ricozanderas@yahoo.com

There were a lot of ideas overall what this story could be, but even sparing any of that it follows my typical hawkthornean archetypes as far as story structure and tropes go. The lost wanderer, transfixed and transformed by their journey in metaphysical and often visually illustrious ways. I’d like to give thanks to all the people who helped build off and contribute to this piece, it’s been about 6-7 slumped years in the making with only recent interest bringing it back from the depths of obscurity. May any readers out there enjoy it thoroughly as I have writing it. Thanks!
~Brandygang

0Likes
0Comments
998Views
AA

2. Puella Aeterna pt2

If you had any dreams, you don't remember them when you wake up. The couch was a little less comfortable than the bed, so you feel a bit stiff as you stretch your little limbs and yawn.

You realize the couch looked a lot bigger today. Your legs dangle off the side and fail to touch the floor. You've gotten smaller, probably younger, and your skin is almost snow white. Looking down, you estimate yourself to be about four-and-half feet tall about. When you jump off onto the floor, your curly hair surrounds you. It's so thick yet so incredibly curly that the ankle-length tresses only reach your waist, surrounding you in a thick black bush. With the massive mane overhead, they’re the kind of curls you'd see in beauty magazines or perhaps silly Lolita-style wigs, and rolls of curls this solid, this perfect, didn't usually come naturally.

                       You think about cutting it all off when you spy your new outfit on the other couch across the room. The clothes you had thrown on the floor last night are, as expected, nowhere to be seen. This black dress was much smaller, but even more frilly. Black fabric with white loops and pleats and layers upon layers of fluffy skirt awaited you to fill them. You trot across the room, feeling a surge of youthful energy. You notice, too, that your panties have changed overnight to a underwear more fit for a child than grown adult. After slipping on the black-and-white leggings, you step into the dress, it being the kind that zips up in back. This dress actually had sleeves, which went all the way down your arms and ended in open-fingered gloves similar to your arm warmers. Apparently your tailor got offended that you removed them due to heat yesterday, and manufactured a countermeasure. These sleeves, though, are completely black with a leathery sheen instead of striped and cottony. They still feel perfectly lightweight on your arms however. Zipping up the back proves quite the chore with your hair's persistent curls getting in the way. You have to do something about them, first.

The house seemed to anticipate your needs. You see two white ribbons lying on the couch. With both hands you secure the left half of your curls, gathering the locks at the back-left side of your head and forcing as many of them together as possible. Then you wrap one of the white ribbons around the thick bundle of jet-black strands, tying it off with a nice big bow. The right side of your hair is soon to follow, although you find it very hard to keep it all together as you tie the knot. When you're finished you have two pigtails of impossibly curly hair floating behind you down to your waist.

The zipper, now free of intrusive hair, is pulled up and a thick white ribbon is tied around your waist, creating a large bow in the back. This supple dress, like the last two, falls to your ankles with its thick layers and frills. You put on the collar, which looks no different from all the others aside from being a little smaller. With that tied around your neck, you look around for what you can only guess will be two-foot-high platform boots.

To your surprise, you see a small pair of black shoes underneath the couch. They are ankle-less, shiny-black, and have only three-inch flat-footed platforms. Sighing in relief that you no longer have to worry about your balancing act, you slip them on easily.

Now it's time to examine your changes. You head to the third floor bedroom, where you know there is a full-length mirror. Unlike a certain other mirrored room that presented the danger of growing your hair even longer, which you choose to avoid. Your heels clomp loudly going up the staircase, and you have a hard time resisting the urge to run. Being more youthful, it seems, is making you impatient. You’d like to think that’s the case, most certainly so. Although you're not thrilled by your latest changes, you still want to see what your reflection looks like, intrigued by the mystery.

You reach the fancy door and turn the knob. You take one step into the room and gasp.

The bedroom has changed. Its furnishings are all still there. The bed, the dresser, closet, mirror, bath, vanity, and so on are just as you left them yesterday. But so much has been added. From the pink flowery wallpaper to the stuffed animals on the bed, the guest bedroom has become outfitted for a young girl. There are toys, a rocking chair, and dolls. Lots of dolls. They're sitting all over the dresser, on the chairs, and lying on the pillows. All of them have a similar build, implying they were all made by the same company...or the same person. You pick one up off the bed. Just like the rest, the doll is made of white plastic, with exaggerated makeup and pink rosy cheeks. She's dressed in a gothic outfit similar to yours. In fact, all of the dolls are wearing dark-colored ensembles, elaborately tailored. All of them have tiny little platform shoes of varying thicknesses. All of them have black lipstick and curly hair.

And they look all too familiar.

                              Clutching the doll in your hand, you walk slowly to the mirror. You don't even notice that you're stepping on some of the child toys littering the floor. A teddy bear gets his paw stepped on. A small wooden xylophone breaks under your heel. A coloring book's pages are crumpled in the shape of your footprint. You stop in front of the mirror. You feel so disturbed that if your skin could get any paler, it would have.

But it can't. Your skin is completely white. You stare at your chubby childish face with its dark blue eyeshadow and its black glossy lips and its thick black eyelashes and its perfectly round bright pink cheeks staring at you with the same vapid expression as the doll you hold. Having lost at least a decade in years and maybe foot in height, your youthful teenage body is dressed in its dollish black-and-white outfit, its black hair tied in two giant curly pigtails.

Your heart sinks as you finally realize the house has been turning you into a living, breathing, life-sized doll. Looking to the corner of the room, sure enough is a full-length mirror where you can see what would unmistakably appear to be an effeminate dainty and supple, pale skinned, curly raven haired teenage Goth girl in the mirror, a masterpiece of cultivated prettiness no longer even given the autonomy of a full grown adult. The appearances exaggerated dark black lips, pigtails, and hourglass figure looks more like something making a mockery of its exaggerated beauty per than the genuine article, and even more frustrating still were the children’s play things looking near identical.  

You can't stand this anymore. You've put up with these ridiculous transformations because you held onto the hope that there was a way to escape this place, but now that you realize the true indignity of your situation your anger becomes uncontrollable. What this house has done to you is beyond cruel, beyond twisted. You feel violated. Humiliated. Controlled.

