Author's Note: And, I'm back again (after two years, oh dear...school can do a lot to people, I tell you...)! Heads up...Chapters 2 and 3 may be extremely LONG chapters, so get your imaginative senses ready before reading. Also, returning to what I mentioned in the first chapter, expect and unexpected, and I mean, an ABSOLUTELY unexpected, twist within this chapter or the next.
Eager to find out what it is? Get reading and enjoy Chapter 2 of "Escaping Urinetown." Please, please, PLEASE don't forget to leave me a review for this chapter! They are much appreciated and I'm looking forward to hearing about what you think (remember, no flames please). I'll update
P.S. As I always say, I don't own anything; all characters and the musical itself belongs to Mark Hollman and Greg Kotis. Only the eventual original characters that come along belong to me and some original characters and names belong to the incredibly gifted performers of River's Edge Theatre's and Lindbjerg Academy's productions of Urinetown the Musical. One more thing...a HUGE shoutout and thank-you to Marvellous-Melissa for being the FIRST follower of this story, and to RKB for your review and I will definitely take your wonderful advice, I really appreciate it a whole lot!
2.) A Dash of Hope from a Cladwell
An hour passed since the short, lighthearted moment shared between Hope, Little Sally, Miss Pennywise and a now better Mrs. Strong and so it seemed, all of them retired to bed...well, almost everyone. Mrs. Strong was sleeping soundly in her room, feeling more replenished than she had ever felt in quite a while, Miss Pennywise took the larger room right across, sleeping peacefully, trying her best to clear her mind from the recent stress and fever outbreaks and Little Sally, who stayed in the room in between, knew very that if it was over a half hour past the town's curfew, it was time for her to get some shuteye...but she didn't. Not just yet. It was rather overwhelming for her to hear of a prophecy she knew she would dread and witness a saving of a life all in one day and her mind was far too stimulated for her to drift off to sleep so soon. She thought about Officer Lockstock's conversation with her earlier in the evening about the struggles that she and her companions were enduring through these latter years of the drought and how trust could easily be broken between a leader and her followers if no solution was to be done. Then, she thought about Hope; the new leader of the rebellion, her legal guardian and an older sister-figure to her, and the impactful act of kindness she did for Mrs. Strong that saved her life by simply giving her a sip of water. That's when a new thought bubble appeared in Little Sally's head...if Hope could save the life of Mrs. Strong, surely she could save the lives of many others in town, couldn't she?
"It's just the beginning…" Little Sally told herself once again with reassurance.
On her bed in the middle of her room, she couldn't help but to stare at the ceiling and she couldn't even close her eyes. 'Jeez, what's the matter with me tonight?' she thought as she stared. Staying and lying on her bed didn't seem to do her any good, so she decided to sneak out of her room and tip-toe down the wooden stairs, making sure that no one, not even Hope, could hear her come down. She made her way to the kitchen to grab a small piece from a large-baked chocolate chip cookie on a silver tray that sat on the kitchen table and snuck out the door of the kitchen as she chewed quickly. Little Sally then made her way to the far end of the apartment where a long, light-green, silk velvet couch faced the wall and she sat on it, hoping that she wouldn't be caught...until she heard a voice right next to her.
"I guess you're a bit hungry, huh, Little Sally?"
Little Sally jumped when she heard the voice and looked to her left, only revealing Hope, sitting on the far end of the couch, leaning back. She was wearing a different outfit; her royal blue-colored blouse and her light-brown coat that kept her warm from the cold of the night.
"Oh, Hope," Little Sally said with a tired smile, "It's just you!"
"Well, who else were you expecting, silly?" Hope replied in a teasing tone, placing her hand on her friend's shoulder, "What brings you here at a time like this instead of your warm, cozy bed?"
"I can't sleep, and I don't know why," Little Sally sighed, looking at Hope with a tired expression.
"Neither can I Little Sally, I know how you feel," she said, squeezing the young girl's hand as she looked at her with a concerned expression on her face "Tell me, is there anything troubling you tonight?"
"Oh, no no, nothing at all Hope, don't worry about me," Little Sally lied, shaking her head, avoiding eye contact with Hope.
By the look on the little girl's face, Hope could tell that something was definitely up with her.
"Mhmm?" Hope looked Little Sally in the eye suspiciously with a smirk, making her finally admit the truth.
"Y-yeah," Little Sally sighed, "There is something bothering me."
"I knew it!" her guardian remarked, then turned to Little Sally, looking at her sympathetically, "Come on now Little Sally, you can tell me what's going on with you, can't you?"
Little Sally then smiled, knowing she could trust the person beside her. She truly was glad she had a friend like Hope Cladwell who she could confide in any time of the day as long as she was there.
"Of course I can Hope, it's just that…" her voice trailed off.
