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Blood will be shed

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***


Hot water covers the woman's sensitive breasts and begins to cover her naked, vulnerable body in small rivulets. She shudders involuntarily, her hands touching the fabric separating her from the cold bath and feeling the hot and stifling sweat of the water, closes her eyes, letting out a languid sigh.

There were too many people outside the door of her shared room with Rory, too many eyes. She was already fucking trying to get his attention. Sex with a view of the endless forest «killer» and a hot Jacuzzi on the street, really, the guy was not seized with adrenaline already from this? Hell, it was a great sex. Audrey blossoms in a new way, from the way a young guy fucks her and whispers in her ear that she is the most beautiful and sexy woman he has ever met and touched. And then she sees him gawking at other girls, even in her presence, on this stupid movie set. Fuck, the honeymoon was hell for both of them.

The woman's skin remembers how a few minutes ago the red-haired actor touched her with his long fingers in the soapy and sweet-smelling water of the Jacuzzi, and running his hands over her bare torso, touching her nipples, Audrey twitches the edge of her lips in a sad smile. He gave her a boost and strength for a new happy life. After the first season of «The Curse of Roanoke», Audrey Tindall became a fucking sought-after actress and quite expensive, if you remember how her agent praised the woman for it, foreshadowing the actress a long path of increasing fame and recognition. But like her, Rory was just getting on the path of being a good actor. When he got the call about the audition, the woman was not surprised, but something jumped when she realized that he could leave and knew that he would definitely get the role. With such a talent as he has, it is unlikely that many of his peers will be able to achieve such results at this age. When they decided to get married, the British woman did not think that she would be loved and desired again, no, not at this age, it seemed to her. Rory was young and energetic, and the world was still an unknown sandbox for him. Of course, as Audrey saw it, she was like a cage holding Rory to herself. He should be teaching roles, going to clubs, and sleeping with a lot of beautiful girls at once, instead of constantly reminding the actress that he won't throw her in any convenient situation. Maybe it was because she doubted him and herself that she was so hurt by Shelby's words.

— I'm so happy for you guys, — Shelby said with a tight smile and a sad look in her eyes, — at least something good came out of this place. — I lost my husband, and you found a new one…

— Thanks, — Audrey said automatically. Thousands of people from her entourage and millions of fans have already congratulated them, so this response is more just a light kindness, rather than sincere gratitude — yes, probably so!

Shelby's face had fallen even further and she was staring at a single point on the table.

— You know, it's never too late for love…

— I'm sorry what? You mean when your heart gets hard, — Audrey snapped, attacking and watching Shelby shake her head sharply; the others didn't understand the woman's sharp response, but they didn't say anything, — or when a woman's vagina dries up and she turns thirty, she's not worthy of love?

— I didn't mean that… Im talking about myself…

Shelby looked shy and confused, why did she have to make a mistake and make herself look like a victim? Shelby, god damnit, has been through hell, and she's still fucking going through it. A woman faced with fucking ghosts, crazy hillbillies, corrupt cops, a witch who ruined her marriage, and this blood moon. At first, Shelby almost lost her life when they were captured by the Polks, but when they escaped from their own legally acquired land, the woman thought that she would have been better off dying in the dirty hands of these pigs. Her husband openly told her that he did not love her and said that this loving part of him remained in the house. Then the woman remembered that dirty witch and how her husband fucked this creature. She'd left a lot behind in Roanoke, too, like her dreams. When that freaking old woman crushed her ankle with a huge hammer, the doctors said that she would no longer be able to do sports and yoga to the full extent as before. Dreams of opening your own yoga school -disappeared into thin air. Yoga — something that helped her relax, forget herself — now brings only discomfort. Like the dream of a family. When one day, the blonde reached out to kiss her beloved man, the only one who remained with her, he recoiled from her and with a blank expression, seriously declared that he could not be near her. She was left alone. And then there was that freak Dominic, who had taken advantage of her when she was alone. Her husband now thought of her as a whore, and even though she still loved him, or thought she did, Shelby didn't know for sure.

After storming out of her seat in front of the British actress in tears and having a fight in addition with this killer Lee, Shelby ran to her room, leaving everyone in the audience in a state of confusion. Audrey wasn't so nasty all the time. Although out of female solidarity and sympathized with the woman, still did not deny that she was a naive fool, and her husband is easy on the point and does not mind fucking the unwashed plague from the last millennium.
It's just that she thought it was no good for her to poke at her relationship, and most importantly, her age. Shelby is only one to blame. A weak-willed, «twitchy bitch», as Audrey put it to her husband, — if she were a little more determined and stronger, she could not only get out of this mess alive, which I don't really believe in, but also take her husband away from some magical bitch.

Audrey had already finished with the hot bath and was standing in a towel in front of the mirror, still thinking, brushing her wet hair. She had signed a contract with Sydney and was here under the watchful eyes of the cameras. But when she put her signature there, on that demonic piece of paper, Audrey didn't waste a moment thinking, knowing that Rory would be there. And now? Now she wasn't sure. He's going to leave, run away for an audition. And he would do it, despite the fact that he would break the contract already in force and leave his wife in this house with psychos and murderers. Well, just fucking fine, such a «prospect», to be honest. And the longer she thinks about it, the worse the situation seems to her.

Rubbing her neck, massaging her tired spine, she closes her eyes and just forgets about time, standing there in the middle of the room with a towel and wet hair. The rising sun, on the second day of Sydney's show, the Curse of Roanoke, was just rising, and through the bathroom windows it reflected a shadow on the floor of the room. Audrey is courageous. At least, that's what she thought. If shit happens, she can handle it. Exhaling wearily after a day of stress, flying and unpacking, and a crumpled morning with all these thoughts, Audrey remembered the wine cellar, realizing that she needed a glass of wine and smiling with thoughts of sparkling red, she was about to leave the bathroom. Opening her bold brown eyes, she sees her reflection in the fogged-up mirror around the edges, and noticing a wrinkle near her eyes, she moves closer, wiping the steam from the surface with her palm to examine the signs of her aging. Hell, another disappointment, a beautician wouldn't hurt right now.

Something jerked in the mirror behind the woman — a sharp black blur. Breaking away from looking at her beloved face, the actress turned her gaze to a black, cloudy spot and to clarify the picture, slowly raised her fingertips to the mirror and erased the fogged part that hid something from the actress' gaze. Right there in the mirror, where the woman's fingers had just left the surface of the glass, a pig's bloody face appeared, knife in hand. In disbelief, Audrey quickly looked back at the glitch. But her vision did not deceive her, right two meters away from her there is a terrible creature that looks exactly like the actor from the first season of this idiot Cindy and swings at her with a not weak knife, screeching like a pig. The last time Audrey screamed like that was when she was playing Shelby.

Rushing out of the room and into the hall in nothing but a towel, the woman screams and cries uncontrollably. A fucking freak for the sake of the rating is ready to get into her pants, just to make it work. How did he even get into the bathroom if the British woman was there alone and the door was locked? Rushing to the stairs, she slides her wet feet on the floor, afraid to fall, grabs the railing and tries to control herself, goes down to the group that remained below.

The woman's eyes are filled with tears of fear and with her already imperfect vision, everything around her becomes cloudy. Having already overcome the stairs and run out into the hall, she collides with the figure above her. Pressed against her body and scared as hell, she feels long fingers slide over her bare shoulders and begin to soothe her, stroking and drawing circles on her skin. The British woman sobbed deeply, inhaling the smell of women's perfume and calming down to a state of conversation, holding her forearms with her hands and starting to talk hysterically:

— Sidney, you're fucking bastard, — she continues, shouting, — he sent some freak in a pig man costume to scare me in the shower!

— How could he… — Shelby said, her voice outraged and twitchy.

As Audrey wiped the tears from her eyes, she realized that she was clinging to Shelby Miller like a drowning man to a lifeline. The blonde was there when the others were still dealing with Matt and Dominic. Shelby ran out of there in tears, upset and heartbroken, when Audrey flew into her, scared to death. She would have liked it to be Rory, but he was already clearly gone… Recoiling from the warm hands of the woman, not knowing what to say, the British woman noticed how the others approached them.

— What the fuck, Audrey? — Dominic screamed, his lip bruised. Then, noticing the dark-skinned man, Audrey looked first at him, and then at Shelby with red eyes, who ran to her room, a couple of seconds ago holding the actress in her arms.

— There was some ghoul in my bathroom that Sydney hired, — she said more calmly, hugging the man, — when did you get here?

— Recently… — he says heavily. — I'll go check it out.

The man went upstairs to check the bathroom, and Audrey had to get dressed and have a drink, now a glass of wine would not be enough to distract her from this horror-whiskey on the rocks, that's her choice for the evening. As she ran, she could feel herself sweating again and would like to take a shower again, but in this house, she would hardly be able to wash properly now. Sydney's a motherfucker.

 

***

 

Shelby just didn't know what she was expecting when she came to this house. Matt had done that to her, but she still clung to him. She'd looked for him outside of Roanoke, but here they were surrounded by walls and woods, and Shelby thought the man would have no choice. But here, too, he avoided her as best he could. For Shelby, the main mystery was why he had agreed to come back here in the first place, nothing should have kept him in this house, and Matt was not the kind of person who would chase money. And then it was as if someone had slapped Shelby and she'd seen the light. That dirty witch… He's here because of her… It was the only thing on her mind. He didn't want her… he wanted that red-haired woman. Shelby wanted answers, and when she saw Matt in the kitchen, finally crawling out of the basement, determined, she was going to come over and torture him with questions, — who is she, who is this thing that took him from her?

Then they were brazenly interrupted.

Dominic's here. And all Shelby's hopes were dashed. She felt like a dirty and terrible wife again. Cursing Sydney for the hundredth time that day, she had been involved in a fight between two dark-skinned men who had once touched her, and that had been the last straw. Shelby needs to get away from everyone, close up, be alone. After they left the house, Shelby thought that she would never be alone again, but people sometimes disappointed and hurt, and she had to hide. And that's what she was about to do when Audrey flew in, stopping her with a hug. Avoiding further conversation, after the collision, she went up to her room.

When the door slammed and was closed, Shelby's whole world began to fall apart again, just as it had in the pickup truck when she was being driven to the slaughterhouse like some kind of animal. When her leg was broken, as an animal is wounded, something could not go far and died nearby, and then the hunting dogs would bring the prey to the hunter, and the Polks would bring it to the Butcher. The old wound ached and her legs buckled as she carried her body to the chair.

She sobbed uncontrollably, sobbing and shuddering, wiping her face with her hands, over and over, until her palms were completely wet. She was weak. Didn't Matt see that? He promised her that he would love her forever and take care of her, protecting her from the likes of that bitch, not fucking them in front of his own wife. Didn't Shelby deserve to be loved? Just a little human warmth? So fucking much? Survive this madhouse, survive and continue to suffer? Sometimes, she wonders if she's already dead and gone to her own personal hell, because this shit is just like it.

