Padmé heard Kenobi's words and though many seconds passed, she could not manage to well process them.
The caller is calling from inside the house.
He's inside the house.
"Miss? Padmé, can you hear me? Did you hear me?" Kenobi's voice resonated in her ear. She could not find her voice to answer. "I'm on my way! Just get out of there. Please!"
She put down the phone. With steps that could not be more silent or slick, she moved and left the drawing room.
She found the front door, fingered the doorknob, held her breath and then… the sound of small, loud barking broke the silence. She could feel her selfishness and desire to protect only herself fade away… she remembered that it wasn't just her in the world—or in that sorority house. Artoo! Threepio! And…
"Dormé!" she screamed. "Dormé, get down here!"
No response. Of course. The sound of her dogs was louder, it didn't ring as loud as her heartbeats, though.
She was so close to freedom. All she had to do was push the door and run away, that was the smart thing to do…
"Dormé! Please!" she shouted again. "Please!"
She could not leave her.
Pacing quickly, she found herself at the bottom of the stairway, dimly lit by the yellow light of the biggest chandelier. The hall where the bedrooms were located was a shadowy darkness, a black hole from which she thought she would not escape should she venture in it…
"Dormé..." she called again now in a whisper. "Ahh!" she screamed, Artoo and Threepio suddenly appearing at her heel. She kneeled to caress them a moment, then she carried both in her arms till she, in spite the lack of clarity and vision, found the door to her bedroom.
She entered it and turned on the lights. Dormé's bed had a large bulge under the covers. Padmé breathed out in relief.
"Oh Dormé… wake up, honey we have to go," Padmé whispered, Artoo and Threepio started barking very loudly and biting at her leg. "Quiet, you two!" she commanded. "Come on," she softly said and slid a hand under the covers, just above the pillow, gently pulling at Dormé's hair to get her to wake up.
She felt her fingers moist, she attributed it to the hot night, but cleaning her hand on her shirt, she realized, it wasn't sweat, but red hot blood…
Padmé screamed at the top of her lungs, with one swift, violent and desperate movement she removed the covers and blankets; and saw what remained of her most beautiful and carefree friend… Unable of looking away or stop screaming, Padmé cried with all her heart for her friend, oblivious of the world and her surroundings. Artoo bit harder at her leg, which made her wake up and hear the sounds from downstairs, and from her own closet.
Not wanting to spend another second with the corpse, yet incapable of thinking of what to do next, Padmé let her dogs push her out of the dormitory. Just as she crossed the door, she heard the closet door open, and a man's loud grunt. She ran, not knowing where to, seeing nothing, feeling terror and death approach.
Several times she tripped, at few moments she didn't manage to hold it in and she screamed. Somehow she found the stairway, but so amazingly nervous and shaky were her steps that she slipped, and she reached the bottom with a very harsh fall. The yellow light in the lobby allowed her to see, as she laid on the floor, bruised and sore, the black shape of a man. It stood tall at the top, motionless as she was.
"Padmé?" she heard a voice call her, timid and preoccupied.
It was Anakin's.
That made her react. She stood up and again ran to the front door. Just as she reached the doorknob she felt Anakin's big hands around her.
She didn't even bother to ask herself how he reached her so fast.
"My love," he said, "what's going on?"
She screamed, and scratched, and fought to be released but he refused to let go of her.
At last, two little dogs came into view, biting at Anakin until he gave Padmé enough freedom to run away.
She could not cross the door, and she could not remain in the house where death danced and reigned. She ran with eyes that were almost blind, burning ardently with tears and passed the kitchen.
"Padmé!" Anakin called, screaming. "Padmeeee!"
Unsure of what would become of her, she hid in the basement.
Oh please God, she thought, let Artoo and Threepio be okay. She hadn't such hopes for herself anymore. Something in her gut told her she wouldn't live past that night.
There was an incredible mess in the basement. It was narrow and it felt narrower still for all the useless things it kept guarded. It was dark, though not entirely black, thanks to the one window, the white moonlight entered, guiding Padmé as she ran looking for something to defend herself with. A knife? No, there wasn't any. Oh why didn't she grab one when she passed by the kitchen! She kept walking, searching… looking… she found an old gulf club, she clung to it as if her life depended on it… which it did. She walked to the window, ready to open it to finally escape… when on the transparent crystal she saw Anakin's blue eyes. She screamed. "Padmé!" Anakin shouted. "Open it! Let me in! Padmé!"
