"Gilbert what are you doing here?" you asked feeling a sharp pain running down your abdomen.
"I asked him to come here," Ludwig answered in his brother's place. "__________, you're not feeling well so Gilbert came over to bring you a better medicine."
"Oh…" Your eyes fell back on Gilbird. Your pet didn't look ill in the slightest so why had they been talking about him being dead? And what about you? How were you different? Were you really as special as Ludwig said you were?
"__________, I'm sorry," Ludwig apologized. "I shouldn't have been so careless. Instead of watching you, I was busy doing my own things."
"I'm alright, Ludwig," you said in a slight reassuring smile. "I'm still here, right?"
The brothers couldn't help but smile at you in return.
"That you are, ___________," Ludwig murmured.
"How long are you staying?" you asked Gilbert.
"Depends," he shrugged. "If you don't get better, I'll be here for a while."
"I don't mind," you said. "There's always more noise when you're here."
Gilbert raised an eyebrow. "Are you saying I'm loud?"
"Maybe," you giggled.
Ludwig sighed. "__________, we're going to be talking about some things so just stay put, alright? Gilbert's already told your pet to get us if anything happens to you so you don't have to worry about anything."
"Okay," you then nodded and watched as the brothers left you alone in your room like always. Next to your nightstand, there was a wastebasket. Your nightstand had an empty glass of water—probably to get you to easily take your medication—and a few boxes of tissues. Inside the wastebasket, there were handfuls of bloody tissues, most likely the results of trying to clean up your mouth and the floor. Further inside, the remnants of the doll you had dropped could be seen tossed inside just like the rest of the trash. You could visibly see the soulless eyes staring at you from beneath the bloodied tissues. It wasn't the most comfortable sight to see, to say the least.
"Gilbird, come over here," you beckoned with your outstretched hand. Gilbird promptly obeyed and flew from his birdcage and onto your finger. While he sat waiting for you to do give him a treat, you continued to examine him. He had the same grunt, the same tuft of feathers atop his head, and the same little black beady eyes he always had. How was this not Gilbird?
"Gilbird, what is your old master hiding?" you wondered aloud. You distinctly remember there being a bird back then, too, before you had gone into a long sleep. No one had ever told you what it was like during the time you had slept or how long it had been.
Of course, your pet only grunted like every time you expected a full answer out of him. While it was reassuring to know that Gilbert had come to the cabin, you still had many questions left unanswered. Then, you began to absentmindedly fiddle with the object in your pocket. Maybe Gilbert would be able to tell you what it was?
"Gilbird, can you fetch Gilbert, please?" you asked in a soft voice. "I only want Gilbert, though. Make sure Ludwig doesn't follow him."
After staring into your eyes for a few seconds, Gilbird nodded and flew off. Moments later, Gilbert came rushing inside your room with the yellow bird nestled in his silvery white hair.
"__________, is everything alright?" he asked, his voice heavy with concern.
"Mm-hmm," you nodded. "I just wanted to talk to you."
"Gilbert, is something wrong with her?" you heard Ludwig ask from across the cabin.
"She's fine, West!" Gilbert called back and walked over to your bedside. "__________, what did you want to ask me?"
You reached into your pocket and pulled out the round object you had found in your broken doll. Gilbert's mouth dropped open.
"___________, where did you get this?" he asked in a voice barely louder than a whisper.
"Inside the doll that was thrown away," you said pointing to the wastebasket full of bloody tissues and broken shards of porcelain and silk. "Gilbert, could you tell me what this is?"
Gilbert looked hesitant. He didn't look like he was willing to give you a straight answer, but he opened his mouth anyway.
"It's a ring," he said.
"A ring?" you repeated.
Gilbert nodded. "It's something that can symbolize the eternal bond between two people who love each other." He scoffed. "I'm too awesome for that kind of stuff, but this ring…this ring is special."
There was bittersweet look in Gilbert's eyes. He took the ring from your open palm and turned it over and over examining each grove and flawless curve in the ring's finish.
"This was supposed to be meant for you," he said with an unusually sad smile.
You gasped. "Really?"
"Yes, ___________," Gilbert answered with his eyes still glued to the ring. "I was wondering where he put it…" Then, he looked into the wastebasket. "It was in the doll, wasn't it?"
"Uh-huh," you nodded.
"I thought so. That was the first doll Ludwig gave you."
You blinked. "Then why did he just throw it away?" you asked. "Why didn't he try to fix it?"
Gilbert frowned. "Some things are more worth fixing than others," he said.
"Oh…" There was something strange about the way he said that.
"Was that all you wanted to ask me?"
You shook your head. "There's one more thing." You pointed to the top of his head. "Gilbert, what were you and Ludwig talking about when you said Gilbird should have been left dead?"
Immediately after you asked that question, Gilbert brought his hand to where your pet was pecking at his hair.
"That was just…" he began.
"Please tell me, Gilbert," you begged opening your eyes as wide as you could. You rarely had to do this to Gilbert since he had been more lenient towards your demands.
Gilbert hesitated. "___________, what I'm trying to say is…"
But before he could give you an answer, something heavy flew into the barred window spewing a cloud of white smoke into the room.
"Crap!" Gilbert hissed and wrapped you in his arms. "___________, don't breathe too much! That smoke will make you sick!"
"Gilbert what's going on?" you asked suddenly feeling helpless.
"Don't talk, __________," Gilbert said as he ran out of the cabin.
Where's Ludwig? you wondered looking back to see if he had made it out of his office. You were starting to hear other voices, voices that didn't belong to anyone you knew. More smoke started to fill the cabin.
"Gilbert, we have to go to the back," you told him when you saw that Gilbert didn't retreat into the hallway. "Ludwig told me we aren't supposed to go to the front."
But despite you telling him, Gilbert continued to run to the front like he never heard you. His face was completely void of any expression.
Then, the front door threw itself open and a group of men in white jackets with masks obscuring their faces poured inside. You cringed and buried your face inside Gilbert's chest hoping they would go away. These must have been the bad people Ludwig had told you about.
"I've got her," you heard Gilbert say.
Then, you heard the sound of someone coughing at the far end of the house. When you looked back, you could see Ludwig running straight for you, but the team of men in white jackets held him down and dragged him outside like a captured animal.
"Ludwig!" you cried and began to squirm in Gilbert's arms. "Gilbert, your brother's in trouble! Help him!" You screamed when you saw the men begin to tie Ludwig's arms behind his back and cuff them together with a pair of chains. Your eyes were beginning to grow hot, feeling completely helpless as you saw them dragging Ludwig towards a large black car.
"Gilbert, how could you?!" Ludwig shouted at the top of his lungs. "After all of this time?!"
"Gilbert what's going on?" you sniffed and hiccupped. It was the closest thing you could experience to crying.
After watching his brother get thrown into the car, Gilbert looked down at you with his sad, red eyes.
"I'm sorry, ____________," he said. "But this is for the best."