It came two weeks after they left.
A letter from the London Police addressed to the young couple. They were wanted at the Police Department, involving the recent murders on Fleet Street. Nervously, the teens walked into the large, gray brick building. She wore a dark green dress with a matching ribbon in her hair. He wore his usual clothes, that he had been wearing for months.
"Hello there!" A police officer said to the couple. He was tall and thin, with pale skin, light brown hair, and green eyes. He turned to face the young woman directly. "You must be Johanna."
"Yes." Johanna said slowly, slipping her hand into Anthony's. Even though she lived with Judge Turpin until very recently, she'd never been to the Police Department. The men, women, and children behind the bars in the room not too far from there scared her.
Just being back in London set Johanna on edge. Reminding her of the reoccurring nightmare she'd been having for the past two weeks. Watching a beggar woman and the man who raised her be brutally killed by a crazed barber, who then threw her into the chair. A woman's shrill scream was the only thing that stopped him that night, and woke her up every night since.
The yellow haired teen wished to leave as soon as possible.
"Follow me." The Officer said, leading the couple into a room in the back. The room was large, with white walls and no windows. In the middle of the room was a large wooden table, covered in random items. Johanna saw the picture frame and immediately knew where all of the stuff came from.
Sweeney Todd's Barber Shop...
The Officer turned to them. "Are you two familiar with a man by the name 'Sweeney Todd'?"
"I sailed with him." Anthony offered, giving Johanna's hand a reassuring squeeze. He could feel her pulse racing since they entered the room. "He never spoke much. He was more comfortable alone with himself."
"How about a man by the name 'Benjamin Barker'?"
The teens looked at each other questioningly, before turning back to the Officer. "No sir." Anthony said, shaking his head.
The Officer looked at them. Deciding that they were telling the truth, he smiled. "Curious. Very curious."
"What's curious?" Anthony asked.
"While investigating the murder scene, we found an old journal, with sheets of paper stuffed in." The Officer began, handing a sheet of paper to Anthony. "We found that in the journal."
Anthony scanned the paper with his eyes, and a look of shock appeared on his face. It was a birth certificate, for a baby named 'Johanna Barker'. He looked at the year. Sixteen years ago. The young man looked at Johanna. "This is your birth certificate."
"What?" Johanna asked, shocked. She, very uncharacteristically snatched the paper of her lover. She looked at the paper in her hands over an over again, feeling more and more lost and confused. Judge Turpin, while he wasn't exactly the best parent, was the only father she'd ever known. Now she had her birth certificate in her hands and his name was nowhere to be found. Just a name she's never heard of.
"It is interesting because, like Mr. Todd, Mr. Barker was a barber. He also lived in the same building Todd moved into." The Officer continued, holding up a journal. It had a black leather cover, that was worn from being out at sea. He handed it to Anthony. "Does that look familiar?"
Anthony nodded, not even opening the book. He remembered watching Sweeney Todd writing in this journal, busily scribbling away by the flickering candlelight. The man could spend hours writing. And when he was not writing in the journal, he was reading the first parts of the book. That was the only time the teenage boy ever saw Todd smile...
Anthony, as much as he always wanted to know exactly what was written, couldn't bring himself to open the journal.
"Read the first page."
Anthony hesitantly lifted the cover. Second shock of the day:
'This journal belongs to Benjamin Barker, also known as Sweeney Todd.'
The Officer turned to Johanna. "Sweeney Todd was your father."
Johanna looked at him. At first, there was a shocked expression on her face, which then faded into disbelief. She shook her head. "No! He can't be!" The teenage girl said, horrified by the idea. She couldn't be the daughter of Sweeney Todd! He was a murderer! She saw him kill two people in cold blood!
"We have enough proof to confirm that you are his child."
The rest of the day was a blur to Johanna. She was too deep in thought to notice anything else. Not even the hateful glances the people in the streets gave her and Anthony as they walked past. She became aware of the World when Anthony suddenly scooped her up into his arms in front of the old Bakery on the corner of Fleet Street. "Anthony?"
Anthony gave his lover a confused smile. "Weren't you listening to the Officer?" He asked. Johanna shook her head, and his smile grew warmer as he carried her in. "Todd's will stated that, if anything happened to him, you were to get everything. Mrs. Lovett's will stated that Todd was to get all of her belongings. We finally have a home."
Johanna looked up Anthony as he set her in a booth near the window. To be honest, this was the last place she wanted to live in, but he looked so happy. She couldn't ruin it for him. "Is there anything to eat?"
Anthony turned toward the cabinet, then turned back around. The Officer had explained that, through the investigation, they had found that Sweeney Todd was killing men up in his barber shop, then sent the bodies down a shoot to the bake house, where Mrs. Lovett likely made them into her meat pies. Anthony had no interest in eating anything in the house. "I am going to the Market Place."
After Anthony left, Johanna walked out the door and up the stairs, to the old barber shop. As she opened the door, the bell startled her. The teenager looked around, her heart racing as her palms grew sweaty. Everything was exactly as she remembered from that terrible night. There was still blood splattered on the walls, windows, and the floor around the red cushioned chair. The bloodied chest she had hidden herself in was still against the wall.
On the vanity table was a familiar box, still left open from the last time it's owner had opened it. Inside were six silver razors, nestled into six of the seven slots in the box. Johanna noticed that there was one knife that was slightly duller than the rest and picked it up. The handle had an engraving of a woman holding a child, causing the teenager to smile softly.
Sweeney Todd must've loved this knife, for the obvious reason. A woman and child. It probably reminded him of his wife and child. Of her.
'Forget my face.'
That was what Sweeney Todd had said to her when he saw Johanna. And yet, the teenager couldn't forget him. That face haunted her dreams. Now, she did not want to. His blood streaked face was the only memory she had of her father. Her real father.
Johanna's free hand went to the closest slot to her, her fingers stroking the empty slot in the box. Someone had taken the last knife and killed her father with it. Johanna, remembering how Sweeney Todd held the razors, flicked the one in her hand open. She looked at the blade, and her smile grew at her reflection in the carefully polished silver. "Will you be my friends too?"
I finally worked up the nerve to post this...
I originally thought of this story months ago...but I was too chicken to actually type it up, assuming that this was probably a popular theme...
So, hoping that the fact that my birthday was on 8-9-10 is a lucky charm, I decided to type up this chapter today and post it...