Story - The Doll in the Alley Way

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Version 1

The doll looks down at you with a tiny shy smile, shrugging her shoulders tight.
"hello" she says and pauses, hesitantly, ready for flight with her elbows pressed into her sides, stumbly shoes shifting.

you follow her brief glance to the control on the cobble stone street.

as she stands frozen in indecision, your warm hand picks up the control, thigh muscles smoothly stretching you back up. Her quick intake of breath ruffles her bodice.

"you… you should give that back…" the doll says.

"Does your owner know you took it?" you say sliding your thumb over the backlit buttons, enjoying the feel of the high-end gell membrane.

The doll shrinks into her skirt and backs away. You raise the control emphatically "i'm sure they'd be most grateful to see their doll returned! Let's take you home!"

You gently grasp her hand and scan the homing icon on her wrist. "not far from here, then!"

The doll unlocks the front door to the mansion with a shaking hand as you wait patiently, generously. You straighten your jacket as you walk up the stairs to meet the owner, who - given the size of this place - must be a high-ranking official indeed! You incline your head to the back, to where the timid doll is waiting and say "please announce me" adjusting your scarf.

Checking for compliance, you glance back at the doll, who seems to have sunk to her knees behind you and who is reaching up in supplication. Your heart fills with the certainty of your righteousness and goodness of returning this doll to her home and a smile warms your face.

Her head still bowed; her tiny hands reach up and grasp your wrists. The scent of leather fits with this moment of returning the doll to her stable. You try to reach for the tobacco pouch, planning to stuff your pipe with the earthy weed to pass the time, only to find the motion of your smooth delicate hands delayed.

The control, once so tightly held, falls from your fingers as the pressure on your wrists increases and your fingers grasp in vain. The doll's expressionless face looks up at you.

A faint moaning sound travels up from the far reaches of the mansion and you stumble slightly.

The doll holds up the control. "There is no master here" she says "we just need more puppets for this doll house" and grasp your leather bound wrists to lead you up the stairs

Version 2

Morris had been lagging for the whole walk. It was quite annoying and by now your five minute morning dog-walk had surpassed ten minutes of pause, wait, check behind us, sniff, and coax forward with a "Come-on Morris". So you were relieved to turn into the alleyway that would lead you home. As much as Morris' disruption to your schedule had been annoying, the flash of greasy violet-green light was significantly more-so.


Another pause. Nope, still a lot of confusion. Perhaps opening your eyes would be a good idea you thought. The attempt quickly convinced you that no, this was not a good idea, in fact it was a very bad idea and said eyes should stay firmly closed.

Ongoing Confusion.

You convinced yourself that this simply would not do, you were going to have to open your eyes and that was that.

Yet even more Confusion, but this time, with your eyes open. Then… Tongue! Massive wet tongue, full face tongue, wait, was there more than this… oh yes, tongue and dog breath! Oh joy, now you had discovered confusion, tongue, and dog breath. You consider that perhaps keeping the eyes closed would have been the better course.

Confusion cake with a nice extra helping of confusion icing and a confused cherry on top.

That is pretty much what you were filled with when you discovered you can't actually close your eyes now. 'What the actual…' logic-brain begins to think as tongue continues to saturate your face - dog breath all encompassing.

'Ok, this is simple, I must take stock of my faculties, stand up, go home, and all will be well.' logic-brain postulates.

'Ha, but you can't stand up!' your body counters, completely defeating logic-brain by throwing mud in logic's eye.

Tobacco pipe-smoke… albeit infused with dog breath and intermittently interrupted by tongue, but clearly pipe-smoke none-the-less.

Confusion, and… a mix of something else, what is that… is it… Oh yes, Worry. You know this pipe-smoke. hypothesis-brain is starting to pipe-up about the pipe-smoke when logic-brain shuts it down.

'No, that's impossible it simply can't be' but logic-brain sounds somewhat less than it's usual emphatic self.

'Um… but…' body pipes up, largely due to still being unable to execute the earlier 'stand up' order, but both logic-brain and hypothesis-brain shut it down with a

'hush! we've got this!'

Tongue is interrupted by, wait what is this… is that the toe of a shoe?

'Sure is mate' logic-brain provides helpfully. At which point confusion is completely overwhelmed and you move straight along to complete bewilderment.

"My my" says the owner of the shoe…

'…' body completely fails to respond.

'Oh shit' concludes logic-brain who seems to be vying for panic-brain's job at this juncture.

"I told you what would happen, I warned you." owner of the the shoe rolls you over and you can now gaze up, far far up.

'Bloody hell!' logic-brain, panic-brain, and body exclaim in unison.

'Don't look at me' hypothesis brain ducks out of the conversation.

Your new vantage point, laying on your back and looking straight up, provides you an unobstructed view of the owner of the shoe. You know the visage peering down at you. The self proclaimed witch from yesterday in your shop. You hadn't believed her. Who would, idle threats, logic-brain had assured you. You had no need of her wares and no intention of buying them.

"It's ok, I don't expect you to say anything dear."

'…' body fails to counter again. Actually all the brain departments seem to be speechless at this point as body gives up the fight.

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"This is where I leave you, as I said I would. I can easily assume your appearance and I'll be running your shop going forward. Don't mind if I take your adorable little dog with me do you?"

'…' dammit brain do something!

"Wonderful, having him by my side will seal the ruse."

With that, she turned to go. You can see Morris happily following along. You suffer an uncharacteristic longing for dog breath, or even tongue.

'…' Dammit brain call out to Morris! your will emphasizes.

'Talk to body!' logic-brain counters, 'I'm done here.'

'…' body offers unhelpfully.

Understanding, well in part at least. You know the witch did something, as she had promised, to 'take it all away' but what exactly, and why the hell is body being such an unresponsive idiot!

Time. Quite a bit of it actually. All you can see is the sky.

'Looks like rain.' it's the first thing from hypothesis-brain that seems plausible.

'That's gonna suck.' offers logic-brain helpfully.

'Not now you idiot' retorts self-pity-brain.

More Time. Basically think of about as much time as it would take for you to get thoroughly annoyed with just laying there waiting, staring at the sky, and it was a bit longer than that that.

"Oh Look!" a new voice.

'You, female, 6, perhaps or 15' classification-brain still sucked at gauging age.

"It's a doll!"

A face comes into view.

'I was right about the female!' classification-brain self-congratulates.

Then your world sways, left, hard, then right, before the face is much, much closer.

"Oh he's darling!" the voice - which was indeed female and probably closer to 8 years old exclaims.

"Do you want to come home with me dolly?" she asks

'…' body fails to answer

'how the hell am I supposed to work under these conditions!' exclaims logic-brain before stalking off defeated.

"Oh I think we're going to be the best-est of friends!" says the girl before hugging you to her shoulder.

'Well, at least she smells better than dog-breath!' offers silver-lining-brain as she turns to carry her new toy home.

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