Ok, here's the second chapter! And I changed the title of the first chapter, I decided I didn't like it. :P
Chapter 2: The Glass Prison
I woke up with a pounding headache. My body seemed to have become stiff and brittle during my sleep – I felt as though I was made of wood. For a moment I simply lay on my back, letting my eyes adjust to the darkness.
The last thing I remembered was the elaborate dancing formation of the Circus people, to the tune of the haunting lullaby. They had spiralled around and around each other, working into a frenzy. Then there had been lights – flashes, sounds, colours – and darkness. This place was so strange. Just when I thought I was finally starting to work things out, something else happened to turn the world upside-down.
I stretched wearily. Turning my head to take in my surroundings, I saw that I was in a cramped dark room made out of large worn stones. But the stones were covered in something smooth and shimmering – like water. After a moment I realised that the ceiling, walls and floor were coated in glass.
I sat up carefully, wincing as my muscles protested their treatment. I had been sleeping on a cold stone slab coated in glass. No blanket, no pillow – not even a sheet to wrap around myself. No wonder my back was sore. The hard table had been placed in the middle of the room. There were no windows, no furniture – not even a washbasin. Just the granite sleeping place and a large, steel door. It suddenly struck me that I was staying in a cell – a prison. Would I be locked in here forever? Would I be allowed to leave?
Cautiously I stood up – swaying slightly - and padded over to the door. The floor was icy against my bare feet. I shivered, rubbing my arms briskly to generate some warmth. Each exhalation made little mushroom clouds in front of my face. Since when had it become so cold? I felt as though tiny needles of ice were jabbing at my skin.
With each step towards the large steel door, the air around me seemed to grow colder. I clenched my teeth together to keep them from chattering, unable to control the shivers that rippled through me. What would I find on the other side of that door? Would it even open? Questions. Too many questions.
Sucking in a breath, I reached out a trembling hand to touch the doorknob. My hand was so numb that it took me a while to be able to grip the knob firmly enough to turn it. Then…
I barely had time to register the delighted squeal before something small and soft rammed into me. I stumbled slightly, trying to cover my surprise. Looking down, I saw a girl with brown hair fastened into a long plait. She had her arms wrapped tightly around my waste, clinging to me as though I were her only anchor in the middle of a churning sea.
“River…?” I gasped.
She looked up at me, her little doll’s face smiling sweetly. “I’m so glad you didn’t disappear! Then I would have had no one to play with!”
I frowned. “Disappear…? Where would I disappear to?”
She shrugged prettily, her eyes widening. “Oh, nowhere. They just disappear. Poof! And they’re gone!” She released me, raising a delicate hand to cover a giggle.
“Oh.” I looked at her uneasily. There was something not quite right about her large, solemn eyes… They didn’t match her girlish behaviour and innocent appearance. They were… an adult’s eyes. Tired. Wary. Secretive. And something… frenzied. Like a trapped bird trying desperately to break free, but knowing there was no hope. The discrepancy was unnerving. Then again, everything in this place was unnerving. Given time, I expected I would come to accept strangeness and absurdity as the norm.
River was looking up at me with exaggerated cuteness – almost as though she was using it as armour. “You like me, don’t you? You want to be my friend?”
“Um… sure. Ok.”
Suddenly River’s gaze sharpened, and became more intense. “We have to stick together here,” she said quietly. “It’s better if you have friends to play with.”
I stared at her for a moment, and then nodded slowly.
The tense atmosphere eased in an instant as River smiled and held out her hand to me. I hesitated for a moment, and then slipped my hand into hers. She laughed and turned to skip lightly down the long corridor, pulling me along behind her.
“Come on!” she called merrily. “Star’s waiting for us!”
I stumbled behind her, feeling awkward and out of place. Looking to either side of me, I gasped. We were moving so fast that the doors and walls were blurred, and yet it felt as though we were travelling at no more than a slow jog. We turned corner after corner until I could no longer keep track of my surroundings, while on either side of me hundreds and hundreds of doors sped by.
“How many people are there here?” I gasped.
“No one knows!” River called. “People may come, and people may go, and people may fade to shadows! Dolls only smile as the numbness creeps by, and put on a wonderful show! If people are toys, then people won’t die, but break and crumble and - !” She laughed.
I shook my head, not even trying to make sense out of it.
By squinting into the wind, I saw that there was something written on all of the doors. Initials… an acronym? H. E.L. L. …
“River? What does H. E. L. L stand for?”