"It's just that 'what?'" Hope held on with eagerness.
Little Sally gave herself a moment to sigh and think about her words before continuing, knowing that it wouldn't be easy for her to admit it to just anyone.
"It's just that...everything's been happening so fast…" she finally blurted out with a sad expression on her face.
"Really?" Hope asked curiously, squeezing her hand once more.
"Yeah! I mean, the drought got even worse and all the water is gone!" Little Sally rambled on, "And the next thing you know, everyone's breaking out into fevers, it's almost unthinkable! And after that… you don't know what'll happen next. No one knows the mystery of our fate. Have you ever asked yourself whether there's still more to hope for or not? You know, whether people will live or die sooner or later?"
Hope sighed at the curiosity and despair shown in Little Sally's eyes. She very well knew that the young girl was as eager as she was for the answers. Even if their age ranges were somewhat miles apart, they thought alike and the way they looked at the future for their town seemed very much the same. Perhaps they weren't so different after all.
"You know what Little Sally, yes. I've been asking myself that very same question ever since the water disappeared…" she nodded, "..except I haven't found anyone else to ask this question to."
Both young ladies shared a brief moment of laughter as they found out that they were both sharing the same state of mind.
" So you've never told anyone about it, except me?" Little Sally asked between her giggle.
"That's it! That's exactly it!" Hope exclaimed, "No one else in the apartment knows that I've been asking myself this question a million times except for you and me."
They took a bit of time to settle down until another sudden thought entered Little Sally's mind, she couldn't resist blurting it out.
"Uh, Hope?" she began.
"Mhmm?" Hope turned her head to Little Sally's direction. Now was her chance to let it out.
"Have you visited Bobby's tombstone yet today?" Little Sally asked a little more solemnly at the mention of his name.
"Not yet, actually," Hope shook her head, showing no hurt emotions whatsoever, "As a matter of fact, that's why I came down here in the first place."
"Why did you wait to do it then? Couldn't you have just gone straight out?"
Hope laughed, amused by Little Sally's innocence and curiosity. It certainly felt nice to have someone like her around the house, especially someone as adorable as Little Sally.
"Well, I always give myself a moment before I visit Bobby's gravestone to think about what to tell him," she clarified, "That's what I do just about all the time."
"Why did you decided to do it tonight instead of this afternoon, or even this morning?" Little Sally asked in a bit of a confused manner.
For a few seconds, Hope remained silent as her reason seemed to be a rather serious one by the look on her face in which her smile disappeared.
"You see, Little Sally, I've been thinking lately about everything that happened today and it would be impossible to sum it up all at once in one afternoon," Hope explained in a matter-of-factly tone, "Besides, a major turn of events needs a lot of time to think about before talking about it, don't you think?"
A nod in response was given by Little Sally as she got up from the silk velvet couch and turned to leave for the stairway.
"Well, I guess I should head back to bed then. I wouldn't want to disturb you from your privacy or anything."
Hearing a sigh escape from the young girl's lips, Hope felt rather sorry for her and followed her to stop her in her way.
"Oh come on now, Little Sally, there isn't gonna be any 'private conversation' after all/ I always do it alone anyways," Hope chuckled, placing her hand on Little Sally's shoulder, "How about, you come with me and I won't have to deal with anything alone?"
"You mean it?" Little Sally beamed, looking up at Hope with delight as she held onto her arm.
"Of course," she smiled, endeared by the little girl, "After all, I'm not the only one who misses Bobby around here."
"You really miss him a lot…" she said with a hint of nostalgia in her voice, "...don't you, Hope?"
"Yes I do, Little Sally," Hope replied with a sad smile as her face fell and her eyes were just about to glisten, "I miss him very much."
Little Sally couldn't help but to tear up as she thought about Bobby's death; the scenario of his last words being spoken to her as he lay on the pavement, fractured from head to toe, blood seeping through his arms and behind his forehead, replaying in her mind all over again. She then received a one-sided hug from Hope, who bent down to her petite level and wiped away one of her tears.
"Oh, Little Sally, why are those tears coming out so soon?" she asked Little Sally in a comforting tone, "Do you think Bobby will want to see you so sad after his vision's been fulfilled?"
The little girl shook her head, wiping the rest of her remaining tears away.
"No, it's just that…" her voice was shaking and sniffles were present as she spoke, "...everything is still falling apart and all these terrible occurrences are just too much for me to handle!"
Her voice quivered, her lips trembled a little bit more and she met Hope's embrace once again. Little Sally was thankful to have a true friend for once; one who promised to be her crying shoulder when she needed one most and of all people...it was a Cladwell.
"There now dear, you aren't alone. Who knows? We may all be going through this ordeal together but someday soon we just might find a way out of it," Hope continued consoling her young companion, "Would it make you feel better if we told all of that to Bobby?"
