I’ve always been his puppet.
TW: kidnapping, suicide
His tiny, porcelain doll; his perfect marionette. His strings attach to my every limb, my every joint, tying me to him.
Of course I’m not always bound. Only when he decides that he wants to play, and picks me up by the wooden controller that he designed specifically to fit his hand. He thinks that I don’t notice how he tosses me aside when he’s no longer interested. But I see it. I see it all.
For so long I’ve lived on his shelf. Tucked away and hidden from the world. I don’t know what could be in store for me if I could cut the ties bounding me to him.
He’s becoming interested again, and despite everything I become excited. Someone to love me, someone to care.
In an instant I forget all of the terrible feelings that brewed inside of me just moments ago. He takes me in his arms and I embrace it, hating myself for every fleeting ounce of happiness.
“You really are beautiful,” he whispers, but I don't respond. I don’t need to, I just grin broadly up at him, smile never faltering. He brushes coils of blond hair out of my eyes, and runs a gentle thumb over my porcelain-pale cheek. He smiles, and I continue to smile back until my cheeks ache. I cannot move. I must be still.
Everything is as it should be, I think. This is how it’s meant to be.
But all at once, the moment is over. His grin is gone, and he leaves me without explanation. He stuffs me back on the shelf he’s so graciously provided for me. If I left, I wonder as I wallow in my grief, where else would I stay? I know that I couldn’t find conditions quite this good anywhere else. That’s what he says, anyway.
I want him to be with me more, but I just want to be free of these things tying me to another’s choices. I want to do things myself. I want to be free.
But I fear that he will simply discard me if I try anything tricky. I know how easy it is for him to get rid of me. I chastise myself for my thoughts.
Why would I want to be free? Am I really that ungrateful, after everything he’s done for me?
I shouldn’t be ungrateful. I want to stay with him forever, after all. No master wants a strong willed pet.
So these strings should be a comfort. All these rules and regulations are confirmation that he still cares enough to monitor these things.
He loves me, I tell myself firmly. He’s said he loves me, and he would never lie.
Yet no matter how many times I tell myself, I know that it’s not true. A lie I tell myself that keeps my sanity intact. It’s interesting, how something so false and detrimental could be the thing that holds a person together. So am I destroying myself with this lie, and suffering more because I stay? Or am I saving myself from making a rash decision and ruining the little life I have left?
I cannot choose one way or the other.
For what is a marionette without it’s strings?
Still a doll, I think. Still a pretty little doll for someone new to pick up and play with.
And what if I find someone new? Someone who could care for me more and not leave me on a shelf.
I should be grateful for this shelf, because I know I don’t deserve it. After all these horrible, wretched things I’ve thought of him. I should be ashamed. I’m sitting in this home that he’s provided for me, and all the while I’m plotting to leave him? He doesn’t deserve that.
But still ,even to myself I cannot deny that I can’t stay for much longer. Porcelain dolls are fragile, after all, and sometimes he forgets to be gentle.
When he gets angry, he'll forget. He scares me sometimes, and he will pounce once he sees that I cower. If I stand my ground, though, I know he feels his control slipping like fine grains of sand through his rough fingers.
Tonight he is angry. I heard him come home and slam the door behind him. I stay on my shelf, my corner of the basement tucked away where I hope he won’t visit.
Just a moment ago I wanted him to be with me, I realize. I begin to laugh, covering my mouth with a hand. I’m going crazy. I can’t even decide if I love or I hate him.
I remember hearing of something like this. Stockholm Syndrome, someone said. I can’t recall now who told me of it, but I remember faintly what it was.
When a victim starts to love their captor.
I love him, of course, but he’s not my captor. Master, maybe, but there’s nothing keeping me here. He’s not forcing me to stay. All I have are these strings…
But when I look down to see my strings, I realize they’re not strings at all, but cold metal shackles.
How could I not have noticed? I thought they were strings, but why would there be strings?
I’m not a doll; I’m a person. Strings may keep such a fragile thing, but he would need more than that to keep me.
I’m still fragile, though, and my mind is weaker than my body. It tells me that it can’t go on now that it knows the truth.
You are a prisoner.
You cannot escape.
Your every move is controlled by him.
There is, however, one way to be free of the strings, whether they be thin nylon or strong links of metal. One decision I can make for myself. And I will.
I let my head drop, chin resting against my chest. I inhale one last time, and swing my head back.
I don’t even feel my head hit the concrete. I don’t hear the thwack as the impact reverberates through my skull.
I only envision my head as the face of a pristine glass doll, and imagine it shattering into thousands of tiny pieces.
The pieces that I now leave him to clean.