Note: I do not own Great expectations, Charles Dickens, or any of these characters in any way. Nor do I own the poem "Havisham" by Carol Ann Duffy, which I have used a line from. It is the line in italics. All the rest of the words are my own.
Estella had always been a little bit afraid of Miss Havisham.
She was the only mother she could remember, but even so, she was sure that all mothers were not like this one.
"Whole days spent in bed cawing Noooo at the wall."
That scared Estella. That was one of the things that scared Estella most of all, the unpredictability, the confusion, the terror that Miss Havisham created.
Every day, when Estella was waking up in her soft, warm bed, then only clean thing in the house, she would find the air thick and sluggish with tears, screams and blood.
On those days, she would rise and silently dress herself, before tiptoeing towards Miss Havisham's bedroom door.
There was a crack in it that Estella could peer through, to assess the damage before she went in.
Some days she was lying in bed, tangled in the bed sheets, her eyes closed but with tears running down her face. On those days Estella would go in, and try to console her, to tempt her with a steaming mug of tea, but it was also on these days when Miss Havisham refused point blank to eat or drink or communicate in any way. Estella had never seen Miss Havisham eat or drink. Miss Havisham strode the house at night, eating what scraps she could lay her hands on.
These were the days when Estella cried.
Other days Miss Havisham would be screaming and screaming until her throat became parched and sore, her eyes blazing with madness, whilst she clawed at the skin on her hands and her neck, something that she always did in moments of agitation. She had clawed at her skin so often that it never healed now, it remained permanently red and bloody and sore.
These were the days when Estella longed to console her, but was too afraid to speak to Miss Havisham, for fear of what might happen.
The only person to ever see Miss Havisham cry was Estella.
The best days were when Miss Havisham did not scream and did not cry, the days when she was most like a normal human being, the days she spoke and ate, the days she trained Estella to grow up able to break men's hearts.
But no day was wonderful.
The smell of the house was disgusting, a mix of rotting food, too much emotion and the stench of a woman who had not changed her clothes or bathed for twenty five years.
If you were to enter Satis House for the first time, the odour would most likely overcome you, but if you had lived there for such a long time, like Estella and Miss Havisham, then your nose grew used to it and didn't smell it any more.
Besides, Miss Havisham wore a perfume, a floral concoction of lily and honeysuckle and rose.
Compeyson had loved it.
It was Compeyson who had bought her her first bottle. That was why she always wore it. She got Jaggers to buy it up in London. It was the only parcel she received, and she wept when the small, hand wrapped package arrived. It held such memories, such emotion.
It was the smell of love, of excitement, of tears, and of heartbreak.
She always wore too much of it. She sprayed it all over herself, until her dress was drenched with the disgusting, sickly smell, because any smell, however sweet, grows sickening and repulsive when there is too much of it.
No one came into the house apart from Jaggers, but sometimes Miss Havisham's relatives came to visit; the Pockets.
Miss Havisham cared nothing of them, and neither did Estella.
Miss Havisham cried every time they came.
They were fickle and foolish and shallow, and they only came because they wanted her money. Sarah and Camilla and young Herbert and Matthew and all the rest, the vain Pockets, descending upon Satis house like ugly, bloated vultures. Come to pick at Miss Havisham's fresh corpse.
But Miss Havisham let them know. She told them, she always told them that when she was dead and gone, and even more gaunt and decrepit than she was now, she was to be laid on her bridal table, amongst everything; the cake, the glasses, the mould, the flies, and with Matthew at her head, the rest of them at her foot.
And then came the boy from the forge; Pip, the boy who called Knaves Jacks and had rough hands and course boots and aspired to be a blacksmith.
He came on a whim of Miss Havisham's; she had brought a boy before, indeed, it was none other than Herbert Pocket. Miss Havisham had brought Pip on the grounds that she wished to see somebody play.
But he was really only there so that Estella could break his heart.
Estella could see that he was in love with her.
So she treated him with contempt and ridicule, but the day he hit Herbert Pocket and knocked him down was one of the best days of Estella's life.
Something had happened.
She let him kiss her. And then he went away.
He always went away.
Time passed. For Miss Havisham, it was a long stretch of unlifting darkness in an empty long stretch, for Estella it was years of boredom and solitude, day by day, losing more and more of her heart.
Miss Havisham grew worse. Manipulative. Cruel. Depressed. Screaming. Crying. Fainting. Wallowing in self pity.
Estella grew beautiful, far away in Paris, becoming a "lady". She had always been beautiful, but now wherever she went she had admiring glances and love sick, drunken youths, staggering after her and clutching their measly hearts, utterly enamoured, and in "love".
So many who saw her instantly loved her.
Estella treated them all with indifference.
As she should.
For their hearts were made to be broken.