"This damn house!" you shout, swinging the doll head-first into the mirror. It leaves a large web-shaped crack. You chuck the doll at the mess of dolls on the bureau, and then you attack the bed. As you rip out the sheets you continue screaming in anger. You try to tear the soft fabric but your weak hands are no use. Still you try, pulling at the sheets again and again, grunting loudly with each thrust. Eventually you settle for the teddy bear on the pillow, ripping it limb from limb and gouging out its cotton stuffing.

The drawers slide out easily. They're full of all sorts of black, white, dark red and dark purple Goth wear to fit a human doll such as yourself.

You toss each drawer across the room one by one. The mirror takes another blow and pieces fall out. You're a child. A large hold is torn in the vanity with collected Goth makeup on top. Next to the bath. You're a doll. One of the bedposts is decapitated. You're a plaything. The drawer-less dresser topples easily to the floor, crushing several toys in a resounding crack. But you're not helpless.

You drop to your knees to grab a piece of the mirror and position it above your left wrist. As long as you're a stereotypical-looking Goth, you may as well give into the stereotypical presumption that all Goths are looking for a way to end their miserable existences. The hand holding the mirror shard trembles. Do it. End the torture. Don't let the house manipulate you any longer.

 

“Wait.”

 

What if it's manipulating you right now? Ever since your first changes happened you've been feeling more and more depressed. What if your psychology was being affected by your changes? If you kill yourself, will the house win? Is that why it's not using its magic to stop you right now?

For once in your meager life since you’ve arrived here, you stop to think. You don’t act, you don’t rush to perform or entice giving the house anymore pleasure. You just, simply contemplate.  

There had to be other ways out of this. The maze had to have an exit. If you just had enough time. If you could just fend off the urge to take your life before you tried every other option...

Suddenly your body convulses and wobbles slightly, and you can feel the world rising upward again. Great, just what you needed, it knows that you’re upset and is rubbing it in now. As the room grows larger, you feel your body dwindling, pulling into itself and shortening until your clothes become baggy and short, and even your teenage grace is lost. What’s left is only youthful innocence, your gothic elegant appearance on a child kept intact impeccably you’re guessing, but it doesn’t even take a look in the mirror to know you’re less yourself now than anything. You’ve literally regressed to a child, probably prepubescent by now. Standing barely 3 feet tall, you stomp your foot and pout, but you’re so upset and humiliated by now that you cannot even work up the nerve to complain.

You simply grit your baby teeth and pull tightly on your adorable tresses.

You feel something on your face. A salty taste reaches your lips. You're crying. Its pitch black like murky ink. Your hand trembles. It's clutching the shard so tight your skin is being cut. Small drops of red appear on your snow white thumb. And that’s when you hold your hand up and realize your saving grace.

You're not a doll. You can bleed. Dolls don't bleed. If you cut yourself open, let all the blood drain out, then you'd be a doll. You'd be immobile and others could take you and dress you and pose you and put makeup on you. If you become a doll the house wins. And you're not a doll yet.

"This! Damned! House!" You scream and thrust the shard back at the mirror and it shatters into even tinier pieces. You crumple over, burying your white face into the carpet. Hair falls beside you in giant bushes of black curls. Your tears dampen the rug as you force your anger and your fear out through your tear ducts. Good girl. Get it all out. Don't let the house win. Keep your blood. Bleed through the pain. Let the anger go.

You stay there on the floor for some time, forcing yourself to continue crying until you can't shed another drop. It all has to go. The anger, the depression, the sadness, the fear. As it empties out of your soul you feel other emotions growing to fill the gap. Your determination returns. Your courage builds. You’re longing for a normal life, for your hopes and dreams to be fulfilled in a place that isn't surrounded by a giant hedge maze...it all grows stronger.

At last, you pick your head up. You wipe the last tears from your face and smile. You've beaten back the depression. The house can change you all you want, but no longer will it scare you. No longer will you follow its commands. You've regained control of yourself.

You've won.

 

You spend the next day exploring some of the other rooms. You find an expansive dining room, a sewing room, a few closets with cleaning supplies and linens, and some more guest bedrooms similar, but not quite as large and fancy, as the third-floor room now occupied by the dolls. You transcribe yesterday's maps, sitting on a stack of books placed on the seat of the chair so you can reach the desk comfortably in your 3'4" child-like body.

The house doesn't seem that pleased with you. All day you have to make your own meals, and you're not nearly as good a cook as the house was. But no matter what you eat or what rooms you explore, or how much time passes, you don't change any further.

Over the next several days you continue charting out the maze. Over the next several weeks you take some breaks, sometimes spending entire days just learning how to perfect a recipe, or exploring some more rooms. You try out each of the other guest bedrooms to see which ones are comfortable. You start to enjoy doing up your curly hair in different styles each day. You use the telescope in the study and amuse yourself trying to find all the constellations in an astronomy book from the massive bookshelves. You read.

You're not sure how much time has passed. It feels like several months, possibly a year. Your body doesn't grow at all. It doesn't change appearance one bit. If you injure yourself in the maze or with the kitchen utensils, a bath and rest cures it by morning.

All this time, and you are surprised to see that the third-floor bedroom never changes. Each time you feel curious, you peek in to see the mirror is still shattered and the dolls are still broken. The house is finished picking up after you. You won't play by its rules, so it isn't playing with you. It's probably only fixing your bruises and keeping you the same age in the hopes that one day, no matter how far off, you will finally decide to give into it.

Of course, the maze is still there. One wall of the study is covered in large rolls of parchment you found in the basement storage room. The web of geometric lines spreads out farther and farther the more you explore. It's getting harder to explore, as well. Sometimes you're forced to journey so far into the maze you have to spend the night in it. You always come prepared, though, in case you get lost or find something, god forbid, interesting inside it. You've memorized most of the layout already, not needing the map until you get to the outer fringes. At least, you hope they're the outer fringes.

 

One day you had gotten brave enough to climb the outside of the house. You made it onto the porch roof, and then climbed the outcropping of a second-floor window, and you confirmed your suspicions. The maze went on into the horizon in all directions. You've long since stopped looking out the windows. They only offered false hope, reminding you that there wasn't really a maze there. That you were being tricked by an illusion. It felt pretty real, though. Even garden shears, again, found in the basement, didn't cut the brush, so you couldn't even make your own path through it.

