They all deserved to die.

He often watched them from his window as they swarmed the streets below- a sordid, stinking mass of parasitic filth. Sleeping, belching, sighing worms, devouring all that was beautiful and spewing it back forth as vomit and excrement. In their greed, they gave nothing: only took and took and took, until this poor ravaged world collapsed in a pile of bone and ash.

He despised their company, found it repulsive.The only thing that made it bearable was the knowledge that each disgusting life continued only at his indulgence; that he could end them all, easily, if he chose.

There were exceptions, of course. His stomach gave a guilty spasm at the thought of Johanna. He was supposed to protect her-- he was her father. But though he thought he'd done all he could, he couldn't help feeling that he had inexplicably failed her, somehow.

And then there was Lucy- an angel, not mortal at all. There had been nothing in her of the crawling vermin that lived and bred in London's gutters. But her beauty had been fragile and fleeting, as all beautiful things must be. No creature of air and light could long survive amid such base putrifaction. It had destroyed her, like a poisonous lichen, obliterating her loveliness with its corrupting touch.

For himself he made no exceptions. He, too, was worthy of death- more so, perhaps, than any wretch that died at his hands. He was human and sullied as all the rest; he hadn't deserved to touch something as perfect as Lucy, had never deserved her, had paid for his presumption with every whip-scar on his back.

It was only justice; to suffer for one's sins was only justice. And that was all he was doing, wasn't it? Delivering cold, compassionless justice to the necks of the wicked. So he never felt any remorse, as the trapdoor slid open and he watched them drop. After all, they had surely done something to merit such punishment.

What man had not?

How seldom it is, Mr. Todd, that one meets a fellow spirit.

x x x

(A/N: I was always struck by the number of parallels between Sweeney and Turpin, so I spit this short piece out in an attempt to overcome my writer's block. This is written to be 100-percent ambiguous, so you can read it as Mr. Todd or the Judge, as you choose. I'm especially proud of the 'trapdoor' bit- since, you know, hangings involve trapdoors as well. -morbid giggle- Also, for those who haven't seen the play, Judge Turpin practices self-flagellation, so that's where the scars on his back would have come from.

Anyway, my life is disgustingly busy right now, so this is probably the last thing I'll be posting for the next few weeks. As always, reviews will make me smile.)