall. The woman said nothing, she didn't need to, Tangye heard the thoughts echoing in her mind clearly enough as the spirit vanished. After the quick message the woman let go of her hold on the physical world whispering the Act of Contrition, praying to earn back a bit of the peace that should have been hers in death. Tangye hoped it wasn't that simple though, after all she did the woman didn't deserve a quick fix. Not when she had caused so much suffering in the years after her death. She was a little disappointed to find that resentful side of herself so active, but didn't really know what else she could expect. The nun had made her own choices, she should have known better. She should have known that it was God's place to do the punishing, rather then become some twisted avenging angel in his steed. She damned herself, and in doing so probably lost the one she was trying to get back.
She finally let out the breath she had been holding for so long and slumped back onto the low wall. She dropped her head against her chest, shaking it slowly from side to side. "Yeah, an endless stream of bad ideas." She smiled a little self-satisfied expression as her heart rate slowed and she heard the words in her mind again.
'I was wrong. I let my child down by becoming something worthy of her fear. Now I let the past go, do the same.' She heard them rushing up the stairs behind her and tried to formulate an explanation, instead the only words that came out with their arrival were "gotta admire the view."
Derek had gotten an explanation out of Tangye in the car on the way back to the island. She told him that she had seen into the woman and found out that Annie, who the woman had wanted as her daughter, had been attacked in the neighborhood on the way home from work one day. Annie had evidently grown angry with the nun, claiming that everything she stood for was lies. That if only she had been taught better to defend herself, rather then be constantly trusting of people she could have prevented her attack. In the weeks after the attack it seemed that Annie turned away from the woman completely, blaming her as much as her attacker. Annie had not been able to cope with the event and weeks later had jumped off of the cliffs. The nun who had cared for her since childhood had been unable to accept her death, and her possible blame in it, so instead she reported Annie missing to the police. When the body had been found the nun had denied the fact it was her Annie so the case was left open.
Tangye had been certain the woman would never allow another to follow her daughter's example, she wouldn't have allowed Tangye to jump. Her logic made sense but he couldn't shake the fear he had seen in the eyes of his friends during those stressful moments when her life had been in such peril. He could not forget his own worry about her in those minutes. He remembered the echo of Charles' words; 'she's yours now.' Derek began to sense for the first time just what the spirit meant.
Now he went in search of her wanting to give himself some time to get to know her as all the others had. He was surprised to find her sitting on the small patch of beach near the docks. There was a controlled fire in front of her that she was watching closely. She had her legs folded underneath herself, her arms wrapped around herself, though, Derek didn't think she was either cold or warming herself by the small blaze. He approached her carefully, equally sure that she knew he was there.
"What are you doing down here?" He broke into the silence with the question.
"Burning my clothes. Didn't want to stink up the house." She answered softly but shot him a grin. He sat down beside her, feeling once again helpless in the face of her anguish.
"The ones you were wearing when you came here?" She nodded.
"I don't want any part of that place anymore. Those were the last things I had." She motioned to the fire. "I think it's the last step." She said with a nod.
"Last step to what?" He asked gently.
"Getting past it. Maybe it can always hurt but I don't have to constantly let it. I don't have to let it live so close to the surface. All memories have their proper place; I know where this one belongs. Anyway it's over now, why should I keep reliving it?" She slid one leg from under herself, pulling it close to her chest and wrapping an arm around it. "I just wish I hadn't had so many other memories shattered only to be left with those instead."
"Which memories do you miss?" He realized that she wanted to talk about this now, that with some prodding he could hear the whole story. She didn't need his advice; she found her own solution.
"Every happy memory with them. When they were alive I loved them so completely, without hesitation. I don't think I'll be able to forgive them for twisting all those memories. A part of me knows those times weren't just made so they could be destroyed, but I can't really convince myself of that. Knowing what once was sure made it hurt a hell of a lot more. Eventually the present just wiped out all of the past. The fact I was once happy with them just faded away to be replaced by the fact I was terrified of them. I had to do it, I think. It would have killed me to remember eventually. Only positive thing that I can find in all of that is that if I can forget all of the good times, I think with time, I'll be able to forget the bad." She sat back with a small smile and Derek realized he believed her. He was sure she would find a way to pull through all that was done. She made a fist with one hand, covering it with the other. She leaned her chin down onto her thumbs and bit down on the side of her finger. "And they did give me back some other memories."
