Title: Faith In Humanity
Rating: PG13 bordering on R
Fandom: Spider-Man movieverse
Author’s Notes: A while back I attempted a Spider-Man movieverse fanfic called Everyone Has A Choice, and I never finished it. This is that fic mashed down and rebuilt. It has something bordering on a plot now. :p
Summary: After the Queensboro Bridge incident, everyone involved struggles through the aftermath. Ursula Ditkovich was not involved, but she struggles through the aftermath nonetheless. And an unhappy middle-aged woman, after taking a job at the Osborn manor, suddenly finds herself an unwilling participant in the battle for a young man’s soul.
Emily, part seven
Emily David’s Diary, 5th September 1978
I can’t explain anything, diary, not without resorting to cliches. I’ve been told by ‘friends’- some friends- that I’m in a loveless marriage and should check out, but. But. But. Keep remembering that conversation I had with Allison before I got married. Haven’t even seen Allison for years, now. And she was my best friend.
He called me a gold-digger the other day, and said I only stuck around for the money. Didn’t hit me though. Never hits me. Doesn’t want children. I do. Time is ticking, after all.
I don’t know what to do. Have an affair, like some little tart. Stick around and do nothing with my life. Insist he sees things from my point of view. Do nothing. Run away. I don’t know. My heart goes so crazy these days. Somebody help me.
25th July 2003
Christine found the diary as night drew in, when she was cleaning out a cupboard and feeling, not unreasonably, slightly sorry for herself. The cupboard was in the kitchen. It had fallen out of use, and all that were in it were some old and dusty cookbooks. Christine shifted them to one side- and something fell down from the back of the shelf, and hit the bottom of the cupboard.
It looked like a child’s notebook. It was dark green, and had a name doodled in pink on the front.
EMILY, it said.
Christine looked around the darkening kitchen, reached into the cupboard, and pulled it out. Her heart was beating crazily in her mouth. She finished her work, packed her cleaning cloths away, and picked up the book.
This is a invasion of privacy. You will get fired. Have no money. Have one more person despising you.
She ignored the voice in her head. No-one would see her reading the diary, she was perfectly safe. And she would just take one look, just one tiny little peek, and then put it away again.
She opened it.
The clock in the kitchen ticked away seconds, then minutes. Half an hour passed. Christine did not put the book away, and when she looked up the room was dark and her eyes hurt. Moving quietly, like a shadow, she flicked on the lights, and moved to the cupboard, and carefully placed the book exactly where it had been.
Then, feeling horrible and weak and disgusting, she started to cry.
Emily David’s Diary, 18th June 1980:
Breakin my silence now, diary! I’m pregnant. Jesus Christ, I’m pregnant! My brain’s gone to mush.
I tricked him, you see, diary. I told him I was taking the necessary methods, and of course I had no intention of doing that. I made out it was an accident- and I refused point blank to get rid of it. He came round in the end- I guess aside from anything else, Getting Rid Of It, if word got out, might affect his standing in his company- that must have been what made up his mind.
I can’t believe I did something so…major. Oh God, if you’d told me ten years ago that I’d want a baby and trick my husband into getting me pregnant, I wouldn’t have believed you. But it’s just…every day I feel more and more disconnected, and I want something to connect to. I want it so bad. A kid. Oh my god.
I pray it all turns out alright.
26th July 2003
The next day Christine stood in front of the mirror.
It’s me again, Emily. I think I’m going mad. There’s something in this house, isn’t there? There’s something in this house that’s evil and old and I don’t know what I’m doing here. I’m just an old woman. I’ve lost a lot. And I want it back so bad.
She put her hand on the mirror. It was freezing. She withdrew it.
What do I do Emily what do I do?
Something thudded dully in her brain.
Wait. You’re not talking to Emily…
She stared into the mirror, and something horrible was staring out. She gasped, stumbled back, and fell against the sofa. She heard a laugh lifting through the room, and wild, cackling words-
It’s me, Christine! The solution to your problems! The wizard of Oz! Make a wish!
-and Christine jammed her eyes shut. For one split second she geniunely expected to die, and then her eyes popped open almost against her will, and everything was quiet. The room was empty. There was nothing in the mirror except for her reflection.