I almost ran into her as we came to an abrupt stop. The sudden change in motion made me feel slightly dizzy, and I had to catch myself against the wall.
River leaned in close to me, smiling mysteriously. “It’s a secret,” she whispered.
I shivered, an icy feeling of dread slowly sinking its claws into my skin.
“Are you frightening the New Girl, River?” Star’s voice called from behind me.
“No,” River replied defensively. “I was just playing with her.”
“Well, be careful with her. She might break.” Star came to stand in front of me and looked me up and down, her eyes assessing me. I felt as though I was undergoing some sort of test. My first instinct was to shrink in on myself, but I raised my chin and looked Star in the eyes.
Star nodded approvingly. “You’ll do,” she said. “How’d you like to join our team?”
Star nodded. “Everyone has a team here if you want to survive. We look out for each other – but that doesn’t mean we’re not allowed to abandon each other, right? You have to put yourself first, here.”
“But it’s more fun if you’re in a team,” River added.
“Um… ok.” I replied. I wasn’t sure exactly what was going on, but I would feel safer if I had people to explain things to me.
“Great,” Star agreed, smiling.
I was distracted for a moment by a strange inconsistency in their appearances. But I couldn’t quite put my finger on it…
“Wait,” I said. “There’s something different about you… I don’t know - ” Then I gasped, realising that she was no longer wearing her sequined outfit or elaborate stage makeup. “Your clothes… they’re different!”
Star was now wearing a pair of tight black jeans with knee-high red boots, and a matching deep-red shirt with numerous straps and buckles along the side. She looked almost normal.
Star laughed. “Of course my clothes are different! It’s not time for the next performance yet. Today, we’re only playing. Your clothes are different, too. Although you won’t get your Costume until the Ringmaster assigns you one… if he assigns you one.”
I looked down to see that she was right. I was now wearing clothes very similar to hers – tight black jeans, a white halter-neck top and soft, grey boots. Only River’s clothes were still unusual.
Star seemed to know what I was thinking, and she shrugged, smiling indulgently. “River likes to wear little girl’s dresses. She thinks it’s cute, don’t you, River?”
River nodded seriously.
Star clapped her hands together suddenly. “Now, how about I show you around?”
“Sure,” I replied, as Star began to lead us down yet another long corridor. I wondered how they knew where they were going, because everything looked exactly the same to me.
“So, what are you in for, then?” Star asked me conversationally.
I frowned in confusion. “In for?”
Star looked at me in faint consternation, as though assessing my intelligence. “What did you do to get yourself landed in this dump?” she asked with exaggerated slowness.
“I didn’t do anything. There must be some kind of mistake.”
Star snorted. “That’s what they all say. You certainly look innocent enough, newbie, but there ain’t no one innocent in this place. You’d better toughen up and get rid of that wide-eyed look real soon, ‘cause no one likes a weakling, ‘cept when they’re takin’ advantage of you. You better watch yourself, newbie, is all I’m saying. You don’t want to disappear as soon as you get here.”
I raised my chin slightly and glared at her. “I’m not a weakling,” I replied coolly.
Star glanced at me again from beneath her eyelashes, and nodded slightly. Had that been another test? These people sure did like to play games.
River spoke up suddenly from behind me. “I didn’t do anything wrong,” she said mildly. “Not everyone did.”
“You didn’t do anything wrong that you can remember,” Star corrected her. “You’ll find out eventually.”
“I have more memories than you do,” River pointed out. “You don’t know how much I remember. For all you know, I’ve regained myself.”
Star snorted again. “That’s impossible.”
There was a small silence. I really had no idea what they were talking about, so I decided to bring the conversation back to terms I could understand.
“So… what are you in for, then?” I asked Star.
She turned away from me so that I couldn’t see her face, continuing her fast pace. “Chopped off my boyfriend’s head with a machete. Then mailed his toes off one by ne to his other
girlfriend. Kept the head as a souvenir, though. I’ve got it mounted on my wall with the label ‘Lying, Cheating B***ard
Who Got What He Deserved’. Wanna see?” She turned around to flash a bright, predatory grin at me.
I stared at her, horrified. She couldn’t be serious…?
Star laughed, slapping me on the back lightly. “Don’t look so terrified, newbie. I was just joking. Like I’d keep that jerk’s head so I could wake up to have him staring at me every morning. Eugh.” She made a disgusted face.
My eyes widened even more, if that were possible. “You mean - ”
“And now for the best part of the Grand Tour!” Star interrupted me. “The Dining Hall.”
