Author's Note: The conversation between V and Evey is from both the film (seen it twice so far and loved every minute of it!) and the film novelization
She's here, sleeping in one of the spare rooms. My unconscious guest. I'd never intended to use these rooms to house someone of welcome- they were for storing my prohibited treasures, my banned beauties.
Her hair is different than it was last night- the curls are pulled back and her clothes are the uniform of a girl struggling on the bottom rung of the career ladder. She is just like everyone else. I imagine that she has few friends, if any, and no family, no…significant other. Perhaps she is alone in the world, perhaps not- but nonetheless, she will be mine for one year.
I don't want to do this, but what choice do I have?
I don't mean to stare at her as she sleeps, but it's been quite a long time since I've been in close quarters with someone that was not an opponent. This strange creature is asleep, and if she were awake, I know that it would be no effort for me to overpower her. I shift my weight as I stand here in the doorway and wonder if anyone has even noticed that she's been taken.
Does anyone care enough to miss Evey Hammond?
It's been several hours, she will be awake soon. I leave her room, careful to leave the door half-open. What will she say when she wakes up? What will she think? She helped me in the Tower, even when she knew that I could have helped myself. I took care of three Fingermen right before her eyes just last night; did she really think that a lone policeman would capture me?
Part of me thinks that she wanted to help, another part of me thinks that she might have just jumped at the chance to hurt a man of Sutler's- perhaps she just wanted to inflict a tiny fraction of the pain that they've caused, just a tiny bit of payback, of vengeance…
It doesn't matter, because I know that she will be awake soon and I can just ask her the million-dollar question, but the real issue that I must face is what I am to do with her now. She can't return to her dingy little apartment, she can't go back to her thankless little job. Evey is homeless, and wanted by every officer in London now, because she chose to help me.
How am I to repay her? That woman- that girl will be captured, raped, beaten, and tortured in body and mind in every way possible, from being poisoned and starved to that ancient Chinese method of driving your victim mad with water droplets until finally, she will be dragged out somewhere and shot. And that is if she is lucky…
I can't let that happen, and because Evey chose to help me,I must nowkeep herhere in the Shadow Gallery. She will hate me, and fear me as well- I worry that upon seeing me again, she will assume the worst, that my aim in bringing her here with me is only to use her in the way intended by the Fingermen from the other night. Never mind that I cannot…
The jukebox is playing again. I want her to hear this music, banned for years, and awaken. I want her to come to me, to speak to me. Good God, could it be that after almost twenty years alone, I might actually wish to have a bit of companionship? I suppose your solitude and isolation has finally driven you mad, eh, old man?
Oh, do shut up, I was mad before I ever longed for company- I am, after all, having a conversation with myself, am I not? And not for the first time, either!
I hear the door open, and soft footsteps come closer. There she is, it's Evey! Her hair is a bit mussed and her clothes are wrinkled, but she fascinates me. Her eyes sweep over the galleries, lighting on the statues and the paintings hanging on the wall as if they might come alive at any time.
The music interests her.
The song goes on for a few more lines, and I decide to claim her interest. She turns around and starts. "Oh! You scared me."
"My apologies, are you feeling alright?"
"Yes, thank you." She seems wary of me, but not truly afraid. That was something, at least. Her eyes roam the room. "What is this place?"
"My home," I reply, and pause before adding, "I call it the Shadow Gallery."
"It's beautiful," is her immediate reply. I suppose that, in a way, it was beautiful. I'd grown accustomed to the place and everything in it, but to look upon the Gallery for the first time must have been a truly moving experience for her.
There were tears of wonder shining in the corner of her eyes. "Where did you get all this stuff?"
I wouldn't have called my treasures 'stuff', but if she was asking… "Here and there, much of it comes from the vaults of the Ministry of Objectionable Materials."
"You stole them?"
"Heavens, no! Stealing implies ownership. You cannot steal from a censor. I merely reclaimed them."
"God, if they ever find this place--"
"I suspect that if they ever find this place a few bits of art will be the least of my worries."
"You mean after what you've done…Oh, God…what have I done? I maced a detective, oh no, why did I do that?" Evey's eyes were wide with fear and disbelief, she put a hand to her mouth.
"You did what you thought was right."
"No, I shouldn't have done it, I must've been out of my mind!"
"Is that what you really think, or what they would have wanted you to think?" I ask. Evey had been staring off into space, no doubt imagining the trouble she'd gotten herself into for helping me. I watched her and caught the moment the thought crossed her mind that just by being here with me now, she could be in even worse trouble than before.
Her eyes were wide with fear as her mind returned to the conversation. She looked at me as if it was the three lusting Fingermen standing in my place. "I think I should go,"
"May I ask where?"
"Home, I have to go home,"
"You know they're looking for you, and if they know where you work then they certainly know where you live." I told her. The expression on her pretty faced turned to a desperate panic.
"I have friends, I can stay with them!"
Inwardly, I sighed. "I'm afraid that won't work either. I want you to understand, Evey, that I didn't want this for either of us, but I couldn't see any other way. You were hit, knocked unconscious, and I had to make the decision. If I'd left you at the Tower, you'd be in one of Creedy's interrogation cells right now. They'd imprison you, torture you, and, in all probability, kill you in pursuit of finding me.
"After what you did for me, I couldn't let that happen. I picked you up and carried you to the only place that I knew you'd be safe. Here. To my home."
