Author's Note:Hello everyone, ASianSuccessor2012 here! As you can see, this is my first-ever "Urinetown the Musical" fanfiction...so basically, the story behind how I came up with a Urinetown fanfiction was my inspiration from its recent production I watched in one of the schools theatre's, River's Edge Theatre, in my school district, not just once but TWICE, both on March the 1st and March the 6th and I have to say...I LOVED IT! Most recently this 2016, I was compelled to relive the magic of this superb musical by watching it once more, this time, produced by the Lindbjerg Academy of Performing Arts, and indeed, I loved it as well! This musical was better than I expected it would be. All the characters, from the charming hero Bobby Strong, the always positive Hope Cladwell, the practical Officer Lockstock, the cunning Mr. Cladwell, the adorable Little Sally, the tough yet loving Miss Pennywise and all the above just capture your heart from start to finish...I know they captured mine. That is why I came up with this story in the first place; because this musical is just THAT AMAZING. If you haven't seen it, I totally recommend you to see it (if you're in London, then you're lucky, they are currently doing their production there). Also, this is a multi-chapter story, not a oneshot, so if you want to see more of the story, feel free to follow and favorite this story to get caught up. Do you have any suggestions? Please leave a REVIEW! That's one of the best ways to make a fanfiction author happy. Constructive criticism is absolutely welcome, just please DO NOT give me flames. As always, I do not own anything. Mark Hollman and Greg Kotis are Urinetown's rightful owners (as for OC's, some in the further chapters belong to me and some belong to the cast of the school production I saw).
This story is dedicated to the AMAZING, incredibly talented casts, crews and directors of Urinetown the Musical from Rivers's Edge Theatre and Lindbjerg Academy and to my friends and colleagues in my school's theatre, Treehouse Theatre.
On with the show!
P.S. Did I forget to mention the summary? In the summary, it says that the story takes place 2 years since Urinetown the Musical, but in fact, the FIRST TWO CHAPTERS (or maybe three) ONLY take place right after the musical. What must have happened after Officer Lockstock mentioned to Little Sally that the people of the town overthrew Hope Cladwell themselves and they finally recognized their town as THE Urinetown? You'll find out right here!
1.) The Great Declining
Right after the town met the ordeal of a great drought, as Officer Lockstock mentioned to Little Sally, though the young and optimistic Hope Cladwell eventually joined the town's hero, Bobby Strong's revolution and successfully led them all into freedom after twenty long years, things took a turn for worse. Using public amenities and taking care of their own private, personal business was no longer just a privilege. The law established by the Public Health Act was finally broken by the rebellion and everyone's dream and Bobby's vision for freedom was long at last fulfilled. Each and every one of the poor seemed to be living their lives in stride until one fateful day that all the water was all of a sudden completely gone. Though through the years of living with the scarcity of water, now that the poor and wealthy alike could pee for free, the very resource was taken for granted without notice, thus officially began the drought. Not a drop of water was left not only in the town, but the entire city. Fevers that once were rare became a common, everyday difficulty for many, but for some people, illness was indeed taking its toll with pride. The once strong-willed Josephine Strong, also known as the hero's mother, became more and more frail and susceptible to sickness than ever before. The hopeful rebels who joined Bobby's revolution who once held on to the promises of a better life faltered in their inner strength and willpower declined greatly in health. The only ones who never thought of giving up so soon in their dire circumstances were people such as Miss Pennywise, the tough warden of Public Amenity #9 but one with a strong love for her daughter Hope, Little Sally, who was still clinging onto these promises as young as she was, and of course, the new leader of the revolution, Hope Cladwell, though facing the drought in difficulty, became the primary source of empowerment to the people who on the footsteps of their previous leader: her late lover, Bobby Strong.
Even though all those difficult times at the very peak of the drought and the thought of Bobby Strong, the only man she ever loved, being thrown off the UGC Building and being 'sent to Urinetown,' Hope knew in her heart that she did not want to let him down. She then took on his position as leader and decided to overthrow the mastermind behind the town's poverty, Mr. Cladwell; her own father, and promised to be the light that would guide everyone along the way to a new beginning filled with hope and justice for each and everyone.
For every single day until the present, Hope gave the townsfolk words of encouragement, constantly saying to whoever she met, "You are a river!"