I realised we had arrived in front of a large wooden door, different from the other cell doors.
River leaned over to me, smiling reassuringly. “Don’t worry,” she whispered. “Star isn’t serious. The truth is, she doesn’t remember why she’s here. She just likes to joke.”
I nodded uneasily, a mixture of relief and confusion clouding my mind. I wondered when things would finally start to make sense to me. Or if they ever would.
Star smiled brightly and pushed open the door to the Dining Hall.
A blast of noise greeted me – snatches of laughter, song and chatter. I stood in the doorway uncertainly and gazed into the dimly lit room. It was very large, but appeared smaller because of the throng of people crowded around. The room had darkly painted walls and velvet furniture. There was a long bar against the right wall, where a menacing barman stood and scowled around at the bizarre-looking people grouped around dark wood benches. There were several gaming tables on the far side of the room, where men and women indolently sat or played. The heavy smoke drifting around the room gave it all a dream-like quality.
Star nudged my shoulder, indicating with a flick of the head that I should enter the room. River took my hand and smiled up at me encouragingly.
I stepped over the threshold into the room, and it was as though I had passed some hidden barrier. A deafening silence greeted me as every single head in the room simultaneously turned towards me. Well, not every single head… There was a single boy sitting in shadow at the far corner of the room whose bored expression didn’t even flicker at my entrance. It took me a moment to recognise him as the arrogant boy who had scared away the man called Scars yesterday. He, too, was dressed more normally today. He wore the same tight black jeans - covered in buckles and belts - and a loose gray V-neck sweater. He stared at me expressionlessly, and then his mouth quirked up slightly at the edges – almost mockingly. He raised one eyebrow as though to question my scrutiny. As though saying – ‘well, do you like what you see, Miss Newbie?’
I frowned at him, shaking my head slightly. Definitely the most conceited person in the room. Realising that I was staring, I quickly averted my eyes and turned to Star.
Star turned to address everyone, smiling as the spotlight fell on her. “Listen up everyone. You remember New Girl, don’t you? Well, she’ll see the Ringmaster today, so everyone be nice to her. And she’s with us.”
At this statement, the noise of laughter and chatter flowed in to dispel the unnerving silence, as though a switch had suddenly been flicked.
“Come on,” Star said, smiling, “Let’s go and find a table. It’s a rest night tonight.”
I followed her to some empty seats around a table and sat down. River offered me a drink, and I accepted. The delicate glass was inscribed with the initials H.E.L.L, as everything in this strange world seemed to be. I wondered vaguely what it meant.
“Well? Are you going to drink it, or just stare at it?” Star prompted.
Cautiously I examined the brown-tinged liquid, not quite sure if I should drink it or not.
River was watching me with her large dark eyes. “You don’t trust us,” she observed.
“No, that’s not it!” I hurried to assure her. “I was just - ”
She cut me off with a small shake of her head, smiling. “No, it’s a good thing. It means you’re smart. The sooner you learn that no one here is trustworthy, the better for you. But the drink’s not poisoned, I promise! See?” Holding my gaze, she reached over and took a sip of my drink.
Her face grew pale and her eyes widened alarmingly. Raising a delicate hand to clutch at her throat, she seemed to be struggling not to choke. She sank back in her chair, her entire body beginning to shake.
“River?!” I asked desperately. My hands twisted together uselessly as I sat and stared. “River, are you ok?!”
Slowly she sank below the table until all I could see were her hands clutching at the bench.
I glanced over at Star, looking for some sort of help, but she seemed completely unconcerned.
“What do we do?!” I asked. “She’s been poisoned!”
My panicked thought was broken off as the sound of tinkling laughter filled the room.
River emerged from beneath the table, her eyes bright with mirth. “Oh, you should have seen your face! Priceless.”
I opened my mouth, then closed it – not sure whether to feel relieved or angry. I settled for a touch of both.
“I thought you were dying,” I reprimanded.
Star gave me a rueful look. “She did exactly the same thing to me when I got here. River does like to play.”
River wiped the tears from her eyes, becoming serious once again. “I’m sorry,” she said sincerely. “It’s just – you were so solemn, I had to do something to lighten the mood. But you don’t have to worry. There would be no point in poisoning you – no one dies, here.”
I looked at her curiously. “So what happens to you? Do you just stay here forever?”
“Yes,” she confirmed happily, taking another sip of the mysterious liquid. “If you’re lucky.”
“And if you’re not lucky?”
