*Author's Notes* So, I have returned victorious form my battle with the ninja goblins! Sorry for the long update. Exams. Exams. The ninja goblins of life. Uggh. Okay! *Forces a smile onto exhausted and battered face* So, I just realized that Sally has been very, very Mary-Sue-ish. That is unacceptable! (Mary-Sues. -_- The bane of a writer's exsistence.) And Jack. Well, I realized they can't fall in love at first sight. Umm. Jack kind of Ignores Sally until the very, very end of the movie. And it's kind of impossible that Sally likes him after a few brief meetings. So. This story shall develop accordingly! *Smiles triumphantly, points sword at the sky* Anyways. Sorry if this is poorly written, with obvious plot holes, and an extremely angry Sally. I just thougt she was waaay too accepting. So I decided she should stick up for herself a little. See the outside world for a little bit. Oh yes, and she gets herself into trouble. Again. This little scene at the end is kind of- sorta- not really inspired by the novel Gone With the Wind, where Scarlett- Well, If you've read the novel/seen the movie, you'll figure it out. Ok , *Disclaimer* I don't own TNBC, y'all. Sorry 'bout that folks. We all know Tim Burton is this here rightful owner of this here motion picture. Anywho, I would like to say that I am extremely grateful to all my reviewers. I really, really appreciate it. Thanks, guys. So, read, review, and most especially, enjoy! That's it. You can go now. Sorry this is extremely long. So. See ya. I've got an appointment with some ice cream and some Batman cartoons, because I desperately need to veg. See ya. In a few weeks. Or so. -ThinkChimerical

Chapter 9: The Death of a Ragdoll

I have been accepted back without question. I doubt Creator has even noticed I was gone. Why? Oh, why did I run from Jack? I should have stayed, should have escaped.

But no. I must think logically. Logically, although my heart says no. I cannot…just run. I must have a plan. Where shall I go? What would I do? But no matter. My love for Jack will…

This is how love becomes the death of some. Fools (Much like myself) rush in, do not think, and think that love will solve everything. It doesn't, in my experience. My love for Jack has solved nothing. I have spent near twelve years in this tower as a prisoner, half of which I have spent pining for Jack. Have I been freed yet, due to love? My love for him, so strong, has instead, only made me brave enough to seek him out twice. TWICE! It's pathetic, and I probably never will see him again. He does not reciprocate my feelings, so why does it matter? Why does my life matter at all? If I were to die, no one, not even Creator would care. No one would notice the passing of a rag doll.

Not even Jack.

I feel so…very depressed. I stared out the locked window, and sighed softly.

I felt much alone. Would I were… a bird! Yes a bird. Or maybe any winged creature. Then I could fly… far. Never to be seen from or heard from again.

And I could look over Jack.

I do not understand him at all, really. I think he wanted to me to. I think he needed a voice to confide in, even if he didn't know its name.

I sigh quietly, and look down at the mending in my lap that was handed to me after I returned.

Day after day, this is how my life is spent, is wasted, in sheer drudgery.

The days pass, turning into weeks.

I am lying on my bed, only a few weeks later, after all my work is done. I'm idly sewing a scrap of cloth into a minuscule dress, boredom setting in.

The world is so, so gray, so hopeless. The only light here is Jack, and I think I've wounded his pride. He hates me. I know it. Why didn't I stay?

And so it continues, the vicious circle of my thoughts. I shall be driven insane if I stay here any longer, just myself and my thoughts, and… Jack.

Why do I obsess over him so much? Just because I saw his thought-book, that doesn't mean I know him. Who is he, truly? Why do I love him? Is it his looks? His voice? His demeanor? Why do I still remember him if I have only seen him for a few short moments? Why do I-

I sit up slowly in my bed. Yes! Why do I preoccupy myself with Jack, one I never really knew? There are far more important things out there. There are other people, other things to do. Why indeed worry about Jack? "He's bloody well fine on his own!" I muttered.

"He's handsome enough. Popular enough. Surely someone here would "understand" him out there. He's depressed is he? He hasn't been practically locked in a tower since his inception, has he? He's bored. Just bored. And "no friends except my dog?" That liar. He has plenty of friends, friends licking his shoes, desperate to be his friend. He's just too… close-minded. He's… he's… just…"

I paused. What am I thinking? My heart screeched against these insults toward my "love." I shudder with emotion, though I didn't really know what it was.

Later I was inclined to believe it was anger, and then frustration.

Not willing to stop, I continued my tirade.

"Ah yes, there was a war, and his mother died… so what? Those wounds should have healed by now, shouldn't they? All that maudlin moping was beginning to make me sick. All of it was an …" A realization dawned upon me. I knew not if it was true, but I decided to go with it, for the sake of my anger.

"That…. That spoiled….! It was a ploy for attention, and doesn't he have enough already? He's the King of this place! Their savior, for god's sake! It was a ploy for attention, and I fell for it!"

I shook my head, disgusted with myself.

"If I- If I ever leave here, it shall be for myself, not for Jack. Yes. Forget about…" Here my voice faltered. "I will forget about Jack! I don't love him! It was all an illusion! I feel for it, being simple-minded, but I am strong now." I said, loudly. A fire was burning within me, burning black with anger. With hate and spite and desperation.

