Chapter 1 – It's Over
I drop the blade and escape the dark, musty, hot baking room where all the horrible, heartless deaths and sorrows occurred. Running up all those stairs is takes longer than it should. Maybe I don't want to leave as much as I think I do.
I knew it. I knew he was trouble, from the moment I saw him, the moment he beat Senior Pirelli in the square at the shaving competition, I knew he was evil. I saw it. He's not human – something much worse, evil, viscous, like a demon or the devil, that's what he is. Mr Todd. Sweeney Todd.
Mrs Lovett didn't know. I tried to tell her about him, but she didn't understand. She loved him to much – that was her trouble. I mean, she knew what was going on, sure, but she didn't know that he was insane. I promised I'd let nothing harm her. I guess I lied.
Running through the shop, I see all the empty plates and glasses from the customers from earlier. It disgusts me now that I know what they've eaten. What I've eaten. It makes me feel sick to my stomach.
"Ma'am?" I call out into the dark room. "Ma'am, are you alright?" I don't know where she is. Hell, I don't even know if she's still alive. And if she's not, I have nowhere to go.
As much as I'd hate to, I have go up to the barbers to see if she's there. God only know what's up there. I exit the pie shop – never hoping to return – and I slowly climb the stairs towards Mr Todd's shaving room. I've been in there many times before, and it's always scared me. It doesn't scare me as much now.
"Mrs Lovett?" I whisper, as I enter the dark room. There's a soft whimpering, but it's not her, I can tell. Mrs Lovett doesn't look like the strange figure I see.
"Who are you?" I ask, quietly but a bit harshly. I'm afraid of who this might be. I wish I'd brought the razor. "I demand you tell me who you are, and what you've done with Mrs Lovett!"
"I don't know!" a woman's voice cries, and as I get slightly closer, I see that it's a woman dressed as a boy cowering in a corner with blood on her hands. She looks up at me, and although she's still suspicious, I feel sorry for her.
"Who are you? At least answer me that," I say, looking braver than I feel.
"Jo-Johanna," she answers, shivering.
"Johanna, why are you here? What do you want?"
"I-I was brought here by Anthony. He told me it was alright, that Mr Todd said it was alright, but I don't think it was…" she trails off.
"No. I don't think it was either."
"Anthony said that he and Mr Todd had been friends for years and that I could stay here for a while until he gets back. But this old woman came, and I hid in the crate, and he killed her, and a man in the chair, and sent them down below, when he pulled this lever!" Johanna exclaims, pointing to it. That explains where the bodies come from.
"Did he hurt you?" I ask, no longer afraid of her.
"No. He tried to, but then there was a scream and he told me to forget his face," she replies, wiping her tears.
"Why is there blood on your hands?"
"It was on the floor. Everywhere it was. It's not mine, it's that woman's." I can hear her low, soft sobs. It's sad. She didn't sign up for any of this. I put my arm around her.
"It's alright now. He's gone, dead, finished. The only person I'm looking for is Mrs Lovett. You haven't seen her, have you?"
"No, sorry," she sniffs. "Who…who are you, then?"
"My name's Toby. I'm…Mrs Lovett's son."
"Toby? That's a nice name."
"Thanks. It's short for Tobias," I reply, pulling a face at the ridiculous name given to me by Senior Pirelli.
Johanna giggles. "I don't like my name much either. I'd prefer it if people called me Jo."
"Hm. Johanna is pretty though. Tobias is just stupid." She smiles, and suddenly I get a shiver down my spine. I don't know why.
"Did your mother pick that name out for you?" she asks.
"Nah, my mam died when she was having me," I reply, oddly surprised by how calm I suddenly am. "My dad ran off before I was born too, so I was put in the workhouse until Senior Pirelli came and rescued me."
"Oh. I'm terribly sorry, I didn't know…" she begins, but I smile softly at her, letting her know its okay. I didn't know my parents; why should I care if people talk about them?
"What about you?" I ask, hoping I don't offend her.
"I think I'm an orphan," she answers, looking sincere.
"Well, my father left when I was born. That's what Judge Turpin always told me, and my mother died so I lived with him. He says that she gave me to him because she was unfit. I don't actually know if I believe him all the time though," she looks down, twiddling her hair in her fingers.
We sit in silence, a little awkwardly. I'm not sure what to say; I don't know wither to leave her to look for Mrs Lovett, or if I should stay and comfort Johanna. In truth, I think I only want to stay so I can comfort myself.
"When do you think he'll return? Anthony, I mean," Johanna asks, gazing into space. I shrug my shoulder since I have no idea who Anthony even is anyway.
There is more silence, until Johanna murmurs, "You don't suppose he's dead, do you? Killed by chance? Or maybe just captured? Oh my, I hope he's alright!"
"I'm sure he's fine," I reply, although I'm not sure, not at all. How should I know?
"Without him, I'm so vulnerable," she whispers, and her blue eyes fill with tears.
"No, its okay," I try to sooth her. I put my arms around the stranger and sing;
"Nothing's gonna harm you, not while I'm around,
Nothing's gonna harm you, no sir, not while I'm around,
Demons are prowling everywhere, nowadays,
I'll send them howling, I don't care, I got ways,
No one's gonna hurt you, no one's gonna dare,
Others will desert you, not to worry,
Whistle, I'll be there,
Demons will charm you with a smile, for a while,
But in time, nothing can harm you,
Not while I'm around.
I didn't realise she was sleeping until I heard her snoring. Anthony had not yet returned.
I sat there with Johanna, hardly realising what I'm doing with this woman, waiting for a man I didn't even know existed. But I still wait, because, if I'm honest, I don't want Johanna to wake up with no one there. I'll wait till Anthony, whoever he is, returns, and then I'll leave.
Johanna soft snores are making me sleepy. Mrs Lovett is still out there somewhere, but I can't find her, not now. I breathe out slowly, and rest my head on her chest, tiredly. I try not to fall asleep, try to fight the nightmares I know I'll have, but nothing happens, and I eventually fall into a deep, deep sleep…