Soft purple clouds hung like smoke in a dusky twilight sky. The rosy spring evening light flooded through the pointed windows of the dark Gothic pile on the hill above the town, and painted the walls inside with broad swathes of glowing pink The effect was peaceful and serene. The scene would have made a beautiful watercolour study, if it hadn't been for the horribly jarring note introduced by the black figure at one of the attic windows.
The figure was swathed in trailing strips of ragged bandages, like an inky black Egyptian mummy. The mismatched rags were pinned together with glinting pins, studs, wires and great oval buckles, as if the body of the creature had been hastily assembled with whatever came to hand in a sadist's back parlour. The thing's face had the likeness of a young boy who had been dead for some time, and then horribly mutilated. The funereal complexion was shadowed with blue and purple along the sunken cheekbones, with dark unhealthy purple rings around the eyesockets, and where the eyebrows should be, giving it a staring expression of ghoulish inhumanity. The eyes were large, black, and bottomless. And, even more gruesomely, every square inch of skin was riddled and pitted with ragged, slicing scars. As if this weren't enough to complete the general horror, as if the designer had been scared of falling short of the mark, the creature had been equipped with long, jagged, metal scythes instead of hands. The keen-edged silver blades thrust forward a good two feet in length from the great tangles of wire and rusted bolts and clips securing them to the long shining black arms, and it was clear that one touch would be deadly. A cold wind blew, and rattled the broken windows in their panes but still the figure did not move. He continued to watch and wait, a grim, silent figure of dread and foreboding.
Edward ruined the effect suddenly by bending forwards and reaching out a careful scissor finger to rescue a beetle on the window ledge which had fallen on its back. As the beetle trundled off, Edward smiled in satisfaction.
As he looked up again, he saw what he had been waiting for. Soft amber lights had begun to appear in the cosy windows of the bungalows far down below, and a small figure with long dark hair could now be seen stealthily making its way along the boulevards.
Edward's face softened. The great eyes now mysteriously seemed liquid brown and filled with melting light. The radiance spread to his lips in a slow smile. The alteration was at once astonishing, and, in a strange way, humbling.
The boy turned eagerly to rush down the great sweeping spiral staircase, and pulled up short in front of the figure who barred the way. A great white and blue angel stood there, in a long flowing gown, with her arms raised like a dancer. Great droplets of water fell like tears from her icy cheeks as she stared down at the tiny, lost white face that was turned up towards her. Edward reached out, and gently smoothed one of the transparent crystal wings. It was hard to say what his expression was, but he stayed by the angel's side, as the ice sculpture melted and trickled away.
As time went by, and Moira still felt Edward inexplicably distance himself from her, she often felt more hurt than she would really like to admit. Particularly because it still sometimes took a lot of effort on her part to overlook his startling appearance, and the deadly blades he wielded often too freely around her. However, she made a valiant effort to brush these thoughts aside and focused instead on just having fun. This was quite easy for two kids in a mansion where there are no grownups, and you can do anything that comes into your head, silly or not. At these times Edward would become an enthusiastic and excitable teenage boy again by her side, and she'd fall to wondering again how it was that they were sometimes so close and yet sometimes still so incredibly uncomfortable with each other.
The inventor's house was very old and rambling, and a lot had fallen into disrepair. Edward did not seem to notice this. One day when Moira almost fell through the dangerously soft floorboards in an old boxroom in the west wing, she hauled herself out of the hole in deep shock and, for the first time, half shouted at him, "This whole house is falling down all around you! Why don't you do something? It's all you've got." - "And all I've got", she almost added. Edward had leapt forward when he saw her fall, and had reached out to catch her, when he froze midway, his hands half extended. Even as she had said the words, she'd immediately regretted them, because Edward silently, sorrowfully, held up his sharp scissor hands by way of answer.
After that, Moira started bringing up DIY books from her dad's toolshed. It was such a mess in there that Ted would never miss them. The books were a series of dog-eared first homeowner manuals from the 1970s, and she and Edward had many a confusing time poring over them, trying to work out where joint A fitted into slot B. The man with the afro in the diagram made it all look so easy. They did manage to get some of the worst places repaired though. Edward was extremely happy slicing up planks of wood with an effortless flurry of flashing blades. He often had that quiet look of confidence on his face that she only ever saw when he totally lost himself in artistic endeavour, because this was Edward's own sure ground. He was smiling his little pleased smile particularly on the day when he proudly presented Moira with a beautifully dovetailed little wooden pencil case. It had divets and dents all over it from where his hand had slipped when handling it, but Moira was charmed by it, and kept telling Edward how lovely it was. He would look at her then, with a bashful smile, but couldn't quite meet her gaze, and would quickly look away again, overcome with praise.