Little Sally nodded briskly, showing a smile on her face which was contagious as well for Hope.
"Well then, grab your coat, dry those eyes of yours and let's get going," Hope said as she walked over to the coathanger, taking a small baby blue coat and tossing it to Little Sally, "Oh and I want you to take this! I've had it since I was a little girl like yourself."
Hope smiled with pride as she watched Little Sally put it on quickly.
"It fits...perfectly," Little Sally exclaimed.
"Then, it's yours." The young girl's expression changed from a small smile to mild shock.
"Wait, wha...I don't know what to say Hope...really?" she stammered excitedly, receiving a nod in response, "Gee, thank you so much! Do you think Bobby will like it?"
Hope chuckled as she opened the door, allowing Little Sally to step out of the apartment first.
"I know that he will love it, Little Sally," she said, closing the door behind her, "Now what are we waiting for? Come on!"
They both headed over to the steel elevator and came down the lobby of the Bobby Strong Memorial Toilet Authority Building and took a left turn then walked straight ahead to the back entrance of the building, at the very place that Bobby landed in his tragic fall.
Little Sally held on to Hope's left arm as they walked through the quiet outskirts of the building's backside. She was very well aware that some police officers may be on the lookout to see if anyone was still out and about past curfew. Hope noticed the nervous look on Little Sally's face and held onto her shoulder as a way to assure her that she was completely safe.
They took a right turn and there, they found it/… Bobby Strong's tombstone itself. It was about the size of an average fireplace, marble in its material and had a shade of gray all around it. On the center of the piece was a large, silver plate with words that said, 'In Loving Memory of Robert "Bobby" Strong; a leader, a lover, a hero, a man with a hope and ambition and the father of freedom, may he rest in peace and may we always look at the sky in his remembrance.' Above it was a life-size statue of himself; his body straight, his chest out, his head and his eyes looking to the sky and his right arm outstretched, pointing upwards with his face filled with determination. Right in front of his right foot was a picture frame of himself with his parents; the late Joseph Strong and Josephine Strong, and in front of his left foot were piles of fresh and wilted flowers combined. Hope grew teary-eyed as she always felt when she walked this path and Little Sally stared at the statue in awe, being her first time seeing the completed monument that newly stood two weeks ago before then.
"Gee, it really does look like him, doesn't it?" she said, noticing the shine the moonlight was giving the silver statue.
"It does…" Hope responded, her voice trailing off as she looked into the statue's eyes.
As a signal to let Hope have her moment alone with 'Bobby,' Little Sally tugged on her sleeve and let go of her arm.
"Go on Hope, he's waiting!"
Hope smiled and walked forward towards the tombstone, keeping her eyes on the statue, preparing herself to speak. She took a deep breath and tried her best to give a smile before she started.
"Hello Bobby," she began with a sigh, "Oh gosh, here I am again… I can't believe it's been this long since I've seen you and since, um, our freedom finally came through for the whole town… thanks to you, of course."
She took a moment to sigh and compose herself to save herself from sudden outbreaks of awkwardness or signs of grief. Hope was quite aware that she was sharing her thoughts merely with a lifeless statue monument tombstone, however, it wasn't just any tombstone. It was the tombstone of the town's renowned hero; the only man she ever learned to love though their time together was short. She really did feel the need to confide in Bobby, whether his spirit was within, listening or not.
"Oh Bobby…" Hope murmured before continuing her speech, "...I hope you can hear me because I have so much to tell you!"
That's when she began to ramble on like there was no tomorrow, sharing the recent experiences they went through, talking to him...as if he were still alive.
"Things in town...never got better," she paused with her eyes staring down at the foot of the monument, "More and more people around here have been catching outbreaks of terrible fevers ever since all the water disappeared just a few days ago and I just have to tell you...times are getting harder. Times are getting worse than ever before, even worse than when my father was in charge."
Little Sally noted the sorrow present in Hope's eyes and walked over towards the tombstone, sitting right next to the once hopeful Hope Cladwell turned miserable.
"Oh, what am I going to do?" she sighed, looking up at Bobby's inanimate statue once again, "I've been going on and on, giving people my words of encouragement while their strength lasted. I've been telling them that they are a river...that together, we are a river and that's all I ever do! I don't know what else to do or if ever there's some other way to reverse this suffering with a solution I don't even know where I can find. Since then...I never felt so helpless and even hopeless in my entire life until now!
"Sometimes, I'm even thinking that I'm not helping them at all though I always supply them with words of hope and encouragement, and they're depending on me, Bobby, they really are! Even if that's all I do, they still respect me for who I am and what I do and they just continue to depend on me for a solution. But what if there's no solution? The water may have disappeared a few days ago and since then, I've been trying to find a way out of this...but I couldn't! Maybe I should be a little bit more patient, don't you think? Maybe I should just wait awhile before searching for a solution again...maybe that's it." Hope cried out, nodding in her last statement although another thought appeared in her head that she just couldn't conceal.
