Ellie's House of Horrors
Title: Reign of
Prompt # (if there is one):
Disclaimer: Sm created lovely characters, I make them do very unseemingly things.
Warning: There is blood, that's all I will warn of without risk of giving too much away.
Summary: Ever wonder why Alice was committed? Maybe you don't want to know why. AU, AH Alice/Jasper
A/N: There really is no historical accuracy to this, tried to do the best I could in some areas but this is still just a work of fiction.
It is a beautiful summer morning in France, the bustle of people just beginning to overflow from their houses. The sound of children's laughter peels through the air, as the clip clop on the cobblestone echoing between the buildings. Men hurry about their business, tipping their hats at the lady in the blue dress even though her own head is thrown back in amusement. It just a regular summer day except that everyone has somehow managed to avoid one singular house: the Brandon house.
The house itself looked relatively normal. It was not unkempt, the rose bushes by the front door were well groomed, beautiful blossoms poking themselves out to greet the new day. Inside the tenants were quiet; Mrs. Brandon was still fast asleep and her young daughter, Alice, crept quietly down the stairs.
She quickly slipped out onto the stoop, stopping to bury her nose in the sweet smelling rose bud. Her long black hair bounced against her back as she skipped down the street to the marketplace. Passerbyers smiled at her nervously, but did their best to avoid her if possible.
"Here are some fresh eggs, and bread." An old lady stooped down to hand Alice the goods. She was the only one person who ever intentionally interacted with anyone in the Brandon family.
"Thank you Mrs. Cope!" The young girl called, her arms were stuffed full, a grin from ear to ear as she turned on her heel and skipped back home.
"Alice, where have you been?" Mrs. Brandon called out angrily at hearing the front door slam, her hand held to her head in agony.
"I got eggs, and bread!" The young girl called back in excitement, heading into the kitchen to make breakfast.
"Bring me some bourbon before you do anything." Mrs Brandon demanded, pulling her blanket up over her head in an attempt to keep any light on earth from touching her face.
"Yes, mother!" Alice responded, already pushing her way into the room. Some of the amber liquid sloshed over the side, tainting Alice's hand with the bitter smell. Alice's mother downed the liquid, pushing the glass back at her, her silent demand for more.
"I was thinking maybe today you could come see my roses on the front stoop." Alice said nervously, clutching the glass tightly in both hands.
"Monsieur Dupont will be by later to call on me," Mrs. Brandon said with no apology, not even noticing as the smile fell from Alice's lips, "Now make yourself useful and go get me another glass."
Alice only nodded her head, scurrying from the room. Watching the amber liquid leave the decanter once again she tried to swallow down the lump in her throat. Maybe tomorrow her mother would have a tea party with her. The thought helped Alice put another smile on her face, but it wasn't nearly as bright as the one that had donned her face that morning.
Weeks passed and the leaves had fallen from the trees taking the heat of the summer with them. Alice sat huddled into the tree that sat in her backyard, her china doll clutched closely to her chest. The breeze whistled through the branches, and children could be heard laughing nearby. But Alice heard none of this. She closed her eyes, listening to her mothers' moans that seemed to echo all around her.
Goodnight, my angel
Time to close your eyes
And save these questions for another day
Alice sang softly, her breathing only returning to normal when the sounds from her house had stopped. She counted to 24 until she heard the telltale slam of the front door. Waiting, she counted until she reached 100 before heading inside.
"Alice, be a dear," her mother began but Alice cut her off, handing her the glass of bourbon before she could finish her sentence. Mrs. Brandon smiled at Alice, placing a sloppy wet kiss on her forehead. Alice crinkled her nose at the smell, but couldn't stop the smile that crossed her face at her mothers good mood.
"Maybe you can have a tea party with me," Alice whispered, hope building in her chest.
"Not today, I'm too tired." Mrs. Brandon flopped back onto her bed, throwing her arm over her eyes dramatically. Alice stared at the thin line of gold liquid that still sat at the bottom of her mother's glass. "That's all Alice, you may go."
Alice couldn't stop the tears that fell onto her cheeks as she quietly closed the door behind her. There was always an excuse: she was too tired, a caller was coming over soon, or she just didn't have time. But Alice never lost hope. Her mother was still in there somewhere. The one who gave her the dainty little tea set that remained unused in her playroom.
"Oh Alice," Mrs. Brandon called out and Alice felt her heart jump into her throat, maybe her mother had finally changed her mind, "we're going out together tomorrow, just you and me baby."
Just like that the flame was reignited in Alice, shining brighter than ever, she would get her mother back.
"Remember all the songs you sang for me
When we went sailing on an emerald bay"
Mrs. Brandon sung out, dabbing on a splash of perfume. Alice giggled beside her reveling in the melodic tone of her mothers singing voice. The song always sounded so much better when she sang it.
