/bootleg/ Photo Finished α

By BlondieAnon on 22nd October 2020 11:15:29 PM

  1. >Be you
  2. >Be a dollfag
  3. >You can't really help yourself to be honest
  4. >Balljoints
  5. >Articulated fingers
  6. >Expressive eyes
  7. >They really are just the best
  8. >Though you have had your eye on something a little special
  9. >A pony doll
  10. >Articulated legs all the way down to the hooves
  11. >Fully articulated neck with smoothed wooden slats to help keep it looking natural
  12. >Even a working jaw
  13. >Because of your freaky fascination, you often find yourself low on funds
  14. >But you need your pone
  15. >You opt out of going for the fanciest one your preferred seller has and email him if there can be... a budget model
  16. >A cheap version of an expensive doll is heresy but something just keeps nagging at you to buy now and upgrade later
  17. >After a few days of the seller not being the most willing, you manage to convince him
  18. >The days melt together while you wait
  19. >Until finally
  20. >She shows up
  21. >It's Photo Finish, in the flesh
  22. >Or rather, in the wood and resin
  23. >Sure, her mane is the right color of light grey, but her body is also grey
  24. >Not like she's unpainted but more like she was purposefully given that dull color
  25. >Regardless, you're happy to have her
  26. >You begin to carefully examine each of her joints, both to make sure that everything is smooth and solid
  27. >Evidently it's too solid
  28. >When you get to her jaw, you feel a sharp prick on your finger
  29. "Gah, shit!"
  30. >You glance down at your finger and see that blood has already been drawn
  31. "What the hell? Does she have a splinter or something?"
  32. >You wrap your finger in part of your shirt and lean in to see what caused it
  33. "Oh great..."
  34. >There's blood on her mouth
  35. >Your blood, presumably
  36. "Well... so much for that, huh? Well... maybe I can give you a bit of a touch up later."
  37. >It wouldn't be the worse thing to paint over her body either way so you leave it there
  38. >At night, you can't help but have a difficult time going to sleep
  39. >To tempt fate, you have what few dolls you have aimed toward you
  41. >Because nothing says tempting fate like having almost a dozen realistic eyes staring at you without ever blinking
  42. >But something about the pale Photo Finish just rubs you the wrong way
  43. >It's the shades she's rocking
  44. >You didn't get a chance to remove them and check out what eyes she's equipped with
  45. >But you really do get the feeling that she's eyeballing you hard
  46. >After a few passing thoughts of movie scene terror, you get up and gently bent her neck so she's looking away
  47. >You sleep much easier after that
  48. >The following morning, however, you find yourself unable to get out of bed
  49. >You're afraid to move
  50. >Now you're a horror sort of guy
  51. >You're fond of Chucky and all that
  52. >But something funky is going on
  53. >All of your dolls aren't looking at you
  54. >They're looking at the pale Photo Finish
  55. >The head movements aren't subtle either
  56. >They're fully fucking zoned in on her
  57. >She looks like she hasn't moved any at least
  58. >At least her head isn't turning or something demonic like that
  59. >Yet
  60. "Ha... ha..."
  61. >You finally make a noise
  62. >Your entire body tenses up at the mere thought that something might happen
  63. >That the dolls will snap back to you
  64. >Or that the pony doll will imitate your laugh
  65. >Your blood runs cold at the anticipation of that happening
  66. >Yet it doesn't
  67. >After entire minutes of your eyes being glued to the scene, you finally get up
  68. >Not only do you have your morning bathroom rituals, but you feel genuinely spooked to the point that you're ready to pee yourself
  69. >After a shower and examination of your finger, you come to realize that you haven't been devoured at least
  70. >You don't want to burn down the apartment quite yet
  71. >But maybe you should email that seller again
  72. >Just in case
  73. >With a towel around your waist, you walk back to your ro-
  74. >Where did she go
  75. >The pony doll you paid $69.99 for is not on your desk
  76. >The other dolls are staring at your bed
  77. >Not you, thankfully
  78. >But not the spot they were looking at earlier either
  80. >You should be far more outwardly spooked but to be perfectly honest, where would you go?
  81. >You can't leave your home, no matter how fucked you are
  82. >This must be why horror protagonists can't just splitsville
  83. >A whole lot of you is trying to stop you from looking at your bed, but you force yourself to anyway
  84. >Your phone is on the bed
  85. >As well as the Photo Finish doll
  86. >What makes you feel almost dizzy is that the blood you shed on her changed shape
  87. >Rather than an unseemly splotch, it's on her lips like lipstick
  88. >There's an old joke somewhere about horses
  89. wearing lipstick, isn't there?
