Apr 9, 2009

The Broken Children.

(New story, kinda long, read it when you have time... Leave a comment, or not.)

Miss Maker worked day and night, the best manufacturer in the country.
She made your product just like you wanted it,
Black, white or yellow,
Happy, sad or mellow.
She’d put inteligence, taste in music, books, whatever you asked for it to have.
She was the perfect maker.

Miss Maker lived alone, mainly because she was afraid that someone would steal her secret.
So she let no-one in.

And for that same reason, she had a Hall of Visitors, located just across her home slash lab.
In this Hall was where she took all of her orders herself, no secretary to help her, same reasons as before.
The Hall was bright and big, with vases filled with fresh flowers on every surface, to help create a more tranquil environment for when the clients arrived. The walls were a light shade of green, the sofas were a light blue colour, and long windows were located on the west wall, letting the sun in on a spring day.
People then would make an appointment with her, go to the Hall, and disscuss what their final product should have.
Only then Miss Maker would start creating her client’s desire.

Everyone knew about MM –that’s how they all called her, for short- and her ‘company’.
It was her whom they chose when wanting a new, perfect product. She was the best maker in the country.
This was common knowledge.

And so, MM’s fortune grew larger by the month; only taking five orders at a time.
She didn’t trust in the big multinational companies, nor in the CEOs, nor in anything big and corporate for that matter.
She always said that her way of working was the best there was.
And to a certain point, that was true.

Miss Maker was a strange maker.
And so were her products.
MM did not create fashions, nor art, nor furniture.
What she made was so much more than that.
MM created life.

She created an actual living being based on her clients’ preferences.
She made them black, white or yellow,
Happy, sad or mellow.
But I believe I told you this already.

“Miss Maker’s Custom Made Children” was the name of her shop.
Taking two, she made a small discount,
But taking three, the third was for free.
Always with the promise that you’d come back to her if your product needed a repair.

Such were the precautions she took when making the product, that no-one ever needed to come back for a repair.
A secret formula she had, made by her grandmother, perfectioned by herself. She had sworn to take it to the grave, having no children of her own.
She thought about this ocassionally, but immediantely cleared her mind from all of these, since it made her sad. So she tried not to think about it too much. But when she did, she contented herself with the knowledge that it was better for her this way. No messy, screaming child to take care of, she could focus on her work with no distractions.

The years passed, and her once small enterprise had grown to become the place to go whenever someone wanted a child.

But why these people didn’t ‘make’ the children themselves, in the old fashioned way, you may be asking yourself.
The reason is my friends, that they preferred it this way.
Many nights they cried, and luckily MM heard their sorrow.
She would help them, then, to bring back the missing piece.
Of course, the duplicate was never the same as the original, but MM did her best to make them as true to the original as possible.
And her clients always left her shop with a smile on their faces, and a new member to their families.

But MM did not make a duplicate for just anyone, not even if they offered her millions.
That’s why her Hall was so important to her.
In there she got to know the potential customers’ personality, their way of life, and anything else that she considered relevant when deciding whether to make them a child or not.
If she found them to be pushy people, who only wanted a child to boss around, she would refuse to the deal.
If she found them suffocating, and thought that the child would grow to become mentally unbalanced, she would nicely say no.

She rarely turned down people, everyone who went to her had a hole in their hearts, which MM was happy to fix.

Her so-called normal life continued, working around the clock to be on time for her deadlines. She didn’t like to be late, not for her job, not for anything else.

In regards to MM’s love life, well let’s just say that her relationships record was not a happy one.
That was one of the main reasons about why she’d decided to continue with her grandmother’s legacy. Everyone remembered Mother Maker to be the pioneer in this field. But MM was better than her grandmother ever was.

So MM had come to the decision to forget about love.
It didn’t seem to work out very well with her. Not everyone finds their other half, she said. We don’t all live in a fairy tale, that’s for dreamers. No, MM lived in the real, miserable world.

Luckily for her, she seemed to have found a way to shut herself down from the outside. Leaving it all behind her, finding a calm place inside of her soul.
This worked, most of the time.

One seemingly normal day, MM received a phone call.
A call that would change the perfection in her small and closed world.

The caller did not identify itself, and all MM could hear through the speaker were screams, really high pitched yelling.
She took back the speaker, massaging her ear as she did so, and tried to listen to what the caller what saying.