Padmé shook her head, not quite ready to die. She took a trembling step back, watching how, easily, Anakin opened the window, getting ready to enter.
"Padmé!" Anakin screamed again. "Come on!"
The basement door opened again, banging so loud it resonated all throughout Kappa Kappa Delta. A tall black shadow ran across the narrow place, on the direction Padmé was standing. It jumped on her with devilish, wrinkly hands that held no other intention than to kill her. Anakin had also managed to break in and jump over Padmé, the intention being to protect, kill if necessary.
Padmé screamed terrified, confused, locked, trapped in the strangest nightmare, watching a deadly fight unfold, not knowing who, or if anyone would survive it. The shadowy man had a knife in attack, the white hands deigned and struggled to cut Anakin's heart open, but the young man, strong and agile, rebounded all tries, till the black clothes, along with the murderer, laid on the floor, dead.
Anakin was breathless; he for a few moments did nothing but try to gather his breath back. Finally, he looked down at Padmé, and before she even knew what had happened, he had gathered her in his arms.
Officer Kenobi had not known what true horror was before that moment in which with all his skills he came to the conclusion that the killer of the sorority house called his victims from within the place in which he killed them.
Rushing to Kappa Kappa Delta, he hadn't much hope of finding Padmé Amidala still alive. Passing by the police car outside, and finding two officers, as well as a civilian dead only increased his suspicions. So when upon entering the house he found Padmé sitting, practically resting on top of Anakin Skywalker, he could hardly believe his eyes.
"I deeply regret Officers Ozzel and Piett's fates," Kenobi sighed, speaking to a forensic person. "And those poor victims we couldn't reach in time…"
Just then, Dormé's corpse was being taken away in a black bag. After that, a second corpse followed, though this one wasn't completely covered, and Kenobi managed to, unfortunately, see the head of the dead man—monster, in black clothes. It had the whitest skin, embedded with wrinkles, framed by loose greyish hairs. Obi-Wan Kenobi had to look away, and he asked the forensics to please be more careful. Turning to another policeman, he said:
"The dean of the university himself!" Obi-Wan exclaimed, still perplexed and astonished to his very soul. "Mr. Palpatine!"
"Incredible," the other police officer said, also very shook. "Who would have thought? Such a respectable, rich and powerful man… He's apparently—I mean, he was supposedly very close to that Skywalker boy."
"Yeah, I heard."
"Well, he met him since he was a small, orphan boy. He even helped his Uncle Qui-Gon pay for a big part of Anakin's education—though the boy got a lot from his scholarship."
"And Ozzel said Skywalker was an entitled, over privileged frat boy… may he rest in peace. Where is the Skywalker boy, by the way? He left?"
"He's still consoling that poor girl who saw the victims die. She's very shook up and till her parents arrive I think it's good she's not alone. I believe she's sleeping in one of the bedrooms from the second floor."
"Good. Poor girl deserves a moment of peace at last…"
Though the horror she had witnessed would not ever leave her, Padmé did find great comfort in Anakin's arms. At last, after so long of being depraved of his gentle touch and love, she could enjoy his warmth. Using his chest as a pillow she managed to find, every once in a while, a few moments of sweet, long overdue sleep. But these were all-too short moments, and each time, she woke up screaming from a nightmare. It had happened so much this night, that the police officers didn't bother to bust in every time they heard her, and they just let Anakin handle her.
"Who was it this time?" he softly asked as he scratched her head with one hand, while with the other he massaged her abdomen.
"Teckla," Padmé muttered. "I saw her frightened face… at least I know she's fine wherever she is."
"Yes," Anakin nodded. "Try to not think about it, my love."
"My love…" Padmé nestled deeper into his body. "I have missed you so much, Ani! Oh please, never leave me again!"
"I have never left you, Padmé. It was you who pushed me away. But I will not let you do that again."
Padmé smiled. "I feel so safe in your arms."
"Nowhere else are you truly safe, my lady."
"Anakin…there's something I've been meaning to ask you…"
"When we were children, we used to play I was a princess, and you my faithful knight, Vader."
"I… I know you knew what Palpatine was doing all this time—I am only saying this!" she said, decisively, "because I want you to know I am never saying anything. I know how close you were to Palpatine… he was almost like a father to you. It couldn't have been easy to know he was hurting so many people."