  90. >You were hoping to get your phone but she's close to it
  91. >Worse, one of her well-formed hooves is resting on the rubber outer shell
  92. >Fuck
  93. "...hey there, little photo mama. Is it ok that I grab my phone?"
  94. >You've spoken to your dolls before just fine
  95. >You've even flirted with a few of them
  96. >But you have a hard time keeping a straight tone with this one
  97. >You stand still, watching the doll with every ounce of focus you can muster
  98. >Which is quite a lot given the circumstances
  99. >Quicker than a hiccup, her neck snaps up to look at you directly
  100. >There's not even any audible snapping or cracking noise
  101. >There shouldn't be, the neck segments were very smooth
  102. >"ʸᵒᵘ ᵗᵃˢᵗᵉ ᵍᵒᵒᵈ"
  103. >Her wooden chomps open and closed as she speaks
  104. >She's speaking
  105. >She spoke
  106. >At you
  107. >You're tempted to question this on a deeply personal level but you've fallen face down on the floor before realizing it
  108. >You lose consciousness just as quickly
  110. >Your eyes open
  111. >Holy shit was that a weird dream
  112. >You have half a mind to stop watching all of those things an-
  113. >You notice that you're in a towel
  114. >You immediately freeze
  115. >Your eyes scan over what's visible to you
  116. >You still have your legs, arms, hands, feet
  117. >Your eyes go to the dolls that have been fixated on your newest... thing
  118. >They're looking at you
  119. >Kinda like how they were before
  120. >Well that's not so bad, you're used to their creepy yet cute eyes
  121. >You inhale to sigh
  122. >But you don't exhale
  123. >If they're looking at you
  124. >At your face
  125. >Against your better judgement, your hand swats above your head
  126. >You grab something and bring it to your face
  127. >Sure enough it's the Photo Finish doll with blood-coated lips
  128. "Fuck, FUCK!"
  129. >Without thinking you sit up and hurl the doll against the wall
  130. >You watch it break into dozens of well-crafted, lacquered pieces of light wood
  131. "doɴ't do tHᴀt"
  132. >That voice came from behind you
  133. >You stumble off of the bed toward the direction
  134. >The doll is sitting there
  135. >What?!
  136. "WHAT?!"
  137. >Your head whips to where you hurled the doll
  138. >There's nothing there
  139. >You crouch over a bit and hold out your hands, ready to throw down with the pale firewood mascot reject
  140. "Hold the fuck, how?!"
  141. >You expect her to answer you but she doesn't
  142. "Don't try that silent, dormant shit on me, I'm wise to those games. I've seen Monkey Bone."
  143. >As if to oblige, she, IT, slowly stands up
  144. >There isn't a scratch at all that you can see
  145. >No matter what, you can't leave
  146. >You understand, you can't leave her alone because she has tasted your blood
  147. >The bond is made
  148. >The rules will not be ignored
  149. >All it takes is the sound of a passing ambulance siren
  150. >You're sitting on the bed
  151. >Holding the doll
  152. >With it's mouth right up against your ear
  153. >With the might and agility of a fully grown man that realized a spider was on his earlobe, you kung fu yourself away from the doll
  154. >It lands harmlessly on the bed, on it's side
  155. "Ok, neat fucking trick. Who are you. What are you."
  156. >The doll rolls over and stands up on it's hooves
  157. >"i'ᵐ ʸᵒᵘʳ ᶠʳiᵉnᵈ. i ᵖʳᵒᵐiˢᵉ."
  158. >It speaks but you get the funny feeling that the sound isn't coming from the doll itself
  159. "Yeah, uh huh, then that makes me mayor of fucking Friendly Town. Who are you?"
  160. >The faux-fashionista pony doll tilts it's head at you, jaw chirping and swinging
  161. >"i'ᵛᵉ ʰᵉᵉᵈᵉᵈ ʸᵒᵘʳ ᶜᵃˡˡ. ʷᵃˢ iᵗ nᵒᵗ ʸᵒᵘ ʷʰᵒ ˢᵘᵐᵐᵒnᵉᵈ ᵃ ᶜᵒᵐᵖᵃniᵒn ᵗᵒ ˢʰᵃʳᵉ in ʸᵒᵘʳ ˡᵒnᵉˡinᵉˢˢ?"
  162. >The voice is only vaguely feminine
  163. >It reminds you of too many specific voices but it fits none of them
  164. "I... no. No, you aren't gonna trick me with that shit."
