Anwin! Adventures in Responsible Doll Ownership, part 5

Updated: Aug 13

Our first Kickstarter is now Live! If you enjoy our stories and other efforts, please donate a dollar or pledge to one of our books! This includes the pre-order of Bound for the Styx.

The dripping of mildew echoed in the distance as Igraine walked down a ruined corridor. The glow of fluorescent fungus and alien reefs illuminated her path through the blackness of the grotto’s crevasses as she moved ever onward. The reason for her return to this place eluded Igraine. But for all its savagery and decay, the halls of Hades had grown on her, despite all the memories she could do without.

*Jus keep goin’.* whispered a woman from the dark.

Every joint in Igraine’s body locked up upon hearing the familiar phrase. “Neir?” her voice echoed through the ruin. Looking down, she found herself amidst a void with no ground to stand on. And yet, there she was, standing in a vacuum.

As Igraine peered into the blackness, a formless shape sheared her by, plunging into the abyss below. Breathless, she watched it go down and down until it was swallowed by the void. There was a deep desire to jump into the fathomless depths, just to see what became of it. Just so she’d know. It wasn’t even about the truth. She just wanted the uncertainty to vanish.

The darkness devolved, revealing the ceiling of her bed chamber.

Igraine rubbed the tears from her eyes. Even years later, her conscience was submerged beneath recollections of past insecurities and mistakes which had been seeping inside her mind like poison. The harder she tried to fight it, the more she feared drowning in self-pity instead. She felt something pulling at her blanket. Through her tears, she saw a doll’s shape in the twilight.

Anwin’s face was smiling, but her posture was like that of a scared child clenching its sheets.

Igraine held Anwin's soft head to her cheek. “Oh, I’m sorry, Anwin. Did I scare you?” She couldn’t help but smile when Anwin reached for her face, brushing away the tears with her plush fingers. “Merci.” Resting her head on the pillow, she caressed Anwin’s red mop made of Igraine’s own hair.

“For something cherished to be revived, a girl has to sacrifice something of herself,” Dr. Jenever had said when she was recreating Igraine’s favorite toy.

Igraine gasped as she felt more tears coming on. The last thing she wanted to think about was what happened to the doctor after RA had her arrested. Caressing the doll, she opened an eye. “Anwin? I know where I can find you some new clothes.”



“Dr. Jenever’s doll collection?” Mr. Butler replied to Igraine who was standing by his desk.

“Oui. Is it still here?” asked Igraine, hopeful.

Mr. Butler looked around his office which doubled as a storage space. “I think so,” he said, glancing at the steel door partly concealed behind some shelf closets. “It was stored as potential evidence after the uhm… Signalite affair, miss. But since the doctor’s… Detention, it hasn’t been moved.” [ To find out what happened, read The Wrench in the Machine.]

“Is it still considered evidence?” asked Igraine.

“I don’t think so. Why, miss?”

“I’m in need of some clothes for Anwin.”

“Doll clothes? Enough of those,” he said. “She made Anwin for you, didn’t she, miss?”

“Well, it’s... She made me a new one,” Igraine confessed.

“Oh.”

“Where can I find her collection, Mr. Butler?” Asked Igraine, eager to move on.

“Of course. I would have to look in the catalog,” he said walking up to the library cabinet and reached for the drawer labeled ‘P’. “Lets see,” he mumbled, flipping through the cards. “Here she is. Path 32, shelves nine through thirteen.”

“That many?” asked Igraine.

“It includes some of her dollhouses, among other things,” he said. “We store things there till it's time to make room for others.”

“What will you do with them?”

“Destroy it,” he sighed. “Most of those are personal items and archives stored for safekeeping. They deserve a better destination to be honest. Like with those twins. The girl likes her toys. The boy I’m not so sure of.”

“I wouldn’t know. Miss Taylor won’t let me near them.”

Butler nodded. “You never got along, did you, miss?”

“Non…”

“I remember Dr. Jenever having to mediate between the two of you,” he reminisced to Igraine’s chagrin.

“Please, don’t mention her, Mr. Butler,” she insisted. “I just want the clothes.”

“Forgive me, miss. I’ll open the storage room.”

The key was gnashing inside the keyhole as