She got her breath back and stood up. She walked through to the kitchen as if nothing had happened, sat herself down.
“You look like you’ve seen a ghost,” said a voice.
Christine nearly had a heart attack. “Yes,” she choked. “I did.”
Bernard pulled a chair up next to her. “What sort of ghost?” he asked, his eyes dark. “If you don’t mind telling me.”
“Um. It was something in the mirror.” Christine whispered. “One side of it’s face was all mangled. Like the Phantom of the Opera.” Christine, that’s all I ask of you, she sung bleakly in her head.
Bernard waited for her to continue.
“Looked a bit like Harry,” Christine finished weakly.
28th July 2003
What do I do Emily what do I do?
There had been no mysterious happenings for two whole days: Christine would have been fine with this if not for the feeling that the world had planned something even worse for her.
Emily what IS it? You haunt this house just the same as the Other Thing does, what do you want?
There was, of course, no answer.
Is this something to do with Harry? With what I saw in the mirror?
Still no answer. She silenced the voice in her head and went about her work.
12th August 2003
The clocks ticked away the weeks. Nothing happened. The diary remained in the cupboard gathering dust, and Christine saw nothing else in the mirror.
Is it a warning, Emily? Is it a warning to not let happen to me what happened to you?
Emily David’s Diary, 23rd June 1980:
Oh diary, it won’t turn out alright, and I may well end up one of the only people in history to literally die of a broken heart.
19th August 2003
“Something has happened,” a sad voice said.
Harry turned around. It was eight o’ clock in the morning, and he’d fallen asleep on the sofa again. “What?”
Christine was standing in the doorway. Her eyes were red and her face puffy, and she seemed to have aged about ten years from the last time he’d seen her. “My husband died last night.”
Harry could think of nothing to say. His mind went completely blank. “I’m sorry,” he finally managed to say. And then, stupidly, “Take the day off work, huh?”
Christine said nothing in reply. She wandered over to the sofa and sat next to him.
“I can’t believe he’s gone,” she whispered. “I can’t believe he was fine yesterday and gone today.” She wasn’t even looking at him, just staring off into the distance. “Oh Christ, all I can do is spout cliches.” She started to cry, and Harry was suddenly certain she would start screaming bring him back at the ceiling, or hitting the wall with her fists, or drinking vodka til she dropped. But she didn’t do any of the things that he had done: she just went slowly quiet.
“I’m leaving,” she said. “I’m going back to London, probably. My cousin lives there, she might take me in.”
“Okay,” Harry said stupidly. There was a few minutes silence, and then he said, “Isn’t there anyone you can go to? I mean, in New York.”
“Like friends?” Christine said heavily. “No.”
“D’ya want a drink?” Harry said.
“Wait, when are you leaving?”
She gave a heavy sigh. “As soon as possible.” And then, “I’m sorry.”
“Are you gonna be alright?” Harry found himself asking.
“Yeah,” she said miserably. “I’ll be alright.”
Harry badly wanted to say something smart, something that would make things a little better. He couldn’t think of a thing. The only thing he could think of was at least he wasn’t murdered, that’s even worse– and he hated it. He didn’t say it.
“I know how you feel,” he finally managed to say.
“Yes,” Christine said. “I know.”
She then pulled a handkerchief from her pocket- like someone’s grandmother, Harry thought- and blew her nose on it. Then she started crying again. Harry gingerly reached forward and put his hand on her shoulder.
28th August 2003
On Christine’s last day it was blisteringly hot. That depressed her more than a miserable day would have done. She had, after all, just attended her husband’s funeral, and her son had not shown up. She had not had a proper night’s sleep for weeks, and her clothes were sticking to her skin.
On entering the house, the heat was almost unbearable- no-one had bothered to turn on the air conditioning. She went around and opened all the windows instead. That minor inconvience had the usual effect upon someone who was grieving: she sat down on the sofa and started to cry all over again.
Someone walked up behind her.
“I made you some cake,” Harry said.
Christine looked up. He was standing there with a plate, and on it was what appeared to be a slice of chocolate cake.
“Really?” she said.
“Yeah. From a mix.”