Moira was especially glad right now to be able to escape away a couple of nights a week to the house on the hill. Her mother had started holding Avon home beauty sessions at their house every second week, and the Boggs' whole house was full with samples of the latest lines in shadows, blushes and lipstick. Moira already had a bag full of the stuff - she took it to school and traded it with her friends. The parties, amazingly, had been a runaway success. Wendy was clearly more of a salewoman than Peg Boggs had been. These days the living room constantly seemed to be full of cackling women with plastic clips holding their hair off their faces while Wendy consulted the big Avon handbook before plastering their faces with sticky white foundation. It was gross.
It was still light outside today when she arrived back from school, and as she got close to her house she could see a bevy of green, blue and lemon yellow cars blocking the street and a hum of voices as she approached the front door. She opened the door and streaked through the living room to the kitchen before anyone could stop her she had been dragged into it more than once now, and the end result always meant looking worse than Edward himself on one of his bad days. As she swung open the fridge door she heard Wendy's happy voice instructing her eager followers. "The light concealing cream goes on first, then you blend and blend and blend. Blending is the secret." Moira smiled to herself, then raided the fridge for sausage rolls and any other tidbits she thought Edward might not have tried before. She wrapped them and stuffed them in her bag, with her books and ran through the front room again, avoiding shrieking women and open tubs of multi-coloured goo, but was not so lucky this time. A neighbour of theirs collared her and started asking about her grandmother. Wendy saw the upset look on her daughter's face and came over to rescue her. "She's fine, Mrs Webster, they're taking good care of her up there. We went up to see her last weekend. She's as well as can be expected, but she isn't really able to respond much. They think she can hear us though. Moira was ever so sweet, held her hand the entire time, said she was going to tell her a story, only of course, we didn't have time that day, did we, honey. Ah, bless her, she's always been close to her grandma. Thick as thieves the two of them, they were. I remember little Moira in that big old bed with the patchwork quilt, and Grandma telling her one of her stories -" Moira escaped, banged open the door and sped up to the hill at the end of the street, as fast as her legs could carry her, before she had to think at all.
Edward met her at the gates for the first time ever. Moira hadn't been expecting to see him there and almost dropped her bag. She slipped both straps over her shoulders, really annoyed with herself. How was it possible that she never ever quite got used to him? It was insane, they met practically all the time. But could you ever get used to that? She looked at him, as he stood in the archway between the two stone pillars, crowned by grinning stone gargoyles. It was not a reassuring sight.
Edward was always more startling from a distance, when you didn't take in the expression on his face, but your attention got caught by all the extraneous details, such as the great cross hatched lines of cuts across his nose and cheeks and purple lips, the scraps of black studded leather hanging from his limbs, and the great saw-like knives at the end of his arms. Edward was oblivious to her momentary fright and clattered the great scissor blades against the iron railings, in a way which would have been terrifying to anyone but Moira who knew it actually meant he was highly excited. This was not particularly promising though; Edward could become wildly excited over something as boring as a protractor. He was like a child when it came to anything he had not seen before.
Moira came level with Edward, beneath the stony stare of the griffins, with the bars of the gate between them. The scarred white face was suddenly thrust alarmingly close to the railings. Then a pair of scissors dexterously tugged at the gate and held it courteously open for her - Edward had been drilled unsparingly in etiquette since before he could walk, quite literally. Moira slipped through and thanked him. Edward replied with a happy blink and slight nod of the head. It was a bit like a cat smiling, and he did it often, always preferring little gestures if he could avoid actual words.
Moira soon saw why Edward was in such a good mood, and why he had come to meet her. As the days lengthened out, they now had at least an hour or two of daylight together when she came up after school. Edward had been putting the time to good use out in the garden. Moira had never seen very much of the extensive grounds that belonged to the manor house. Always she had arrived in darkness, and, by the time she had wound her way up the hill, not much could be seen of the vast, blue-shadowed snowbound lawns and avenues that surrounded the house. It had been exquisitely beautiful, a little like magically finding yourself inside a snowglobe, but it had been more than a little creepy. She had seen something of the beautiful topiary animals and well kept flower beds but only those in the round border directly in front of the house and the lawns on either side of the driveway. Now Edward gestured grandly to the paths leading away from the front entrance and Moira guessed that he wanted very much to take her on a tour of his beautiful demesne.
It was breathtaking. Moira felt tears coming to her eyes, as she walked slowly around the palatial grounds. She was so overcome that she unthinkingly took the arm of the boy beside her, and if he stiffened ever so slightly, staring at her with that strange faraway expression in his deep black eyes, she never noticed. He did not pull away though, and barely seemed to breathe as the beautiful girl with the shining eyes walked slowly beside him, arm in arm, her gorgeous face uplifted, drinking in the sunlight, the blue sky, the trees and the flowers. Edward did not see much of the splendours surrounding them; his eyes were all for the wonderful girl walking beside him. But it was a mystery as to why he should look so sad.