This morning you woke up in your favorite of the guest bedrooms on the second floor. It had purple walls and a king-sized bed surrounded by curtains. The bath was a little smaller, but that didn't matter to your prepubescent body. You dressed in a black-and-red gothic outfit today. After your first month you tired of the same outfit all the time, so you had raided the doll room of all its clothing. In fact, your old dress had gotten so disheveled by numerous trips through the maze that it was almost unwearable. The house wasn't lifting a finger to help you clean or fix your clothes anymore.

You've become very familiar with what you're able and unable to do in your youthful form. Whenever you need them, you don the foot-high platforms (found inside the third-floor closed along with various other footwear), and you've long since placed step-stools and chairs around the house in strategic places for easy reaching.

After a satisfying breakfast of pancakes, you continue reading a particularly interesting book on philosophy and human nature you had begun yesterday. This is a self-appointed day off from exploring the maze, and you've become quite accustomed to having all the time in the world.

 

Today, however, will be unlike any day you've experienced in this house so far.

 

Through the closed oak doors of the study you hear a creaking from the hallway. You were looking through the shelves for a particular book, when a something distracted you. Sudden noises rarely happen in this house, so you are quite startled. The front doors are opening! Someone else is here! You place the book on the end table as quietly as you can, then tip-toe to the door. Whoever they are, they're trapped here just like you. But at least you're not alone anymore.

Footsteps in the hall echo off the hardwood floor and seep through the crack in the study doors. Your heart skips a beat. When was the last time you talked to someone? You muster your courage and open the study door. Its creaky hinges signal your presence and the newcomer turns and stares right at you. 

A young adolescent boy stands in the middle of the hall. He's wearing street clothes and has short brown hair. He's clearly surprised to see you. You open your mouth to speak, but a faint note emerges. Your vocal chords haven't been used in quite a while.

"Uh...hi," he says sheepishly.

"Hello," you say in a raspy young girlish voice. You clear your throat for all the good it'll do. "I never expected to see anyone else here."

"My name...well, my name is Glen. I'm sorry for intruding. I didn't think anybody lived here."

"I didn't either," you reply. Your voice is already clearing up. "But you might as well make yourself comfortable."

"Uh, well I think I'll head on back," Glen replies.

He starts walking out the door. You decide not to stop him until he sees the maze for himself, but strangely he simply walks straight out the door. Maybe he just hasn't noticed it. But no, he's staring straight ahead. You run after him with your tiny legs. By the time you get to the door he's almost halfway to the maze and shows no sign of hesitation.

 

"WAIT!" you call out roughly. The strain on your throat causes you to cough. At this, Glen turns back to you.

"Are you all right?" he asks, walking back up to the porch.

"I just...haven't talked in a long time," you say. "You see that maze out there? It's kept me trapped here. I don't even know how long."

Glen stares out at the maze. "What maze? The one by that garden?" He points toward the statue garden off the side of the house.

Your heart sinks. Impossible. He must be able to see it. "What do you see straight down that path?" you ask him, clearly indicating the dirt track linking the porch steps with the maze opening.

"It's the path I came here from. I decided to go for a walk in the forest and noticed some old-looking gates. Thought it might be interesting."

"Follow me." You jog to the entrance to the maze. "You don't see this?" You run your hand along the thick hedge.

"Look, little girl, I'm sorry I bothered you. Please don't let your parents know I was here."

 

"WAIT!" you shout. "Just follow me, please! I have to make you see!" You grab his hand and start running through the maze. He tries to resist you, but your strength is bolstered by your persistence. Together you run, turn, then run some more. When you've taken a few turns you're confident that he can't remember the way back. You, on the other hand, know this section like the back of your hand.

 

"Okay," you tell him, letting go of his arm.

The boy is thoroughly confused. He steps back several paces.

"That's not the way we came," you say. "Can you find your way out or not?"

 

"My way out of what? We just spend the last minute running in place."

You suddenly realize that you're back at the maze entrance, in plain view of the house.

"I'm going to go now," Glen says cautiously. "It was nice meeting you."

"But...but..." You watch him turn and walk straight through the hedge wall as if it wasn't there. You run after him and meet a face full of brush, falling backward onto the dirt.

 

"No! NO! IT'S NOT FAIR! IT'S NOT-" Your voice finally gives out. Unable to make anything clearer than a whine, you pound the ground in a tantrum. You don't know why the house has picked you. Maybe you were the first. Maybe it just wants one. Maybe its hell meant for you alone. Tears flow from your face for the first time since you destroyed the doll room. There is no maze.

All your work these past months has meant nothing.

 

You cry in your study. You cry because you've failed against your house, and it's utterly defeated, humiliated, straight out manipulated you. Your eyes weep like nothing you've experienced before, no sadness applicable, no misery or poverty of hope comparable to the feeling of being absolutely taken, captured and enslaved by a piece of property and then into one. No one owns this house, you finally figure and realize. It owns you. Your actions directed likely for its amusement, your feelings nothing more than its own plaything. Much like your body, you cringe and begin trembling violently as pains of anger and fury fly though your body like scores of fire and lightening.

You scream as loud as a siren, making banshees and storms envious of your anguish and lepers banished far and low all the more thankful at the wrath incited on the house instead of you. You kick shelves and chairs down, tear apart rows of paintings and ornaments decorating the house. You shout and fill the house with your profanity as you force your fist into a mirror, a pale white dainty fist with black fingernails, drained of all its content like your spirits. The only thing that makes you remotely grateful is that you still have the strength to crack the First-floor room mirror. As your blood drips and the cracks spread with each and every whack, you finally push through its glass shattering it completely. You hold your palm to your forehead, grateful that you can still bleed at least.

You’re not a doll. Dolls don’t bleed.

In exhaustion and cornered by the absolute despair of these condition, you finally sit down and lay your body onto the floor. Picking up a shard of glass, you look at your pale white face, the splitting image of the dolls you so detested earlier, the image of a plaything the house sculpted out of what was left of your dignity.

