Tears to Shed

Summary: A girl of only seventeen tries to understand. Drabble, set before the movie.

Disclaimer: Corpse Bride and its characters belong to Tim Burton and their other respective owners.

Notes: I was at a talent show of sorts the other night, when local artist Liz Longley came up and sang an original song called "Naked Trees". Emily just kinda popped out during the song and said, "Hey! Write about me!"

I'm a little nervous about posting this. x.x If you've got something to say, then say it, but please be nice.

She opened her eyes and the first thing she noticed was the cold night air didn't seem to bother her anymore.

Seventeen-year-old Emily Cromwell sat up, confusion forgotten as she noted with dismay the rip in her mother's wedding dress. 'Mummy's going to kill me,' she thought. She looked about, gathering her bearings. That's right...she was waiting for Barkis. A dreamy smile lit up her pretty face. Had she dozed off, then, waiting for him?

'Where are the jewels?' she asked herself, suddenly realizing the small fortune she'd been told to bring was missing. Feeling apprehensive now, Emily tried to stand and found her legs wouldn't cooperate.

At that moment, she noticed the blue tint to her frighteningly pale legs. She placed a hand to her breast and found her heart wasn't beating. "Oh my," Emily whispered. "Oh my." Her voice sounded strange and whispy; she realized she was drawing in no breath.

She remembered it suddenly then...She remembered hearing the leaves crunching behind her – she turned and saw him there, the moonlight casting strange shadows on his frenzied face – he was holding something heavy-looking high above his head – he brought it toward Emily and suddenly everything had gone black... The moment had been silent, yet there'd been thunder crashing in her ears.

He'd killed her. Oh, God...He'd killed her, and she hadn't even had a chance to scream.

What if he decided to go after her family? He knew where they lived, didn't he? She tried, once again, to get to her feet, but the thought of her family made her legs weaken.

Mummy would cry when they found out she was dead. And five-year-old Blake, would he even understand that his sister wasn't going to come home? Father might not say anything, but he would be crushed. She could see them all now – Mummy covering her face with one hand, and Blake worriedly clutching her other; Father sinking into his armchair by the fire, the one he used to sit in when he took a younger Emily into his lap and read to her...

Father...had been right about Barkis. He'd been right all along. Emily shuddered in the dark.

Would Barkis be caught, she wondered... She hoped so, fervently. She leaned against the tree she'd been lying under, staring through the naked branches at the night sky.

'Why?' she wondered mournfully. What had she done to make him hate her enough to kill her?

She wrapped her arms around herself, despairing. What had she done wrong? Had she just simply been to quick to trust?

And then a horrible thought occurred to her – what if he'd done this to other girls? How many others had he led on, as a ploy to get their money?

No. She was young and she still wanted desperately to believe in the good of the world. But then... being dead, was she even still a part of this world?

A very strange thing happened then to Emily – she began to cry. She wept for the house they would've built together and the child they would've had together, and she wept in anger, too, because he had taken all these things from her; she wept for the lives he may have destroyed in the same way.

When her tears dried the sky was beginning to lighten with the early morning. She still had no idea how one could cry if they were dead; she imagined now that she would never be able to cry again.

Lying under the naked trees seventeen-year-old Emily vowed to wait. She would wait for as long as it took for someone – for the true love she'd heard about so often in fairy tales – to come rescue her. Because though she no longer had a heartbeat she still had her mother's wedding dress, and she still had her hope.

And she hoped that there was someone out there who could love her, even as she was now.