"Let's go darling," Mrs. Brandon held her arm out to Alice, who took it willingly. Together they walked out on the stoop, and Mrs. Brandon frowned at the withering roses that sat there. "Alice, dear, you must take care of these better, we can't have our home looking so unkempt."
Alice tried to fight back the tears that pricked her eyes, the cool air rushing against her flushed skin.
"Sorry, mother." She murmured, holding tightly to her arm trying to hold onto the woman that had just been singing in the parlor.
They walked silently forward and the people on the streets around them didn't seem to know what to do. In regular fashion they ignored them the best they could, some even venturing to the other side of the street to get away. Mrs. Brandon didn't notice, and Alice tried to ignore it like usual even though today seemed to be worst than most.
Alice could hear cheers from a crowd that was gathered up ahead, and tried to stand on tiptoe while her mother tried to navigate them through the vast amounts of people. Other children ran by them, snickering when they saw Alice.
When her mother stopped walking Alice felt a surge of frustration and watched while Mrs. Brandon chatted with a man. Pulling her arm from her mother's she pushed through the crowd, desperate to see what was happening up front. She watched Mr. Newton walk onto what looked like a stage.
Alice raised her hands to clap, giddy at seeing someone she knew. He laid face forward onto a bench, his head resting on a slight groove in the wood. It wasn't until then that Alice noticed the large blade sitting just above Mr. Newton. A scream stuck in her throat at the sound of the blade whizzing through the air. The executioner held up the man's head, and Mr. Newton seemed to lock eyes with Alice his mouth moving frantically as if to call out for help before finally his eyes rolled back into his head.
The people around them cheered in excitement, some of the other children rushed towards the stage dipping their clothing in the bright red blood before running off. Bile rose to Alice's mouth, turning on her heel she pushed her back through the crowd not even stopping to find her mother as she ran home.
Mrs. Brandon had found a new way to meet potential customers by going to the beheadings, and Alice tagged along dutifully. She still didn't enjoy it and tried to find any reason to stay towards the back of the crowd.
Now that spring was just making its entrance Alice had taken to selling the flowers that grew by her stoop. She knew she was young but she also knew just how much of a sacrifice it was for Mrs. Cope to give her eggs and bread everyday. Everyone seemed to love buying them, delighted in the crimson of the petals that matched so well with the spilt blood. Since she had started paying Mrs. Cope, the nice old woman had started giving her just a little extra of things sometimes even adding in bits of cheese.
Tucking the money safely into her dress Alice watched the other children around her laughing and playing. She didn't feel jealous of them. They were all mean to her. It was only when their parents grabbed their hands, laughing and kissing them that she felt any sort of longing. Her own mother was often unable to be found for a few hours after the event. Everyone knew where she was; even poor little Alice.
Today was no different and since she had just sold her last flower, Alice decided to head back home. She watched her feet, not bothering to look up to see where she was going.
"Look out!" She heard too late, as a runaway horse knocked her over, successfully stomping on her foot in the process.
Alice cried out, but hardly anyone seemed to be interested in what was happening, the whizzing of the blade heard all the way from there. Cheers drowned out Alice's cries for help.
"Oh dear, are you okay?" A handsome man asked, holding his hat against his chest. Kneeling down next to her he examined her leg carefully. "Where is your mother?"
"I don't know," she admitted quietly, afraid to look this stranger in the face. Surely he had to know who's child she was just like the rest of the city.
"Do you live far from here?" He asked and Alice shook her head no. Scooping her up he carried her back to her house and set her down gently on her bed. "It doesn't seem to be broken."
Alice watched this stranger carefully and suddenly found herself feeling very nervous. Who was is? Why had he so brazenly entered her mothers house, when all others avoided it like the plague?
"I'm Dr. Jasper Whitlock." He answered as though he had heard her thoughts.
"We can't afford to pay you." Alice spat out suddenly, making Dr. Whitlock frown. Such young girls should not be so well informed on her parents finances.
"I am not worried about that." He assured patting Alice's head. "Now, will your mother or father be home soon?"
"My father is dead." Alice said matter-of-factly.
"And your mother?" He inquired, quirking an eyebrow at her.
"Out." Was all she could think to say.
"Alright, well then I'll just stay around until she gets here. You really shouldn't be putting any pressure on that leg for a couple of weeks." Alice stared at him. How would her mother survive without her helping her for a couple of weeks?
"Can you sing me a song?" Alice asked suddenly, feeling the lull of sleep drawing near. Dr. Whitlock frowned for a few moments, seemingly wracking his brain for anything he could sing. Alice felt surprise as she drifted off to sleep listening to the doctor sing the same song her mother normally sang:
Goodnight, my angel
Now it's time to dream
And dream how wonderful your life will be
Mrs. Brandon had a fit when she saw Dr. Whitlock in Alice's room, until she realized why he was there. The idea of the doctors bill flitted across her mind and she immediately propositioned him. Surely it would be good business for her if he became a paying customer.
