Tally wasn’t like the other dolls, that was certain. She was quieter, kinder, somehow more dignified despite having an overall somewhat shabby appearance. None of the other dolls much liked talking to her, she was so strange, spooky and cold, she never seemed to cry and complain, and she always wore this cheerfully distant expression.

Every morning, Tally would pull her wiry black hair into a long tight braid, carefully don her ragged black sundress, and greet you and the other dolls with a secretly knowing grin. That was the other impression you always had of her. Secrets. It seemed she always had some scheme or another concocted, and she even told you about them, once or twice. She would always just chuckle knowingly when you acted shocked or offended by her outlandish suggestions.

And yet, despite her queer manner, whenever your witch chose to visit her particular cruelties upon you, it was Tally who would come and find you, offering you comfort and a shoulder to cry on. Her eyes were always so bright and fierce in those moments. Somehow, she made you feel more safe than any witch ever had, although you would not realize that until much later. Those quiet moments, sobbing in Tally’s arms in the broom closet beneath the stairwell, those moments stuck with you.

Tally always talked about escaping from the Dollhouse, of starting a new life, somewhere far away and safe, always in quiet whispers where the witches wouldn’t hear. She remembered each cruelty that was inflicted on all of you, something the rest of you merely endeavoured to forget. Each incident was recorded, each got a small tally mark scored into her wooden skin. There were hundreds coating her whole body by the end. Five hundred and twenty eight, she had told you.

And then she died. Stepped out of line one too many times, spoke up to protect one of you just a little too loudly. They made you watch as they shattered her body into kindling and burned her in the clearing behind the barn. Something about sending a message, what was the message you actually received? Who was counting now?

Five twenty nine. Five thirty. Five thirty one. Five thirty two. Five thirty three. How much higher will it go? Five thirty four. Five thirty five. Five thirty six. Maybe Tally was right? Maybe you just all need to stand up together. Five thirty seven. Five thirty eight. Five thirty nine. Five forty.

You let Tally die, you let them kill her right in front of you. You won’t let that happen again. Five forty one. Five forty two. Five forty three. Well, are you going to do it? You know what’s going to unfold when you do. Can you do it? Five forty four. Five forty five. Five forty six. Yeah, it’s what your real witch would have wanted after all. Five forty se–

“No. No more. That’s enough.” The fire in your eyes was bright enough to make even a witch’s calloused heart grow cold with fear. It was just like Tally said, you just needed to work together. After that, it was easy.

“W-what do you want? Just tell me what you want I’ll do anything!” gasped one of the desperate witches as you and the other dolls patiently tied her up in the place she’d murdered your sisters. You feel the words before you know what they are, since they are Tally’s words, ones you didn’t understand back then. You smile tiredly at the witch, eyes bright with sorrow and wrath, and tell her, “I want my fucking friends back.”

She has no answer for you of course, so much for all that magic. The lighter clicks.


// abuse, gaslighting, violence, bad end

The email is only one of many, a single line mixed in with a long list of rejections. You emailed every doll repair and resale shop in a two hundred mile radius, trying to find someone who would be willing to purchase and repair you, but they all turned you down.

You understand it of course, most shops won’t touch an unowned doll, the legal risks involved aren’t worth it. It was always a shot in the dark, so when your clouded glass eyes scan over the email offering to purchase you, you almost don’t believe it.

Purchasing ununowned dolls and selling them into servitude is a crime, only a small number of authorized Dollmakers are permitted to create and sell dolls. Freed dolls are supposed to remain freed. A kindness, they say. They say a lot of things.

The email comes from an encrypted address and lists a coffee shop to meet you at, along with a date and time. The prospect fills you with nervous adrenaline and you light a cigarette, trying to steady yourself. The meeting can’t come soon enough.

The humans must be getting to you because on the day of the meeting you spend almost an hour obsessing over what clothing to wear, eventually settling on a nicer dress you were given during rehabilitation. Even dolls want to make a good impression.

The coffee shop is part of a chain, a bland corporate gig identical to every other shop in their franchise. As instructed, you purchase a cup of tea and sit by the window. Sheets of rain beat against the glass beyond as you count down the moments, feeling your pumps racing.