With each visit there was a little more daylight and Edward and Moira spent increasingly more time outside in the garden, which was ablaze with a wealth of tulips and narcissus. They came out here often when Moira studied, and stayed out until there was too little light to see the pages by. Moira loved to find a new place to sit every time. One day it would be a rose filled arbour, and the next an old stone bench lying half hidden in the shrubbery. Often she liked to find a sunny corner in the kitchen garden a massive walled stone garden that was full of currant bushes, espalier fruit trees and all manner of vegetables and salad crops. Edward proudly took care of all of it, and became incredibly bashful when she told him it would have been enough to feed the whole town. When Moira had found a nice spot she would settle herself with the day's lesson while Edward happily flitted about, trimming a leaping topiary squirrel here or pruning a wayward honeysuckle creeper there. Very often though, he would come over to sit near Moira, as she studied. He had got so interested in her schoolwork, that Moira had got into the habit of giving it to him to read, and now Edward was learning as much as her. Moira realised then how much he must have missed the days he had spent in the schoolroom, being taught about the world by the old inventor. She had never really asked Edward about the old man. So much of Edward's life had been tragic, she hadn't the heart to bring up more unhappy memories. She raised her head from her book to look at him. He was working feverishly on a privet hedge that quickly began to turn into two children playing ball even as she looked. Edward felt her gaze and turned right round to look at her, even as he continued to snip, his hands seeming to have a life of their own. He smiled happily at her. Moira shouted out though as he was about to decapitate the head of the little girl. "Edward, whoa, hold your horses." "But I haven't got any horses." "It was a figure of speech, Edward. You've got to learn not to take things so literally." Edward frowned doubtfully.
Although Edward and Moira now spent more and more time in the garden they were still spending a lot of time indoors, fixing up the most deteriorated parts of the house as best they could. It was a lot of fun, but incredibly messy. Moira's face was often black with grime, and Edward's hair was forever trailing bits of sawdust and cobwebs, making him look even more like an abandoned rag doll than usual.
The best day of all was that Saturday when they finally finished fixing the old rickety staircase to the north of the house. This meant that next time they could finally get down to the main inventing room. This was on the north side of the house, facing away from town, a wing which had been longer abandoned than most, and had not seen the light of day for scores of years. The room itself had been a ballroom with a sprung floor for dancing on, but the old inventor who had made Edward had long ago filled it with his inventions.
The first day that Edward lead Moira in there, the whole place was covered thickly with the murk of years. The beams of light falling in through the high gothic windows were so thick with dust that they seemed to be solid bars, and did little to illuminate the peculiar and frightening shapes filling the huge chamber. Edward strutted quickly into the room, in the peculiar jerking gait which Moira had learnt to recognize as his excited walk. He did not seem to realize why Moira hung back. Edward trotted about happily, bending down to peer at dusty lumps of corroded iron, rusted fans, gears and cogs the size of cartwheels, often flexing his scissorhands and importantly following the line of objects with his index finger, which seemed to be an unconscious habit of his when he wanted very much to touch something. Here, more than anywhere else in the mansion, Edward looked at home and of a piece with his surroundings. He had come to life here of course, but Moira didn't know that.
Moira watched from the doorway as Edward walked past what looked like a giant metal hat stand hung all over with chains, and stopped in the centre of the room in front of a gigantic conveyer belt. Huge machines intersected it at various points, with all sorts of horrible looking attachments, one of which seemed to bear a sinister resemblance to something she had seen elsewhere. She couldn't think what it was, the whole conveyer belt apparatus looked unnerving, like she had just come across the lair of some sick mass murderer. It was a production line on a giant scale, but for what kind of monstrous purpose? Her mind went wild with horror. As Edward turned back to face the door to see why Moira hadn't followed him, she felt a heart sickening jolt as she realized that the menacing automaton looked like a clumsy caricature of Edward himself. Both were strapped and buckled together with the same horrible assortment of straps and belts, and both wielded a sick and twisted arsenal of bristling, razor-sharp cutting implements. Just what was that thing? Was it, was that where he came from? Was that his real father?
Edward saw Moira flinch and seemed to guess what was going through her mind, as he stopped gesturing excitedly and hid his hands behind him. Moira felt awful, appalled. But this time she couldn't put her worst fear behind her, not when she saw this place, not when she saw for herself what she'd always kept to the back of her subconscious. Moira didn't know anything about who or what Edward really was.
A garden eh? That makes sense. I always wondered what Edward was surviving on up there. I wondered that the first time I saw the movie. Can't imagine the grocerie bill got payed after the inventor died. Also, I'm glad to meet someone else who knows what an esplalier is.
oh its just wonderful..... i especially love the part where they say what the people say in the movie its cute like the part when they say its a figure of speech ed don't take thigs so seriously I LOVE THIS!!!!!!!!! and the pictures are so wonderful its so sad like the movie though i like it
Hey, that's fine; I'm pretty sure there's less than ten people (including me) reading it, though I do know of some who are really lovely and have been following it. I'm more than happy if people just enjoy the pictures though