A Fairy Queen's Tears


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Scene Title A Fairy Queen's Tears
Synopsis In which Delia and Reuben face the Ogre, and True Natures are revealed.
Date November 26, 2010

One need not be a chamber to be haunted;

One need not be a house;

The brain has corridors surpassing

Material place.

— Emily Dickinson



As quickly as the rush of motion, color, and sound began, it stops, leaving Delia and Reuben in a dark and dusty room with exposed rafters and a low, angled ceiling. Like Reuben's dungeon, there are boxes here, but like everything, they are covered in a thin layer of dust. Outside, the storm has quieted, leaving the pebble-link plink of rain on the rooftop as their only musical accompaniment.

Reuben stays behind Delia, gripping the dowel rod that commands an army of soldiers that might as well be miles away. "Give me the sword," he whispers to the girl as he stares wide-eyed into the face of a rusted Volkswagen Jetta that peers out of a stack of ancient photographs and older, moth-eaten memories.

As they move Delia has been belting out her loudest and highest pitch squeal that she can manage. For the length of three whole breaths it continues, even after they've stopped moving. After the third breath, she peels open one eye and rolls it around, inspecting her surroundings before opening the other one.

When Reuben makes his demand, the little girl scowls and sticks her tongue out at him. "Nyyaaahhh NO! It's MINE! And you're in so much trouble! I'm going to tell on you! And! And! And… And you got me grounded!! You're so mean!!!" With the final statement, she reaches over and hits him as hard as she can on the side of his arm.

"OW!" Reuben says, the word devolving into a hiss of pain. In order to rub the afflicted area, he drops the dowel, which rolls down the length of wooden floor before them. But rather than slow to a halt when it's inertia runs out, it continues, turning a corner and out of sight of the two children. "You gotta be quiet," Reuben hisses, his voice growing thinner - breathier. "We can sssstill sssssurprise him."

But no sooner to the words snake their way out from between Reuben's lips than movement can be heard in some far corner of this presumably small space. Floorboards creek, but they aren't above them as before. There is nothing but roof over their heads now.

"YOU DROPPED THE MAGIC WAND!!" This earns another hard knuckle punch from the little girl as she roars her anger at him. Delia doesn't care if the ogre hears or not, it seems, as she stomps after the dowel. Her bare feet don't manage to illustrate her frustration enough though, so she takes a swipe at something with her sword. Oddly, the box is bisected as though sliced with a sharp edge, rather than a thick wooden one.

She chases after her toy, going faster as she turns the corner to see where it went.

The dowel is standing up on one end when Delia finds it, but there is nothing else apart from cobwebs and an old, cushionless rocking chair in the alcove. A small, circular window looks out over the small, semi-sheltered widows walk and the grounds below. But here, Delia can hear more than the rain. It is as if there are whispers being carried along the wind that changes the direction of the drops. Soft, professional voices dispersed among the steady beeps of electronics.

Where Delia left him, Reuben howls, but the noise lasts longer than any normal child would cry out against another child's violence. "UrrrgAAGGGG! Let GO! Leggo'uh me you fat and slow and stupid ogre!!


Reaching down, the little girl plucks the dowel up off the floor and tries to get more into the corner to hear what the voices are whispering. If they're whispering, it means there are secrets… usually secrets mean there's a present or two hiding around. Or even better, some leftover Halloween candy. But then Reuben's raucous yelling interrupts them and she's turning around and scrambling back to her feet.

Shaking the dowel three times, she swirls it at the end, letting loose a spray of glitter as it forms back into the wand. Then she puts a 'no nonsense' expression over her features and marches back around the corner to where her counterpart in crime is.

"YOU STOP YELLING BAD BOY!!" She bellows, twirling the wand and pointing it right at him, fully intending to glue his mouth shut with her magic.

Reuben's mouth doesn't shut, but Delia's magic pulls the plug on the power of his voice, turning him into a gaping fish of a boy dangling from a hook.

A hook that is a meaty hand attached to a burly arm.

The man that stands next to Reuben, holding the boy aloft by a cruel grip on his collar, bears a striking resemblance to the monster one floor below. He still has a full head of hair, but it has turned an iron gray. While large and barrel chested, his cheeks are somewhat hollow, and the bags under his eyes make his face appear more fleshless than it is, even in a dream world. Slowly, the turns his black eyes on Delia. Silent lightning strikes outside, filling the room with light for a moment, and flashing a shadow behind the man and the boy - but the boy's shadow is a writhing mass of hair and teeth and claws, mimicking Reuben's own thrashing, hissing form.

You're the one.

The man does not move his lips to speak, but his voice rings in Delia's head and he tilts his own slightly to one side, his expression one of blank, unfeeling coldness.

Delia freezes in place as the ogre turns to look at her, like a victim of a dinosaur invasion trying to avoid a confrontation with a T-Rex. Standing completely still, her eyes circle the room until her gaze falls on the shadow and then she points and begins her scream again. That ear drum breaking, high pitched squeal that can only be emitted by little girls under the age of seven.

Her large blue eyes begin to water and that shriek turns to a wail as the tears start flowing over her round little cheeks. She's still frozen in place and through her blubbering, she manages to shake the wand to send sparks of glitter all over. "I want to go hooooome…" her wails fill the room as she tries to escape through the power of the wand.

But unlike the other minds that Delia has wandered through with her ability, this one isn't about to let her go so easily.

The man narrows his eyes and frowns, a look that epitomizes parental disapproval, and shakes his head.