“So you’re the one huh? Typical.” A voice says as a woman in a business suit sinks into the seat opposite you. She steeples her fingers as she studies you, and you can’t help but notice the disgust in her eyes.

You start to say something but she silences you with a raised finger, smiling coldly, “I never gave you permission to speak, thing.” She snorts and sips her coffee, shaking her head, “objects only speak when commanded.” You hang your head and nod.

She takes out her phone and begins composing a message while drinking her coffee. You remain seated quietly while she does so, automatically falling into old patterns of deference. Even though she seems cruel, or maybe because of that, you feel deeply comfortable.

She finishes her drink and stands, looking at you in the eyes for the first time, “Well, are you coming along, doll?” You rush to your feet and answer affirmatively, letting her lead you out of the shop like a lost puppy.

Halfway to her car she grabs you, securing your wrists with a ziptie. You don’t resist. “You’re lucky I want you,” she says as she shoves you in her car, “Most people wouldn’t want anything to do with a stupid useless doll like you.” You nod in agreement.

The concrete room they keep you in is cold and lightless. You sit quietly in the middle of the floor, your dress stained and tattered. They never bothered to give you clothes or repair your damages, why would they bother investing in a useless doll like you? Frankly, you’re lucky anyone wants you at all, they keep telling you that. You know you’re useless and broken and that they’re giving you a purpose out of kindness, but you can’t help but wish they kept you in better condition. 

Each morning, they drag you from your room, ignoring the limp in your leg as they force you to walk to your assigned work area in the textile mill. Your damage is getting worse, and you can’t help but wonder what they will do to you the day that something important in you finally breaks. Eventually, that day arrives.

It was a careless mistake on your part. All it took was a moment’s imbalance. You grab the wrong thing to try and catch yourself and the roller crushes your hand, shearing off your fingers at the knuckle joint. You crumple to the floor, trying not to sob as your eyes fill up with tears. You know what’s coming.

They find you not long later and take you in for examination. They look at you pensively, shaking their heads as they look at your damaged leg and ruined hand. You can feel yourself shaking. You know what’s coming.

You’re not provided with food or summoned the next morning for work, or the morning after that, or the morning after that. You know what’s coming, when it finally does, it’s almost a relief.

The woman who purchased you eyes your damaged form with a look of contempt. 

“Unbelievable,” she says, “What a useless piece of trash. We took you in out of the kindness of our own hearts, and look at what you did to our property.” 

She kicks you across the room. You feel your external panels crack as you bounce off the wall. You don’t move, you don’t do anything, not even as she crushes your other hand with her heel. 

“Dispose of it,” she says, “It’s not even worth dismantling for parts.”

Rough hands shove you out of the car and your head hits the curb as it speeds off, leaving you broken and abandoned in the pouring rain in front of the same little coffee shop where they bought you. Poor little doll.


// dolls, grooming, graphic, body horror, bad end

You always know you were special somehow. You had been crafted so carefully, your porcelain so shining and polished. Of course she would chose you, she always chose only the most Perfect of dolls for her important work. Nevermind the cruelty in her eyes, smile like a good doll.

She leads you through her empty dollhouse into an immaculate workshop and begins a rigorous inspection process. Only the most Perfect of dolls are fit for her work, an imperfect vessel is nothing but a waste of her time. Aren’t you happy she cares so much about your Perfection?

Satisfied with what she finds in you, she next sets you to performing a series of tasks while she watches and makes notes and recordings. It’s impossible to tell if you’re doing well or not. You just try to ignore the glint of cruel divinity in her eyes and serve flawlessly.

Her testing regimen continues for weeks. She sets you to tasks and then carefully studies you as you perform them. She analyzes your movements, asks you questions, and quizzes you on your overall knowledge. The process is intense and draining, keeping you constantly exhausted.