"Such as?" He was genuinely curious to hear her stories. Rachel had told him how she seemed so happy when she talked about the spirits of her past and he anticipated seeing her like that. Learning about the times she held onto more then any other, the moments that could never be robbed of her.
"I always remembered my language lessons, the things that the ones who were my tutors taught me. That was my education, or I thought so. I forgot that there had been ones that had come who showed me other things, more subtle lessons that I would need. They taught me how to survive, endure." Her voice was little more then a whisper and her eyes stayed locked on the dancing flames but Derek wondered where her mind really was. Recalling those lessons? The days when ghosts had been good intentioned teachers and friends, before a child was taught that all things had two faces?
"How so?" He pushed carefully, not wanting to ask more from her then she was prepared to give him. Yet there seemed to be something within her that wouldn't give in any more.
"Some took it upon themselves to teach me to use my talents. I learned fairly early that I could hear thoughts, read minds on a basic level. I also knew I could send my own thoughts into the minds of the dead but I never really thought I could do it with the living. Over the years a few came who made sure I learned to do that. Without them I never would have been able to reach out to you. Though from what you said I could use a little work." He smiled knowing what she meant. She had succeeded in sending the message but it had been buried into his subconscious. He was probably lucky he even 'heard' it whispering to him from there. "I wasn't exactly the best student. One of my teachers in high school probably said it best, 'obstinate, easily distracted, unmanageable.' That was for a college recommendation, needless to say I didn't use it. I did try to learn everything they wanted me to but there just always seemed to be something I would rather be doing." She said with a small laugh at her own personal failing.
"But clearly you did learn a great deal. Philip is very impressed." He reminded her not liking to see her berate herself in such a way. From all indications she was an extremely intelligent young woman with a storehouse of knowledge to rival anyone's. She should never doubt any of that.
"You have enough drill instructors and eventually something sinks in. They just wouldn't give up and they learned to reward me for my work. Like anyone I had good teachers and bad. Once I realized I could frustrate one of them that became my goal rather then learning. The good ones didn't let annoyance show, they won by having patience which left me nothing else to do but learn. The ones who taught me languages had a much harder time, just on principle. I didn't understand why I had to learn those things. The ones teaching me about my own natural talents could at least reason with me that it was necessary to understand what I could do. I do still need work, though." She finished again shooting herself down.
"I'd be more then happy to help you with that." He put his hand on her shoulder. She shifted again, this time her pinky finger finding it's way into her mouth, elbow on her knee.
"Thank you. I feel like I can't say that enough to you Derek. In a matter of days you've done more for me then anyone else since I was teenager. You heard me. I know I meant to send it out as a warning but probably mixed in there was I begging for help. For someone to please save me. You heard that despite the warning." The fire danced across her features and Derek just studied her face as it turned back to the fire. A fire meant to burn away her past and with it the pain attached to it. All he could hope was that the effort succeeded. The wind carried away the ashes and he prayed it managed to scoop up in it some of the weight she was forced to carry through her life. He knew there were no words that could make it any easier, that could magically fix all of it, but he couldn't help but wish he had some.
"Tangye that doesn't explain one thing. How did that lesson teach you to survive?" He asked softly, his Dutch accent making his voice so kind to her ears.
"That didn't, it just helped me find an escape. The most important lesson I was ever taught, the one I can't believe I had forgotten for so long, was that I'm a fighter. I endure by instinct. One of them made sure I had that knowledge engrained into me. He taught me that I was the type of person that can only be really beaten if I stand by and allow it." She took a deep breath and smiled to herself at some private memory. "Sounds pretty good to me but things do get past the defenses. I'm only human and God knows I can be hurt. But there is a world of difference between hurt and being down for the count. I can at least always make sure that I never just let something beat me again, not the way I let them do it. Like I told Alex, never, never silently go into the night." She nodded her own conviction.
"Sound like your friend did a good job." Derek couldn't miss the pride in his own voice.
"And I'd forgotten for a long time." She turned her blue gold eyes onto him, biting down on her bottom lip. "I'll tell you about him someday. He was full of good lessons and useful little mantras. Of them all I think he would be most proud of me now because I proved that his faith in his 'little spitfire' wasn't misdirected." She let out a heavy sigh. She picked up a stick and poked at the dying fire. "Symbolic gesture at most."
