Once home, the boy rushed to the mantle that displayed the things he treasured most. His arm swept away the items that had held a place of honor and carefully set the ragged, broken doll in their stead on the mantle.
“You are the thing I most value now,” he explained. “It is only fitting that you sit here.” He stood back and proudly observed the doll finally where he wanted her most, in his house with him.
Tears fell from the dolls eyes as she looked down at the boy from the mantle. She had obtained her independence at the end of a long and hard journey and with the sweep of an arm she was once again at someone’s mercy.
Through the pain of her cracked cheek she managed. “Take me back home. Please.”
The boy ignored the doll’s words as he brushed away her tears. “I will start repairing you tomorrow. You will be whole again before long.” The doll was furious. How could she be whole when what she treasured most, her freedom, had been taken away?
True to his word, in the following days, every hour the boy was not working or completing chores was spent repairing the doll. His excitement and devotion to his task soon softened the harsh feelings the doll had toward the boy. Both eyes surrounded by new lush lashes blinked. Her delicate porcelain skin gleamed, her apple cheeks were smooth and perfect. The doll sported a full head of shining ringlets on both sides of her head. And her dress! Even when she was owned by the daughter of a duchess, her clothes had never been so fine. Lace gloves graced her hands, trimmed her velvet dress and the top of her knee high socks. The softest kid leather boots encased her feet.
When he deemed his task done, the boy stood back and observed the now beautiful doll. “There is still something not quite right. Something missing…”
The doll could not imagine what more the boy could do. She looked better than she had when she was first created. “I am most grateful. Your repairs are wonderful. I wish to go home now, thank you.” The dolls words fell on deaf ears as the boy paced in front of the mantle. She was his and her home was with him.
“I know what’s missing!” Beside himself, he grabbed the doll from the mantle and brought her to his work table. “You need a heart. Every beautiful woman needs a heart.” And so the boy created a heart for the doll made of clockwork parts and placed it in her chest.
Once finished, the boy studied the doll again. “Now you are perfect!”
After that, the boy took the doll with him on long walks thought parks, woodlands and valleys. While they traversed the countryside, the boy told the doll of his hopes and dreams, his wants and needs. Slowly, the doll came to love the boy. Her clockwork heart powered by her joy. Days became months and months became years and years became many.
Then a day came when the walks became few and the talks fewer still. One day the boy arrived home and on his arm was a beautiful girl. She looked across the room at the doll that sat in the place of honor on the mantle. “So this is the famous broken doll?”
“Yes, my pride and joy.”
“Not anymore darling. You have me.” With those words the girl plucked the doll off the mantle and dropped it into a chest at the foot of the boy’s bed. The lid closed with a resounding thumb.
The doll’s shocked eyes roamed around the chest and found that other dolls and toys shared the box. “Who are you?” she asked them.
“We are the forgotten ones. We stay here waiting for the boy to remember us.”
“Well, I don’t belong here,” the doll assured her companions. “The boy loves me.”
“He loved us too,” another doll replied. “All of us.”
The doll waited, and waited and waited. The lid never opened and the boy never reclaimed her. Her clock work heart began to tick slowly until one day it did not tick at all. And there she lay, beautiful and once again broken.
Did you miss part one? Click here.