Those may have been four simple words, but the message they delivered was certainly powerful beyond compare that everyone believed it. Even before the inevitable tragic event, they were masked to blindness before seeing it coming.
This indeed was the beginning of the town's great declining and it wasn't just because of the ongoing drought and untimely disappearance of water. Many lives were on the line and nearly claimed and many of them were hit by a fever, which was the very cause of the decline of health and almost became as deadly as a terminal disease. Without water, eventually, everyone would thirst to death, especially if there wasn't a possible end to the ordeal...or was there?
Officer Lockstock and Little Sally were seated on old, untouched bricks at one of the street corners of the filthy part of town, pondering on the recent dramatic turn of events. The young orphaned girl had a horrified, anxious expression on her face with a hint of uncertainty as she listened to the words of the man who sat next to her, who was obviously more mature than she was. Officer Lockstock turned his eyes to the sky, noticing the scarcity of the clouds whether they were gray or white and that the scorching hot sun was just beginning to set.
"Well, I suppose that's it Little Sally." the policeman said as he pushed himself up from where he sat, "It's time we called it a day, now run along home if you don't want sickness to catch you."
He then tipped his hat and turned to the old secluded highway to walk his way to the headquarters. Little Sally, who was still uncertain of the town's fate, remained eager to know all the answers and ran over to his side to catch up with him.
"Hey, Officer Lockstock, wait up!" she called out to him as she ran, tugging on his sleeve when she caught up with him.
"What is it now, Little Sally?" Officer Lockstock sighed as he looked at the little girl, continuing his walk.
"What you said about everyone else in town taking matters into their hands and overthrowing Hope Cladwell and recognizing this place as Urinetown once and for all…..is it true? Is all that true? Did it happen just a while ago after you took me back there for a talk so I wouldn't see all those terrible things happening to all the people? Did it? Tell me, Officer Lockstock! Please!"
Little Sally's voice was filled with desperation and at the briskness of her words, she stepped in front of the tall officer, stopping him in his way. Officer Lockstock looked at her once more, sighed and shook his head.
"You really are desperate for all the answers, aren't you?" he questioned her with a serious tone.
She looked up at him and nodded; her hands clutching tightly to his right arm. Officer Lockstock bent down to her level and looked her in the eye.
"Why is that?" he asked. It took a little while before Little Sally could answer his question as she was staring into the almost night-sky, thinking about the beginning of the revolution and how time flew by quite swiftly since then. It only felt like yesterday since the day Bobby led it up until the day he died and all these thoughts were crossing her mind so quickly, it was overwhelming that all the recent turn of events led up to this. Finally after a minute's time of thought, Little Sally was ready to break the silence.
"Because…" she paused for a moment, looking down at the rocky pavement and turning her eyes back to Officer Lockstock, "...I'm worried, Officer Lockstock, I really am! And if I don't know what's going on now, I'll be stuck with all the uncertainty of the future for who knows how long! And if I'm stuck with all the uncertainty of the future, I'll never find out what'll become of all of us...and me. You see, Officer, I'm still a child and I may not know quite a lot of things in this world but there's one thing I know...what it's like to live in fear, poverty and a life full of questions that are yet to be answered."
Officer Lockstock widened his eyes at Little Sally's statement. He had never heard such words like that spoken before by a child and especially not one who came from the poor side of town like she did. Though he had reluctance of telling her the complete yet inconvenient , miserable truth, he knew that for someone as innocent and intelligent as Little Sally, regardless of the position she was in, she was the only one in town he could trust with his judgements and vast amount of knowledge and perception. After all, she was one of the very rare people in town who could even see past the fourth wall in their lives.
"You see, Little Sally," he began, "These are harsh times we're going through."
"Officer Lockstock, 'going through' would be an understatement," she stated, " 'Suffering' is a little bit more like it."
The police officer sighed once again at Little Sally's interruptions.
"Well then, I guess it is. You know, all those things I said about the town…"
"-Uh-huh?" Little Sally nodded briskly with such eagerness; her eyes wide and her mouth open.
"...and the overthrowing of Hope Cladwell…."
"...and everyone else finding out that the 'real' Urinetown lies here in this city all along…"
"-Go on!" she said anxiously as she shook his arm forcefully.
