4. Dear Alice
Were things at the Clock Tower always this eerie and quiet before Alice arrived? It almost seemed unnatural now. Only last week she had been smiling and laughing, filling the lonely stone building with her lively speech.
The Clock Tower seemed to have transformed completely. Dim lamps illuminated a golden glow around the darkened office of the lone mortician; shadows extracting across the walls, and silver instruments barely making themselves known. Broken clocks were now fixed and nestled in their cardboard boxes, waiting for their final member to join them.
Julius sat at his desk, concentrating on the tools in his hand. The springs of the clock before him were all out of order, the blood in the way! He would have to pull an all nighter to get this monster done.
Sighing without glancing up, Julius asked, "Alice, could you go make some coff-"
His voice cut off as silence answered him, forever remaining his only companion. The mortician lifted his head slowly, as if he would see the brunette sitting at his side per usual.
She wasn't, and the reality hit him stone cold.
A sudden pressure seemed to loom over the mortician; unnatural, foreign twinges at his clock, and a grieving sadness filled the room in an invisible fog. Julius cautiously put his clock down; hiding his face in his palms.
How was he supposed to get through this? How was it possible that he'd survived without her there? Time was sure to heal his wounds, that's what they say. Ah, but they know nothing of time! Time was grieving right before them like a child; mourning the loss of his foreigner! He could change the time as much as he wanted, but it would change nothing. Not even Time himself could bring back Alice.
A dark, lonesome silence filled the tower. He wasn't sure what time it was or when the door opened. All he knew was that a shadow had displayed itself in front of him, proving he had a guest.
Ace stepped in, a large, childish grin spread across his face as he tossed off his cape and plopped down into the chair Alice usually rested in; kicking back so his feet rested on the edge of the desk. "Hey, Juliet!"
Julius didn't reply; he simply remained in a daze, thinking…
Ace rose an eyebrow at his friend, a little disappointed to have not received a scowl or growl of annoyance. Trying again, he said, "Yo, Juliet! Anyone home~? Hello~!"
Julius sighed as Ace waved a gloved hand in front of his face, trying to earn his attention. The mortician's words were low, almost depressed. "What is it, Ace?"
The brunette frowned, not enjoying his pal's tone. "What's got you down, grumpy gills? Getting tired of all those clocks yet?"
Julius turned away, his mind wandering. Ace's eyebrows pushed together, noticing his silence. It felt awkward and unusual.
After a moment of tense silence, Ace nodded, awing to himself in understanding. "You're still upset about Alice, aren't you?"
Julius flinched at her name, proving the knight correct. Of course, he denied it.
"Not at all."
"Then say her name. Come on, just once." the knight insisted, leaning forward with his trademark devilish grin. Julius glared, opening his mouth to speak, but closing it again, unable to. He repeated this motion, looking like a fish before finally giving up with a sigh. Ace laughed. "See? You're still sad. Even after it's been a week…"
Julius's teeth clamped shut with an audible snap; his cobalt orb straying to other objects, pretending they could catch his attention. Ace raised an eyebrow, smirking sadly at his friend. "See what I mean?"
"Ace, don't you have anything better to do? I'm busy." the clockmaker hissed with a frustrated sigh, glancing back down at the clock in his hands.
"Looks like you're just about done to me." the knight countered, scarlet eyes resting on the cardboard box full of fixed clocks not too far away. The amount he completed in the week was surprising; he was working much faster than usual.
"Ace, leave." Julius ordered, though his tone wasn't as irritated as usual. It seemed more exhausted; as if his age had caught up to him. The mortician arose slowly from his chair; using a nearby cloth to wipe off any oil that had dare ruin his spectacles.
The knight smirked as he plopped his feet back down on to the ground; standing up as well. "You know, you could always do what Mr. Peter does."
Julius rose an eyebrow. "Pardon?"
"He writes a letter to Alice." the knight explained, shrugging, as if he were speaking of a person that had lost their mind. "Every day. Then he burns it up."
"Why?" Julius seemed baffled by such an idea. Ace shrugged once more.
"Who knows? He just does." the knight replied simply, pulling his cape back over his shoulders as he made his way towards the door. He smirked a little. "Guess it eases the pain. I don't see how writing to a dead person is any help, though. Bye, Julius. See you tomorrow."
The clockmaker waited until the final click of the clock tower lock had sounded before he sad back down in his chair uneasily, frowning at his desk. Ah! The clock! He still had to fix the bugger.
The mortician picked up his silver instruments, staring at the clock before him. His worn tools hovered over the object, not making any action. Shouldn't he be working on this clock? Why was he pausing so?
