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Ungraceful and stumbling, she was yanked from the comfort of her toy chest. Strings, sewn through her joints coerced her into moving. Resentfully, she succumbed to the stings will. Legs weak and beaten, they wobbled underneath the weight of her. Her legs that were once white and elegant, were now mangled and dark with dust. Stuffing spilled out of hastily patched holes. The smashed tutu around her waist and the damaged toe shoes showed no evidence of once being delicate. Her brown hair was matted atop her head, obviously neglected long ago. Within the tangled mass was a no-longer-bejeweled crown, rusted with age.
The white that was painted on her face was discolored with smudged makeup while her jaw dangled lifeless, mouth agape and sorrowful. The sorrow spread across her face and took over the color in her eyes. Starry eyes held no gleam, only a dead longing to be free.
She blundered across the stage, letting the cogent strings haul her across. Once the strings stopped in the center stage, she hung on them like a useless limb. Quick and violently, the strings shook her up and down telling her that it was time to cooperate. Reluctantly, she stood on her shabby legs and as soon as she did, the strings began to drag her this way and that. She knew that they wanted her to dance, but she refused to give in. Again and again, the strings shook her during the dance as if she were broken and would be fixed if they repeatedly slammed her on the stage floor. Still she hung on her strings, immovable.
She was as ungraceful as a newborn colt as the strings threw her around like a rag doll. The irony of it all brought a small, but sad, smile to her face because she was a rag doll who’s just supposed to do as she’s told. As the tedious music dragged on, she still sagged against the strings. Suddenly, the music stopped with a bitter twang. Her eyes snapped wide open as the pressure of the strings on her joints was lifted.
Slowly, she realized that she was falling. She slipped through the icy fingers of the atmosphere. The only sound was the furious beat of her heart.
Ba-boom. She sucked in air as her stomach found itself in her throat.
Ba-Boom. Brown tangled hair flew into her face while she plummeted to the ground head first.
Ba-boom. Fingers clawed the air above her as if they might catch something to cease the fall.
Ba-boom. For a split second, as she squeezed her eyes tightly shut, she allowed herself to believe that she was floating. That she was flying away from this terrible place and that she was finally free.
The room echoed with the sound of her hitting the floor, which was quickly followed by the clatter of the rusty crown skidding across the floor.
Dazed and short of breath, she laid sprawled across the stage. Finally, she sat up slowly and robotically. This is it, she thought mournfully. She’s completely broken now and is waiting for the master to throw her out. Her eyes burned as tears threatened at the rim of her lashes. Her hands moved to cover her face, but was startled when something slithered across her leg.
When she inspected her leg she found a string. A thin, white string that, at one end, was connected to her writs, but the other end was connected to nothing. It hung lifelessly. Seeing this sent her into a frenzy. All the strings that mercilessly dragged her about day in and day out were severed from the wooden sticks that controlled them. Her heart started to flutter.
Warily, she straightened her legs and placed her feet flat on the floor. With no strings to support her weight, her weary legs swayed. Her legs soon became steady and with her arms spread out before her, prepared to catch her if she faltered, she slid one foot forward, then the other foot crept forward. Finally, she lifted one foot up and placed it down with an audible click. Such a simple click filled her heart with so much joy. She began to create more soft clicks about the stage.
Finally, she took a breath, placed herself expertly on her toes, and danced.
She jumped and twirled and soared on the what once was a dreadful stage. Years of confinement and slavery were over and she felt as if she would burst with happiness. She spun with more elegance and beauty than she had ever danced before. She danced a promenade of freedom and it was then that she could hear the magnificent orchestra chime in. The orchestra played such a melodic tune that danced with her soul.
A giddy laugh hitched in her throat, harsh and scratchy from lack of use. When she tried again, her laugh came out loud, but happy. A true laugh ran from deep inside her and a true smile brightened her face.
She truly was free--an invisible force yanked her to the ground, her strings suddenly taut. Her voice caught in her throat as she realized that the relentless strings her pulling her back to her insufferable dungeon.
She fought back. With all her might she attempted to win against her strings. Raking the ground with her fingers, she desperately tried to find something, anything to hold onto, but the strings were relentless. Tears sprung from her eyes as she cried out pleas for freedom.
Her body was crumpled together as she was stuffed back into the small, dark containment, her pleas obviously ignored. With a heart breaking bang the chest slammed shut enveloping her in darkness.
The lock clicked tight on the toy chest labeled Molly Marionette.
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"And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it."
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If you don't like someone's story, write your own. -Chinua Achebe
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Words have no power to impress the mind without the exquisite horror of their reality. - Edgar Allan Poe