With the desperation of the girl, Officer Lockstock had no other choice than to tell her the whole truth behind his recent narration. Now, indeed, was the moment of revelation.
"All these things I just said…" he took a few seconds to collect himself before continuing on, "...are just the very warning signs of events that are yet to come."
Little Sally's eyes widened even more at her shock to his revelation, she did not know what else to expect. In an instant, her young mind was filled with confusion and questions she couldn't wait to blurt out to Officer Lockstock any second now. She stood and froze herself into position, refusing to break eye contact with the policeman.
"O-officer Lockstock….is t-that so?" Little Sally stammered in a quiet tone. Instead of remaining worried, she tried her best and succeeded in returning to her normal, curious self once more as the officer nodded in a serious manner.
"So, it's kind of like a prophecy, huh?"
"Something like that...it's something almost exactly like that, Little Sally," he answered her plainly.
"So...nothing's really happened yet, am I right?" Little Sally continued.
"Nothing but the water shortage, thirst and outbreak of fevers."
"And Hope's still gonna be alright?"
"For the time being," Officer Lockstock said in a manner as of the ordeal was merely a normal phase in his life.
The young girl paused before going on with her long list of questions for Officer Lockstock. She knew that he knew that the entire town's fate was sealed with tragic events happening one after the other...or so she thought…
"H-how do you know that all of this is going to happen with the people, Hope...and everyone?!" she suddenly questioned, returning to her anxious state.
"Besides having the ability, Little Sally, I happen to know the people in this town very well, in fact," he stated, "and I know how it is when their trust is gained from someone new in which the leadership torch is passed onto, like Hope Cladwell for instance."
Little Sally was listening intently and paying close attention to Officer Lockstock's words. She never felt so interested in a single subject in her life yet she was even more so interested now since the words she was listening to led up to what may become of her future.
"In the beginning, they began listening to Hope's words of encouragement and in such time, trusted her with their lives," he went on, "However, now in these dire circumstances in time, if Hope doesn't take action on giving them a better life than now, eventually they will lose all their faith and trust in her and take drastic measures into their own hands, especially the toughest people in town."
After hearing this, Little Sally felt her stomach drop and grew more terrified than ever.
"R-really, huh?" she asked timidly followed by a nod from Officer Lockstock, "Then what else happens after that?"
As eager as Little Sally was, Officer Lockstock indeed knew how innocent she still was and part of him convinced himself that it was best she didn't know the rest of the details. Even though his conscience forced him not to continue any further, he knew he just couldn't say 'no.'
"Little Sally, I hope this isn't too much for your ears to handle, but what happens next is the bad part."
"Look, it doesn't matter if it's the 'bad part' 'cause things only get worse from here!" she spoke up rather quickly, "Just please tell me what's gonna happen, Officer Lockstock, please! I just gotta know!"
With even more desperation evident in her eyes, there was no turning back for him than to tell the young girl the details he feared she would dread. The officer then sighed and began to speak once again.
"Alright," he gave in, "If the people in this town take drastic measures, they'll soon hold Hope responsible for their way of living and their welfare…"
Officer Lockstock took a moment to sigh, stand up and stare down at the pavement.
"...then they'll catch her. And soon they'll…...I'm sure you know the rest that comes after that."
Little Sally's face turned pale out of devastation and disbelief. At first, when she heard it as Officer Lockstock was telling her that it was merely an outline of events yet to come, but when she realized it was a prophecy, that's when her relief was reverted back to worry. She looked away towards the highway and her eyes began to glisten.
"I-is there any way to stop it from happening? Or any way to change it? Please tell me that there's some other way to save us from the worst...to save Hope from the worst! She's all we've got and if they try to get rid of her, we'll have nothing left to live for!" the little girl said, fighting back the tears in her eyes, "Please…"
There was nothing left to do for Officer Lockstock but to comfort Little Sally. Then, all of a sudden, a new thought came into his mind in which he couldn't resist but to give a small smile.
"Actually," he smiled at the young lady and placed his hand on her shoulder, "There is a way."
"T-there is?" Little Sally looked up at him; her mood brightening at his remark, though returning to her usual self in her always curious state, "But how do I find it, especially when everything's still falling apart?"
"You'll find it in time, Little Sally," he said, "You'll find it in time."
