Chasing More Than Ghosts: Chapter 1
Forgive me if the formatting is weird, posting on this site for the first time.
Warnings: Dark themes, implied mind manipulation, light swearing, hints of horror. If I miss anything, let me know.
Inspired by Phasmophobia and a few songs.
Songs that inspired and helped me write this fic: Jillian (I'd Give My Heart) by Within Temptation, Amaranth by Nightwish, Rivers by Epica, Angels by Within Temptation, Stand My Ground by Within Temptation, and Aquarius by Within Temptation.
Feel free to leave feedback; I love improving my writing.
Also, this is Dark! WandaNat x Reader set in a Ghost Hunting AU.
To find the person you’re destined to be with is a tricky, stumbling path for most people. A genuine connection between two people is probably the most beautiful yet most terrifying thing that can occur in the human race. Think about it for a moment, having intense and powerful feelings for a completely different individual with different thoughts and dreams—somebody whose feelings are complicated and whose mind is fractured because of indescribable trauma or pain. In anyone’s next life, all of that could be gone and could be replaced with happiness and good health. But for some, they can’t move on until their business is resolved.
Anger is infectious, causing a chain reaction that could consume any same person if they’re pushed off the edge. This primal emotion can forever trap a soul in the veil of life and death, causing ungodly anger to seep into the environment. However, this time was a particular case. Two restless souls are lost inside their decaying home, forced to roam its halls eternally. While watching from a reasonable distance away, paranormal investigators would report sightings of a thick red mist enveloping the property border. This unusual phenomenon occurs around 3:00 am or a few minutes beforehand. A few investigators crossed the threshold and died almost immediately upon entering the other side. Many have reported that this smog could be a manifestation of the late witch’s magic that seeped into the earth.
Yet, here you are at 9:57 pm, standing on the borderline of the withering, two-story home that once belonged to a powerful witch and her Black Widow. The Witch’s Estate, as everyone has called it, has a tragic tale tied to it, but any crucial details were left out of any books or articles.
You were sent a report which said: ‘There was once a witch who had control of ancient magic that even the most revered witches and sorcerers would shy away from. The witch, simply known as ‘Wanda’ to the townfolk, had cast a spell over the newly-formed town of Westview and held it hostage. Wanda and her Black Widow, whatever this Black Widow may be, would mentally manipulate the townspeople into building them a new home and a proper grave…for someone. After they were done forcing the townsfolk to do their bidding, they locked themselves away in the estate for the rest of their days, and the spell had dissipated as time went on. It is unknown how they passed away; a witch with such powerful magic could drastically extend her life and her Black Widow’s life. Yet, they died on their property regardless.
However, in more recent times, more events began to unfold here.
Dr. Stephen Strange and Wong investigated the manor as its magic had peaked in intensity. A dark burst of magic had pulsed through the land, causing shockwaves to ripple across 50 miles, thus causing the sorcerers to explore the property in the days after. Upon investigating, they were immediately expelled and teleported far away as they stepped on the lawn. They concluded that the wooden home repelled magic or magic-wielding entities.’
You were the only option to investigate this anomaly of a location, along with your trusty partner and leader: Kate Bishop. The other Supernatural-Hunting Avengers were preoccupied with other vital hunts. You and Kate are at the top of your class hunting supernatural entities. Everyone simply called them ‘Supernaturals’; ghouls, ghosts, hellhounds, or any supposedly mythical creature under the sun. This was an unusual case for you both. Scans indicated that no paranormal entities have been detected, but you suspect they could hide from modern technology.
10:00 pm. -
The home rests deep within a forest, near the town of Westview, where this incident with the witch occurred. You’re curious as to why a witch would take control of a small town’s denizens and force them to build a large house in the middle of the woods. Along with a home, why make them dig a grave; what was that all about?
You take a deep breath; you and Kate, with backpacks and duffel bags full of Stark-issued equipment, cautiously make your way to the damaged front steps and open the rickety door to reveal the nearly untouched remains of a once-loved family home.
Kate pulls out an EMF device and searches for any unusual activity while you take a look around the living room. The living room is smaller than you thought it would be; a few wainscot chairs are placed in a half-circle around an extinguished fireplace. There are two bookshelves on opposite sides of the room. A few paintings are hastily strewn about the room on the right side of the wall, most of which are portraits. You notice two distinct people, briefly glossing over them, more than likely the ones mentioned in the report. There’s a third portrait closer to the fireplace, but you don’t see it right away.
“Sooo, I got nothing on the EMF - maybe like a small spike here and there, but not much else,” Kate thinks aloud as she puts the device away in her backpack.
“It’s not even midnight, Kate; that’s when stuff starts to go down. Besides, we’re here until like 2:30, and then we gotta dip,” you murmur tiredly while sorting through your bag for some night vision cameras.
“Yeah, yeah, but I didn’t think we could stay until 3:00 am anyway,” Kate states as she places her backpack and duffel bag on the floor near a bookshelf.
“I don’t think we can come back after this expedition: it’s a one-time trip, and quite frankly, I want to get as much information as possible and see if there’s any possibility of returning,” you grumble towards the end.
