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The Ferryman’s Treasures:
The Necromantic Doll Maker
I am the Ferryman. Since the beginning of time, I have carried souls across the rift from one life unto the next. As time has passed by leaving me unchanged I have learned one thing: Humanity is the most vile yet entertaining form of life that walks this earth. Over the centuries I have come across many souls, however, that have captured my interest with their sins, losses, loves, and deaths. One could say I keep them from facing judgment in exchange for keeping me entertained. One such young soul was Evelyn Fairclough.
Her family had been passengers of my vessel for centuries. Always upstanding and courteous members of society who wished no harm to others only aid and well being. They reached a higher place upon their society in olden days. They were the pinnacle of decency and humanity, until greed set upon their house and plagued their souls. They locked themselves away from all except those of higher statue such as themselves. Until miss Evelyn Fairclough decided to make her place in society.
It was 1348 in the streets of London where I first happened upon her. The air cool and crisp transitioning to winter. All Hallows Eve mere weeks away. I had been rapidly visiting this place with pestilence scouring across the land. Fear and death were dancing their way through the people like a morbid joyous tune. Caring not of statue or position. I walked the streets in mortal presence to experience their misfortunes first hand as I collected my bounties.
As I turned the corner of an alleyway behind a bakery to receive one is when I happened to lay my gaze upon the little miss. She stood over the corpse of a small boy who I had come to claim. The combination of orphaned, starved, and plagued carried him unto my path. However, I couldn’t help but look at her and examine the figure before me.
A small girl no less than a decade of age. Her garments covering head to toe in a dark velvet blue. Hair as red as the fires lighting the streets at night with natural curls of youth taking their place upon her head falling to her shoulders. Eyes a crystal blue that would enrapture the attention of any soul when met with her gaze. Face pale yet full of the color of red freckles that danced across her cheeks. She was a beautiful young woman who could capture even the audience of this immortal being. The most capturing thing about her presence to me being her actions at this time.
She stood over the corpse of this young lad not with fear or disgust. She looked upon him with curiosity and what seemed to be thoughts of excitement. The thoughts of wonder not unusual to children when experiencing new events most certainly. Yet, the smile across her face was the most misleading feature of her experience to me.
I sensed the soul still lying in the lifeless vessel. One snap of my fingers and I sent it aboard my vessel. I chose to stay though, hiding my presence from the eyes of the living. I wanted to study the child’s actions closer to see her actions first hand. This was a task that I surely did not regret.
The young woman grabbed the ankles of the small child and picked them up to her side. Facing away she began to drag the boy in a direction further down the alley and away from the street. With slow yet motivated steps, she firmly planted her heels into the earth to move forward little by little. We took various ways avoiding the busier streets and intersections filled with life. The young one ever cautious of her surroundings finally arrived at her destination of home. She drug the child’s body up the rear stairs and into the kitchen at the rear of the home. Excitement filled her body even more as she had made it to her destination. I could not help but wonder what such a young an innocent soul would be doing all this for. My interest in her affairs grew even stronger as she lifted the cover to a lift the help used for sending nourishment's to the higher levels. With much struggle and dedication, she placed the corpse in and raised him to higher levels.
Quickly she ran through the halls of the manor and up the stairs to her bedroom. Bursting across the room to the door with haste and joy, she opened the lift removing the corpse. She drug the body over to a small brightly rose painted table and sat the body upright in one of the chairs. Filled with even more joy she rushed over to her vanity and began rummaging through its contents vigorously. The smile broadened across her face clearly reflecting in the mirror. I gazed around her room whilst she was occupied.
Various porcelain dolls surrounded the walls and shelves of this room. All of them facing forward in perfection and neatly cleaned. There must have been scores of them lining the foundation of the room. All of them facing inward, as if this was the theater and our young soul was our performer. I heard a small slam of a drawer to see the young one rush over to her co-performer.
She laid upon the table various containers of powders and paints accompanied by a multitude of small brushes. I watched as she painted the lifeless figures face giving it colors and tone. After a few short moments a glimmer of still life was set upon the canvass. The young one clapped her hands with feverish excitement as she ran to her closet. She grabbed what appeared to be a nice tailored dress coat from the midst of her selection. She ran over to her new found creation dressing him with the proper garments for the events about to unfold.