Evey seemed to understand what I was telling her, but her desperation remained, and she began to beg. "Please, I won't tell anyone, I swear! You know you can trust me…"
"I'm sorry, but I can't take that risk."
And I was sorry- sorry that she'd become involved in my plans, sorry that she was so frightened and confused by all of this, sorry for knowing- just by looking at her- that she would tell everything to the first simple cadet that asked her what she knew if she was ever captured. I wasn't sorry, however, for how I felt about having someone to talk to. I often spoke to the statues and busts of the great geniuses of the past- Shakespeare, Einstein, Plato- butthey lack sufficient conversation skills.
It was refreshing tohave someone speak back to me- perhaps that was why I had been drawn to her last night. I don't believe in coincidences, there is no dice in life.
"But I don't even know where this is, we could be anywhere!"
I shook my head. "You know it's underground and you know the color of the stones, that would be enough for a smart man."
Her desperate panic was swiftly changing to anger. "What are you saying, that I have to stay here forever?"
"Only until I'm done, after the fifth I no longer think it will matter."
"The fifth? You mean I have to stay here for a year?"
The furious disgust in her voice hit me. I had thought that she might welcome the safety of my home, the chance to be surrounded by all of the art and music that she'd been so wrongfully denied; to dream of the books she'd read and the films she'd see, rather than go through nightmares of the Fingermen and their black bags should have seemed to her the most wonderful gift anyone could give…then why was she so upset with me?
"I'm sorry, Evey. I just didn't know what else to do." I said. The way she was looking at me…I almost felt as if I had done her some great injustice, rather than having just saved her life.
"You should have left me alone! Why didn't you just leave me alone?" She demanded, her voice raised, her face flushed in anger.
I didn't try to stop her as she turned to leave, there was no point. She wouldn't be able to leave the Gallery and if I were to go after her, she might become frightened. Better for both of us to have some time alone.
"…don't try forcing a woman when she's angry, it'll only make things worse…wait until she cools off, give her time alone to relax, and remember: it never hurts to have a peace offering…"
The words of my father from years ago drifted through my mind. At least, I think my father said something along those lines…it's been so long since I thought of him, or my old life for that matter. I don't remember his face or his name. I don't remember my name or my old face, although, I wouldn't call what I possess now a "new" face, because it's not a face at all!
Every once in a great while, a flash of memory will surface, usually brought on in a time when I am at a complete loss. This Evey situation certainly classifies. Not only have I allowed myself to reveal the secret of my home, but in keeping Evey here she will undoubtedly come to learn of my plans, perhaps even become involved- if she should be captured, what then?
The girl is a huge risk, but I cannot let her walk out of the Gallery, and right into Sutler's waiting hands. She would tell them everything, I can already picture it. Evey is a risk to my revenge, my vengeance on Sutler, on Creedy, Liliman, Surridge…
No, I won't let her get in the way- if I have to, I will show her just what it is I've been fighting so long for. With that thought, I leave the main foyer of the Gallery and move down the hall. The day is not over yet, but a huge steps have already been taken- the beginning of the end of this damn tyranny. I had fought Fingermen, blown up the Old Bailey, taken over Jordan Tower, fought and killed several members of the police force and in the process of all this, I've saved Evey twice, only to have her spurn me for it…I feel tense, and I can't understand her anger.
As I pass the room, I see that Evey's door is shut tight, but I can hear her inside, pacing and sobbing. I would have liked to go in and offer some words of comfort, but I suddenly felt a rush of anger at her tears. Ignoring her crying, I went on to my own bedroom.
Anger and Reason battled in my mind and ironically, I found myself pacing the same pattern as she.
Let the little bitch cry all night! As if she's a true victim! To think, she could stay here in the Gallery for one year, reading books that she's never heard of, see films that were banned from the theaters, look upon art that was rescued from condemned museums…many people would give their life for such a respite from the tyranny that reigns supreme above our heads, and yet Evey is in the next room, crying her heart out, for what? She acts as if I stole her from a life worth living!
Reason then stepped in for a few moments.
She's just afraid and confused, but she acts as if it's I that set out for things to happen this way! I didn't want her involved in any of this, and now we must share my home for one year. We need to be able to cooperate in order for this to work- I need there to be some trust between us. Tomorrow, when she has had time to accept this, we can start anew…
I saved her life twice in the past 24 hours, yet she behaves as though I have condemned her for a century. Foolish girl, no doubt she'd never set foot in one of the camps, never been used as someone's fucking lab rat…she doesn't know anything! To her, I am a madman, but she doesn't understand!
I step into my room, and set a chair in front of the door to block entry from the hallway- what I was about to do, I didn't wish for Evey to see, just in case she decided to start exploring. I slipped off the gloves, and my boots followed a moment later. I removed the mask and wig, relishing the cool air in contact with my skin. I took a deep breath and then removed the tunic and trousers.
I undressed completely and stood before a lit mirror. No inch of skin was left invisible to me, I could see every last malformed scar. My skin is ravaged entirely. There is not a spot that was spared in the fire- I am walking scar tissue.
I look upon my naked body and think that for every scar I have, a hundred innocent people were killed in Larkhill. This is the reason I've spent so many years alone, going for days without food or sleep to gain one more piece of information that would lead me to the 5th of November.
There's only one more year to wait, and it will all finally be over.