  165. >You relax somewhat and reach for your desk chair, plopping yourself onto it
  166. "Now you... you keep your spooky ass over there while I... "
  167. >While you what?
  168. >What could you possibly do?
  169. >You don't really have anyone you can go to as is
  170. >After it probably sensing your leaking sense of hostility, it jumps off the bed
  171. >It lands on the hard floor with an appealing wooden clop
  172. >"i ᵃᵐ ʸᵒᵘʳ ᶠʳiᵉnᵈ. i ᵃᵐ ᵗiᵉᵈ ᵗᵒ ᵗʰiˢ ᶠᵒʳᵐ ᵇᵘᵗ i ᵖʳᵒᵐiˢᵉ ʸᵒᵘ i ᵈᵒ nᵒᵗ nᵉᵉᵈ ᶜᵃʳʳᵒᵗˢ."
  173. >You watch the doll jerk it's head back and forth, as if it's emulating a laugh
  174. "Funny."
  175. >You're scared beyond your personal capacity for fear
  176. >In a revelation that makes you question everything, you can no longer say that you don't understand what's going on
  177. >Beyond fear, is a sense of anger
  178. >At the seller, at it, at yourself
  179. >When it comes to whether you're afraid or mad, madness is starting to win out
  180. "So... you're my 'friend'... because of my blood. Are you the doll, or are you controlling it?"
  181. >The bright purple lenses reflect a misshapen caricature back at you
  182. >"i ᵃᵐ ʸᵒᵘʳ ᶠʳiᵉnᵈ ᵇᵉᶜᵃᵘˢᵉ ʸᵒᵘʳ ˢᵒᵘˡ ˢinᵍˢ ᵗᵒ ᵐᵉ. ᵗʰᵉ ᵇˡᵒᵒᵈ ᵒᶠᶠᵉʳᵉᵈ ᵐᵉʳᵉˡʸ ᶜᵒnnᵉᶜᵗˢ ᵒᵘʳ ˢʰᵉˡˡˢ."
  183. >The voice that speaks directly into your head is sweet enough to make you want to vomit
  184. >Or maybe it isn't sweetness that is trying to cause you to lose your stomach
  185. >"ᵐᵃʸ i ᶠinᵈ ᵃ nᵉʷ ˢʰᵉˡˡ ᵗʰᵃᵗ iˢ ᵇᵉᵗᵗᵉʳ ˢᵘiᵗᵉᵈ?"
  186. >What does that even mean?
  187. "N-no... no. Stay... in there. Around there. No."
  188. >You bring your hand up to your head
  189. >You didn't know you were sweating
  190. >What's kinda funny is that you normally have little hand tremors every now and again
  191. >Your hands aren't shaking at all
  192. >"i ʰᵒᵖᵉ ʸᵒᵘ ᵈᵒ nᵒᵗ ᵐinᵈ ᵗʰᵃᵗ i ᵃᵐ ʰᵒˡᵈinᵍ ʸᵒᵘʳ ʰᵃnᵈˢ. ᵗʰᵉʸ ʷᵉʳᵉ ˢʰᵃᵏinᵍ ʰᵃʳᵈ."
  193. >Is that what that is?
  194. >You look at your hands
  195. >Try as you might, you can't will yourself to see anything but your own two hands
  196. >Wait, you see something!?
  197. >...nevermind, that scratch was from last week
  198. "Do I... want to know what you meant by my 'soul'? Did you come with this doll?"
  199. >The tiny doll sits down
  200. >Between the dress, the artsy hairdo and the 'lipstick', the doll looks downright ready for a social evening
  201. >"ᵖˡᵉᵃˢᵉ ᵈᵒ nᵒᵗ ˢᵗʳᵃin ʸᵒᵘʳ ᵐinᵈ. ʸᵒᵘ ᵃʳᵉ ᵃᵇᵒᵘᵗ ᵗᵒ ᵇᵉᶜᵒᵐᵉ ᵛiᵒˡᵉnᵗ iᶠ ʸᵒᵘ ᶜᵒnᵗinᵘᵉ ᵗᵒ ᵃˢᵏ. ˡᵉᵗ ᵘˢ ᵖˡᵃʸ ᵃ ᵍᵃᵐᵉ inˢᵗᵉᵃᵈ"
  203. >You attempt to stand up
  204. >But you can't
  205. >Your legs aren't moving
  206. >What?
  207. >How?