"But when, Officer Lockstock, when?" she asked him with a bit of a childish pout, causing him to chuckle and pat her head.
"You probably shouldn't expect me to know everything, even if I'm the narrator here 'cause I'm certainly not the one writing this whole town's life story," he responded, shaking his head, "But now that you mention the solution, it might come, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but someday soon it just might."
Little Sally's eyes were shining like diamonds and her heart was just beginning to be filled with hope once more.
"Then I'll find it," she beamed with such conviction, holding her fists together hopefully, "I will do everything I can to help this town find out long-awaited solution to break that rotten, so-called prediction and end this unbearable suffering once and for…"
"-Whoa, whoa, whoa, wait Little Sally!" Officer Lockstock interrupted her from her fantasized, unrealistic yet optimistic speech, placing both his hands on her shoulders to calm her down, "You don't mean to tell me you're doing this all alone, are you?"
She laughed at the concern written all over the officer's face that looked almost over-protective and felt the need to correct him.
"No, no, of course not, Officer Lockstock! What makes you want to think about something silly like that? Of course I won't be fulfilling this mission on my own, I've got the entire town to help me out," she remarked, making her statement clear, "Besides, for somebody as young as I, it'll be absolutely impossible for me to lead it all alone. There's obviously gotta be smart and cunning people around town when it comes to decision-making and such. But no matter how long it's gonna take, even if it takes years, I'm not giving up on any solution, no siree, I'm not. With the whole town together with the little strength we have left to pull through, we're gonna make it happen!"
Officer Lockstock had to admit that he was amused by Little Sally's passion and determination delivered in her speech, although it was apparently unrealistic. It reminded him somehow of how Hope Cladwell dealt with the suffering of the people who resided in the town whenever she gave her 'you are a river' motivation. Both indeed were not the most practical of speeches though admittedly, it felt quite relieving to see both Hope and Little Sally being the two rare rays of sunshine among the people even if they too were victims amidst the dark and grueling process, suffering the drought. Despite the good feeling of relief, it was time he poured out an ounce of reality within a fantastical ambition.
"If that's what you say…" he sighed, "Just remember to always keep your head down, Little Sally; something you should have learned to do. And don't always raise your hopes up too high, you wouldn't want to set yourself up for disappointment."
"I got 'cha Officer Lockstock, no worries," Little Sally replied in a most optimistic manner.
When the light of day started to clear out and the skies into a shade of royal blue, Officer Lockstock stretched out his arms and yawned, turning to his watch, the time revealing to be 6:36 in the evening.
"Suppose now's the time to call it a day, don't you think so, Little Sally?"
"More like 'night,' Officer Lockstock," Little Sally giggled as she kept her positivity resounding through the alleyway, "Mark my words, Officer, this is just the beginning! It's a beginning of a new hope for all of us once we find a way out of this suffering once and for all!"
Officer Lockstock chuckled and shook his head.
"But don't forget Little Sally, it's also the beginning of a great declining for this town, " he warned, "If you don't get started on your prolonged mission right away, it'll be too late."
"Don't worry about me, Officer," she replied cheerily, "With this whole town working hand-in-hand, what could possibly go wrong?"
"I'm just saying, don't expect anything 'cause you'll never know what happens, alright?"
Though she was no longer discouraged by his words of warning, Little Sally sighed and nodded respectfully in agreement.
"Alright," she replied as she turned to the left of the alleyway towards where she lived for the time being as she had no permanent home, "Good night, Officer Lockstock!"
As Officer Lockstock watched Little Sally walk on her way, he reached into his carrier pack and felt something in it that he knew the youngster needed more than he did.
"Hold on, Little Sally!" he called out to her, walking towards her direction, stopping on her way, "There's something I need you to take home with you."
"Sure thing! What is it you wanted to give me?"
He reached into his carrier pack and showed Little Sally a small, long wooden container that held four miniature cups of water, each filled up to the brim with plastic covers on top. Her eyes lit up at the sight of the container and looked up at the police officer.
"I want you to have this," he smiled down at her.
"Water…" Little Sally gasped, "Four cups of water? But how did you find…"
"-I always try to do my best for the people of this town," Officer Lockstock chuckled, "Now run along home and use the water wisely."