“We’ll see; if we find anything significant, then we’ll be back here within the week.” Kate yawns.
“I’m going to search around for some clues about these supernaturals; maybe we can help them resolve their shit, leave, and have a drink.” you offer, and Kate smirks, chuckling at your lazy offer.
“Hmm, tempting, but this investigation is much more than our usual ones. You do know there are hundreds of lost souls from here to Westview that we might have to clear out, right?”
“I’m well aware, Katie. I dunno; I’m drawn to this place for some reason; I want to know more about it; it’s a shame that this place has a deadly mist that pops in at three o’clock; it’s not good for tourism.” You frown at that.
You and Kate grab your hand-held radios; you two link them together, and you start looking around. With each step you take down the short hallway, you casually look at some of the left-behind decorations.
The kitchen looks like it hasn’t been touched in quite some time, yet no signs of decay are present in any of the rooms. How is it so perfectly preserved in time? No one could have come here and adequately taken good care of it all over the years.
The air is stagnant, unmoving as if time stood still here. Your mind is yelling at you to get away from here. Yet you don’t know why; there’s no danger here - at least not yet. There’s no reason to run away; it’s homely here. You could stay here forever if there weren’t any restless and angry spirits haunting the lot. As you saunter the kitchen’s wooden floors, a feeling of serenity fills the cracks of your heart and soul - warmth enveloping your chest and stomach. You reel your head back as if to suppress a moan from escaping your throat.
At this sudden intrusion of peace, you promptly move away, realizing that something might be in this room with you. Everything feels off; the kitchen gives off a presence of uncertainty and a faint pang of guilt roaring through your head. Why guilt? These spirits probably thought you were trespassing on their burial ground.
You had stuffed a spirit box in your hoodie pocket, and now would be a great time to start asking questions.
You click the power button before whirring to life; it clicks loudly like a camera shot, signaling that it’s ready for operation, “Alright, starting off with some spirit box in the kitchen…here we go.” you say to yourself, prepping for what’s to come.
You press a button on the side, “Is anyone there?”
Amid the spirit box’s low noise level, you hear a soft, fuzzy static in the speaker. Not close enough. You are closer to the living room than the stove, so you move further into the kitchen and press the button again, raising it closer to your lips.
“Is somebody here with me?”
That was clear as day; a childish laugh echoes from the box, alerting Kate, who is a room away from you.
“What the hell?” Kate asks as the radio starts to whine and crack in its audio.
“What, what!? It sounded like it was right by me!” your voice falters; nervousness coated your voice.
“I heard it from a room away, dude!” Concern was etched in Kate’s voice, trembling with light anxiety.
FUNNY, the voice box crackled and barked.
“What’s funny?” you ask, your eyes dart around the room. You quickly switch the device to standby mode, where it would remain on instead of pressing the button continuously.
The voice box proceeded to cackle with each HA; the audio would become more garbled before stopping dead in its tracks. What a bastard this ghost was.
“What is so funny?”
“Y/N, it’s not gonna change its answer.” Kate sounded slightly annoyed.
You decide to poke the bear more, “Where are we?” Sure, why not?
HOME, HERE, FOREVER.
You always felt sympathetic for trapped spirits, especially when they said something on the lines of, “I’m here forever, I’m lonely, or I’m scared.” But the three words it said couldn’t be narrowed down to any specific emotion as the spirit box only spoke in a robotic tone. So, it could mean those words in a sad or possibly possessive way; you hoped for the first option.
“I’m sorry to hear that,” You pause, “You never did answer my question, though. What’s so funny?”
ALONE BY YOURSELF
“It’s funny that I’m here in this room by myself?”
“Y/N, it’s a little foolish to ask that; considering the history here, I think you should be a little more careful. I mean, there’s a spirit of a powerful witch still lingering…whose magic is still active,” Kate butts in.
Time for a new plan.
“Are you ALONE BY YOURSELF?” you inquire, hoping to get a rouse out of the spirit by countering it with its words.
NOT FOR LONG
“Oh,” you turn your head, embarrassed.
“Geez, this thing is creepy!” Kate adds.
“Tell me about it,” you radio back.
The sudden and reposeful warmth returns and wraps around your torso like a snake. The warmth becomes hot and is burning your core. It reminds you of a live wire you touched while hunting for a poltergeist. The ghost had grabbed a wire and jabbed you with it, causing electricity to shoot through your body rapidly, and you freaked out and bumped into a cabinet of china…and it fell on top of you.
“Son of a bitch!” you twist and pull your hoodie off in a frenzy, hearing the clunk of your phone hit the floorboards.
The spirit box goes off again, HA HA HA HA HA.
It’s laughing at your pain; what an asshole.
Kate runs into the kitchen to see you huffing and puffing, leaning against the wall as you attempt to catch your breath. The temperature had gone cold as if the doors were open and the winter breeze was blowing.
“Y/N! Are you alright!?” she approaches cautiously as to not aggravate you.
“Asshole cranked up the heat,” you grab your hoodie, “I’m gonna sit down in the living room for a moment; this has never happened before!” you’re exasperated and tired.
