Cast Roles Edit
- Tomi "Tomboy" Ronnie (Kate Elliott) - The second oldest sibling. Always suspicious of adults with a bit of a rage problem from past events in her life. Cares very deeply for her younger sister and sometimes butts heads with her brother because she wants to be in control. Very brave in the face of danger.
- Cain Ronnie (Mike Ginn) - The older Brother. A senior in college. Had to grow up fast after his father suicide to become the man of the family and look after his younger sisters.
- Dr. Thandie Merit Bains-Ronnie (Markeia McCarty) - Step-mother of the Ronnie family. A radiation oncologist who cared deeply for her patients leading her to meet and fall in love with Wallace Ronnie and his three kids. Coming from a strong family she tried her best to be a good mother and make the perfect family.
- Grace Ronnie (Shelby "Shubble" Grace) - The little sister. Puts on a brave face but is stubborn. Always did well in school but could do better. Lashed out against her family to be treated as an adult and not a little kid.
Chapter Summaries Edit
The Ronnie house was built in 1975 by Wallace Ronnie Sr. Not long after it was built it was abandoned. In 2018, Dr. Wallace Ronnie Jr., widowed and with a newborn lived in the house for a year before abandoning it as well. In 2033, Dr. Wallace Ronnie Jr. returned and built a guest house at the pond behind the house over the course of five years. In August 2038 he took his own life. He was survived by his children, Cain Robbie (born from his first wife who died in childbirth.) Tomi "Tomboy" Ronnie, and Grace Ronnie, (born from his second wife who died of cancer) and his third wife of five years, Dr. Thandie Merit Bains-Ronnie. Feeling a need for a change and finding out about the house, Thandie decided to take Tomboy and Grace with her to the Ronnie house, and convinced Cain to take time off from university to help with the move.
When the Ronnie family move in they find out that someone has been living in the guest house. As they get settled they meet Mallory and his daughter Gemma Baker. Thandie learns about the living arrangement and deal Wallace had with Mallory while Tomboy cruelly tells Gemma "Dr Wally isn't coming back." As they continued getting settled, they meet Briar, who eventually gives a tour of the grounds. After Briar wanders off, the Ronnies go back inside and start going through things.
Chapter 1 Edit
On the road to the House, we hear on the radio that turmoil between the Pacific Shelf and United Texas over water trade tariffs continues. New Eastern Coastal president Acevedo offered a bargain deal in conjunction with Mexico to present to the North American Territories at a peace summit. The Pollution Index is at an all time high due to a nasty cold front pulling United Texas state capital Houston's refinery clouds into the eastern coastal delta. No word on the advancement of the Clean Air Act between the Territories, with Acevedo promising reduction in greenhouse gasses that match those of the Alaskan Domain, if and only if those measures are shared by his geographical neighbors.
Thandie shuts off the radio and strikes up a conversation with her children. Grace clearly does not want to be moving out of the city, Tomi doesn't think the Ronnie name is something to take pride in, and Cain tries to play peacemaker between the girls and their step-mother. Cain asks about the plan for the house, the girls want to sell it and move to a city, Thandie has already put up their old house for sale and reminds the girls that they won't have to live there that long with moving away to college a possibility. Thandie also knows that just finding a house after the Eastern Expansion is near impossible, outside of renting an apartment in the city, no one can buy new land, it is only passed down. Thandie reassures her step kids that Wallace knew she would take care of his family.
A long gravel road leads them to their new home, the house isn't visible through the trees until they are almost upon it. A moving company employee meets them outside with bad news, the movers were unable to unpack any of their belongings because the crew wouldn't spend any more time out here, "bad vibes" they said. The man tells them that their 'friend' helped him get everything unloaded from the truck, someone who has lived in the guesthouse for years. The mover says he well send them an amended, heavily discounted, bill when he gets into an area with cell reception and tells them he could set up a service tower for them here in a couple days.
The House is the oldest that the Ronnies have ever seen standing without modern updates, the lawn is well kept, the trees are trimmed, there are no chips in the white paint. It's clear that someone has been taking care of the place. Around the side of the house runs a small, five year old girl, who grabs onto Tomi's leg. She introduces herself as Gemma and her father Mallory comes jogging after her.
Thandie and Mallory have a conversation, she tells Mallory that Wallace has passed away and he informs her that one weekend a month Wallace would come to Milton and check on the house and see him and Gemma. Mallory tells Thandie about groundskeeper Briar, and that Mallory and Wallace have a history, that Wallace helped him and Gemma when they needed it the most. Meanwhile, Tomi and the kids have told Gemma that Wallace won't be coming back, but that she can hang out with them.
Stepping inside, the family discovers an empty, dusty house, with all their boxes and things stacked in a hallway. Walking to the back of the house, they can see out across the pond to the guest house, where Mallory is playing with Gemma. The two girls head upstairs, hearing creaks and groans that echo through the house with every step. They claim their bedrooms and Cain brings up one of Thandie's boxes to put into the master bedroom.
Cain notices that every electrical outlet in the house has a small ring of black soot around it. Thandie cleans around the kitchen and wipes up some black soot. It appears the filters in the air filtration system need changing. There is some shattered glass on the floor of the laundry room, the window has been broken in.
A loud thump in the living room brings them all running into the living room to see an old, frail man on the floor. Thandie assumes this is Briar, the groundskeeper, they notice he is blind as Cain helps him up from the floor. Tomi bluntly tells him that Wallace killed himself and they live here now, then tries to fire him. He rambles about his duties; mowing, cleaning, plumbing. He mentions the laundry room window is broken at least once a week. He says that Dr. Ronnie payed him a thousand dollars a month in cash. "These old houses ain't like your fancy new shit. They got tricks, little things you gotta know. You can't read about it anymore...you won't find anyone else that knows how to do the things I know how to do," he tells Thandie. None of the house's systems are automated, as is the standard in 2033.
Briar takes them into the back yard to show them a patch of dead grass, as they look towards where the blind man is moving, they see that a large swathe of the grass is charcoal black. The grass hasn't been burned at all but when Tomi touches it, it crumbles in between her fingers. The darkened grass spreads out in a circle from under the back terrace and almost forms a path that leads into the pond. Briar says it's been this way since he started working here.