The tears continued to flow, and her shoulders shook with each sob, but Shelby didn't make another sound. Her attention was caught by a camera lying on her clean bedclothes and apparently splattered with someone's blood. Someone brought it here. Is Sydney here to abuse her again?

— Shelby, — woman jumping away from the wardrobe at the sound of a familiar voice. In the wardrobe, there was a familiar female silhouette that she stared at with wet blue eyes, — remember me?

— Agnes, — Shelby whispered, startled.

— Noo-o-o-o, The Butcher! That's my name! That's who I am! — the actress shouted at the woman, confidently holding a cleaver in her hands. All of the woman's clothing she'd worn in the first season of this whole nightmare was covered in blood and mud, what the fuck was Agnes doing here and why did Sydney let her, was this a joke or something?

— What are you doing here? — Shelby mumbled, getting up from her knees and backing toward the safety exit.

Then the older woman began to mumble something in an incomprehensible language, like a line from a script, raising her gaze to the ceiling, giving her victim a chance. And when she decided to rush to the door, Agnes shouted:

— I've come for you, Shelby Miller, to finish what I started!

The sharp blade sank into the woman's flesh, slicing it easily and causing the victim to fall to his knees, starting to scream in pain. The Butcher, perfectly played, began to smile maniacally, scaring the bloodied Shelby even more.

— You're going to die, child, — and with that, she swung her arm over the woman's head and started to laugh as she was about to cut her blonde pumpkin in half.

Shelby closed her eyes, waiting for death. God, she had nothing to lose. A terrible dull pain spread all over the left side of her body, and her strength was rapidly draining away… Seconds before the cleaver ended her failed life and decided to commit one last heroic and stupid act, Shelby pulled out her phone and began filming. It seems that Agnes did not expect this and froze for a couple of seconds, gave the opportunity to the man who burst into the room, as well as possible, to save the life of a woman. With his whole body, he pounced on the old woman and knocked the cold weapon out of her hands with a strong blow, Shelby could still hear the man rattling in her room, breaking the mirror, but then the noises began to recede, she moved. Monet and Audrey grabbed her by the arms and dragged her out of the room, carrying her to the British woman's room.

— Fuck! Agnes — all we needed right now! — Monet swore, pulling Shelby to the edge of the bed.

— I knew we'd seen her! — Darting around the room, looking for a first aid kit and any cloth that will fit as a bandage, she returns to Shelby and tries to talk to her. — Holy shit! Shelby, don't switch off!

Monet watched as Shelby's left side turned purple faster and faster, soaking up the fresh blood in her clothes, which didn't stop pouring, completely dumbfounded. Audrey, having got everything she needed for first aid, flew to Shelby and attended to her wound. Ripping the remains of the shirt off the woman's shoulder, she saw an ugly open wound. The cut was deep, running down the middle between the woman's neck and her shoulder, and the blood was gushing, and if you didn't stop it properly, you could say goodbye to the blonde. Shelby had already lost enough blood to make her mind go blank, and with the pain so intense, she was hanging in limbo, ready to pass out at any moment. When Audrey began to pour alcohol over her shoulder, decontaminating the wound from everything that was on Agnes' knife, Shelby began to fall, lowering her head lower and lower, hissing in pain and whimpering. Audrey grabbed her shoulders, lifting her head, looking at her, trying to hold on to Shelby as she fell.

— Hey! Shel! Don't sleep! You need to sit up straight, I need to close the wound! — Audrey shouted as the woman in front of her sat with her eyes half-closed and her face pale. Audrey was frightened again. Now even a drink won't help you forget those frightened, clouded eyes and the huge amount of her friend's blood. They were friends, after all. Not the best, no, but friends. They had to communicate on the set, willy-nilly, they learned something about each other. When she contacted Shelby on the set, Audrey would ask how to behave properly and what it was like to be Shelby Miller. Although this was not Audrey's favorite role, on the contrary, you can say, not a favorite, the woman played Shelby as a real woman would behave in real life. The British woman learned the scenarios and behavior of her prototype, thus getting acquainted with Miller. She learned a lot about her life. The woman has always been kind to the actress, and to everyone around her, such is her character and nature. Shelby is friendly and sweet, and she was hit with a foul language by Audrey and a knife by Agnes. Hell, Audrey felt sick and ashamed that she might have hurt someone.

— Monet! Lee! Help! Someone hold her down, I have to do a dressing!

Monet didn't move, usually alcohol gives her courage, but even with the amount she drank, not a muscle moved in the direction of the victim. Lee, who had been with Matt all this time, came running from the hall, stunned by what she saw, grabbing her daughter-in-law and holding her upright. Audrey was pulling the torn sheets tightly over Shelby's wound. As soon as the light cloth covered the wound, it was instantly soaked with blood and became completely wet. It was only after a few efforts that the wound was closed and the blood no longer flowed. If it wasn't for the role of doctors and zero knowledge in first aid, Audrey would have never coped.

— Shelby? Do you hear me? How are you doing? — Audrey clutched at the woman in front of her, trembling like a leaf. Fuck, playing it on the screen and messing around in red dyes is one thing, but watching it in real life and touching the blood are completely different things. The British woman put her hand on Shelby's cheek and pushed her hair back, lifting her face, which the woman could not keep straight. — Hey, open your eyes, come on…

 Shelby couldn't sit straight, and Lee was holding her by the arms, leaning on her. She couldn't feel her own body, just a strong tingling sensation in her limbs and a heavy head that kept tipping back until someone took her cheeks in their hands and pointed her face straight at the person sitting in front of her. Feeling the touch and the sound of someone shouting, Shelby struggled to open her eyes, looking at the women in front of her.

— I'm… fine… I think… — Shelby's voice was short and weak.

— Damn, girl, you scared us all, — Monet said, still not getting close.

— Come on, Lee, let's put her on the bed…

Shelby's upper body was completely stained with blood, and she shouldn't have been left in this state, especially since she was lying on Audrey's bed, having already stained the woman's bedspread with bloodstains. Cameras were all over the house, the team, along with Sydney, should have already called an ambulance, the cops, or at least a group of their own people, it remains to wait a little and they will help Shelby better than them. But as she gets up from her seat and goes into the bathroom, Audrey puts her dirty hands on the cold surface of the sink and gives herself time to rest.

Taking a deep breath and letting go of the tension, she rolls up the sleeves of her dress and turns on the hot water. Slowly, calming herself, she washes her hands with soap and water, carefully washing away the blood and brushing it from under her fingernails. Then she switches the water to cold and takes the cool liquid in her hands, splashing it on her face, washing away all the sweat. She takes a towel and buries her eyes in it, inhaling the smell of clean cloth, then wetting it and leaving the bathroom.

Removing the torn shirt from Shelby, she runs a towel over her naked body, causing her to twitch and then goosebumps. Audrey gently and carefully wipes all the blood from Shelby, trying to disturb the woman as little as possible. The towel had to be rinsed and then finished with the torso. Small drops of blood were on the cheeks of the blonde and the actress, gently running the cloth over her face, causing Shelby to open her eyes and look directly at her, with her reddened eyes. Audrey stared at the heavenly eyes until tears flowed from them.

 — Shelby, what is it? Are you in pain?

The bandaged woman nodded, her lower lip clenched in pain. Monet took the lead, and without waiting for Audrey to tell her to go get some painkillers, she went herself.

— Lee, where's Matt? — Shelby asked in a whisper, hoping that her husband would visit her in this state.

— He's in the basement, I don't think he'll come up while Dominic's here…

Shelby's lower lip quivered and she squeezed her eyes shut, sobbing, forcing tears to roll down her cheeks. Lee grimaced a little, wishing she hadn't said it. A dark-skinned actress had just entered the room with a painkiller and a glass of water.

— Here, Shel, drink this and rest, — Audrey said, holding the glass out to the woman with still trembling hands, and helping Shelby to empty the glass.

— Agnes gone, - Dominic entered the room, growling with anger. His fist was covered in blood, possibly shrapnel from the mirror had hit his palm, but he was not seriously injured.

— What do you mean?! How the fuck did she leave? - Monet's voice rose to a shout. The actress was not distinguished by a special calmness and composure, so she began to visibly freak out.

— I don't know, okay? I almost knocked her out, and then she distracted me and disappeared out of the blue! - The man was shouting in his hoarse and raspy voice, though it wasn't loud enough, and Leigh started shouting back at him:

— God, you can't handle an old lady! Where did you even come from?

— Sidney called me, and in case you didn't see, that motherfucker lady had a knife and she stabbed Shelby with it, — he says, just thinking about her, and then he looks at her and continues. — How is she, is the wound deep?

— If you all stop yelling and shut up for a minute, you'll let her rest, you idiots, — Audrey spat. She was sitting on the bed next to Shelby, still holding a wet towel.

— Shelby, how are you? — Ignoring the actress' words, Dominic approached the bed with the wounded woman and asked her at once.

The blonde opened her eyes and looked painfully at the actor. On the one hand, because of him, her husband does not want to talk and contact her, and on the other, he saved her life… But whether she needed this life or not, she didn't know. Shelby didn't say anything, just turned away and sobbed softly again.

— Go away, can't you see that she doesn't want to see you? — Lee snapped. She and the dark-skinned man had a mutual dislike, essentially because of one injured blonde.

Dominic cursed, took one last look at the bandaged woman, and muttered something under his breath about checking the house for Agnes, left the room. The women relaxed a little. Monet, having finished her flask of strong alcohol, decided that this was a good reason to leave the trio and went downstairs for more. Lee and Audrey put a sweater on Shelby and put her already washed figure in bed, just to get her to sleep. The pills began to take effect and the blonde began to nod off. The actresses decided to leave her alone.

— W-wait… — the woman squeaked excitedly. — Don't leave me alone. What if she comes back?

After exchanging glances with each other, Audrey stayed. Lee made a face that even the British woman was disgusted. Someone will soon have to come to the rescue, so it is unlikely that you will have to rot here for a long time. Especially since Shelby is about to fall asleep, the actress will stay on friendly terms for a while.

— Thank you, Audrey…

— Don't worry. You've had a bad time…

— What the fuck is she doing here, and why me?..

Audrey wanted to roll her eyes, but Shelby was looking at her intently, waiting for an answer. Again, this whining and self-flagellation began, the actress was annoyed. Even when in the first season, the British woman played a woman, she constantly had to call for help from her husband, whine and seem completely helpless. Shelby's not a fighter. Completely. What did she say, «Flight or fight»? Well, she'll definitely run away. Yes, and now continues to run. From her husband, from Dominic, from herself… so weak.

— I think because you were the only one upstairs… we should all stay together until things get better.

— I hope Sydney puts that bitch away now that someone's hurt…

— Yes, the first time after me was only enough for the psych ward, now she'll take it in full, don't worry.

