Libby was not enjoying herself in paradise. She would never even have called it ‘paradise’, though she knew that’s what Grayson had intended to create for her. He was a good son like that. He was also a miserable, horrifying monster, and her perception of him as such somewhat fouled his intentions.
Once Libby had calmed down enough to not maul herself - a habit even she was at a loss to properly explain, though she supposed she had to maul someone - the Graysons let her roam freely again, away from her room. She had to admit, despite her hatred for her son, that he truly had crafted a paradise, one that grew whenever Libby expressed a desire for anything at all.
“We created a restaurant for you, mom,” one of the Graysons said, motioning towards an opulent building that hadn’t been there before. “It serves pizza. Just like you wanted. Would you care for a slice?”
Libby most certainly would not care for a slice. She’d strangled the Grayson for invading her mind again. She also went on another rampage when she stormed into the restaurant… and discovered that the chef was not another Grayson, but a wavering, spectral image of Robert, her dead brother-in-law. It took twelve Graysons to subdue her that time, and she never saw another familiar face - besides Grayson’s - again. Apparently he’d learned his lesson.
Libby received no word from the outside world, or even about the outside world. The Graysons were perpetually all smiles and sunshine, even as she beat them to death, one-by-one. She knew it wouldn’t do her any good to kill them, but the action was nevertheless mildly cathartic. Despite their reluctance to speak to Libby about outside goings-on, however, the Graysons occasionally betrayed themselves through shared grimaces and darkened glares.
Things were not going according to plan. Libby knew it. She felt it. Yet she couldn’t tell what was going wrong, and that frustrated her.
Even worse was the amount of time spent here. Judging by Grayson’s occasional reactions, Libby knew his plan was far from complete - but by her reckoning, she’d been here at least three weeks. The fake sun and the fake moon rose at irregular intervals, usually according to Libby’s current desires, and she had to time her days based on her own, internal clock. She knew that couldn’t be correct, however, because things in Grayson’s illusory worlds seldom were correct. Clearly he’d slowed down time - she just had no idea how much he’d slowed it down.
When she tried to ask him, Grayson had supplied a creepy, cryptic answer, with too many references to ‘forever’, ‘eternity’, and ‘together’. She’d smashed his face in with no small amount of relish… though the following rampage had forced the Graysons to, again, subdue her in her room. The fingernail streaks on her face were a little too prominent for their liking.
It was on this occasion of solitary confinement - It’s for your own good, mom, your own good, I’m telling you it’s for your own good - that one of the Graysons came to visit her. This was unusual, as they typically left Libby alone to stew after one of her ventures of deadly self-abuse, and would only speak to her again after they’d released her from her bonds.
Libby knew this Grayson was different the moment he stepped in the door, because he had scars on his face. Faint scars, mind, and barely noticeable to anyone else, but they stood out to Libby. She’d spent way too much time staring at Grayson’s bland face not to notice differences.
“Hi, mom,” the Grayson said, clicking the door to her room shut. “Sorry ‘bout that, but I didna want ye to wreck the place up too much. I spent a lot of time settin’ it up for ye, eh?”
Libby glared at the Grayson, wishing she could project venomous bolts at him through her eyeballs. “Get fucked, you lil’ shit. ’n get outta here. I don’t wanna lookit your face anymore.”
Grayson shrugged, a pained, but most definitely affected, expression souring his features. “Aye, you’re so mean t’me, ma! Don’t make my heart keen so piteously for yer affections!”
Libby didn’t respond at once. The boy standing by her bed looked like Grayson and sounded like Grayson, but he didn’t speak like Grayson. And the way he stood… Grayson typically wandered about as though he had an officious stick up his bum, spine always straight and at attention, hands either dangling at his side or clasped behind his back. This Grayson was leaning against a bedpost.
“You pretendin’ to be a fuckin’ goblin or something?” Libby asked, cocking one eyebrow. “Not funny, shitface. Already told you, get lost.”
The Grayson shook his head. “But I worked so hard te secure a moment alone, didn’t I? Had te play the part so vigorously te make sure they wouldn’t be starin’ in at you, every moment ‘o the day. Ye’re an ungrateful sod, you are.”
Libby blinked. Her anger was rapidly fading, replaced by curiosity, albeit a very irritated curiosity. “The hell’s up with you? This is - “
The Grayson smiled, then, extending his hands, he began to change. His legs grew, his arms grew, his hair grew, even his face grew. The small, almost insignificant scars on his face began to cobweb downward, stretching beneath the folds of his shirt, and stitches laced themselves into his skin from nowhere. Within moments he was a full grown man, just as he’d been a year previous, though his old wounds made him look sickly and grotesque.
The usual white fire did not burn in his eyes. Instead, they glowed a vibrant, pulsing orange.
“Oh, shit,” Libby mumbled.
“Oh shit indeed, lassie,” July mumbled back. “Best ye not shriek too loud, aye? We don’t wanna give ourselves away here.”