Setting: Season 7, Spike in the school basement
Prompt: Hearing: Out of tune
Word count: 717
Note: First time posting here -- I hope this is fits the parameters!
Upon A Stick
In the basement, there was scrabble-scrabble in his head. Rats' claws sounds. Rats were for eating -- it didn't frighten him, the scrabble-scrabble of their claws. Or it did, or it had. Scrabble in the walls, and a different school, and missing mother, but you couldn't cry out, no, it just wasn't done. He'd worn boots then, too, but with buttons, not laces. You closed them up tight, with a curved metal hook. That was him, once. That must have been him. He remembers.
Now, he remembers everything. That was the point, if there was one.
In the basement, there was singing -- nursery rhymes, and all out of tune. Cats down the well, and ashes, and lemons. Worms crawling in, and bells at St. Clement's. Madmen in bags -- or the shadows of men. For when your heart begins to bleed, you're dead, and dead, and dead indeed.
It drove you mad, but not mad enough. That was the point, if there was one. A mouth that opened, then closed again. Promising death, only death wouldn't come. Turn about's fair play, as Dru used to say. To everything, turn, turn, turn. That was a psalm, and a song. He remembers.
A temple, a train, a cold tiled floor -- you scrubbed and you scrubbed, but it wouldn't wash out. It never would stop, and you couldn't make it go, and he knew this because he had tried. A length of rusted pipe, and broken glass, and fingers. He kept up the digging, though he saw it was for naught. Had to try, didn't you? As he said one night to a man in a crypt.
In the basement, there was talk. It was all the same talk, just the voices that changed. The boy in Cardiff, the one in Grenoble. A woman whose necklace had caught in his teeth. In pubs and in parks, in cars and on ships, in kitchens, and convents, and concert halls. A cellist, once, still clutching her bow. The girl who had thanked him, and cradled his head. And farmers, and lawyers, and singers, and sailors, and pastors, and children, and husbands, and whores. The butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker. And all put out to sea.
Angelus was there, or perhaps it was Angel -- no difference, not really, where he was concerned. Dressed in a suit and a cleric's collar, and in his right hand, he carried a whip. And he prayed to a man in an ink-stained green visor, bent over a desk, keeping careful accounts. Telling himself that the books could be balanced -- very clever, was Angel, but not about this.
He'd got it by choice, so he knows, he remembers. It swallowed your sacrifice, then spit it back out. That was the point. That was the point. That was the point, if there was one.
In the basement, there were soldiers, fighting the fight though the battle was done. They fell without weeping, and rose up in glory. They haunted the places where he used to dance. The first one was sorry, the second was angry. One pushed him away, saying, now ask me why.
He'd sat in the dock, so he knows, he remembers. A verdict was rendered, the sentence pronounced. Thus spake the roses, culled from the garden: forsaken, forsaken, in sorrow to remain.
In the basement, ghosts would gather. Ghosts of the living, as well as the dead. She came to him, another ghost. So dark down there, but still, he could see. Dark as the coal shed, dark as coal. Coal fed the fire, but he never got warm.
If only the touch of a small, warm hand. There'd been music once, and light all around her.
She came, and she came, and one night she came, but in flesh, and bone, and blood. She called him by name, and held a bridle before him, and he bowed his head to it, grateful. He was better, then -- loved the bit in his mouth, and the tug of the reins. She led him up, and out, and down a road. The horizon was distant, and full of fire, but when he tried to run, she pulled him up short.
Time, there was time. They would get there, together. She hadn't said no, just not yet.