“You disappear. All your memories… and then eventually yourself… just – gone.”
I shivered involuntarily, rubbing my arms to ward off a sudden chill. “Well – what happens if you’re injured?”
She shrugged nonchalantly. “You heal. You hear the music, and the next thing you know – there you are, sitting in your room, all better!”
I contemplated this for a moment, eventually deciding not to worry about it until it happened. Having nothing else to do, I took a sip of the liquid. It burned my throat as it went down and left a warm, fiery sensation in my chest. I gasped.
Star chuckled, taking a sip from her own glass. “Good, isn’t it?”
That wasn’t exactly the word that I would use, but I nodded in agreement. Taking another cautious sip, I took note of my surroundings.
There were many strange people here, all milling about and having fun. I caught the eye of a woman standing against the wall at the far end of the room, near the gaming tables. She had honey-coloured skin, lidded hazel eyes emphasised by brown eye shadow, and rich chocolate brown hair that flowed in waves down her back. She was quite tall, with an hourglass figure that was enough to make any girl envious. She was wearing a rust-red dress that hugged her curves and emphasised the slimness of her waist. As I watched, she sucked on a long black rod and opened her mouth to let out a puff of smoke.
“Who’s that woman?” I asked Star, indicating towards the lady leaning against the wall.
“Oh, that’s Velvet,” Star said. “Would you like to meet her?”
“No, that’s ok. I’m just curious.”
“Well, don’t get too curious,” Star reminded me. “Remember, don’t ask - ”
“ – too many questions,” I finished her sentence for her. “Yeah, I remember.”
After a moment, the woman called Velvet pushed off from the wall and sauntered towards me. I found myself having to crane my neck to look up at her as she cam to stand before me.
“Hello luv,” she greeted me in a deep, husky voice. “How do you like the place?”
“It’s – different.”
She chuckled, blowing smoke in my face as she did so. “Yes, I suppose it is.” She placed a hand on my shoulder, half drawing me out of my seat. “How’d you like to come and join us?”
“Join you where?”
“At the tables. There are lots of people just dying to meet you, luv. While we’ve got the chance.”
Deciding to ignore that last sentence, I glanced at Star and River for help.
Star grinned at Velvet. “Leave her be, Velvet. She hasn’t even got her name yet – and you know how they like to play rough over there. She’ll get eaten up.”
Velvet considered Star, taking another puff on the long black rod. “Hmm… Well, maybe I’ll leave her for today. But you can’t keep her all to yourself, Star. She’ll have to play the game eventually.”
Velvet turned to me, smiling mysteriously. “I’ll see you later, honey.” With that, she sauntered back over to her position against the wall.
I watched her go, trying not to stare. As soon as Velvet regained her position, she was joined by two men. One was tall and handsome, with red-blonde curls, and bright blue eyes. He had a somewhat boyish appearance, and his flashing grin showed off a set of almost perfectly white teeth.
The other man was perhaps less handsome. He wore a cap pulled down over his eyes, almost covering his short brown hair. He had tanned skin, and there was day-old stubble on his cheeks. His nose looked like it had been broken at least once. Although he also grinned a lot, there was something less wholesome about his smile. Not cruel, just not at all… innocent.
“Who are those men?” I asked.
River cupped her drink in her hands and stared into it as though she could divine the future from its depths. “The handsome one’s called Charming,” she answered absently. “And the other one’s Swindler.”
“Oh.” As I watched, all three of them looked over at me. I had the uncomfortable feeling that they had been talking about me.
The hair on the back of my neck prickled, and I knew that someone else was watching me. And I thought I knew who it was.
I turned around to find my suspicions confirmed. The boy from yesterday was facing in my direction. His face was in shadow so I could not see his expression, but I knew he was looking at me. I found it odd that in such a crowded room - where people were packed twelve to one table – he was the only one sitting alone. As though people had created a wide circle about him – ignoring him. Or perhaps afraid of him?
River noticed the direction of my gaze. “That’s one of the things you don’t want to ask about,” she whispered.
I stared at her. Why shouldn’t I ask about him? They had answered my other questions…
Deciding to take my chances, I shrugged my shoulders, pretending not to understand. “Who’s he?”
Star sighed, her face becoming grave. “That’s Shadow. And you don’t talk to him. You don’t see him. You don’t know him. It’s better that way. That way you avoid getting in any sort of – danger…”
“What’s dangerous about him? He looks perfectly normal to me…”
“Looks can be deceiving,” River said solemnly. “Especially here.”
