! It was a beautiful night: the stars were shining so brightly, many of the old village’s inhabitants stopped in the middle of their works just to look up at the clear, dark blue sky filled with thousands of light spots.
A little girl with a doll in her hand stood in front of a sweet’s shop, the only one in this region. Anyone could tell she was with the Wanderers, a group currently heading towards the Royal City. They only stopped at a few towns and villages, but when they did, it was surely something to remember. The Wanderers weren’t so famous for nothing.
Tanya’s clothes were made from the best fabric in the whole country; she really differed from the villagers who wore cheap, simple leather coats. Everybody who walked by watched her for long moments, as if she was a princess.
She didn’t care. She rarely cared about humans anyway; the only thing she was interested in was the nature.
She looked up at the sky and wished that her father was here to take her to the nearby lake, farther from the noises of the now crowded village. „He’s busy, but after the show, I’m sure he’ll have some time for you.”
The girl nodded but didn’t say anything. She hugged the doll made of wood. She really liked it. Her father made it two years ago and it was still in perfect shape as if the wretched iron-teeth of time couldn’t damage it.
Every children, big and small, even most of the adults were excited about the most famous puppet show in Eremis. They knew it’s probably the only chance for them to see it: it was rare for such fame to show up in a small village like Tyr, especially with a big group like the Wanderers.
Dor looked outside from his little room to the people who were eagerly waiting for him to start the show. He smiled as he was observing the children.
He hasn’t come here for nothing…
Suddenly, one of the dolls fell on the ground. Dor turned back to see what caused the noise, and when he found out, he started smiling again.
The little boy was terrified at the thought that the Great Puppet-Master noticed him. He wanted to say something, but no words left his mouth. The man stepped next to him, and stroked his head.
- Why are you shaking, son? I won’t hurt you. – said the thin Puppet-master. He looked unusually young for a “master” and dressed more like a strange wizard. His robe was full of markings unknown to most mages.
- S-s-sor-sorry f-for br… - The boy was afraid to look into the master’s eyes.
- You don’t need to apologize, young lad, you did not break it, see? – He picked up the doll. – Do you want to play with it, before the show?
- Uh… - He was still watching the floor as if he was trying to read the answer from there. Short seconds became long minutes to him…
- Welcome to our home, little one! – it was not the master’s voice. The boy’s curiosity won; he finally looked up. It was a doll standing in front of him.
The boy still didn’t respond in any way, instead, he examined the doll’s every big and small detail. It had similar markings as the master’s robe, but on the doll, they were glowing with a ghostly blaze. If one was to look at it for hours, that person might notice that they were always moving. The boy didn’t have that much time, he knew it very well, thus he moved onto the clothes.
They were all masterpieces; even a nobleman could wear those without shame if they were bigger. Only one thing was missing: the shoes. The doll stood on it’s bare feet.
The boy almost jumped out of his skin when the door of the master’s room opened.
- Master Dor, you should…! – said the short, old woman, but before she could finish her sentence, the puppet-maker raised his hand to silence her.
- Tell them I’m on my way. And if you have some time, please give this young man a nice cup of tea with some cake. And make sure you two won’t miss the show! – Dor bent down to the boy, stroked his head again and without anymore words, he left his room. The kid looked at the direction where the Great Puppet-master went.
- Come on now, my child, you don’t want to miss the show, do you?
! It was very unusual for a whole village to become so quiet in a mere moment. Everybody was talking, chatting, but when the Puppet-master showed up, every mouth closed causing a strange kind of silence; as if even the nature itself stopped moving in order to create the perfect atmosphere for the show.
Dor was standing calmly in front of the audience. He raised his hand as a sign that his show is starting. Everybody started to cheer, they were clapping, as if the show has already ended. A smile appeared on the master’s face; a smile that couldn’t have been more honest, yet, it was also disturbing. However, the village folks were far too simple to notice anything. Only a member of the Wanderers had a feeling, that there’s more behind the so called “master” than a silly puppet-maker.
Szergén was only part of the Wanderers for about a year, but the strange mage interested him since the first moment. He knew the master used magic for his shows, but he couldn’t find out which type. He’s never seen nor read about something this beautiful. The puppets were well-made, but that alone wouldn’t make Szergén watch a kid’s show so many times. It was the magic in them.
It made them live.
The people became silent again, and the show has finally started.
- Yet again, the Magical Puppet-Show will find it’s way to the heart of a hundred more people. – whispered Szergén.
The boy was amazed at the show. He didn’t want to look away, not even for a second. His tea had frozen and at the beginning, he dropped the little cake the old woman gave him.
He rarely had moments like these; moments when he was happy.
He didn’t have nor family, nor friends. He was wandering in the whole country, without a purpose, without goals. He didn’t even have a name.
Now, as he was looking at the puppets, he wanted to become more than a “he”, a nameless boy whom nobody remembers.
He wanted to live.
Live, like a real puppet.
The first part. It'll longer than I planned. I'm more used to short stories that are only a few pages long (3-4).
You can call me Shorty~
This is the first time I actually write a story in English. Also, a song with the same title gave me the idea (Sonata Arctica - The boy who wanted to be a real puppet). It's little different though. For example the master isn't blind.
Don't spare me, I want to know if there's anything wrong with this. Anything! Nobody can become a good writer without critics. Simple opinions (ex.: Good!; Bad!; Never write again!) are welcome too.
I won't cry! Real women with moustaches don't cry!