I do not own Coronation Street

In another Universe, somewhat similar to ours, a Nuclear Holocaust has devastated the world, killing most of the inhabitants and leaving many of the survivors hiding in shelters underground while a few other survivors have become mutants and roam the surface.

One of the shelters to survive this holocaust had been built under a place called Coronation Street. As the years after the war passed, the survivors in the shelter under what are now the ruins of Coronation Street, try to begin their lives anew. After many upheavals and trials and tribulations, law and order is finally established and a ruling council is formed, led by the kind and wise Audrey Roberts.

Now, however, Audrey has grown old and realizes it is time to pass the mantle of leadership to another. The obvious choice would seem to be her daughter, Gail. But over the years, Audrey has seen Gail's ruthless ambitions and knew Gail would be the wrong choice for their basically peaceful community. Instead, she chooses Paul, who had been an invaluable warrior on Audrey's behalf before later becoming a councilor himself. Gail has heard of this plan, however, and is not happy.

And so our story begins…

When the end of the world came, I sat back and sipped my Earl Grey…..

Chapter 1

Eileen and her husband Council Member Paul headed down the corridor towards the Meeting Room for the daily council meeting.

"So, what do you reckon we should do after the meeting?"Paul asked.

Eileen shrugged. "No idea. I guess if Audrey really does pass her title on to you like she's said she will we can celebrate."

Paul grinned and opened the door to the Meeting Room, gesturing for Eileen to precede him.

Council Leader Audrey and Gail, Audrey's daughter and assistant, and the other council members were already there, getting cups of tea or just standing around chatting. Paul and Eileen sat down near Audrey and glanced over the short agenda as they waited.

"Eileen, can you pass this to Leader Audrey, please," Gail asked in a near sickly-sweet tone as she tapped Eileen's shoulder to get the woman's attention.

Eileen turned and looked at Gail and gave her an overly friendly smile before taking the cup of tea.

"Why, of course, Gail," Eileen said, mocking Gail's tone. Eileen turned and handed the cup to Audrey, who thanked Eileen absently as she took the cup.

Audrey took several sips of the tea and then gestured for everyone to sit down.

"We're in for a short one, so we may as well get started," Audrey said and she took another sip of her tea as she waited for the others to sit down. Once everyone was settled, Audrey stood.

"Right, we'll keep this short, shall we?" her voice cracked a bit at the end.

She flashed everyone a quick, slightly shamefaced smile and noticed a burning sensation building in her throat. She cleared her throat, took another sip of tea and tried again.

"The reason I asked you here…." she trailed off again as she felt her throat swelling up. She couldn't breathe! Her hands flew up to her throat as she staggered back and fell into her chair.

"MUM!" Gail shrieked and ran to Audrey's side.

"Someone get the doctor!" Gail ordered and Councilor Owen rushed out the door.

Eileen had stood up and she moved over to where Gail was holding her mother.

"Is there anything I can do?" she offered. Gail might be her enemy, but Audrey was decent enough.

Gail raised her face and when she saw Eileen her expression twisted into a grimace.

"I think you've done enough," she snapped.

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"This is your doing, you've poisoned my mother!" Gail accused in a shrill tone.

Eileen was taken aback. "I never!"

Gail ignored her. "You two," Gail snapped at the peace officers who had come into the room. "Take her into custody," Gail's gaze shifted to Paul. "Take him, too."

"What?" Paul blurted, and looked in surprise as two of the men took his arms.

"You'll pay for this," Gail snarled and looked back down at Audrey's face. But during the moments Gail had been ordering Eileen to be taken into custody, Audrey had died.

"NO!" Gail wailed and dropped her head to her mother's chest as she sobbed as Eileen and Paul were dragged from the room.

Doctor Matt arrived just then and shouldered his way in. He dropped down next to the two women and checked for a pulse.

Gail looked up. "She's gone," she whimpered. "She was poisoned and I'm sure that Eileen did it. I want you to do whatever tests you need to. They aren't going to get away with this."

The doctor nodded and gestured for two of his assistants to help him take Audrey's body to the lab.

