// dolls, manipulation, gaslighting, abuse, delusions

The party is in full swing and you’re telling a story from back during your homeless days that has everyone laughing. The drugs started to kick in a while ago and you’re having a good time. You’re among friends. You’re safe. You let your guard down. You knew this would happen.

You knew as soon as the host asked to speak with you for a minute. You knew the second she touched your shoulder, you knew from her tone, her eyes. Your blood runs cold. Fear tightens around every vein and flushes goosebumps across your skin. Sure, no problem.

You had hoped to never see her again. You never wanted to see her again. Her face was still burned into your nightmares. She’s leaning against the kitchen counter smoking a cigarette with a hellscape of torture and pain radiating off of her. She shrinks from you. Fear.

The host crosses her arms and looks you up and down, eyes narrowing. Fear. 

No one has to exchange words. You can already see her reality dripping off your now former friend. You see paranoia, anger, fear, malice. You’re too scared to cry. They’re staring at you. Fear. Fear. Fear.

“I just wanna walk,” her voice is dull, like she’s forcing it through a fog of dissociation, “I’m not trying to start shit, can we just talk? Alone?”

Her tone is scared, fearful, with maybe a hint of hope. You already know what’s coming. You’re so afraid.

“You can do that right?” The host is asking you, “It’s really the least you can do after…” she trails off. After. You’re already to after. You’re so fucked, you should just run away right now, but you won’t, some desperate part of you clings on, desperate to fight back against the torrent. Fear. Fear. Fear. Fear.

Yeah. You can do that. She looks so small. It took her a lot of nerve to talk to you. You don’t want to be alone with her. You don’t want to be anywhere near her. You agree anyway.

“Will you be safe talking to her alone?” She’s not asking you of course.

“I have a knife. I’ll scream if she tries anything,” of course she will.

“I’ll just wait here then.”

You struggle to form words, to do something, to stop her reality from just crushing yours again. The water is already up to your neck. The current drags you behind her with her cigarette smoke. The pressure is unbearable, every joint in your body aches. You can hear the clockwork, you thought you were past that.

The second the bedroom door closes her knife is at your throat, miles of suffering pile up in an ocean around her and pressing you into the wall. She smirks. 

“Did you really think I would let you go?” Your self harm scars ache. You feel the heat of her cigarette on your cheek. No you never really thought that.

“You can’t threaten me anymore,” you say, defiant. You wished you believed your words, “What, are you going to stab me in my friend’s guest room?” 

She had a lot of nerve coming here like this, you’ve worked hard to build a place for yourself, she won’t destroy that again.

“You’re going to do exactly as I say,” The knife digs in, not enough to leave marks, just remind you it’s there, “Or all your friends will find out that you’re a rapist predator who abused a poor innocent girl.”

You won’t do it. You can’t go back. You won’t. You shake your head, “these friends know me better than that, it won’t work this time.”

She pulls the knife away from you, looking mildly disappointed, then shrugs, and draws the knife quickly across her throat. It’s barely enough to draw blood, just a long bright papercut. You look at her in shock and horror. She opens her mouth to scream, the sea crushes you.

The moorings of your life are yanked away in one horrible rip as your dreams slide sideways into the ocean. You’ll do whatever she says. You crumple to the floor, a whimper of pain escapes your lips at the magnitude of your loss. You want to sob, but of course, dolls can’t cry.

You stare at the tiles, listening to the sound of your ticking clockwork. You don’t want to look. You don’t want to see. A hand tilts your chin upwards.

Your Witch smiles down at you as she finishes tying the bandana around her neck. You are a good doll.

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