October 7th, 2007
Title: Mount Fraught Syndrome: Chapter 2
Previous chapter: Here.
Summary: Violet is distraught and married. Klaus and Sunny are lost.
Author's Notes: This took longer to write than I thought it would, mostly because I had to keep stopping to go "eww". You know how I said this wasn't even a little bit Violaf? This is the closest it's going to get, and I don't think threatening should really count. So, yeah. Official warning for threatened sexual assault and some violence. My inspiration for the whole fic was really that I wanted Violet to do what she does here...
I broke my promise.
Violet sat in the corner of the room, her head hidden in the frills of her dress. None of the troupe members still celebrating at the long wooden table paid her any attention. Even Olaf barely glanced at her. He was busy with telling the other actors long stories about his own brilliance, to much laughter and occasional applause. That and drinking more wine than Violet had ever seen him drink before.
He had Klaus’ glasses in his pocket. Every time Violet looked at them she wanted to scream. She pulled her knees up to her chest, bit down on her lip so she couldn’t make a sound. If she started to scream, if she started to cry, she’d never be able to stop.
He’s dead and I let him die. I let Sunny die. The hook-handed man took them away and he killed them and I let him. I let him. I didn’t do anything.
He had come back half an hour ago, but he hadn’t stayed long. He just walked in, put the glasses down on the table and left. If he’d said anything to Olaf Violet hadn’t heard it. She’d been staring at his right arm, at the livid red bite mark on it. Sunny had done that. That was the last thing she’d ever bitten, before…
She’s dead she’s a baby and she’s dead and Klaus is out there in the dark without his glasses and he’ll never need them again and I let it happen!
The troupe members laughed and started clapping again. Violet suddenly couldn’t stand it any more. She stood up. Her body felt like a mechanism she was operating from a distance, as if the real Violet was in another room, watching artificial legs walk to the door and a plastic hand reach down.
Her hand was on the doorknob when she heard Olaf’s voice.
“Where are you going?”
Violet turned. Her mechanical mouth opened. “I’m going to my room,” she said, in a voice that didn’t seem like hers either.
“Of course.” Olaf smiled in what he probably thought was a kindly, paternal fashion. “It’s been a big day for you. You’re probably all worn out.”
She could go. All right then. Violet turned back to the door. It seemed more complicated than she remembered, or at least slower. The movement of the handle lasted forever.
She had just got it open when she felt Olaf’s hand on the back of her neck.
“But, Violet…” His breath hissed against her ear, the hot, cloying scent of wine almost choking her. “Our room is that way.”
The mechanical legs gave way. Violet fell against the doorframe. “…our…” her voice said, a little sound, air escaping from a valve. Bony hands gripped her wrists and turned her around, pushing her spine against the wall. Her eyes stared straight ahead, at the grey-stained fabric of his suit. She couldn’t feel anything but his hands. Oh no. I killed my family, isn’t that enough?
“Violet.” Olaf let go of her right arm. It fell unsupported to her side. His long fingers curled round her chin, tilting her head up, making her face him. “You’re an intelligent girl,” he murmured, and his voice would have almost seemed gentle if not for his eyes, shining and dark at once with something Violet didn’t dare name. They froze her in place, held her more firmly than his hand on her wrist ever could. “I’m sure you realise that as my wife, you have certain responsibilities.”
Responsibilities. He would have used that word, the one that swept away any chance she’d had to think or resist as the sickly knowledge of what she’d done rose up again like bile in her throat. They’re gone, both gone, this can’t happen not this too or I’ll… what? She didn’t know. She felt her free hand scrabble blindly at the wall, felt her head shake, slowly, back and forth, denying everything. No, not this, no.
Olaf frowned. “That won’t do any good,” he said, adult to petulant child. “You’re only making things worse for yourself.” His voice still too calm on the surface, but taunting underneath, insinuating, eyes still bright with that nameless thing oh just think it Violet, lust, desire, you know what he wants, you know. Behind him the troupe watched, silent now, unmoving as the scene played out. A white-faced woman cast a nervous glance at her sister. Violet tried to catch her eye, couldn’t. Of course not. No help for the irresponsible orphan girl, not here. More air escaped from her, not even words this time, just a fragile whimper.
