Damen awoke in darkness. He quickly took note of the scene around him. His surroundings were black and ruined. The sky was grey, and filled with a dark presence. The room he was in appeared to be completely burnt down, for he sat in the ashes of the walls and ceiling. He looked around at the devastation surrounding him once more and noticed the skeleton of the framework still standing like some sort of shrine or tombstone to the once grand home.
Laying against the frames were Tick and Tock. Tick was leaning against Tock's shoulder, her long, tentical-like arms draped everywhere and anywhere across them. They appeared to be lifeless, he couldn't see any movement with his still bleary eyes. Rubbing his eyes in hopes to clear them up, he noticed Tick's arm flick upwards slightly and the left side of Tock's face twitch. It was then that he realized they were sleeping.
There were other discernible rooms around Damen. Where walls were only partial with no ceilings, and others where it was obvious a second or third floor had collapsed through it. It must have been abandoned long ago. Everything was charred except for a few pieces of magnificently preserved pieces of furniture, which seemed almost planted there. Wherever he was, he didn't like it. Something about the place made Damen feel as though he was being sapped of all his strength.
He slowly made his way to the twins, then something in the remains caught his eye. A photograph, covered in a layer of soot, a tiny spot of gold peaked out from beneath the layer of black. He walked over and picked it up to examine it. The photograph still seemed somewhat intact but, he noted the glass was cracked and made sure to be weary of it as he wiped it off with his sleeve. He was shocked by what he saw.
Two tiny children, with dark hair, and what appeared to be their parents. The picture was far too damaged to make out the children's faces, but the parents looked remarkably similar to the clockwork twins. The two children in the photograph had to have been them. Being able to clearly see that they once had a family, that they were once innocent children, caused a complete paradigm shift within Damen. He walked over to the twins and carefully set the picture down beside them then took a few steps back from where he was.
His gaze shifted around the ruins. This was their house, where they grew up. This is where the twins were ripped forcefully from their family. This was where they were killed. Their parents, as well as whoever else was unfortunate enough to be there at the time.
The size of the area covered by debris lead him to think the home must have been quite large, meaning they belonged to a wealthy family. It must have been quite a fire, leaving nothing but a burnt, black skeleton behind.
The leftover beams seemed to be so fragile, they would collapse on contact. Wandering further, he found remains that, once upon time, must have been a part of a children's room. There was a small doll on the ground, the hair was burnt away and it appeared to be sewn of ashes and extremely fragile. Damen looked toward the two sleeping twins and decided that it must have been their room, if a little feminine.
It seemed like they would be peaceful enough here. No one to hurt, lots of space, and they seemed to like being there. Why else would they come here?
He decided to leave and started walking off. There was a gentle crack as a piece of burnt wood was broken just behind him. Damen turned, and found Tock standing only two feet away. He noticed Tock had the blindfold and gloves back on. It must have been necessary in order for them to take him to this place.
"Where-" Damen tried, but before he could finish, Tock placed a hand over his mouth.
Damen did his best to hide the jolt of fear that went through him at the boy's touch. Tock slowly raised a finger to his lips.
"Shh." Tock said as he removed his hand from Damen's mouth. "Have you any idea where we are? It is too dark here for me to see."
Damen was shocked at the boy's question. He had never spoken directly to anyone. Whenever he spoke it was always to his sister. Finally, Damen answered, "why not take that off and see for yourself? You might know."
"That is what I fear. I'm frightened by the familiarity of the air."
"Why did you bring me here, then?"
"I walked in one direction, and didn't stop until I fell from exhaustion. Not long after she did. It has been twenty seven hours since we left. Ten of which I carried you, five of which I carried you both."
"You seem very strong physically. But emotionally you are weak. How will you strengthen without testing limits?"
Damen turned around again and continued to walk away, but Tock blocked him. Slowly shaking his head.