Gail watched sadly as her mother's body was carried away and then turned to look at the council.

"Well, it seems that in this dark time, the burden of leadership must fall to me," she said as she met the eyes of every member of the council. "Our first order of business is to prove Eileen and Paul murdered my dear mother, and see that they pay."

The other three council members looked at each other and nodded.

Gail looked back down and allowed herself an inward smile. It was a shame her mother had to die, but Gail was not about to be denied what she felt was her birthright. The Council Leadership should be hers and now, with the added bonus of Eileen neatly framed for Audrey's murder, it would be.


Eileen was still in a state of mild shock as she was dragged to one of the lower levels and unceremoniously shoved into a cell. She landed face down on the floor and watched the door slam as she turned to say something.

She climbed to her feet and went to sit on the rickety cot in the corner. She couldn't get over being accused of murdering Audrey. She rubbed her face, let out a long sigh and shook her head. Obviously Gail had poisoned the tea. She clearly badly wanted the council leadership and would stop at nothing to get it.

Eileen knew that didn't bode well for the community. When had that woman become so unscrupulous? Gail wasn't Eileen's favorite person by any stretch of the imagination, but Eileen hadn't thought Gail was outright evil. Clearly, she was wrong.

She stood up and went to the door to peer out the tiny opening in the door.

"Paul?" she called through the hole. No answer. "Paul?" she tried again, louder this time. Still no answer. That was odd. She bit her lip and wondered what had happened to Paul. She waited another few minutes, but the corridor was almost eerily silent. Eileen returned to the cot. She wasn't sure how they were going to get out of this mess.


Paul looked around in confusion as he was dragged to the medical wing.

"What's going on?" he asked the two men. He wasn't entirely surprised when they didn't answer. He'd seen Eileen dragged towards the corridor that he knew led to the jail, but why was he being taken to the medical section? He wasn't injured. Or were they going to run some kind of tests on him? He couldn't figure it out.

The two men finally pulled Paul into what looked like a standard exam room. He tried to fight away their hands as they stripped him down to his pants. A sudden sting on the back of his neck caused Paul to flinch and then suddenly he felt like he was falling. His eyes closed and his head dropped forward.

"Get him on the table and strap him down," Doctor Matt ordered as he casually tossed the hypospray onto his desk. He leaned against the desk, folded his arms and watched the men muscle Paul onto the table and strapped him down. He nodded his thanks to the men as they left and narrowed his eyes as he studied Paul.

He wasn't sure what Gail, no, not Gail, Leader Platt, he corrected himself, what Leader Platt had planned for Paul, but he was pretty sure it wouldn't be pleasant.

His suspicions were confirmed when Leader Platt strode into the room a few minutes later, a fiendish smile twisting her lips. She perched herself on the corner of the doctor's desk and calmly outlined what she wanted the doctor to do. Doctor Matt's eyes widened and he felt bile rise up into his throat as his revulsion for Gail's words increased as she detailed what she wanted done.

But who was he to argue? He was the only doctor the people here had and he could not bring himself to leave the residents without medical assistance. He swallowed hard and nodded when Gail finished speaking.

That awful smile stretched across her face as she left and the doctor took several deep breaths to calm himself before walking over to Paul. He gazed down at the man for a moment.

"I'm sorry, but I've no choice," he said softly before raising the laser scalpel and making the incision in Paul's forehead, cutting through skin and then the bone beneath.


Steve walked calmly, but hurriedly from the council chambers. He still couldn't believe Elaine and Paul had been arrested. Eileen was one of his best friends and he knew she could not be behind this, she would never kill someone.

Well, he corrected himself, she might kill Gail, but Eileen and Audrey had always gotten along very well and Eileen had liked the council leader very much. He couldn't prove it, but he was sure Gail was behind the whole thing. It would be pointless, of course, to say anything now. She was no doubt going to be in charge and the other council members would kowtow to her to keep their places.

As one of Eileen's close friends, Steve knew his days were now likely numbered. Before he left, though, he would see how much he could help Eileen. If he moved before Gail consolidated her hold, he might be able to get Eileen and Paul out.

