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Not A Good Place (Castle Rock s. 2, Annie, hiding)


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I wrote a similar fic a while ago, but I wasn't pleased with it so I wanted a do-over. This isn't it exactly, but Annie had so many hiding scenes that something like this really should have happened, honestly. :yay: Borrowed some plot points from episode 8, so maybe some spoilers, though you wouldn't be able to really figure much out from it anyway. Some violence towards the end as well, but if you can handle anything Stephen King, you can handle that. 


The floorboards creaked, and Annie froze, large eyes widening even more in fear that someone had heard her. Her heart was racing in her chest, pounding so hard she was shaking. The roof of her mouth felt dry and her breathing was fast and shallow. Her grip around the knife handle hardened.

After what felt like an eternity without anyone coming out to grab her, she started relaxing again, continuing to move slowly down the hall. She was trying to look in all directions at the same time to make sure nobody saw her, and so she wasn’t really looking where she was going. A sudden noise from behind her made her turn around, and in doing so, she brushed against a curtain. She didn’t even notice it, the brush was that light, but it was enough to release some dust into the air. It lazily whirled around her like snow, but she was focused on the sound down the hallway. Her hand trembled slightly, ready to raise the knife if she had to defend herself, but no one came for her.

Maybe the sound was only in her head. Her brain loved to mess with her, create images and sounds that weren’t there. She could never be entirely sure if something was really there or not, could never fully trust her own mind. It was scary. 

She’d held her breath listening for footsteps, but now the sound from the other end of the hallway was gone – it might very well have been all in her head – and she slowly released the breath she’d held, and when she inhaled again, some of the dust found its way into her nose, tickling like the caress of a floating feather.

She fought against the building urge to sneeze, nostrils arching as her eyebrows pulled together and her eyes narrowed in a desperate pre-sneeze expression. It stayed on her face for several seconds, then started to fade when the tickle subsided. Just when she thought she had successfully wrestled it down, it got the upper hand on her, and her breath began to hitch.

No, no, not now!

She pressed her face into the crook of her arm to muffle the sound, that was the only thing she could do right now.


She stayed like that for several seconds, nose and mouth firmly placed into her shirt sleeve, waiting to see if her nose would be satisfied with that, or if it was going to betray her again.

After a few seconds, and then a few more to be on the safe side, she slowly lowered her arm and gave a cautious sniff. That single sneeze had been enough to make her both stuffed up and sniffly, but the tickle seemed to be gone.

She sniffled again, the wings of her nose crinkled. Her eyes watered as well, and she blinked to clear her vision.

Okay. Okay. Keep going.

She did, breathing shakily through her mouth as she moved forward. At the end of the hallway, one of the doors was slightly ajar. Annie could hear people talking in the next room, and hid behind the door.

The voices belonged to Ace and to the woman who had served her at the bar a few days (which felt like a decade) ago. Heather. Though Annie suspected that neither of them were quite the same anymore.

“Did you find the Wilkes woman?”

“We have people out searching now.”

“Make sure you find her. We can’t have her getting away.”

“She won’t get away.”

Standing there and listening to the conversation, Annie realised two things almost simultaneously. One was that the people in there were discussing her imminent murder.

The other was that she had to sneeze again.

It wasn’t until now that it dawned on her that the dryness she had felt in her mouth since she went into this dusty hallway was actually an itch; her throat was itching, and that was a sure sign that she was about to have an allergy attack.

Quiet, Annie! Be quiet! Don’t you dare sneeze now!

Well, she could tell herself that as much as she wanted, and she could do so with any of the voices in her head, but that wasn’t going to do anything when she was up against her allergies. She was miserably allergic to dust, she knew she was miserably allergic to dust, what on Earth had prompted her to get in here without even taking some meds first?

Joy. She had to find where they kept Joy, before they did whatever horrible thing they planned to do to her. Though being locked up with her was not the smart way to do that.

Not that they’d bother keeping you around. They’d just shoot you and throw your body in the basement.

Yeah, that kind of thinking was going to be really helpful. Besides, it didn't matter what they did to her after she had gotten Joy out safe. But she couldn't do anything to protect her daughter if she was dead. 

Annie got her arm up to her face again, scrubbing her itchy nose against her wrist. It somehow managed to feel incredibly good and also make matters worse at the same time. The skin around her nostrils was visibly redder already, and there was a bit of moisture right under them. Her nose twitched as the itch spread and pricked its insides with allergic ruthlessness.

Her nostrils flared as the urge to sneeze grew in intensity. Tears overflowed her eyes and streamed down her cheeks, dripping off her chin and landing on her shirt, where they were absorbed by the fabric.

I can’t hold it back! I can't!

You’d better.

