Don't own AHS
A/N: Enjoy the new update! I missed working on this one.
CH 35- High Hopes
Ronald Butch DeFeo was found guilty of the murder of his family. The mass murder shocked Amityville; it was on the cover of every newspaper and on the cusp of everyone's mouth. Lana had known he had done it. The son of a bitch had ratted himself out to a child.
Lana refused to take Ellie to court to testify. She claimed her child had endured enough trauma to last her a lifetime. Besides, how much did a child's voice hold in a courtroom? Lana refused for her child to be in the same room as the murderer. However, she did let the child speak to the detective on the case. They gathered as much as they could but in the end, the talk of demons was left out of the courtroom. Butch had pleaded insanity. Lana thought he was too much of an idiot to pass that off. She had met real insanity; it had fathered her child.
Ellie seemed unfazed by it all, like with most things. It truly worried Lana the way her child had become numb to things. She hardly expressed herself and spent the majority of her free time wandering around the DeFeo property against Lana's wishes. She had said on one occasion that she went to visit John but Lana shut that down as fast as a bushfire. The child was different enough as it was. Lana didn't want her to scare off the other school children with talk of ghosts and demons.
When it came to Ellie, Lana was always greatly concerned. The girl spent a lot of time alone, she didn't have many friends. John DeFeo was her best friend and the poor boy had been murdered by his own brother. It truly was a tragedy, one Lana had tried to remedy by taking Ellie to therapy.
It had been her second session and they were on their way home. So far the therapist believed Ellie was opening up slowly but surely. The girl kept her eyes down the entire ride until they drove past the DeFeo home- or what used to be their home. A For Sale sign had gone up on the front yard.
"Looks like we'll be getting new neighbors soon." Lana commented trying to sound optimistic.
Ellie watched the house go by. "They won't like that."
Lana frowned at this. "Who?"
"Jody and the man."
Lana parked the car in their driveway and turned around in her seat. "Who?"
"The man that lives there."
"Sweetheart, no one lives there anymore."
Ellie averted her eyes, "He does. He's never gonna leave." She unlocked the door and stepped out.
Lana reached for her and grabbed her wrist before she could fully climb out of the car. "Ellie," Her tone was low and serious, "What did we talk about? Do you remember?"
Ellie looked into Lana's eyes, "They aren't lies, Mommy..."
Lana's skin began to crawl. Her grip on Ellie tightened, "You can't talk like that. Not anymore. Please."
Ellie held her mother's gaze and gave her a short nod. Lana let go of her and watched as Ellie made her way up to the front porch. All Lana wanted was for her girl to live a happy and normal life. So far, things weren't going too well.
Ellie sat in the living room watching tv while Lana cooked dinner. She was trying a new recipe she heard one of the mom's at school mention. The domestic life was still so foreign and Lana tried to take to it with welcoming arms and open palms but she was lying to herself. She missed her old life in the city. A life she knew she could no longer return to. Hell, she was collecting dinner recipes instead of crime scene details. But it was all for the good of the child. The child she still struggled to raise on her own.
"Ellie, dinner's ready!" Lana called out.
It didn't take long before Ellie showed up and sat at the kitchen table.
Lana served her a plate and Ellie eyed it cautiously. "What is it?"
"Casserole, I guess."
"Just eat it, please. Don't be picky. Mommy needs a break today."
Ellie picked at it little by little but didn't put up a fight. Lana sat across from her. "Is it good?"
"Good." Lana was relieved. "Listen, I'm sorry I was so stern with you in the car but you have to understand that it's not...prudent to speak of such things. People...people just won't understand."
"But you believe me, right?"
Lana met Ellie's gaze. "Of course." She smiled, "It's just you and I, remember? Just the two of us."
Ellie smiled softly at this and continued to eat.
Lana was wide awake that night. Ellie had fallen asleep in the bed they now shared together. She still refused to sleep alone and Lana hoped therapy would ease that fear out of her. She didn't want the girl to live in such a way.
Lana sat at her vanity typing away. She had been writing a story about the DeFeo murders. She just couldn't kill the reporter within her. It would always be a part of her. The sound of the typewriter didn't even faze Ellie. She had grown to sleep to the sound as Lana often found herself writing about anything before bed.