— It's still scary…

Shelby shivers. Audrey didn't even notice it right away. When Agnes was banging on the door to the actress, she laid a lot of bricks, the British woman does not even know how Shelby feels. The woman's hands fidgeting on the blanket and fidgeting nervously, her eyes darting around the room from window to door and vice versa, Audrey felt sorry for the woman-again. The blonde went through a lot, you can understand it, but no one wanted it, not that Audrey wanted it, just when you think about it, everything that happened to her is unfair. A womanizing husband, a terrible property purchase, a miscarriage, an affair with a bastard, and Agnes adding fuel to the fire… Audrey moves closer and puts her hand on Shelby's arms, stopping her from playing with the blanket. She squeezes them, drawing the wounded woman's attention, and then, unexpectedly, she gives them away:

— Hey, Shelbs, I'm here, don't be afraid. If anything happened, I'm always here to help, — Audrey doesn't know why, but she says it in a way that makes her believe it.

Shelby looks at the British woman with half-asleep eyes, wants to tell her that she is a liar, an actress, nothing more. Remind her how she'd yelled at her and cursed her down there a couple of hours ago, and now she was acting like this. Is this an aggravation or is this how all Brits behave? She doesn't need this lie, there's already a lot of it in her life. She wants to pull her hands away from her, to move away, but she can't. The eyes close themselves, the hands do not move. They lie under the warm palms of the woman, warming up, she does not remove them, probably thinks that Shelby is satisfied with everything. In a way, it's really nice. Such a calming gesture, from which the woman immediately fell into a dream. She couldn't open her eyes anymore, only felt the blanket fall over her shoulders and the actress moved to the window, and then blackness…


***

Chapter Text

***


 

— What does this degenerate allow himself?! — turns in the head of an overly concerned Audrey Tindall.

After the first hour, Audrey realized that all their shouts to the cameras dedicated to this degenerate Sidney were not just words, but part of the truth, because neither the ambulance, nor even his crooked assistants who could provide first aid, did not appear. Which meant he was a degenerate. For the first hour, surprisingly, Shelby slept even very calmly and without incident, and Audrey, for God's sake, was finally able to sit in peace and get away from all the fucking shit that had happened an hour earlier. The wound was bandaged and the woman's still-sleeping body was no problem. Audrey had been at the wounded woman's bedside all this time, by the way, because of her stupid conscience and guilt. You see, her scared-to-death self wouldn't let her leave pathetic and poor Shelby Miller, or something would happen to that silly girl, and then Audrey would be to blame. But the woman knew who was to blame…

After a two fucking hours, Tyndall agreed with her earlier statement about the «fucking bastard». Seriously, what the fuck, Sydney? How much money would he make from the tears and screams of the wounded Miller? Yes, for the sake of this ending, Audrey is ready to pay him herself already. And Audrey doubted that the fans of this crybaby would approve of such a method of bullying a woman who had already lost everything. And now Agnes is being sued… It didn't fit with what the British woman knew about Sydney. He'll certainly find a profit in everything he sees in front of him, even if it's a fucking mansion in the middle of nowhere, even if it's a crippled woman, but it's was fine if Shelby is at least was awake. Then there would be a fucking drama going on around her, Audrey thinks. Seriously, Dominic would run like a dog around our victim, and this traitor from the basement would then punch him, but the blonde is asleep. So Sidney's brilliant plan, if it was one, had failed. Then why is this asshole sitting on his hands?

During the second hour, Shelby apparently got tired of resting quietly and decided to give the British woman a couple of troubles. While Audrey sits preoccupied in the chair next to the wounded woman's bed and stares out the window at the ever-waiting ambulance or the minions of our fucking bastard, Miller starts talking in his sleep. It's not exactly talking, that's putting it mildly, she starts shouting something and twitching, as if running away from someone. As if she doesn't have enough running around in Java. Audrey was amused at first, watching Miller's pitiful looks and suffering again, like a hare cornered and frightened by the hounds, trying and trying to get away from them, until this madwoman, without noticing it, made her shoulder bleed again. From the sudden and ragged movements, the bandage, so carefully made by Audrey, began to soak in blood again and the British woman swore a bitter obscenity at Shelby as well.

Tyndall had to re-organize the nursing club and re-bandage the blonde, and then add to herself that it wasn't her fucking job to do it, but Sydney's.

— What is this fucking bastard doing?!

Lee also showed up with Dominic, clearly with a similar attitude to the actress. Dominic only saw the bleeding Miller again, cursed Sydney with one of the nicknames given earlier by the British woman, and even added that it was not worth it. Except that Tyndall didn't know what it was. And the three agreed that Sidney Aaron James probably didn't give a damn about the group gathered in this house. Thank God Shelby had calmed down. And Audrey Tindall then realized that she was still a hypocrite, although she had not noticed this for herself before. Dear Shelby Miller, she lies to her face that she is ready to help at any time and will always be there, and then she thinks about why she suddenly said this and whether she was at gunpoint at that moment. Her whole mood jumps just from what is happening around her. Sometimes she is ready to rush to the rescue, then she pours mud. And until the end, he does not understand what he feels and how it comes out. They are in fact nothing and do not connect, not counting the work of course, but does not the British woman consider it work? Help your prototype by shooting a fucking story? And then, for some reason, the idea flashes through my head that such an innocent Shelby could have been paid for her injury, so that she could fill it up. But this mouse is not capable of such a thing, is it?.. She will even believe that her husband sold out for another role, abandoned her, but not that Miller specifically suffered and benefited from it. Now, for some reason, I want to finish up in this room as soon as possible, go pour myself a glass of whiskey or even vodka, pray to all the gods that she was here, and finally call Rory, say that this is just hell and maybe cry into his phone? But she would think about it later…

But three hours after no one showed up on set, Tyndall was ready to get to the motherfucker herself. He's gone from being a degenerate to a motherfucker. Don't tell me he don't deserve it. Also, the entire troupe of this circus in Roanoke had heard about Miller and had come to visit her again in a very friendly way. Honestly, it was disgusting to see how Dominic still managed to grope the poor woman. It was a good thing she was still out, or there would have been an endless stream of tears and snot. Yes, and Dominic is one thing, but Matt did not even deign to ask through his sister how his ex-wife is doing? They're divorced, aren't they? Audrey's not sure why… Not a man's act at all, in short. And Rory never called… But for some reason, the actress did not try to think about it. It seemed to her that if she put her hubby on the back burner, she would be able to cope more easily with the fact that he had left her here. And here, I mean in her room where Shelby is lying. Well, she couldn't leave it for some reason. Audrey was already guilty of hypocrisy, but that didn't really explain why the actress was suddenly so worried about this woman. They were not friends, this is understandable, the British woman also had no conscience, they figured it out, then why?.. If she didn't care, as she always did, she would lie to Shelby and put her to bed, leave the room and not move an eye, but no: 

— Hey, Shelbs, I'm here, don't be afraid. If anything happened, I'm always here, I can help, — is still a heavy burden on the woman's chest. Something about this pathetic actress and helpless woman seemed very mysterious to the understanding of the short-haired one.

The realization crept in, and Audrey felt as if an iron had been slammed into her back between her shoulder blades, and the woman realized that no conscience or other sugary delirium was involved. She remembers looking into her frightened and reddened eyes in the mirror when she wet the towel for our wounded woman and how her hands were shaking with fear and nerves, that's the answer. Audrey Tindall was just really scared for the life of this crybaby, but most of all she was afraid of course for herself. First that pig-face in the bathroom, then that fucking Agnes, and now all this blood — it's all clear. And Audrey was worried that she had become soft, no, just circumstances played a role. Well, at least that's how she reassured herself.… If you can find an excuse for yourself, you won't have to believe that you've become too kind. And Audrey is terrified that she could have changed so much, so she will try very hard to deny it.

— Audrey? — a soft squeak, as if a kitten's tail had been stepped on, came from the actress' bed, distracting her from the same contemplation of the window and thinking about such simple things for three hours.

Tyndall doesn't move, and after a while, pretending at first that he doesn't hear her at all, finally turns to face her and examines her with an unreadable expression. The sleep did her good, at least her eyes don't look so hollow and her skin doesn't look so pale, as if she lost three liters of blood, oh, yes, that's right… After all, she lost it. Tyndall does not understand Shelby's intentions, whether the actress called her or was just surprised by the presence of the British woman. Although the rather surprised look of the yoga teacher indicates that she is surprised rather than demanding something. Audrey doesn't want to go near her. She doesn't want to show that she is ready to throw herself at her feet at any squeak. Anyway, she don't want to admit that she sat here for about three hours just because she told Shelby she would. Go to hell Miller, Audrey thinks to herself, she's already been given too much attention.

— W-what are you doing here? — she asks, still surprised, looking at Audrey with her blue and frightened eyes. And the British woman wants to say: — Ah, I have no idea, baby, — but only for some reason looks more closely at Shelby's heavenly eyes, remembering how she herself had to wear lenses, playing in the first season of the Curse of Roanoke and not close in color to the real irises of a woman. — Have you been with me all this time?

Does she really not believe it or what? Tyndall simply does not understand why she needs this information, so she very simply ignores these questions when considering the victim. Don't let her think she's so special to Tyndall, it just happened…

«So what, even if I was with you, huh?»

— How long have I been like this? — trying to get something out of the actress and go out to talk to Shelby, she realizes that the actress is not going to answer the two previous questions. But even the fact that the actress is here when blue-eyed woke up warms her heart, because she did not have to wake up and come to herself alone. Shelby didn't want to be alone right now. Remembering very vaguely the situation with Agnes and realizing that she could very easily have died, she is actually grateful to Audrey for being here with her, even if she came a minute before Miller woke up.

— Long enough for Sydney to get help, — Audrey finally says, — but he never showed up.

Shelby looks away in front of her and thinks hard about something, Audrey sees the gears turning in her head, and then very pointedly rolls her eyes when the blonde with blue eyes tries to get out of bed. Shelby is very hissing from what moves the shoulder, but the actress just doesn't understand what the fuck else she expected from a cut shoulder with a cleaver. If the wound also reopens, then she will strangle her right on the spot, so that she does not suffer and most importantly does not torment others.

— I advise you not to move, I just changed the blindfold recently and I don't want to do it again, — Audrey says in a warning tone, although she herself discreetly looks behind the blonde, seeing if everything is fine with the blindfold. Shelby looks at the actress in amazement, already in a half-sitting position. Did she hear something wrong? Audrey changed her bandages, and sat with her? The same Audrey who was ready to strangle her at the table with Rory?

It was the surprised look Shelby gave her that made Tyndall wish she hadn't spoken that. Shelby doesn't need to think that Audrey is so beautiful and kind, this is a one-time promotion, so don't let her look at her like that. Under such a gaze, the actress has to look away again to the window and pretend that she is not the least bit embarrassed.

— Thank you, Audrey, you didn't have to, — she says softly, trying to sound friendly and, above all, grateful.