But the sneezy look was already creeping back into her face, her eyelids fluttered and began to close, and her lips parted as her breath began to hitch. She fought against her body’s desperate need to expel the irritants, fought it with almost feral strength, but in the end, she couldn’t keep control.

She once more got her arm up as a shield, almost leaned into it, and braced for what was coming. It wasn’t just going to be a single sneeze, this was the full fury of an allergy attack coming at her.

She stifled five sneezes in a row, so rapidly they all came out on one single breath. She managed to do so only making quiet sounds in the back of her throat, but the next inhale was deeper and promised more force to the tickly eruptions.

She still succeeded in stifling the next series of sneezes, but it was getting harder and harder, and she found herself nearly pushing the sneezes into her sleeve, catching the sound and the force of them into herself. They started to get louder – not loud, really, but far more than a clicking in the back of her throat – and messier, liquid leaking out of her nose with each desperate shudder.

“I don’t care how!” Ace said in the next room, raising his voice slightly. “Just make sure it’s done before sunset tomorrow!”

A mumbled response that Annie couldn’t hear because she was too busy swallowing another sneeze. She was starting to feel lightheaded, and her lungs burned from trying to hold her breath and not give more fuel to the flaming inferno that was her sinuses right now.

And then a door in the other room was shut, quite forcefully. A brief silence, when Annie thought that maybe they had gone, and then footsteps coming towards the door where she was hiding.

Annie pushed up against the wall, still with an indescribable itch which felt like it was inside her entire head and a constant need to keep sneezing. She had one hand clasped over her nose and mouth. In her other hand she clutched the kitchen knife, clutching it so hard her knuckles whitened. The blade trembled in mid-air, as if eager to attack the enemy.

Heather walked out of the room, but she didn’t turn her head and therefore didn’t see Annie; she headed straight up the stairs at the end of the hallway. Her footsteps sounded rushed.


Annie sneezed again, this time into the palm of her hand, then followed Heather.

She wasn’t sure if this house really was like a maze, or if that was thanks to her brain adding and subtracting things from reality, but she was pretty sure the odd built was real. Back in California, there was a place called the Winchester Mystery House, and that place was also weirdly constructed. Though that was intentionally weird. This looked like someone had actually thought it would be a good place to live.

This whole town was not a good place. Something was seriously wrong with this cookadoodie town.

Heather was in one of the walk-through rooms – not quite a room, not quite a hallway – rummaging through some things. Annie watched her from the landing of the stairs, then tiptoed towards the half-open door. She didn’t really have a plan; Annie very rarely did, she just acted on instinct when events occurred, but her nose made the course of action pretty clear.

She sneezed, a stifle but this time loud enough that Heather would hear it and snap around. By then Annie was already hiding behind the door. She could hear Heather coming closer, thinking she would surprise whoever was sneaking up on her.

Well. Annie was pretty good at surprises too.

As soon as Heather was close enough, Annie pushed the door into her face, knocking her backwards, and then straddled her. She pressed one hand – the one she had just sneezed into, not that she cared one way or the other – against Heather’s mouth to keep her from screaming, and held the knife against her throat with the other.

“Where’s my girl?” Annie growled between clenched teeth. She had to restrain herself from not just stabbing the woman writhing underneath her, she needed answers first, but oh, she was furious! She couldn't remember being this furious since she was a teenager, but she wasn't a teenager, she was a woman in her thirties and maybe that was the difference needed for her to keep that necessary restraint. Or maybe it was just luck.

“I don’t know, you bitch!” Heather said, her words muffled but intelligible.

The tip of the knife touched her throat, and Heather realised just how much trouble she was in.

“The attic! She’s in the attic!”

Annie sneezed.


This time she neither stifled nor covered, and the full blast of the incredibly wet sneeze hit Heather in the face. She let out a disgusted groan against Annie’s hand and started squirming even more. Annie sneezed again, and more spray rained down into the other woman’s upturned face.


When Annie’s head tilted back in preparation for yet another sneeze, Heather grabbed the knife’s blade and shoved it to the side. The knife hit the floor and the blade broke in half, and when Annie was still in the grip of the sneeze, Heather took the broken piece and jammed it into Annie’s shoulder. The pain was the final straw. Annie took what was left of the knife and raised it.

Look what you’re making me do,” she wheezed, and the knife went down in three quick slashing motions, and Heather, or whoever she had been now, was no more.

Annie got to her feet, pressing her hand against the gushing wound in her shoulder, shaking violently and just stood there for a few seconds, like a woman in the throes of a nightmare, too paralysed to move.

Tears, mucus, even blood, stained her face. She looked like she had been to hell and back. But that wasn’t true. She was still in hell. She wasn’t out of it yet.

“And I’m not going anywhere without Joy,” she whispered to herself, wiping her nose and eyes on her already soaked sleeve, and somehow managed to force herself to keep going.


Edited by Chanel_no5
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