Started: December 2007
Finished: October 2011
Growing up, she heard stories of a Benjamin Barker. There where many different versions, all depending on who you spoke to. They were mostly all bad. The man disappeared years ago, hadn't been seen or heard from since.
Currently in London, there's been a high disappearance rate of local people. A Mister Sweeney Todd owns a barbershop above a lady who owns a meat pie shop. She had never gotten a good look at the man. There was talk of a horrid stink coming from their chimney at night. Her friends where certain that something sinister was going on, possibly involving demons or ghosts. She insisted they were just bored with their overactive imaginations, spreading rumors, and telling scary stories. With her believing there was nothing to be afraid of and her friends believing otherwise, they dared her to check it out for herself. And she eagerly did so to finally shut them up.
Now, fully regretting her decision, she crouched behind some crates, listening in horror as a man screamed as the barber slashed his throat. Not wanting to move for fear she might be heard, she cursed her idiot friends for daring her to come here. Curiosity got the best of her. One of her eyes peeked around a crate. Only the dim light of dusk leaked through the large window. The chair rotated back and a trap door opened. Down went the body and with it the barber threw down the man's hat. He gingerly wiped off his blade and ran a hand threw his hair.
She saw him leave going down the inner stairs of the house and waited a few moments. Almost paralyzed, she made a quick shot for the outdoor staircase. She was half way down the stairs when Mr. Todd flew around the corner and bounded up the stairs. He froze when he saw her. She froze when she saw him. She saw the confusion pass over his face, then suspicion, then calm. He didn't miss the alarm that passed over her face.
She then kept walking down and he kept walking up. He had hands on both sides of the staircase. She drew in a quick breath when he didn't get out of her way. "Excuse me," she said, keeping her head down.
"What are you doing here?" he asked. She thought quickly of a lie but didn't look him in the eye.
"My father wanted me to make an appointment for him. He's a very busy man."
"Well go on up, I'm here now. I'm sure we can work something out," he said charmingly. She kept her eyes down.
"I can't, he's waiting for me."
"Waiting for you? You just got here," he countered suspiciously. He caught her eyes. His suspicion grew as if she knew what he did.
"No. I really must go."
"Are you ok? You look nervous," he feigned interest. His nervousness grew as if she saw what he did. He blocked her while she tried to push past him.
"I have to go. My father's an impatient man.
"Is he now?" he said in mocking concern, not believing a word of it "Do you want to talk about it?"
"Come on, let's have a look see at my calendar and pencil your father in while we have a little chat? Go on up." He practically pushed her back, forcing her backwards up the staircase. He whispered into the side of her head, "Don't, make a scene," and continued to push her up the stairs. "Keep on going." She did as she was told. As soon as she was up in that room again on a flat surface, she let him take a few steps in and turned on her heel and reached for the door. She was quick but not quick enough, Mr. Todd slammed the door shut in front of her. He grabbed her from behind and hauled her away from the door. She fought him, kicking at him and writhing.
"Let me go," she begged. When he had enough of her struggles he flicked open one of his blades inches in front of her face.
"Be still now," he told her and she stilled immediately. He needed such control to exact his revenge, repay all the misdeeds and nothing, would get in his way. He turned her and pushed her against the nearest wall, facing him. With the blade frighteningly out of view, she started to cry. "What did you see?"
"I saw nothing," she said tearful.
"We both know that's a lie." She shook her head.
"Why did you come here?" he asked huskily.
"It, it was a dare. My friends say that there's something supernatural, something demonic going on in this building. I told them it was all in their heads."
He stared into her face. "And who would you tell this to."
"Anyone." She stared into his eyes. "Anyone who says otherwise. it's the rumors I thought you would've heard them." He was too obsessed with his revenge to pay attention to what the towns people have been saying. He ran his fingers down the side of her face and asked,
"Are your friends waiting for you outside?" She looked him in the eye quickly replied,
"Yes," she said swiftly. He chuckled.
"If that were true, they would be charging through the door at any moment." He grew cross and paranoid again. He took a couple steps away from her. He thought to himself. What if she's lying about the whole thing? She lied before about her father wanting an appointment and him waiting for her. What if she's lying now. What if 'someone' sent her. Someone who was suspicious of my actions and wanted to put a stop to my 'education and…..disposal.' Seeing that he took a couple steps away from her. She moved an inch towards the door. He saw her move and said, "Oh no, not yet. Who sent you!" he yelled. Her face twisted in confusion. Taking her by the back of the neck he pulled her down into the chair. In zero seconds flat the blade was at her throat. She squeaked and pulled back into the unyielding chair. Her hand clutched loosely atop the hand gripping the blade. "Take your hand, off my wrist." She did so slowly and started to sob. "Who sent you?" He hissed. The more he thought about it the more it made sense. Draped around the back if the chair, he placed the blade under her neck so she'd look up at him. She tried to talk through her crying.
"No-no one, just my stupid friends. I promise." 'She wouldn't die for this person, would she?' He thought not and determined from that that she was in fact telling the truth. He slipped off in thoughts of his mission, glanced off to the side relaxing the arm around her holding the blade. She reacted with a taking a deep breath. The horror that she might yet still die sent silent tears down her cheeks.
She didn't want to speak lest interrupt his thoughts, but she wanted to persuade him that she wouldn't tell anyone.
"I understand." she said quietly.
"What?" he said into her ear.
She sniffled and continued, "I know who you are." He gaped.
"I saw your picture in the paper, years ago. My aunt kept old news papers. I was up in her attic one day looking at them." Mr. Barker swallowed hard. He got to his feet behind her. "The article said that you were sent away for life on charges some people didn't even believe you were guilty of."
"Is that supposed to make me feel better?" he sneered.
"No, but I know what you want."
He rounded the chair to face her. "And what do I want, little lady?"
Her voice shaking. "Vengeance." He nodded slowly. The vision of a lever being pulled and the chair tilting backwards sending her dropping through a hole in the floor made her look up at him urgently and say, "Can I get up from this chair?"
"I very much like it when people sit in my barber chair. It gives me purpose." He smiled creepily. She brought her legs up in the chair and curled up into a ball. He started circling her and her eyes followed him.
"Please Mr. Barker, I don't have any qualms about what you are doing. I won't tell anyone. From behind, he put his hands on the back of the chair making her jump. He bent down.
"You don't have any qualms about this? Really?" he said incredulously. She surly did but she obviously couldn't say that at the moment.
"Really, I know how angry you must feel and cheated and completely outraged." She choose her words carefully. "I won't tell anyone. I understand."
"Don't say you understand," he snapped. "You don't understand."
"I know, not completely. I'm sorry. I know I couldn't but I'm trying," she said. "But I also know you had a wife and daughter-"
"Shh, shut up, just shut up!" He put his hand over her mouth. She nodded. After a few moments, he withdrew his hand and found it wet from her tears. It reminded him of the suffocating sadness he felt when he returned and found out what had happened. He knelt behind her. She watched his expression over her shoulder. He brought his free hand to his mouth and lost himself in his own sadness. Very slowly, she moved off the chair and knelt down beside him and put her arms around his shoulders. "She was my baby," he said as tears rolled down his cheeks. "I said I didn't miss her but I lied."