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The side of the moon we never see.
A Lady's mask
smallkindnesses wrote in pandoraheartsdr
With Halloween approaching, Lady Shelly had made her way up to the attic, thinking to find some fabric with which to make costumes for the younger children of the Mansion. Knowing the house's penchant for mischief, perhaps she should not have gone up alone. But the Mansion had been kind, of late, for the most part.

One way or another, she was humming to herself quietly, as she tugged at a sheet covering a pile of boxes and chests. The piece of cloth came away suddenly, kicking up great clouds of dust, and sending a stack of smaller boxes toppling. Coughing, Shelly hurried to open a window. She breathed the fresh air deeply, before turning back to the room, and as the dust cleared, she saw something, gleaming in the sunlight. One of the boxes to topple over had been a jewelry box, and among the other pieces now scattered across the floor, there was a ring.

Enchanted, Shelly picked it up. She had never seen anything quite like it. The face looked... peaceful. Touching it, she wanted to hold it. Holding it, she wanted to wear it. And surely it was only a trick of the light, when the smile seemed to widen...

At first, she thought it was too big for her, but then, to her surprise, the silver seemed to flow until the ring fit snugly, and the change did not stop, there, the lunar paleness of the face darkening until it was more like that side of the moon we never see.

Suddenly, Shelly felt cold.

Her lips spread in a slow, sharp smile.

[ooc: Just a heads up for the easily-squicked. A couple of threads in this post are going to get very very violent.]

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It's quite a nice day, not as cool as it has been, not raining, not with weather that makes his shoulder and hip ache. So Liam decided to take a bit of a walk in the gardens. Outside but close enough to shelter, should the weather change, to get inside before being bedraggled.

Liam has been reading the book Shelly gave him--in his room, not where anyone can actually see him reading it--and thinking quite a bit about it. And he can't help but associate what he's read with Shelly, given that she did give him that book.

So when he sees her near the pumpkin patch, he flushes just slightly. Hopefully she takes it as chill?

"Enjoying the unseasonable weather?"

Turning toward his voice, Lady Shelly schooled her expression into one of pleasant surprise, as if she hadn't known he was there at all, as if he were not prey.

"Why, Liam, hello! It is a lovely day, isn't it?"

Moving up to walk beside him, she pretends to admire the changing trees.

"I've always been rather fond of autumn. The leaves are so pretty as they die..." She turns to him, smile widening ever-so-slightly.

"Don't you agree?"

Liam follows her gaze to the trees, a little off-put by the way she puts it, and thus misses her widening smile.

"I suppose... I tend not to think of it as the leaves dying. They are, after all, a part of the tree, and the changing of the leaves and shedding of them is really just a natural cycle."

He's admiring the way a tree is rather beautifully in the process of turning yellow and red, with a smidgen of green still running through.

"The tree itself lives, and the leaves are reborn in spring."

It is fortunate that he is looking at the trees, as Shelly's expression freezes for a moment, as she struggles not to sneer at him outright. But then the moment passes, and her smile has regained its pleasant veneer.

"Of course, my dear... Here, especially, everything comes back to life, eventually."

A pity, really. Or perhaps a blessing. She wonders how many times they might be able to kill him before his mind snaps...

"I suppose. It's a bit odd, still, even after having seen it happen, to imagine it."

And, even, going through it with False Death at home.

He turns back to her with a relaxed smile. He has no idea what she is thinking, but he hasn't been taught to distrust his loved ones by the Mansion yet.

"Have you enjoyed the harvest festival?"

"Isn't it, though?"

Shelly's smile widens, though she manages to keep it from turning wolfish. Finding death and resurrection hard to imagine... perhaps he requires a closer look...

"Very much. And what of you?"

He misinterprets the smile as being for the harvest festival.

"It has been quite interesting. I rarely have time to enjoy festivals, at home. It has been quite nice to be able to, here."

Liam looks over at the pumpkin patch.

"I've heard tell that some cultures carve pumpkins instead of turnips. I was considering looking into the practice. It might give the children something fun to do."

Shelly takes the moment in which he looks out over the pumpkin patch and slides a knife out from among the pockets of her skirts.

"What a lovely idea." she purrs, moving up to stand behind him, sliding the flat of the cold blade teasingly across his throat. "A pity you'll never have the chance."

She's lying, of course. She doesn't think it's a pity at all...

The feel of cold steel against his throat freezes him. For a moment, he's completely confused.

"L-Lady Shelly?"

He moves his head slightly and his eyes dart to her, and the pure predatory look on her face terrifies him.

Surely, this must be some sort of horrid prank!

Her smile turns as sharp as the blade.


Yes. She wanted more.

"Little hare..." she whispers, "... Will you run?"

To find out, she draws the knife down, slicing it through the fabric of his jacket and shirt, drawing a long, weeping line of blood along his scarred shoulder.

A part of his mind rebels against the very idea that Shelly could do this. But, at the same time, he reminds himself that... this is the Mansion. The Mansion has done something to her. Turned her into this, the last person he would ever expect, someone he would never think to distrust.

And there had been clues in their conversation that he had missed.

The press of the blade, tracing the scar she could only know was there because of those dreams, slicing through to renew it, is almost more painful than the initial injury.

Because this isn't a Baskerville. This is Shelly.

In the haze of pain and confusion, he panics and spins away from her shakily. She is right--like a hare, his instinct is to run.

She gives a cold, harsh laugh as he moves away--ever the obedient servant. Darting forward, she slashes the knife across his back, drawing another thin line of blood. Enough to hurt, and enough to frighten, but not enough to cut the fun short.

Though he was too shocked to cry out in pain before, the combination of her voice breathing that sadistic laugh and the sudden pain across his back makes him do so now. It's short, startled.

He runs into the pumpkin patch, away from her.

His path isn't leading toward the Mansion, and he realizes that only vaguely. As long as he gets away from her, he'll be safe. He can find help, get help for her, to try to fix whatever has been done to her...

He won't be able to run two blocks before a Jack steps into his way. There is no accident in the motion, because he's smiling just the way Shelly is.

"Well, look what we have here-"

He moves fast, trying to catch Liam by the sleeve to wrestle an arm behind him.

Another laugh from Shelly as she sees Jack step into sight, ahead.

"Quick little hare, isn't he?" she says, catching up, knife gleaming red with Liam's blood.

Smiling at poor Liam, she places a hand on his throat, then leans aside so that she can look past him at Jack.

"What shall we do with him, love?"

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