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Landing Page: The Bellamy

The Bellamy Manor Archival Library and Museum is one of the foremost in the nation, nay, in the world.  Its collections host an amazing depth and breadth of information, of historical artifacts, of documentation of life in thousands of different sorts. 

It also is rumored to be haunted – as all good archives are – to hold secrets – again, as all must – and to hide many more rooms in its historical halls than its exterior would suggest.  It’s rumored to have anything you might want, if only you know what to look for.

Darker rumors suggest that it eats new hires.

The Story

Veronika Bellamy (possibly no relation, possibly some) has been working for years to get to the Bellamy, and now she has her chance.  If she can make it through her first day, if she doesn’t spook or run away in anger or possibly just… vanish…., she will be in her dream job.

But first, she needs to get through that first day.

The Bellamy, Chapter 21

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The Fillion wasn’t as old as the Bellamy, or as big (assuming one could in any way actually gauge the size of a place like the Bellamy, which Veronika was beginning to believe that one – at least when one was her – could not), but it had its share of new-construction oddities, doors which led to tiny triangular closets which happened to have siding on one wall, because at one point that had been the outside, stairways which led nowhere and were used as, again, a closet, this one room in the basement which had once been a parlor on the first floor and now was used for the junior archivists’ break room – finding it two days in a row was one of the tests of actually being an archivist. 

It also had a couple ghosts, of course – any place that collected artifacts would end up with at least one eventually. 

Standing in the passageway with its ancient file cabinets and its dusty ghost, Veronika wasn’t sure if the whole scene made her feel more at home – she’d definitely made a place for herself when she was at the Fillion, after all – or even more outclassed.  Continue reading

The Bellamy, Chapter 20

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They sat there, gazes locked, the trainee archivist and the – well, and the woman with horns who had been here quite a while, as awkward a descriptor as that was.

The moment held for a heartbeat, another, another.  Then Amanana chuckled and the mood broke, and Veronika allowed herself to look away.

“I believe – I believe of everyone who has come through here, perhaps you do actually see.  Very good.”  Amanana took an item from the case behind her, wrapped it up in a handkerchief, and slipped the package in a little box. She signed the outside of the box with her loopy signature.  “There.  That’s your item from here handled, and now let’s get you to the skeleton room.  I do believe that one is required on the first day.  Even coming from the Fillion as you do, they like to know that new people can handle the basics, like skeletons.”

At this point, Veronika couldn’t do anything but laugh a little helplessly. “The basics, yes.”  She considered matters. “Yes, those really would be some of the basics, wouldn’t they? Archaeology, paleontology – and those are only the ones that obviously hinge on skeletons, much less – oh dear.”  She put a hand to her mouth.  “I have really got to consider my habit of speaking before I think a little bit more, before it gets me in trouble.” Continue reading

The Bellamy, Chapter 19

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Amanana patted Veronika’s shoulder.  “It’ll be fine.  I’m not going to let you get hurt on my watch.  If One and Two were concerned about you, I can’t very well do less than that, now can I?”

“I don’t know,” she admitted.  Her eyes were on the woman’s horns.  I would know if you were demonic, she’d said“I don’t know all that much about you,” she admitted slowly.  She was feeling something – she didn’t know what it was, but it didn’t feel nice.  “But so far.” She paused, letting herself feel everything that her intuition was telling her. “So far,” she began again.  “I think that you wouldn’t let me get hurt. You’ve decided that you like me, or if not like, that you think I’m worth keeping around, and thus, you won’t let damage come to me.”

Amanana looked her up and down slowly.  It took a moment for the serious expression to leave her face, morphing slowly back into a smile.  “You’re quite a clever one.  Now, let’s see that list.  I do imagine that Miriam has made it too long again – she does that, you know, to scare off the slackers – and it’s time to shorten it a bit.”

Veronika passed her the list.  “Just like that?” Continue reading

The Bellamy, Chapter 18

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In another world, Veronika might have been a little surprised that she was having tea with a gorgeous woman with horns curling out of her skull.  In this life, and especially today, she was rather impatiently waiting for said woman to answer her. 

 Why was she doing this?  What was this test all about?

Was it really trying to kill her?

“The answer is at least three fold: If you cannot handle small things, like, say, the skeleton room, you cannot work here, because those things are an everyday fact of life in this place.  If you cannot, if not get along with, at least manage to not get in a screaming fight with, most of the members of the staff already here, then you cannot work here, because we all have to work together.  If you cannot accept that this place has supernatural elements, well, then you just do not belong here, and we would likely have given you a strong recommendation to a more mundane location.  And.”  She was clearly stalling.  This time the little sandwich she picked up was a clearly-chewy one and she took her time with it.  Continue reading

The Bellamy, Chapter 17

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Veronika considered being offended, or, at least, she thought about considering it, but there was something about the way Amanana laughed that said she meant no harm. 

