Author's Note: This is a drastic rewrite of a story I first posted a long time ago called 'Knew Too Late'. I have also rewritten the sequels and will be posting them with this at a later date.
The Faceless Clock: Part One: Drusilla
She'd named all the stars the same.
Maybe that was when she'd broken faith. Perhaps they were vexed with her, out of sorts at the confusion she'd created in their beautiful world. They must have taken to whispering amongst themselves, biding their time, plotting their revenge against a poor little girl who only wanted her Daddy to come home.
They never said a word when she came up with the plan. Or maybe they themselves, cruel stars, had whispered it to her in her own voice, singing like she once sang to the pretty yellow bird who lay unmoving on the floor of his cage. But either way, it was all so terribly, horribly wrong. Not even Miss Edith was happy now…
"Isn't she lovely, Daddy? Little Red Riding Hood, but she's not got her wolf. Whatever shall she do?"
The girl trembles and the minions laugh. Drusilla isn't laughing…not yet. There will be laughter later, when she and Daddy are painting the world red and the dead dance again, flowers at their feet, swaying to the song of the stars.
"Let her go, Dru." Her Angel is upset, growling at her as if she's been naughty. This won't do. The soul is to blame – but Drusilla has the cure for that, now doesn't she? Who's a clever girl? And won't Daddy be so proud when he's all better.
"Ah-ah." She shakes her finger at him, knowing she'll be punished for her insolence later. She can hardly wait. "Don't be so rude, my Angel. Or you shan't have any tea." The minions tighten their grip on the girl. Good boys. Later they shall have cake, delicious cake, mixed with tears and screaming and blood every third stir.
"What do you want?" He's still such a growly bear. It's this human, this wretched witch who took him away with her crystals and incantations.
She sways as she approaches, inhaling the scent of him as she stands right in front of him. She strokes his cheek, letting the nails of her hand almost cut that pretty human face he wears to hide from her. "You," she whispers against his lips.
And she had him, oh yes she did. Glory and magic they were when Daddy took her. It was a dazzling dream of pain and shattering beauty, beauty from which the stars themselves had seemed to turn away in terror and envy, so bright was the light of her union with her Angel.
Now, though, Drusilla knew better. The stars had gone forever, abandoning her to a fate far worse than what she'd imagined awaited her when Grandmummy and Daddy had first come for her. She was alone, so alone, and the cold was agony unlike anything she'd ever known.
Of course, she had Angel, but he wasn't hers, no matter what it was like when he shared her bed, and she couldn't pretend that he would one day be what he had been. He loved the girl now, kept her the way Drusilla had once kept her little yellow bird. She had no sire anymore, no stars. Miss Edith and the other dolls sat mute before her, just toys they were, horrid things, and toys had no mummies. Even they were not hers anymore, not the way they used to be. They were things, like her dresses and jewels, and they didn't love her, didn't tell her secrets, didn't listen as she sang them sweet lullabies about death and the end of the world.
She's throwing her dollies about the room, shrieking for them to speak, to stop being naughty, to come home because Mummy needs them. She hasn't cried since she was human. She cries now.
Collapsing to the floor, she turns inside and finds nothing but ashes. She lives in a terrible world. A world of ice where there are no shadows.
A few moments later (Or are they hours? Time is so very strange), it seems as if she's not so cold. Have the stars returned?
But no, because the warmth is somehow binding. It's then that she realizes the warmth is two soft human arms around her, uncertain but still, there they are.
The pretty little girl is here, the one who took away her Daddy forevermore. She's talking and Drusilla tastes each word like candy, savouring the sweetness and the not-aloneness of each one.
"Are you okay?"
"What's the matter?"
There are more words, but they jumble up in her head and she's not sure exactly what the girl has said when. It doesn't matter. There are words, after all, and they come to her in a gentle voice and it sounds almost like her dolls. She thinks she might love the girl now. She reaches into her mind and finds her sweet savior's name. She will say it and remember it.
She still carried the name in her pocket. She would take it out and roll it over and over on her tongue like a lollipop when she was scared, but she hardly ever saw her beautiful doll-girl anymore. Daddy had found them that day, accused her of wanting to hurt the girl, locked the Willow-bird away in her cage. 'Keeping her safe,' he had said, and no matter how hard Drusilla tried to find the magic words to convince him that she meant his red princess no harm, he never seemed to hear the ones she spoke.
He never gave her his words, either. Not hardly a one. He gave her the pain inside and the screams and the lights that were nothing like stars which she'd once thought she wanted above all things but which were now gaily-wrapped boxes with naught but emptiness inside. The pain was just pain now and the screams had no music. But it was all she had anymore, so she clung to him more fervently than ever, tried so hard to be the best little girl in the world.
She couldn't leave her Daddy, not now. Without the stars, she couldn't see her way in the darkness. No more could she hunt or dance or drown herself in oceans of sticky-warm life. The minions no longer quaked before her like aspens; indeed, they paid her no heed. They all bowed down to Daddy and Drusilla was quite forgotten. She was a baby again, but with no mummy on whom to suckle – just a Daddy who gave her a bottle full of loneliness. She wondered where her Spike was and if he would laugh if he could see what had become of her.
She took the name out and tasted it again. Willow would hold her if she were able.