She was the prettiest doll at the doll factory. He had had his eye on her for a long time. She was made of lovely mahagony. Her wood was soft and smooth, the grain strong yet refined. Her eyes were big and she couldn’t speak – he liked that. She was a puppet doll so she was quiet unless someone spoke or sang for her. She had joints that bent and strings that were attached to the joints. She could walk and dance wonderously, but of course not on her own. She had to be puppet-ed by someone, but when they played and pulled her strings she danced beautifully and walked gracefully. She was proud of her beauty, function and purpose as a puppet doll. She was well made. She was one of the pricier dolls at the doll factory. He couldn’t wait to acquire her and own her, but he would have to save his wages. He had already built quite a collection. He had many puppet dolls, but she would be his biggest and most exquisite. He was a wood-maker, and he made parts for many of the dolls at the factory. He mostly did legs, and he had worked her legs. They were very long and shapely. He had even carved her toes and toeneails to look just like a real person. Another wood-maker had made her arms, and they were well made as well, with fingers and fingernails too. All of her parts were handcrafted and well crafted for she came from a specialty factory. She was high quality, and she knew it, not just some cheap slapped together stuff like many other dolls. There were not many factories that made dolls of her caliber.
Then the special day came when he could purchase her. He took her down and cradled her in his arms. She was going home to meet the others in his collection and part-time shop. She was happy to be making a big change like this, for sitting on the factory store shelves was tremendously boring. She thought that he was going to be a kind and caring owner, but he was not. She supposed she thought this because he had wanted her so, and saved his money diligently for her. He had come to visit her many times on the store shelf, and he had eyed her over and over with longing in his eyes. It seemed that he would be the perfect owner, someone who really wanted her, but he became cruel and abusive in subtle ways as soon as he took her into his home. He made her keep him company at dinner and he would tell her that she was the reason for anything bad that happened, even if it had not happened yet, it was her fault. He did many other cruel things to her as well, all the time. He liked to tie her to her chair and drill holes into her legs. He was very cruel and he enjoyed hurting her. He also chopped her, cut her, screwed her, nailed her, stapled her, and he would put his cigarettes out on her. While he was doing all these mean things to her, he would dress her up in really odd undergarments and call her bad names. Tim, the wood-maker, was very cruel, warped, and strange. When he was mad at her, which seemed to be most of the time, he would hang her upside down in a dark closet and leave her there for days on end all by herself. Sometimes she thought he would never come back, and she couldn’t even have the company of the others…she was all alone. Another way he would take his anger out on her would be to throw her into the water, usually in the bathtub, and leave her there until she was waterlogged and her wood started to rot. And yet another form of his tortures was the ‘watch’, were he would just sit and stare at her for hours at a time, a weird stare, that made her melt with discomfort and foreboding.
Then one day at dinner he brought a cake with candles to her…this was because she had been with him now for one year. He told her that it was their anniversary together, and he told her to make a wish. She wished to be free of him. A mystical light hovered over and around her and then the candles flamed, as if some special force or presence had heard her and eerily would make it come to pass. After this, while they were eating the cake, she was startled to discover she could move on her own…you see he was feeding her her dinner, he always did, while he ate his too. She could not really eat, he just pretended she did, but while he was not looking, she scratched her head. She was shocked. She did not even realize that she did this until she did, thank goodness he did not see. She was also surprised to discover that she was hungry for some of the cake, and while he was not looking she actually took some bites. It was delicious.
First she just moved stuff around to confuse him and to keep him from torturing her. She hid his screws, the stapler, the nails, etc…She took the polisher and polished herself. She took care of herself like he should have, and she cared for the other dolls as well. She discovered that after she touched them or had contact with them, that they acquired her ability to move and do other things as well, which was dangerous because they were not as skilled at keeping these things hidden as she was, and she was terrified the wood-maker would discover their secret. But thankfully he was not very observant, and his superior attitude would not allow him to believe that his dolls were capable of doing anything but being dolls. He underestimated them. When she cared for the other dolls, she would do the same things she did for herself…she took their screws out, the ones from being abused…the ones that were not meant to be in them, but only put there out of cruelty. She fixed their cuts and holes with wood fill, etc…but she had to be very careful about doing this or he would notice. So usually she waited until a while had passed after that the doll had been hurt, and then when he had forgotten about it, she would fix it. Of course she was unhappy and didn’t want to stay with him, but she knew not where to go and she worried about the other dolls. Then one day a travelling gypsy man came to town. He was a vagabond and very handsome. He had a dog named Carter. His name was Exiter. She saw through the window that he was very affectionate with his dog and she saw that he was quite a character. She saw that he dealt and sold special concoctions, highly unusual items, and wild and crazy trinkets. She thought she might just fit in with all of this. He also occupied himself with magic and predicting people’s futures with cards and such humplemumf.
She saw her chance to escape for she knew that he would leave town soon, so if she hid in his wagon he would not discover her until later when they were far away. Before she left though, while the wood-maker was asleep, she took all the other smaller dolls and packed them in a trunk to take with her. She would leave him none for he did not care for them properly or with love. He tortured them, so he did not deserve them. They wanted to come with her, for they loved her. She cared for them and loved them, and he did not. While, the woodmaker, Tim was asleep she stapled his nightshirt, socks. and slippers to the bed, she hid his tools, and she poured wood glue in his underwear drawer. So when he woke up and tried to get out of bed, he would have a hard time getting going…before he even discovered that they were all missing. And she had never had a name, so she named herself…she became Freedlawna. She named the others as well.
Exiter the gypsy man discovered her hiding in his wagon about a week later when they were far from the town of Coldville. He had discoverd all of them, not just her. The others were not as good at being quiet as her. He was nice and he didn’t mind having them in his wagon really, in fact he really very much liked it. They were all sort of weird like him. He didn’t really fit in anywhere and neither did they, they were fellow outcasts. This travelling gypsy man and these unloved and abused animated dolls…surely for some strange reason, they all belonged together, and maybe the reason for this was simply that they all were odd-lots, woodlots. He did ask them to explain though why they had hidden themselves in his wagon, so they told him about the mean wood-maker. Exiter let them stay and grew fond of all of them, especially Freedlawna. He cared for her as well. One night, as he was brushing her long beautiful hair, he felt the longing to bend down and kiss her face. Her strings dissapeared and she became a real woman. Without a doubt they all lived happily ever after, all of them, for Exiter and Freedlawna then kissed the other dolls, and they became real children. Everyone was free and happy, even the dog. Arf, arf, art…
JANE À PARIS
Writing and Image Copyright ©2010 JANE À PARIS
Just a fairytale based on reality, as most fairy-tales really are…