— Yes, — she says defensively, looking directly at the woman now, — I shouldn't have. But Sydney's a motherfucker, so…

Shelby shrinks into the bed at the words and makes a face that Audrey thinks she's overdoing. But she is already tired of it, so she does not wait for anything and gets up from the chair and goes to the door, thinking and imagining, finally, how she will drink whiskey or vodka. Oh, or whiskey and vodka, which is even better!

— We decided we needed to find Sydney, — Monet says, barring the Briton's exit, the smell of blissful alcohol permeating Curly's clothes. And Audrey is standing there with a face like she's ready to punch her in the face, just because she breathes alcohol on her.

— What does it mean to find?

— Dominic somehow knew and let it slip that in the south about a mile in the woods there are Sidney's trailers, — looking over the shoulders of an adult actress at the sound of hissing, Monet sees how the living Shelby Miller is moving towards them at the foot of the bed. — Oh, and Shelby's awake, too.

A disgruntled Tyndall turns directly to the woman who is so actively trying to annoy the British woman and catches her just when her weak legs do not hold the woman and she stumbles right on Audrey. Her cold hands wrap around Tyndall's forearms, and her head is pressed close to the actress' body, trying to keep from falling. Oh, my God, take her away, the blonde with the short hair and the slightly pink cheeks is going to tear her apart like a vulture! And that's exactly what would have happened if the others hadn't come up to the room, like they always do, damn it.

— Oh, Shelby, you're awake, — Lee said breathlessly, taking over the yoga teacher.

— What kind of help, she's barely standing, — Tyndall asks blankly, already starting to get angry.

— You said Dominic let it slip? — When Monet nodded, the dark-skinned woman continued, — but he doesn't know where it is or how to get there.»

— What does Miller have to do with it? — Tyndall asks, tired of their monologue.

— She must remember how to get there, if I understand correctly from Dominic's stories where it is.

— Look at her, where will she get you? To the grave? — I don't know why Audrey gets in. She doesn't care, that's for sure, but this walking misunderstanding will have to be carried through the forest on her own, so she wants her to stay here. And it's almost true…

— I'm still here, bitch, — Miller says sharply, not even expecting this from a woman, pushing Lee away from him and standing on his own two feet, quite straight and almost not staggering. Her goodwill was gone, as was her good attitude. Well, apparently this woman was just pretending to be so kind, and she wants to get rid of her as soon as possible. But why the fuck did she have to sit with Shelby and change her bandages, if Audrey still would then interfere with her shit, as nothing happened, the yoga teacher does not know. — It's in my best interest to find Sydney, in case you haven't noticed, that cunt stabbed me with a cleaver.

Audrey is even a little surprised, but immediately returns a neutral expression. Such aggression and anger. And just now she was thanking her for changing the bandages… And to hell with it, if she wants to go into the woods after the bastard herself, let her go. An actress can help.… But Audrey doesn't care, it doesn't really matter that she's basically telling the truth. Cheeky Shelby Miller was still too naive, so Tyndall did not respond to her screams.

— All right, I'm pa-a-s, — Audrey said, suddenly too upbeat, looking only into Shelby's eyes, — I think I'll go look for vodka, not Sydney. I've had enough of it already, I'm full.

Audrey Tindall retreats from her own room under the incomprehensible stares of the actresses, and she goes down to the kitchen with a nasty smile. Fuck them, fuck them all.

— Blast it, we can do it without her, — Shelby says.

 

***

 

God, Sidney's a motherfucker. Well, the actress will not get tired of repeating this. He called that asshole of our fluffy lamb Shelby — Dominic and he made Miller stay home. He insisted that the poor girl would not be able to move through the forest on her own and that she would only slow down the group. Who the fuck cares?! This curly-haired sheep wanted to run around in the woods, so let her go. She is already a mature and sensible woman, and if she wanted to die, then let her do it, good people. But no, no, now let this hippie sit across from Audrey at the table and cut her crappy vegetable salad in a horribly disgusting way. Tyndall can't even have a drink in this house. The anger may not have been completely directed at the woman in front of the actress, but hell, the whole day is like one big circus, so the British woman just can't hold back, and Miller is the only one who stayed close to her, so everything was directed at her.

In the house, in addition to the two women who were too angry at each other, there was another very volatile husband and most likely, as Tyndall guessed, Shelby was hanging around in the kitchen downstairs because it was closest to the basement with Matt. He unsuspectingly goes to the bathroom or to eat and then his wife will press him. Terrible, but very clever.

Meanwhile, it was getting dark outside, and the group never returned. The British woman did not understand how they discussed everything there and why Dominic went instead of Shelby, as originally planned. But they were gone for a little more than an hour, and the time was coming to that. It was too early to say that they were lost in the woods in an hour, but Tyndall was uneasy, either from the realization that the group might have run away, leaving them here alone with Shelby Miller banging a knife on a glass board. Audrey was already finishing her second glass of whiskey, more upset that it wasn't vodka, when the blue-eyed woman began to entertain the British woman. After cutting her super correct and healthy salad, the woman decided to fill it with oil and holding a salt shaker in one hand, reaches up to the shelf with her damaged hand. Not that Shelby wasn't tall enough, she was a little taller than Audrey, but it was funny how she tried to do it. Her sore arm wouldn't let her get to the right shelf, and feeling an increasing pain, the blonde gets angrier and angrier. And Tyndall can't stand it and snorts with laughter, almost spurting blissful alcohol in all directions, attracting the attention of the wounded woman:

— What's so funny? — Shelby asks angrily, grinding her teeth.

— Nothing at all, just the way you try to seem very proud and self-sufficient, although without the help of others you can not even get the butter from the shelf, — getting up from the chair with a glass in her hand, says Audrey — I can not imagine how you were going to be in the woods. They've been gone for so long, and if you'd been with them, I'm afraid they'd never have come back.

— Why do you even care if I came back or not? — Shelby says, and Tyndall's smile fades a little at that. Tyndall has no answer to this question. — Weren't you the one who snapped at me, yelled at me, and blamed me for all your problems a few hours ago?

— If i could do what i want…

But not by the will of the ladies, a loud rumble and growl interrupts their «sweet» conversation. It was as if something loud and massive had fallen flat, and then it was being dragged across the floor with a screech. They immediately stop talking and look at each other, trying to figure out where the noise is coming from. But there's also Matt in the house, maybe that's him. Without waiting for a repeat of the sound, Shelby heads to the basement, and Audrey follows her, so that the wounded woman does not accidentally do anything, and of course to check. Well, maybe to watch the drama from the front rows.

Shelby's face immediately changed, fear and pain showing as if nothing had happened, as if an old wound that had been healed for a long time had begun to bleed again. She had
prepared herself for the worst, although the actress didn't understand why Miller was suddenly so alarmed. Audrey didn't take anything seriously, not the drama before her eyes, not Shelby's suffering, not exactly what was hiding in the basement. Although it would be worth it…

— Matt?.. — A woman called through the half-open basement door.

 — Are you all right, man? — Audrey asks, pushing the long-haired blonde away from the aisle and entering first. Her glass of almost-finished whiskey was suddenly completely empty and left on the doorstep when the British woman, for courage, apparently finished the entire contents, stretching for the whole evening, in two sips.

Miller didn't even try to fight Audrey, who was now walking in front of her, because she didn't care about the woman as much as her husband did. And he would definitely want to see Audrey more than he would want to see his wife. How did it even come to this…

The descent into the dark and cool basement took longer than usual by normal standards. There was no light down there, maybe Matt was asleep and it was all just the women's imagination, but all the darkness made it harder to find the stairs until the blondes thought to get the phone, courtesy of Sydney. And by the way, fuck him, so as not to forget, just in case.

As soon as the flashlight from Shelby's phone cleared the darkness in front of the women and the outlines of things became at least a little visible, the incomprehensible grunts and growls again resounded from below, echoing down the remaining stairs with the actresses. Then, out of nowhere, a gust of wind, as if a window had been opened below, slammed into the faces of the terrified women, making them shiver with cold. And Audrey, for some reason then swallowing loudly, sharply regretted that she was going first, and Miller was hiding behind her. If this is Sydney's joke, then the British woman will sue him, fuck it. It's necessary to be able to scare the shit out of you, and this is despite the fact that Tyndall is also a bit of a giveaway. I'm afraid she'd have had a heart attack if she'd been sober.

From the far corner, there was another scrape of something heavy on the floor and a scuffle, and then a deathly silence. Realizing that the blue-eyed woman's flashlight has begun to shake, adding to the confusion before her eyes, Tyndall turns abruptly and snatches the phone from the woman's hands, with the other hand telling her to keep quiet if she decides to make a noise. Shelby just looks at Tyndall with horrified eyes and nods slightly, looking down again. Slowly turning back to the foot of the stairs with a flashlight in her hands, slowly illuminating the last step, Tyndall thinks that there is something right around the corner… the British woman exhales heavily and is covered with goosebumps from head to toe. If, she sees something there now, or that idiot Matt jumps out at them, by swear to God, Tyndall will throw off his skates, first swearing at everyone present with a three-story obscenity. Trying to look closely and understand what it is, the British woman suddenly hears the creak of the basement door closing behind her, through which she and Shelby entered. The two women turn in unison from the bandaged woman to the door and exhale in alarm, watching as in a split second the pig-faced fraek slams the door behind them with a loud bang.

— Fuck! — Audrey shouts, automatically grabbing Shelby to keep from falling off her feet. Her knees are shaking, and inside, it's as if all her organs have been turned upside down by surprise. The blue-eyed woman steps down next to the actress, and Audrey feels Miller shake. Clutching the fabric of the actress' dress with trembling hands, she did not even squeak, only breathed raggedly, which is not very like a woman.

— Motherfucker, — Shelby says.

— There's only one way, — she says, looking down into the darkness of the basement, — and I'm afraid that way isn't up…

Admitting to herself that it's all very much like the hell of the damn house, Shelby doesn't risk calling out to Matt again, cutting through the darkness of the basement with her voice. You never know what might respond. It could be Matt, or it could be one of the Butcher's ghosts. She and Audrey are still standing on the seventh step, until more grunts hit their ears. Maybe a man needs help, and they're standing there not moving. The fact that she is the first to dare to step lower on the stairs proves that the British woman is still braver than the woman standing behind her.

When they fully descend, their eyes run wildly and fearfully around the entire space, looking first for the culprit of the loud noises, and then for Matt. Next to the wall where the secret passage is hidden, there are heavy-looking boxes and frames from old paintings, and next to them, Matt is sitting on his makeshift bed. The man looked a little out of it… His glasses were low and uneven on his nose, ready to fall off at any second, and his eyes, hidden behind the thick glass, stared at a point directly in front of him with a blurry look. He inhaled deeply and exhaled slowly as he exited, raising and lowering his shoulders. The dark-skinned man was wearing a T-shirt that was almost torn to shreds, but the man didn't look like he was hurt or injured. His lips and neck were a little wet, and the women found Matt very strange.