"No… it wasn't. I should've done something, though! It wasn't until you were in danger Padmé… that I couldn't protect him anymore. I love you. That's why I kept calling… to warn you."
"Why did you use the name Vader? You knew I would recognize your voice."
"What?" Anakin asked with a puzzled look.
Padmé repeated what she had said.
Anakin shook his head. "I am not Vader," he said, "We are not the same person. Understand that!"
"Okay…" Padmé muttered. "What… what do you mean, Ani?"
"Vader is evil. He would hurt you. I never would. That's why he's never coming back. I am not letting him come close to you again, my love!"
"Anakin, calm down!" Padmé pleaded.
Anakin took a deep breath and serenated himself. "He's not hurting you. I am not letting that monster close to you! Never!"
"Anakin…" Padmé shed tears. "My love!"
Double personality… Padmé remembered Clovis's teachings. I will get him the help he needs… he will be all right!
"You will be all right," Anakin said, somewhat mirroring Padmé's thoughts, freaking her out. ". I am not letting him come close to you again," he repeated.
He's not dangerous… Padmé thought. He's done mistakes but he wouldn't harm a fly, I know… Wait. Again. Again, he said?
"Has Vader ever been with me?" Padmé asked, hating herself for following along, allowing the cruel game to continue, "Has he ever tried to hurt me?"
"He's not hurt you."
"Not me. Someone else?"
"She's not there…" he muttered. "She's dead…. Dead. Dead. Dead."
"They're all dead…"
Padmé stared into his gorgeous, enigmatic and tortured blue eyes. Loving him still, even his intensity, but also having to remind herself that he loved her, too, and that he wouldn't ever, NEVER, hurt her. Right…?
She can't think of anything, and her only impulse is to reach over to kiss him, praying to bring back the man she knows and adores, praying the feeling of her lips can give him peace, hoping against hope he doesn't respond with anything other than a deeper kiss.
The forensics and the police are almost done with their job in Kappa Kappa Delta. The basement had been examined. The crime scenes in the yard and dormitories. But in the attic there remains still, sitting in a rocking chair, the body of a woman who spent half her life in that sorority house, and who would probably spend all her death there as well. Mothma's skin is greyer with every passing day, but her fiery red curls remain the same color, and probably will for a long time still. Cordé's abandoned body which is still searched like crazy lies just as she had been left. The dry blood on her wounds and clothes has darkened, and it vaguely resembles the red that showed in the eyes of that crazy man that made it sprout from the veins to the outside.
The sound of cars leaving, mixes with that of the rocking chair, so silent is the night now.
Dun dun dun! Yes, I'm going for the ambiguous ending. So… I am genuinely (and happily) surprised no one thought or even mentioned Palpatine during this whole thing, I mean he's kind of a package deal when Anakin is involved in dark deeds. If you've heard of a Red Herring, I was kinda going for that here.
In case it wasn't clear enough, though; what I envisioned happening basically was: Anakin knew about the murders happening. His double personality disorder was always there, but it really kicked off after his mother fell victim to gang violence. Like in canon, he was close to Palpatine, who's actually insane. So when Palpatine continued to attack people, Anakin's mind stayed in denial by blaming his other personality, Vader. He felt as guilty as if he had murdered, that's why he repeatedly called Padmé at the sorority house to try and confess the crimes that he didn't commit—or did he?
Mmhh, you can choose to believe what you want. Maybe here at the end Padmé went to sleep with her boyfriend who's mentally ill but harmless—or she's locked in a room with a murdering psychopath.
Finally, I just want to acknowledge two classic horror movies that inspired me to write this story since last Halloween (I would've done this in chapter 1 but that would've spoiled the whole thing!):
Psycho (1960) That movie gave us the first attractive psychopath killer. Probably the first time people crushed on the bad guy.
And Black Christmas (1972) Incredibly, deeply (I am not exaggerating!) disturbing and scary slasher film about some (again) psycho targeting sorority sisters.
Oh, and if you choose to believe Anakin did kill many of the people in this story, the inspiration for that would be the first Scream movie (1991) the ending when you not only learn the boyfriend is evil but that there are two killers still blows my mind!
Thanks for reading! Leave a review of what you thought of my story overall please :)