With a few more settings of painted clay and sweets she began to mime filling the cups for her and her companion. Offering him imaginative substances for his beverage and communing with him about her day. She was well set in entertaining her new found guest making sure they felt most accommodated in her company. The time drew onward as I watched miss Evelyn play out and play out her gathering until her hearts content. The day grew darker and colder as a knock fell upon her door. It was the help announcing to little miss that supper was ready. With much distaste at this statement Evelyn announced she would be down shortly.
She apologized to her guest for having to leave and said she would see him tomorrow with the most gracious of manners. Once again she dragged the body instead to the closet this time. She placed the body inside comfortably and locked the contents with a key that hung from her neck I had not noticed before. She rushed all the items to their proper place before taking her leave from the room. I could hear her footsteps fade downwards as I too had to withdrawal from this place.
I returned over the next few days watching little miss play more and more with her companion. Telling him the woes of her father being away. How her mother was always entertaining everyone else except her. How they wouldn’t let her even go to school due to the illness of the poor rummaging their society. She spoke about how she was tutored in their home and allowed no friends whatsoever. She told her companion many times the gratitude she had towards him joining her. The young soul was that of loneliness and desire for care. That much I was sure of.
As I returned over and over, I noticed what the young one did not. Her companion was not going to last forever in his condition. Already the signs of decay were washing over as well as the smell illuminating the room. After much conflict within herself, she decided her guest must leave less her actions be found out. One night, as everyone slept, she removed the body the same way she brought it in, dispersing of it into the river bank a few streets over. The actions weighed heavy on her not for repentance, but now she was alone again.
Days went on and the child grew more frustrated and alone. I watched the emotions and fear of solitude destroy her heart until one day she had a new idea. She left the house after studies and found another young girl in the streets of the city. This young soul was very much alive and well. Evelyn rushed to her and asked was she hungry and cold? When the young soul replied yes, Evelyn immediately offered her warmth and food at her house. All the little miss had to do was follow her home.
Eagerly and with appreciation the young woman agreed and fled home with Evelyn. The stealthily went into the home and ran right up to Evelyn’s room. Evelyn told the young one to have a seat as she prepared the clay pot and cups for them. She assorted the trays with finely decorated sweets and even filled the cup with hot tea for her company. Fueled by starvation, the new guest lunged at her cup and began to devour multiple sweets at once. No manners or courtesy to Evelyn for her hard work or hospitality. This enraged the little miss beyond words.
When trying to explain to her guest about the rules of her household and scold the child for her actions, the new guest became enraged as well. The small ones argued feverishly over the guest actions. Sadly to me this was nothing I haven’t seen upon the living before, even in those of much older years.
Frustration consuming Evelyn, she stomped over to her vanity and slammed her fist into it. A rattle became heard in the top drawer that even I knew didn’t belong their. The young one slowly opened the drawer to see a small bottle corked. I had seen tonics like this before to treat cough and fever among the living many times. A crooked yet energetic smile filled Evelyn’s face as she held such contents in her hands.
She walked over to a different cup on the table. Away from the gaze of her new guest she poured its contents out in full. She then filled the cup with more tea, honey, and a dash of cream. Stirring so elegantly and gentle she began to walk over to the other little girl offering her concoction as an apology to her guest much like a grown madame should. The young one with little hesitation took the cup and swallowed its contents whole. Mere moments passed before the young girl fell not only unconscious, but her life force slowly began slipping away.
I could feel her soul begin to call to me like all of the others. I too watched as Evelyn patiently waited for the tonic to take its full effect. Within moments, I had another passenger to carry for the day, and Evelyn had a new playmate.
The cycle continued over the next few weeks. Little miss would play with her toys until they were useless to her. I would carry their souls unto the next world. It was almost like we were playing our own little game together. I must say I did enjoy watching such a small and beautiful young soul create so much joy for herself from death. She was making new friends each time and creating new stories as to how their days were. All for me and the dolls of this room to watch and be entertained by her hospitality. She was so happy and full of joy. She finally wasn’t ever going to be alone again in this home.
I returned one night to a very different setting though. The guards were sitting outside the front door speaking with the madame of the house. They wanted to know the whereabouts of Evelyn. I immediately went towards the conversation to hear about why this chain of events was unfolding. One of the children Evelyn played with had smaller sibling who watched as she took her brother to his death. He reported it to a guard days in a row before one finally heard his story. Upon investigation they saw the little miss escorting her guest to the riverbank one night and followed her home. The course of actions to take unknown from here they confronted the town’s bishop for divine guidance. His answer was a simple and clear one.