Inky Tears run down your face, coating over the black and white sinister makeup cloaking what was once you, if you can ever remember what you originally looked like, but not smearing or interrupting even a moment of its cruel pitiless grace, its hateful gaze. You take the shard, rip it against the carpet to confirm its use and then hold it against your neck.

You want to know you’re not a doll some more, to feel like you’re not a doll. Maybe you can bring yourself to prove it. But you know you cannot, it’s no use. You drop the shard, lay back down, let out a blood curling shriek that echoes throughout the houses chambers. And then cry some more. You slowly crawl on your stomach to the remaining upright bookshelf and rip some of the pages off a book, using it as a wipe for your eyes. Than you start pillaging for the remaining books on the floor, pull up a chair and make do.

Several hours pass in despondent silence as you sit in the study reading. It’s the only thing able to take your mind off the horror inflicted on you. Reading is one of the few real pleasures you have left in life, and you're extremely thankful for it. You find this book in particular, a treatise on the human condition, to be absolutely fascinating. You can't say why, exactly, but something about the content stirs a warm feeling inside you and compels you to keep reading. Perhaps it's because you've been completely detached from human contact for so long, trapped as you are, inside this supernatural prison, it feels good to read about other people, if only to live vicariously through them. Your eyes dart across the pages as you voraciously devour and digest sentence upon sentence. This book is divided into twenty-six chapters... and you've already finished twenty of them.

Coming to the end of the twenty-first, you turn the page to find the introduction to the next chapter. The introduction page draws your eye. It is nearly blank, except for a few words centered on the page, in larger than normal typeface:

 

Chapter 22: Schadenfreude

 

Your eyes dart back over and reexamine that phrase. Interesting, you think. Anxious to jump into the next chapter, you turn the page. But... something isn't right.

The pages are completely blank.

 

You stare at the book, slightly thrown off from your rhythm. A printing error, perhaps? You turn to the next page. To your dismay, though, you find only blank pages once more. Slightly annoyed, you flip through the book. No, this can't be. All of the pages are blank now, even the ones you've already read!

Utterly irritated, you put the book down and scan the shelves for another. You will not let the house deter you from finding some measure of enjoyment. You select a book and open it... only to find that it too is blank.

                            You spend the next several minutes desperately searching for a book that actually still has words, but much to your frustration, there is not a single one left. Even the reference books have been blanked out. By the time you are finished searching, you have worked yourself into a fury.

 

Then it dawns on you. The meaning of the title of that chapter you never got to read.

 

The house is playing with you again... and it's not being nice about it. It's trying to break you, trying to break your spirit, your will to fight back. And, if that title is any indication, it's enjoying every minute of your suffering.

The thought is too much for you to bear. The house is laughing at you now... No. You're not going to let it break you. If you suffer over this, you're only giving it what it wants. You decide the best way to proceed is to let the incident go. You take a deep breath, count to ten, and retain your calm. If you can't read a book... well, you're hungry anyway. Maybe you can just make yourself some lunch and find something else to do.

You walk to the kitchen and search for something to eat. You are stunned to find the cabinets empty. This isn't right, either, they were stocked full just this morning! You run outside. If the kitchen is empty, perhaps you can still at least pick some apples.

When you reach the trees, however, you find them completely devoid of fruit. You're not sure how that is possible, but then nothing else during this whole strange ordeal has seemed possible either. What is the house trying to do, starve you to death? A cold thought surfaces in the back of your mind and seizes you. You've upset the house by refusing to play by its rules. It couldn't actually be willing to just watch you die now... could it? Oh, this is not good, not good at all. You've been here for a long time now, acclimatizing to being trapped. Despite its imprisonment of you, and all the transformations and indignities you've been made to suffer, though, the house up to now has been benevolent enough to at least sustain you. Even now, knowing that the house is not pleased with you, you've taken it in stride, preparing your own meals, fearlessly exploring the unknown rooms, and learning to derive some actual enjoyment here and there. For the first time, though, you're painfully aware of just how dependent upon the house you have become, and how much you take for granted that it wants to keep you alive. If the house ever lost interest in even keeping you alive... You shudder at the thought. You hate to admit it, but you know the truth from the bottom of your heart.

 

If the house ever wanted to finish you, it would. You wouldn't stand a chance.

 

Something inside you, your basest survival instinct, sets in. The house isn't just fooling around anymore. You promised yourself a day off, but that's no longer a promise you can afford to keep. You have no time to waste. You have to get out of this house, before it has the chance to finish you. It's time to get back to mapping the hedge maze. Even if it is futile, you have to try.

Determined to break free, and knowing now that your very life depends upon your success, you return to the study to retrieve your maps. What you find absolutely horrifies you.

Your maps are gone. All of them, just vanished. Months, or maybe years of hard work, all up in smoke. The books, the desk, the telescope too. Everything from the study has completely disappeared, leaving a blank room. Blank, that is, except for a small table in the corner, upon which sits a single piece of fruit. Rather than the apples you're so used to, however, this fruit is a pear. The house is forcing you to make a difficult decision. By now, you're absolutely famished, and this is the only food you've got now. But can you really trust that this pear isn't just a trap?

 

Trap or not, you decide there's no way around it. You're starving, and the pear is just sitting there waiting to be eaten. Any effects the pear may have on you are absolutely irrelevant to your decision at this point. You really don't care anymore. You’re not bothering to think it over anymore, to contemplating or waste your time weighing your options, they’ve simply grown too heavily stacked against you to bother. And so, you give in to your hunger, and sink your tiny teeth into the fruit. For the moment, at least, you're absolutely confident you've made the right decision. The pear turns out to be the most succulent and delicious fruit you've ever tasted. It is so tasty, in fact, that you cannot stop yourself from eating the entire thing in one rapid sitting. As you take bite after bite, compelled by a ravenous burning sensation, the juices seep out, moistening your lips and rolling down your chin.

Once the pear is sufficiently picked clean, you place its remains on the table and sit. Whatever happens next, at least your hunger has been satiated.