"Thank you, Officer Lockstock, thank you!" she exclaimed, squeezing his hand before running off into the night, "Good night!"
"Good night, Little Sally!" Officer Lockstock called out as he walked off into the highway, "Keep your head down!"
After their rather long conversation, Little Sally, as she was scurrying off through the streets, was thinking about what she and Officer Lockstock have been talking about. She was definitely frightened when she first heard about the prophecy he told her about, regarding the entire town turning against Hope Cladwell. 'What if all he said was true? What if the prophecy happened already? What if there's no way out?' she thought to herself. As she crossed the roads and streets within the filthiest part of town and eventually reached Public Amenity #9, she began pondering. The questions she asked herself kept arising here and there. She thought about the town's revolutionary leader, Bobby Strong; her best friend, the big brother she never had, the valiant captain of their ship steered directly toward the direction of liberty and all the positive qualities she could think of about him. Next, she thought about the water shortage and its disappearance. Everyone and even she was affected by it and dehydration and despair was at an all-time high...especially for Josephine "Old Woman" Strong, who showed no signs of recovery and relief and seemed to be getting weaker by the minute. How was she able to go on living and for how long? That was when another thought appeared in Little Sally's mind, and one that she dreaded and refused to think of...'What if it was already too late?'
Little Sally's eyes widened as she broke out of her thought-provoking state, deciding she should turn her eyes away from Public Amenity #9, which only caused her to overthink their very situation even worse than it already was. With that, she turned away from the amenity itself, swearing to herself that she would never look back and hurried along to the next street corner.
It wasn't long before she reached the outskirts of the UGC Building, now formally known as the "Bobby Strong Memorial Toilet Authority Building," and turned to her left to see the nearest lamp post with a lighted clock on the outside, the time revealing to be 7:10. For the town, their curfew was quite early due to the greatness of the drought, set to a time such as 7:00. Knowing that she was 'late,' of course, in terms of the town's curfew, she then entered the building and rushed to the elevator. Having lived there for about a month since Hope took over the rebellion, though to her it felt like just yesterday since everything happened, Little Sally knew which floor Mr. Cladwell used to live in: the thirteenth, a number which most buildings lacked for some reason.
Once the elevator door opened, she walked to the rightmost part of the hallway to the large wooden door, signifying the Cladwell residence which also stood out since the rest of the floor was predominantly constructed of glass and metal doors and corridors. When Little Sally reached the front of the door, the thoughts of the prophecy overtook her mind, making her feel rather anxious.
"Nothing's happened yet...nothing's happened yet…" she reassured herself before opening the door.
Little Sally took a deep breath and opened the door with her wooden container in her hands and looked around the secluded apartment.
"Hello!" she called out, "I'm home!"
Among the empty tables, chairs and couches was a kitchen to the right and to the left was a wooden staircase with glass railings. Little Sally repeated to herself, "Nothing's happened yet…nothing's happened yet…" until an older girl, a young woman in fact, wearing an orange, sleeveless dress and a white shawl hurried down the stairs with a distressed look on her face as she walked.
When she saw Little Sally in front of the door despite the darkness of the living room, her expression changed from distress to relief. A change in Little Sally's expression occurred from anxiety to a smile in sight of the young lady before her who was revealed to be no one else but Hope Cladwell.
"Hope!" Little Sally exclaimed, dropping the wooden container as she rushed towards Hope for an embrace.
Hope bent down and opened up her arms to the nine year-old girl to return the hug.
"Little Sally, where have you been wandering around, young lady?" she asked the young girl jokingly, "I was getting worried about you! After all, it's way past curfew."
"I've been worried about you too!" Little Sally admitted, letting her words slip.
"Why is that?" Hope laughed tiredly, "You thought I was probably getting dehydrated?"
"No, not at all," Little Sally clarified in all honesty written all over her face, "I was worried about you getting yourself in trouble with the rest of the town!"
A confused expression was shown Hope's face. Why on earth would Little Sally be concerned about a specific individual such as she? In her mind, nothing else seemed to matter except for the lives of the people in town.
"Now what in the world would make you think about a thing like that?" she questioned Little Sally politely, "The people here trust me, remember? They've always begun to see me the way they see everyone else."
"Yeah, that's right," Little Sally nodded, hiding her reluctance as she kept her mind on the prophecy.