But she must have heard wrong, she thought, she must have misunderstood the person’s yells. Clearly it had to be a mistake.
Because there was no possible way that one of MM’s products could be failing.

The caller, who sounded like a man, was telling MM how badly his product had turned out to be.
He had specifically asked for a football player,
And had gotten a boy who loved prayers.
He had asked MM for a boy who sang,
Not for someone prone to being stung.
He had wanted a boy who would listen to what he was told,
Instead, he’d gotten one with freedon engraved on his soul.

Extremely nervous, MM said she was sorry. She told the caller that she had no idea how this could have happened.
Embarrassed to the fullest, MM kindly asked the man to take the boy to her, and collect the new product in a week.

The man agreed to this, and said that he’d be taking the child to the Hall in an hour. MM apologized for a fifth time, and then, heard the tone of the phone indicating that the caller had hung up.

Could this be happening?, she asked herself. Never in twenty-five years in this bussiness had she made a flawed product. This really disturbed her.
What was she going to do with a broken child?

The time came for the man to arrive with the boy. She knew what had to be done. There was no other way.

The procedure was quick, only lasted four minutes.
But the smell that remained was nauseating.

She went for a walk then, leaving all of the windows opened to let the smell leave the place for when she came back.
And it was certainly gone.

Not a week had passed, when MM received a new phone call.
It was another unsatisfied client.
The same arrangement she’d made with the first Caller, the exact same smell lingered in her home.

Now every day Miss Maker would go for a walk.
She would visit her friends, whom she hadn’t seen in a while.
She would go to the Park, and have lunch with her brother Mark.
Each day something different, each day away from the smell.

Everyone knew about MM and her ‘U-Chi Remover’.
It was her whom they chose when wanting to get rid of the broken product. She was the best remover in the country.
This was common knowledge.

Of course, not every broken product had been made by her.
When a client took a flawed child to the U-Chi-R, MM would make them a discount in the making of a new one.
This way everyone won.

Well, almost everyone.
That’s what she thought.

A certain winter day, the U-Chi-R stopped functioning.
MM had no idea what could have gone wrong, so she called a Technician.
The Technician told MM that it was going to take a couple of days to fix the machine. It seemed that the gas pipes were frozen, and one of them, broken.

MM said that there was no problem, that she could wait. She had no appointment scheduled for that week.
Or so she thought.

The following day, MM received yet another phone call from an angry client.
MM kindly asked the New Caller to wait until the next week, for the U-Chi-R was not working at the moment.
The New Caller, surprised and furious for the answer he was getting, said that he could not wait another minute to take the broken child to MM. He abruptly hung up the phone, leaving MM with a tight knot in the pit of her stomach.

What was she going to do when the Broken Product?
The Technician had told her that the U-Chi-R would be mended by next Friday, five days away.
She couldn’t think of what to do to the useless Product. She certainly could not wait until Friday to dispose of the thing.
So she set up to find a new way to get rid of it.

Two hours later, the New Caller arrived to the Hall, bringing the Broken Child with him.
It was a little girl, MM remembered her well.
MM couldn’t imagine what could possibly be wrong with her, the Girl seemed to be working just fine. She was polite to MM when the New Caller told her that she’d be staying with Miss Maker for a while. She even kissed the Caller goddbye, telling him she looked forward to when they met again.
The New Caller didn’t say a word to the Child, but handed over an envelope to MM, a cold look in his eyes, telling her he’d be back to pick “her” (he winked at MM when saying this) up next week.
He just mouthed a weak “Bye” in the direction of the child, turned and was out the door.

The Girl then asked MM what were they going to do that afternoon, because it was very cold to play outside.
MM told her that she was right, that instead of playing outside, they would go to visit an old friend of hers. She promised the Girl they would have a good time.
They both left the Hall with very strong feelings inside of them.
Opposite feelings, that is.

MM led the Girl to her car, jumped in herself, and drove away.
The Girl then asked MM if her Friend’s house was far, to which question MM replied that it was, that they would have to travel for an hour to get there.
The Girl seemed to be nine years old, but was in fact, one an a half. MM started wondering then why would the New Caller want a replacement now, why not a year ago if the Girl was broken beyond repair.
The Girl asked MM if she could turn on the radio, and finished her request with a “Please”.
MM obliged, and found in the radio a song she thought the Girl would like. Almost immediately, the Girl started singing along. MM couldn’t help but to grin a little, but stopped herself before she started singing too.