  208. >You try to move your arms to push yourself out of your chair
  209. >You can grab the arm rests but you can't push yourself up at all
  210. >Madness is starting to lose
  211. >Panic is winning
  212. >"ᵖˡᵉᵃˢᵉ ᵈᵒ nᵒᵗ ᶠiᵍʰᵗ. ʳᵉˡᵃˣ. ʷᵉ ʷiˡˡ ʰᵃᵛᵉ ᶠᵘn ᵗᵒᵍᵉᵗʰᵉʳ. i ᵖʳᵒᵐiˢᵉ ʸᵒᵘ."
  213. >As tiny as the doll is, the voice is in front of you
  214. >Behind you
  215. >At both of your sides
  216. >Unable to physically escape, you scream the only thing that makes sense
  217. >The only coherent thought that shines in your mind
  218. >The only concept that isn't devoured by doubt and terror
  221. >You don't remember what happened
  222. >But you're at your desk
  223. >You have a nice cup of tea in front of you
  224. >The pony doll is sitting opposite of you, on the desk
  225. >The other ball-jointed dolls you have are sitting next to her
  226. >All of them are looking at you
  227. >You're used to their stares
  228. >You've always kinda thought it was cool to have something so obviously spooky always in sight
  229. >But now that they were moving, it's a little less funny
  230. >You blink a few times, like you're realizing where you are
  231. >One of the human dolls blinks back
  232. >You don't remember them having eyelids
  233. >It blinks again
  234. >You realize that the fleshy film that goes over it's eye isn't what it normally came with
  235. >You should be more violently freaked out but you just feel like your nerves are fried
  236. >You understand how horror protagonists can continue in a hopeless setting now
  237. >Like an RPG, you feel like you have a thousand things to ask
  238. >But you don't think you want to play a game of Twenty Questions
  239. "W..."
  240. >The pony doll's head snaps to attention as soon as you make a noise
  241. >The pink lenses are almost high enough quality that you can see something resembling your reflection in them
  242. >Along with something else behind your shoulder
  243. >Watching you
  244. >Watching it
  245. "W..."
  246. >You swallow hard
  247. "Was my kitchen awkward to work with?"
  248. >The pale fashionista pony shakes her head
  249. >The other dolls shake their heads as well, each one going at a different speed
  250. >You nod and swallow again
  251. "C... cool. It's... not that big. A little cramped."
  252. >You look down at the cup
  253. >You feel the need to look into it's glasses to try to understand what's looming over you
  254. >Something primitive tells you that you really shouldn't push your luck
  255. "Is... uh. Is this cup for me?"
  256. >The pony nods
  257. >The other dolls start to nod too
  258. >One nods faster and faster until you can hear the smooth wood squeaking against itself
  259. >That's not spooky at all
  260. >Whatever amounts to 'spooky' at this point
  261. >You reach for the cup and manage to grab the handle
  262. >You almost expected it to blow up in your face
  263. >Or for your hand to fall off or melt into a skeleton
  264. >You almost feel like the fact that a skeleton is hiding inside of you is still scarier than all of this
  265. >Almost
  266. >A smile twitches on your face and you lift the cup to your mouth for a drink
  267. >It's almost too hot for your mouth but you end up gulping it down without trying
  268. >You set the cup down and sigh
  269. >It's that coconut bark tea you kept meaning to try out
  270. >You feel almost normal for a split second
  271. "Thanks for that... seriously. I didn't know I was that thirsty."
  272. >You look back at the dolls
  273. >Specifically the one calling the shots
  274. >If you're going to die at least you had a good drink
  275. "What happens next?"
  276. >The dolls look to the center, at the pony ringleader
  277. >"ᵃʳᵉ ʸᵒᵘ ˢᵗiˡˡ ᵃᶠʳᵃiᵈ?"
  278. >A few nerves twitch at the sound of it's voice
  279. >It sounds a little more refined than before
  280. >Still like at least a dozen female voices speaking at once at varying volumes
  281. >Less a chorus and more a choir
  282. "Yeah. I'd be lying if I said otherwise."
  283. >You get the feeling that speaking is merely a formality at this point
  284. >The doll nods
  285. >You feel something petting your shoulder
  286. >It takes everything you have to stop from trying to shrug it off or shiver
  287. " that you touching my shoulder right now?"
  288. >The pony nods
  289. >Well that's good to know
  290. "...are you the one moving the other dolls too?"
  291. >Rather than the pony nodding, the other dolls nod
  292. >The one that nods too fast squeaks and starts to nod into a blur
  293. >It's head falls off and rolls toward you as a result of the overzealous notion of affirmation
  294. >It's head rests in front of your right hand
  295. >It's still looking up at you
  296. "Oh... nice..."