I gazed at them stubbornly, waiting for an answer.
They both avoided by eyes.
“Look,” River said finally. “Sometimes, for no reason, the Ringmaster gives you certain… powers. Powers that are dangerous. Powers that can be used against others.”
“Shut up,” Star hissed, elbowing River and looking around furtively. Almost as though she expected the Ringmaster to jump out from beneath a nearby barstool.
“Oh,” I replied, beginning to understand. “And Shadow has powers? And that’s why everyone’s so afraid of him? Who else has them?”
“Look, stop this,” Star said firmly, still glancing around uneasily. “We don’t talk about that.”
I sighed. It seemed there were a lot of things they didn’t talk about.
I was about to change the subject when circus music filled the room, accompanied by the crack of a whip. I looked around wildly, but no one else seemed to hear it.
“You hear the music, don’t you?” River asked me shrewdly.
I nodded wordlessly, the music filling my mind and driving out all thought.
“Go to him,” River urged. “He’s calling you.”
“It’s time,” Star agreed.
I shook my head wordlessly. “But… But, I don’t know where to go - ”
“He’ll show you,” River said. “Trust him.”
I was certain my face had drained of all colour. All of that talk about disappearing and Doll’s Houses had affected me after all.
Unable to see a way out of my predicament, I pressed my lips together and stood up. As though in a dream, I walked towards the door and opened it. The room had grown completely silent the moment I stood up – I could feel all eyes on my back. I suddenly felt like a circus performer about to attempt a particularly dangerous stunt.
Leaving the Dining Hall behind, my feet led me down corridor after corridor. I had no idea where I was going, and I could only hope that I was going in vaguely the right direction.
After what seemed like hours, and after travelling through endless candle-lit corridors, I reached a large glass door. Above the door was a plaque saying ‘The Ringmaster’. Beautiful, sorrowful music seemed to be drifting from inside, becoming louder and louder…
It looked like I’d come to the right place.
Taking a moment to steel myself, I pushed open the door.
An empty room greeted me. Well, almost empty.
On a raised pedestal towards the far end of the room, an assortment of perfect miniature dolls crowded together. They were enclosed in an elaborate glass cage. Trapping them. It was hard to see from where I was standing, but they all looked incredibly life-like. Perfect detail…
The rest of the room was strangely bare except for a small desk. The dim lighting left most of the corners in shadow, but a ray of light filtered in from somewhere to shine on the dolls in their prison.
I took a step forward, entranced by the detail and flawlessness of the little figures. They were crafted in strange positions – some curled in on themselves to clutch at their knees, some spreading their arms as though about to fly, some clutching at the bars of the glass cage as though desperate to escape… Was it just my imagination, or did one of them move? No, it must have been a trick of the light…
I took another step forward, my attention caught by a small figure placed on the desk in the middle of the room. It looked eerily familiar…
I was distracted as mechanical, tinkling music sounded from behind me. The sound of a music box. A strange dream-like sensation washed over me as I slowly turned towards the door.
The ballerina doll was there. Life-sized and at this distance, it almost looked real. She danced slowly – her movements stiff, mechanical. Her face was perfect and expressionless, exactly like a painted doll.
But the eyes… somehow, the eyes seemed sad, afraid, lonely… Wistful, almost.
Taking a step towards the doll, I reached out a hand. If only I could touch her, maybe…
“Beautiful, isn’t she?”
I spun around, letting my hand fall. Careful not to show any signs of shock on my face, I searched for the source of the voice.
The Ringmaster was leaning against the far wall, half concealed in the shadows. The dramatic lighting made him appear more sinister, more… menacing.
Had he been there the whole time? How had I not seen him?
He chuckled softly, his face lit up with a kind of predatory fascination as he watched me. My mouth suddenly felt dry.
“Who is she?” I asked, my eyes quietly challenging him.
He laughed mockingly. “What do you mean? She’s only a doll.” His voice was soft, but somehow menacing. His mouth twitched as though he were sharing a private joke.
“She seems so… alive,” I said lamely.
He raised an elaborately pencilled eyebrow. “Really? Well, we’ll have to fix that. Dolls - ” he strolled casually up to lay a hand almost lovingly on the ballerina’s cheek – “should stay… dead.”
I shivered involuntarily. “Er… why did you call me here?”
The Ringmaster spun around, a dramatic grin suddenly lighting up his face. His mood changes were like lightning.
