"Well girl? I’m waiting."
Becca let a calm smile brush over her lips, sharp with purpose. Her eyes flickered over Phantomrose’s every feature, scanning, digging, searching for any semblance of a hidden weapon.
None met her gaze.
"Face it, Phantomrose, you’re powerless here! We’re in my domain—art!"
A low, rumbling chuckle built in Phantomrose’s throat. She slapped her hand to her forehead, her laughter crescendoing into a trill of cruel delight.
"What’s so funny?" Becca demanded, immediately guarding herself, her heart jumping to her throat.
"Look around and tell me what you see!"
Becca tensed, swallowing instinctively. Her gaze drifted to the far corners, to the fuzzy contours of the poorly-described lair. It was so subjective, so reliant on—
"We’re in a story now, Honey. My—story."
"When’d you…" Becca backed away, her head shaking in denial, and crashed into the wall Phantomrose had written into the story.
"It doesn’t matter when." She flicked her wrist over her keyboard, writing, describing. The room was windowless. Doorless. Heavy, swinging lights moaned overhead, old and tested from years of wear. Their bulbs flicker haphazardly, casting to the two girls in the dim shroud of dull fluorescence. The room lacked any means of escape.
"Let me go!" Becca ground out. Her dark eyes narrowed beneath the flimsy shell of her mask, but Phantomrose was little fazed.
Light coalesced in Becca’s outstretched palm. It spun, collapsing on itself, throwing shards of bright, pure sunshine over the dark expanse of Phantomrose’s lair.
"What are you doing?" the villain asked with a quiver to her words.
Becca snatched the light, brandishing a golden pen and a gossamer piece of paper.
"Drawing fluff," she answered.
The pen cut through the air, leaving in its wake a happy family portrait of Danny Fenton, grown, with Sam and their two children. The kids were dressed head to toe in winter garb, fervently patting snowballs as Danny and Sam watched with hot cocoa from the porch.
Another slice. Danny lay asleep on Maddie’s shoulder, her warm lips parted in a contented smile as she threaded her hand around his body.
Once more. Sam rested in Danny’s arms, her kindly eyes picking out stars in the sky. He answered each time with their name, mapping constellations and planets in the open night air.
"ENOUGH!" Phantomrose thundered. Her chest heaved, her eyes bright with fury. She rose from her chair, letting her weeniedog drop from her lap. It bared its teeth, scratched a few quick sketches of the stripper ghost boy into the concrete floor and disappeared under Phantomrose’s desk.
Becca gulped, hit with the wave of unmitigated anger. The villain loomed, closer, bigger.
"You forget this is MY story," she seethed, and pulled from the shadows a keyboard, thick, black, light-englufing mist shrouding it from view.
Suddenly, Becca’s images began to warp as her opponent typed.
Danny squeezed his eyes shut to the hounding sleet, his ears howling with the cold night’s wind. It had been one year exactly, one year to the day, since his wife, his son, and his infant daughter had been hacked to pieces.
"No…" Becca moaned, watching as her first image faded to sepia, a distant memory.
Maddie brushed a few loose strands of hair from her son’s face.He’d looked so worn at dinner, so drained from a long day of school. He’d seemed so on edge, and her heart swelled with joy to see him resting. But her fingers stopped, chilled, at the piercing cold of her son’s forehead. It was soaked in sweat, still, lifeless. Her fingers traveled beneath his jaw, pressing hard to his skin, and finding no pulse.
“Why would you…” Becca pleaded, and watched as the Danny in her picture grew pale and lifeless. The front of his shirt became soaked in blood.
A startling crack woke Danny, and the helmet that hugged his skull shattered into a million pieces. His arms flew up in wild panic, his eyes snapping open and falling to the shards of Nocturne’s contraption. He moaned a lost, piteous moan, and desperately tried to piece the thing together.
“No…no please. I want to go back. Take me back. Take me back.” Him and Sam, alone, watching the stars. She felt so warm, so alive, so…real. Not like the cold distance that enveloped him at the site of her grave.
“I beg you…leave them…leave them be!”
But it was too late. The third picture faded at the edges, haunted by the eerie shimmer of a dream. It looked to plastic. So fake. So forced.
“Phantomrose…why…why would you do this?!”
Phantomrose let out a few quick laughs. “Why else?” She held her velvety red rose to her lips, breathing in the deep, luscious smell of its petals. “Because I’m here to put on a show.”