Carried on the bitter wind, the sound of iron bells rang throughout the bleak skies, powering through the cold air as Thricetin Orphanage approached London, the sound drowning out the thunder and the wind and causing Lily to shrink back into the shadows of the attic.
"What's got you?" asked Thricetin, glancing up from the control panel to look at her. "It's only Big Ben."
Lady Thricetin might have said it was satan himself for all the good it did. The girl continued to moan fearfully and shake her head, her entire body in darkness as she backed away, looking up at the nearing sphere-city as it grew in the round attic window.
"No," she breathed. "No..."
Surrounded with swarms of approaching sky-buildings, London was almost an entire world of its own, an entire world made up of rooftops and chimneys and covered in twisting cobbled streets, an entire world that seemed to stare back at Lily like a huge and unblinking eye. Closer the city came, closer and closer, bigger and bigger with Big Ben ringing all the while atop it, needling up into a corpse-white sky as it rang out to her, called to her with its dead, bellmetal voice, drew her in, pulled her back to where she belonged, chained to that iron table deep in some London institute with the claws coming closer and the click of the man-spider's pointed feet on stone and-
"No!" Lily screamed.
Lady Thricetin flinched violently, and almost caused them to collide with a passing sky-church as she grappled with the controls.
"Lord alive!" she yelled as they just cleared it. "That's twice now you've nearly caused an accident! I'm beginning to have serious doubts about you my girl!" she said, turning around so she could waggle a finger at Lily. "Thinking that maybe I was mistaken in givin' a first class nutter a gas augmented revolver!"
"S-sorry…" said Lily, but she could barely concentrate on what Thricetin was saying, her thoughts still reeling from the sound of Big Ben, her mind flickering, filling with the shattered visions of her nightmares.
"Don't worry Lily,"said Lily to herself, trying to calm herself down, trying to distract herself so that the visions would stop."Don't worry…it'll be okay…"
It didn't feel like it was going to be okay. Still the visions came, rushing at her like moths drawn to light, images overflowing with pain and with slaughter. Everytime she closed her eyes, she could see blades, covered in her blood. She could hear the crack of her ribs being cut, see her beating heart, and when she opened her eyes it was worse, because then she could feel the gun, the gun Thricetin was going to make her use, sitting in her gown so heavy and so cold, its coldness spreading from it, pressing into her body through the threadbare material of her white ragged gown...
"Don't worry Lily."
"Lily…" said Lady Thricetin.
The woman gave a pitying sigh. "Who are you…who are you actually talking to swee'heart?"
"He's waiting for me isn't he?"
"I, I can feel it."