Title: Remnants of a Nightmare
Fandom: Rule of Rose: A timid girl named Jennifer finds herself trapped in an orphanage with a group of vicious girls who call themselves the Red Crayon Aristocrats. The rules in their world are simple. Do everything they say…or die. I don't own it!
Taunt: My fandom has an entire blog devoted to trying to figure out what the heck happened in it.
The bus stopped suddenly, seemingly on a dime, and the resulting screech of brakes and jostling about was enough to send Jennifer's head forward. She nearly crashed into the seat in front of her, but quickly righted herself with a gasp and looked around. Almost immediately, she was forced to squint against the intrusion of bright light.
"Yer stop, miss," the driver said in his coarse voice.
Still trying to shake off the last drags of sleep while her eyes continued to adjust to the light, Jennifer stood. She took a moment to stretch before gathering her suitcase and making her way to the front of the bus, where she thanked the driver and climbed down onto the street. She heard the squeak of the doors closing behind her, the whirr of the engine, and the crunch of tires against the pavement, but she did not turn around as the bus drove away.
Jennifer gazed upwards, towards the boarding house that was to be her new home. At nineteen, she was finally moving out into the world. She was past the age to be kept by the state, they had told her. It was high time that she started working and earning her keep and making her own way.
At the time, she had been properly horrified at this. Leaving the orphanage? Leaving the only home she knew, the only home she could remember? The idea was terrifying, and she spent many a sleepless, tearful night curled in bed with her head buried under the blankets, thinking about it. Even as she was put on the bus with all of her worldly possessions packed neatly into one suitcase, she trembled.
…she felt like a whole new person. Jennifer closed her eyes and thought back.
The orphanage. Rose Garden. Martha. Hoffman. The other girls, Diana and Meg and Amanda and Clara and all the others. The rule of rose. Brown, her beloved dog. The Bucket Knight. And Wendy, sweet Wendy, her dear friend…
…but there were others. The airship that had sent her to that orphanage in the first place. Joshua. Imprisonment in the home of a crazy man. Stray Dog. The bloody massacre that had ended in a man taking his own life before her eyes while her friends died all around her. She had remembered an old story, and hidden in the clock. It had proven to be the only safe place.
And as before, only she had survived. The unluckiest girl in the world.
She kept her eyes closed, even as tears began to work their way out from beneath her eyelids to slid down her face. Where had all of this come from, these memories? They were hers, right? Her memories, the things she had forgotten? Or was it an elaborate, detailed dream?
She was sort of inclined to think so, that it had all been a dream. It was the only explanation, or so she thought. Even thought it was odd to think of such a dream, one that seemingly filled in all the blanks in her life and closed the holes in her memory with images that seemed far too familiar.
Shaking it all off and brushing it aside, Jennifer made her way past the gate and into the building. It seemed that they were expecting her (the secretary's droning about how this had all been arranged came back to her), and she was quickly hustled upstairs and into a room. She was given instructions as to where to report the following morning for breakfast and for her first day of work, and then she was left to her own devices.
Jennifer looked around the room. It was small, with a bed, a nightstand, a lamp, some shelves, a desk, and a chair. It was all very plain, and very simple (rather like Jennifer herself, she thought with an odd sense of amusement at the idea), but the fact remained that it was hers. After so many years spent sharing everything with others, she finally had her own private domain.
To her, the tiny room looked absolutely palatial, fit for…for a princess, really.
She set her suitcase down at the foot of the bed and in a rare moment of abandon, let herself fall back against the mattress. It was worn, but solid, the blanket soft enough, and it all seemed relatively clean.
How odd for filthy Jennifer to be in a clean room.
She rolled over onto her stomach, resting her chin on her arms, and thought back once again to these new images and memories flooding her mind and heart and soul. They all felt so real, so right, like they belonged right there in her memory. But she was sure she had been dreaming. None of that had been there when she had gotten on the bus.
She could almost feel her palm tingling now as she thought about how she had slapped Wendy.
None of this made any sense. And the more she thought about it, the more she felt herself believing it to be real. No matter how little sense it truly made. But the strangest thing was how different she herself felt. She had always been so timid and shy, the quiet one in the corner. That was who she had always been, and that was the girl who had been so frightened at the idea of being sent away to this place. But now she felt as though she could conquer the world.
She needed a distraction, she decided. Something to get her mind off the dream and the memories and the fact that her heart seemed to swell with love, even as it felt like it was breaking as she thought about Brown and Wendy, who seemed far too real to her, both in her mind and in her heart, to be nothing more than remnants of a nightmare.
…she would unpack. That was what she would do. She didn't have much by way of things to put away, but it had to be put away sooner or later. So why not do it now? It would give her something to occupy her mind for a time. Besides, she felt like getting up and doing something.
As Jennifer opened her suitcase, a small bundle of papers fell out. At least, that's what she thought it was. Odd, though. She didn't remember packing any such thing. Perhaps one of the housekeepers at the orphanage had slipped it into her bag or something to that effect. She had been on very good terms with many of them; it did not seem entirely impossible that one would send something with her.
She picked up the sheaf, and realized that it was bound together, like a storybook.
Her blood ran cold as she looked at the cover and read the title: The Little Princess.
But wait. In her dream, that was the book the boy had given her to lure her to—
The bloody bag that she was told held her friend—
Giving Stray Dog the gun—
PS. Wow, holy "did not come out how I thought it would," Batman. Erm…y-yeah. Should be pretty obvious that this is set post-game. I spent a lot of time reading the Rule of Rose Mysteries blog, which led me into the theory of Jennifer dreaming the whole thing based around her forgotten memories. And so I thought that even though she came to terms with things in the dream…well, I don't usually believe my dreams, so I thought she might be a bit unsure of it all…
I dunno. It broke my brain. So I just went with it. I'll shut up. Thanks, all! Much love!