Kate grabs the spirit box before following you. Yet the spirit isn’t entirely done speaking as the device snaps, crackles, then pops. A high-pitched whine pierces the spirit box speaker before settling into a deep rumble. Radio static clears up, setting its volume to a low hum before a voice shines through like a summer sky.
‘Oh, you silly thing!’ it chuckles, ‘There isn’t much of a place to hide here, you know?’ The spirit box reverts back to its regular frequency.
You two had stopped dead in your tracks as the voice, which was a deeper feminine voice, spoke clearly. Both of you were so gobsmacked by the ghastly intruder that you both didn’t quite pick up the tapping in the walls right away. The tapping was then accompanied by incessant scratching that felt too close. Then it stops, gone with the wind, and the atmosphere goes back up to room temperature, causing you both to shiver in your boots. You equip your hoodie once more and re-enter the living room, sitting down on one of the wainscot chairs and slide down the backboard, letting out a breath of defeat.
Looking down at your smartwatch, you see that it’s only 10:17 pm. ‘Fuck, it’s only been seventeen minutes?’ you think as a yawn escapes you.
“Y/N, this is going to be a rough night; I understand that, but we need to do more research on the spirit(s) here, or else we have no idea how to help them.” Kate explains, pulling out her laptop, turning it on, and entering the passcode before connecting with your ‘eyes in the sky’, Yelena.
Your head slowly crooks to the wall, and your eyes lazily scan the portraits that hung on rusty nails. The picture closest to you has the image of a beautiful red-haired woman with dull grey eyes, and her lips are sealed tight like a circus’ tightrope. She is wearing a grey and black gown and has her hands folded with what looks to be a small blade nestled perfectly behind her palm; you could see the blade’s edge poking out from between the middle and ring finger. The spirited moonlight illuminated the second picture, closer to the window next to a bookshelf. It shows another red-headed woman with lively blue eyes and a bright white smile. She is wearing a dark red gown, and… a red mist is shown behind her, she must be Wanda, while the other woman is the Black Widow that is vaguely mentioned. The third painting is obscured in the black of night, right next to the unlit fireplace. It’s difficult to make out unless you light the fireplace, but you couldn’t be bothered to look.
Yet, it’s crucial to the mission at hand, and with a deep, dragging sigh, you get out of the uncomfortable wooden chair and inspect the final portrait. Coming closer, you see that it looks…familiar somehow; it’s uncanny. You swear that the person in this painting looks almost like you. Not almost - but exactly like you; no doubt about it. You freeze completely while Kate and Yelena are chatting away about the investigation and the strange events with the spirit box when Kate glances over at you.
“Hey, are you good over there?” Kate raises a single brow.
You take the portrait off the wall, rush over to your companion and show her what you found. Kate inspects the picture, and her jaw drops, her eyes widening in alarm. From the other end, Yelena squints at the painting and looks frightened.
“That’s impossible.” Yelena’s face glitches as the signal suddenly weakens.
“You’re telling me, my ancestors weren’t even in New Jersey in whatever time the witch was here.”
“Ehm, I might have something that will say otherwise.” Yelena is uncertain, uncertain her new piece of information would be of any help.
Shortly after, a notification arrives; Kate quickly clicks on her email app and astutely studies the article. Which reads:
She was a loving woman who will be missed by her lovers, Wanda and Natasha. Surely, we won’t miss her. Not only is loving a witch wrong, but loving not one - but two women. It’s supposed to be a man and a woman, as our goddess says! Although Y/N L/N was a sweet girl…we had to do what had to be done, even if it hurt us.
“Of course, it had to be homophobia,” Kate snarls before shifting her attention to Yelena, who’s resting her head on her hand.
“Mhm, you’re not bothered by the fact Y/N’s full name is in a newspaper article from hundreds of years ago?” Yelena raises a brow then takes a hardy sip of her tea.
“Sorry, I was distracted. Everything points to Y/N being alive in the 1600s or whatever. But that’s impossible; we’re birth buds; we have known each other a few months after being born. I remember us growing up together.”
“The article you sent said I was the witch and the Widow’s lover, somehow… I’m tied to this place and its restless spirits. I’m confused.” You rub your temples easing the headache of a situation you found yourself written into.
“Guess you got to find out…and soon, you only have four and a half hours to go, maybe three-quarters if you’re lucky,” Yelena explains.
“Alright, we’ll let you know what we find; I’ll see you later…detka.” Kate winks then blows a kiss, to which Yelena returns the gesture.
Anything in this house could help you. Y/N-iffer, as you start to call the woman in the painting, simply can’t be you - you’re here in 2024, yet this ‘you’ existed 400 years ago, give or take. Who really is this woman? Who are you really? The answers lie upstairs in a sealed-off part of the house.
The spirit box that had been in Kate’s hand turns itself on, and a shrill voice croaks from the device.
Y/N, DOROGOY, STILL HERE, AFTER, ALL, THIS TIME? N@TA$#&, IT WORKED!
The voice box goes dead silent, and Kate checks the battery, showing that it’s dead; luckily, you two brought a spare one with a more powerful battery. Things were only going to escalate from here on out.
Let me know if you want more!