Over And Done

Sweeney watched the Judge slip down the trapdoor.

His hands and face were splattered with ruby-red blood. He could taste a little bit in his mouth, salty-sweet. It was everywhere, even on the window eight feet above. Sweeney got lost temporarily in the subtle shine of the wet blood against the night sky. A new constellation telling the story of a man who loved too hard and never forgave.

Nellie came into the shop, wrapping her arms around him and whispering words of congratulations in his ear.

Congratulations for what? Sweeney no longer saw much purpose in anything. He had never planned ahead this far. What was he supposed to do after the revenge?

He shook Nellie's arms off. Dear Nellie, always cleaning up his messes. He would think she was a wonderful friend if she was as cold and silent as his razors.

There was a tapping of footsteps up the stairs and Nellie went to stave the would-be customers off. He could hear Anthony's voice, an octave too high with grief.

So Johanna was gone too. Sweeney supposed he might have suspected as much. Why would she bother with living? If she was at all sensible, she would end her life as soon as possible. He even felt a faint glimmer of pride that his daughter had thrown herself out of the asylum window.

His black eyes, once so alive with dark fire, moved to his own window. But he felt no call to shatter it and fall away from this life. How anticlimactic. It seemed much too easy.

Sweeney realized he had counted on being caught by now. But no one would ever believe him if he went to the constables and told them himself. Besides, it seemed like surrendering, and that was on thing Sweeney Todd never did.

If Sweeney Todd was a surrendering kind of man., he would have surrendered to pain and sweat a long time ago, in Australia where the heat beat away at his mind. He would have surrendered to grief when he found out Lucy had not bothered to wait for him. Had she figured he would not return alive? He felt a brief stir of guilt that her had kept her waiting so long. But again, it seemed too easy to follow in her footsteps.

Sweeney contemplated many ways to die. The smash of flesh against stone-flagged streets, the constricting scratch of rope against neck, the smooth glide of razor across throat, the burning sourness of arsenic against lips. None of them seemed quite right.

Sweeney stared up at the drying splatter of blood across the clouded sky. A new constellation, telling the story of a man who could never die.