Walking out to the pond, Tomi and Cain see that the water is brown from the red of the local clay. Tomi pretends she's about to push Cain in, but she sees a dark shape move within the pond. Briar says it's a snake or a turtle, maybe a gator. Dark clouds appear on the horizon and Briar warns of acid rain from the Houston pollution cloud.
The family goes inside and gets back to their unpacking. Grace, exploring, finds an attic door in the upstairs hall. Grace, Thandie and Tomi head up into the attic to find chests and cabinets under old sheets. Tomi explores the first chest of drawers she comes across, the dust kicked up from the old sheet prompts Thandie to go downstairs to get the family's dust masks, another necessity in 2033. Opening the first drawer, Tomi finds some old family photo albums. In the second drawer, under some old clothes, she finds some lockboxes. The third and final drawer is filled with knives, kitchen and butcher knives mostly.
Thandie returns with the masks and Grace takes some of the photo albums. She sees her dad in front of this house, smiling and holding a baby boy. Cain realizes that this is the house his father used to talk about the two of them living in together. The next photo is a picture of Wallace with a group of nine other people, his arm around Cain's mother (Ashley Jewel). Grace notices that one of the people in the photo looks a lot like Mallory.
Thandie opens up one of the one of the boxes from under the clothes in the second drawer. Within the unlocked box are CDs, some are labeled, some not. One of the labeled ones reads Do Not Watch. A pair of creaks downstairs send Cain to investigate. As he descends the ladder from the attic, the light from the windows is blotted out, plunging the house into darkness, in the distance thunder cracks. The family gathers together and in the light from Tomi's phone, creeps down the stairs, the light switches do not work as they have not yet flipped the main breaker to the on position. In a flash of lightning they see a figure in front of the fusebox, the house lights come on as Mallory flips the breaker.
Due to the acid rain, Thandie invites Mallory and Gemma to stay for dinner. They planned to order pizza, but Mallory reminds them of the lack of cell service here and tells them that the land lines in the area were removed years ago as they weren't worth the upkeep. Mallory tells them he will cook them all something and he goes out to the guesthouse for food and cooking supplies. Gemma jumps down from Tomi's arms, shouts that she want's to play hide and seek, then runs off into the house. The girls count and then give chase.
Cain helps Mallory with food prep and he tells Cain about Ashley, his mother, she was the CEO of a small gas company. He tells Cain that the day of his mother's death was a hard day for everyone, she was well- respected in the community. He talks to Thandie about how happy he is that they are here, Gemma is going to love having people around, and they talk about Wallace's wives, Ashley and Alyssa.
Tomi and Grace hunt around for Gemma upstairs, they hear footsteps and giggling coming from Grace's room. They quietly approach the wardrobe in Grace's room and Grace bravely reaches out to open the double doors, no one is there. However, Tomi notices that the wall behind the wardrobe is removable, they push the wardrobe out of the way and reveal a dark hole that goes down between floors, a foul smell wafts from within. Tomi drops a quarter down the hole and hears nothing. The adults come up st Tomi's call, Mallory says it's an access panel for the house's wiring and that a raccoon or something probably died in there.
A pot crashes downstairs and they all run down. The pot of potatoes that was on the stove is now on the floor and the flame on the stove burns high. Cain shuts off the stove and Thandie and Mallory tape some cardboard over the laundry room window to stop any drafts.
Tomi and Grace continue the search for Gemma but the upstairs lights go out, in the darkness the door to the main bedroom starts to expand, like wood absorbing water. As Tomi reaches for it, the door begins to open on its own. Playing her phone's light across the walls reveals small, red handprints. And then a can of red paint. And then Gemma, standing in the corner, back to the doorway. Tomi reaches out for her shoulder, fingers barely brushing it, and sparks jump to her hand. The lights come back on and Gemma is gone, the handprints are gone, and Gemma is in the doorway crying. "I don't wanna play anymore, something bit me!" Tomi goes to comfort Gemma, and she allows it, but shies away from Grace.
Back downstairs with the adults, Gemma says that Grace is the one who bit her. Mallory stares at Grace, then reaches out to her bottom lip. His thumb comes away bloody. Mallory takes Gemma back to the guesthouse and the girls tell their mother and brother about their experience upstairs. Thandie goes to the bottom of the stairs and only she hears crying from upstairs, "Waaaa! She bit me!" The lights upstairs flicker as Thandie moves into the hall upstairs and she calls for Cain to check the breakers. He flips the upstairs breaker and nothing happens.
With each step Thandie takes, the lights flicker. There is no paint in the master bedroom, no handprints on the wall. Thandie turns to leave the bedroom and shut the door behind her, but the door snags on something, then begins to move back the other way. Thandie checks the hinges and sees a flash of movement in the room, She stumbles back into the hall as the door slams shut. The door won't budge and she hears a growl from inside the room, she puts her shoulder to the door and heaves. It opens about two inches and there is a loud growl as the door is flung closed so powerfully that she is thrown down the hallway, tumbling down the stairs. She is knocked unconscious as the back of her head slams onto the ground. Cain puts some towels against the wound and they tie them there tightly.
Placing a garbage bag over her head to protect the wound from the rain, they run out to the Prius. They lose all hope when the car won't start.
- Discovery: Cain Ronnie has an old pocket watch that was given to him by his grandfather, who got it from his grandfather before him. While it no longer tells time, is very important to Cain. Inside the cover of the watch is a picture of a Great Dane.
- Discovery: Grace finds a lovely wooden music box. It appears old and weathered but well made. Opening it reveals the initials JR burned into the inside of the lid. The song that plays is slow, almost like a lullaby, but it always jams on the last two notes. (Zac adds that she found it in one of her boxes but doesn't remember packing it, or anyone else owning it)
- Discovery: Someone finds a knife. (Zac chooses Thandie) The rough edged blade made of flint, the handle of bone which is wrapped in some sort of animal hide. Are there symbols that have been worked into the blade? It's hard to tell.
- Feeling: Kate (Tomi) finds her mind repeatedly flashing back to the knives in the drawer, almost as if it's being drawn back over and over again.