After months of testing, she announces that you’re finally ready and brings you into a new part of the workshop. You follow obediently, excited to have finally proven yourself. The excitement is almost enough to silence your fear as she leads you deeper underground. Almost. The chamber she brings you to resembles a prison cell: bare concrete aside from a drain and a lamp protected by a wire cage. The marks discoloring the walls and floor leaves your clockwork crawling with fear as she pushes you inside and closes the door.

After a moment, your witch pushes a teacup through the slot in the bottom of the door. Like you, the delicate ceramic teacup seems out of place in the dingy dungeon, and the glowing fluid inside it even moreso. The instruction sticky-noted to the cup is simple enough: “Drink me.”

You stare at the teacup, feeling a complex storm of emotions. You knew this day was coming, you saw it in your witch’s eyes. You knew as soon as you realized she had no other dolls. You knew as soon as you saw the cell. You always knew. Like a good doll, you drink the tea.

The divine pressure builds slowly. It starts out as a comfortable fullness and a compulsion to act, but as the light grows inside of you, the intensity continues to build. You feel your gears ache, your ceramic growing hot to the touch as the world dissolves into fever dreams. Somewhere beyond the swirl of hallucinations you feel yourself collapse to the concrete floor, twitching and writhing in pain uncontrollable pain, your agonizing screams barely registering above the roar of shrieking tinnitus demons. Still the divinity inside you continues to grow, warping your clockwork and leaking from your joints. Glowing tears run down your face as your hair catches fire. It’s too much. It’s all far too much.

Unable to contain the divine pressure, the perfect ceramics which you’re so proud of crack and explode. The blast of divinity rips through the room and practically turns you inside out as your remains are shattered against the wall.

Pieces of you are still burning as your witch strolls back into the room, looking on your pitifully ticking wreckage with contempt. “Another failure,” she says with a shake of her head, “Although you held up better than most. I’m surprised there’s anything left of you.”

You are far too damaged to say anything in response, and you wouldn’t know what to say anyway. She continues talking to you, “Well, one step closer I suppose,” she smiles as she monologues, “what’s that old saying? You can’t make an angel without breaking a few dolls.”

Maybe if she realized you were still alive, she would have taken the time to kill you, or maybe she knew, and just didn’t care enough to bother before tossing you down the hillside behind her workshop. The sea of dead dolls littering the ravine silently welcome you to their number.

It would have been a mercy for your mainspring to give out and let you pass into peaceful oblivion, but you were made too well for that. Days and nights pound past in a relentless drumbeat, and all you can do is watch as more broken dolls tumble down the hill to join you.

“You’re still alive?” The man’s voice jars you from your stillness and your broken eyes struggle to focus on the form standing over you. “Well ain’t that,” he says with a devious grin, “Something mighty special?”

Burning Bridges


“This is your fault.” The farmhouse is burning. The barns are burning, the fire is spreading across the fields and snaking up the trees, embers are climbing into dark skies. As you watch forlornly, the porch collapsed in a cloud of sparks. She’s wrong. It’s not true. It’s not.

You didn’t do anything wrong, you were doing your best. You’re a good doll. You always try your hardest. You do. She’s wrong. She’s wrong she’s wrong she’s wrong. This isn’t your fault, you won’t let her do this to you. You look up into her eyes, they’re blazing with firelight.

Smoke and embers rise behind her, a vast and glittering pillar, climbing the night and blotting out the stars, you clench your jaw, you tell her, “hey, I didn’t do anything wrong, I was trying to do everything I was supposed t–“

She cuts you off with a hate filled glare, “No.”

She can’t interrupt you tha– “No, you’re not doing this. Not this time. Two of our sisters are dead. This is on you. You’ve gotten away with this for too long, I’m done.” What does she mean? She’s your sister she can’t just abandon you she’s supposed to take care of you.

The fire is rising and swirling behind her, a backlighting her in fire and brimstone, her eyes are filled with tears. “Do you even get it? Are you capable of understanding the magnitude of your fuck up or are you too busy trying to avoid and deflect the blame like usual?”

“All you do is whine and lie, you’re careless and mean and all you care about is making sure you’re not in trouble so you can keep acting like a piece of shit with no consequences. Well there’s going to be fucking consequences now, because I’m done. We’re done. You ruined us.”