  297. >You casually pluck the head with your thumb and index finger
  298. >It's still staring at you
  299. >And blinks with a fleshy film you could almost describe as eyelids
  300. "You gotta be careful with these... this type of wood isn't meant for tough punishment, you know?"
  301. >With practiced precision you take the now headless doll and examine it's neck
  302. >Thankfully nothing was broken
  303. >The finish is starting to wear down though
  304. "Ahh... crap... well, I'll fix that up later. Gotta let the finish help glide things. Can't grind it away because that reveals the raw wood. That's where you can get real damage."
  305. >You rub the area with your thumb to get a feel for the damage
  306. >It could be worse
  307. >You fit the head back on
  308. >And tilt it back and forth a little
  309. "Better?"
  310. >The doll nods
  311. >But far slowly this time
  312. "Groovy. Remind me later to get that spot done."
  313. >You set the doll down
  314. >It's face focuses on you
  315. >The body, however, turned around to a complete 180 and walks back to the group
  316. >It turns around again before sitting down
  317. "So... did you find me and show up on purpose? Is this just... luck? Chance?"
  318. >Every other doll shakes it's head
  319. >The others nod
  320. >The pony doll itself only tilts it's head at you
  321. >"ʸᵒᵘ ᵃʳᵉ nᵒᵗ ᵘniᵠᵘᵉ. nᵒᵗ ᵗʰᵉ ᶠiʳˢᵗ."
  322. >Not the first?
  323. " long have you been around?"
  324. >That's really the only question that matters, isn't it
  325. >"ˡᵒnᵍ ᵉnᵒᵘᵍʰ ᵗᵒ ᵏnᵒʷ ʸᵒᵘ ᵃʳᵉ ᵐʸ ᶠʳiᵉnᵈ."
  326. >That almost sounds sweet
  327. "I... I suppose that's one way to explain it."
  328. >You're still a little concerned
  329. "Am I insane now? Do I look like I'm going to smear my crap on the walls, try to eat people and review movies online and claim it's a respectable profession?"
  330. >The pony tilts it's head at you
  331. >At least one of the dolls imitates a laughing motion with one of its hands covering it's mouth
  332. "See, at least one of them got the reference."
  333. >"ᵗʰᵉ ʷᵒʳˢᵗ iˢ ᵒᵛᵉʳ. ʸᵒᵘ ᵃʳᵉ ᵐᵉʳᵉˡʸ ᵈiˢᵗᵘʳᵇᵉᵈ. iᵗ ʷiˡˡ ᵖᵃˢˢ."
  334. "Neat."
  335. >At least you won't end up a whimpering, shattered mess
  336. >If the dozen or so voices in your head speaking at once is really being honest with you
  338. >Given the current circumstances, you find yourself working on the doll who's head fell off
  339. >Not like you can go outside and leave this thing to yourself
  340. >The doll itself, whether lifeless once more or merely docile, is set on a stand and still
  341. >As it should be, one would hope
  342. >The pony doll watches you work, her, it's head following your hands
  343. >A half dozen little jars and containers hold all you could need for such fine pieces
  344. >Normally they don't ever move around, by your hand or otherwise, so there's not many reasons to give them touch ups
  345. "But the lack of lacquer... that's the finish that needs to be refinished. That... is what counts."
  346. >You don't want to admit it to yourself but you know that your hands are moving with extra finesse today
  347. >You know that your hands aren't being led purely by your own effort
  348. >The longer you think about it, the more you know you'll be... agitated
  349. >So you just focus on your work
  350. >It's not work as in something you get paid to do
  351. >But you enjoy it far more than you could enjoy any mundane nine to five you've managed to hold down
  352. >Your left eyelid twitches
  353. >It's a little unnerving to see so many dolls watching you
  354. >The human ones watched you before
  355. >But not by choice
  356. >And they aren't even watching you
  357. >It's all the pony
  358. >The human dolls are just being manipulated like how you would manipulate or pose them
  359. >You know, to an extent, the pony itself is just being manipulated by something
  360. >An hand
  361. >Like the hands you're working with
  362. >Despite your best efforts to think nothing of it, you feel a bead of cold sweat go down your forehead
  363. "Alright... there we go. Now we just gotta let it dry."
  364. >You lean back in your gaming chair, sighing
  365. >You still haven't gotten dressed in more than a towel
  366. >May as well stay that way at this point
  367. >You hear the beginning of a rumbling in your head
  368. "No... nope. Don't say anything."
  369. >It probably wants to ask why you enjoy such a chore
  370. "It's not a chore, alright? It's... a passion. I like creating. Modifying. Customizing. Leaving my mark."