- Feeling: Thandie is becoming increasingly more angry when dealing with Tomi. Instead of snapping at her, she feels letting Cain handle her is a better idea, creating a bigger rift between the two.
- Discovery: Tomi finds an old drawing in her closet, it is in rough crayon, of two adults and a child in front of this house, the adults are scribbled over in red crayon. A window has been scribbled over in black. At the bottom, a name crudely written, Cain.
- Discovery: Grace finds a doll, its clothes singed, but the plastic is unharmed. One of its eyes is missing and its body is covered in brown streaks. Its head is facing towards its back.
Chapter 2 Edit
The family is asleep, all on the same mattress in the master bedroom. Grace wakes up and looks out the window to see Mallory drinking coffee outside. The rest wake up, Thandie has a massive headache, Cain goes to start breakfast. Briar is in the kitchen getting pots and pans ready to cook breakfast. Cain asks Briar about Mallory and Gemma, but all he knows is that Mallory showed up five years ago, the boss built him a guest house, and he helps him fix the laundry room window.
Cains asks about his father, Wallace. Briar jokes that he was into human sacrifice, then says he just came up to the house and seemed to sit around waiting for something. “Do you think, whatever he was looking for, he found it? And that's why he killed himself?” Briar posits.
Cain calls for the girls to come to breakfast and Briar tells him to tell Grace to put down her doll before she comes down. Cain's never seen her with a doll. Briar blocks the stairway at the bottom and tells Grace to put down the doll. She notices she is holding a doll for the first time, she's never seen it before. They assume it is Gemma's.
Grace stubbornly holds on to the doll despite Briar's insistence. She looks down to see its head is on backwards. As she reaches to turn the head around the doll curses at her in a high pitched voice and bites her hand, its head rolls off and down the hall. Tomi grabs the body and throws it down the hall. Briar runs out of the house and the body of the doll gets up and runs at Grace. As Tomi goes over to stomp the doll, the head tells them that Grace is the reason the daddy blew his brains out and starts laughing. Tomi boots the head out of the window and they can hear it laugh as it flies out.
Another bit of hope is lost with it.
- Discovery: Insider her safe, Thandie finds, underneath all the papers for the house and the lawyer paperwork, there is a mask. Its black and gold paint chipped, with only one eye hole. Had this always been in her possession? Who's is it?
- Discovery: Thandie finds a small file (also in the safe) while organizing her new study. What sticks out is a sonogram image from a few moths before Cain is born. Two baby boys are circled in red pen.
- Discovery: Grace finds the box that hte air filters came in. On the side is a block of fine print listing all the things they can NOT filter out. Basically it is a dust filter, not suitable for airborne toxins.
- Briar wears sunglasses, after the Ronnies witness him observing all the events that unfold in front of them. they suspect he is not really blind. However, the only way they can find out is by removing them.
Chapter 3 Edit
Hearing screams and breaking glass, Mallory comes running in. Thandie relays her dealings with the stuck door, somewhat trying to rationalize the events. Gemma accuses Grace, “You pushed your mama!” They deny her and then move on to talking about the doll and fixing Grace's bite. Cain doesn't think it's an animatronic doll and he asks Mallory. Mallory says there might be a reason Wallace kept this place from them.
Mallory walks to a spot on the wall near the stairway and punches through the drywall. Tomi helps him rip the drywall away from a hidden cellar door. It has been painted over and a thin black line rings the opening, almost like a mold has tried to work its way out. The drywall seems to have kept it contained.
“I think it's best if you all went down there,” Mallory tells them, “but I can't go with you.” He had hoped that these things might not start happening to them like they did to their father. He tells them he physically can't go down there and that he also won't. Cain goes to the kitchen for a knife before they descend. Tomi grabs their dust masks and they put them on. Cain cuts away at the seal of paint and black stuff around the cellar door, the doors bulge with the air pressure and an awful smell drifts out.
Mallory puts a chillingly cold hand on Grace's shoulder and tells her the sooner she accepts the fact that she bit Gemma, the better. He then goes out to check on the girl.
Thandie levers the cellar door open to a puff of black dust that coats the family. A stairwell descends sharply into a darkness that is not penetrated by the light from outside. Cain takes out his phone and, as Thandie goes to the laundry room for actual flashlights, Cain and the girls notice an eerie silence has descended, the rain has stopped, there is no sound from outside. Only Thandie's steps and the sibling's breaths can be heard. The darkness seems to muffle sound as well, there are no echoes sounding from within.
Thandie finds some industrial strength Ikea/Tesla flashlights and returns with them. Cain descends the stairs first. Shining his light around reveals solid concrete walls and two or three inches of green/brown standing water on the ground. Towards the back of the basement is a stack of chairs that goes all the way to the ceiling, which is also concrete. There are at least thirty wooden chairs, some of them look fairly old.
Cain and Thandie descend into the water and head over to the chairs, the girls stay on the stairway. The cellar door above them swings shut. Cain comes over to try and open it but it will not budge. Thandie hears an almost rythmic creaking/tapping from the chairs and she shines her light over on them. Seeing a reflection that's almost like a cat's eye from the back wall, she moves slowly to investigate.
Thandie peers through the chairs to see another spherical object embedded in the wall, as she shifts around some chairs, she sees the shape blink. She starts moving some of the chairs to reveal more of these objects that then blink in tandem. Moving more chairs reveals another orb, this one tracks her movements.
The kids turn around to see that their mother has vanished. They call out to her but they can't see or hear her despite her being able to see and hear them. As Cain moves over into the chairs he starts to see her, and he notices a membrane that he passes through, and the girls lose sight of him. Standing in front of the chairs, the girls cannot see them, Cain reaches through the membrane and pulls them to him.
They hear a grinding, like the sound of a large granite ball shifting, the spherical objects shift to face them, their deep, black facets staring into them. Tomi reaches out to touch one, placing her palm on the black, marble like substance, it blinks and she feels a cold, rubber like substance envelop her hand. She vanishes from sight along with the spheres.
Tomi is in an all white space, there's nothing but a pure white expanse. A deep voice speaks to her, asking about her bloodline. It knows her, knows her father. It tells her it needs her to bring them, her bloodline. She refuses to put her family in harms way. “You will,” the voice tells her.
