Devastation

a Sweeney Todd story

Toby climbed the stairs slowly, white-faced and grim, one hand still clutching the silver-chased razor in a red-slicked grip. The gaping door down to the bake house seemed to mock him and he shivered. Shuddered. Slowly, oh so slowly acknowledging that Mrs. Lovette ~ his savior, his goddess, his mother? ~ had betrayed him. Bringing him down and locking him in. The discovery of just what kind of meat was in those pies, the piles of bodies slowly building up. She and Mr. Todd searching for him while he hid in the darkness.

Still, even though not quite twelve himself, he couldn't find it in his heart to blame her ~ after all, love was a powerful thing. He'd seen how she looked at Mr. Todd: full of fondness – her eyes bright and sparkling when speaking of and to him. Toby could hear the longing. The joy on her face as they waltzed – just before her fiery end – Toby understood that. Hadn't he been willing to do anything for her? And hadn't he ... slit Mr. Todd's throat with a single powerful stroke in his own rage and revenge over her death?

Now it was over. The happy home he'd envisioned destroyed in fire and blood. His hand gripped the razor tighter as a sob climbed out of his throat. He'd promised – promised – that nothing would harm her. He'd failed. She was dead. And he was alone again.

Pausing at the top of the stairs, catching his breath, dizzy with shock, despair, and a dark thrum of satisfaction, Toby glanced about. "What to do? What to do?"

~"Ah, well. Waste not want not, I always say."~ The advice seemed to echo in his head.

"Right-o, Mrs. Lovette." He entered the shop, navigating the room easily in the darkness. After taking a few precious minutes at the sink to clean the traces of blood from his hands and the razor, he found a pillowcase and shoved the gleaming item inside.

Ghosting silently, he pried open Mrs. Lovette's "hiding place" - levering the stone out of the hearth in the fireplace. He pulled out an old cloth bag, the purple having faded to lavender. Glancing within, he marveled at all the pound notes, before smiling darkly. "Of course there's a lot here. When you don't have to pay for your meat, you can keep a lot of profit." He pocketed the bag, then swiftly ransacked the rest of the shop and small living quarters, coming up with some warm blankets, a few pieces of jewelry, a nearly full bottle of gin, and a single photograph of Mrs. Lovete, which he tenderly placed inside his breast jacket pocket.

Toby glanced out of the side door, contemplating the staircase that led to Mr. Todd's barber shop. He knew the man owned more than one silver-handled razor, and who knew how much money the man had in his shop. After all, his 'customers' sure had no need for it anymore.

Before he could muster up the courage, a carriage came to a halt in front of the shop. Toby ducked beneath a table, watching as that long-haired young sailor from a few days ago jumped out of the carriage and dashed up the steps. He heard a brief murmured conversation and a few minutes later, two sets of feet walked slowly down the stairs. The two entered the carriage, though Toby felt there was something odd about the shorter of the two lads. Then the carriage drove off.

Toby crawled out from under the table, satchel in hand. He shook his head, turning away from the upward leading stairs. He had no desire to enter the demon's lair. He glanced about. The street was empty. A blessing, though odd enough to set the hairs on the back of his neck to a-standing. With one last look at the basement door, he dashed out of the building and down the street, heading for the docks.

8/8/09

-MavnAlysse