Rose pressed in the last bit of stuffing, stitched the final seam, and began to focus on the details.
Cute buttons for eyes, black thread stitched just right for mouth and nose, and most important, the hair. Long, luxurious curls of black that tumbled from head to waste completed the work.
Everything was just right. Perfect.
She lay the doll atop a pillow and turned her full attention to the pin cushion. She selected a long silver prick with delicate fingers, and pressed it through the doll’s chest and into the pillow below.
“It’s you! I’m your biggest fan. I’ve read all your thesis’s and theories. Brilliant! If you wouldn’t mind…”
“Sorry son, didn’t see you there.” Professor Land removed his glasses and rubbed his tired eyes, before looking the lad, a ball of barely contained energy, up and down. “I was quite lost in an enchanted forest when you found me, and want very much to return.”
The boy stood stunned and wide-eyed, not knowing how to react. At once, pleased to be acknowledged and miffed at being dismissed.
“Take a card and see me tomorrow. Office hours are on there. Goodnight.”
“Sure did. Got inside just in time too,” Pinkey said peeking out the window. “Hate to think what would have happened…” She shook her head.
Gray stepped out amid the destruction unafraid, spotting the wolf laid by the street recovering from all the huffing and puffing. “Yep, you’d think they’d learn after all these years. This old brick held up for my Great Grandhog, and it’s still strong as anything.” He patted an appreciative hoof on the brick and squealed laughter.
“One day little piggies,” croaked the wolf. “I’ll get you one day.”
Faster than ever, he ran. A thousand thousand scratches oozed blood, leaving his trail on the leaves.
The thumping rhythm of huge paws sounded from the deep wood. The beast followed fast an effortless track. It flew, thorns and limbs sliding harmless off its thick ebony coat. Drool overflowed the maw, leaving streamers behind.
David’s adrenaline spiked at the sound, and he pushed harder still, moving at inhuman speed.
The light looms ahead. One final stretch to the wall. They wait there, faces hopeful, before their eyes focus behind the runner and fill with terror.
Rosie wrung her hands and began reaching before forcing a stop. She leaned back with a hint of a smile. Her cheeks bloomed red.
The game was simple. Everyone writes their wildest fantasies, pops ’em into the jar, and shakes ’em up. Then the “fun” starts. The fun was figuring out who matched what fantasy, one at a time, until they were all found out.
Rosie glanced at Ken. He smiled wide in return, a knowing twinkle in his eye.
This somehow calmed her.
“Everyone ready?” Barb asked before emptying her wine. “Time to play.”
Randy woke as the thunder crashed to find himself strapped to the cold concrete of the mausoleum. He wished he could rub his aching back. Or just stretch, but rough rope cut into both wrist and ankle. A scream squeaked past strained vocal chords and trembling lips.
The gathered didn’t notice his struggles, their glazed eyes stared into the distance from within deep hoods.
Eyes he knew. These people bought his goats.
A smiling, dagger toting man approached the mausoleum.
So this is retirement, Frank thought., his tools scattered before him.
He had dreamed of retirement for years and all the things that he would no longer have to do once that time came. Banish early mornings and the workday for starters. Retirement meant relaxing, or so he thought. But here he was, up since the crack of dawn, working on this… thing. And when this is done, there’ll be another thing waiting.
Who knew honey-do lists grew at the speed of light?
“I’ll never catch up,” he grumbled. “I’ll have to go back to work to rest from retirement.”