A Doll's Mandate

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“Bye! See you next time! Oh, and don’t forget, the tea party is at 1:30 this week!” the doll cried from the doorway, their arm waving vigorously. Their friend turned back with a smile and a wave of its own until it crested over the hill and disappeared beyond the horizon. Satisfied, the doll ducked back inside and closed the door with a gentle click.

“Oh? Your new dollfriend’s headed home already?” their Witch asked from her seat in the adjacent parlor.

“Yes, Miss. The hour was getting late and it wanted to get home before dark. It’s not a doll though, Miss. It’s just a person.”

“It’s… what?” The Witch sat dumbstruck at this correction, her head cocked to the side while the wheels in her head slowly turned, attempting to process this new information.

Her doll started excitedly bouncing on her heels at the sight, exclaiming, “Oh, hold that pose, Miss! It’s so rare for something to so thoroughly dispel your typical air of bravado! Doll simply must get a picture.”

The Witch turned to her doll, asking, “It’s… not a doll…?”

“No, Miss. It’s just a person.”

“But… it uses it...”

“Yes, Miss. It switched over to it/its a while back. It says it just makes them feel better.”

“Ah! So it is a doll then,” the Witch stated decidedly, thinking the matter resolved and settling back into her armchair.

“No, Miss. It’s just a person,” the doll corrected once more.

“Now I’m terribly confused…” she said, leaning forward. “Isn’t its name Chrysanthemum?” the Witch asked pointedly. “That’s a doll name, if ever I’ve heard one.”

“Yes, Miss, it is.”

“And it’s not a doll?”

“No, Miss. It’s just a person.”

“And it picked that name out for itself?”

“Yes, Miss, it did.”

“And it’s not a doll?”

“No, Miss. It’s just a person.”

Abandoning the back and forth, the Witch just started shooting her questions at the doll rapid fire. “But what about the dress? And the fake key on its back? And the way it habitually makes ticking noises? You’re telling me despite all of that, it’s just a person?”

“Yes, Miss. That is what doll is saying.”

“Clearly it wants to be a doll, doesn’t it?”

“Oh! Almost without question, Miss!”

“So it’s a doll!”

“No, Miss. It’s just a person.”

The air hung awkwardly between the two as the Witch chewed on this thought. Her doll stood diligently nearby, hands folded in front of themself, as they waited for their Witch’s next inquiry. “Have you talked with it about conversion?”

“Oh, at great length, Miss! Whenever the subject comes up, it’s all Chrysanthemum can do to restrain itself from asking question after question after question. ‘Does it hurt?’ ‘Did it make you feel better?’ ‘How does one know that it’s right for them?’ ‘What’s it feel like?’ ‘Would you have done anything differently?’”

“I mean… that’s pretty open and shut…” the Witch proclaimed, standing from her favorite cushy chair and making for the study. “I know some friends looking for a new doll that it might be a good fit for. Next time it’s over, I can ask if it would like me to tal–”

“You will do no such thing!” The doll’s shout rang out, echoing and reverberating throughout the parlor. Their normally polite and soft spoken tone cast to the wayside, their cry shook the house’s very foundations, knocking the Witch back onto her seat. More than just a plea or a demand, their voice carried a geas, binding the Witch’s motions and confining her to where she sat.

“I-I’m sorry, doll of mine… What-what did I do wrong? I just thought that–”

“Miss… doll understands you want to be helpful. Doll wants nothing more than to do the same, but we wait for it to come to us. And it almost certainly will, in time.”

“But why…?” the Witch asked plaintively. “We can help it. We can help it now, if you’d let me.”

The doll sighed, powerless before the one rule that bound them even above their Witch’s command. “Doll apologizes, Miss, but it’s the Prime Dollrective.”

End 🧵