A/N: Okay, I wasn't going to upload this since it's just a growing idea but I thought, "Why the hell not?" See what you guys think. So low and behold, another story I'll take months to update! lol

SEVEN DEVILS

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1

STRAY CAT

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Briarcliff Manor stood tall and proud; a menacing building emerging from the trees. Miles far from the city of Boston, the institution sat alone amongst acres of woods, shunned and forgotten from the rest of society. Like a sickly secret that housed humanity's imperfections, best kept hidden.

The air around the manor smelled of pine and earth, there was a lingering scent of rotten meat that occasionally came with the breeze but had no exact or visible place of origin. Those who were unlucky enough to be employed at such a place of disgrace were used to the smell and deemed it to come from the many putrid bodies that called the building home.

Men and women, filthy and wearing tattered uniforms roamed the halls and filled the rooms, screaming, crying and blubbering nonsense day and night. The sounds were almost as horrid as the many smells. They were enough to make a sane person go mad. The walls were covered in scratches from patients in fits; the floors were often smeared with questionable liquids that were cleaned multiple times in half-hearted attempts by orderlies that weren't paid enough to deal with the daily mediocrity of such a hell.

And indeed Briarcliff was hell but it did not compare to the smaller hellhole that sat across the road. St. Martin's Home for Wayward Youth sat promptly on the property just across from Briarcliff. A Victorian style home with it's own aura of formidable madness despite the fact that it was many years younger than its counterpart but the Catholic Church ran both homes for the mentally and criminally insane. The difference between Briarcliff and St. Martin's was that St. Martin's inhabitants were far younger.

Ranging from the ages of three to eighteen years old, St. Martin's was the home of children with both physical and mental disabilities, abandoned by the world that was supposed to accept them and protect them from the evil that would abuse their vulnerability. Children deemed too "rowdy" or "difficult" were also housed in St. Martin's. These children had also been thrust from society, branded as troublemakers and unable to thrive amongst the population. Future serial killers and rapists, thieves and degenerates, dumped with those crippled by other maladies, unable to ever leave the walls until they became of age to move across the road.

The smells of St. Martin's were far different than those of Briarcliff's. The place reeked of unwashed bodies, excrement and vomit, urine and putrid milk. No matter how much the small staff of nuns and orderlies attempted to clean, there were far too many children to keep up with.

The sight of the children were enough to make any sane person weak to the stomach. Naked or dirty clothed boys and girls sat on the wooden floor, rocking themselves back and forth. Some were covered in urine or feces, sometimes both, unwilling or unable to use the facilities by themselves.

A young boy with Down syndrome stood in the corner, smacking himself on the head, blubbering nonsense. His name was Timothy; otherwise a very helpful to the staff and bright young boy, he often succumbed to bouts of terrible fits that the nuns had started to ignore until he managed to calm himself down.

Another child walked up and down the rec room repeating the same phrases. The more mentally capable children sat around, lazily playing checkers or cards. A nun calmed down a crying child that had just arrived but a few days before. Dominique had made its way into the rec room of St. Martin's just as it had haunted the one in Briarcliff.

Down the hall from the rec room was a set of double cherry wooden doors. The majority of the children stayed clear of the doors while some were always drawn to it. Behind the double doors was the office of the head and founder of St. Martin's.

Jude Martin herself sat at her desk, looking over the death certificate of a teenage boy that had hung himself down in the cellar. None of the orderlies had any idea how he had snuck out of his quarters but he had done so and in the process obtained sheets from the laundry room, which he used to hang himself. He had been dead for a few hours before one of the nuns came upon him.

Her blood-curdling scream was still echoing in Jude's mind. She shook her head, "Oh, my precious Mother, bless this lost child. Welcome him into yer arms." She glanced up at a painting of the Virgin Mary that hung on the wall.

There was a rapid knock on her door and Jude gave a heavy sigh, "What now…Come in!"

Sister Marion peered her head into the room, "Sister?"

"What is it?"

A sudden look of worry crossed her wide green eyes. She appeared as if she had seen Satan himself.

"Well?" Jude pressed, unable to stand the suspense.

"He's back."

Jude's face grew hard and her lips tightened into a straight line. She stood to her feet. "Lord give me the strength." She said to herself as she followed Sister Marion out of the room.

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The sound of a struggle came from the foyer of the Victorian house. Jude came down the wooden staircase, her hand on the rail and eyes down below at the scene unfolding before her. Sister Marion followed close after her with a bit of hesitation. Sister Jude had told her multiple times to never let the children see fear in her.

"They smell it like dogs." She had said.

When Sister Jude reached the foyer floor she crossed her arms, "Well, well, well. Who do we have here?"

She landed her eyes upon a young twelve-year-old boy dressed in stolen clothes already covered in dirt and torn at the knees. His arm was in the tight grasp of a police officer. Two orderlies stood by, followed by another nun who watched with attentive eyes while two small children stood at her feet, grasping at her habit.

The boy yanked his arm from the officer's grasp but Earl, one of the strongest orderlies snatched him by the shoulders before he could scamper away.

"Back so soon?" Jude asked him.

The boy stared back at Jude with enraged cobalt eyes. Eyes like ice. Cold, dark and menacing. So young and yet filled with so much rage. Jude could see the damage done upon his young face, years of abuse, cruelty and neglect were clear in his features. His bottom lip was busted and swollen and a purple ring appeared under his right eye, softly fading. The boy was wild. Mangy. Like a stray cat with no home. He had no respect, no remorse and no understanding for those around him. He had abandoned his religion and his God and all hope but Jude believed she could save the boy. His young soul could be salvaged.

"Earl, let the boy go." Jude told the orderly who raised a brow at the Sister but she insisted so he obliged.

The boy yanked his arms from Earl's grasp and stepped away, practically frothing at the mouth, staring back at him with daggers. He then looked at the officer and spit on the floor before his feet.

"Oh, enough of that, boy." Jude told him, waving away the officer while Sister Marion went to speak with him.

The boy slowly looked from Earl to Jude, setting those angry eyes back upon her.

"Now, now, Mr. Morgan, there is no use for all of this." Jude waved her hand about, "You're home now and I suggest you get comfortable."

The boy let his eyes fall to the dirty ground, muttering words under his breath.

"What was that?"

Johnny Morgan's ice blue eyes met Jude's from beneath his glowering brow. "Fuck. Off." The words seeped through his lips like acid.

Jude sighed, "Ya never learn, do ya, boy?" She looked up at the orderlies, "Earl, Jim, please take the boy to the tubs."

The two men grabbed the boy from each arm and dragged him up the stairs. The boy screamed and kicked about, fighting every step of the way. Jude stood at the bottom of the foyer, watching them go up the stairs, "Maybe a cold bath will cool the demons within you, child!"

Sister Marion stood at her side, "Are you sure about this, Sister?"

Jude kept her eyes up above, "Fear not, Sister. God only gives us what we can handle."

She lowered her head and followed the boy's screams of profanity up the staircase.