Christine took it. “Thank you,” she said. She dried her face. “You didn’t have to do that.”
“I wanted to cheer you up.”
He sat next to her on the sofa. “How are you?”
“My plane tickets arrived from my cousin,” Christine said. She took a bite of cake. It was quite nice. “Went to my husband’s funeral- my son didn’t come-” A pause. “I like the cake.”
As she ate, Harry rushed on. “You don’t have to stay today if you don’t want to. You can go home.”
“Thank you,” Christine said. In truth she wanted to say a great deal more, but she had no idea where to begin. Harry, there’s something in the house and I think it’s after you? Harry, I keep seeing things in the mirror? Harry, I think something extremely bad is going to happen?
But she couldn’t muster a sense of urgency. It was now, she felt, was entirely out of her hands.
She finished the cake.
“I’ll put the plate away for you,” she said, realising she couldn’t even look at him. She walked into the kitchen, washed the plate and put it back, and then dug her hand into her pocket. She found a pen. She considered things. And then she wrote on the back of a shopping list-
harry look in the cupboard there’s something in there you should see. christine
– and left the note on the table. She had expected to feel like her hand had been guided. It hadn’t. Strange.
She went back to the other room.
“I’ll go now,” she said softly.
Harry walked with her to her car. Christine spent those few minutes desperately trying to think of something to say- something that would drive away the hauntings, explain everything that had happened, and would keep Harry safe.
you keep an eye on her son, Christine
But she hadn’t. Not really. She’d failed, she’d failed everything, and she couldn’t even bring herself to care as much as she might have done. Not now that Ricky was dead.
She climbed into the car.
“Bye, Christine,” Harry said.
“Bye, Harry,” Christine said hopelessly. “See you around.”
She turned the ignition key. Harry leaned in through the open window.
“Are you gonna be alright?”
“I haven’t been alright for a very long time,” Christine answered. “Maybe one day I will be.” She gave him a searching look. She needed to say something else.
“You have a choice,” she finally said. “Please remember that.” In her head that advice sounded stupid and corny, and said out loud it didn’t sound much better. But at least she’d said it.
She waved. And drove away.
Emily David’s Diary, 27th February 1981:
I don’t know what will become of me, diary. I’ve been crying for it seems like weeks and I hurt so bad. I’ve had the baby. It was a boy. Named him after my dad.
Don’t want to see it. Feel fucked in the head. Oh god, I have a feeling I’ve done something terrible.
29th August 2003
oh Christine you’re only human there was nothing you could do
She sat in traffic on the way to the airport, underneath a darkening sky. The air was heavy and humid. There would likely be a thunderstorm. Probably quite soon.
Christine, it all meant nothing. It was out of your hands. Emily’s dead. Look, it was probably all in your mind. You just went a little crazy.
Thunder rolled overhead. Christine shifted the car forward, and rolled up the window.
That thing in the house, Christine, oh, it was only your guilt. Just the thing that preys on Bad Parents.
She’d been irrelevant to everything. She’d simply been an intruder in that old, dark house. And she didn’t want to think about it anymore.
The first drop of rain fell on the window.
At least you found the diary. At least Harry might finally learn about his mother. That’s something. Surely that’s something.
She drove slowly on. Another drop of rain fell, and a cold wind blew through New York.
Christine had left the window open in the Osborn kitchen, and for two whole days it hadn’t been closed. A draft blew through the room, picked up the note which Harry hadn’t even found yet, and blew it under the cupboard with the dust and the spiders, out of sight.
Emily David’s Diary, 9th July 1983:
I’m writing this from hospital. It’s midnight.
It’s been a while. Harry is two years old now. He doesn’t see me often. He’s looked after by nannies, or Bernard, who Norman named godfather, and it breaks my fucked-up heart. He looks like his dad, and not like me.
I keep feeling like I should write something important. Write something good. Can’t think of a thing. I’m lying in a hospital bed and for all I know I might die in a year, or a month, or a week. I oughta get something right. I feel like I’ve been pulled along on invisible ropes all my life and never done a single thing properly.
I love you, kid. You’ll be a good man someday.
I pray that means as much to you someday as it does to me right now.