“Oh, oh, that is delightful,” she said, just when, despite her feelings, Veronika was about to actually consider getting offended.  “That is such a beautiful way to put it.  I believe I am going to write that down, if you don’t mind?  If you ‘re okay with being quoted as saying that?”

The residual irritation faded.  “I’m glad you liked it.” Veronika was smiling again.  “Go ahead and quote me, if you’d like.  I imagine I can’t be the only one to feel that way.”

“Well.” Amanana’s expression went to something slightly more serious. “Well, it’s been a while since I’ve spoken to someone new.  I mean, ues, on occasion, there are new people still.  But most of them don’t make it all that far anymore.  You know, I’ve heard some of them don’t even make it past the front desk training?” Continue reading

The Bellamy, Chapter 16

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It’s never really taken anyone forever.  The woman across the table smiled around a nibble of pocket quiche. 

“You know,” Veronika mused.  The sandwiches looked delicious; they even smelled delicious.  “None of this was anywhere in the job description. And the first half of the day -”  She frowned. “It wasn’t, was it?”

“Well, it depends on how you look at it.  It depends on some other things, as well.” Amanana put two sandwiches on her plate and gestured to the platter, then to Veronika’s plate.  “How much do you want to know?”

Veronika picked two that looked the best.  “I want to say everything, but I suppose the question needs to be what’s the danger in knowing too much?” Continue reading

The Bellamy, Chapter 15

Sorry for missing a week~ Dermatologist visit!

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The pair left her at the doorway of Supernatural and the Occult, both of them smiling, both of them saying they were going to talk to Miss Haas. Two had slipped a packet of cookies into Veronika’s pocket, too, which pressed against her leg in a weird, crinkly way, like a token of some sort of kinship.  She spent a moment looking at the door – it was big, a couple feet taller than she was and proportionally wider, a heavy-looking wooden door – not oak, maybe something like – cherry, she realized, she’d seen that somewhere, probably in the Fillion.  It was carved all about with figures, what looked like demons and angels, pegasi and unicorns and what she thought were probably kelpies. 

The top half had a window – carved so it looked like it was held up by the unicorn and the kelpie, riding on a pegasus’ back – which itself was a complicated stained glass ritual circle.  Continue reading

The Bellamy, Chapter 14

We’re done discussing human remains for the time being!-

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“You broke her.  One, you broke her, and she was nice.”

“Oh, come off it, she was too nice to be real.  If she’s a little broken, maybe she’ll be more -“

“More real?  You’re saying that and you’re you and you’re saying that to me and-“

“Not broken,” Veronika interrupted.  She was still crouched on the floor.  She was still holding her face in both hands.  She didn’t really want to move.  She hadn’t really wanted to interrupt; the interaction between the two of them was fascinating.  But –  “I’m not broken.”  That was important. “I’m angry, and I’m… understanding something, I suppose.  And I’m angry.”

“You said that already.”

“No, she said it differently the second time, don’t you ever pay attention?”

Impossible to tell which was which without looking; they had the same voice.  Veronika looked up.  “Your voice copied better than your image.”

“You should see our livers,” Two quipped.  “Thank Carlson, you’re not broken.  Angry is – angry is good.”

“Why is angry good?” She felt like a fool, down on the floor.  Slowly, Veronika unfolded back to her feet.  She was surprised to find both Two and One taking an elbow and helping her up – up and away from the skeletons.  

“Because,” One answered for her sister/copy/twin/duplicate/clone? “for one thing, it’s an active emotion.  Or two emotions, I suppose.  And for another, what is the quote? ‘If you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention?’ I believe that second angry means that you’re paying attention, which speaks to your chances of survival here even more than you breaking the sunbeam’s grasp.”

Veronika looked between them.  “You want me to… you want me to be angry, no.  You want me to be paying attention.  You want me to pay attention because you want me to survive.”

“Both.  They feed into each other.”  One nodded, a very bare smile crossing her lip.  “If you’re the sort that pays attention, that’s good for the Bellamy.  Sometimes, Miryam just hires people because they’re, well, because they have an archival skill.  That’s great, of course, we’re an archive.  But you need more than archival skill to survive the Bellamy, and,-“

“And the Bellamy needs more than archivists,” her sister/clone/duplicate picked up.  “Bellamy needs, well.”

“More people like us,” One snorted.  “And obviously, we can’t just…”

“Duplicate ourselves.”  Two snorted identically.  “Like we said.  Our livers.”

“Your livers.  Right.” Veronika straightened out.  “You do realize that if you two happen to be putting me on about any of this, I am never bringing you any of our family wine.  And that is actually a punishment.”

They shared a look.  One nodded politely at Veronika.  “Then it’s good we’re not putting you on.  We’ve done that, of course, but not with people who, not with people who were handling things well, if that’s any consolation.”

“Not consolation,” Two corrected.  “Because we haven’t done anything to her, except you were a little rude to her.  More like reassurance.”