“Ah, that’s right…” he said, walking to his desk. “I have something for you. Come see.” He beckoned me forward.
Cautiously I obeyed him, feeling like I was a deer walking tamely to the lion’s den.
“That’s right…” he crooned. “Come here. I have a surprise for you.”
When I was close enough to the desk, he indicated the little figure standing there.
It was a girl, carved in finite detail. She was wearing a long flowing white gown, almost translucent in some places. Wavy ash-blonde hair reached her waist, and she had pale skin with small, delicate features. The doll’s hands were thrown out in front of her, as though to ward off danger. Blue-gray eyes were wide and transfixed with either horror or sorrow – lips slightly open in shock.
I knew immediately that the doll was me, even though I had forgotten what I looked like. Looking down, I saw that I now wore the same silk white dress, shining in the faint light of the room.
The Ringmaster was watching me carefully. “What do you think of my doll?” he asked. “It’s a good likeness, isn’t it?”
“Yes…” I replied faintly. Gathering my courage, I looked him in the eyes, challenging him. “Why did you carve me like that?”
He chuckled. “Oh, my dear, I don’t make
the dolls! They make themselves.”
His smile grew at my look of confusion, his large white teeth flashing.
I looked away, strangely angry. That doll… it was like he had seen me and decided to put me on display, violated my privacy… It was disgusting. And now he was dodging and dancing around questions just like everyone else here. It was as though this were all just one big game – and people were hinting and teasing at things, just for the fun of watching my confusion. Nothing was what it seemed.
“I think I like you, my dear,” the Ringmaster said pensively. “Something different for my collection. You do want to be part of my collection, don’t you?”
I said nothing.
“You wouldn’t want to disappear, would you?”
My shoulders slumped in defeat. “No,” I whispered.
“I thought not,” he said, satisfied. Carefully he picked up my doll, carrying it as though it could break at the slightest breeze. He lifted up the glass cage and placed my doll inside of it, so that the thinly-spun bars obscured my figure. Only my wide, frightened eyes were clearly visible.
Before he set the cage in place, I caught a glimpse of other dolls. There was a doll of Star, a doll of River, a doll of Velvet, Charming, Shadow, Swindler… even the Barman. All of us.
He returned to his desk, smiling. “You are mine now,” he pronounced.
I shivered, pressing my lips tightly together.
He cocked his head slightly, considering me. “I suppose I should give you a name now… And a position.” He tapped his finger against his lips, thinking. “Well, we’re short one ballerina now.”
“I can’t dance,” I said quickly. For some reason, I would rather have been anything but a ballerina.
The Ringmaster’s face darkened. “You will dance,” he said flatly. “You will dance, or you will fall.”
“But…” I struggled for words. “My costume… it’s not suited for a ballerina.”
He rested his chin on his hand and regarded me with a small smile. “No… no, it’s not, is it? But you are a dancer.” He reached out a hand to cup my cheek, as though stroking a beloved pet.
I froze, not daring to move. Just like a deer caught in the headlights.
The Ringmaster ran his thumb slowly down my cheek and across my lips. “So graceful…” he said. His voice was strangely hypnotising. “So composed. So beautiful. Of course you are a dancer, my dear. What else would you be?”
I clenched my jaw, unable to move.
“Unless you would rather be a doll?”
I shook my head wordlessly, unable to do anything more than glare at him defiantly.
He chuckled. “Good.” He released me, leaning back in his chair. “So, a dancer you will be. But if you can’t dance, that might be troublesome…” He frowned in thought. “Oh, I have the perfect solution!” He laughed nastily. “If you can’t dance, then I’ll have to make you. We’ll tie strings to your hands and feet and I’ll control you from above, my lovely Marionette.”
I stared at him numbly. Marionette… Was that my name, now? Was I only a marionette, to be controlled by others, jerked this way and that by the strings. Ugly. Helpless. No
, a voice said. Your name is Clea. Clea Serafina Lawrence.
I knew that it was the truth, even as I wondered how I knew. That was my name, and no one could take it from me.
The Ringmaster smiled. “Well, run along now, Marionette. I expect everyone will be dying to see if you will return or not.”
Stiffly I turned to leave the room, leaving the Ringmaster and his menagerie of dolls behind.
Ok, that's it. What do you think?
Do you think I spend too much time describing things? :-| I realised that I might have spent too much time describing clothes, and it sort of reminded me of a really bad fanfic I sarted reading once where the author spent more than half of the story describing what the characters were wearing. X:-/
Suggestions or questions?