Hell maybe one day she'd begin to write about her years spent in that basement. Just maybe.
"Did you sleep in your own bed last night?" Therapist Lucille Evans asked Ellie the following morning. The little girl sat on the small yellow table next to her as she drew a picture with a red crayon. The room looked like a classroom filled with books and games and little tables and chairs.
Ellie glanced from her drawing up to the large mirror on the wall. All she saw was her reflection. Little did she know, Lana stood watching her on the other side of the mirror. It was her third therapy session and Ellie seemed calmer than she had the first two visits.
Ellie didn't respond at first. She then gave her a short shake of the head.
"Does it scare you? Sleeping alone?"
"Sometimes." Ellie dropped the red crayon and picked up a blue one.
"What's there to be scared about?"
Ellie remained quiet again. Dr. Evans didn't push her.
Ellie spoke on her own, "Mommy says I can't talk about it. It upsets people."
"In John's house."
She paused and looked up at the mirror again. Lana could swear Ellie could see her through the mirror. The look in her eyes, terrified Lana. If just for a moment, she feared for Ellie.
"What do they do?"
"They made Butch kill John."
"Butch did that on his own." Dr. Evans recalled.
"That's not what he told me."
Ellie waited in the room finishing up her drawings while Dr. Evans spoke with Lana in the other room.
"Well, Ms. Winters, it seems to me, the more i speak with Ellie, that she's choosing to cope with her friend's death in a very peculiar way. She's relying on this fantasy world of ghosts and make believe as a way to hold onto her little friend. She's not ready to let him go."
Lana glanced at Ellie through the two way mirror. "My poor girl. I...I never wanted her to suffer this much."
"It's normal in a child her age going through something like this. They just don't know how to process death."
"She wasn't like this with him-" Lana let the words escape her mouth.
Lana cleared her throat. "Like I said, my child has no father but the man...the man-" She wiped a tear before it escaped.
Dr. Evans know what she meant. She had been informed of Lana and Ellie's past, "That's alright. I know."
Lana nodded. "Well, when I told her that he had…passed on, she- she wasn't like this. She took it differently and now its as if that man never existed to her. She never talks about him, never asks about him. The last time she did was soon after John and his family died but it was like a passing thought. Poof. Like smoke."
Dr. Evans nodded, "That is very interesting, Ms. Winters. I won't lie to you. Would it be okay if I spoke to Ellie about this man?"
"No." Lana answered faster than she intended. She then cut herself off and sighed, "I'm sorry."
"Don't need to be sorry. I'm here to understand not judge."
Lana pressed her lips together for a moment as she was in thought. "I'm afraid of opening a whole other hell for her."
"What do you mean?"
Lana hesitated and then stood to her feet. "I didn't realize how late it had gotten. I'm sorry, Doctor, again. I really am."
Dr. Evans stood and kept a professional smile, "Like I said before, there's no need to apologize. I will be here until you're ready to let me know. Until then, I will help Ellie in any way I can."
Lana took her hand and gave it a gentle squeeze. "Thank you."
Ellie was the first to jump out of the car and run up to the door of the house. She was eager to get inside and watch TV since Lana had promised her she could stay up a little later since her therapy appointment went so well. Ellie responded positively to simple little rewards and promises. Lana probably figured that television helped Ellie tune out the nightmares in her head. She got to be a normal child if only a moment.
"Hurry, Mommy, hurry!" Ellie urged as Lana dug in her purse for the house keys.
"Three's company is on!"
Lana chuckled, "Three's Company? That's the choice for tonight?"
Lana struggled to find the keys while holding a manila folder that held multiple of Ellie's drawings from her session that morning. Lana finally managed to find the key and open the door but she dropped the folder when Ellie ran in excitedly to turn on the TV.
"Ellie!" Lana signed and knelt down to pick up the sprawled papers. One by one she placed them back into the folder, smiling at the houses and cats Ellie had drawn until one drawing wiped the smile clean off her face.
One of the drawings pictured the face of a man wearing very familiar glasses. Lana slowly picked up the drawing with a shaking hand.
It was Oliver.