                It was delicious! You were so famished, but only a few bites of that pear satisfied your hunger. Like nothing you’ve ever had, it hit exactly the right spots and absolved the hunger you were so desperately feeling before that point. And up until now too long ago…wait a moment, how long? When did you suddenly decide to get hungry? You cannot even remember being that rash or starved when you were scrambling for your books and maps. Pausing for a moment, you turn around in a study mirror you just destroyed, now restored. Your reflection tilts her head, and gives a grim little leer, and the worst sensation hits you. Stupid stupid stupid! Why were you in such a rush again, you forgot to think! You forgot to reflect, and now the house and this bitch in the mirror is doing it for you. The hunger, the hunger was a lie. It connects now. You’re intentions, the fruit and situation set up. You’ve been manipulated again, played truly for a fool’s errand in your waking agony.

Your legs wobbly, you shake and fall rear first plump to the ground.

As you sit, pondering how you're going to make your escape now that your maps are all gone, you begin to notice more of the strange tingling in your extremities. It begins in your fingers and toes, and slowly crawls inward. As it does, you realize it gives way to total numbness. You try to move your fingers, but you cannot. Pressing your right palm against the fingers on your left hand, you are able to discern that they no longer feel soft and fleshy. Instead, they have become hard and brittle, and incapable of joint motion. Quickly the numbness sets into your hands, leaving them both frozen in an open-handed immovable gesture. It has reached your wrists and ankles before you are able to fully fathom what is happening to you now.

This is it. This must be the final step. You've spent all this time, trapped in this godforsaken house, slowly becoming a living doll. Now your flesh is hardening. You're becoming an honest-to-goodness inanimate doll!

You try to pick yourself up, but it is extremely difficult now. Your hands and feet no longer respond to your brain. You struggle to stand up, toppling over a few times in the process. Finally, as your elbow and knee joints harden, it becomes impossible. At this point, you'll have to settle for crawling. You drag yourself across the floor on your belly, toward the door to the room, but it is all futile. Your legs and arms are completely hardened now. They are jointed, you no longer have any control over them whatsoever.

This is really it. You've come so far, and fought so hard, but it doesn't make the slightest difference. The house is done with you. With your last ounce of limb mobility, you push yourself over onto your back. As you lay there, staring up at the ceiling, you think about all those dolls in the third floor bedroom. It's all so clear now. They were all hapless victims, just like you. They were all subjected to the same tortures and changes, and in the end, they each became another one of the house's collection. And now, you're going to be one of them too, forever and ever.

The hardening has crawled up your arms and legs now, and has reached your body. You can feel it slowly overtake every part of you. Your shoulders... your chest... your behind, and your privates too. As it spreads, turning every inch of your once-human body into a lifeless plaything, you feel the room around you growing larger. Of course, you know better than that, it is not the room changing size at all, but you.

Is it really going to end this way? You feel the changes creeping up your neck. Oh well, at least this will all be over shortly. You close your pretty childlike eyes, tears welling up in them. Your mouth is lost to it... your nose, your ears. Finally it forces your eyes open, and they glaze over. Your rosy porcelain cheeks are still damp and streaked with tears, but you're no longer crying. You are a doll.

“What's going on?” you think to yourself. You've lost yourself momentarily, and now you're scrambling to figure out what has just happened. Suddenly your perception of existence has drastically changed. You can't really see or hear, per se, and you're not sure where you are, but you do feel an odd energy pulsing through you. You feel as if you are immersed deep underwater, in the lightless black zone. You're not breathing, and you don't feel your own heartbeat, but still, you exist. And now, you can feel your self being drawn toward the surface of the water. Fuzzy mental images like hallucinations drift into focus, and you begin to hear sounds in your head as well. And then you remember.

 

I'm a doll, you think to yourself. Your human senses are all as useless as your body, but somehow, you're able to sense everything around you once more. You're not sure if you're imagining it or not, it feels like you're dreaming, but you're in an empty room, lying on your back on the floor, looking up at the ceiling. You cannot move, and you cannot turn off the dream sensation. All you can do is lie there and take it all in, and wait for something to happen.

You just stay there for what seems to you to be an entire lifetime. An eternity of stillness, as a child’s play toy kept only for the collection of a piece of property. Perhaps it is. You've got no real sense of time anymore, so you can only guess. At last, though, something catches your attention. It is small, but noticeable. Tiny vibrations, coming through the floor. As they begin to get more noticeable, they are also accompanied by a sound.

There's no mistaking it. These are footsteps. Somebody is in the house. And whoever it is, he or she is definitely getting closer.

You open your eyes. You can move again. You’re no longer a doll, at least not in the literal sense. As you slowly get up you have a hard time moving your body due to not having used your muscles in an undeterminable amount of time. Still stiff and short of stature, you just barely manage to crawl enough to escape the pile of dolls you were resting with. You give a quick look back. For however long, you were indistinguishable from every one of those toys, a mere child’s plaything.

Even though you’re still a little girl, being able to move and think again independently is a great improvement to you, even if you think in the back of your head your situation is barely reconciled. You wouldn't imagine the house would let you go that easily, it must have some special reason or purpose for letting you go or it wouldn't let you move around so easily.

The room on the third floor is restored to the way it was when you were its resident, when you still believed there was a possibility you could have escaped its grasp. Save for some of the broken dolls. But that doesn't matter now, you have more pressing matters to be concerned about. You hear the footsteps coming from downstairs, and you hurry downstairs to make this occasion play out as it would.

 

You see an old man standing in the middle of study, with a hat in his hand. His eyes are black, and he looked old, yet you can feel a youthful air in his presence. His eyes lightening when he sees you.

"Ah, mistress. Please follow me. The house wants to talk to you."

The house? The house wants to talk to you?

It is makes sense, of course. Kinda, sorta, since the house has changed you from Middle Aged woman to a toddler sized living, breathing doll. Still, you didn't last this far because you trusted someone. You don't have a choice.

The first time you meet him, you noticed his clothes. He wears a standard butler uniform, but if you look closely, you can see a jack at the base of his... skull. Not only that, it's even more un-nerving that attached to his skull is some sort of cover or slip atop it. And then it dawns on you, that's no ordinary head cover. It's what passes for his skin.

"Is there something wrong mistress? We really should get going." He says.

