The Clockmakers Daughter

Restoring the Dark

Fearing she knew what was inside, she took it from the creature. Unwrapping it, she found the most unique clock she had ever seen, slightly larger and vastly more complicated than those her Dad worked so diligently on. Golden swirls graced the black, broken, and bent metal. Black’s clock. “Where is his body?” she asked nearly frantic, “It would not fade so long as it was in Wonderland. If we can fix it and return it, he will come back as he always has.” Somehow she knew it to be true.

Nightmare studied the creature recognizing it. “Snark, did you choose to be this?” He asked, already determined not to let it return to White.

“No.” came the hiss. “He has caught me twice now, guardian, while you were not at your post. That one has killed one fake body filled by my essence, it is an unpleasant thing.” It said, pointing to Ace who pointed to himself before smiling.

“Snark, come.” Nightmare called, pulling it from the shell his half-brother had placed it within.

The black mist seeped out of the mask, what was left behind melting into a puddle on the floor. It danced there before it took on the shape of a childlike form, appearing like a shadow escaped from its master. “Much better.” The room seemed to fill with the sound of his sigh “I am sorry, lady, don’t know where the body is.”

“I know.” The mother’s voice came from the doorway. She appeared even younger than she had before, her hair having grown. “I will take you.” Nightmare saw her and frowned. He had always known her and she had been a comfort to him when his parents had gone, yet she was the reason they were gone.

“I do care, Nightmare.” Her eyes cut over to him, reading him well as one who helped manipulate his birth. It was her who tied him to the island of Nightmares and she who named him so. “As much as one such as I can. There was nothing I could do.”

“Spare me the lie. You were weakened at that time, but you could have done something with your son, or hell, even told me the truth at any time in the damn centuries that I have been alive.” He glared, daring her to deny it.

“As you will, there was nothing I would do. I do not regret my sons, or tricking your father. I do hold sorrow that he is gone from me. You would have constantly battled with him had I told you. What was done is done, over. What good is there in fighting over it?” The mother held a puzzled look on her face.

He shook his head. She could not understand, a being made of anger, lust and greed giving more of the same until a mortal man made her love. It was a twisted love, but at least it had brought about wondrous things. “Forget it for now. Can he be saved?”

“First we have to fix this.” Julius looked over the clock, feeling overwhelmed. It would take time for one such as this. “Aliya, are you up to it?” they ignored the curious looks from the others in the room.

“I am, but I will need to,” she paused, grinning trying to think of a way to put it so not to make her Dad make that funny face right before he banged his head on something, “recharge soon. Something tells me that we need to be a full strength.” She went to the mother who waited at the door. “Ace, Dee, Dum, will you come with me. I never know what I’m going to run into anymore around here.”

“Aliya.” Julius rubbed a hand over his face, “Do you think maybe you should put some cloths on first?” He asked, reminding her that she still wore Blacks shirt and nothing else. Boris jumped over to his place, bringing her a dark blue t-shirt with a large skull with kitty ears and cross bones on it, and a pair of black jeans she had stolen from him, along with her favorite black boots with climbing blue roses.

She changed and returned to them quickly. “I will come too,” Peter said, joining the departing group. He would not have her hurt again.

She smiled at him gratefully before following the woman. When they had left the tower, she walked beside her and asked, “Why are you helping us now?”

“Is not he also my son, did I not bleed for him, give part of my life for his?” The mother asked angrily. “He should not have treated his brother so. He let those things feed on him.” The ground shook in her grief. She led them to the border of clover, not far from where their cabin once stood. Aliya hated what had happened to Black, but maybe he had brought more good than even he thought. Perhaps now the mother would truly look at her first born.

They approached a red light, an oval of electric current running over Blacks body. “Why the barrier? Aliya asked.
The mother looked down. “I had to destroy some of his creatures. He intended for him to be devoured so that he could not be brought back. Or so he thought. I would have restored him, even if it meant giving up the rest of my time.” She did not farther comment on White, but touched pink current, the shield folding away.

Aliya felt tears burn behind her eyes. The streets of the human world were not kind and she had seen her fair share of bodies used and left to rot, but this was unbearable. His face was untouched, though his unseeing eyes gazed coldly at the sky, the spark of life gone from him. Large chunks of flesh were missing from his right side, the bones of his ribs visible through the bloody carnage. It was his chest that suffered the worst damage, the skin and bone melted where he had taken the poison in her place, a gaping hole on the left side where is own brother had torn his heart away. Anger burned.

A violent purple light began to come off her in waves, rising through the air like steam after rain. The ground began to tremble beneath them. Focusing, she took his clock in her hands. The men around her watched in awe as the metal began to straighten, taking on the same violet hue. The pieces arranged themselves fast than even the knights eyes could follow. Then the light slowly faded as a loud tic sounded in the quiet. Aliya slowly pressed the clock back into the gory remains of his chest, then sat back, waiting for any sign of life from him, absently rubbing the blood off her hands in the wet grass of the field.

The men stood in amazement of her. “As I wane, she rises.” The mother said quietly. “Good.” Even within her empty chest a hint of warmth bloomed in hope for what she was leaving behind.

Slowly, the torn flesh began to close, covering muscle and bone. When the worst wound, the hole in his chest, was nearly closed, he drug in a harsh, gasping breath. Black eyes blinked, shining as his body jerked. “Fuck that hurt.” He wheezed. He looked over at her, “I like it much better when you kill me."

Aliya laughed in relief, hugging him as he shivered on the ground. “I missed you too, you ass.” She whispered against him.

He looked passed her, surprised to see his mother there, tears still trailing down her pale skin. Black frowned, having never seen any emotion from her before. “Mother?”

“Be well, my son.” Her eyes glittered as the sun changed position, a new time change upon them. She faded from his sight as light from the setting sun, her time with them nearly finished. She had things yet to do in the short time remaining, seeing his wishes carried out long after he had gone.

The twins helped Black to his feet. The return trip to the tower was silent, each lost in thoughts of their own, about the past, the present, and what the future would hold for the people of the land of wonders. One thing was for certain, the rules of the game had changed.
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