More than an hour had passed, when the Little Girl started suspecting MM was not taking her where she had promised her. But still, she said nothing.
Instead she asked MM if she had children of her own.
MM, shocked by this unexpected question, told her no. She told the Little Girl that when growing up, she would imagine herself in a big house full of her children, and her loving husband with his arm aroung her waist.
This image filled MM’s thoughts, and for a second she forgot all about the Little Girl. But then, the Girl brought her back from her reverie, by asking her why she hadn’t found the life she’d wanted.
To this question, MM had not an honest answer. She changed the subject quickly, telling the Girl that they were getting to where they were going, and that the Girl would love that place.

“But of course I won’t!”, said the Girl, giggling. “I know just where we’re going.”

MM was sure the Girl was lying –this had to be her flaw- and continued driving.

“We’re going to the Woods, aren’t we?”, the Girl asked MM, a big smile on her lips.

MM decided to play along. She told the Girl that it was a surprise, and admitted to have planned a picnic for the two of them.

“I don’t think so,” said the the Little Girl, “I know what you’re planning to do to me. And I understand.”

MM was completely puzzled, and decided to pull the car over, to have a little chat with the Little Girl, something she’d never done before with a Broken Child.

She kindly asked the Little Girl to elaborate her response.

The Girl giggled, and placed herself better in her seat, excited to have MM so intrigued.
She began talking.

“This is not the first time I’ve been here,” she told MM, whose eyes were big as plates, “I remember this forest like I was here the day before last. Oh, yes.
I didn’t come here alone, you know. No,” she paused, appearing to be reminiscing, “it was my father who brought me here the first time.
Yes, I remember it very clearly. I remember how furious he was when he ended my life. He looked like he was going to burst.
But when he took me here, the day was a sunny one. I like sunny days, when you can play outside.
When I died, you were already famous. ‘Miss Maker and her wonderful U-Chi-R can take all your problems away!’, my mother repeated again and again. Of course, I didn’t pay much attention to what she said back then.” She said, looking out the window.
“With my last breath, I saw my father’s eyes, and the regret in them. I forgave for everything he had made my mother and I go through.
When you made me,” she continued, bringing her eyes back to MM’s glare, “all of my memories returned. We, the Duplicates, do not forget, you see. All that we used to know, returns to us when we put one foot out of your shop, and into the world one more time. We are a new person, to call us something, but with our previous experience in life already engraved in our minds.
That’s why my father brought me to you. He had no idea that his daughter was in here somewhere. He didn’t want to remember her. Simply wanted to forget.
Many nights he struggled with the idea of killing his daughter yet again; many fights with my mother, who wanted me to stay.
But he set his foot down, and my mother couldn’t handle it. She couldn’t bare to lose me once more. So she lost herself, rather than losing me again. I think she knew exactly what she was doing, but carried in with her plan nevertheless.
That was what did it, what drove my father to bring me to you.
I knew what was happening from the beginning, but decided to play dumb.
We know what you do to our kind, and sometimes we accept it, knowing it was for the best; but most of the times, the Owners of the Broken Children take them to you based on a whim. Nothing more than wanting a new and improved version of the last Child.
Like I said, we don’t forget.”

MM couldn’t believe what she was hearing. Could the Little Girl be telling the truth?

“You are right in not believing in me right away. I knew you wouldn’t.
That’s why you’ll be having a little party visiting you tomorrow.
They will go to collect my body, and talk to you about what I’ve been telling you. Then you’ll know that I wasn’t lying.
So, what are you waiting for? Let’s go!”

And with that, the Little Girl got out of the car, and ran into the woods, MM following her.

“It’s all right,” was the last thing she said.
Her smile remained frozen on her lips.

The next day, MM received a visit. The Duplicates had come as the Girl had promised.
They all introduced themselves to Miss Maker, to explain that they too wanted to live, like the Original Ones had.

MM understood immediately.
She and the Duplicates came up with a plan.
MM would continue with the façade of the U-Chi-R, but the Broken Children would have a better destination.

She then brought the dead and cold body of the Little Girl, for the Duplicates to take her. She was very fond of her now, of her spirit at least. She couldn’t bare the idea that her father would dispose of her the way he had done. The Girl deserved so much more.

MM asked them to forgive her. She had been blind, she said, until this Girl had taken off what kept her eyes closed.
For that, she would be forever grateful to her.

Joy was her name.


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