— Hey, buddy, what happened to you? — Audrey asks in confusion, putting one of her hands on the man's shoulder, shaking him.

But the ex-husband of the blonde did not even seem to feel their presence and the touch of the actress on his shoulder. Shelby had been standing quietly behind the actress all this time, afraid to even take a step closer to her husband, and was looking at him.

— You didn't see anyone here? — The Briton tries everything, as Miller's hand went to her back, gently pushing her away and trying to try it herself.

— Matt, — the woman said softly, forcing the words out, — can you hear me?

The man only blinked in the direction of his wife and stared blankly, mesmerizing.

— What happened? — Gently, Miller's hand rests on her husband's wrist, stroking it. And the man seemed to get an electric charge from the touch and jumped away from the woman, staring at her.

— I'm sorry… I don't — the bandaged woman pulls away.

Tyndall certainly expected to see drama, but this is a fucking freak show. Who does he think he is? As far as Tyndall knows, this friend was the first to cheat on Shelby, and now he's playing the good boy. Yes, Miller is also not perfect, but she just had no way out, it was quite boring. What about Matt? Fucking womanizer. The actress is disgusted with just one look at the way a man looks at his wounded wife.

— Matt, I just want to help and talk to you, — she says, on the verge of tears.

And Matt doesn't seem to hear, he keeps looking at his wife with a blank and incomprehensible look, until something finally clicks in his brain and he grins like a rabid animal, breathing loudly and taking off, attacks Shelby. His heavy arms wrap around her neck and he looks into her eyes, sparing no effort, squeezes. Shelby just manages to squeak and start to gasp mercilessly, looking intently into her husband's eyes and seeing so much anger and despair in the irises blackened with anger that Miller could give up, just to never see such anger directed in her direction. She feels as if due to the lack of air in her eyes, it begins to darken and tears begin to flow out of them uncontrollably, because such a force can kill a person in a matter of seconds.

— Have you lost your mind here in the dark? — Audrey shouts at the man, trying to pull his hands away from the blonde. She doesn't have the strength, all she can do is hang on to his forearm, hoping he'll let go. — Matt, stop!

But the dark-skinned man is not going to stop, he presses his thumbs on the windpipe, grinning, and Miller can not even squeeze out a squeak, just rolls his eyes in agony and gives up. Fuck, Audrey's shivering again. A shiver runs through her body, and goosebumps run from the tip of her fingers to her toes. Why is this Miller so attracted to danger and failure? She sees no other option but to use force. The woman grabs the first wooden rail that comes to hand, lying around the scattered picture frames, and after a good swing, apologizing in advance, slaps the rail right in the man's face. The man, dumbfounded by the blow, leans to the side and grabs his bleeding ear and the glasses that have broken near his face. At the same time, Shelby falls to her knees and gasps for air, sobbing and rubbing her neck.

— What's gotten into him… — the wounded woman croaks in her injured voice, moving further away from her husband to the wall.

— I'll tell you what's wrong with him, — Tyndall says, sounding more angry at Matt than at Shelby, as he sits down next to the yoga teacher and puts a protective arm around her shoulders. — he's the fucking cunt who almost strangled you! What if you came down here alone?

Shelby looks distantly first at the woman in front of her with grateful enough eyes, and then at Matt, clutching his cheek, blood dripping from his broken glasses. She had no idea he hated her so much. So much so that he is ready to kill… Shelby takes anger and annoyance. She gave him everything, sacrificed everything she could, even agreed to go back to hell of her own free will, but he doesn't seem to see it. Matt was the meaning of the wounded woman's life, and now… She lowers her brows to the bridge of her nose and lets hot tears run down her cheeks and chin. A woman who doesn't know her properly saves her life for the second time, and her husband attacks her with his hands. She doesn't allow herself to make a sound, just looks at her husband and quietly seethes. How the fuck did he dare do this to her? She could afford to repay him in the same way. Just by putting her hands to his throat…

From the passageway under the house, a sound is suddenly heard and the picture covering the passageway moves to the side, as a face and tousled red hair are shown from there. The scary woman gives herself permission and in small dashes in front of the actresses approaches Matt, grabbing his hands, wild eyes examining Shelby. Not only has there just been a massacre of two once-loving hearts, but there's also a fucking witch. Audrey Tindall cringed at her appearance. It's supposed to be an actress from the first season… But this plague, not only does it not even remotely look like an actress, but it also makes your guts twist involuntarily and your brain cramp with fear just by looking at it. The British woman looks at the strange creature, vaguely resembling a woman, and Matt presses her closer and closer to him. Just looking at it makes her head spin and blood run cold with fear. It wasn't until the witch dared to smile a triumphant smile at Shelby. Then Shelby realized that Matt had attacked her because of the plague. Traded a man who loved him, who had been married to him for ten years, for what?.. On a fucking miracle-bitch?! Audrey suddenly feels uneasy from all this and she lifts Shelby to her feet, asks her to leave. Blue-eyed gets up in Audrey's arms and keeps looking at these two freaks, burning a hole in them. Her knuckles were white and her fists itched, and she was a yoga teacher. It had never occurred to her to hurt anyone, and certainly not Matt. If it weren't for the British woman's pleas to get out of there so quickly, Shelby doesn't know what she could have done. After another muffled sound from the actress, they do so, leaving Matt and the witch of the millennia alone in the basement.


***

Chapter Text

What could Audrey Tyndall say to all this? Not much out loud, that's for sure. To this day, a small shiver runs over her shoulders and her eyes focus on one place for a long time. Every movement that a woman tries to pass through herself is not easy for her. Just the thought of her new husband throwing himself at her like that, and looking at her with eyes full of hatred, makes her mind shake. For some reason, after seeing the whole performance herself, Audrey feels sorry for Miller in a completely new way. Either she understands her as a woman who has only recently married, or simply as a woman. But to protect a wounded woman from a psychotic man, Tyndall would have rushed without hesitation again, if only not to meet with such a thing ever again. No, seriously, just thinking about what Shelby feels isn't enough, it needs to be felt the hard way, and Audrey really doesn't want that. They go back upstairs to the kitchen, to the counter with an unfinished salad and an empty whiskey glass. The British woman looks at her furtively, trying not to cause more trouble than the yoga teacher needs.

Shelby was completely out of this room with her mind. She seemed to be staring straight ahead, as if hypnotized, and she was rubbing her neck, weakly running her fingertips over a place that was already beginning to turn red, and later, for sure, would turn into dark bruises that would accompany the woman for a decent time, reminding her what the fuck happened in this shitty basement. The tears no longer flowed from her eyes, only faintly visible traces of wet drops remained on her cheeks and under her reddened eyelids. Malice seethed in her heavenly eyes, drowning in an ocean of now-rich dark blue. And Audrey wasn't quite sure who the woman was so angry with. At her husband or at herself…

What did Shelby Miller have to say about that? Well, she had already thought about a lot and turned it over in her head. Her sacrifices were nothing to him, nothing at all. She was living with this damn man, and she couldn't even fully imagine herself without him around. What would she do now? How to live on? It turns out that no one really needed her. Her husband to be right. From just one touch and a couple of words in his direction from the bandaged side, it was enough for the man to blow the roof off. How could he lay a hand on her? Did his male ego play a trick, or did that unwashed creature whisper nasty and disgusting words in his ear, just to get the dark-skinned one to snap? Shelby was willing to believe only the latter, refusing to accept the apparent truth. She would have been ready to justify him again, and to justify him a whole lot more times, saying that it was her own fault, but this time they were not alone, and poor Audrey saw everything. Words weren't enough to stop him, and Tyndall didn't hesitate to slap Miller's womanizer in the face. How shameful and disgusting it is to realize that in addition to them, a completely ignorant woman also participated in their showdown. Lee was another matter, she was in the role of protective mom for Matt. And this time Audrey was on Shelby's side, wasn't it the woman's imagination? She saved her life again, and she didn't disdain to get her hands dirty, to tarnish her reputation on the cameras. The other woman cared more about her than her own husband… the more the blonde thought about it, the more details and joints came out, like a wormhole that was torn off each time and began to fester anew.

Recovering from her shock and disappointment, Shelby pulled out a glass of wine that wasn't yet filled to the brim and reached into the liquor cabinet. After taking a couple of long sips, savoring the taste that stung her tongue, she turned and addressed the actress for the first time:

— Thank you, — was all she could think of to say.

Tyndall suddenly perked up with the still empty glass clutched between her fingers and a little embarrassed by all the shit that had happened, tried to smile at Miller, not quite knowing how to act or what to say so as not to make the yoga teacher even more angry. She closed her lips and exhaled deeply:

— I'm glad I was there…

— Yes, I don't know what I did then if you wasn't go with me there, — the woman immediately replied, putting all the emotions into these words. And she really couldn't even think of a way to act. Death had crept up on her for the second time that day, so what could she expect? Although she was in such a state now that she would have liked to end her suffering, it was better for the British woman not to hear about it out loud.

And after all, the actress wants to say that everything will be fine and things will definitely get better, but only this would be a blatant lie, seasoned with self-love and selfishness. Maybe from the fact that the actress could at least squeeze out something encouraging and help her conscience calm down, but these words would only warm up the guts of an irritated Miller. And somehow, the evil Miller scared her enough to keep her mouth shut. Who in their right mind would know what a yoga teacher could do in anger?

There was only one fair question left… What should they do now? Shelby asked herself this question because she no longer saw the prospects in front of her. Only darkness and sadness, she noticed with annoyance on the horizon. How can she live on? A fresh batch of silent and desperate tears rolled down her cheeks.

— Rory?

Shelby, interrupted from her trance by another woman's exclamation, looked up at the actress. The short-haired woman was looking at the phone screen with a very disappointed and frightened face. And Miller couldn't even imagine what she saw there, because nothing would normally frighten an actress so much, and now her face was even paler… Wait, how did she get a regular phone?

— You little red-headed bitch! — she swore, throwing the phone far away on the floor and furiously clenching her fists, grabbing a bottle of wine started by a yoga teacher. Something on her face showed complete awareness, as if she was waiting for what was left on the phone screen.

Miller was so interested in what was happening to the actress that she broke away from self-flagellation and went to Tyndall's phone, which was now cracked with cobwebs on the glass. It showed a correspondence with a woman, and then a video where a red-haired boy makes out and kisses some young girl behind the actors ' trailers, apparently on the set. There was no other word for her, and she couldn't have been more than twenty-two.

— I knew it, — she says, turning to Miller, deliberately answering her questioning look and taking another sip straight from the bottle, — it was a very clever excuse to leave.

— Knew what? What is it? — she asks doubtfully.

— He's cheating on me, Shelby — Tyndall says.