"Does it help?" He asked back knowing that for the moment she was done talking about the past.
"Oddly yeah. Let's me know somehow that it's time to take the next step forward, just wish I knew what it was supposed to be." He knew it was still too early to offer her membership to the Legacy, he didn't want her to take it just because it was something to do. He wanted her to find it on her own, he was sure given time she would ask him about it. He wished he had something to offer to help her feel a little more secure in the future though. "Listen Derek, I could keep thanking you and probably never express how much I mean it, so how about I just say it one more time and you trust me when I say I couldn't mean anything more?" He nodded his agreement to the idea, despite the fact he didn't really feel he needed to hear her say it at all. "Thank you, thank you so much for hearing me, for listening. For taking all those risks despite my warning. Thanks." Her smile was suddenly so warm and he recognized once again that this young woman had succeeded in capturing his heart.
"I suppose I wasn't prepared to let you go without a fight." He said despite the fact the comment sounded strange even to his own ears.
"You didn't even know me." She reminded him with a chuckle.
"No I didn't, but with time Tangye I know you have a long road ahead of you and I want to help you travel that road. I'm afraid this isn't the last time you'll be hurt, and someday your past may be used to hurt you, but you need to know you aren't alone now. You are welcome to stay here." And he meant it; there was no way any of them could turn away from her now.
She looked over the shoulder at the path leading up to the house. "I appreciate it. But Derek this place is your Legacy, not mine." She said with regret.
He was suddenly relieved, realizing he had at least something to help her. To ease her troubled soul a tiny bit. "Don't be so certain of that." He pulled the picture out of his pocket. He hadn't been sure that he was going to show it to her, that it was time. Knowing how lost she felt though, how disconnected and out of place he knew it was important to give her something to hold onto. An anchor of some sort. He handed the old photo over to her.
It was a picture of four men. Three of them were in probably in their twenties, one man much later in life. Derek knew in fact that he was near the end. The photo was brown with age but the oldest man had a clear shock of gray hair. "What's this?" Tangye asked curious why he would show it to her.
"That's my father." He pointed to the familiar face on the far right and Tangye immediately saw the similarity between father and son. Winston's face seemed a bit rougher, possibly harsher then Derek's but he was still a handsome man. "He had only been in the Legacy a short while when that photo was taken. This is Sir Edmund Trumaine, one of the previous precepts of the London house."
"The big man." Tangye said lightly. She looked at the face, it was long and thin, his eyes seeming very serious to her from the picture though he looked at ease next to Winston.
Derek nodded; she understood the hierarchy well already. He knew that was Nick's doing and had dropped the concern he'd initially felt that she had been told so much about the Legacy. Tangye had a right to know all about the Legacy, would have if not for her grandfather.
"The other two look familiar but I can't place it. They look like they're related." She studied the kind face of the older man, and the cold one of the younger. There was a similarity to their physical features, the form of the jaw and eyes, the slope of the nose but they couldn't appear more different. The younger man seemed distant even in the proximity of the older man who seemed to exude a sense of warmth to those around him with his smile.
"They're father and son. And they should seem familiar. The picture was taken the day the father left the Legacy." Derek said not able to control his own grin at her intuition. She glanced at him for a moment confused why they should be familiar to her just because he had once been in the Legacy, then looked back down at the photo in her hands, tilting it to the fire for a closer look.
"Junior doesn't look pleased." Her mind dodged the nagging truth.
"He wasn't. Reports are he hated his father's involvement in the Legacy. Hoping to repair his relationship with his son he left the Legacy. It never worked, in fact he died six months later." He pointed to the older man. "Charles, and his son Eric."
She was about to ask something else when it hit her. She paused for a moment then turned to Derek. "When was this taken?"
"1953." He knew she had caught on to the truth, he saw her curiosity as to why he would show her the picture replaced by her confusion over the implications.
"My grandfather's name was Eric." She whispered, shocked.
"And his father's name was Charles." Derek answered calmly.