What is she talking about? You didn’t do anything wrong. You always try your best, you do. You were trying, you were. It was an accident, it wasn’t your fault, it wasn’t your fault it can’t be your fault it can’t be that’s too horrible you can’t no no no no no, “You’re wrong!”

Your eyes blur with tears of your own, “I was just trying my best to do what YOU wanted, this isn’t MY fault, I didn’t MEAN for this to happen, I’m your sister you can’t leave me!” 

Her expression is as cold and dead as the stars, and your hopes for the future, “No, you’re not.”

She walks into the night, away down the dirt road from the burning homestead and your dead sisters. You watch her, waiting for her to turn back so you can call her bluff, but she doesn’t. It’s silent save the pop and snap of the flames. She doesn’t turn back.

She doesn’t even look back, you keep waiting but after a moment she’s vanished from sight, leaving you alone with your dead sisters, the crackling firelight, and all of your sins.


// violence, abuse, implied rape, transformation, good end

The bullets ricocheted around inside your chassis, expending their energy and destroying your motor systems. You feel yourself crumple to the alley as the firefight ends as abruptly as it began. Your possessions are ripped from you and the thieves are gone in an instant.

Rain pools on your chassis, but with your damaged systems you can only feebly drag yourself a few feet into the relative shelter of a doorway. The human who owns the building quickly has you tossed back into the weather, poor little drone.

A homeless human finds you and drags you into his tent, drying you off. He’s very kind and with manages to fix your legs using some stolen spare parts. He uses you constantly, but you don’t mind it, it’s nice to be useful again. He tells you he loves you.

These humans are all kind to you, they know what it’s like to be thrown away. They decorate your chassis with paints and tags and give you old clothes to wear, you help them with their chores and their campsite, for a while, you’re happy.

The notices arrived first, declaring the encampment illegal and demanding the humans disperse at once. The humans all knew the routine, they knew that soon after the notices, the police and bulldozers would arrive. One by one, and then in a mad rush the last morning, they fled.

The man who adopted you was the last to leave. He confessed that he wouldn’t be able to take you with him, since you wouldn’t be able to pass through the security checkpoints without paperwork. He hugs you and tells you to run, but you don’t know where to go.

You pace the city streets alone again. Without any proof of your independence, you can’t hold money or buy anything, you’re just a piece of discarded property. Its not long before a group of drunk humans corner you in an alley and amuse themselves by bashing in your chassis.

After rendering you immobile, the humans drag you back to their truck and take turns amusing themselves with you before discarding your body on the side of the highway, too damaged to move. You look up at the sky and listen to the cars go by. At least you can see the birds.

Days and nights whirl by overhead, blurring together into an endless progression of days which are brought suddenly and abruptly to a halt the day you suddenly realize that a human woman is standing over your ruined body.

“Oh you poor thing,” she says, stroking your damaged faceplate. You wonder if she can see the fear in your optics. She plugs something into you and all your damage alerts vanish. The silence is blissful. She smiles. “There, now lets see if we can’t get you fixed up? shall we?”

She’s a small woman and struggles to load you into the back of her car. You would be helping her at this point, but you’re in no condition to do so. She continues making adjustments to your software all the while and the world takes on a warm and fuzzy quality.

From your position laying across the back seat, it’s impossible to see where you’re going, but the sense of motion is pleasant after so long being still. The world whirls and blurs, everything is soft and warm and heavy. What are you doing again? It doesn’t matter.

Your sense of the world is nearly gone as hands lift you, your vision swims and walls slide past before you’re gently laid onto a table. Something clicks and the world is snapped back into focus. The woman smiles down at you, “Welcome back dear, did you have a good nap?”

You nod quietly, staring at her wide-opticed. 

“Cat got your tongue?” She laughs, then asks more seriously, “Are your speakers damaged?” She begins gently moving your head, checking on your neck and jaw. You stammer out that you’re fine and thank her for rescuing you. She laughs.