A grieving and begging mother tried to stop the men as they pushed her to the floor to get past. I watched the men storm the stairs towards little miss in her room. As they breached the door they found her getting ready to entertain a newly made acquaintance. The horror of this enraged the men even more as they shackled her petite wrist and began to drag her through the halls and down the stairs. Fear overwhelming the child, she began to scream and kick with all her might. She begged for her mother to help her as they passed her on the floor in her weeping state. Father again nowhere to be found do to matters of business. The mother, mortified, could not even move nor stare towards her child. They threw her into the back of the horse drawn cart and began towards the middle of the city.
As we arrived at our destination a crowd had formed around an erected log in the middle of the square. The bishop and his followers dressed in their appropriate garments of white waiting for miss Evelyn. As the carriage came to halt, they removed the child still screaming and crying for help. Overcome with senses unbeknownst to her she had no idea what was going on. The guards cuffed her hands to another chain above her head and left her standing for all to see. They screamed their absurdities at her from all directions. I could see the fear take full hold of the young ones soul.
The bishop raised hands to halt the crowd as he began walking towards miss Evelyn. Upon her becoming in his reach, he turned to one of his followers holding a small bowl. Dipping his fingers into its watery contents, he then drew the sign of god atop her forehead on her fragile pale skin. He took a few more steps forward and spoke to the people of the city. “My children, this is not the will of God. This plague and unnatural illness is all work of the devil himself. He has sent one of his children to carry out his deed upon us!! Let us remove this unholy filth from our presence and god’s will be done!”
The people cheered joyous cries that thundered through the streets. As the bishop took his leave from her side, a hooded man approached the little one carrying a large jug in his hands. Without thought or hesitation, he poured its thick contents over the girls head and entire body. I watched her scream and begin to quake with fear of unknowing about the event transpiring. Once contents of jug were emptied, the man threw it away from him and grabbed a torch from one of the followers. Evelyn began to try to escape ever more so at the sight of this. She couldn’t even begin to understand what was happening being a soul so young.
The hooded figure spoke loudly for all to hear “BEGONE FROM THIS PLACE AND ITS PEOPLE!!” With a violent thrust into her chest with the torch, she erupted into fire. The people around cheered with joy as Evelyn screamed with pain, the fire violently consuming her flesh. The flames seeped down her throat and filled her lungs to the brim as she tried to scream. In a few blinks of the eye, she was no more. The applause and cheer grew louder as the people praised god for removing this young girl from their presence. Some cried tears of joy even. I however felt none of these feelings having grown fond of her.
All she wanted was attention from those she loved. Years of being alone and feeling unwanted drove this child to find her way with no sense of direction. Yet these fools believed it was the work of the devil neglecting to take into account their own hands in this story. If they would have take better care of their society they loved so much a young and loving girl would not have been taken from the world. Nor would she have gone to such dramatic lengths to feel wanted and seen.
There was no hesitation in the choice I made upon watching all of this. With a snap of my fingers, I now stood in front of the soul of miss Evelyn. She was still mortified with fear from what just happened. I walked over to her embracing her with my comfort. “There there little miss. It’s ok. They won’t harm you anymore, and you will never be alone again,” I said softly to her. Quivering with fearm she was still able to muster the strength to ask.
“What happened to me? I was in so much pain and scared but now I can’t feel anything. Where is Mommy? Where is Daddy? I don’t want to be alone again!” My grip tightened even firmer around the child.
“No no no Evelyn. You never have to be alone again. I’ve been watching you play with your friends for awhile. I know you just wanted company my dear child. You did nothing wrong in your actions in my eyes little miss.” I began to caress her back as I comforted her. This poor beautiful young soul who was just alone. “I tell you what Evelyn. Why don’t you stay with me for awhile? You can come with me while I work and see all places in this world and the next. I will stay by you until you are ready and decide to leave. In the afterlife dear child, there is no such thing as running out of time.”
We stood there for a few moments as I comforted her. It wasn’t long before she wrapped her arms around my neck tighter than I can describe. I heard her begin to cry softly into my ear as she spoke the words through quivering lips “Do you promise you will stay with me? Promise you won’t leave me alone?”
I smiled and laughed as I picked the little girl up into my arms still holding her close. “I swear to you my child, you can stay as long as you like.” And with our new pact made between us, I carried her away from that place. So long as eternity existed, I would never leave the little miss alone, and until this very day I haven’t. No child should ever feel alone or unwanted. In this life or the next.