Graveyard Life

The doll wakes up.

This is the first mistake she makes each day.

The second mistake is sleepily grasping for her phone, hands moving in long-conditioned reflex: swipe through the pattern and tap the brightly-colored little icon—

Many wild species use bright colors to indicate danger. It is meant as a warning against attack: you may hurt me, they say, but you're going to have a fucking awful time afterward.

Other wild species use bright colors to attract attention and indicate reproductive fitness.

The doll's ancestors subscribed to the latter philosophy, which honestly really sucks for her in a society which has (quietly, without truly realizing) slid into the former.

So she's not at all prepared for what that little dopamine-hued button shows her.

It's nothing unusual, really. It's the sort of thing she sees every day. Sixteen dead in a cold snap the day after their camp was bulldozed; a legislature debating whether people like her really deserve to be able to exist in public. "Why aren't you talking about this?"

Death tolls rise and violence claims its justifications; protests continue. The enemy is powerful; the enemy is weak; the enemy is everything short of perfection. Her existence is a sin, fetishized and carefully unstrung for countless hungry eyes to eat alive. She is—

The doll throws her phone at the wall and slides out of bed.

She really, truly wishes that she had the common sense to leave her phone somewhere further away—to lock it in a little safe, maybe, timed to open only after she's had some time to wake up—but, well ...

She's just a doll, and she can no more change the way her clockwork heart was woven than she can sprout wings and soar beneath a blazing halo's light. She's just a doll, and nothing more, and in those words the rest of her life stretches out: each day just like the last.