'But not for long...' she thought with even more anxiety.
"So, what have you been up to Little Miss 'I'm-staying-out-after-curfew?'" asked a now lightened-up Hope Cladwell.
"Nothing too interesting, except for a talk with Officer Lockstock," she replied plainly. Hope's face turned grim as her thoughts returned to one fateful day the month before: the day Bobby passed under the very officer's hands.
"Oh…" Hope sighed as she and Little Sally sat on the wooden steps, "...I see…"
Hope was not one to hold grudges on people but she certainly was one with the memory of who and what was the cause of the inevitable death of the only man she ever loved. The mentioning of the names of those who did it, especially her father; Mr. Cladwell, Officer Lockstock and Officer Barrel. Little Sally sighed, looking at her young guardian with concern as she thought of some way to make it up to her. Without a moment's hesitation, she picked up the wooden container filled with the four small cups of water.
"Oh and, I brought you this!" she said, handing the container to Hope. All she could do was look at the cups of water in awe with her mouth open.
"Is that...water…" Hope exclaimed in a whisper, "...for me?"
"It's for all of us, Hope," Little Sally smiled.
"Four cups of water...for all the people in town?" she asked in a more befuddled manner.
"No, no," the younger girl laughed, shaking her head, "It's enough for you, me, Miss Pennywise and Mrs. Strong."
She was quite surprised at that it took Hope some time to figure it all out. Hope could only beam at the kindness of the young girl, squeezing her hand.
"Hey...speaking of Miss Pennywise and Mrs. Strong, where are they?" Little Sally asked suddenly.
"Oh, my mom's upstairs taking care of Mrs. Strong."
'Gee, that's a first,' Little Sally told herself a tad jokingly, knowing how Miss Pennywise used to be.
"Is she gonna be alright?" she suddenly spoke up in a worried tone, "Or at least do you think she will?"
"I know she will, Little Sally," Hope responded with a genuine smile, "And so will everyone someday soon!"
A hopeful smile graced Little Sally's face; her thoughts returning to the solution that was yet to be found to stop the prophecy. With Hope on her side, how possible was it that their goal couldn't be achieved?
"Now, come on," Hope said as she stood with Little Sally, "Let's get the water up to Mom and Mrs. Strong."
Meanwhile, in the room that was right in front of the wooden staircase, the dry air filled the room, making it a burden for the bedridden Josephine Strong that was beyond difficult to carry. A fluffed pillow was propped up under her head; the blanket under her body and her companion turned caretaker, Miss Pennywise sat on a worn out office chair by the foot of the bed with a weary and distressed look on her face.
"How are you holding up, Josephine?" she asked her in a concerned manner.
"Oh, Penny, how worse can this fever get?!" Mrs. Strong exclaimed with the little strength she had left; her eyes squinting faintly, "Open the window."
The slightly younger woman stood up from her seat and quickly opened the window, allowing the cool night air to spread throughout the room.
"Is that better now?" Miss Pennywise asked once more, taking her green bandana off of her head and placing it into her apron pocket. Mrs. Strong pushed herself slowly into a sitting position, leaning against the wall.
"Just a little bit…" she took a moment to inhale the fresh air, "...thank you Penny."
A nod in response was given by Miss Pennywise as she returned to her seat followed by a sigh. Despair once again filled the air as she looked into the eyes of her long-time friend. It seemed as if they too have lost their dignity and their hope because of the terrible suffering the drought has brought their town, but there was only one woman who stood above everyone; one who promised to constantly lift them up with her words of encouragement. Miss Pennywise knew who was the only source of uplifting and the spread of positivity…..her daughter, Hope.
Suddenly, a cough escaped Mrs. Strong's lips, its pressure causing her to fall from her sitting position. Her skin grew paler by the minute and an even more worried Miss Pennywise rushed to her bedside.
"I...don't think….I can hold on….much longer…." Mrs. Strong exclaimed with rapid coughs suppressing her chest in between her words.
Not being able to withstand and bear the groans coming from her friend, Miss Pennywise threw her arms up in the air, not only out of frustration because of Mrs. Strong's outbursts of negativity, but because of her swiftly declining health.