He straightened his council robe to make sure he looked as imposing as he could and headed towards the jail. He rounded the corner and what he saw quickly made him step back out of sight. He shook his head and then carefully peered around the corner.

Yes, he'd seen correctly. There was a group of guards there with one of the maintenance crews. The men were reinforcing the door that led into the main corridor to the cells. Steve frowned and leaned his head against the wall. All the guards had a new insignia on their uniforms. It didn't take much to figure out that the insignia likely belonged to Gail. Steve realized Gail might have been planning this for awhile and had already been working to consolidate her power before she acted.

This was not good. He hated the idea of leaving Eileen and Paul in the lurch, but he had no choice. He pushed away from the wall and rushed to his quarters. He would be able to plan and perhaps organize some help for Eileen when he was away and safe. As things stood now, he did not want to stay and find out what Gail might do to Eileen's friends.

He packed a few things that he needed into a bag he could hide under his robe and went to talk to the few other close friends Eileen had. It wouldn't do for them to stay here with Gail in charge. He glanced at his wrist chrono and furrowed his brow. They would probably all be together having a drink right now in the saloon.

He quickly turned onto the corridor that led to the saloon, hoping he could get all of them out before Gail decided to come after them.

He quickly spotted Sean, Julie and Jason at a corner table. He maintained a neural façade as he approached them.

"Right, I have to tell you lot something, but we'd best not do it here."

Steve turned and walked to the door. Stopping only once to see the others were following him. He was glad to see they were, though all three looked a bit confused.

He led them out of the complex completely and then a short distance from the entrance before finally stopping.

Sean frowned as he stomped towards Steve. "What's this all about, Steve?" he huffed.

"Keep your bloody voice down," Steve hissed. Sean made a face and crossed his arms, but remained silent.

"Now, Eileen's been arrested. She's accused of murdering Council Leader Audrey, but I can tell you now, she's been framed."

Sean and Julie gasped, but Jason only muttered "Mum" and turned to go back to the complex, a murderous expression on his face. Steve barely managed to grab Jason's arm.

"No, you can't. Now, look, Gail is taking over and things are going to get ugly. You three need to get out of here. Go stay with that mutant community we trade with. I'll go back in. I'm on the council so they may overlook my association with Eileen for awhile."

He looked at them and could see them rebelling. "If you don't go, you'll get arrested and then what help do you possibly think you can give Eileen? Huh?"

Sean put his hands on his hips.

"We can go back in there and sort that Gail out for a start."

Julie watched Sean as he spoke and then nodded along enthusiastically.

"Yeah, let me go," Jason shook his arm free.

"Something could happen to your face," Steve pointed out as Jason turned to go. Jason stopped in his tracks and looked back at Steve. He folded his arms across his chest.

"Fine. What do you want us to do?"

Steve opened his mouth and closed it again.

"I have no idea."

"Well, we can't just leave her in there, Gail could kill her or worse," Julie pointed out.

This time Sean nodded along with Julie. "She's right. If Gail has taken over, who knows what could happen to Eileen."

"Well, there's only us to get in there and break her out. There are a lot of guards, however. Eileen won't thank us if we get killed trying to rescue her."

Sean folded an arm across his chest, propped the elbow of his other arm on it, raised his hand and began to tap his chin in thought. Julie frowned and looked down at the ground. Jason pulled out a hand mirror and began to examine his hair. Steve shoved his hands in his pockets and rocked on his heels as he thought.

Sean suddenly snapped his fingers. "I know what we can do," he blurted. The others quickly looked at him, eyes wide with anticipation.

"Oracle Anna," he said his tone smug.

Steve looked at him in confusion, but Julie had begun to smile.

"Oracle Anna," Sean said again in a tone that said who he was talking about should have been patently obvious.

"I have no idea who you are talking about," Steve said flatly as he rolled his eyes.

"She's an Oracle," said Julie, excitedly. "She can tell the future. If anyone can help us, she can."

"Tells. The. Future," Steve said, enunciating each word carefully to make sure he'd heard right. "You are joking, right?"

Sean and Julie both shook their heads.