"B-but what if people don't want to wait? W-what if they want the solution now? What if they start pressuring and pressuring me to the point that there's no end and I've been pressured enough?!" Hope yelled out frantically in a panicked mood. A worried Little Sally felt Hope's hand shake and squeezed it to calm her down and as a way of assuring her that she would still be alright at least for now.
"Bobby, if only you were here, you'd know what we're going through," a now calmer Hope said softly, "You'd know how it feels to be free from tyranny once and for all but at the same time you'll know how it feels to be thirsty everyday; catching fevers once in a while and eventually become weaker and weaker to the point of no return…..just like your mother."
Hope recalled the past four days; the very day in which a single drop of water vanished from their town. On the next day, fevers were rapid, hitting almost everyone in town with a sharp pang of intense heat that sucked out the very heart of human strength in them. Of course, no one was affected more than the aging Josephine Strong; the only one left of the Strong family which could no longer live up to its name. This day in particular was the most difficult of burdens for her to carry. The fever raging inside of her was letting her hover between life and death with no other cure but a miraculous cup of water that came from none other than the youngest and newest member of the apartment's household…..Little Sally. That was another moment that Hope couldn't resist recalling, she just had to tell 'Bobby' about it, not only because a full cup of water was finally present but especially because the life of his mother was saved that very day just an hour before she talked to him in this monument.
"Oh, believe me, she was really taking things pretty hard for the past four days but her agony could never compare to the one today...Oh Bobby, she was really close to dying! My Mom, Miss Pennywise wasn't the only one who was scared...so was I and Little Sally!" she said, picturing that moment very vividly in her head then showing a smile on her face as she recalled the one miraculous moment after.
"Things were just about to get even worse, when suddenly...thanks to Little Sally, she found four cups, FOUR cups of water enough for all of us at home and gave two of them to your mother to drink. And you know what happened?...She felt better, Bobby, she finally got better!"
A now beaming Hope Cladwell held onto Little Sally out of pride because of the act of kindness that she shared with Mrs. Strong.
"And it was all because of this girl," she smiled at Little Sally, "If only you were still around, you'd be so proud of her for saving your mother's life...I know I am and I know you are too. None of us know what's gonna happen tomorrow, or if we're ever gonna get this whole town to get just a little bit of water once again but I know that we will find some way out of this."
Little Sally's head perked up at Hope's last statement because of its familiarity with her thoughts after the afternoon conversation with Officer Lockstock.
"I don't know how long it's gonna take, even if it takes years , but I do know this...we will find a way out of this drought once and for all and maybe even forever," she continued with an ounce of conviction though she felt a few tears coming from her eyes, causing Little Sally to hold on to her sleeve, before she could speak her final statement, "I love you Bobby, and I always will."
Then right at that moment, the full moon was shining right above Bobby's monument statue, causing a twinkle in one of his eyes; something Little Sally couldn't help but to notice.
"Did you see that, Hope?" she pointed up at the statue, "His eyes were glistening, almost as if he were really there."
Hope smiled and nodded as she wiped the tears from her eyes, still looking up into Bobby's eyes on his monument.
"You know what, Little Sally, ever since I started visiting this tombstone and I catch his eyes sparkle every time, I always think and often wonder to myself if Bobby's listening at all."
"That's because he is, Hope!" she replied in a happier tone, "He's up there watching over us as many people believe...don't you?"
"Oh Bobby…," Hope sighed dreamily as she stared into the sky, sitting on the foot of the monument. Indeed, both of them felt his presence within them as they spent their few minutes by his tombstone and knew that he was up there in Heaven among the stars...or so they thought.
Author's Note: So, this chapter was not as long as I expected it would be, BUT be prepared for a whirlwind of literary longevity at the next (well, in other words, Chapter 3 is the LONG chapter I've been rattling on about). Another piece of good news is, you won't have to wait another two years for the next chapter, because this time, I promise, it'll come to you all really very soon.
In case you'd like to know, the title of Chapter 3 is, "Lost and Found and Lost Again." Hmmm... What's to become of Hope? What's to become of Little Sally, Miss Pennywise, Mrs. Strong, Officer Lockstock...EVERYONE? Where the heck did Officer Lockstock find that water? Has Bobby's ghost been listening to Hope's words? But most of all, what's to become of Lockstock's said prophecy and will it be too late to change it? All of these answers are coming your way. For now, what does the title make you think of...or at least the first things that come into your mind? Feel free to PM me or leave them in a review! Remember... Constructive criticism = welcome! Flames = extinguisher (in other words, they aren't welcome)