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 The Eleventh Hour

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Join date : 2009-12-24
Location : I'm in Brooklyn on a Halloween night...

The Eleventh Hour Empty
PostSubject: The Eleventh Hour   The Eleventh Hour I_icon_minitimeFri Sep 24, 2010 9:10 pm

The Eleventh Hour

She had been sitting there like that for a long time now on the bed with her legs splayed out beneath her. Her head hung, hair falling all down in her face, arms hanging limp, but how remarkably straight her back was. It was reminiscent of the dolls that had so long ago perched upon shelves waiting for little children to buy them. She was that doll that never would be bought because she just looked so sad, and no mother wanted for their child a melancholy toy.

As the door slowly swung shut behind him, the old man had to admit to himself that he was beginning to worry about her. It was illogical, for every sign showed that she was progressing just as she should be, and yet... Something was wrong. It wasn't something he knew so much as something he felt. That was where the lack of logic stood. He shouldn't really have had emotional processes of any kind, but he also knew that denying them would be incredibly foolish. His 'gut feelings' had always been right before. So maybe it wasn't all that illogical after all.

He lowered the bag of food down onto the table which sat across from the bed as he had done every day. She never ate anything. She never drank either. She didn't move at all. Even, a thin layer of dust was beginning to collect itself upon her hair, her clothes. But she didn't stir. Of course, she didn't need these things, but they might have been some small comfort at least. So, he just kept bringing new food and drink and taking the old away. A short stool rested beside the table, and as was his habit, he descended slowly onto it and sat himself there. And he watched. While he watched, he did not move, he did not speak, he only watched. This he would do for several hours of the day, waiting, hoping. Nothing happened within the room, except for a trickle of light from without that would creep across the floor as the day wore on. Undisturbed from the inside, the room, which was in one of the neighborhoods located in the outer rim, was occasionally rattled by a train going by or some factory or other experiencing a problem of some sort. When this would happen, the small electrical bulb suspended from the ceiling would sway a bit and the furniture would vibrate, moving the food on the table. Flimsy as the mattress was, it absorbed every bit of the motion, and she remained perfectly still.

Dark circles had begun to form under eyes some time past, and, though they were cast in shadow, he could almost swear at times that they seemed to glow red. What inner torment she was going through, he could not tell, but he had seen that look before. Lucretia had worn that look in her eyes after Solomon had died. Grief had stricken her almost to death, if indeed she could have died, and so now did this girl have that same burning sadness. Perhaps more of Lucretia had survived in her than he had calculated. He had not meant for her to take over the girl, only for the directive to take hold. He had never meant to change Cheonsa into anything more than that which she needed to be. Strangely, somehow, he didn't want to change her, even as much as he would have wished Lucretia back into existence, he honestly didn't want to lose the girl he had watched grow into a young woman. He had simply become too attached, and he knew it.

For the first time, he moved. He hung his head and sighed. And as he did so, he broke the balance. "Geppetto," his eyes flashed upward at the sound of her voice. "Yes?" his anxiety did not show through his relentless monotone voice, but she would be able to hear it all the same. "You know, don't you? You've known all along, about my parents," her voice was low, flooded with sadness, almost choked by it, but somehow it still flowed smoothly from her. "Yes," no different from the first word and yet this time it carried a thousand different meanings. "I want you to promise me something," all that had moved were her lips, "Promise me that you will never tell me." He hesitated, only for a moment, but in that time, she turned those shadowed eyes upon him. The one which yet appeared human glistened with tears unshed, burning still in that reddened eye. He could not deny her. "I promise," and he meant it, with everything in him he meant it. She would never know. She nodded slowly, and then her head fell, and her body with it until she was lying, slumped across the bed.

Delicately, he picked himself up off the stool and moved to her side, gently lifting her prone form off of the bed. Holding her still, he pulled down the covers before laying her down with the utmost care. He pulled the tattered quilt over her unconscious frame, and, strangely, he felt tears in his own eyes, behind the rims of his glasses. It was a sensation he had not known for what must have been centuries. He welcomed it. "Sleep well, dear one," he whispered to her softly, "We have a trying road before us, but take heart, the promised land is within sight. We're going home, Lucretia. The angel shall guide the way." He laid his hand gently upon her head and felt a sudden peace come over him. Geppetto had never once felt such serenity in all his existence. He had done his job, his part was finished, after all these years. His life was his own, without directive, without purpose other than that which he should decide for himself. Allowing his gaze to slide off into the unknown, he slowly turned and walked back to the stool. Setting himself down once more, he waited, this time with a small block of wood in his hand, and a dull knife in the other, scraping away slowly, quietly. He would be there when once again she awoke, and he would go with her, and die for her if he must. Not because the directive told him to. Geppetto would be there because that was what he desired. Or was it...? It wasn't conscious, that dark thought, but somewhere deep inside he thought it. That this was just another layer of his directive... That in the end, he would simply do whatever it took to bring the infernal Shadows to an end. If that meant having emotions for the vessel by which that goal would happen, then perhaps that was all these feelings were, just programming dictating his actions as ever before. And somewhere, deep inside, a wicked smile spread at the irony of the thought that followed, "Just like a wooden puppet, dancing on invisible strings."
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