"She's supposed to live in the Empty Lands, somewhere…out there," Sean added with a vague gesture towards the East.

"Right," Steve said, drawing the word out. "And how, exactly, are we supposed to get there?"

"Well…." Sean began and trailed off. None of them could get a vehicle without stealing it and with the increase in guards; it was unlikely they would succeed.

Jason looked up from the mirror.

"What about Lloyd?"

Steve looked at Jason. "Actually," Steve said as he pointed at Jason, "that's a very good idea. But we've got no way to contact him since he's out there somewhere. Our communicators won't do a damn bit of good out here. We need a better transmitter that he can pick up with his radio."

"Norris," Julie blurted.

Steve looked at her in surprise. "You think?"

"Why not? Gail and her lot never had much to do with him, not many did after Rita…." Julie trailed off. Steve gave a sad smile.

"How do we get him?"

"I know where he is. I can get him with no trouble," Julie said.

"Are you sure?" Steve pressed.

"Completely," Julie assured him. "I'll be back in a jiffy."

She walked quickly back to the complex and then slipped back inside. Fortunately, Rita's quarters were not only near the entrance, but also still empty. She used the entry key Rita had given her and smiled when the door slid silently open. It still worked.

She went to the dresser and quickly opened the secret compartment in the bottom and pulled out a flat, rectangular device. It resembled something from the past called a "smartphone", but was slightly larger. She quickly tucked it into her waistband and fluffed out her top to keep it from showing before leaving the complex as quickly as she'd came.

She took a roundabout way back to the group and pulled the device out to triumphantly show them.

Steve folded his arms and looked at her expectantly. Julie's face fell slightly at Steve's lack of enthusiasm, but she turned tapped the face of the device.

"Norris, wake up," she said softly.

The screen began to glow softly and slowly the face of an older, balding man wearing black, round framed spectacles appeared.

"Julie," Norris snorted and rolled his eyes. "I might have known. What do you want?"

"I've missed you, too, Norris," Julie said brightly, ignoring Norris' tone. "We need you to call Lloyd and bring him here. We need his help to get to Oracle Anna."

Norris looked interested a moment and then spluttered. "Oracle Anna." He sighed and rolled his eyes. "Surely you can find something more useful to do than go and see that…that…charlatan."

"Look, Norris, in case you didn't know, Gail is in charge now. Julie's just rescued you from certain death. Now stop being sarky old fart and help us," Sean snapped.

Norris' eyes closed. "Fine," he said in a clenched-teeth tone and then the screen went blue and dimmed.

Steve looked alarmed. "What's going on?"

"He's just contacting Lloyd now," Julie explained.

"How do you reckon he does that?" Steve wondered.

"Oh, nobody knows," Sean said. "Mary never explained it after she created him. And then, you know, she went all doolally and blew herself up trying to create that new power generator. Nowt like a mad scientist to make things interesting. Shame she's gone."

"Oh, right, quite a shame," Steve agreed. Mary had created a lot of useful tech gadgets before she "went doolally" as Sean put it. Only Steve and the Council knew, however, that it hadn't been a power generator Mary had been trying to build. Convinced that with the creation of Norris that she was obviously some kind of god, she'd been trying to build a machine that she said could make people. It had been for the best, really.

Mary always had been a bit unstable, but no one could deny she'd been a genius. He turned his attention back to Norris when he noticed the screen of the device brighten.

"Well?" Steve asked.

"I spoke to him," Norris said. Steve made a face and shook his head. "And?"

"I'll direct you to where you can meet him and he'll pick you up. He doesn't want to come any closer than he has to."

"Right, let's move then people." Steve said and they set off to meet Lloyd as Norris quietly gave Julie the directions.


"Are we there yet?" Sean asked with a huge, huffy sigh.

"Oh, don't start. The cave is just over there," Steve chastised sharply. Julie looked up from where she'd been quietly talking with Norris.

"Oh, good, I wouldn't mind having a little rest."

Jason half-jogged over to the cave and looked around. "I don't see any sign of Lloyd," he announced and then pulled out his hand mirror and lifted a hand to smooth his hair.