  371. >The pony tilts its head at you
  372. >The other dolls make variations of the same gesture
  373. >Including the headless one
  374. >If it bothered to speak it would probably call you silly
  375. "I'm not silly for liking what I like. Evidently it's enough to make you pop up and... whatever else."
  376. >"ʸᵒᵘ ᵖʳᵉˢᵘᵐᵉ ᵗᵒ ᵏnᵒʷ ʷʰᵃᵗ i ʷiˡˡ ˢᵃʸ"
  377. >You flinch at the choir of voices
  378. >It doesn't sound as loud as it was before
  379. >It's not as loud as it was before
  380. >But it's not something you wanted to hear at all
  381. >The voice
  382. >Voices
  383. >Are beyond anything you've imagined
  384. >That's how you know that this is real
  385. "Well, isn't that what you were going to say?"
  386. >"i ᵃᵈᵐiʳᵉ inˢᵖiʳᵃᵗiᵒn. i ᵃᵈᵐiʳᵉ ᶜʳᵉᵃᵗiᵛiᵗʸ."
  387. "Well in that case, that's sweet of you."
  388. >Not really
  389. "You say I'm not the first... what attracted you to those who came before me? That they worked with their hands? That they didn't kill themselves as soon as they realized a freaky doll was playing human karaoke?"
  390. >Do you really want an answer to that?
  391. >Fuck it
  392. >Omae wa mou shindeiru and all that
  393. "And while I'm at it... are you going to be the one that kills me? When I die, do you get my soul or something?"
  394. >"ʸᵒᵘ ʰᵃᵛᵉ ᵃ ᵛᵉʳʸ ᶜʳᵉᵃᵗiᵛᵉ ᵛiᵉʷ. ᵈᵒ ʸᵒᵘ ʷiˢʰ ᶠᵒʳ ᵈᵉᵃᵗʰ?"
  395. "No. Not that I know of. But I imagine it's going to happen. I would be surprised if it doesn't."
  396. >You bring your hand up to your head
  397. >You're sweating profusely
  398. >When did it get to this point?
  399. >You bring your hand down
  400. >This isn't sweat
  401. >It's blood
  402. >You wipe your forehead again with your other hand
  403. >It isn't coming from your head
  404. >You wipe the side of your face
  405. "What...what the fuck?"
  406. >You reach for a small hand mirror
  407. >The one you mostly use to look at corners and crannies to check if paint is evenly distributed
  408. >You look into it
  409. >You're bleeding from your eyes
  410. >Or maybe it's more apt to say that you're crying blood
  411. "What is this... what are you doing?"
  412. >"i ˡiᵏᵉ ᶜʳᵉᵃᵗinᵍ. ᵐᵒᵈiᶠʸinᵍ. ᶜᵘˢᵗᵒᵐiᶻinᵍ. ˡᵉᵃᵛinᵍ ᵐʸ ᵐᵃʳᵏ. ʸᵒᵘ ʷiˡˡ ᵇᵉ ᵇᵉᵗᵗᵉʳ ᵒnᶜᵉ ᵗʰiˢ ᶠiniˢʰᵉˢ."
  413. >You feel like you should be panicking more
  414. >You feel like you should be mad, or angry, or terrified
  415. >You feel something pushing you, gently, back into your chair until you're leaning back
  416. >Your vision starts to blot out
  417. >"ˡᵉᵗ ᵘˢ ʷᵒʳᵏ. ᵗᵒᵍᵉᵗʰᵉʳ."
  419. >"We're soul alone, and soul really matters to me! Take a look around..."
  420. >"You're out of touch! I'm out of time! But I'm out of my head when you're not around!"
  421. >You recognize that song
  422. >That fucking song always plays at work
  423. >Wait
  424. >What?
  425. >The fresh blast of AC against your face and the impact of the song knocks you into your head
  426. >What the hell?
  427. >You look at yourself and you're dressed
  428. >You have your coat on
  429. >Shirt
  430. >Pants
  431. >Boots
  432. >And the pony doll's head is poking out from your chest pocket
  433. >Wait a second
  434. >Regaining your capacity to move, you scramble back until you nearly trip over a pile of shopping baskets
  435. >"Oh, hey Anon! What're you doing here on your day off?"
  436. >Fiona, one of your coworkers, trots up to you
  437. >She reminds you of a living embodiment of Fluttershy
  438. >Just with popsicle stick and wire art instead of animals
  439. "Huh?"
