Miss Edith has acquired a pencil and a piece of paper. I don't know who gave it to her, because I don't have any. Spike didn't give it to her because Spike doesn't touch the dolls, or look at the dolls, or think about the dolls or talk about the dolls or talk to the dolls. Sometimes I hear him chanting this to himself over and over. I don't think he likes the dolls. But they are a part of me and Spike moves them to lie down in our bed and turns them away when we do naughty things under the sheets. I don't think he likes the dolls looking at him. I offer to blindfold them for him, but he says that makes it worse and the blindfolds are for me anyway.
But Miss Edith has acquired a pencil and a piece of paper, and she is asking Questions.
I told her not to speak out of turn, to be polite, not to ask people questions they don't want to answer. But Miss Edith says she is curious. I tell her curiosity killed the cat. Miss Edith says she's not a cat. Then I wondered if I could put cat ears on her and make her a cat. Miss Edith says I'm stalling.
So I'm going to answer her questions, before Spike gets home from hunting and tells me more bad news about the Sunnygirl that troubles him so. Perhaps tonight will be the night he kills her.
My head hurts.
Miss Edith wants to know what it was like…before.
Before what? I ask her.
Before anyone. When I was a little girl.
There wasn't a before. I was always me.
Liar liar pants on fire, Miss Edith says. She knows I remember.
I could never lie to you, Miss Edith.
I remember everything, really. Even things that haven't happened yet. My memory works in two directions. Sometimes the memories dance in my head, or play hide and seek and I really have to look for them to find them. I have to hunt them down like I hunt down little children to eat. But I always catch the children and I always catch my memories.
Run and catch, run and catch.
Once upon a time a princess was born in a city of smog and smoke. There was a princess ahead and a princess behind, and a Mummy and a Daddy and uncles and aunts and even an old, wizened Grandmummy, not pretty like My Grandmummy, but old and grey, which will never, never happen to Grandmummy.
Because Daddy killed her.
Spike doesn't know I know. But I know.
But I'm telling the story all wrong Miss Edith. I began at the end, when our happy home ended forever, before Daddy came back and—
Or was it after?
Oh no, Miss Edith, you've upset me, see what you've done! You see what comes of asking questions! You mustn't, Miss Edith, you mustn't! Oh, you shall be punished you wicked, wicked child! You shall have no stories tonight. Not even the one about the little red-haired girl who cried wolf.
I don't think you really remember, Miss Edith says.
Of course I do. Every word.
Liar, you only pretend.
I remember everything, Miss Edith! To the very last night!
Then tell me.
Oh, but Miss Edith, it is such a long story…and it isn't nice for bedtime.
Tell me, or I'll scream.
No, don't scream, Miss Edith, I can't stand it when you scream, it hurts my ears, and Spike isn't here to make it go away.
Then tell me. Tell me a story.
Oh, very well….