Sean stomped towards the cave, making small noises of complaint. "Stupid Lloyd, never where you need him to be when you need him," he grouched under his breath.

Steve rolled his eyes and shook his head. He turned to Julie.

"So, Norris, any word from Lloyd?"

Norris opened his mouth to reply, but whatever he was going to say was drowned out by the growl of a large engine.

The heavily armored and modified assault vehicle that Lloyd drove pulled up and came to a stop in a hiss of air brakes and rustle of gravel. The door in the side banged open and Lloyd jumped out. His face cracked into a grin and he raised his hand in a wave, causing his leather duster to swing behind him.

"Well, well, well, look how it is," he greeted.

"Lloyd," Steve said blandly and Lloyd chuckled.

"Yeah, man, I know you've missed me," Lloyd said as he grabbed Steve's hand and shook it. "Now what are you doing way out here?"

Steve made a face and scratched his chin. "Well, we need your help," he said, clearly reluctant.

"MY help, really?"

"Yes, your help," Steve sighed.

"What for?"

"It's more Eileen really that needs your help," Steve quickly added.

He saw the slight change in Lloyd's stance that meant he might be receptive. "What happened?"

Steve quickly explained Eileen's situation and that the four of them had left so they could hopefully find some way to help Eileen, most likely by rescuing her.

"So, you lot think Oracle Anna can help?" Lloyd asked with a snort of laughter.

Julie frowned and folded her arms. "Of course, she can help."

Lloyd fought down a smile. "If you say so," he said, and shared a look with Steve.

"Let's get going then."

Sean and Julie hurriedly got into the vehicle with Jason stumping along behind them.

"Do you really think this is going to help?" Lloyd asked Steve.

"It sure can't hurt. We need some sort of plan if we're going to help Eileen. Gail's gone mad and she's always hated Eileen," Steve shuddered and broke off.

"Get in and let's go find this oracle," Lloyd said and gave Steve a pat on the back.


Lloyd finally stopped driving about an hour before dawn. The terrain had been hellish, and after a couple of hours he'd been tempted to shoot Sean for his constant "are we there yet?", but he'd got through it.

He was pretty sure he was near where the Oracle was said to be found. He yawned hugely, turned on the radio and leaned back to take a nap while the others were still sleeping.

A crackle of static interrupting the silence of the dead air caused Lloyd to open his eyes. He glanced around, but the others seemed to still be sleeping. Another crackle of static caused him to turn back to the radio. A slightly cheery voice broke in after the static.

"Hello, Loveys, this is Radio Free Brenda! I've me gin an a Dunhill and I've summat to make all me listeners happy, the Oracle is seeing folk today. So get yourself over to the coordinates I'm going to give you and we'll see you there!"

Lloyd quickly scrabbled out a crumpled piece of paper and a stubby pencil and marked down the coordinates. He turned to tell the others and saw they were all awake and crowded up to listen.

"Well, I can navigate us there easily," a voice said in a slightly smug tone.

"Yeah, thanks Norris," Lloyd said dryly.

"Just trying to be helpful," Norris added in a tone that said he'd rather not be helpful.

"Well, then, you best get on with it." Lloyd stated as he started the engine. Lloyd could feel the eye roll in the silence before Norris began to recite the directions.

The group went along for about an hour before Norris told them they'd arrived. Sean and Julie began to cheer and dance in their seats before shoving open the door to climb out the minute Lloyd brought the vehicle to a stop.

"Oh, I think my bum's fallen asleep from that uncomfortable seat in there," Sean complained.

"I know," Julie griped. "I'm glad we can walk around a bit now."

Lloyd and Steve climbed out of the vehicle, leaving Jason inside looking in the mirror and smoothing his hair. Steve stretched.

"Wonder if this will be worth it."

"Well, we'll hopefully know soon enough," Lloyd replied.

Sean and Julie suddenly stopped walking at the sound of a deep, rumbling noise. Steve and Lloyd heard it and stopped talking.


Something rectangular suddenly forced its way out of the ground near where Julie and Sean were standing, causing the pair of them to shriek and jump back.