As he does, you look closely and see that his jaw is dislocated to his skin, like someone trying to talk through a loose mask or with their mouth covered up. His fake skin slips and slides as he turns and moves forward, giving way to the image of the jack and his skull in the opening at the back of his head.

Feeling a sense of dread, you began regret your decision. Regret. But not reconsider.

As your walking up, you speak out one of the windows to get a good look outside. And to your surprise, the maze is gone! You can just walk out and leave now, if you choose. Biting your tongue slightly, you suddenly realize it was like that before, but it's likely the maze is still there once you get outside. No. That's not logical, there's no reason for the maze to be there anymore. You've discovered its paltry truth, the trick has been revealed, the jesters mirth unearthed for the fraud that it is. The house has no reason or way to make you explore a false maze or exit that leads nowhere you think, as you start climbing back up the stairs. You've lost track of the butler, but you caught a glimpse of where he was heading at least. You know this location because you were just there.

Your child body may be quick and spry, but your mood slows your pace to an excruciatingly slow crawl. Slowly, you ascend upwards and climb the stairs. Tears stream from your chubby cheeks and you try to choke back another round of crying.

You rub your hands across your eyes as you turn the knob to the little girl’s guest room. It's not still in its state of disarray that you caused who knows how long ago, but the dolls are still shattered around the room. He then brings you to the dreaded bedroom. That is to say you follow him into it and then see him off, ready to depart.

"Please clean yourself", He said. "Don't worry, mistress, nothing will happen. I have been commanded to bring you as healthy as possible."

He then smiles. "You are ordered to wait here for the House to speak with you. While you do, please wait and comply with anything it says young Mistress." He points to the infamous toys that refurnish the room. You still cringe at the thought that not only were you one, but that look nearly identical still and those might not have been dolls before. The butler calls your attention and gets ready to leave. "After you are done playing, sleep for a while. We shall eat later."

He then turns around and goes downstairs.

You considering hitting his head when he returns, maybe holding him hostage and forcing the house to let you leave, but being identical to child’s living doll put you at disadvantage. Maybe you should do as he says? You don't have much of a choice. You slam the door behind you.

"Okay," you say to the piles of mutilated dolls, mirror and resuscitated furniture, ready to break them again an in instant. Actually a few of the dolls are still broken, which occurs to you as odd. Only a select few are repaired and put back in place nicely, just as doll limbs still litter the floor, and you question why this is. Maybe the house plays favorites?

You take a long sigh and speak softly "I give up. What do you want? I'll give it to you! What do you want?

"Play with me."

A chill rockets down your spine. You don't know where that little girl's voice came from, but it's much cuter sounding than yours. Your voice has become somber, cynical. This voice sounded as sweet as sugar and as joyful as a kid on Christmas, stretching in a smooth and childlike tone saccharine and comparable to taffy combing the edges of ones tongue.

"What?" you gasp.

From the pile of rubbish, a doll with a crack in its cheek and a missing eye stood up. It had straight black hair and the one eye it did have was pale blue. It wore an adorable frilly black dress with a plaid red vest and shiny red shoes.

"Play with me," it said without moving its lips.

You are terribly unsettled by this development. Still, you've got nothing else to do but abide by its wishes. "Okay," you stammer. "I'll play with you. What game do you want to play?" "It's a lovely game," the doll tells you in its squeaky voice. It cocks its head. "I have been waiting so long and I am so anxious to play it." 

 

You eye the doll suspiciously, but before getting to ask the doll more about this preposition, you are interrupted by a rising figure behind you. The shadow creeps over and with it a realization hits you’re not the only one in the room. Standing behind you staring is a girl about in her teenage years, with snow white cropped hair, murky pale skin and tired eyes. Her face is battered with the same gothic makeup that decorates your face. Closing the door behind her, she stands at about 5'4 eyeing you down as a mere child to her. You eye her back wondering if the house has already affected her.

Her short hair has thin long curly black-gray tresses in the back that flow straight down to the near of her ankles. A pair of thick-soled black boots coat her feet similar to the ones you had originally. Underneath are a pair of solid black-and-white striped stockings, ripped allowing her pale legs to show through. She wore a knee length loose skirt flows freely, held up by a large ribbon belt, and at her top sat a velvety black buttoned blouse just below a collar covering most of her neck.

She scrunches down upon you as a worshipper might when first sighting their monolith, whether by way of unrequited reverence or inhospitable derision. “Oh aren't you so cute?" Scooping your small form up easily in her arms and kissing your nose, her voice is sweet enough to saturate sugarcane. You're surprised to see her lipstick rub off on your nose. Realizing she wasn't effected by the house, as you look closely, you see thin slits underneath her eyes masked by tear drops painted below her eyes. She hugs and snuggles you closely enough that you could swear something is fearful and raw, causing primal anxiety to spike up within the childlike plaything of a body you possess.

"So what... are... you doing here...."

Creaking and pausing, she gives a shift of the head or neck with every fragment she tries to utter, convulsing uncomfortably to get her final word out. As if a clock hand striking across its digit’s, with each turn she makes she slows down and slowly fails to communicate meritoriously as per usual her fluent enthralling speech.

"Sweetie?"

The last thing she says echoes in a sweet voice into your ears. As she drops you and leans over, her arms go motionless and her body stiffens like a doll. Which, if you had to take a guess, she most likely is. Her shiny skin and jointed appendages practically confirm this.

You back away slowly, where you find yourself cushioned by the pile of reformed dolls once again. Wiggling limbs and toys that start latching onto your legs and crawling upon supple kneecaps. You keep your composure not to scream, but it’s harder because the doll asking for your participation earlier twist it's head around and then starts speaking motionlessly. Words eject from its still mouth as its eyes fix on you.

"Play with me! I've been waiting so long, come and play with me!" The doll looks up again and the realize hits it's referring to none other than yourself.

"How? How can I play with you?"

Pulling yourself out of the doll pile you lunge forward again.

"Twist me! Give~me~a~twisty!"

The doll says singsong, bobbing its head slightly to the sides, sending its fake bangs in a fleecy frothy wobble of childlike delight.

