Sorrow’s Child, chapter 1

Sorrow’s Child

Fandom: Rule of Rose

Summary: Game events from Clara’s point-of-view, probably. I actually have no idea where I’m going with this.

Chapter 1

It’s raining again…

All of the children are outside, even Wendy; she’s been doing much better, coughing much less frequently. Mr Hoffman said it would be okay, just for a little while… we need to indulge her from time to time.

The sick room is empty, except for me. The bed smells damp, like sweat and illness. The blood stains and drips and spots have faded, leaving a dull red-brown garden, and I can’t help but recall the way she’d screamed… calling for her father as roses bloomed beneath her.

Rain lashes at the window. Voices rise above it.



Then nothing.

I pull the sheets up, exposing the mattress. The stains are darker here. We didn’t try as hard to clean it.

It’s too late now.

I stretch the sheet back across it, smoothing it down with my hands.

The silence unnerves me.

I listen for the rain; it’s hard to find beneath the screaming.

But my head is full of it.

I pull the sheets back, exposing the mattress. The stains are waiting.

The silence eats away at my sanity, sometimes nibbling at the edges, sometimes pulling it away in chunks. At night I can hear it chewing.

I wish they’d come back inside…

Sometimes it’s like I’m all alone in here…

I don’t like… I don’t want to be…

My hands get tangled in thin fabric. Mr Hoffman hasn’t even bothered to turn on his scratchy old records… the ones he thinks create a “cheerier atmosphere” in this dreary land of tiny cast-offs, of unhappy forgottens.

A dusty, old lost and found bin where nothing was ever retrieved, because nothing lost was ever missed.

Faulty products.

Returned merchandise.

I wish…

I don’t know what I wish.

There’s no use in it, anyway, is there?

In wishing?

Wishing lives in a world dying; it opens the windows and doors, it lets in the hurting. The sheets are damp with it. I pull them back to expose the mattress. The stains seem darker this time.

It gets into the walls. It seeps into my clothes.

My skin is slick with it. The stains are darkest there.

Downstairs erupts like thunder. Miss Martha’s voice is feral; they’ve tracked mud into the house.

It’s no wonder, she shrieks, half-mad with fury and disbelief, it’s no wonder the lot of you are still here. Who on earth would be senseless enough to allow this kind of filth into their own homes?

No one, I suppose, though I wish she would keep that kind of cruel honesty to herself. They hardly need reminding. Even Olivia is well aware of the dwindling number of visitors hoping to select a hopeful addition.

I see the way the older ones look at me…

They may still… even Diana… someone might… she’s a pretty girl…

The door opens behind me.

Margaret smiles at me from behind her enormous spectacles. Her little teeth glisten in the menacing curve of her mouth. Her eyes glitter with malice. She bends her knees in an exaggerated courtesy, holding her skirt up with little pincer fingers.

“Miss Martha needs you,” she says loudly. She glares up at me like an insect. Our difference in height has always made her contentious; she seems to feel that I’ve grown older out of spite. “You’d be wise not to dawdle like you always do; Miss Martha is having a bird. You and that filthy rat Jennifer are expected to clean up the mess the boys made in the front hall.”

She’s gone before I can respond. The door slams shut behind her.

I pull the sheet back over the mattress. The stains disappear.

The doorknob twists in my hand; the hallway is as empty as the sick room, and twice as quiet.

The floor is crayon scarred. I step soundlessly onto the train tracks.

I can hear Miss Martha calling for me through the door.

The knob is as smooth and cold as bone beneath my fingers. I can hear the rain, still, clattering against the roof.




Miss Martha and Mr Hoffman yelling above the chaos, reminding everyone that their dirty clothes belong in the filth room, not on the floor.

Mr Hoffman smiles when he sees me. I cross my arms across my chest and watch my feet dragging me across the room.

The mud is waiting. The new girl is holding a mop and bucket, as if though she actually intends to use it.

Children and adults disband, until it’s only myself and the new girl. I join her amidst the mire and muck.

She hums to herself as she idly wipes at the same smudge of dirt, waiting for me to finish.

The speakers attached to the wall spring to life with a static-y whine and Jennifer’s humming gives way to an endless loop of scratchy music.

Our “cheery atmosphere” is covered in mud.


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