Leopard print paint could be seen as the dirt fell from the object as it fully emerged from the ground and then stopped.

"Oh, this oughtta be good," Lloyd muttered as the heavy beats of music began to fill the air as the sides of the rectangle slowly dropped revealing two figures standing who had been standing inside. One was tall and curvy with a short helmet of hair. She was dressed in a skintight leopard print bodysuit, thigh-high black heeled boots and had a cigarette dangling from one elegant, long-fingered hand.

"Who is that?" Steve whispered.

Lloyd chuckled. "Fat Brenda."

Steve gaped at him. "Yeah, she changed a bit after she left the compound. She got tired of riding around in that thing," he made a sharp gesture back at his armored transport, "and went off on her own. Decided to start doing like a radio show, and turned into that somewhere along the way."

Steve shook his head and then looked over the other figure. It was also a woman. She had long dark hair and wore a multi-colored, layered, low cut robe over her motherly figure. She stepped out of the lift and walked towards Steve and Lloyd, who had been joined by Sean and Julie.

"Hiiiyyaaaa loves," the woman said cheerfully. "I'm Oracle Anna."

She held out a tin. "Have a cake?"

"Ooo, I'd love one!" Sean said excitedly and reached into the tin.

The woman's kind eyes studied each of them as they took a cake. She started to put the lid back on and then stopped.

"Who's missing?"

"Umm, Jason's still inside," Steve told her.

The woman nodded. "I don't think he'll be wanting one anyway," she remarked and put the lid back on the tin. "So, how can I help?"

Steve looked at Sean and Julie, who had wandered off to eat their cakes and squeal over how good they were. He shrugged.

"Well, it's complicated," he began.

"Of course it is, love, but go on," she said as she gave his arm a comforting pat.

Steve immediately relaxed and the story poured out of him. Oracle Anna listened intently, her expressions changing as he spoke.

"Right, love, I'll be back in just a minute," she said and walked over to sit down cross legged on the ground. Her eyes closed. Steve looked at Lloyd, who shrugged.

"I don't know, man, it's not like I've been to see an Oracle before."

Brenda walked up to them. They could hear her talking into the headset she wore.

"Would you boys like to share with Our Listeners?"

"Um, well, we, uh, just need some help for a friend."

Brenda took a drag from her cigarette and then flicked the ash, causing the sunlight to flash off her long, red nails. She studied them through the smoke.

"Help for a friend?"

"Yeah," Steve replied huffily.

Brenda chuckled. "If you say so, lovey," she said in a sly tone. She winked at Lloyd and then walked over to Sean and Julie.

Lloyd chuckled. "You wimp."

Steve frowned at him and turned away.

Lloyd chuckled again and then turned to watch Brenda talking with Sean and Julie. They seemed to be playing some sort of game, winning it if Julie's and Sean's squeals were anything to go by.

Anna finally stood up and walked back over. She took Steve's hand and peered up at him.

"Right, love, you've got to go to the mutant community and tell them what's happened. They need the warning because she'll be turning on them very soon. And they'll help hide you. They also might be able to help you find the Killer Bee."

Steve was nodding along and then stopped. "The…the killer bee?"

"Yes, love, The Killer Bee. The Killer Bee is the only one who can help you get your friend out."

"But…" Steve tried again.

"Now, look, love, you've had your answer, right? I've got more people to see, so you best just be on your way. The sooner you get started, the better."

"Um, okay," Steve said. "Thanks."

"You're welcome," Anna said and then looked over at Brenda.

"Right, we're done here, Brenda," she called over.

Brenda pulled something out of her cleavage and handed it to Sean and then swayed back over to Anna.

"Right, all my Loveys out there, this group has been Answered," she said into the headset. "If there's owt else you need, don't be afraid to give Brenda a bell," she called over to Lloyd and Steve and lifted her hand in a wave as the sides of the lift raised and closed.

"Well, that was an experience," said Steve. Lloyd laughed.