You stare very confused for a moment, before you almost mentally gag and realize what she means. The Skull Butler comes to mind, and you desperately hope she's not referring to what you think she does. You feel an instinctive draw to cover the back of your head, if only to secure that your skeletal tissue isn’t exposed. Crawling towards the Doll Girl again, the smaller doll repeats its request and pats the back of its head just so you’re sure, disturbing you more as you crawl up her back and get a closer look. Moving your way around the back of head and pulling the tresses with some difficulty out of the way, you finally manage to comb it apart, although dishearteningly you wished you didn't. At the back of her head is her skull, with a small 'X' mien etched onto the bone with the surrounding cracks is a key-like jack inserted into her back skeletal cavity. Her surrounding skin is stitched on like a quilt and only a slight touch of the skin reveals it's loose and slack. It’s easy to figure she's been skinned, and then had her rotten organ reattached.

"Play with me." The doll on the floor says to you.

You ask it how repeatedly as it continues patting the back of its head. “It’s my favorite game of all!" Shuffling through the deranged girl's head again, you only find the X and Jack as the doll begins rubbing her mitten-hands rapidly.

"Play with me! I've waited so long darling!"

As if suddenly you get a clue, very slowly you turn the jack on the back of her head. The girl begins moving upward once again, her arms shifted back into motion robotically and with enough twist she finally becomes upright and functioning as before. Despite her mobility you now notice her movements seem much more, mechanical than they were before. She rotates her head around and looks at you, dawning on an eerie and intimidating smile.

"Hello. I'm Dolly, so what are you doing here, sweetie?" She asks.

You simply stare back speechless. As she talks, her mouth moves in a distasteful and artificial way, like a puppet. It's clear that her mouth isn't moving naturally as her skin flaps tightened against her face, so you wonder how she speaks at all. "Game time now!" The anxious doll below says, standing up and raising its plush hands up towards you and your mounted jacked girl doll. Denying you the chance to ask anything further, it simply ask of you.

"What's your favorite color?"

You stutter, not sure if you should answer it where you’re at or get more comfortable. You cannot give a coherent response that would satisfy. "Mine is black. Black is inky darkness, true nothingness." Its answer calls forth the other dolls as they giggle and raise themselves up. "Black! Black! Inky blackness, like the kiss of death!" “Black like the night sky, extinguishing starlight with its ethereal veil!" "So much black!” “Such a pretty color!" "Black black black!" A breathy panic escalates with you as they continues their little game.

"Next question. What's your favorite part of the body?"

It stares at you with black painted on eyes and you can only feel this entity piercing into your depth. Your hand fidgets on the jack, losing their composure as you swindle it back and forth nervously, triggering jerky movements in the girl’s posture.

"A heart right! Fluid blood, running through your veins! Pumped through your neck, under your skin, into your recesses and beyond! ““A heart a heart! Blood spilt will always flow through the heart!" "Or how about lungs, breathing fresh air through your swollen pits of air as you gasp for life stealing existence from the sky!" "Liver, the liver that filters the putrid stench of life and waste from your body and leaves you clean and pure!" "Stomach, a stomach that devours and digest all the objects, purging self into darkness as gluttony sinks through!" "Heart heart heart!" "Lungs that breathe!" "Spine, spine that upholds you!" "Bloody bleeding red veined heart!" The answers echo and murmur into the room as you start twisting the jack faster, and soon in turn the mounted girl twitches and marches backwards.

The horrific dolls giggle and ‘play’ more. "So much fun! Now let's get ready for the final question. Let's finish the game!" All the dolls stationed around the room chuckle and crawl towards you, some gaining the mobility to walk upright.

"Of all of the precious girls and friends here, how many?" The leading doll asks.

"How many?" "How much?" "Which many?" "Who much?"

Like a tirade of infantile adorable interrogations, insurmountable questions are thrown out. You don't quite understand the presence, but per their approach you feel continually fearful and you and your only mounted protection back up all the way to the wall, your hand pulling and tugging on the Jack.

"How many what? I don't understand the question!" You say. Stopping, they look at each other, and only let out a fit of giggles.

"Of all of us, who has flesh and blood, soul and sinew dwelling within them?"

The doll begin tearing at their dress and ripping at the fabric until beneath, a plastic immobile heart is seen, lifeless yet insipid. Tearing at it, it throws it towards you and the girl, and it rolls right beneath her feet. Stuffing and buttons start flying as the cannibalistic plaything’s tear at each other and offer you pieces of themselves, patting their bodies reassuring you knew who was flesh and who was fabric here.

"Who of us? Who who who?" "Yeah Who?" "This is a fun game, I wonder who?"

The legion of dolls approach you and quickly make their way across the room. Your heart races, the heart still alive and breathing within you. The heart that pumps when you pull at the knob as it remained shut. The heart that beats when you fiddle with the jack desperately, twisting as it lodges further into the girl’s skull until finally it comes out, jerking inanimate for a second, momentarily before returning to life and rotating her head around in a complete 180 turn. Pushing you off towards the door and slowly reaching back into her head, she ripped the covering off until her loose skin rips and tears at the stich, and when it finally gives way she yanks it off her head completely. What remains is a skull with its doll like eyes kept in place, and its hair firmly attached to the rotting remains of its back.

"Who?" It repeated.

You scream. Thrashing forward violent to no one’s sympathy. Tiny desperate legs crawl back and retreat, but the ghastly girl and sinister dolls already have you at a corner and are further creeping towards you. You can’t escape it. You’re surrounded completely, the girl, having regained her autonomy, shudders as her stiff body goes feral and springs to action again, grinding her neck into place and giving you a wicked smile. Thump. Pocketing night-black nails on through, coursing your hair cold fingers, through your garments, ravaging up your body leaving not the least bit sensuality to your imagined ludicracy less you be intoxicated with perpetual terror invariably. Thump. Up your torso. Onto towards across sparing covering fiddling engorging devouring your chest. Thump Thump. Towards your heart. Thump Thump Thump. Towards your heart. Thump Thump Thump. Towards your heart. The sound you hear. From yourself and from her lips you couldn’t say. She moves in closer, whispering it into your ears so you could know.