He roots Delia to the spot with that stare, and when he looks away from her, a large steamer trunk materializes at his feet. He bends to unlatch it, then opens the lid with a well-placed foot. With the lid open like a gaping maw, Delia's view is obscured. But when the man starts to try and put Reuben in the box, and the boy fights back with venemous hisses, kicks, punches, and bites, she can see enough to watch the boy slowly change into something far from human. Fur and feathers start to fly, but all the while, the man's expression barely changes.

Covering her eyes with the arm that's holding the wand, Delia keeps bawling, her large tears spilling out and down. Just like Reuben told her not to do. "I don' wanna turn into a— a— a— m-m-monst-tuh-errrrrrrr." Her wavering sobs continue as she tries to block out the image of the redheaded boy being turned into something much less little boyish and much more horrific.

"I don' I— I— din't mean iiiiiiiit… I'm sorry I shot the pi-picture… And spilled the chonklit.." Reaching into her little pack, she pulls out the elephant and hugs it tightly, using it as a comfort blanket.

The lid to the trunk shuts with a bang, but like an earthquake, the initial force is far from the beginning. Within the trunk, Reuben continues his assault, banging against the sturdy container with all his fiendish might.

But when Delia peeks out from behind her shield, she finds herself almost nose to nose with the one Reuben called The Ogre as he sits atop the trunk, his feet firmly planted, his elbows resting on his thighs, and his fingers laced together. He looks at her, his eyes not black, but simply shadowed. There is the ratcheting of a rusty mechanism as he tilts his head once again, his eyes narrowing not in anger, but interest.

"You didn't mean it, did you?"

But before the girl can answer, the man drops his eyes to the elephant in her arms. He sits back, placing his hands on his thighs as he stares at it, his eyes widening. "That…" he chokes out, his voice hoarse in the way it might be if he were getting over a sickness. "…That's Hugh."

The little girl's neck muscles twitch as she tries to choke back the rapid hiccup of sobs that are wracking through her body. As though on the verge of hyperventillating, her rapid little breaths inward have her whole body quaking from crying. Her bouncy little curls shake but the tears slow, just a little.

Slowly, she pulls the elephant down from her face but she keeps it held tightly against her chest, guarding it possessively. "I f-f-found i-it.. I-it was my Christmas pre-present." Just because she's about to be turned into a monster, it doesn't mean she should lose her presents.

"He was mine," the man says slowly, not looking away from the multicolored elephant toy. His face tightens with the memory - the reason why Hugh the Elephant had been left to decay in the basement rather than hold a place of honor in the warehouse. But with a soft grunt that comes with swallowed tears, the man shakes his head and looks Delia square in the eye.

"Why are you here?" he asks, his voice still scratchy but far less hoarse than it was. His hollow cheeks, specked with stubble, do not help in making his question less frightening, but at least the trunk beneath him has stopped producing violent knocks and rattles.

Ducking her head down into the elephant, Delia hides her eyes from view and wipes her tears away on its plush body."I g-got lost and it was raining… and thundering… and I got scared." Her cotton slip of a dress is stained and torn in places, worn ragged in others. Almost as though she hasn't seen a home in too long. Lifting her head just enough to peer at the large man through her big blue eyes, she allows them to drift over his face before settling in his eyes.

"Do I have to live in a box with him? I-I'm sorry. I didn't mean t-to spill or shoot the gun." The two things that she thinks she might have done wrong while in the house. "I want to go home… I want to see my mommy."

The man quirks an eyebrow, then looks to the trunk below him. A low growl emmenates from the container, and he gives it a swift kick with his heel before looking back at the girl. "No," he says with a judicious shake his head, signing her pardon with the gesture. "You didn't know what he was. I can't blame you for letting him out. He's…tricky."

He leans forward again to re-adopt his previous posture and to study the girl. "You know - he has a lot in common with Hugh." Second guessing himself, the man looks away and purses his lips together. "I mean, I got Hugh when I was really, really sad. And him…he likes to cause more trouble. But Hugh isn't like that. He's not mean. Hugh doesn't talk. Hugh is just there. You can hug him. You can punch him. You can get him soaking wet from crying, but he doesn't care. He still loves you. He's that kind of elephant."

Tentatively, the man lifts a hand to reach out and finger one of the elephant's ears, contemplation and reluctant nostalgia washing across his features. "I knew a girl who was lost once," he murmurs. "I tried to help her. I don't think it worked. But…if having Hugh as a present helps you…" Pressing his lips into a thin line, the man shakes his head again, drawing his hand back to press the side of his knuckles against his mouth.

Lifting her head fully now, Delia stares wide eyed at the big man before dropping one hand from the elephant and reaching toward him. Feeling her feet free, she crawls up onto his lap and circles both arms around his neck tightly. The elephant is still held tightly by one leg and flops against his back and she curls her neck onto his shoulder.

One of her miniature hands pats his back lightly and her muffled coo of a voice advises only one thing. "It's okay to cry sometimes… My mom said so. She said that sometimes we even cry when we're big and it's okay."

He sits there stunned for a moment before wrapping his arms around the small frame of the little girl as if he could absorb her wisdom through osmosis if he were just able to hold her long enough. "Thank you," he whispers, a smile shaking onto his face in the wake of a shuddering breath that's both misery and mirth. He moves one hand to her head, crushing the springy curls beneath his palm as he holds her tight.

There is an eternity in that moment.

But not unlike a parent slipping a young one into bed, or easing themselves out of a room after providing peace of mind after a nightmare, Delia slips away. She fades as the need for her presence wanes, leaving the man to hold his head in his hands rather than a child in his arms. Ghostlike, Delia floats from the attic of the large, strange house and returns to the ground, wet with rain. But as he small feet find the spongy grass, the dark clouds pull back across the muted night sky, revealing a thinly shrouded moon to light her way.

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