Ace's words echoed through his mind, poking at him. "He writes a letter to Alice…" What use would that be? She was dead. It was only a waste of paper and ink. It wasn't as if she could ever read them, anyways. What an idea! Simply absurd!
"Simply absurd…" Julius repeated aloud, though his voice contained weakness as his cobalt eyes lowered towards a neglected drawer in his desk. It seemed to call out to him. Julius shifted uncomfortably in his seat, turning his attention back to the clock.
I don't have time to waste on such silly things! My work needs me! the clockmaker thought, his eyebrows pushing together in frustration as he leaned towards the clock, prodding it with his tools.
It wasn't long before he paused again, his gaze straying towards the drawer. His lips pressed together in a firm line of concentration, inwardly debating. It seemed as if a long amount of time had passed between he and the drawer; a pretend stare down occurring.
Julius sighed, shifting his eyes from side to side, as if expecting somebody to be there. With one final huff, the mortician pulled open the drawer, pulling out an pile of looseleaf paper and a pen. He set his clock aside, resting the paper before him. He held up the pen, allowing it to hover overtop the paper.
He sat like this for quite some time. His pen hovered over the blank pages, refusing to write. What could he say? What did he want to tell her?
The mortician groaned, tossing the paper off of his desk messily and flinging his pen over his shoulder; hunching forward so his hands gripped his head in distress. This was stupid. So completely idiotic! Alice would never read these, so what was the point? He was only fooling himself. These letters would be useless.
Julius sighed, peering at the mess he made. Several yellow pieces of paper were strewn across his office; the pen leaving a long ink mark along his wall. He frowned, arising from his chair to clean up this mess. He stacked the paper back on his desk, setting the pen down next to it. He sat back down uneasily, staring at the blank pages.
…What the hell. he thought carelessly, picking up the pen again and beginning the date of the letter. He paused when it came to the greeting. What could he write? What should he write? What did he have to say? Not much had happened since her death. It was strangely quiet in Wonderland- Blood and Gowland had even put their quarrels on a slight hold. No one had the heart for anything anymore. Things weren't right without her there.
The mortician's eyebrows scrunched together as he began to scrawl on the page, discussing trivial things alongside the important ones, as if she were there. When he'd finished the letter with his elegant signature, Julius stared at the page, rereading it. He wasn't sure what he felt; writing to a corpse. It was very strange.
His eyes strayed to the nearby fireplace, folding the letter in three long columns before heading over to the blazing flame. The lick of orange seemed intimidating to him. He was supposed to burn this letter now- let the paper slowly turn to ash.
He held up the yellow page, preparing to throw it in, but remained still. He glanced in confusion at the page, trying again. It still did not fall to its death. Julius frowned, his lips pressing into a firm line.
He couldn't do it. He couldn't burn the page up. He didn't want to burn it up.
Turning away from the deadly flame, Julius made his way towards his desk drawer, pulling out a long white envelope. He slid the letter in, licking it shut. He quickly wrote "ALICE" on the front, frowning once at the letter before tossing it into an empty drawer underneath.
Julius finished his clock rather quickly after that- glad to have found the parts he needed around the tower rather than forced to go out buying them. When he was done, the mortician glanced once more at the drawer before walking to his bed; changing into his pajamas and crawling underneath the blankets.
It felt weird sleeping in his bed. He had grown so accustomed to resting on the couch or somewhere else while Alice used his source of sleep. The mortician frowned up at the ceiling, unable to get accustomed to the mattress once again.
With a heavy sigh, he picked up the pillows and blankets from the bed; carrying them to the couch. He made himself a makeshift bed and plopped down; feeling better as he crawled underneath the blankets, preparing for sleep.
"Goodnight, Alice…" he whispered before falling to slumber.
There, in the dark and lonely drawer of the clockmaker's desk, was the first letter. To say it was the true beginning would be a lie, but it was the beginning of something to branch out that was much larger than any could imagine.
A week has passed since your death. It's hard to imagine that you won't be around anymore. Who will make me coffee, you silly woman? I haven't taken a sip of the stuff since you've left. I'm going through withdrawals.
The other role holders haven't taken your death lightly. Peter is on a scavenger hunt for your murderer. All the maids and soldiers at Heart Castle had to be replaced. Twice. It's a tiring job, as you should know. I haven't gotten much sleep over the work they've pushed on me.
Your cat friend and those twin demons came by yesterday. They wanted something to remember you by. Rather ridiculous, coming to my tower for your things. All your items are kept where you left them.
I suppose that's it. I hope you're happy, wherever you are.
- Julius M.
…I had no idea what to put in the letter. B| I feel I might've gotten Julius OOC. |||OTL
Next updated should either be CoC or Knightmares. RMR will probably be last, depending on when I start GoF.