Puppet Master

31Jul10

His fingers nimbly moved across the open stage under his hands and the strings followed every deft movement. The lights temporarily blinded him as it focused on his marionettes and flashed on his eyes. The shouts of his audience reached his ears and a surge of an adrenaline rush passed through his body.

The music continued to play in the background and his fingers didn’t stop their movement.

More!” He heard and he complied. The puppets in his hands didn’t stop their dance to the beat as the strings pulled and their dainty wooden feet floated above the floor of the stage. The fast beat finally started to dwindle down and so did the pace the puppets danced. And he heard the voices that told him to keep going. He wasn’t one to disappoint and as a slow beat started, he pulled the puppets back and kept them near the stage. He appeared from behind the made-up stage and smiled at the little children’s expectant faces.

“Do you want to see more?” He asked them with a small smile. They replied with a chorus of concurring comments. “Because you’re such delightful children, I’ll let you meet my little girl, Alissa.”

The overjoyed sounds of their tones encouraged him as he went to a small basket that he made into a make-shift bed. He took out a small stature of a marionette and cradled it into his arms. He lovingly smiled at the doll and proudly showed it to the children. They looked at it in wonder and different remarks were thrown to him as he stood there with the puppet in his arms.

“It looks so real,” one commented, awestricken. “And it’s so pretty!”

He smiled at her and bowed courteously, the puppet in his arms slightly bounced in his tight embrace. Its long dark tresses swayed from side to side and he gently tucked them behind its ear. “Alissa says thank you, young one.”

The short velvet dress brushed across his arm as he straightened up and smiled at the children who stood up from their seats to take a closer look. They reached out to touch the puppet but his arms firmly tightened their hold on the marionette. He shifted to the side as he deprived them of touch. He shook his head at them and smiled.

“Alissa doesn’t like to be touched by other children,” he scolded them lightly. “But she’ll be willing to dance for you.”

He turned away from them and took his spot at the back of the stage. He laid her on the hard floor of the stage and took a hold of the strings. He tied them on his fingers and he pulled, the puppet rose slowly. He gently moved his fingers in rhythm with the slow beat of the music.

He felt exhilarated. These children loved his little Alissa and she was finally getting her chance to be recognized for her beauty and grace. His fingers moved in a faster pace as the music’s tempo upped. His cheerful expression, however, wavered as he heard screams resonate through the place to the back of the stage. He peered down and saw the doll’s hand roll towards the end of the stage floor. His eyes widened, horrified.

“Alissa!”

He quickly let go of the strings and ran towards the front of the stage. He scooped up the doll’s body and let his tears fall freely. He looked around at the children hopelessly. They were screaming. They were crying. They were asking for help as they ignored him. He cradled the body in his arms lovingly and he stared at the marionette’s eyes.

It was unblinkingly dead.

“My little baby girl,” he murmured as he wrapped his arms around the doll’s body. The soft texture of her skin against his reminded him of how she was before. Blood seeped from the red velvet dress and stained his clothing.

“I’m not ready to let you go.”

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