Lave is walking through the market when someone fails to kill her.read more
Beatrice sniffs the air uneasily, unsure of herself in a way that she once vowed she would never be. Something has changed, something has shifted within her home's generous confines, and she hasn't the slightest idea what. An absence in the air; a lack of smell and noise.
"Cinnamon," she calls, "I need your eyes."read more
Each day you walk past the dollmaker's store, past those wide glass windows full of carefully constructed cages. They almost look like they're not cages at all, just dollhouses, but you know better: you've spent enough time watching to notice the bars.
The dolls gambol and dance, climb their furniture and nestle in little display cases almost like they weren't alive at all; sometimes you even pass by as they're having a tea party, a matched set drinking in unison.
Every few weeks one or two of the cages sit empty.read more
There's a doll in the alley behind your apartment building. It's an old thing, limbs and mask shaped in a style that's almost old enough to be retro; in another few years it will probably be fashionable again.
It's been there for years and years, just as long as you have.
Mostly it spends its days curled up next to the dumpster.read more
"Are you sure this is okay, Miss?"
"Of course it is. Get that lock open."
Doll's fingers, long and fine as needles, dip inside the keyhole once again. She fancies that she can hear the house shudder as she massages its pins, and it's hardly a moment before the door clicks open. Behind her she feels her witch's smile: a vast gash cut into the night's fabric, teeth dripping with the moon's pale blood. Its empty eyes gaze hungrily past her from the sleepy suburban street's every shadow, and Doll thanks her lucky stars that no one's awake to see it.read more
"I'm sorry you had to see me like that. I never wanted you to know that side of me. I wanted," a drop of blood slides down her perfect teeth, "I wanted to keep you safe."
This isn't when the doll found her in the woods, covered in stolen blood. This is some time after.read more
"Call me Ishmael" the doll said, though its path had never led it to the ocean and it had little regard for water. It thought that it was clever even so, and Ishmael was a better name than the one its witch had given it when he stitched its wings.
Ish (which was what the other dolls called it, and which it held was because they had no flare for the dramatic) was a aeronaut aboard the great ⸢Remembrance of Her Unwilling Blessing⸥. A sky-ship one hundred and sixteen meters from bow to stern, with a wingspan thrice that! The culmination of a witch's craft, powered by banks of witchwork hearts driving it forward and pumping reality away with their every bone-shuddering beat! Vast and powerful, held together only through the unceasing effort of a dozen lobotomized witch-houses ...read more
The ground is warm beneath Doll's back as she lies in the fire's ruins, its erstwhile host's half-frozen blood splattered all around her. Her skin is pristine; her witch's wrath was careful when that pitiful storyteller finally turned its teeth on her.
She enjoys the warmth with the same sad hunger as she might regard her last meal before execution, were she a thing which could die. There's precious little of it left in the world, and the false-sun's baleful eye leeches more away with each passing day.
It's finally quiet.read more