— What the fuck did I expect?! Audrey yells, as if asking a blue-eyed girl. — I knew I was just a cover for his latest fling. A very good strategy to cover up his frequent drunken antics and sexual perversions. I thought his PR manager was just a piece of shit…

— Why are you so sure? Maybe this woman specifically wants to quarrel with you.

— Because she's a private investigator — she continues, throwing her hands up again in a very emotional gesture, — I hired her specifically for this, after my director got suspicious. And as soon as I was locked up on the project, he decided to hit all his women!

Shelby didn't know what to say. She'd been disappointed in another man that day…

— What the fuck else is going to happen today for this day to finally end?

As if hearing the angry words of the actress, day decided to present the last trump card in his sleeve and serve it as best as possible. Women don't even have time to catch their breath between all the shit that happens on this project. Sidney did his best, the audience won't even be able to go to the toilet from the fucking TV sets…

At the request of the actress, Dominic broke into the house. The door through which he had flown could easily fly off its hinges, but he carefully closed it, leaning on it with his whole body, resting and catching his breath. He was breathing very loudly and grunting as he tried to hobble to the counter in the kitchen where the two women were standing. His dark jacket was smeared with wet mud, and there were twigs and other debris on the sleeves. He was barely able to stand, because there was a laceration on his left calf, as if he had torn it off on a rock or bushes. Dominic was covered in sweat and blood, from his face to his clothes.

— Dominic? — Looking at Shelby first, as if checking to see if Miller sees what she sees, the actress asks, — What happened? Where are the others?

— I parted with them when we were attacked by the Polks… — taking out paper towels from the cabinet and carefully trying to wash off the blood with them. The man was nervous.

— What? Polks? — Audrey asked incredulously.

— Yes! Damn it, when we found Sidney's trailers, everyone was already dead, including Sidney himself. We started to panic and so decided to go back and wait for the rest of the film crew, who were not found at the trailers, but on the way we ran into these rednecks! — all the words that came out of Dominic's mouth quickly were accompanied by a shaky voice and heavy breathing that the man could not stop. He was clutching at his head, and would almost have fluttered in place if only his leg would have allowed him to do so.

The words that Sidney, who had been cursed all day, was dead made the women's breath catch and their eyes widen.

— So that's why he didn't do anything… — thought Shelby.

— How can this piece of shit be dead? — Audrey asks blankly. — Are you sure that this is not a production, not a very realistic make-up?

— Do you want to go back there and check it out yourself if you don't believe me? — the man yells angrily.

In fact, Tyndall has no reason to believe this not very positive hero. He still from the scandalous history with Miller showed himself as a lying asshole who is ready to sell unless not for money, so for a good PR. And it doesn't matter if it's a black PR. And he's also trying to say that the hillbillies from season one are real… Yeah, no shit, Tyndall bought it! What allows to believe him? Maybe this is a move to get to tell actors some more secrets to Sydney's cameras.…

— Then who killed them? Agnes or something? — the British woman said too nervously to be ironic. — Do you think the old lady could handle the entire film crew?

— This old lady has a gun…

Dominic wasn't in the mood to fight Tyndall, who was trying so hard to make him look bad. He glared at the actress and was about to mutter something to her again when Shelby interrupted their cold war:

— Where are Lee and Monet? Can they make it in this dark?

— I'm not sure if they were able to get away from those pigs, — Dominic says, looking down at the floor in shame.

— So you think we're going to believe your story about the Polks actually being out there and roaming these woods? Think about it, would Cindy have sent us here if he knew about all this?! — the short-haired woman says aggressively. What kind of nonsense is this comrade talking about? Audrey holds on to the last thread of reason, trying not to believe every word this idiot says.

— You don't understand a damn thing yet, do you, Audrey? — turning to the British woman with a shout, says the dark-skinned man. — All this bullshit from the first season — it's all not fucking fiction! I saw these unwashed freaks myself, they had a stun gun and a gun. It was as if they knew we were going to be in these woods and had come out to hunt us on purpose. If you don't believe me, ask Miller!

— This is just nonsense… — the woman says, lowering her voice with shouts.

Tyndall comes around the counter and moves closer to the blue-eyed woman, standing with her back to the actor. The actress lowers her voice almost to a whisper and carefully looks into the eyes of the bandaged woman, asks a question:

— Shelby, do you believe him?

The actress suddenly wanted to snuggle closer to Shelby and hear her tell her in ear that this was just a dream or a joke. The British woman wants Shelby to be on her side and also does not believe the man with all this nonsense. But the yoga teacher looks at the plaintive and frightened look of the actress, who has so carefully turned away from Dominic that she does not even want to tell her the truth:

— Audrey, I told you it was all true…

Audrey feels like she fell asleep on her bed and everything that happens is just a very violent nightmare. This whole Roanoke thing can't be true, it just can't be… it doesn't happen. Maybe she'd just left out the fine print in the contract with Sydney, right at the bottom, saying that she had to pretend to believe it all. Maybe there's also a script? There is simply no other explanation, and there can be no other explanation…

— And what are we going to do if it's true?! — The actress asks hysterically and loudly, recoiling from Shelby as if she has betrayed her by telling the truth.

— We need to find Monet and Lee immediately, they're probably still out in the woods, — Miller says.

— Are you crazy? Look at me, I barely made it here! — the man says.

— We're not likely to find anyone in this dark, we're more likely to get lost ourselves.

— And if they were captured by the Polks? Then there's no time to lose, they could have done anything with them… — trying to convince the rest of the house that this is the right thing to do, Shelby explains.

— Then they will do it with us too, — says the actress — we have two wounded, on the street at least an eye out, and you suggest that we go unprepared to nobody knows where?

— Then what do you suggest? Do nothing? Sit around and wait, hoping they can get here on their own? — looking around the actors, Miller asks, and seeing how Dominic nodded, she blushed even more than before, — So this is not going to fucking work! Don't think we're safe in this house, the red moon has already risen, which means we only have a few days before the Butcher comes for us to gut us all! The Polks are just people you can kill them if you have a gun. To sit here is to doom yourself to death.

Strange, but this monologue Miller did not inspire anyone, only on the contrary more scared. Fear crept right under their skin, even the house no longer seemed safe, the feeling that they were being watched and hunted strained everyone in the house. Audrey, lost in thought, hypnotized the blonde. This woman, standing here in front of her just a few steps away, turns out to be her hero. And Tyndall had just realized that. Everything that Tyndall had met only on the set and with the actors, Shelby did live. She had run away, fought and tried to survive in this damned place, it turns out in fact… The British woman suddenly felt guilty for being so angry at her that she thought her weak and pathetic, helpless. Only a sense of pride remained in the place of pity. But the realization that they are in that very terrible place, in great danger, makes the blood in their veins run cold and goosebumps run down their backs.

— But we'll only make it worse if we follow the others into the night. Now we must prepare ourselves, have at least some plan of action, patch up the wounds, and go in search of them in the morning, when it will be light.

— I agree with Audrey, Shel. I've been running for miles through the woods without stopping, my leg hurts like hell, I can't help it. Tomorrow it will be wiser to go to the rescue, — Dominic said, getting to his feet and heading for the stairs. — I hope you'll help me dress the wound and we'll discuss the plan.

Neither of the women said anything more. They looked at each other and followed the man upstairs.

Chapter Text


 

 

Audrey trailed behind Shelby straight into Dominic's room, waddling from one tired foot to the other and nervously glancing behind her, checking whether the cleaver was flying at her again. Shock, fear, disbelief — filled her so completely that she could not even utter an extra word. She wanted, so as not to lie, to behave just like Miller in the first season: afraid of absolutely any noise and an incorrectly bent branch to window, similar to the sinister hand of a Slaughterer, to hide in a corner like a scared to death animal and only squeaking, not letting anyone near. All this bullshit, which until recently she called a script, turned out to be true, and not scribbles invented by Sidney on paper. Well, it's just fucking «perfect». Much better, no, seriously.

 

Just walking into a man's room and seeing him groaning like a wounded dog trying to sit on the bed, Audrey not only rolls her eyes, but is also ready to give up right now from helplessness, because, let's be honest, such an infirm group of people is unlikely to be able to do anything against the fucking hillbillies with weapons and the ghosts of Roanoke. Tindall doesn't even know who to blame anymore. This idiot is dead, and all the responsibility lay on him. Who the fuck will save her? Sidney, as mentioned above, is dead, Rory, apparently, will only be happy to remain a widower. Even according to the law, she actually came here herself. Annoyance suddenly jumped even higher than fear against the background of all this absurdity.

 

— How much time do we have? — the actress asks. Now time began to fall so rapidly from her hands, which only generated a great panic. — A day, two, a couple of hours?

 

— Two days, i guess, — Shelby said in a very detached voice, helping the man reach the first-aid kit, which was already battered and half empty due to Miller's recent wound. Shelby tried to collect her thoughts and all the options for getting out of the situation, but the way Audrey flashed in front of her, with a face expressing a semblance of fear and full of irritation, constantly distracted her.

 

— Tindall, don't be in front of eyes, you need to calm down, — Shelby said, rubbing her eyes with fatigue and thinking about washing to remove the mess of dried and tightening tears from skin.

 

— Calm down?! — she screamed, — calm down, yeah. — now the British woman repeated in the affirmative with a sneer in her voice.

 

— Some kind of fucked-up thing is happening around us, and you tell me to calm down, — standing up in front of the blue-eyed woman and drilling her with a look, again, as if they want to kill them because of her and it's all her fault, the woman freaks out, — we are stuck in some kind of ass, there is no one to come save us, and even in addition, we need to go save the others!

 

No, the way Tindall said it really felt like an accusation, as if, the yoga teacher of all people, was to blame for all of this. Shelby had the familiar disgusting feeling when they don't believe you to the last, and then they give out that it's all your damn fault that you didn't tell them earlier. And only able to roll her eyes at the British woman, Miller again drills a point on the floor with a detached look.

 

— We will try to return for Lee and Monet and leave on the way to the city, and then we'll find help, — having already treated the wound and finally breaking away from it, Dominic joined the conversation.

 

— Well, yes, it will be just as fucking simple and safe as in the fucking first season!

 

— It will not be easy and safe, as you said, — the blue-eyed woman accompanied her words with an empty, even a little hopeless look, — this idiot has doomed us all to death. If we are lucky — we will live, if not, we will stay here forever…

 

Audrey Tindall even squinted away from Miller's attitude. To be honest, her luck is all below average and what to do with this information now she does not know. If Shelby, who had gone through all this nonsense, now spoke with such a mood, then it seems that actress can not even count on life… But the wild irritation that appeared from somewhere like a hot lump in the throat does not fade, but only on the contrary grows stronger and the British woman speaks out:

 

— Don't you dare talk such shit, do you hear? If it will be necessary, we will strangle these rednecks with our own hands and jump through the forest to escape from this madhouse. — Shelby's eyes even seemed to light up with a barely visible light of hope. Audrey has this temper, the rod is not broken and whole, with the help of which she has a chance to survive. Miller has nothing left of rod after everything she went through. And whether the British woman will be able to pull everyone out on her own strength of spirit was a controversial issue.