“I swear, I did not put a dictionary in the – anyway.  We’re going to walk you to Supernatural and Occult.  There aren’t that many more dangers this way, but, uh.  I’d rather be sure.  And then we can put in a word for you with Amanana.  She’s, ah, interesting.”

“Interesting?”  She glanced over to One.  “You, you are saying someone is interesting.”

“Well, she is – she is interesting. She doesn’t run Supernatural and Occult all of the time – our department is one of the only ones that stays with the same people all the time, and that’s because nobody wants to deal with it but us.”

“Well, also because-”  Two made a gesture that seemed to indicate something.  Veronika could guess that it was because they were duplicates, but it could have meant that they were short, comparatively, or just smarter at technology, or had bad hearts. Veronika discovered that the idea of trying to figure out which just made her tired. 

“Tch.  Come on, I thought we agreed we wanted Veronika to stay.”  One smacked Two on the shoulder.  “Don’t be all mysterious and weird right now, save that for the tourists.”

Two sulked.  Veronika didn’t bother to stifle a small giggle. 

That, weirdly, made Two stop sulking.  “I guess it’s a bit silly, isn’t it?  You’ve already guessed it, or close enough.  So Amanana, she likes reactions, so you don’t have to hide yours if you have one or anything, but just – well, if we tell you, she’ll be annoyed.  Come on, this way.  Oh, see this line of boxes?”  Two turned a bit to point at a row of boxes that were painted with a red line.  “That’s the safe point for the sunbeam… thing.”

Veronika blinked.  “You just changed subjects three times in one breath,” she muttered.  “Red line.”  She looked over the line again.  “Because you can’t put up a wall.”

“It gets aggressive.”  Two made a face. “I know, I wish we’d get rid of the thing, too.  Maybe now that I tell Miryam that it’s been eating people, eating trainees, well, no, of course not, we always knew it did that-“

“We tell her it tried to eat Miss Bellamy and she might think differently,” One countered. “Maybe we can shutter the damn thing or stick it in a ritual circle or something.”

“I wouldn’t want to be on the team that had to work with that.  At least it’s not a reproduction,” Two added.  They were walking Veronika through the passages of shelves of boxes, taking seemingly random turns. She wondered if she was meant to be distracted from the specifics or if this was yet another test.

She glanced at the boxes she was passing.  Something about Pompeii.  She caught her breath and glanced at Two.  “An unsolved murder in Pompeii?” she murmured. 

“Or something else unsolved,” One answered.  “They’re not all murders.  They’re not even all unsolved cases. Some of them are just storage.  A lot of them are just storage.”  She gave Veronika a strange look – strange even for her, as far as Veronika’s experience went.  “Unsolved murders?”

Veronika flushed. “I don’t know where that came from.  I honestly have no idea.  I just looked at the boxes and thought  – this time, not the first time – I thought unsolved murders.”  She wrinkled her nose.  “That’s not normally like me.”

“It’s not all that far off,” One admitted.  “We didn’t pass the sign that said this part was unsolved crimes, but that’s where we are.  I don’t think, ah.  I don’t think it’s a bad sort of not normal,” she added considerately.  “I think that you’re just getting a feel for the Bellamy.  It talks to you – and that’s a good thing.  The ones who stay for any length of time, it talks to all of us.”

“You realize -” she swallowed slowly.  “You realize that’s what they say about the archives, and they don’t say it as a good thing?  Be careful.  You spend too much time in places like that and they start to talk to you.  It gets under your skin.”

Her university advisor had told her that, actually. Twice, in slightly different wording, and then once in a very short form when do you want me to check up on you? To make sure that you’re still you?

Both One and Two were looking at her.  “And what do you think?” One asked her quietly. 

“I think – I think that if I turn left here, I’m going to be in the Supernatural department.”  She looked between them.  “And I think that the window won’t catch me again.  But I still think you ought to get rid of it.”

We,” Two corrected her, but she was doing something that was almost a smile.  “We ought to get rid of it.”

Want more?

The Bellamy, Chapter 13

Content warning for the below chapter: mention of human remains.

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“It’s you, shit.”  Hands landed on both of Veronika’s shoulders and pulled her backwards.  She let herself be pulled backwards, until even her toes were out of the sunlight.  “Do – do many people scream up here?”

“No.”  She thought it was Two behind her, but that voice was coming to the side of her.  She glanced over – Two was frowning at her.  “No.  Usually, they don’t scream at all if they make it that far.  You managed to pull yourself out and to scream.”  She shook her head.  “I figured it was Four, maybe, or maybe uh, one of the older ones who sometimes forget.  I didn’t think you’d come way over here,” she added, accusation thick in her voice.  “This isn’t the way to Supernatural and Occult.”

“It is if you’re trying to see as much of the Bellamy as you can without taking too much time,” the voice behind her commented.  So similar, just a little smoother.  One moved over to Veronika’s left, flanking her.  “But you might have noticed that can be dangerous here.” Continue reading