The white room disappears and Tomi is standing at the top of the stairs, outside the cellar doors. Thandie runs up the stairs and the others notice more spheres, now a total of six, blink and track her movements. Tomi opens the cellar doors and Thandie notices that the walls of the house are now decorated with their posters and things. The house is furnished, pictures are on the mantel, the entire house is put together as Thandie would have done.
- Discovery: Grace's bite from the doll throbs and keeps getting bigger. It looks less like the bite of a doll, and more like the bite from a small child.
Chapter 4 Edit
The Ronnie family huddles together in a group hug once they leave the cellar door. Tomi tells them what the voice said to her. They wonder how the furniture got laid out, Tomi suspects time travel. Thandie insists on rational explanations for everything, their phones indicate that only twenty minutes have passed. Tomi wants to stay in a hotel.
Thandie goes out to the driveway to check on the Prius and the three siblings head upstairs, the rooms upstairs have also been arranged in a way that they would have done themselves. Outside, Thandie peers into a deep fog with visibility of maybe fifty feet, there is no sign of the car. She comes upon a murder of crows in the fog and turns back to go to the house. In the thick fog she finds herself at the edge of the pond, something moves within the dark waters. She turns again and crunches across the blackened grass back to the house, she hears a swirling motion in the pond but ignores it and continues walking.
Cain is in his room packing and looking at the photos on the wall. He notices a drawing of two parents marked out in red and a small boy, signed Cain at the bottom. He inspects it closer, then turns into the room where his dead mother sits upon the bed, wearing one of her old dresses. As Cain approaches her he feels a warmth coming off her body, compelling him forward, his mother beckons him to put his head on her shoulder. He does.
“I forgive you,” she says, “for killing me, and your brother.” He was named Cain because he ate his brother inside the womb, then clawed apart her insides. She tells him his father thought bringing him here, the Great One might cure him of his curse, but Cain just brought it back with him, and now everyone else close to him will die. He says he won't let it happen, but she tells him it already did.
Tomi is filling her backpack with items that remind her of her father. She hasn't been dealing with the pain of her loss, focusing on helping her sister instead. Looking over at her bed, she notices a note inside an envelope that has appeared there. It appears to be a note from her father to Thandie:
I am so sorry I could not be helped, I have nothing left. I can no longer live with my sins. Curse me for being born in that godforsaken town. The Heart ended Ashley. The Eyes ended Alyssa. I fear I will end you and the children. It takes. It will call you. I'm so sorry. It will call the kids. Stay away from Kolob, Milton, Priceplace, the Base, Mount Nebo, Salt Lake, any place the Devil calls home. I tried to stop it, but too late. Mallory knows. Or knew. I still see him. Could be those goddamn ----- I hope, pray, this works. It could be for nothing.
Thandie comes in from the backyard and Tomi shows her the note. She accuses Tomi of writing it, then calls out to Cain (who doesn't hear) to handle Tomi and shuts herself into the master bedroom.
Grace checks her closet, all her clothes are arranged just the way her mother would arrange them when she was little. A mirror her birth mother gave her sits on her nightstand, her name scribbled in marker on the base. Looking at herself in it, she is unable to move, paralyzed. The Grace in the mirror seems to become detached from her, almost a foreign object. In the bottom corner of her vision, she sees a black line move up her face in the mirror, then another on the other side of her face. A deep, black body follows to two legs out of her mouth, one of the legs closing her left eye.
She lets out a scream and drops the mirror, there is nothing on her face. On the edge of her bed sits a doll, wearing an off white, stained dress with a jewel in the center of the neckline. She approaches the doll slowly and picks it up. She removes the jewel, the doll starts to convulse and the gem changes color. The doll vibrates over to the closet and bumps against the door. Grace opens it and a smell assaults her nose, a deep rumble comes from the opening at the back of the closet. She hears the voice that spoke to Tomi. When she asks what it wants, it tells her it wants her, it wants out. Grace runs for the door, it won't open. Grace hears the long scratching of claws coming from the opening behind her closet.
Thandie holds the crumpled note in her hand and lies weeping in the fetal position, questioning why Wallace would do this. She removes the bone-handled dagger from under her pillow, it's caked in dried blood. A muffled rumble comes from the bathroom, the sound of something dragging against a membrane. Something is tied over the claw-foot tub in the darkened bathroom, red strings tie it across the opening of the tub. Thandie turns the light on, revealing that the covering is flesh, with a face pressing itself into the underside, then a hand. She draws the blade across the flesh covering the tub, a whoosh of red dust pillars from the tub into Thandie's face and crashes into the ceiling.
Sitting in the tub, the flesh covering gone, is a body gripping a shotgun and wearing a lab coat, she recognizes the brain-blown body of her husband, his eye, dangling from its socket, turns toward her. The body lifts itself from the tub and Thandie scuttles back from it. The body of Wallace raises the gun toward her, she pushes the barrel up and away from her as a shot rings out through the house. The siblings run to the master bedroom and find the bathroom door locked.
Cain kicks the door open to see Thandie lurch toward the tub and the gun goes off again, the bullets hitting the wall. The children only see Thandie grappling with a gun. Tomi snatches the gun from her and Thandie, weeping, tells them what she saw and that the car is gone. Looking out the window, Tomi sees only the fog. The siblings try to comfort Thandie as she cries about not being enough for Wallace.
Grace is wearing a necklace none of them have seen before, the jewel from the doll is on the end of it. When she tries to remove it, it burns her hands. Tomi hands off the gun to Cain, and Thandie takes it from Cain as he steps in to remove the necklace. It will not come off. The siblings turn to see that Thandie and the gun are gone.
On the floor are large, bloody footprints leading them out of the bedroom and to the stairwell, a musty stench rises to meet them as darkness closes in.
- Feeling: Tomi feels lost. Logically, she knows where she is, but it doesn't seem real. Did something get through her mask? A pure white room can't be real. But is this real? Maybe she just needs to wake up, maybe she's dreaming, or hallucinating.
- Discovery: IN the unpacked house, Tomi finds a staple of tom-boys everywhere, her trusty slingshot and 3 steel ball-bearings.
