A/N: For fanfic50, prompt number seven, turn.


She can't see him. It's a sea of men, she can see too many men, yet she can't see him. They're all bunched together as they're shunted on board the ship, packed like sardines and treated like dogs. No, worse than dogs. They are treated like prisoners.

They are prisoners.

And then she sees him, just at the moment that he sees her. Eyes meeting across the huge expanse of sweaty bodies and creaking wood planks. It would be a beautifully romantic moment – the kind straight out of a happily-ever-after fairy tale – if he weren't in chains and if miles of land and water weren't about to separate them forever.

He mouths, 'I love you.'

A guard lashes him with a whip and his body buckles, their gazes breaking, lips contorting in pain that she can't hear.

She turns away.

xxx

She presses her face against the window, heated flesh against cool glass, wishing it could absorb her, siphon her away from all this.

Johanna gurgles in her arms. Lucy, eyes still on the outside, reaches down a finger towards the baby, whose tiny hands grasp her at once. A smile blooms on Lucy's lips like a flower, or a like a bruise, and she giggles and coos at her daughter, brushing her cheek with tender fingertips.

A flash of burgundy from outside catches her eye and she looks up at once, heart seizing. The judge again, a flower in his hand and hope in his eyes.

She turns away.

xxx

The room is spinning and she can do naught but sink into the red velvet chair, its welcoming plush comforting her at once, even though her surroundings are still hazy as a dream.

The judge appears, wearing the mask of a vulture. The bird of prey.

As he descends upon her, it's too appropriate a mask for him – and she wishes it weren't.

And they. They are staring. They are staring and pointing and laughing, for only when they are masked do they feel comfortable shedding the public facades they normally wear.

His breath is hot and sour on her face, his hands grasping and greedy. His body different. His movements different. Him different. Everything different and the world is no longer spinning, instead it's perfectly still, too still, still and vivid and scaldingly real and with dazzling colors that are so out of place in this colorless world –

She turns away.

xxx

The little glass phial of arsenic is cool against her skin. Like the window. Like it too can absorb her and siphon her away from this world.

The door bangs open and her landlady flies into the room, swearing and spitting words of how Lucy should not be such a fool, she should not be so selfish, think of her child, and her husband will come back someday –

The landlady, poor thing, doesn't understand and never will.

She turns away.

xxx

There are too many screams and there are too many walls and there is not enough of something she no longer knows of. She screams to drown out the screams and she beats her fists against the walls to make them crumble but she can still hear them and she is still trapped and she still does not know what there is to know, does not know what she needs but cannot find.

More screams. More wails for help that never comes and she can't bear to hear them but she can't help when she is helpless.

One scream breaks. Melts into a trembling sob.

"Help me . . ."

She turns away.

xxx

There are no walls anymore and she likes this much better. Now she can move about without running into other bodies and sing without being slapped and sometimes she still screams but that's only so she doesn't forget how.

She sings too but sometimes people yell at her for that and she doesn't like being yelled at. So she stops singing. Usually.

She likes this open air much better than all the walls but sometimes she misses that place. There was no light in there and now there is too much light, especially on days like today when the sun is shining.

She doesn't like the sun because it gets in her eyes and gets into her soul and suddenly she's burning up and there's nothing to do but sing and sing and sing until it goes away, because singing washes away light and lulls the safety of darkness, but sometimes she forgets how to use her voice and then all she can do is open her mouth in a silent song.

As she does now.

But the silence can't stop the sun from glaring at her and even when she shuts her eyes the light is still upon her, within her.

Too bright. Too beautiful.

She turns away.

xxx

"Come on then, hussy, if you want it so bad," says the man, pinning her against the wall, and she laughs and snorts and gasps as he throws up her skirts.

She doesn't understand why some of these people who love to yell at her also love to press against her, but she goes along with these doings because then these people put alms into her hand, and alms mean food, and that she does understand.

Sometimes these doings aren't so bad. Sometimes they make her body tingle and her insides warm.

Sometimes they make her writhe in pain. Times like now.

"You like that, don't you?" rasps the man as he shudders against her, and she laughs again as her head slams against the wall but she only laughs because it's a sound, and sounds always comfort her, and these people don't like the sounds she usually uses to comfort herself, like singing and screaming, so she's taught herself to laugh instead.

"Filthy whore," the man mutters as he hisses and sinks his teeth into her shoulder to muffle a groan.

She turns away.

xxx

"Who are you?" the man demands, drawing nearer. "What are you doing here?"

She doesn't know who she is or who he is, but that doesn't matter because she does know who that woman downstairs is and she must tell him. Quickly.

"Evil is here, sir – the stink of evil from below – from her. She's the Devil's wife, she really is, sir – she with no pity in her heart . . ."

She looks at the man and he looks at her, and he looks at her the way these people usually do – disgust and irritation and like there's something rancid in their nostrils – but he looks different too, for some reason. And she wonders if this is what she did not know there was to know, if she's found what she needs and couldn't find before, because she feels different: she feels calmer than any song can make her and happier than open air can make her and warm, so warm –

"Don't I know you, Mister?"

His hand whips out towards her and something glints silver in the moonlight – and then there's pain all over and no more open air.

She doesn't turn away.