Alice listened in her room, and could barely contain her excitement when Dr. Whitlock turned her down. He then went on to tell her he was going to check on Alice everyday until she was better to ensure it wasn't something worse. Mrs. Brandon poured herself a glass of bourbon and rolled her eyes before disappearing into her room.
"Thank you Dr. Whitlock," Alice whispered when he came in to check on her.
"Please, call me Jasper." He smiled widely at her. He didn't understand it but he felt an overwhelming need to protect her. He had never thought of himself as wanting children, but he felt an inexplicable draw to Alice and kept having to fight the urge to snatch her up and take her away from everything.
True to his word Jasper stopped by everyday. It became a highlight of Alice's day to see him. He would often stay longer then just checking in, asking her about her day. She confided in him her dreams and fantasies, he was awed by her creative imagination. When she shyly asked him to have a tea party with her, Jasper couldn't refuse. He even carried her into her playroom, to keep her from having to walk on her injured foot.
Alice even made them real tea in her pristine tea set, and they sat around a tiny table. Alice beamed up at him, and she knew that one day she wanted to marry Jasper. It took everything in her not to tell him what she thought. He may be a nice man, but she knew that she was still just a child and he would not think of her in that way.
Before Alice could get enough time with Jasper the two weeks were up. She felt a pang of sadness when she stood on her foot, no signs of pain. But when Jasper arrived that day, Alice pretended it was still sore. Jasper frowned, knowing that she was lying, but even he wasn't ready just yet to part with Alice. Instead he told Mrs. Brandon that it may be a few more days, possibly a week.
Mrs. Brandon just rolled her eyes, slamming the door in his face. The bourbon had moved from the parlor into her room and she was scarcely seen anymore, not that Alice or Jasper minded. It was only one night, after Jasper had stopped in late to check on his favorite patient that things began to change.
"I love you," Jasper whispered, kissing Alice's head fatherly as he tucked her sleeping figure in. Mrs. Brandon was out in the hallway, already drunk. She had just been turned down by a regular who told her he was getting married and would be back. And she was angry.
"Get out! Get away from my daughter! You are sick! You are never to come back here, do you understand me?" She ranted, pushing Jasper away from Alice who had sat up from the noise, rubbing her eyes in confusion.
"Jasper, NO!" Alice screamed, watching the only good thing in her life being pushed away.
It had been almost a month since Jasper had last seen Alice and he thought he was going to go mad. He missed having tea parties, and wanted her to tell him another story about living in the clouds. He hadn't been back in her neighborhood since that horrible night, but tonight he stood pacing in front of the stoop.
He couldn't take it anymore, couldn't stay away from Alice. Mrs. Brandon wasn't caring for her properly, and he would do anything to make sure she could grow up in some sort of normalcy. A child her age should have friends. Friends that weren't grown adult male doctors. She should be going to school, and braiding hair.
Finally, unable to take it anymore he knocked on the door. He waited 10 minutes, and there were no signs of movement at all inside the house. Looking at the window he was met with a dark room, but that wasn't unusual since nobody really used that room. Stepping back closer to the street he looked up to be met with darkness. Something wasn't right here. Mrs. Brandon and Alice were always home.
Unless they moved.
Panicking, he knocked again harder. He craned his neck listening for any noise, any sign of any life inside the home. When he heard nothing he became desperate, turning the knob he found it unlocked. The entire house was consumed by darkness, and Jasper found himself holding his breath as he entered.
"Alice?" He called out timidly, only to be met by silence. The furniture was still the same, and he felt a small twinge of hope that maybe they were just gone for the evening, but it didn't stop him from venturing on.
"Alice?" He called out more boldly again, stepping into the kitchen to be met by rotting bread and food. Waving his hand in front of his nose, he turned around heading back for the stairs.
"Alice?" He ventured up the step, his heart pounding in his ear as he froze, the step below him groaning in protest. There were still no other sounds throughout the house.
"Alice?" He nearly whispered seeing a single flickering light coming from Alice's playroom. His heart stopped as he listened to Alice's voice carrying softly down the hall.:
"Someday we'll all be gone
But lullabyes go on and on...
They never die
That's how you
"Alice," he breathed staring at the back of her. Her arms moved and he watched her tiny muscles contracting as she continued to hum. She was safe.
"Alice." He said a little more loudly, stepping inside of the room, trying to get her attention.
"Oh, Jasper," Alice smiled at him, moving her body to mirror his. The front of her dress was covered in blood. Mrs. Brandon stared wide eyed at him, her mouth hung open in shock. Jasper stood frozen in place, staring at Alice cradling her mother's head. "Mother and I were just about to have a tea party, would you like to join us?"
Yea...you should go play with your children now...
The song Alice is constantly singing for comfort is called Lullaby (Goodnight, My Angel) by Bill Joel.