"You mean my great-grandfather was a member of the Legacy, of this house before he died?" The truth crashed down on her. She looked back at the picture of the two men she had never known. Charles had died twenty years before she had been born, Eric four. She was again struck by the coldness she saw in Eric's eyes, the anger there that they couldn't hide. She shivered remembering vividly eyes in her own life that were so much like that. How had she missed the resemblance even for a moment?
Derek wondered if he should tell her about his dreams in which her long dead relative spoke to him. The cryptic warnings he gave, or the love he professed for her. He decided with trepidation to hold off on informing her of that. She could only hope to deal with so much at a time and he already hoped he wasn't pushing too hard. How would she react to find out his spirit claimed that he watched over her so diligently? That he had wanted so desperately to help her but had been kept from doing so for so long? He wasn't sure if it would hurt or help to find out that her great-grandfather had somehow broken free of his binds and made Janet Albertson write the letter to the Legacy. That his actions had been what so successfully set in motion her escape. He could see it easily disturbing her to find out yet another spirit stood in the shadows of her life.
"Yes. I have Nick and Alex gathering reports on his activities now if you'd like to see them." She nodded in shock still at what she was learning. "Everything we've learned so far indicates that he was very well regarded, respected by his colleagues and admired throughout the Legacy. You should be proud to carry his name."
"I always have been." She just couldn't ignore the kindness she saw on the face in the picture. It was his name; she had always known that, more his then anyone else's. He had been the one to change it back from Porter as a young man. Just looking at an image of him she could see his inherent goodness and it made the name a thing of pride knowing it was his. She immediately regretted that she knew so little of this man.
"Tangye I wanted you to know this so you don't doubt your place here. Your grandfather cut all ties with the Legacy and never told his son about his father's work. That is why you knew nothing about it." They heard the first clap of thunder in the distance.
"My father always said he was an angry man. Like father, like son." He saw the sadness return and knew he had a way to control it.
"Not always true. I read my father's journal earlier and in his own words Charles was a man who represented everything that the Legacy stood for. He was kind, caring, deeply concerned about the spirits that they had to fight. Not to mention the fact that Charles threw away everything he believed in for his son. He was a good man." Derek responded to her sudden pain quickly and was surprised to see it helped.
"I feel like I know that. My father never really talked about him, guess that was grandpa's influence." The spite in her voice was just below the surface. Derek realized he had given her yet another relative to resent, which had not been his intent. Hopefully the fact she found one who was so kind and generally good would distract her from that. She stood up looking out to the storm brewing on the horizon. "We should get inside."
"Yes, I suppose." He followed her up the stairs from the docks and into the garden before speaking again. "Tangye, the point is you do belong with the Legacy, when the time comes." She didn't fail to notice that clause but understood Derek's hesitancy, and admitted to herself that she had her own. "So it is your legacy to be here, to re-ignite your families ties to it. Both to the place and the Legacy itself. Even without this fact I believed you belonged here but this helps to reinforce the idea." She smiled at the sincerity in his normally calm voice. For a man that often times seemed removed she was beginning to see also the depth of his emotions that he fought to hide. She wondered why he felt that he had to do that? Who did he think he was protecting by staying at arm's length?
She remembered her own years of hiding, trying to keep everyone far enough away from herself so that they wouldn't wonder about the differences that she felt were so obvious. She had already been told about Derek's sight, his ability to see things that others could not, images of the past and future. Tangye realized that could easily be what did it. He had probably grown up with the same fears that she had, feeling that no one would ever understand her, always afraid that the smallest difference would be held against her. So she too had learned to hide. Then she thought about all those visitors from her youth that had come to so clearly state one message. 'Different doesn't mean bad, it makes you special little one.' Dorothy had been the first to try and communicate that to her and others had followed with the same sentiment. She wondered why it had never been understood until now, when she saw the same apprehension to get close in the man before her.
'Well,' she thought, 'maybe it's your chance to pass that bit of knowledge on. Maybe Tangye Mauveen you can do for Derek what they did for you.' She knew it wouldn't be easy to let go of the feeling that she owed them so much she would never be able to repay it but now at least she saw something that she could give back. Tangye's eyes turned to look up at Derek's handsome age worn face and felt a new confidence for the future. He was letting her into both his life and home and she would show him how much both of those offerings meant to her. She could make a place for herself here and the living could replace the roles played by the dead for so long in her life.
