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The Puppet Maker

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I struggled to be entertained by the puppet master's show. It seemed to be the same every week. He would bring new dolls every time, yet the show he put on was always the same. Plain and boring, and the puppet's names? "The girl who tripped." "The girl who didn't speak up." And, "The girl who ran."

Yet I had no choice, he was part of our orphanage. His job is to entertain us during the weekend, which he isn't the greatest at. He only scares the younger kids, with his somehow sick and twisted plays that he reenacts with his disturbing dolls that look way too realistic. During those times, I turned to my friend Remilia, who was as amused as I was during the show.

"Remilia." I whispered, elbowing her. The blonde girl turned around, her long, curly ponytails jiggling as she put her head into motion. She looked at me with her shining green eyes and smiled gently.

"What is it?" She whispered back, looking back at the dolls, pretending to be paying attention to the old man. nobody would ever want to annoy him. He had this grim look on his face at all times, even when he smiled. Did I say smiled? I meant when he forcefully stretched his smile on.

"When does it finish?" I hissed, getting closer to her, looking at her little pink watch she always wore on the incorrect hand.

"I don't know!" she replied. Of course, Remilia didn't know how to read the time. How forgetful of me. I jerked her hand and looked at the time myself. I sighed in anger as I worked out that there is still half an hour to go and play. My sigh stretched across the tiny room we were in, causing the puppet master to stop what he was doing and look at us. Few heads turned around as he did so, embarrassing me and Remilia.

"I... was just helping her read the time..." I tried to make something up, yet I failed. The puppeteer looked at us for few more seconds, his hands frozen. I knew that he wasn't angry - well I assumed he wasn't - yet he still seemed to study Remilia with his weird eyes.

"You should learn how to read time." He said in his ragged voice after which he turned around and carried on with his entertainment. How embarrassing... Right Remilia? Remilia? I looked over at my friend, yet she just stared at the man and his puppets - like nobody else in the room. Is this some sort of new level of embarrassment? I tried poking her, yet all I got as a response was:

"Of course. I would love to." I looked at my friend, she seemed to be in some sort of trance as he observed the dolls dancing around.

"I want to be beautiful like them..." I simply ignored her - maybe she was just tired... Who am I kidding? We all went crazy in this bored place years back.

I didn't go to bed any later than eleven before, but tonight my eyes refused to close. I stuffed my face in the cold pillow until I fell asleep, only to be woken up by a loud cracking noise. I jerked from my bed, together with all the other people in the room. It took me a while to adjust my eyes into the darkness. It was no earlier than three in the morning and my eyes refused to cooperate. When I was finally capable of seeing properly, the first thing that caught my attention was Remilia, standing by the door. I sighed, sitting up on my bed, about to get up and tell her to go back to her bed, when I saw her companion. In front of her a crooked man with two cases in his hands. Everybody backed away into their beds as the man stepped towards Remilia, who seemed comfortable with it.

"Remilia was waiting..." She said in mesmerism, as if in an awe.

"Remilia wants to be as beautiful as they are..." She said, stepping towards the creepy thing.

He didn't scare her at all. His crooked posture. His painted on smile, smudged by time. His long, bony fingers that wriggle around all the time, making a horrid cracking sound. His long, cut tongue, hanging out as he stares at us in a disturbing manner. His round, wild eyes, circling around like crazy, never set in one spot like a crazy animal. His long, stringy hair covering nearly his entire face, resting at his back, slowly flowing down. His heavy breathing, as he jerked her from the floor. His long, bony neck crooking as he stared into her souls with those empty wild eyes, pinning her down to the floor. His powerful yank as he scratches the blonde girl's stomachs open, ignoring her body violently shaking. His imperishable stare as he empties her insides, carelessly shattering them across them across the floor, onto our faces, the toys, beds, the whole room.

His crazy humming as he attaches the thick rope onto her broken hands, wrecked feet and nearly crushed head. His chuckle of joy and satisfaction as he attaches the ropes onto a wooden cross and puts on a show for himself, controlling the dead body as if it was his puppet. Nobody moved, nobody spoke, nobody breathed. Silence filled the room for a straight minute. A loud scream of terror broke out hell, everybody jerked from their beds trying to open the doors, but it wouldn't budge. I pushed through the crowd of seven other children, trying to bust the doors open. I looked back at the man. Yet he was not there, as I looked back at the door - panicking - I saw him right in front of me, with the bloody body of my friend.

"Remilia is pretty now. Like the puppets." He mimicked a girly voice as he swung the dead body in front of me. He hair messed up, covering her face, her stomach still open, bleeding, her hands and legs following the strings.

"Thank you Mr. Puppeteer." He said, turning the body around to be facing him.

"Thank you Marisa..."He turned it back around, violently moving the dead body closer to me. I jerked back as the bloody face touched me, blinking and smiling as if alive.

"Remilia is a pretty puppet." The lips shaped into the words. "Thank you, Marisa..."

"Oi. Marisa!" A hiss came from above me. "Marisa!" It echoed even louder. I opened my eyes to see a teacher above me. I was in my bed, in the medical room of our school with the nurse by my side.

"Are you alright? You fainted while you were on your way to the toilet at night. You got us worried."

She smiled gently at me. Toilets? Now. That's wrong. No. Remilia? Where is Remilia?

"R-Remilia!" I yelled. Constructing a proper sentence was out of the league right now. I jerked up from my bed and ran into the shared bedroom. The nurse ran after me, struggling to keep up with her high heels.

"Marisa! Wait up. You shouldn't run just yet." She called to me, but I ignored her as I pushed the doors with my whole force and entered the room. The first thing I saw was him, the puppet master, sitting in the middle of the room, surrounded by the children. I tried to scream, warning at the kids, yet no words came out.

"Marisa." The old man said my name.

"You are late. Good I still hadn't started the show." He smiled. The nurse finally arrived behind me, shaking my shoulder.

"Marisa." She hissed, out of breath.

"What do you think you are doing?" She looked at me, angered.

"Remilia went on holiday yesterday after school. She left you this letter."

She hissed, handing me an envelope. I looked at it - it had Remilia's writing on it.

"To Marisa" it read. I looked at it confused.

"But..." I whispered looking around the room. Nobody else seemed to be disturbed by the man, there were no red patches on the walls or organs scattered around. The man didn't seem crazy at all, his eyes were concentrated, his hair short, his skin nicely tanned his fingers strongly holding the puppets.

"Sorry..." I whispered, accepting it all as a bad dream as I sat down next to one of the kids my age.

"Good." The man smiled.

"I was about to show you my new puppet that I made the other day just for this play. I called her..."

He froze, as he opened one of the cases, taking out a puppet.

"The girl who can't read time." He finished his sentence. I looked up, intrigued by the title, to see the puppet. A blonde, female with a pink skirt and a little watch on her hand. My eyes widened. Why isn't anybody else reacting. Are they blind? What's wrong with you people?!

"I am not going to use her today. I want to do a show with her and another puppet. I want to call the show 'The girl who fainted'."

He smiled.

My heart stopped as we made eye contact. Still staring into my soul the puppet spoke:

"That puppet should be ready for tomorrow. Shame you aren't going to see it Marisa... You have that holiday coming up, right?"

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