The Ravaged Queen

He waited as the final bell-toll rang into the silence, his spidering shadow stretching out behind him as he stood at the face of Big Ben, looking down at his city through the pale glass. 

He looked down at the rooftops and the avenues filled with cold sunlight, and he looked at the horse-drawn carriages as they rattled silently along the streets, and he looked at the people that walked beside them, yet he saw nothing. His mind was elsewhere, wrought with thoughts of a certain girl, the thoughts tearing at his old heart, making his blood rise up dark and thick like oil, seething through him as he spoke.

"Where?" he said, his words twisted and trembling. "Where is she? Where is she Mother?"  

Behind him, Mother was staring with her scraped-out eyes, her severed body completely still, her long arms hanging as lifelessly as stringless puppet's. He turned to look at her, and as he did, her gears and her machinery began to grind and spin, and her body began to move, her head rising, her lips beginning to twitch.

"Where is who, Jasper?" she whispered.

"Where is Lily, where is the girl?" He ran his tongue across his pointed teeth, and began to approach her. "Tell me she is here," he said, walking over to Mother on his too-many legs. "Tell me this was an error. Tell me the girl is secure."

"She's no girl Jasper, not now, not anymore…"

"Tell me where she is. Tell me now." 

"She is perfectly formed…so delicate…so breakable…"

"Tell me her location, Mother."

"Her location…her location, Jasper, I…" she began, but then she stopped, because at that moment something deep in her machinery clanked, and the muscles of her tattered eyelids squirmed. "I…" she said. "I do not know…someone…someone has altered the pattern…"

The End

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