  440. >You want to say at least a dozen things but nothing comes to mind fast enough
  441. >"Aw man, don't tell me you forgot... is it Bryan who's causing you grief again? Geeze, let a commoner rest sometime, right?"
  442. >You want to avoid her but you know you don't have the chance
  443. "Oh... yeah... well shit, I guess I am here, huh..."
  444. >You cover your chest pocket pony doll with a hand and wipe at your face with the other
  445. >No blood
  446. >Thankfully
  447. >Fiona smiles at you, but gasps
  448. >"Anon, you finally did it! I can't believe you!"
  449. >You feel a deep sense of panic grow from your gut
  450. "W-what? I didn't do anything. You can't prove it. I didn't leave witnesses."
  451. >She points to your face
  452. >"You finally decided to get contacts! You know, cosmetic contacts are neat but I thought you were joking about that sort of stuff."
  453. "Contacts? No, I didn't..."
  454. >Shut up
  455. >This is a good excuse
  456. >You don't have a clue what happened to your eyes
  457. >You reflexively grab your cellphone and bring it up to your face
  458. >At least your phone was where you left it since you last took off your pants
  459. >You open the camera app and aim it to your face
  460. >Your eyes
  461. >Your fucking eyes
  462. >They're...
  463. >
  464. >Purple?
  465. >The eyes you've had since the day you were born are gone
  466. >Or maybe it's accurate to say that they've been stained or dyed by
  467. >Well you know who by
  468. >What by
  469. "Oh fuck..."
  470. >"Right?! What made you go get those colors, anyway? Did it hurt? I thought you were afraid of, like, touching your eyeballs and feeling them squish?"
  471. >You put away your phone and blink so much your eyes water
  472. >You could never stand contacts but you'd use them for kicks if you could stomach the process
  473. "Yeah... yeah, I am. I'm pretty sure I was crying blood."
  474. >"Metal... so, like you're going the demonic, Satanic style? Blood red is really common for that type of theme, good going on picking up something new."
  475. >She always was quick on the draw
  476. >You just wish she knew how right she was
  477. "Yeah, spooky ain't it? Halloween's right around the corner after all..."
  478. >You try to not look at her directly
  479. >Even though the shorter girl keeps trying to stare right into your eyes
  480. "Listen, did Alan finally set up those..."
  481. >"ʸᵒᵘ nᵉᵉᵈ ᵖᵃinᵗ."
  482. "Uh... new paints? They've been back there on a pallet for a fucking forever."
  483. >"Ahh, Anon's Angels need a new coat and your hot glue isn't enough, huh? I haven't been to that department today, check it out. If he hasn't, just swipe them and go home. Gotta rest when you can, right?"
  484. "Yeah... yeah, thanks Fi. I'll bug you tomorrow."
  485. >Nothing says 'worthwhile member of society' like working at a hobby shop
  486. >This is your fourth year now
  487. >It pays the bills, mostly
  488. >But it also gives you an easy line to your important resources
  489. >And it's even allowed you to look into making doll clothing
  490. >You aren't gay but God damn it you have ideas and you want your gals to look ready to dominate any party they could ever be a part of
  491. >Doll clothing is expensive as hell too
  492. >It could be a good bonus source of income
  493. >You cruise through the coloring and drawing isles, as you usually do
  494. >For some reason some of the colors are really starting to pop out at you
  495. >Not that you were colorblind before
  496. >Another isle down and you're around the paints
  497. >Of course, nothing on the shelf is directly what you need in it's original form
  498. >Years of watching 40K and Gundam painters has taught you well about the importance of dilution
  499. >You look for what you're looking for in particular and...
  500. "Fucker mother."
  501. >Of course the lazy bastard hasn't restocked the shelves
  502. "What does that loser do all day, anyway? How does one man fuck up so hard by doing nothing?"
  503. >You mumble to yourself with the intent of ripping his head off while walking to the back of the store
  504. >Of course, the paints are still in their cases on a pallet
  505. >It's still all wrapped up too
  506. "Swear to God, I'm gonna change reality to change your name to Anal and fuck you."
  507. >You pause in mid-ripping of plastic wrap
  508. "...up. No homo."
  509. >After enough mumbling and ripping, you manage to grab two variety packs of your drug of choice
  510. "Acrylics, come to me..."
  511. >You aren't taking the cheap stuff either
  512. >Everyone tends to cover for everyone else as is so you consider it an employee perk
  514. >You flinch at the sudden shout from behind
  515. >But the shock lasts only a second before you turn around
  516. "Fuck off. You were supposed to put these up on the shelves."