- Discovery: Grace finds something she hasn't seen since she was four, sitting on her bed is her stuffed rabbit she has named Rabbity. This toy gives her a nostalgic feeling of peace and happiness. (Zac adds that it is in her back pocket right now and that she talks to it.)
- Tomi keeps feeling like someone, or something, is watching her every move.
- Feeling: As Cain reflects on the idea of killing his brother in the womb, he starts to wonder if he is a monster. What other horrible things has he done that he does not know about.
Chapter 5 Edit
Thandie stands in an all white space, shotgun in hand. She is looking for someone, her husband perhaps. The voice tells her Wally isn't here, hasn't been for a long time, the voice has missed their visits. Does she miss Wally? The voice could bring him back. She asks the voice to bring him back. “Were you not happy with seeing him upstairs? Is that not how you left him?” She wants the real Wally back. “The Wally you know was a pussy that couldn't deal with the fact that he had a job to do.” Thandie won't have any of that. The voice compliments her strength, where Wally was weak. She refuses to do anything for the voice and it forces her to put the shotgun to her chin.
The siblings go down the stairs to find the cellar door open. Bloody footprints are on the stairs leading down here as well. Cain grabs a knife from the kitchen. They hear something in the water down there, the water has now filled up to halfway up the stairs. Cain goes down the steps alone, he hears a splash of something moving itself into the water.
The girls hear a knock at the front door, they see Jerry, the mover, through the peephole. Tomi opens the door and asks him for help. His eyes shift to the red orb around Grace's neck, as they question him, he grabs Grace by the throat and lifts her up. Tomi breaks Grace free, but Jerry knocks her aside, fixated on the orb, and strides forward after Grace.
Cain ducks as an eel-like creature flies at him, four jaws unhinged and splashes back into the water ahead of him. Cain darts forward through the membrane and puts a hand on one of the Eyes. He is transported to the white place, where Thandie still has the gun to her head. Cain knocks it aside and the voice addresses him, calling itself his real father. His brother and mother sacrificed their lives for Cain, as was the voice's wish, so that Cain might be here today. The voice needs to feed or it will not be strong enough to leave the wall, it asks Cain to lend it his eyes, he'll be fine without them, just ask Briar.
Thandie pulls Cain away, and they try to leave, but wherever they go, they are in the white space. Thandie gets an idea, putting the shotgun against her foot, she pulls the trigger.
Grace turns to run out the back door, Briar is standing in the kitchen, he tells her to get behind him. Briar hits the mover with a rock, knocking him out in a pool of spreading blood. The girls tell Briar that Thandie and Cain are trapped in the basement. He tells them there's nothing he can do for them now, they're all doomed, just like him.
He removes his glasses to reveal two gleaming, red orbs in his sockets. He too has had visions, he couldn't stand them and he gouged out his own eyes with a spoon in this very kitchen. 'He' sees through them now, not Briar. Their father found him on the floor, weeping and bleeding, but also smiling. He tells them he can make the visions stop for them too. Tomi smashes a kitchen chair over his head, knocking him out.
Running toward the basement, the girls hear a shotgun blast from the living room. Thandie is there, leaning on Cain, the stump of her foot bleeding profusely. They go for the moving truck outside and Mallory is standing in the door holding Gemma. Mallory tells them he can't let them leave, Gemma won't survive without their help. Thandie tells him to move or she'll end him. “I can't, and you won't,” he replies. He puts Gemma down and tells her to clean up the kitchen. Tomi points the shotgun at him but Mallory still refuses to move, he tells them he'll make sure Thandie doesn't die, but they cannot leave.
They take Thandie to the couch and Grace goes for the first aid kit in the laundry room. Mallory tells her that she can't leave because 'it' wants them here and will not let them leave. “It is as it has to be, and it's already as it will be,” Mallory cryptically tells them. Tomi gives them a shell from the shotgun for gunpowder to use to burn the wound shut. Mallory calls to Gemma, she shouts back that she's still cleaning the kitchen.
Mallory tells them that their father started something and now it is in them. They have to get Gemma out of here, but he doesn't want her to hear because she'll be very upset that he's not taking care of her anymore. He finishes by telling them that for Gemma to leave, they all must die. He's not sure what 'it' is, but it's a 'god' to some. It has already begun to claim the land around this place, like he has seen it do before, but something is wrong, different this time. If they try to run, they will end up like their father, or, they can try to help Gemma, and die knowing they helped a little girl.
Tomi shoots Mallory in the face, his body starts to fall, then stops and begins to rise again. Half of his face is gone, he can't talk, so he gestures for a piece of paper. He begins writing while his dark, purple/blue blood drips to the floor, he writes that he was 'hoping Gemma wouldn't see him like this.' The Ronnie's run out to the moving truck, there is a new treeline growing across the road out, it is natural but it is also like an infection, like when a fungus takes over an insect, to make it into a tower to spread its spores. A gray, whispy substance is weighing the trees down, sapping the life from them, and strange towers grow from them, creating a circle of towers surrounding the house.
The blackness from the grass in the back of the house is creeping across the ground towards them, ebbing out and drawing back as it inches out. Cain drives along the treeline, desperately searching for an opening, they see the fungus like material growing from the ground and sucking the life from the trees as a new spire grows up to the sky. Cain drives back to the house, Mallory stands in the doorway, tying his jaw back onto his skull.
He leans onto the window of the moving truck, telling them again it won't let them leave. Asking them again to help him get Gemma away from there. Their deaths have to happen, will happen. The Ronnies want to fight back, burn down the house. They are not the first to want to fight back, Mallory says. Grace figures out that the black soot they found in the house was from a fire. Mallory confirms that it just rebuilt the house.
Mallory tells them some theories that he has heard, some of them from long ago, theories that if the voice gets what it wants, it might put itself back together and go back to its home. Their father didn't start all this but he was involved in it. He thinks that if they close the loop, repair it, it will leave. He reveals that when he was young they used to worship this thing like it was a god, a lot of what he used to believe is wrong though. He no longer believes it is the god its worshipers were looking for, it is the devil. It's hungry and it wants to feed.
They hear a honking from the garage, the Tesla bursts through the garage door with Briar behind the wheel. He smashes into one of the towers, flames burst from the impact and immolate the tower, spreading to several nearby trees, a deep growl of pain rumbles from inside the house.
