Chapter Fifteen

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AN: Would you believe this didn't start out this way? I always heard Granny's voice as being Norman Bates' Mother from Psycho, by the way-I think those two would get on smashingly. Let's all be grateful they've never met.

* * *

The cawing grew louder and he ducked, years of conditioning coming back in a hurry. Ride it out, that was all he could do was just wait and hope to God they didn't tear him apart.

Kitty wasn't coughing anymore. For that matter, she wasn't doing anything but sort of lying there, eyes closed.

"Kitty?" He shook her-coughing was preferable to nothing. "Kitty, wake up." Where were they, why hadn't they come? "Kitty!"

CRA-ASH!

A cloud of black feathers and deafening screams swept into the room, smashing into cabinets and doors. A path appeared in their midst and before he could move back gnarled hands gripped his throat and drove him up against the wall.

"Granny, please..."

"I told you, didn't I, boy?"

"Can't breathe..."

"I told you you'd be sorry!"

Long fingernails

Bird's talons even now

dug into his skin. He could feel little rivulets of blood dripping down.

Why aren't they attacking blood always made them worse

He tried to squirm away from her, but it had never worked before and it didn't work now. She laughed at him, her laughter mingling with the cawing of the birds.

Maybe it was the lack of oxygen, but he could swear the door opened up and a massive shadowy figure, one he'd never seen before, strode into the room. There was a hideous rope burn around their neck and a rusty shackle was clasped around their wrist.

Marcus.*

"Please..."

He grabbed her around the waist and yanked her back, letting Jonathan drop to the floor, coughing.

"No! No! Unhand me right now!"

He did not speak, only nodded briefly at Jonathan before striding back through the crows and towards the door.

"Kitty?" The crows were beginning to disperse now. "Kitty, wake up." He shook her again. This time she started coughing and he nudged her up. "Deep breaths...come on..."

"Where'd she go?"

He had no idea, and he didn't really want to find out.

"Come on. Let's go home."

She didn't move and he finally picked her up.

"What happened?"

Honestly? He had no idea. This went against the laws of everything.

"It's a long story, Kitty."

* * *

"Where have you been?"

"It's a-"

"I've been worried sick, absolutely worried sick!"

"I think I found the problem." he mumbled. "I have to run some tests, that's all..."

"You do not scare me again like that! And you!" She turned to Kitty, who was clinging to him like she'd fall otherwise. "You march yourself back to bed right now, do I make myself clear?"

"Mum..."

"Your father's out scouring the back roads...we thought you'd sleepwalked into the pond! Bed! Now!"

"But..."

"March!"

She went. He wouldn't really call it a march, more of a shuffle, but she went. He tried to take advantage of this to slip out to the car for his equipment, but she grabbed his wrist before he could take two steps.

"What is going on."

"Essentially? A booby-trap."

"A booby-trap."

"Yes."

"And would that have anything to do with the flock of crows that swarmed your house this afternoon?"

"Yes."

"Jonathan Crane, I want answers. Now."

"Soon, I promise." Once he'd had time to think up a lie-she'd never believe the truth. "But right now I need to get to work."

She let him go.

"Fix this." she said. "Please."

He didn't answer her.

*Marcus is 'played' by Michael Clarke Duncan-the big guy from The Green Mile. (RIP, Mr. Duncan.)

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