Leader Platt, as Gail was now calling herself, was very pleased with the results of the doctor's work on Paul. It had taken the doctor almost half a day to install the implants that blocked the bulk of Paul's memory and then the ones that made him Gail's devoted slave. It had been one of the hardest procedures the doctor had ever done, making sure Paul could function on his own, but not able to think well on his own. While thoroughly disgusted, the doctor was also obscurely proud of his work.

He watched Gail take Paul's arm and lead him away before sinking into a chair.

Gail marveled at the doctor's ability. If he could do this, he would be able to easily make the modifications that Gail wanted done to herself. She had found a stash of "Mad" Mary's biotech and was eager to use it to improve herself. She intended to be fully invincible.

In the 48 hours since Audrey's death, Gail was able to use a plan she'd had in place for months to quickly and efficiently take over the complex. Now, she was in charge. She knew a few potential dissidents had managed to slip away while she was concentrating on consolidating her power, but they would be dealt with. She had assigned a group of her elite to go with David and hunt them down.

Gail brought herself out of her reverie as she reached the prison cells. The 10 cells were currently full, with five people in each cell, except one, the one Eileen was in. Gail would have to talk to the doctor about modifying the implants to use on the prisoners if they couldn't be convinced to follow Gail's lead.

She gestured at the guard to open the door to Eileen's cell and was unsurprised to see the woman sitting upright on the bed.

"Hello, Eileen," Gail greeted, her voice chirpy and cheerful. She watched Eileen's eyes shift from the wall to meet Gail's own gaze. Gail smiled hugely.

"How are we feeling today?"

She could tell Eileen hadn't slept and she had left orders that no food or water was to be given to Eileen. She had thought a day or so doing without might make the woman more tractable.

Eileen stared at her, but said nothing.

Gail rubbed her hands together. "No mind, then." Gail gave another large, sharp smile and tilted her head.

"Now, you know of course, I have yet to decide what to do with you. I want very much to have you executed for killing my beloved mum," Gail began in a conversational tone. She raised a hand to swipe at a tear that wasn't there as she spoke of her mother.

Eileen's expression didn't change.

"However, I'm not completely sure that would be a good idea. You can be of much more use to me alive," Gail continued, her tone slowly becoming cheery again. "Oh," Gail exclaimed and clapped her hands together. "I forgot! I've brought you a visitor."

Eileen found it hard to keep her expression neutral as Gail beckoned to someone outside and Paul walked in. She felt her heart leap in her chest and wanted to jump up and hold him close, but she could see something was different about him. Then, he turned to face Eileen and the blank look on his face made her heart fall into her stomach. He had no idea who she was. She couldn't mistake the look of overwhelming adoration that filled his face, however, when he turned to look at Gail.

"You see, I've brought my new toy for you to see," Gail said, her tone high and girlishly enthusiastic. Eileen wanted to vomit.

"He loves me now, as you can see," she reached up and patted Paul on the head as though he were a puppy. The smile was back on Gail's face as she turned to Eileen, but now it was full of malevolent good cheer. Eileen didn't think she'd ever seen such a horrifically evil smile. She kept her face expressionless even as she felt herself chilled to the bone by that smile.

"I guess there's nothing sacred to you, you psychotic bitch," Eileen commented blandly.

"Oh, she speaks!"Gail tilted her head as she seemed to consider Eileen's comment. "No entirely true, Eileen," Gail corrected. "Your destruction is sacred to me. Now you're locked up here, helpless to anything I want to have done with you, the love of your life is my new toy and all your friends have fled."

Gail flashed that horrifically happy grin again.

"You'll be fed and watered, and I'll let you know what I plan to do with you soon enough. For now, I have things to do," she broke off and pulled Paul to her for a long kiss. Eileen felt her gorge rise and swallowed hard against it. She would not give Gail the satisfaction.

Gail ended the kiss and looked at Eileen. "And people to do it would seem. Bye, now!"

She gave Eileen a little wave and then led Paul from the cell. Eileen fixed her gaze on the wall as she heard the footsteps retreat and the outer door slam closed. She continued to stare at the wall as the tears fell and Eileen set about plotting her revenge. She would bring Gail down if it was the last thing she did.