The stress and madness of it all get to Grace, and she loses all hope. The voice tells her that it needs her to do something for it. As she speaks to the voice in her head, her body gets out of the truck, grabbing the shotgun from Tomi. Grace moves to the front of the truck, her family sees the red orb flashing at the end of the necklace, Grace raises the gun and firing into the engine of the truck. Tomi goes to try and remove the necklace, she sees red creeping around the edges of her sister's eyes, the necklace will not move but Tomi will not let go. Tomi feels the necklace bite into her palms as it comes free from her sister's neck, and her sister comes free from its influence. Tomi's hands are cut through the tendons and into the bone.
Chapter 6 Edit
Mallory has gone back inside to grab Gemma, Tomi can no longer use her hands, Thandie can no longer use her left foot. They go inside to find that the house is unfurnished now, empty of everything but the bloody footprints leading to the cellar. Grace applies some band-aids she had in her pockets to her sister's hands. They find Gemma, she tells them she's ok, she's seen worse things than what was in the kitchen. Cain and Thandie make their way upstairs, only one picture remains on the wall, Thandie and Wallace's wedding photo, their faces scratched out. There is nothing left in the upstairs rooms either, the bloody footprints start from the master bedroom.
Thandie sits down on the bottom step and they ask Mallory what happens next. If they choose to continue fighting the god-like entity, they may win, maybe. If they get away, however, he will hunt them down to get Gemma back from the entity. He asks why Thandie brought them here, it was a bad idea and she knows it, she didn't check on the house, whether it was on the grid. She came because it called for her. It makes sense that it would call the children, Wallace's bloodline, to it, but why would Thandie come? She's pregnant, he accuses. The last time Wallace was out here, his walls weren't strong enough and the entity got to him. Put it in his mind to spread his seed, the entity likes to have a back up plan. He tells them that Wallace intended to bring them all here eventually. Thandie tells them (Mallory and Gemma) to get out of their house, and they leave.
Cain goes to the laundry to get a towel for Thandie's wound, he finds the towels all covered in blood from Gemma's clean up of the mess in the kitchen. Thandie counts the shells for the shotgun, four remain. They decide to look for another way to escape, whether it is a car that Mallory might have, or some kind of supplies at Briar's tent. As they move to leave, the house lets out a loud creak and seems to tense itself. The front door slams shut, the locks latch themselves in the locked position. Grace runs for the back door, as she moves through the house the windows all slam shut.
Grace pulls up short as she sees her father standing in the shadows of a corner. He steps out and she sees the back of his head is missing, he mutters her name but disappears as she reaches for him. Grace goes back to the others. They start to hear the rattle of wood, the cellar door is shaking and light streams from within. Something appears to be trying to break through the cellar doors, boards creak and break with each massive hit.
The Ronnies retreat to the attic and, as Tomi opens the door, a large black bag falls towards her. As it lands, knocking her from the ladder, Tomi feels her knee dislocate. She feels the outline of a body within the bag and they pull it from atop her. The body within starts to convulse, two hands rip an opening in the bag and Wallace Ronnie tears himself free.
Chapter 7 Edit
Wallace seems intent on Tomi laying on the ground, he tells her she failed Grace, he left her in charge. He continues to slowly crawl from the bag and Thandie tries to reason with the specter of her dead husband, calling upon him to be the man she loves. He puts a hand under her chin and she leans into. “You could've stopped all of this,” he tells her, “if you weren't so damn stubborn maybe I would've been able to talk to you about this. Instead I blew a hole in my head.” Thandie brings up the butt of the shotgun and knocks the specter into dust, which begins to swirl around her and then flings itself toward Grace.
It enters Graces body through the mouth, and her eyes turn red and churn like the sea. Grace finds herself outside of her body, in a dark, dark place. The voice tells her it is in control now, tells her to watch as it has some fun. “Get angry, get scared, do anything Grace. It doesn't matter!” Graces eyes open again and she assures her family she is fine.
Chapter 8 Edit
Things have seemingly calmed down, though the doors have not opened, the banging from the basement has stopped. The family hears no other sound than their own breathing. Grace moves back into the corner to give the others room to set Tomi's knee. Grace sees her body pull the slingshot and fire a steel ball into her sister's temple, killing her. She watches another ball hit her brother in the eye, she watches her mother beg and plead until Grace pushes her down the stairs and stomps on her head repeatedly. The voice tells her to bring them to her or it will do it itself, it returns her vision to the real world.
Cain goes up into the attic looking for the knives they had found earlier, the light will not turn on and his phone battery has died. In the darkness, Cain puts a hand into something wet and thick. It moves its way up his arm and he feels himself stuck to the attic floor. Grace goes up into the attic, in the darkness she can see everything, in a tint of red she sees her brother struggling against nothing. She takes his hand and sees the knives in the drawer.
Grace pulls her brother to him and hears a squishing sound, her other hand is holding a knife and has driven it into her brother's neck. The entity laughs, telling her she was never in control, it uses her body to throw her brother down through the attic opening. Grace looks down from above on her family, her eyes roiling red. Outside her body, Grace tries to apologize to her family. Tomi pushes the ladder back up, trying to keep them apart from Grace.
Tomi and Thandie drag Cain into the master bedroom, pushing open the door, they see the all white room. They close the door and turn to the bathroom door, behind every door is the white void. The ghost of Wallace Ronnie is mounting the stairs, telling them to give Cain to him. Thandie fires the shotgun into the shuttered window, blasting a hole through. The window looks as though it had been boarded up on the outside. Tomi goes over to the window and tries to push the rest of the boards off. Grace walks down the hallway with a knife, “Join me,” she says in a deep voice, “Join me and I will let you live here for eternity with me.”
Mallory runs upstairs, putting himself between the entity inside Grace and the Ronnies. Mallory tells the entity he has a deal, calling Gemma upstairs. The entity brings Grace forth to speak and he tells her that she can survive this if she lets there be a sacrifice, Cain. Mallory tells them that they have no idea what he has sacrificed to be here, what Wallace has sacrificed.