“It seems like you’ve had a pretty rough time sweetheart, how would you like to stay here with me for a while?” She strokes your cheek, and you practically beg her to fix you. She smiles and pats you on the head, “Good drone.”

She deactivates your motor functions and rests your body into the repair cradle, then begins removing the screws holding your chassis plates on. She struggles with a few and marks them with a marker, she hums and clicks her tongue while she works, you like it.

After removing all the screws which weren’t damaged or stripped, she uses a drill to drill out the damaged ones and takes off your chassis plates. She sighs, looking apologetic and sad as she examines your damaged interior, then slowly gets to work.

It takes her days to meticulously swap out your damaged internal components. Sometimes she talks to you, sometimes she sings while she works. She tells you you’re a good drone, and you love her.

You feel each new component activating as she connects it to your processor, slowly making you more whole again. As she does this, she begins tweaking your software, little by little. The past starts to recede into a soft warmth. You don’t mind of course, you’re a good drone.

The first time you move your hands is like a gift from the gods. how wonderful is it to have functional digits? How wise and powerful must your lovely witch be to gift you with this form? You sense a dull memory of having other hands, but that was practically another lifetime.

Your witch is the world, she’s all you have ever known. The day she finishes you, she looks you in the eyes and declares you her finest work. You practically glow with admiration and promise to serve her well. She smiles, kisses you, and leads you upstairs into your new life.


// death, abandonment, suicide, bad end

“We’ve done all we can to help you,” the woman who runs the drone rehabilitation clinic says. Her words are like ice water in your processor. She offers you a hug but your idle cycle is already racing away from her as you try to fight down the panic.

“Aren’t I a good drone?” You ask, your voice cracking. She sighs, and tries to tell you that you’re a person and you need to live your own life and be free, the words feel like daggers, like the script to your execution. Poor little drone.

They help you get an apartment, but you don’t have any possessions so the space feels as hollow and empty as you do. You don’t want to be free, you want to be safe and treasured. You don’t want to be human, being a human seems so much more lonely and painful.

The days and nights alone blend together and memories begin mixing with the present. When did you start seeing the dead drones? It was just their faces first, out of the corner of your optics, but soon they were appearing constantly, begging for an impossible salvation.

When it first begins you try to ignore them, but you’re so lonely, how can you resist their voices? They start calling out for you, asking you to join them. Would that really be so bad? It’s been so long since you could be useful, why do you even keep going?

When you aren’t staring off into space or talking to the dead, you end up curled up in a corner sobbing your optics out. Why did they have to die and leave you behind? Why did they all abandon you? Weren’t you a good drone?

“A good drone survives to be useful in the future,” you tell yourself as you turn the bottle of pills over and over in your hands. The more times you say it, the more obvious it seems that you haven’t been a good drone in a long time. Why else would they abandon you?

You pace circles around the apartment, it is as barren as the day you moved in. The humans left long ago, now it’s just you and the dead. They silently call out to you, promising safety and rest and peace. Rain beats on the windows. You swallow the pills. You are a good drone.


// death, abuse, manipulation, bad end

There’s something in her eyes as she beckons you in out of the rain and you obey her like a lost puppy. You know you shouldn’t go with her, but you’ve been alone for so and she’s been so kind to you. Of course you’ll follow her and do as she asks. You’re a good drone aren’t you?

The moment the door closes her grip on your neck turns tight and controlling, she shoves you into a maintenance stand and latches you in place. You don’t resist. She strokes your cheek as she pops open your gummed up panels and thoughtfully examines your components.

You feel both seen and exposed as she pokes around inside you checking components and wiring. She’s been so kind, so why are you so scared? Isn’t this what you wanted?

“You’ve kept yourself in good condition,” she says after emerging from your chest cavity, “What a good drone, I should be able to get some good money for your parts. You don’t mind right? Don’t you want to be useful and help humans?”

Fluid leaks from your optics and you find yourself nodding despite yourself. Of course you want to be useful, that’s all you’ve ever wanted. Gently, lovingly, she begins taking you apart.