Tock then grabbed Damen's arm, gradually tightening his grip. "You believe I'm strong, do you?" He asked. "Then you know no strength. I've gone this full month, no injections nor drink."
"Their replacement for food. One injection each month. It provides us with all we need for half the month. Then the other half we starve waiting desperately for the next. Each not even half the equivalent of a meal. What you call 'food' I call myth. As far as I'm concerned it is no more than a made up concept."
Tock's grip grew painfully tight. "You think I am strong, but all I am is weak. You think you know my mind, when even I do not. You think we are innocent when we are nothing but guilt. You are simply too ignorant as to what we truly are."
Damen nearly fell to his knees, but Tock still held his arm firmly. His grip still got tighter. "We live in a never ending nightmare."
The boy started shaking. He finally let go and started pacing back and forth frantically muttering to himself.
Tick was dreaming about the fire. Then she sensed a fearful tension in her brother, and the next thing she knew, her eyes were open.
Her brother was pacing uneasily. And Damen was trying to calm him. She looked around, to see nothing but the charred remains of an old, large house. The image changed so she sat in the stairwell of her home. Then it changed once more. Now she sat at the bottom by her mother's side. The building burning down around her.
She was overcome with misery and burst into laughter more loud and wild than ever before. She looked down at the illusion of her dying mother. In her head she could see the burning images of her father, aunt, and servant. The image turned to ash, and she shakily reached into the dusty remains of her mother. Tick could only laugh as the tears streamed down her face.
"Ring around the rosy," she shouted at the top of her lungs. "Pocket full of posies! Ashes! ASHES! WE ALL FALL DOWN!"
She threw herself into the ash as the flames raged around her. She rolled around in them. Trying to forget her pain, desperate for happiness, refusing to cry.
"Look, Tock! We finally made it home!"
She stood up skipping around Father. "Father, how I missed you so!" She embraced him. She looked at her brother, who took off his blind fold. He looked around in horror.
Tock shook as he grabbed his head. He then held a hand against his lips and leaned forward as if he was about to vomit.
Tock looked at their father. "You wretch!" He shouted, charging at him.
Tick rushed to interfere, tackling her brother. "Leave father alone!"
Tock looked at her angrily. He got back to his feet. "He is no father of mine! It is his fault! His fault we are here!"
"He brought us home!" Tick shouted, grinning angrily.
Tock ran at father again, so she swung her arm delivering a blow to the stomach. Careful not to use too much strength, which could result in his death. He fell to the ground.
Tock recovered instantly, and shouted in frustration as he hit Tick in the abdomen with all his strength.
Tick flew through the air from the powerful hit. She crashed through a weak pillar-like structure. She fell and landed in some grass. She got to her hands and knees and vomited. As she shakily got back to her feet, she was no longer home. She stood in its burned remains.
Something trickled down the side of her face. She touched it, and looked at the substance. It was golden blood. Looking down, she could see a large pool of it. She got light headed and collapsed. She muttered under her breath, "Ovata," and all went black.
Feris stood there breathing heavily. "It seems that this time our mistake was unfixable after all," he said regaining his composure. He closed his eyes and looked at Damen. "I'm sorry I attacked you. Your ignorance didn't get in the way this time, I see that now. This time it was my own. I shall make sure to be wiser next time, but since it will be some time before I see you with my own eyes again..."
Tock opened his eyes and met Damen's gaze. "You wanted to know why, now you will know."
Damen fell to his knees and laughed. "My, what a lovely day it is!" He shouted.
Tock went to his sister's side. He knelt down by her lifeless body, and gently touched the sparkling, golden blood on her face. "Perhaps, if we tried hiding it next time, we could avoid the men in white."
He raised his hands toward his head. "Ovata," he said to himself before gripping the top of his head and his chin. Tock glanced at the laughing body of Damen before quickly jerking both arms in opposite directions, effectively snapping his own neck. He immediately perished as he fell to the ground, into the pool of his sisters blood.