The poison is cheap. It's not as if she can afford better, not after Benjamin was – not without Benjamin there. She doesn't worry about whether or not it'll work, or whether it'll hurt much. All she wants is to drink it, to erase the memories of rough hands on her body, masked faces all around her, cruel laughter, torchlight…all she cares about is ending it.
She passes the younger woman, Nellie Lovett, on the way up the stairs. She hardly sees her, but the other woman sees her, watching interestedly, her gaze slightly detached. She doesn't really care, just like the people at that party. The world just watches others' suffering, no one cares about anyone else. They just go along, stopping every once in a while to gawk, to mention what they've seen to each other, but never to help. Never.
She opens the door to their rooms. It creaks. Benjamin was going to fix it. He won't have a chance to now. Not that it will matter anyway. Johanna is sitting on the floor, playing with a little piece of wood in the shape of a horse. Her father made it for her. She already has a thatch of yellow hair growing in, the color of Lucy's. Lucy lifts her up, and Johanna clings to her mother. Lucy kisses the little girl's forehead, whispering to her. "Goodbye, darling." Still holding the little girl, she uncorks the bottle and drinks the poison in one gulp. Holding Johanna to her, she lies down on the bed and waits for it to do its work.
At least it erases the memories, though not completely. Wasn't that what Lucy wanted? Nellie watches as Lucy's hair turns grey over the long months, and she ends up muttering strange things to Nellie as she brings her weak broth. Benjamin…Turpin…Johanna…she repeats these names over and over again, and then eventually it is almost as though she has forgotten them. Instead, she speaks in an innocent voice, asking Nellie who she is. Every once in a while the innocent tone disappears and she accuses Nellie of awful crimes in an angry voice. At these times, Nellie practically runs away from the room.
They take the little girl away early on, the Judge and the Beadle. With her hair grey and her cheeks sunken, the Judge hardly looks at Lucy anymore. They murmur things about 'tragic accidents' and then leave, the little girl crying as they carry her away.
After about four months, Lucy gets up from her bed, and wanders out the door, thanking Nellie in a disconcerting voice. Nellie sees her outside, begging, and often scaring passerby. She doesn't like seeing her, and shoos her away whenever she comes near. She doesn't like to remember what she witnessed.
For as long as she can remember, Johanna has lived with Judge Turpin. He doesn't pay much attention to her, especially when she is young, leaving her to nurses and tutors. Sometimes he'll lecture her on her duty to God and how she must submit to him, as her guardian and a man and her elder as she would submit to God himself. She tries to be an attentive pupil, but the lectures are long and she gets bored. She finds herself looking out the window at the trees and the birds and such.
She does pay close attention whenever he mentions her mother, which doesn't happen much, but she catches every detail when he does. Sometimes he runs his hand through her long yellow hair and murmurs. "Just like your mother…" That makes her proud. She's always wanted to be just like her mother, who apparently was very pretty.
He's never mentioned her father, so she calls him father. She wonders sometimes whether he really was her father, because he seems to think so highly of her mother.
When she's about twelve he starts commenting more on how pretty she is, and also he stops letting her go outside to play so much. Once he runs his hand down her neck, over her budding breasts beneath her gown. It scares her.
Does she have a name? She wonders that sometimes, as she begs on the streets. Everyone calls her "the crazy beggar woman" but she thinks there was something else, once. There are three names that once in a while come to her. Benjamin…Turpin…Johanna…Whenever she can remember them, vague memories come with them.
The first one makes her feel alternately happy and sad.
"I love you, Benjamin." She says, smiling. One of his hands is buried in her hair as he loves to do, and the other holds her close to him. "I love you too, you are all I need, you are my life…"
Sometimes the memories that come with Benjamin make her cry.
He holds her as though he'll never let go, his tears soaking her hair as hers soak his coat. They don't say anything, there are no words for this moment. But far too soon it is ended, as those appointed to take him away grab him and pull him away from her. "Hurry up, Barker." She screams. "Benjamin!" And he screams back, something that knows is her name, but she can't remember…
The second is more painful, full of harsh memories, cruel ones.
"Take her Turpin!" One of the onlookers cries out. They all cry out such things, things that would make her blush horribly if she heard them anywhere else, but here she's too terrified to feel like that. He's wearing a mask, just like the others, but she can recognize him by his eyes. He pulls her skirt up, and she wants to fight him, but the liquor is making her slow to react. He buries one of his hands in her yellow hair, just like Benjamin used to do, and for some reason that's what hurts most.
She doesn't know where the last name comes from, even when she does remember it.
He's holding her in his arms, that man who she almost remembers, and the name is at the tip of her tongue. He's holding her, and suddenly there are so many things she wants to say. She wants to tell him that her hair used to be yellow, such a pretty yellow, and she wants to explain how the poison did only half its work and about how when they brought Johanna away she left the wooden horse and mostly she just wants to ask him how he got back and if he died because the first name is falling into place, and he's her dear Benjamin. But there's something against her throat, and it's metal, and it's cold and she has remembered her name, and she's about to scream it out because she's so happy that she's remembered it, but…
She dies with her lips about to form the name Lucy.