  517. >It's Alan
  518. >The sleepy-eyed kid from a rich family
  519. >Some days he's ok
  520. >But for the most part he's a little prick you'd love to run over
  521. >"Hey, you paying for those? It's just me and Fiona here bu-"
  522. "Yeah, yeah Fiona knows I'm here. On my day off to check up how badly you're lagging, mind you. She's gonna ring me up."
  523. >You really need to get out of here
  524. >"Sure. Hey, what the hell did you do to your eyes?"
  525. >Fuck
  526. "I thought I'd pop in the eyes of Frakenstein, what does it look like?"
  527. >"Yeah... whatever, man. But it's fucking creepy."
  528. "Yeah? Mission accomplished then."
  529. >Alan mumbles something and walks off
  530. >"ʷiˡˡ ʰᵉ ˢᵗᵒᵖ ʸᵒᵘ?"
  531. >The faint choir starts off almost pleasant, but it has a certain verbal edge to it
  532. "No... shut up. It's fine."
  533. >You keep your voice down
  534. >It's not like you can reply to it through telepathy or something
  535. >"ʰᵉ iˢ ʷᵃiᵗinᵍ ᶠᵒʳ ʸᵒᵘ ᵗᵒ ʷᵃˡᵏ ᵒᵘᵗ. ʰᵉ iˢ ᵍᵒinᵍ ᵗᵒ ᶜᵒnᶠʳᵒnᵗ ʸᵒᵘ."
  536. "Yeah? And why would you know that?"
  537. >"ʰᵉ ᵈᵒᵉˢ nᵒᵗ ˡiᵏᵉ ʷʰᵃᵗ ʰᵉ ˢᵉᵉˢ. ʰᵉ iˢ ᵃᶠʳᵃiᵈ."
  538. >If you can't trust the thing that tampered with your eyes and speaks in your head, who can you trust?
  539. "Shit... fine, we'll go out the other door."
  540. >Holding the two variety packs like you have business with them, you stroll out through the break room, which connects the warehouse to the zone of perpetual autumn
  541. >It's technically the seasonal area but if it isn't winterized and full of plastic snow men, it's all autumn leaves and plastic fruits
  542. >Before hustling out, you reform a few of the fruity sights until every banana has two apples next to each other at the base
  543. >The eggplants get two oranges
  544. "Ok, now my work here is done."
  545. >You leave through the front, once again glad that the store doesn't have those RFID security scanners
  546. >"ᵒnᵉ ᵒᶠ ᵗʰᵉ ᵈᵒˡˡˢ ˡᵒᵒᵏˢ ˡiᵏᵉ ᵗʰᵃᵗ ᵍiʳˡ. ʷʰʸ?"
  547. "Shut up... not discussing that here..."
  548. >"ˢʰᵉ ᵃᵈᵐiʳᵉˢ ᵐʸ ʷᵒʳᵏ ᵗᵒᵒ."
  549. "No she doesn't."
  550. >You're glad to see that your car is out front and properly parked
  551. >You're still not completely sure what you need the paint for but you hop in and hurry back home
  552. >You have work to do
  553. >And you need to figure out what the hell happened to your eyes
  555. >You return to your apartment in silence
  556. >The doll hasn't been speaking to you all that much
  557. >You're not exactly wanting conversation with it
  558. >But the more it speaks to you, the more you learn
  559. >Maybe this is why people go crazy after learning things they aren't supposed to know
  560. >After a sigh, you clear your throat
  561. "So... what do I call you? What's your name?"
  562. >The doll in your pocket shifts
  563. >It almost feels like a kitten kneading against your chest
  564. >"ʸᵒᵘʳ ʰᵉᵃʳᵗ iˢ ᶜˡᵒˢᵉ."
  565. "Yes it is. Can you answer my question?"
  566. >"i ᵃᵐ nᵃᵐᵉᵈ ʷʰᵃᵗᵉᵛᵉʳ ʸᵒᵘ ᶜʰᵒᵒˢᵉ iˢ ᵃᵖᵖʳᵒᵖʳiᵃᵗᵉ."
  567. "Is that part of the supposed creativity I'm supposed to have?"
  568. >Aren't demons or monsters supposed to have true names?
  569. >Is this a defense mechanism or is it some un-named thing?
  570. >What's worse?
  571. >You glance at the paints you swiped from work
  572. >That's a lot
  573. >You aren't sure what they're for
  574. >Maybe if you paint the doll you can at least try to make it look more... normal
  575. >At least you're just about home
  576. >Whatever you end up painting, it'll help your nerves

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