The hand at her face slipped down to her throat, her shoulder, too slow, intimate, caressing, and if she’d had any breath she would have shrieked it all out again. Olaf stepped closer, leaned down. His lips brushed against her cheek as he spoke. “If you cooperate,” he whispered, “this will all be so much easier…”
Violet tried to struggle, twist away, but nothing helped. Any movement only seemed to bring him closer, the sour smell of his breath and the heat of him surrounding her, like spiderwebs to a fly or like the fire that killed her parents, and in the back of her mind something let go and started screaming after all. Let him! Just let him! They’re dead, they’re all dead, everyone’s dead except for you and you let it happen, Violet, you let it happen! So just give him what he wants!
Her limbs went slack again. She fell trembling against him and he caught her, arm round her waist to hold her up. “That’s right. Sensible girl.” He guided her left hand, the one he still held, to his waist. “I knew you’d understand.”
Her fingers brushed against cold glass.
Klaus… Her mind was slow, clouded with pain and tiredness, but the new thought worked its way up from the depths. Klaus… Sunny… they wouldn’t want this. Me giving up. Klaus wouldn’t give in, and Sunny wouldn’t…
And Sunny didn’t. What would she do, Violet? If anyone tried to hurt you? She’d…
Violet’s head twisted, darted forward. Her teeth snapped down. Olaf yelled in pain and tried to push her away, but she held on, gripping tighter until she heard a crunching sound and felt her mouth fill with blood. She let go then, gagging and spitting out red, as Olaf staggered backward with his hands clamped over his nose, blood already dripping down from them to soak his shirt. He crashed into the table and slid to the floor, staring up at her in outraged shock. “Wha’ th’ hell is wrong with you?” he demanded, voice muffled and wet.
“With me?” Violet heard herself give a gasping, incredulous cry, and realised it was laughter. Her body was her own again, but she still couldn’t seem to control it. The haze in her mind had lifted, everything was too clear now, too bright, red everywhere, shining against the dull white of her wedding dress. “With me!”
“Get her out of here,” Olaf snarled, pulling himself upright, spraying blood across the floor. The white-faced woman who had looked nervous earlier now took her arm, leading her away, and Violet followed, body still shaking with hysterical giggles that were almost sobs. The woman took her to her own room and left in a hurry, as if she thought Violet might attack again, locking the door behind her. Violet sank down on the bed she’d once shared with her siblings, hands pressed to her mouth, laughing, crying, shrieking all at once in great racking, whooping breaths.
I was right, she thought, in a moment when she could. I’ll never stop. But her body was merciful. It wore itself out in the end, and, bloodstained fingers clutching at her hair and sheets, Violet slept.
In the shadow of a large rock, two children huddled together.
“I can’t walk any further, Sunny.” Klaus yawned, and tried to push his glasses back up on his nose for the fourth time before realising they weren’t there. “I’m sorry.”
“Lux,” Sunny said, patting his arm, which meant You’ll be able to see more when it gets light, anyway.
“I hope so.” Klaus sighed. “But there’s not much to see. You’re supposed to follow electrical cables or running water, but there’s nothing like that out here.”
Sunny took a breath, then paused. Klaus thought she was about to say something like “Ramear?”, which meant Then how are we going to survive? But the question she eventually asked was much easier to answer.
“Calliope?” she said, and Klaus sat up and listened.
“Yes,” he said, slowly, after a while. “Yes, I think I can hear music…”
She bites his nose.... Brilliant. I liked Violet comparing everything to mechanical devises. Olaf is very frightening. I can see why this was so hard to write. Great job with the powder-faced woman. Everyone's reactions to the bite are perfect. And Klaus's line about electrical cables and running water is very, very him.