Mallory is already dead, he tells Gemma to cover her ears as he continues. “Six years ago, I died. Something wasn't done with me yet and I had to protect Gemma. I didn't understand at the time but I do now. I'm stuck here until what needs to happen, happens. Like I said, I wasn't letting you leave and he won't either. Some of you can get out of here alive if someone is willing to do what needs to be done. Your father could have stopped this, he knew what he was supposed to do. He put you in this position by not following through.” Cain gurgles through the blood that he wants to do it, to be the sacrifice.
“We have a deal.” the entity says through Grace. “Bring me the boy, and I'll let this one go.” Grace feels control of her body return and Thandie and Tomi help Cain down the stairs. Mallory and Gemma watch this all happen, Grace takes Cain from them and helps him into the cellar. Tomi follows after them and Thandie orders Mallory down ahead of her, Gemma climbs into Thandie's arms and Mallory closes the cellar doors behind them.
A purple light is emitting from the other side of the cellar. The eyes light up, shifting between purple red, the whirl in place and start blinking in a pattern, some form of communication that none of them understand. Cain reaches out to touch one of the eyes and finds himself standing in the white space with his father.
Wallace apologizes to his son for everything and tries to explain to him what is happening. Wallace tells them that Mallory is their only hope, whatever is behind this is beyond them. He tells Cain that he is braver than Wallace ever was. Years ago in Kolob, Wallace could have left, but didn't. “When the Gate fell, you were conceived, and your brother. It all has something to do with this. It followed us into our lives. I just wanted out, I couldn't take it. I didn't know what to do. I made a lot of wrong decisions. Mallory offered me a way out, I thought it would save you all, but when it came down to it I was a coward. And now you're here.”
Cain is forgiving of his father, telling him of how much he appreciates what life he had. Wallace tells him that it isn't really him talking to Cain, it's just the creature telling him what he wants to hear, that Cain is dead. Cain asks if he could be like Mallory and his father gestures around them at the white room as it begins to flake away and disintegrate, revealing a blackness behind it as the light dims to darkness.
“We made a deal,” the entities deep voice booms. “I need your body, as your soul leaves it, I will take it.” Cain asks about becoming dead like Mallory, the entity seems to become angry, red light swirls into the blackness.
In the real world, Cain is gone and the eyes swirl to focus on Mallory, who reveals he has been lying to them. He holds up his hands to them and the entity. “He plans to have this thing inhabit Cain and use him to walk the Earth as a temporary solution.” He addresses the entity now, “I have a better offer, if Gemma doesn't go home, you will continue to plague this earth in pieces and you will crumble. And the world will die with it. I offer you Cain and Tomi, you can use their energy, and I know you can do it, to take Gemma back. I know that you are connected to the Ronnies, their bloodline. If you use that, take Gemma back, you have a chance at being whole again.”
Reacting in anger, Tomi grabs Gemma from Thandie and shoves her head under the water. Mallory's form shifts into a ghostly visage as he moves to save Gemma, Grace steps in front of Mallory and tires to drag Tomi and Gemma up the stairs to escape. The stairs in front of them begin to disappear and the water under the chairs begins to churn, the stacks dropping into the water one by one, something is in there with them.
Thandie grabs Gemma back and points the gun at Mallory, “It's time for a new deal. My family and Gemma, are getting out of here. Right now!” Mallory returns to corporeal form and asks how this is going to happen. This is bigger than just Gemma, the world hangs in the balance. He needs to return Gemma to 1972. He wants to use the power of the entity to do this. The fractured pieces of this creature are driving the world mad. Mallory's idea represents a chance to make the creature whole, and maybe get it to leave. If they close the loop, let the creature heal, maybe it will leave. The pieces of the creature are getting stronger on their own and they need to get it off the planet.
The loop had been fractured ever since Mallory walked out of 2017, he walked out of there but he doesn't know how. It's connected to the Ronnies, feeds on them, their blood gives the entity power. Wallace and Mallory planned to do something two months ago, but Wallace left. The entity needs one more Ronnie in order to be strong enough for Mallory's plan to work.
Grace says it should be her, she no longer trusts herself to be in control of her body after all of this, and as she speaks, her hand is drawing a knife towards her own throat. Tomi rushes toward her and grabs for the knife. Grace holds her back with one hand and the other shoves the knife into Tomi's gut, the whole time Grace whispers she is sorry.
Cain walks out of the darkness, fully healed and no longer himself. He picks up Tomi and brings her toward the spheres as a light goes out and the world gets darker.
Chapter 9 Edit
Standing in front of the Eyes, Tomi starts to feel a coldness enter her body as her brother tells her everything will be alright. She draws her pocketknife from the back of her jeans and drives it into one of the eyes. The knife shatters on the solid surface of the orb. Cain grabs her hand and puts it onto one of the eyes, taking them both to the white room. Tomi's wound starts to close as the pain leaves her body, she yells to be let out.
“The dead one, the one I cannot touch, he made me a new offer,” the entity tells them. “I'm thinking about accepting the terms.”
They ask what the terms are.
“I will use you. I will devour your souls and I will close the loop. Or maybe, I just take the rest of your family as well.”
Cain and Tomi will do anything to protect what remains of their family.
Grace and Thandie are left in the cellar, Grace drops the knife she was holding. A blue light begins to pulse along the wall and a high pitched squeal sounds. Mallory stands at the edge of the Gate. “You've accepted the terms of the deal. Thank you.” Mallory says as he begins to dissolve. Gemma shouts for him and he turns to her, saying “Bye baby,” before he dissolves completely.
Thandie tells Grace that the entity has taken Cain and Tomi and that Gemma has to go. Thandie will take her through the Gate and Grace must stay here. She is a doctor, she has the best chance to help Gemma if anything goes wrong. She wants Grace to stay here, to get out of the house and find help in case Cain and Tomi somehow come back.
Thandie, as she is on the threshold of the portal, hears knocking from upstairs, in them main house. On the other side of the portal Thandie sees this same house, freshly built. She walks through and Grace sees them make it safely to the other side as she is trying to push the cellar doors open. The portal shuts and disappears behind them, Grace hears a gasp from the kitchen. Grace exits the cellar to see a police officer staring down at the body of Jerry, the mover.
He tells her to drop the knife and get down on her knees. She does and he handcuffs her, she tells him to check the basement for the rest of her family, they need help.