 

— Shel, she's right, don't despair so early, we'll cope with all these freaks. Tomorrow morning at sunrise we will go to the house of the regiments. Then my leg didn't let me cope with them, I think now an adult man will be able to handle with them, — Dominic said enthusiastically.

 

— That's bullshit, — reacting to Dominic's words, as if he said the most fucking unbelievable and naive shit in the world, Shelby says next, — don't underestimate them, these assholes will shoot without thinking, besides, they are much more than us. If we want to get Lee and Monet out, we need to do it quietly.

 

— What do you suggest?

 

— We'll sneak to the Polks house and take Lee and Monet noiselessly. And then we get out of there by car — we'll steal a truck from them. — maybe Shelby didn't have much hope of winning, but her head was working in the right direction.

 

— The main thing is to have at least some kind of weapon, — Tindall thinks aloud in a whisper, not believing her own words. She has never held a real weapon in her hands, except for the gun of her distant uncle, but here…

 

— So this is our plan, — the dark-skinned man concluded hurriedly. — I think we should finally rest now. I'm terribly tired and exhausted. So, good night, ladies.

 

Although there was a plan, it did not give any magical calm and confidence. And as soon as everyone ran to their rooms, it became really scary. At least Miller is alone in her room, where until recently she almost lost her life. She lay on her back and peered into the darkness of the room, trying to see the ceiling. In fact, there was no one to save her either. Sidney is dead, Matt almost killed her today, so he definitely won't protect her, and Dominic, in case of real danger, would rather leave her than help. Of course, there was also Tindall, playing today as a defender of the weak and crippled, apparently. But why, suddenly, she began to stand up for the yoga teacher in such a way is not clear to her. Miller thinks that this is the last race before she dies. What else can she do? Her life completely loses its meaning and risking the salvation of Lee and Monet no longer seems such a bad scenario. If it had been then, in the first season, fuck no she would have agreed to such an operation. She would have tried to escape or hide, but now, m-yes. She is climbing into the clutches of the Polks.

 

Interrupted by self-reflection, Shelby hears a noise outside the door. And she even holds her breath, listening to the silence of Roanoke at night. Everything subsided as quickly as it began, but the woman lost the only grains of sleep. Now, in the shadows, looking at them until your eyes ache, you see how the creatures of the night begin to dance, they also make you open your eyes wider, and the body seems to turn to stone. In the corridor outside the bedroom door, she suddenly heard another creaking of floorboards and rustling. Shelby even thought that she would wait for death tonight. It was difficult to see anything on the clock on the wall in such darkness, so she takes out the phone that Sidney kindly gave her and looks at the time on it. It's fifteen minutes to midnight, and blue-eyed still can't sleep, and her shoulder is aching.

 

The rustling as an accompaniment of this night mixed together with the wild howling of the wind in the cracks between the wooden cracked shutters of the windows of this damn house. But the creaks in the corridor did not subside, on the contrary, they only became louder and louder, as if someone was going to the door of a wounded woman. Shelby gets up sitting in bed and turns on the bedside lamp, first looking around her room, and then stopping her gaze at the front door. And with all the great desire to look away, like a five-year-old hiding under the bed or at least under the blanket, Miller, on the contrary, drills the opening with her blue eyes. And now the footsteps are heard right under the door, abruptly disappearing, the long-haired woman swallows, waiting. As if someone is thinking how best to break into her room and finish her off, or the monster is specifically waiting for the moment to burst into the bedroom with a scream and kill the blue-eyed woman with a heart attack.

 

A minute, two, how much more has passed, the woman does not know, because under the weak light of the lamp, she hypnotized the door without looking up, waiting for something. Suddenly, a knock. Cautious, barely audible, asking for permission and uncertain almost only noise. Well, ghosts wouldn't knock like that, would they? The knock echoed through the room and a moment later the door creaked slightly open. A short-haired woman appeared from behind the door and asked:

 

— Are you asleep? — quietly and uncertainly.

 

— You scared me to the fucking death, — Shelby breathes, relieved. — It's hard to sleep here/

 

— So I can't sleep either, — the woman slips into the room and closes the door behind her, — I keep seeing all sorts of crap in the dark and thoughts come into my head…

 

— Come in, — understanding the woman in this question, the blue-eyed woman invites her, tapping on the place next to her on the bed.

 

And why not let Audrey in? Shelby, who wanted to be alone in the afternoon so much today, now has a wound on her shoulder and, to be honest, now she does not want to be alone at all. The woman does not have a big choice, there are two other people in the house besides her, but Audrey is a priori better than Dominic. Although she didn't think so before… After all, she turned to Banks for help in a difficult moment, and not to a friend from the shooting — Tindall. And that's why it seems that half of the Roanoke fandom hates her. A traitor and a psycho is a class stigma. And now Audrey has come to her, and not to Dominic, which is a little unclear for Shelby, but she does not complain. It's ridiculous to even imagine, but Miller imagined a frightened Tindall sneaking down the corridor to her door on tiptoe and coming up, standing for another minute with her hand raised to gather the courage to knock.

 

Audrey climbs onto the bed next to the woman and falling under the light of the lamp, Shelby notices the red eyes of the actress and not a single hint of sleep in them. She apparently just cried — there are many reasons why, in fact. And Shelby might even want to cry too, but she couldn't even squeeze out tears.

 

— How's your shoulder? — the actress asks, bringing the yoga teacher out of his thoughts.

 

— It's whining, — she says shortly.

 

— How are you doing at all? — Miller asks instead, deciding to cover this issue with red eyes, because she didn't really want to talk about her own problems. She just wanted to forget about them.

 

— I think you've been through more than I have today, so it's me who should be interested in this question from you, — she says, smiling.

 

— Yes, we've all been through a lot today, — Miller agrees.

 

After the words of the blue-eyed woman, several minutes passed and Audrey, thinking about what to say, returned to Miller's question about how her affairs were:

 

— My fucking phone has died and it seems that with my stupid jealousy I've wasted our safe chance to call the cops… — the actress filters through her teeth guiltily. Shelby turns an unreadable look at her and Tindall is afraid to imagine what machinations Miller will be ready to do with her now, but she paused and glared at her with blue eyes, turns away, now looking out the window and says:

 

— I probably would have done the same thing if I had a similar situation… — she said it so dejectedly and sadly that Audrey felt guilty again only because her husband did not try to kill her, as Matt did. Miller's husband also cheated on her and tried to strangle her with his bare hands, and did it all a hundred times worse than the British woman situation. And Tindall couldn't think of exactly what to say to make Shelby feel better. Are there any words in the world that would make her feel better?

 

— I'm sorry, Shelby… — Audrey whispers.

 

They are silent for some time, but they are not asleep in one eye. The whole house is surprisingly quiet and calm, as if this is not Roanoke and not a place teeming with ghosts of various colors and shapes, but just a country house. But the howling of the wind outside the window and the creaking of the roof brought back to reality and Audrey immediately believed more that they were on the lands of the lost colony. The British woman turned her attention to the room. That mirror which was broken today with the help of Agnes and Dominic was still lying on the dresser in some pieces, and to be honest, Tindall is glad that it is broken, because she did not want to see her tear-stained and red eyes in the reflection. The thought of her husband, which she had first postponed because of all the shit that had happened, and then because he was a fucking traitor, finally caught up with her at the end of the day and replaced all the irritation with salt water that quickly ran out of the brown eyes in her room. It was a betrayal, because she loved him as much as the age difference and her own cockroaches in her head allowed. Even the thought flashed that he could not stand all this distrust on the part of the actress, but Audrey does not like to dig into herself, it's easier to just believe that he did it, because he is young and has absolutely no taste for good women. The British woman does not even notice how she tries to see the pattern of fancy wallpaper with the small amount of light that the lamp created and, given up, switches to Miller, looking at the ceiling.

 

The blonde looked tired, her eyes were also reddened from all this crying today, and the bandage with a white clothe only peeks out of the neckline of the sweater. And, probably, the yoga teacher could now turn to the actress and ask her: «What the fuck, are you looking at me like that?», but her eyes were very focused on the ceiling with a blue haze of the iris, that it was hard to try to distract her from this. Tindall suddenly sees how Miller's gaze blurred a little and the eyelids lowered for a moment, but then immediately lifted and the blue eyes stared at the ceiling again.

 

— I do not know what is waiting for us tomorrow, all sorts of thoughts come into my head that I can't sleep. — as if realizing that Shelby is also thinking about the fact that she can't sleep, the actress says. Audrey lowered herself onto the pillows and curled up in the fetal position, pressing her hands close to her. Her gaze now remained on the pattern of the bedspread.

 

— All sorts of thoughts — and not a single good one, — the blue-eyed woman said and repeated the woman's pose, turning to face her.

 

— Exactly… — the actress finally drawled sleepily, accompanying it all with a yawn.

 

They lay in silence for a while, as if thinking about something, until the drowsiness became more and more and meanwhile they heard:

 

— You know, whatever happens tomorrow, I'm sorry, — Tindall whispered, — I was a bitch, not even suspecting that everything I went through on the set, you went through in life. It's all turned out to be a real hell for you…

 

Shelby even opened her sleepy eyes and looked at the woman lying in front of her. It was hard to believe that Audrey Tindall herself had apologized to her. They got along so well with the actress, but her hot-tempered personality deteriorated even more after the wedding. The women wrote off and sometimes even went out for coffee together, and they were constantly talking on the set. No, they were not best friends and usually their conversations were all about the filming process and how best to work out the script in a certain series. The whole situation got out of control after the first season. That's when public opinion and a lot of different scrapes, which not only Miller got into, forced women to change their opinions about each other. So Tindall, for example, listening to everyone in a row and the jaundiced press and the same Dominic, decided that Miller was still a stupid twitchy bitch who was pretending to be a victim. And then it seemed normal to her to pour shit on her in the same way as the half of the Fandom, and not to help the blonde. Now she understood why she was behaving like this. Damn, a woman almost died in this hell. Shelby, on the other hand, always treated Audrey with caution and distrust because of her fame and quick temper, and after the wedding, all this intensified and Rory began to occupy all the place in the life of the actress, that even for the only time when Miller called her for coffee, Tindall ignored her. From that moment their normal communication ended…

 

— You know, thank you. It's nice to know that at least someone believes you and doesn't think you're completely crazy bitch, — the woman replied with relief, realizing that Audrey really admitted her guilt that it was because of her that they stopped communicating.

 

— Thank you for letting me in, — a woman with short hair says, opening her eyes and meeting the blue ones.

 

Miller answers the British woman with one tired nod and closes her eyes, not remembering how her consciousness completely fades and they both do not fall asleep.