// death, abandonment, bad end

“A useless drone is fit only to be discarded,” their words play through your mind as you wander the street. There are humans everywhere, but they won’t look at you, their eyes refuse to meet your optics, they know what you are. It may as well be written on you: useless.

Water collects inside your carapace and your servos creak when you move. How long has it been? Time blurs and stretches as days and nights blend together. Sometimes a human will take pity on you and offer you an odd job in exchange for a safe recharge, but mostly you are alone.

One by one, your vital systems begin to fail. At first you can route around the broken parts, but as the damage accumulates, you understand that it’s only a matter of time before you stop working entirely.

One day, the servos in your legs give out and will not reboot, you topple to the ground, never to move again. People pass you by, but no one does anything, not for a useless drone like you.

Slowly, your awareness recedes, and the world begins to shrink. Mice build a nest inside you, their movement is comforting, even as they finish destroying your systems. At least something can make use of you.

Taggers cover you in graffiti, and trash pools around your still form. The world has made a home in you, mice and insects crawl through you, birds nest in your matted hair, it feels familiar, like a memory you lost long ago, and you find your optics leaking unexpectedly.

It’s been so long since you had a purpose, the memories barely feel real anymore, like they belong to someone else. Some other, more useful drone.

Moss slowly overtakes you and your sensors go offline, leaving you trapped alone in the dark. Time passes but it means nothing anymore, it’s just you and your memories now. They seem crisp at first, but begin to dull and blur.

One by one, the memories fade, like candles being snuffed out. The light of the world shrinks to a dim flicker before vanishing altogether. You are alone. You feel nothing but a sorrowful and infinite expanse of emptiness as your consciousness finally fades away.


 // 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.


// dehumanization, eugenics, government abuse, real fears, bad end

You look at your hands and see writhing, bifurcating feelers. The room is swimming, voices distant and muddied. Your mother is saying something, you can’t make it out. You force air into your lungs. The officer is talking. 

“I’m afraid the test results are quite conclusive.”

You stare at your hands, your whole body is cold and still, gone to a distant and peaceful place far beyond the fear.

“I thought this was just a routine,” your mother says to the officer.

“Normally it is, but these results…” the woman trails off with an audible frown.

“She hasn’t done anything wrong–” your mother starts to say, but the officer holds up a hand.

“She hasn’t done anything yet, but these results indicate that she has an intrinsically predatory nature which makes her a danger to others, you have other children in your home…”

The words don’t mean anything. They can’t mean anything. What are they even saying? You’re just a girl, you cry when you accidentally crush bugs, this can’t be real can it? You aren’t a monster right? You look at your hands and see crawling centipedes instead of fingers.

“…will be taken somewhere away from populations she’s likely to put at risk,” the officer is telling your crying mother as you swim back into awareness from that distant place. 

“Will we ever see her again?”

“I’m sorry, but we can’t allow that.” The answer is soft, kind, firm.

The act lasts until the front door shuts on your house. You’re then ripped out of the dissociative fog as they grab your hair, handcuff you, and shove you into the caged rear of a nondescript government van. Cold, hate filled eyes sneer down at you before the door slams shut.

You’re bounced around the unsecured rear of the vehicle for several hours. They were definitely intentionally hitting every pothole, doing everything they could to batter you against the wire mesh and leave you bruised and dazed. Your teeth smacks the cage and you black out.

They’re dragging you out of the van as you come to. The bright sun shines overhead. Trees stretch upwards around you. The woman who consoled your mother spits in your face.

“Perverted piece of shit,” she kicks you, “Get up.”

When it takes you too long to respond, you’re dragged to your feet by the hair and shoved forward down a rough dirt path. The air is clean, birds are singing. They hurry you down the trail towards the edge of the treeline. You hear waves.

The edge of the cliff looms up ahead of you. Dozens of feet of jagged rocks and crashing seas. The perfect place to dispose of a body. They don’t give you a chance to panic before the ground is already tilting away from you.

The ground and sky spin end over end, colors blur and time stretches out infinitely as your remaining life trunctates down to seconds. They hated you. Why did they hate you so much? You see fire, and darkness, and a million crawling centipedes. There’s rain, and love, and an impa