"Certainly feels right. When I first came here I felt like I was coming home, now I at least have something of an explanation for that." She gave a small laugh. "Yet again I'm thanking you Derek. You gave me back my family, not the one I knew but I'd like to get to know this one and the man who started it for me." Her soft voice spoke with pure honesty. She wrapped her arms around him and hugged tightly. Derek was surprised that he accepted the gesture so willingly and even more when he heard the echo of words in his head. 'She is yours now.'
How it must have broken his heart to give her away.
She stepped into her room and looked around. It still didn't have a single personal touch to it but now she was sure that would change. This wasn't just a place she was staying; this was the place she would stay. For the first time in a long time she felt comfortable, safe and at ease. She looked back down at the picture she held and smiled. She hadn't told Derek but she had recognized more then he knew from the photo. She knew that kindness, if not the face. She had felt that presence around her since she was a little girl, the spirit that the eyes in the picture spoke of so clearly. She had always claimed to have a guardian angel watching over her and she had always believed in it completely. There had constantly been someone watching over her from just out of view, it was a feeling that lingered in her for so long she had forgotten what it was like to not have it there.
Even at the worst times she had felt it there. Helpless and struggling, but watching all the same. Now she had a source for that feeling. "Never as alone as I thought." She spoke to the empty room. "I guess I can't see you for some reason but I know you're there now. It wasn't just something I convinced myself of, you really were always there." She folded the picture, hoping Derek didn't mind. She folded back the image of Eric to the left of Charles, and Winston and Edmund on his right. Crossing to her dresser she slid the picture in between the glass of the mirror and the wood of its frame.
She turned and looked the room over. It was so warm and comfortable; Nick had told her it had always been one of Derek's favorites in the house. The color scheme was dark, with cheery wood furniture and burgundy, gold, green and dark blue curtains and bedspread. The chairs and couch were gold background with a burgundy and green pattern. She had fallen in love with the room the moment she had seen it. The floor was now littered with the bags from her shopping trip and the bed was buried under the clothes, reminding her for the first time that she had never gotten to sleep the night before. She decided not to bother sorting through the clothes now, opting instead for sleep. She picked up the discarded satin plum pajamas and went to the connected bathroom.
Dominick had already laid out fresh towels for her and she was wondered if he had been annoyed to see the mess that she had left in the room. She promised herself to have it presentable early tomorrow and stepped into the shower. Fifteen minutes later she came out of the bathroom and immediately noticed the brown leather book on the end table that had not been there before. She picked it up and traced her fingers over the embossed ornate 'L' on the front that she recognized as the Legacy symbol from Derek's ring. She looked over her shoulder, knowing she was alone, with a pleased smile. She wasn't officially a member but Derek could not have come up with a more clear way of making his opinion known.
She settled down onto the bed, kicking the pile of clothes to the floor. She flipped open the book and saw the words in Philip's neat calligraphy. 'The Journal of Tangye Mauveen Gaarlihn.' There was even a pen left in the crease of the cover for her. She couldn't keep the smile off her face. So Derek wasn't alone in his efforts to make her know she belonged. Nick had made his opinion on the issue more then clear, as well as other thoughts he was having. She remembered fondly the hours they had spent talking the night before, it had been so long since she had felt that comfortable, and she wasn't sure she had ever felt as drawn to anyone before. She had loved Brian dearly but she had always questioned if that was due to her having known him for so long or something more. With Nick that question didn't exist. She was drawn to him because of him, because of the kindness and understanding she saw in him. Because of his humor, his bravado, all of it captivated her. But there was time enough for that. She pulled the top off the pen.
'I'm not officially a member of the Legacy yet but I'm sure I will be. Nothing could feel more right then being here. I always wanted to do something that I could feel proud of at the end of every day and nothing could do that more then knowing I was helping to fight evil, to bring troubled souls to rest. I helped do that today and in a way it made up for what I had to do to the previous spirits in my life, deserved or not. I understood the turmoil the woman was going through. You want to hold on so badly to the past memories of joy even when they only serve as a reminder of the pain. But anger can be so strong; a need for vengeance can rob you of so much. You can get trapped by it. You have to learn to leave it in the past though, press forward, and create new memories. I was shown that today from a good vantage.'
The End of "Past Abandoned"