“Are you really going to let that boy be hanged for you?” Underby’s voice was mocking. Star couldn’t stand it, something ugly and black rose up inside of her, she scooped up a stone and heaved it at the window, shattering the glass “I did it!” She screamed at him, not even sure where the words were coming from or even what she meant, “I did it, and I’d bloody do it again!”
“Missus Star, No!” Gilhooly groaned, backing away from the feuding pair.
She bent and picked up another stone, a larger one, “You think I wouldn’t stab you here in the street like a dog?” She snarled.
“You’re mad!” He shouted, “MAD!”
Her vision was narrowing curiously, vaguely she noticed Gil moving away, fevered images were moving through her mind, it was as if the world were jumping in and out of focus, “You have no idea…I have seen it, you think I haven’t? And it is glorious, GLORIOUS. And you have no place…no……no place….” Something drew her attention from Underby, up to windows backlit by red, to a figure looking down at her. Her ears pricked forward, her entire body going ridged, listening. Something like a lullaby was filling her with a curious euphoria. He was so near to her and she knew, beyond a doubt, that he loved her, a smile began to pull at her lips.
Distantly she felt the rock drop from her fingers, a vague question forming in her mind as she noticed Underby backing away slowly, he was speaking rapidly “I was jesting before….you…you’re not really….”
She wanted to ask him what he meant, whatever he could possibly mean, but when she opened her mouth it was as if something else stepped in and pulled the curtains closed, somewhere in the distance a familiar voice was speaking, “Do not test me…”
Star woke to a question being asked in a language she could not understand. She lifted her head and thought, for just a moment, that she saw a figure retreating in the fireplace.
The world came into sudden sharp focus: she was alone, she had fallen asleep wrapped around Pocket’s stool on the hearth in the Gangplank. Her hands were sticky, and the half-empty bowl on the hearth (one of the ones she still put out for Pocket and Maggie) seemed to indicate that she had eaten greedy handfuls of the honeyed porridge at some point. She stared around her and realized she did not know how she had gotten there and, in that same moment, realized that this clarity would not last. She dropped to her knees awkwardly, looking at her hands, the fear overwhelming. “Help me,” she whispered to the fire, “Please help me…”
“Now, now,” A cold voice said, “that’s cheating, my love.” Thin fingers wrapped around her wrist, lifting her to her feet. The haze returned, bringing with it sweet comfort, the pains and aches of daily life fading into a distant memory and banishing utterly the alarm she had felt so keenly only a moment before…..
“What are you hiding from me?” Kaylee asked, she looked worried, Star couldn’t imagine why.
“What do you mean what am I hiding from you?” Star turned her attention back washing away the sticky porridge from her fingers, “What on earth would I be hiding from you?”