"I shall leave tomorrow." I said. All I had to do was to make the potion, and slip it in Creator's tea. He had no reason to be suspicious of me, now did he? As far as he knew, I was a helpless little servant with all the disobedience knocked out of her. Yes. Yes. I would leave tomorrow and never come back.

Never look back.

I would run, perhaps, far away, or maybe I would live right under Creator's nose. What would I do though? Surely there must be income, to survive, but I had nothing.

No skill at all. What was I, a pathetic little rag doll going to do? How could I possibly-

No! That was Creator's voice. In my head. That's what he always told me.

You are worthless. You are pathetic. We all hate you. You're a waste of a perfectly good invention. You would be better off dead.

No more. No more. No more.

I hate this tower, and I hate Creator, and most especially of all I hate Jack. My eyes widened and narrowed with surprise, and then confirmation.

Yes. I hate Jack.

The next morning, after Creator was asleep with Nightshade dreams, I headed outside. I carried nothing, for I owned almost nothing. I left the books behind, as I had read them all enough to memorize them. I would find a place with hundreds of books. Thousands. I wouldn't need those anymore.

I set off at a brisk pace, the air snapping at me tugging at my hair, clothes. No one stared as I walked into town. A few waved and nodded their greetings.

I smiled. Really, truly smiled. There would not be hate for these people, as they had done me no wrong. I looked about the town. Sinister buildings, rising out of the ground like the undead.


I drank it all in, all the sights, the sounds. I looked at the people, wondering who they were or what they did. They were all so fascinating. Here, an impossibly bent gargoyle. A hooded man carrying a large scythe. Vampires and witches in clusters, talking, laughing, some trying to scare the other.

Headless men. Serpentine women. Mummified children, and beady-eyed spiders, which they kept as pets. It was all so horrific, all so beautiful. I reveled in it all. Now that I was no longer blinded by Jack, how wonderful this world seemed! They were all, all so free! And so was I!

I laughed, despite myself.

I had no clue what I was doing, or where I would sleep that night. I knew I should've been asking around for a job, asking that witch sewing over there, or that werewolf, picking up scraps over here.

Instead, I watched them all, watched the universe go by. After a few more hours of watching the ghouls of the town go by, I walked over to the steps of the town hall. I was slightly exhausted, but the fire within me was still smoldering.

Love, I felt for the people. Hate, I felt for Jack. I sat down and looked up at the sky. It was late afternoon, and sooner or later, I reminded myself, I would have to inquire for a job, otherwise… Otherwise…

I would have to go back to the Tower. I frowned. No! That was not an option! It could never be. Speaking of the tower… Had Creator wakened yet? I looked uneasily about the square. If he caught me here… If he caught me here...He would drag me back to the Tower.

He would have to drag me back screaming.

I was so preoccupied in my thoughts about getting caught that I did not notice the two men who were coming down the steps of the town hall. They were arguing, I believe I must have heard them, subconsciously, at least, but I didn't notice, I didn't move out of the way.

They descended, one with two faces and a triangular body shape, hotly arguing with the other, trying to get his attention. The other was tall, thin, and elegant, with dark, deep eye sockets, and he was blatantly trying to ignore the man. He too, was so preoccupied, with trying to ignore the man, that he did not notice me sitting there. He didn't move out of the way when I was directly in front of him, and I didn't either. Our bodies were both there but our minds were a million miles away.

We both noticed, however, snapping back to reality, when his long, long skeletal legs slammed into me, kicking me down the tall steps of Town Hall, and tripping himself in the process.

I heard a yell of "Jack!" and a loud scream of pain coming from the one whom I swore I hated yesterday. I just lay there, silently at the bottom of the steps, while I felt something vital dripping out of my head.

I hated him. I hated him. I hated- And then I saw his face. Saw him standing. Saw him rushing toward me.

I hated him. I hated him. I kept repeating that as he approached closer, and closer.

I was deluding myself.

His face was filled with shock, with concern. A show, I told myself, eyelids fluttering. He wants them to think he's sorry for me. Who they were, I was having trouble remembering. He bent down closer to me. He was tying to do something. He was yelling orders, commands that I could not quite understand. I felt my self flickering out, fading. I knew I would return to the Tower when I woke, so I struggled to stay awake. Jack was yelling, though it was dull in my head:

"Can you hear me? Can you hear me?" I struggled. Oh, how I struggled to stay awake. Not going back. Not going back. I'm not-

Then everything blacked out.

I woke, soft and warm. This is so nice. So comfortable. My room has never felt this comfortable, I thought dreamily, gratefully, turning slowly in the soft, luxiourious sheets.

Then I realized. My room is cold and drafty. My blankets are sparse and threadbare. My bed is hard and lumpy.

It was not my room. Impossible, it could not be! My eyes flew open, and I took in my surroundings.

Not in my room? I wasn't even home. A sick feeling rose in my stomach. I'm scared, and more than a little dazed from sleep. Even still, it frightens me that...That I can't reckonize where I am. I shudder violently, and for some reason want to be back in the Tower. Though it was a prison, at least that was familiar. I take long, slow, trembling breaths, trying to calm myself down.

Where am I?