[summary: And then the Mysterious Benedict Society saved the world from Ledroptha Curtain's nefarious plans, and they all lived happily after… Right?]
Author's Note – Sometimes, you come up with a title/summary that you just have to make a story for. Normally this doesn't happen to me – I'm usually the one who writes a story and then agonizes about what I'm going to call it (and thus most of my more pathetic titles are born). But this time, the title and the summary came first. Here's the story I wrote to fit it. Enjoy!
Disclaimer – I do not own The Mysterious Benedict Society books or any of the characters therein. Furthermore, I am not liable for any major wounds caused while reading this story. Interpret that as you will.
~Happily Ever After~
[The following are excerpts from the journal of Ledroptha Curtain, #011235813. The journal was found hidden in his clothes drawer only after his death.]
They have brought me to a cell in the Stonetown prison. I did not struggle. I did not see the point. Why struggle when you have already lost? Apparently S.Q. tried to visit me, but the guard wouldn't allow visits so early. Why was I disappointed? He was the one who forced me into becoming a prisoner… a prisoner… It has become so painful to say – even to write – those words. Becoming imprisoned is the ultimate humiliation; the ultimate loss of control. But control is the key. If I can just exert control over the situation, I might gain the key out of this cell. Maybe…
My imprisonment continues. S.Q. once again tried to visit me, but the guards say that I am to have no visitors for a week. An odd rule, to be sure. Perhaps they think that I am 'settling in.' I am not. I will never 'settle into' this abysmal grey hole carved in cinderblocks.
I miss the Whisperer.
Today Benedict and the children came to visit. They brought me cookies. How dare they! They take away my home, S.Q., and my one true companion, and they think that cookies will make it all better? I threw them on the ground. They remain there, crushed. They sit there, and I am hungry…
S.Q. also came. He was very glad to see me. I tried to hurt him – If not physically, then at least emotionally. I think I succeeded in the latter. I hate him. I will not forgive his betrayal. And yet I cannot deny that some part of him was trying to save my life. Of course, he ended up destroying it instead. Still, he was trying to help. Is it possible that he actually cares for me?
Mr. Benedict came again. This time he came alone. I was grateful. I admit that I have come to rather dislike the children. I also have discovered an intense, burning hatred for my kin. I find him to possess brilliance similar to my own (although not exceeding it by any means), but he uses it for the wrong reasons! All for the wrong reasons! He does not try to help the world – he seeks to destroy its saviour; he does not wish to protect, but to attack. Nicholas Benedict – oh, how I despise that name! – is of the very worst type of man: a brother who seeks to destroy and crush his kin.
He wishes to "Change me for the better," as he put it. The better? Pah! As is he would know about better and worse. He brought me an apple. I didn't eat it. I threw it. It hit his head, shattering his accursed glasses. I hope he hurt at least a fraction of my hurt. I hope I made him weep with pain. I hope… but what is a humble prisoner of Stonetown prison doing with hopes? My hopes were crushed as thoroughly as the Salamander.
S.Q. has visited me every day so far. He has become a small comfort. I am glad to see him, although I still feel uncontrollable rage whenever he is near.
I spend a disproportionate amount of time asleep these days. The Old Hag vision is worse than ever. But now she is not a hag. Now she is my brother.
I came to a realization some days ago: My brother is a murderer. He killed the Whisperer, and HE KILLED ME.
I have been doing mathematics and physics. I find it diverting and interesting. I discovered a small kink in one of the fundamental mathematical proofs. I smoothed it out. But I wonder – has it always been there, or was I just misremembering it?
Mr. Benedict continues to try to sway me to his side. I remain steadfast. He keeps bringing his infernal little fan-club along with him. Perhaps he hopes that my heart will be more tender towards them? Hah! If he thinks that I'd feel for those children after all they did to thwart me, then I must have over-estimated his intelligence.
I'm scared. I am dying here in this darkness. S.Q. comes less frequently, and yet I am falling asleep even more often than before. I think that he cares for me very much, though. I even think that I may care for him.
I cannot escape. I have tried everything. I have lost my control, and now my ability to regain my control. Is there nothing that Benedict and his children have not taken away from me?
S.Q. came once again. We had the strangest conversation! He asked me how I was. I responded that I was as miserable as ever. And then he told me about a dream that he had had. He told me that he had dreamed that he had not saved me from that beam back on Third Island Prison, and that I had died.
He then told me that the scary part had been that everybody had lived happily ever after. Everyone was happy. Mr. Benedict was not saddened by my continued resilience, the children were not burdened with visiting me every month or so, and S.Q. himself had said that he had been accepted into the Benedict manor. But he had not been happy. If I had died, everyone would have been better off – except for S.Q. In a way, I suppose, my life-long sentence was worth it, if just to keep S.Q. happy.
I miss the Whisperer. I thought that time would dull the pain, but it did not. The pain is still there, sharp and icy as ever. The guard told me no whispering (I was whispering to one of the children), and the mere mention of whispering nearly forced me into my dreaded slumber.
Please, let me go. I don't want to stay here any longer. I'm sorry. I'm sorry…
One year down. A lifetime to go.
Let me go…
Every day the shadows grow longer. The sun is sinking below the horizon, and try as I might to keep it from vanishing altogether, it will keep going down. Its light will fade, and the world will reel in shock once it vanishes. The sun is tired, and soon it will go out.
I am the sun.
Author's Note – Not as grim as some other stuff I've written, but certainly not as cheery. I'm actually kind of pleased with how it came out. Personally, I think that the whole thing sort of fits with the tone of the end of the third book – y'know, the whole grim-and-sad-with-a-slight-thread-of-hope-like-a-fern-sprouting-through-dirt-or-a-pheonix-from-ashes thing. What did you guys think? Reviews would be nice, thank you. Thanks!