"Dang it, Josephine! Why must you be saying that about yourself?!" she suddenly yelled with tears forming in her eyes though her attitude reverted to her tough self. Perhaps Miss Pennywise still inherited the 'dragon lady' in her even after a whole month since the revolution.
"You don't even know what you're talking about! Remember what my daughter has been saying for the past month until now?! You are a river! We all are! We may have lost all the water because of the great drought. We may have lost all our privileges and even our own good health, but we haven't lost our lives and our hope…" Miss Pennywise sighed, holding back her tears as she placed her right hand on Mrs. Strong's left shoulder, "...Don't you dare lose yours, Josephine. You hear me?! You'll be alright, I promise you...we promise you."
Before Mrs. Strong could say anything else, a knock was heard at the wooden door to the right side of the bed. Immediately, Miss Pennywise knew who it was. It wasn't coming from Officer Lockstock or the other officers such as Constable Steel, Constable Tiger, Constable Trap and Constable Krupke...it was coming from Hope, and Little Sally.
"It's open, Hope dear!" she called out. Hope and Little Sally entered the room frantically and rushed towards Mrs. Strong's bedside.
"I'm so sorry for coming home late, Miss Pennywise," Little Sally apologized to her older guardian.
"Oh, you better be, Little Missy, Hope over here was getting worried 'bout you," Miss Pennywise reprimanded with a slightly stern look on her face.
"It's okay Mom, she has her reasons," Hope spoke briskly, placing her hands on her mother's shoulders also noticing the expression on her face, "Oh Mom, you look so distressed!"
"I'm way beyond that stage already, sweetie," she replied as she put her left arm around her daughter in a one-sided hug although Hope insisted on giving her mother a definite embrace.
"Mom, you worry too much! Did you know that?" she chuckled rather sadly as she pulled out of the hug.
"Mhmm, and as of now I have every reason to," Miss Pennywise said in a straightforward manner.
"Why is that?" Hope asked quickly, only to be met by a more solemn, deeply concerned response from her mother.
"It's...Mrs. Strong, dear," she said frantically, taking Hope by her shoulders, "She said she couldn't hold on much longer!"
That's when Hope had something in mind...Little Sally's container with the four cups of water would surely spare Mrs. Strong's life for the time being.
"Don't worry Mom, I have an idea," her daughter replied briskly, "Little Sally brought us something to help her."
"What? She brought her what?!"
"Water! Four cups of water!"
Miss Pennywise was shocked for a moment until her expression broke out into a small smile.
"Water?! Those four cups are enough for all of us! Tell me, where did she get…"
"-I have no idea," Hope interrupted as she quickly grabbed one cup of water from the wooden container, "Now come on, we've got no time to lose!"
"WAIT!" Little Sally hollered before Hope could let Mrs. Strong have a sip, "She'll need another cup of water!"
"What are you talking about? Four is enough for all four of us!" Miss Pennywise protested.
"But she can have mine!" Little Sally continued, holding her cup in her hand as she looked towards the frail, bedridden woman, "She needs it more than I do."
The last statement couldn't help but to make Miss Pennywise and Hope smile, even Mrs. Strong was able to muster one up. Hope then took the cup from Little Sally's left hand and gave her a quick hug.
"Why can't the world have more people with kind hearts like yours?" she whispered in Little Sally's ear, causing her to beam. No one ever told her something like that before so to her, it was quite the compliment. Suddenly, a groan escaped from Mrs. Strong, causing her to breathe heavily as Miss Pennywise, Little Sally and Hope rushed back to her side.
"H-hurry…" she gave a feeble stammer, "...I c-can't hold on an-ny…"
"Oh, you're not dying on me, you're not!" Hope said, pulling out the first cup of water and opening it up, making it lean towards Mrs. Strong's lips, "Not this time!"
Little Sally held on to Miss Pennywise's right arm as they anxiously watched Hope pour drops of water gradually into Mrs. Strong's mouth. Her sips slowly turned into swallows and soon her swallows turned into small gulps, and all at once, Mrs. Strong was slowly but surely beginning to regain her strength all because of one cup of water she knew she really needed. Soon, Mrs. Strong was able to breathe a sigh of relief as she sat up. Miss Pennywise and Little Sally stood in awe, overjoyed by what they have just seen, exchanging smiles then turned then turned their eyes to the older woman. Hope was indeed overjoyed, being able to see Mrs. Strong smile once more and embraced her tightly as a way of expressing their happiness.
