Chapter 13

They lived happily together for many months and eventually even beadle knew about their relationship. Turpin had been loathe to tell him- he didn't like the way the beadle looked at Dani. With Danielle living with him, the beadle did not come around for dinner as much as he once had. Not that Turpin minded in the least.

Dani continued her duties cleaning the house and fixing dinner for the two of them, but spent her nights in his bed. When she wasn't cleaning, she was in the attic, messing about with the old magician's things. Turpin left her to it, coming up only when she wanted to show him a new trick. She had worked her way through most of the magician's book. The last trick in the book was an escape trick and she couldn't wait to show him…

For the past week, Turpin had been thinking about his relationship with Danielle. He loved her and was certain she loved him. And it wasn't proper for them to continue living together in sin, the townspeople would start to talk and maybe question his authority as judge… After careful consideration, he decided what to do. One day after leaving the courthouse, he stopped by a jewelry store on the way home and purchased a ring…

Judge Turpin entered the house with the ring in his pocket, feeling almost giddy. He was grinning broadly and looked first in the sitting room, then the kitchen for his future bride.

"Danielle?" he called, wondering if she had gone out. But the door had been locked.

He saw the door to the attic was ajar and the light was on. He opened the door and took the stairs two at a time, feeling half his age.

When he reached the top of the stairs, he froze. There, in the middle of the room, was Danielle, hanging from a noose. Her green eyes were open, but clouded and unseeing. Her lips were blue.

"No," he cried, and immediately went to cut her down. He tried breathing air into her lungs, but it was too late. Her body was stiff and cold.

"No, no, no," he repeated over and over again, holding her in his arms. He let out a terrible cry, an almost inhuman sound, a sound that was purely grief and agony. He sat there for hours, wailing, crying her name, wishing to god it was not so. Finally someone heard him and the police came. They found him on the floor of the attic, rocking back and forth with the dead girl in his arms. A magic book lay open to the final page, a few feet from an overturned stool and a solitary black shoe.

Danielle Turpin's death was ruled accidental and Judge Turpin was never quite the same afterwards. The day they put her body in the ground, he put the diamond ring on her finger, kissed her cold forehead, and whispered 'I love you'.

After she was buried, Turpin went back to his house. He gathered all of her things and, weeping, took them to the back yard. Then he went upstairs to the attic and ripped and smashed everything that could be destroyed. He took the remains out to the back yard and piled them up with all of her things. Then, his heart a broken wreck, he lit fire to the lot of it. As the fire consumed the pile, he felt it consuming his heart and his feelings as well. As the fire spread, he spotted something sticking out the bottom of the pile- Mandrake the tiger. He grabbed it desperately and Mandrake came away with only his tail singed. He hugged the tiger close to him, feeling his grief swallow him once more. Unable to cry anymore, he sat there and watched everything burn. After a while, he went upstairs, lay on the bed with the tiger, and didn't move for three days.

When Turpin finally got up, he locked the tiger in the desk drawer, along with his drawing of Danielle. He then focused all of his energy on one mission. He thought about telling beadle to find him a carriage, but he didn't want to talk to the beadle. He went to the farthest stable in town, paid a man in coins, and borrowed a horse and saddle.

He rode the horse to a town outside of London, where there was a small, rundown orphanage. The building had not housed orphans in many years, but he had done research (before her death) and found out that the owner, Brian, still lived there. Turpin knocked on the door and a fat, balding man who smelled like booze opened it.

"Are you Brian?" he asked the man.

"What of it?" the man grunted. The Judge pulled out his sidearm and aimed it as his heart. Brian took several steps backwards, eyes wide.

"Today is the day you die," Turpin said to him quietly.

"I ain't never done you no harm! Whatchu wanna kill me for?"

"For raping a little girl."

"What little girl?" Brian asked with a laugh and a smile that made Turpin sick. "There's been plenty o' little girls."

"My girl," Turpin snarled and put six rounds in the man's chest. The smile died on his lips.

Turpin did not stick around to enjoy his revenge, but spat once on the body and quickly left. He stopped once on his way back to London to clean his pistol. He never breathed a word to anyone about his revenge, but carried his bittersweet sorrow with him the rest of his life. It was many years before he felt anything even closely resembling love again, before he desired any woman…and that woman was Lucy Barker.


Author's Note: Oh my gosh, I'm sorry. I'm all teary-eyed right now. I hate killing off characters, especially ones I created, but you've got to admit it was a great story. At least, I thought so. Please share your thoughts with me (and don't totally hate me for killing Dani) and give me lots of reviews! Thanks for reading!