 


 

It was beautiful here and only the most real ignoramus could argue with this. And Shelby wasn't going to argue with that. The pine forest with its tall and slender trees stretching up to the sky, fascinated, made you feel insignificant compared to these spruce giants. Lifting your head so high that it begins to spin, to the sky just beginning to lighten, you can see how the wind of these places shakes the tall giants from side to side so lazily and slowly, as if they are dancing at all under the pointer of a cool breeze. Yellowish crumbled needles rustled under they feet, reminding of a sandy beach next to the dark water of the sea, and walking on them was only one pleasure.

 

The forest smelled of this pleasant pine smell of wood and needles, and the woman remembers why, in the first place, she wanted to buy this house and move here in the first place. If Matt was attracted to his now huge house, where he was the most plentiful owner, then Miller was because of these pines that stretched for miles into the distance. They enveloped everything with their pleasant smell and fresh forest breeze, and it all reminded blue-eyed very much of her childhood, enveloping her in an invisible shadow of pleasant memories of home and former tranquility. And what she could say that this forest, as a defender, hid the building from unnecessary views and entire cities, hiding it in the wilderness. No one should ever have found them here again and hurt them. But either the forest did not do its job well, or it's just the fate of the Miller family…

 

With the first rays of the sun, as planned, they moved into the thicket of the forest behind the others. The team consisted of three people: two wounded and one disgruntled British woman. Her discontent came from the very morning from the fact that a dark-skinned man with glasses refused to go to the rescue, at least to save his own sister! Well, more precisely, as he refused, Dominic and Audrey behind him, overcoming the warnings of the yoga teacher, went down to the basement for a man, and met only with an empty and dusty room. A secret underground passage was opened wide open and a cool and strong draft crashed into the actors ' faces from it, making them shudder and even squint from its strength. Only the broken glass and the frame of Matt's glasses were visible at the entrance. The passage was enveloped in an all-consuming blackness, hiding behind it for sure many different horrors of this house. Actually, no one counted on his help after that miscarriage, but the fact that he would completely leave the group, probably also with this prehistoric trash, angered the British Woman even more than Miller's wife.

 

Miller, apparently, has completely resigned herself. Yes, and so quickly. She accepted that her husband was a freak, that she would have to die here because of her own stupidity, and that Audrey was very demonstratively and viciously kicking the brushwood under her feet, rustling the whole forest. Shelby even managed to marvel at how the actress has the courage to behave like this, because only yesterday she was so afraid for her life that she even came to Miller to wait out the night. And it wasn't that the blue-eyed woman didn't like it on the contrary, the woman slept more calmly than usual, especially realizing that Audrey was on the side closer to the door and the «monster» would have dragged her away first. But of course this is just a joke. The warmth of the human body, which, it would seem, a married woman should be content with every night, was gradually forgotten and no longer brought calm and peace as before, until Shelby managed to feel it again completely from the wrong person. Well, what can we say about it now, and it's already getting worse than nowhere.

 

— What are you so angry about? Shelby can't stand it and turning her head in the direction of the British woman, she asks, continuing to step along the path in the hope that this is the right direction.

 

Audrey throws her head up and for a minute silently examining the other woman, that it seems to her eyes that now she will give out something completely unfriendly or even reprimand the woman next to her again, she suddenly gives out, calming down and slowing down her step, as if the she is going to say the secret of the universe:

 

— I'm trying to tune in. I'd rather be angry at these pigs than tremble with fear, — Tindall replies, even accompanying this with a raised corner of his lips. And Miller does not hide her surprise from her face, it seems so brilliant and at the same time naive to her that she stares at the short-haired woman with a stupid smile in response.

 

Turning away and looking at the road again, she thinks that in fact she was not sure that she remembered exactly where to go. These fucking paths in all possible directions and as if the same trees were only confused. And in general, as far as the yoga teacher remembers, it was as if the forest itself brought you to the places that it needed, confusing your consciousness and intimidating you with the rustle of pine needles. There are only more trees in the distance, tall bushes on the sides, and it's only wasting time to go back. Miller wanted to burst into tears from helplessness and start rushing from trunk to trunk, looking behind them and peering into the distance, hoping to see at least something. And her hands immediately began to tremble treacherously from panic and memories of how she found herself in the middle of the forest in the middle of the night and cold sweat covered her palms, and her breathing quickened as after a run. The old wound began to ache, reminding that it was much easier to stumble now and get into the hands of these drug addicts, who, from just looking at a familiar face, would be ready to gnaw it without a fork and knife. Her heart was pounding somewhere closer and closer to ear and blackness was approaching on the sides of vision. This fear… How long has it been since Miller felt it…

 

— Hey, I think these are Sidney's trailers, — Dominic whispers, peering somewhere ahead of her, where the lost Shelby saw only a deaf thicket a second ago and still does not hear anything except her rapid heartbeat.

 

Shelby is terribly afraid of just the memories and the fact that she was in the woods. What was she going to do when she saw Polks? The woman now does not even imagine, and what can we say about the Slaughterer. Shelby is so lost that at first she does not even feel that someone's hand is gently stroking her shoulder in circular movements, until she hears this voice:

 

— Shelby, are you okay? — the actress asks softly and tenderly, and the woman does not want to answer her, it seems to her that everything can be seen and understood by her scared to death eyes.

 

Shelby does not even know to thank the British woman for helping her to distract herself or to be embarrassed that such a thing happened in the first place.

 

Audrey only nodded at Miller's silence, patted her on the shoulder, and began to look further out from behind the bushes at the trailer.

 

— I do not know if there is a phone there, — the man began, — when Agnes appeared here, we all tried to get away as quickly as possible and did not pay attention to the trailer itself at all.

 

— Someone should go there and check it out.

 

— Ah… W-where are they? — the actress asks anxiously.

 

— On the other side of the trailer, — the man replies dejectedly, — you don't have to do this. I can check it out if you want.

 

— I've been watching you hobble along all the way and trying to pretend that there's nothing wrong with your leg, you idiot, — Audrey says, hiding her obvious fear behind sarcastic comments.

 

And not only Audrey of all those present does not fully understand why she is now so diligently making her way through the bushes to the trailer. She was so brave and really stupid on the way to this place, just to seem ready for all the upcoming shit, that in fact she was even able to forget that she was scared shitless. Shelby or the same Dominic could have done it instead of her, but no: «Make way for roach — Tindall is walking!». It is so easy now to blame others for this — that she is afraid that the actress is thinking about this, just to not faint from seeing a corpse. It was all Shelby and her eyes, in which there was so much fear and anxiety that the British woman even thought that they had lost her. She didn't even seem to notice the others around her, just stared ahead, breathing heavily. And not that Audrey would have dared to attack her after everything they had been through, then she would have been a disgusting person and probably not even very alive, but this look made her feel sick — made her blood freeze and at the same time boil inside from how small Miller looked. She didn't deserve all this shit, that's all she didn't deserve. And Audrey is ready to do everything now so that she will never face those frightened eyes again. But for herself, of course, Tindall says that she just decided at one point that she was ready to meet the dead body of a familiar person and search for a phone. And since she had already decided, it was too late to retreat now. And it's not because of Miller at all, no-ot at all.

 

The door was ajar, and God only knew what it was hiding behind it: Agnes, enthusiastically scanning the cameras in the house? One of Sidney's henchmen who was lucky enough to survive? A hillbilly? Or a very real Sidney, who is preparing to jump on her at any moment, shouting: «Smile, Audrey, your scared face was filmed by a hundred and five hidden cameras!»? And who would blame her for not fully believing in all this shit with ghostly Roanoke? No one is adequate, that's for sure. But no, here she goes up the stairs, very carefully ignoring the motionless figures in her peripheral vision on the right and goes inside.

 

A lot of monitors on the wall in front of her attract the actress ' eyes first. Yes, if Sidney was really alive, then all his cameras right above the beds in the rooms would help him guess that it's time to call help to the actors in the house and grab this crazy Agnes. But Audrey pushes these thoughts away, now she had to focus on something else. In the trailer, except for very expensive shooting equipment, it seems that there was nothing else useful. A couple of Sidney's personal belongings, lunch in a plastic container, a camera standing in the corner and different clothes of the film crew. She couldn't even believe that this idiot took the shooting so seriously that he took away the phones not only from the actors, but also from everyone else, obviously condemning them to death.

 

Audrey ran out of the trailer, angry and annoyed by this outcome of events. She even imagined how she would approach the corpse of a freak and scream at him until she felt better, but the last pieces of her common sense forbade her to do this, as well as Agnes standing next to Shelby and Dominic, pointing a gun at them.

 

The elderly woman looked much more rumpled than when the British woman saw her last. Her outfit looked very shabby and dirty, and there was a large blood stain on the sleeve, as if she had a bullet wound under these rags. From where Audrey could be seen, the old woman's eyes looked even more furious and frightened, and the way she waved the gun in the direction of the dark-skinned man and Miller, said only that the balls for the rollers had finally stopped. Her face was smeared with God knows what and covered with perspiration, and her hands were shaking as if old Parkinson's had caught it, it seems at this age it's a little difficult to run through the woods and threaten people. Audrey's throat is dry from the fact that there may be two more corpses in this place now and she can't put her mind to what to do with it.

 

— Agnes, please calm down, — the man pleads in a trembling voice. I assure you, both women would have paid more attention to how Banks tried to cover up Shelby if everyone hadn't been so scared.

 

— I–I'm a Slaughterer! — she shouts and threatens with a gun. Tindall saw Shelby shake from this scream and she staggered on the spot.

 

— I have to finish what I started, — she says hoarsely, — Kill Miller and take my lands!

 

— We're trying to get out of here, don't you see? Don't do anything stupid… — Dominic says, taking a step forward with his hand raised.

 

This could be his fatal and final mistake, Tindall is sure of it. The kid played the actor and forgot that, damn, everything is thaat happening so real that Agnes would calmly shoot him between the eyes and without thinking for a second and he would go to the ass with his diplomacy. Therefore, the British woman undertakes a very stupid and selfless act, surprisingly to herself. Grabbing a stone from the ground and aiming as exactly as possible with her hands moving around, the actress throws it in the direction of the psycho. And who the fuck would doubt that she would not get there?

 

— What the?.. — watching the stone fall a step away from her feet, Agnes asks distractedly.

 

Dominic, for the first time in front of the actress, acts as it should and reacting instantly, runs into the old woman with his fists, knocking the gun out of her hands. The weapon flies towards the British woman and she immediately grabs it, running up to Shelby. Banks, on the other hand, diligently tries to knock Agnes to the ground, but all he manages with his wound is to prescribe a fucking blow to the face and turning to the others, shout:

 

— Don't stand there, run!

 

— No, wait w-we don't need to split up! — Miller babbles.

 

— He'll catch up with us later, Shelby, we've need to get out of here! — Audrey retorts very convincingly and drags the woman with blue eyes into the depths of the forest by her arms.