In 1972, Thandie hears people talking upstairs in the house she has stepped into. She looks behind her and sees no eyes on the wall, the basement is clean and new. She walks up the stairs and opens the doors on two men, staring at her in shock.
“What are you doing in my basement?” Dr. Wallace Ronnie Sr. asks. “Do you know my son?”
“I do...I will know him.” She tells Wallace Sr. that Gemma is a very special girl and that it is important that she be here for what he is about to do. The other man's eyes go wide and he pushes Wallace aside, “It's true, it's all true. I'm Shiloh Anah, nice to meet you. This is all real, it's all true, the prophecies are true. We must get you out of here. You were brought to us, we will protect you. It is the way it was meant to be. For It demands it.”
“And what It wants must happen, lest all be rent asunder,” Thandie responds.
“Can you tell us more about our divine God?” Shiloh asks. Thandie laughs at his use of the word. “Was it not his power that brought you here?”
“A deal was struck.” she responds, “so yes, in a way, your 'god' had a hand in us, the three of us, being here now.”
Shiloh tells Wallace to attend to them, he has much to do. Shiloh gets into his car and drives away.
“Dad! Who's here?” A young boy, Wallace Ronnie Jr., comes downstairs. Thandie introduces herself and Gemma.
Wallace Jr. wants to go play by the pond and Wallace Sr. speaks to Thandie inside. She tells Wallace Sr. that she just wants to do what is right, to close the loop, but she doesn't know how. Wallace Sr. puts his arm around her shoulders and moves her into the kitchen. Something in this house doesn't feel right and Thandie wants to get out. She moves toward the front door and he pulls out his wallet and gives her all the money inside it, telling her to take it and his car, to seek medical attention and to go. Thandie lists for Wallace Sr. the places that her husband warned her to stay away from in his suicide letter, the places that the Devil calls home.
“The Devil...and these places? Stay away?” he asks.
“The Devil takes, and he keeps taking, stay away,” she says.
“When you say, my son..” he says.
“Your son, my future husband.” Thandie says, taking Gemma's hand and turning to leave.
“When you say he left me a note, you a note? What is this note?”
“Your son left me a note, that my step-child, his daughter, gave to me in a haunted hose of horrors that is this house. And honestly, I'm about to get real froggy on you so you just need to let me go.” Thandie tells him.
Thandie sees multiple gas cans, filled, sitting next to an old lawn mower in the garage. She tells Wallace Sr. to burn it all down, it may buy them some time, buy Wally Jr. time. “Burn it and don't look back, 'cuz the Devil takes. And this is one of the places it takes from.” As Thandie and Gemma drive off she sees Wallace Sr. call for Wally and start to douse their house in gasoline.
Thandie tells Gemma they are heading south to seek the Bains homestead. As she drives, Thandie feels a kick from the life inside her.
Back in the future, Grace hears the police officer coughing and loudly cursing in the basement. She hears sirens outside as more police cars drive up and another officer comes into the house, gun drawn and held on Grace. The original officer comes upstairs saying that the blind guy was right, they're gonna need backup, “No weak stomachs downstairs.”
When Grace asks what he found he rounds on her and sticks a finger in her face, “You're fuckin' sick, what's wrong with you?”
She asks after her brother and sister and, as madness settles into her mind, the officer hits her with the butt of his gun, sending her to the floor. The other officer tosses him off of her and to the side as a light goes out.
- (Zac changes this truth and incorporates it in the next chapter.) Thandie finds some gasoline cans in the garage next to an old lawn mower.
Chapter 10 Edit
The officer leans down, she sees the name Abel on his nametag, he needs her to tell him what happened. She tells him the house isn't a normal house.
“How many people did you kill, Grace?”
“I don't k-know, I don't remember... I didn't kill anyone,” she stammers.
“Bring him in,” Officer Abel says, gesturing to the door.
Another officer brings in Briar. “I can smell her, she's in here. Don't let her get close to me.” he says. “Get that crazy bitch away from me! You tried to kill me! I ran through the woods, got as far away from you as I could. You crazy.”
Grace protests, “That's not true, you took the car and drove into the trees...”
The officer interrupts, He's blind, he didn't frive anywhere.”
“Take off his glasses and see what's under there.” she tells him.
The officer removes Briar's glasses, revealing two scarred, cloudy eyes.
“That can't be,” Grace says, “This house takes eyes!”
“This man said that you tried to kill him,” the officer says.
“That's not true...” Grace starts to protest, but the officer continues.
“Says that you kept calling him Gemma, and coming after him. Said that you had family here that you had tied up in the basement.”
“That's not true!” she protest, “It's this house! It tried to kill all of us. And it took them! It took my brother, and my sister, and my mom.”
Another officer whispers something to Abel. “Where's your mother's body?”
“Body? My mom walked into the portal, she's gone. It's complicated, I told you this house isn't a normal house.” Grace tells him.
“You brother and sister are cut to pieces in the basement and your mother's DNA is all over the living room. I need to know where your mother's body is.”
She goes on about the house taking everyone, maybe it took her too.
“Gong the insanity route I see,” the officer says, he goes to talk to some officer outside, scanning the area with drones.
Grace feels in her back pocket and finds some razors and a hairpin, she grabs the pin and tries to pick the cuffs. She frees herself and runs out the back door to go to Mallory's house, there is no guest house there. The police charge through the house after her, Grace runs around the side of the house, looking for a vehicle to take. An officer is standing there with Briar, who sniffs the air and looks directly at her with his dead eyes.
She runs over to the police cars, but they all require thumb scans to open, she darts toward the garage as one of the officers opens fire on her, missing and hitting the side of the house. Grace manages to get to the Tesla and crash through the garage door, she sees the opening in the trees as a police cruiser slams into the side of the Tesla, it crashes to a stop and Grace fingers the razor blades in her pocket.
- Per Zac: These were the Eyes, they could inflict nothing upon them. It was all mind games, nothing they saw in the world was real, except the portal that Thandie and Gemma traveled through.
- Gemma is Jan's mother from volume one.
- Had Thandie not won the dice rolls in the past, Grace's future would've burned due to all the information Thandie gave Wallace Sr.