You shake and cry, but determined to escape try to slip past them. No luck, with your five year old body the teenage skull headed gothic girl grabs onto your leg and pushes you back into position. The surrounding dolls in fits of giggles and distorted girlish voices taunt you as they hold you down. The girl walks back, picks up her jack and reattaches it to her skin-mask. She comes back towards you as you try to escape desperately, throwing your mini captors off. The girl puts her mask back on and jams the jack back into her skull firmly into place. A doll with a needle hops upon her neck and begins stitching, until the stitches seem together again.

She approaches you again, kneeing you down and crushing your small petite infantile body. “No, no no NO!"

A punch in one direction, a kick in another, even with all your strength and resistance you can muster with your scrawny weak and pathetic body it makes no difference. The dolls overpower you and the girl puts both arms around your neck, holding you down against the floor. With her hand against your face, she raises a finger and insist you 'Ssssh’. Her other hand is at your chest, tracing and tickling your torso as she whispers.

"You."

You thrash and rebel violently with all your strength again. Futile. She moves her hand again towards your mouth, covering it as she gently strokes your hair muffling your cries and screams. A stroke turns into a grab as she feels the back of your head, feeling it along to the back of your neck as she presses harder against your mouth.

With a simple twist, she forces her hand into your mouth gagging you instantly. She squirms and wiggles her wrist forward, than her elbow and soon her shoulders and it doesn't take long before her entire arm is shoving down your fragile throat. You choke and resist, the feeling of your hand reaching inside you more uncomfortable and humiliating than anything you've experienced since arriving here.

However rather than being granted an agonizing death or submission by asphyxia, you are kept alive. You figured as such, in your current body and state it's doubtful they'd let you off that easily, even with such a cruel death such as this. I'd be a form of relief, of freedom. Couldn't let you have that as you plea and cry. You gag more, gargling against her elbow prods. You try biting down but to no visible effect. She's been stuffing her arm down your body for almost a full minute and finally reaches down the core of your pride and objective of their shame. Thump, Thump - thud.

You hear her whispering that mantra, hear it still inside your head, but it’s different this time. Even gagged and wasting away by her hand, you suddenly come to the horrible realization what’s occurred. What is occurring. What’s about to occur. It all transpires at once to you, time is transient here. Thud, thud.... Soon even the rough sound inside your chest begins to fade. And then all is silent. She keeps her arms still, tightens her palms up. You can feel her inside your miniature body, but that to changes. You cannot feel it anymore, only her. With only a moment of peace, your respite is broken and met with a painful agonizing scream.

And just like that, her arm is out. Along with other things. She rips it out like an infant abducted from childbirth, like one's innocence and longing virginity clawing at the last remnants of its livelihood, rendering any prospects of hope gone, insane restoring its innermost freedoms while making the oblivion of your whole vigor and livelihood unchained. Pain and distortion, hellbent invasive on recalling any willing inhabiting rectitude. Total terror for the unsought after resolution in a whole dignity disappearing like white noise in a hail storm, a light going out in an uncertainty of veiling darkness.

Another ripped at its innermost.

A thousand meticulous unscripted thoughts parade and storm throughout your tormented mind, unspeakable by words or any verbal communiqué to any auditor listening across the trepidatious woods or cityscape, understandable only in the most incomprehensible harrowing bane refracted throughout your mind in perfectly clarity, a picturesque image of insanity painted over your mental canvas.

Innocent hope sanity lucidity a faith incomprehensible to mortal understanding beneath the realm of lesser conviction that no reliance will to reassurance. Lost from sense misplaced across time seeping into reveries of the most reticent kind, returning fold a magnanimous bang of brilliance echoing pain and anguish across the netherealms of your highest closest held assertions. Break bleak blast and bloat blotched bodily bogging broths of bled boiling blood-bridges, ripped a-round ravaging rancorous ravine’s reaching relentlessly regretting relinquished restoration rested reaped recordation unrequited. The very tenants of thought, identity, you’re entire quintessence of being is not dithering but rather met as absolute devastation. Its newly voided chalice obliquely tarnished with an eternally shattering enumeration of infinite manifold possibilities of lack. Yet piously to true sin encroaches inwards with only withering maroon miniscule infinitesimal life bearing branches reaching into the emptiness that plugs you, plunders and plunges your lack, dripping into nothing, withering without reach and probing for an entry point of recognition within your innermost constitutions. Turning up unmitigated with desolation. Bleak nil. Desolate naught.

Unfeeling Nothing. Nothing. You are nothing.

The feeling only lasting a mere second, eternity stretches over multiple vivid judgments harsher than from yourself or any god you can ever conceive of. When you come back down, only hell reawakens you to a glimpse of saneness. A mere drop in an oasis of dread and fretful anxiety return to you and for a bleak yet pivotal moment, you can open your eyes and reassert your mind again.

You scream and cry, seeing only phantasms of red scarlet fleshly dew dripping down her arm covered in crimson liquid. Ripped out of your mouth carrying the remains of your humanity with it, relapsing vanity and your darkest imaginings over and over with the sight of her walking away with it. With the faint sound still beating as she walks away, the other dolls are slowly burying you and begin to tear and rip you apart completely. You feel like you should be dying, drowning in deaths embrace, choking on your own fluids atleast, if they could even still flow freely.

All you can see is her holding, stroking, wrapping her arms around it. Red liquid stains her arms and body. Pours out of it still. Rivers of scarlet life flood down your mouth and bury you underneath. Pouring down your chest, flooding across your body, tributaries of gunk, horrible goring flows of death wetting and dripping across the floor, cold and callous like a gooey molten carapace of your own bodily fluids. She comes back and puts a bloody hand on your eyes as it takes a sadistic rhyme in slowly pushing you further down. Your eyes struggle not to close as dimness takes hold. You feel consciousness finally slipping out, like the darkness of night fading in a better day, or something better. Perhaps a blissful oblivion, if only. As the last of your vision fades, you can hear her repeating those last few words as you sink into the dark.

"Thump.. thump.. thump" The last thing you can feel is her bloodied fingers stroking your mouth, sliding down your neck and pressing towards your chest.

And soon, you cannot feel anything at all.

 

Join MovellasFind out what all the buzz is about. Join now to start sharing your creativity and passion
Loading ...