"My dear Hope," Mrs. Strong began, "Is there any way I can thank you for what you've done to save my life?"
Hope chuckled in a happier mood and turned to Sally, giving her a smile.
"Well, Mrs. Strong, if there's anyone you should thank, it's Little Sally," Hope smiled, "She's the one who brought the water for you."
Mrs. Strong turned to Little Sally, smiled and looked her in the eye. She knew that a question was definitely coming.
"Little Sally dear, where did you find these cups of water?" she asked the younger girl in a gentle town.
Little Sally knew that she had to be completely honest, even if she knew that it would get a reaction that was not so positive from the women. Even so, she told the truth anyway.
"Officer Lockstock gave 'em to me," she replied truthfully, "He knew that this would be enough for you."
Indeed, some of the reactions were not as positive, especially the reaction coming from Miss Pennywise although Hope and Mrs. Strong decided remain quiet.
"Oh please…" she exclaimed, rolling her eyes and shaking her head, "After what he did to us?"
It was clear that Miss Pennywise, who still maintained a rather feisty personality, was still holding a grudge on him and a troop of police officers. Hope took her mother by her shoulders from behind her and mouthed an, 'It's okay Mom,' to calm her down. Mrs. Strong, on the other hand, still remained smiling.
"If ever you happen to see him again sometime dear, please tell him 'thank you' from me."
Little Sally smiled and nodded in agreement.
"I definitely will, Mrs. Strong."
"Now wait a second, Josephine!" Miss Pennywise raised her finger indignantly, "Don't you remember what he did to Bobby?"
Her voice softened at her sudden mentioning of Bobby's name and Hope felt her stomach drop and a part of her heart ache again. It may have been one month since then but it did not stop their tragic memories from lingering.
"Honestly Penny, does all of that still matter to you?" Mrs. Strong brushed off the very thought, managing to hide her hurt feelings from the past month, "We finally have our fair share of water and to me, that's all that matters."
She smiled, placing her hand on Miss Pennywise's shoulder, causing her to smile as well. Perhaps of there was any time to spare to be able to forgive and maybe even forget, now was the time.
"How about we all take a nice, long drink of water…" Little Sally beamed.
"-And savor the moment!" Mrs. Strong finished the sentence in an even more spirited mood than she had ever felt before.
"Why not?" Miss Pennywise added, "Let's do it, shall we?"
After all joyous smiles were shared, she held up the wooden container as Hope grabbed one cup of water to be shared by her and her mother as agreed, Little Sally grabbed one for herself and Mrs. Strong took the one nearest to her bedside. As cliche as it was, Hope couldn't resist raising her cup for a toast.
"Here's to plenty of water that will one day overflow in this town and here's to all the people in town...may their lives be happier and healthier for each passing day and for the many years to come!" Hope proclaimed loudly and wholeheartedly, referring not only to the people in the room but to everyone who was suffering.
With that, they raised their cups; Miss Pennywise being an exception, and slowly drank, savoring each cool drop of water they had.
"That was very well-said, Hope dear," Miss Pennywise smiled, giving her daughter yet another hug.
"Thanks Mom," Hope replied, returning it.
"The next time I see Officer Lockstock, I'll ask him where he found all that water," Little Sally said proudly.
"Oh, you better Little Sally...or he's gonna have to answer to me!" Miss Pennywise joked with a chuckle and a smirk, causing all the other three to laugh like they never thought they would in a long time.
Little Sally beamed at the joyful moment she shared with the three women in the room, but that didn't stop her thoughts from returning to her encounter with Officer Lockstock. There indeed was no denying that this was just the beginning of a great declining that would soon sweep the entire town to its doom whether anyone liked it or not.
Author's Note: Did you enjoy this chapter? What did you think? Please leave me a review or a PM! If you have any suggestions for the next chapter or further chapters, please send me a message and I'll get right to you right away. Thank you for reading Chapter 1 and stay tuned for Chapter 2 AND 3 for a somewhat UNEXPECTED twist (yup, you heard me...it'll be unexpected, it may be scary and may give quite a bit of you some mixed feelings).
Keep defying gravity, keep following your heart and remember that impossible things are happening everyday,