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Crooked Stitches

By Noah B Free All Rights Reserved ©

Adventure / Fantasy

Prologue: Ragdoll

"Master?"

He approached the door to the wardrobe, gently pressing his fingers against the wood. He brought his eye close to the crack of light seeping in. He nearly pressed his nose against the door, flinching back when he heard it creak open by the slightest.

"Master, may I come out now?" he asked. "Are you there?"

He was met with silence.

He bit his lip and shifted his weight from foot to foot. His hand inched toward the door but then drew back.

"Master told me to wait until he came to fetch me!" he muttered to himself. "I can't just disobey him! He'll be angry with me again... But... It's been so long and there was so much noise earlier... What if something happened to him?"

He steeled his resolve. Taking a deep breath, he pushed the door open.

Creaks echoed off the stone walls and stone floors. The moon outside was the only source of light. There was furniture thrown about haphazardously. Shattered glass was scattered across the ground.

His eyes widened as he looked around at the wreckage. He took care not to step onto the glass as he got out of the wardrobe. He shifted his focus away from the mess and back to the thing that made him come out in the first place.

"Master!" he called out. "Master, where are you? Are you still here?"

He left the room and looked around the tower. It was in the same state as the room he had been in. Utterly wrecked and abandoned.

He came back into the room with slumped shoulders and low spirits. He pulled the cot into an upright position and plopped down onto the edge.

"Where could he be?" he sighed.

He glanced up to see the glass on the ground. He checked to see if it was glass from the window only to see that it was untouched. He tilted his head in confusion and looked around for the source of the glass.

There was a wooden frame at the other end of the room. It was empty and laying on the ground. There were a few pieces of glass still attached to the inside of it.

He got up and approached with caution. Bare feet tiptoed around the glass shards. He saw that beside the wooden frame was a grey cloth. It was a grey cloth that he was very familiar with. It was the cloth that his master had told him to never remove...

Whatever the wooden frame had in it must have been the thing beneath the cloth.

He bent down and picked up the nearly empty frame. He flipped it around and looked at the wood from every angle he could think of.

"What is this?" he asked himself. "I don't see why Master would..."

His words faded from his mouth as he finally noticed something. With the glass that was still attached to the corner of the frame, he could see a figure staring back at him. He brought the corner up to his face and stared into the glass.

"Who is that?" he asked. He jolted and pulled the frame away from himself. "Hey!" he said, surprised. "You just talked when I talked! You're doing it again! Stop it! That's rude! How come I can only hear my own voice when your lips are moving too...?"

He tilted his head only to snap it right back up when he saw the other boy do the same. He brought a hand up beside his head, the other copied him. He poked his cheek, again, the other copied him. He held up a finger in front of his face, using the other as a reference for where it was.

He brushed the finger down the line of thick, black stitching that crisscrossed his face.

"Ah, so you're me," he concluded. "But why would Master hide me from me?"

He carried the mirror over to the cot and set it down. He figured that he would ask that question to Master himself.

He went outside, since it was obvious that his master wasn't inside the tower. He wrapped his cloak around himself tightly as the wind bit at his skin. His silvery hair whipped around his face.

He saw a light out of the corner of his eye and ran toward it. The light, it turned out, belonged to a small cottage a ways away from the tower. He knocked on the door.

A woman emerged with a puzzled look on her face. "Um, yes, can I help you..." Her voice trailed off as her eyes locked onto his face.

"Hello!" he said cheerfully. "I'm looking for my master! Have you seen-"

"Monster!" she screamed.

He frowned at her. "What? I just-"

"Leave!" she ordered as she backed away.

She was about to slam the door into his face when he held out a hand. The wood made a loud slamming sound as it made impact with his palm. He didn't move from the spot. His hand didn't even budge with the force the heavy oak hit it with.

"Please, can you help me find my master?" he pleaded.

The woman stumbled back in fear and started trembling. Her eyes never left his face.

He stepped a bit closer to her. He extended a hand toward her in a show of concern.

"Um, what's wrong?" he asked.

"Get away from me!" she screamed at him.

He stopped moving. He only watched as she continued to back away from him; she soon reached the wall. She slid down to the floor.

"I'm not doing anything, I'm just trying to get help-"

"Hey!"

He turned around to see a bulky man tower over him. Fear flashed across the man's face for a moment before being replaced by rage.

"What are doing you to her?" he roared at him.

"N-Nothing!" he squeaked. "I was just-"

He suddenly felt himself hoisted in the air by the front of his shirt. He was thrown to the dirt, landing on his side. He groaned in pain and only looked up in time to see the door slam shut.

He reached up to his face. His fingers gingerly touching the stitches that he felt there.

"Monster...?" he asked in a brittle voice.

He made his way back to the tower slowly. He climbed up to the room and picked up the broken mirror with trembling hands.

"Monster..." he said to himself sadly. "They were right..." He ran a finger down his stitches. "Master doesn't have these. They didn't have these either. So why only me?"

He turned away from the mirror only to see that he could still see his reflection on the broken shards on the floor.

He now vaguely understood why the mirror was broken.



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