Budapest, 18th century
It was Christmas Eve. Everyone was on the way to the Theatre of the Puppets. There was this, really big, Christmas show, a really great spectacle. I was on my way too. It was a cold, dark night, thick clouds were covering the sky and snow was lightly falling from the sky. So many people were waiting in line.The Theatre was dark inside, gas lamps were lighting the stage, people were seated in their sits, me in the first row, and the curtain rose. Then the puppets came on the stage... there was one... two... three! Three puppets were coming on the stage, the Puppet Master held their strings high above. The puppets were almost human sized. Their skin looked like old, sick human skin. What a magical, mystery feeling was to see them dancing on the end of their silvery strings! The Puppet Master pulled one string, up went the leg, down went the head, he pulled one more and then, he let them all down. But the puppets were still standing. Suddenly they started to move - all by themselves! I looked at the little drummer boy... I looked in his eyes, I can swear he looked at me! And suddenly he started to play on his drum, which scared me a little. And when I took a look at his hands I saw a small but on his arm... and it was bleeding! Everything here was not what it seemed, and I was uneasy... but soon the show ended and I left the hall in a hurry.
As I was waiting in line to get out, I saw a girl, standing in the crowd, and our eyes met. I stepped towards her and greeted her. We talked for a bit, her name was Victoria, and when we were outside we took a seat on the stairs at the entrance we continued our talk. We both knew that what we saw in the Theatre was, had to be, magic, that night was full of it. We talked all the night long, and as I was looking in her eyes, her beautiful blue eyes, I saw magic in them... all the people were gone, but we were sitting there and I felt cold, as if one of the ghosts from the Theatre was next to me, and I heard a whisper in my ear: "Kiss her now!". And I did kiss her and that kiss was a magic seal of our eternal love.
Almost a year has passed and Christmas will be here in two weeks. There was another show in the Theathre. I was occupied that night so Victoria went to the Theatre alone. But when she didn't come home by midnight I got worried and went to look for her. I went to the Theatre first, it was a dark and cold night, much like one year ago. Behind the Theatre I saw some stairs leading down, in the cellar bellow. As I was about to go down, someone opened the door. It was a big, fat woman. I knew her. She was the Puppet Masters wife, named Emergencia. I hid behind a bush and saw her carrying a big, butchers knife in her hand and she was pulling a cart behind her. I decided to follow her. Trough the streets, dark and old, I followed her for some time when I saw someone lying on the floor. It must have been a homeless man. Suddenly her hand with the knife rose... and, oh no! went deep in his chest. He barely made a sound before he died. She left the knife in his chest, all that blood had to stay in its nest, and wrapped him in the sack she brought and put him on the cart. I followed her again trough the streets and when we came to the Theatre she pulled the body of the cart and carried it in to the cellar bellow. I followed her down, trough the ancient hallways, hiding behind corners, when suddenly, she was gone. I saw a light coming from the door ahead of me and I decided to look there. And as I opened the door and looked through them, I was terrified! Oh, such a horror show! But then I felt a blow on my head, I fell to the ground and my vision went black...
As I opened my eyes I couldn't see anything... darkness was all around me, I must have been lying on stone floor, and I couldn't move at all, my arms were chained to the wall. I felt that no one was here but me. As my eyes got used to the dark I saw many puppets sitting on the shelves and some jars besides them, which were filled with a liquid dark as hell. I was looking at the puppets when I saw... No, that's impossible! Eyes on that puppet... those blue eyes! I know those blue eyes! Blue eyes in the dark, which saw nothing, and yet they were so alive. It were the eyes of my love! Someone better say it's a dream! My eyes filled with tears, I could barely see a thing, when I heard the door open.
The Puppet Master and his wife entered. I couldn't speak, as I was shocked. Emergencia put the lantern on a shelf, and The Puppet Master went to an altar, with ancient books and human skulls on it, lit few black candles which lighted up the room a bit. I saw a strange symbol on the wall. The Master started chanting magical words from ancient tongues. I felt some kind of Magic inside me... I got afraid and, in panic, kicked one of the shelves with the jars, one of them fell down and broke... in light liquid was red, it was blood! The Puppet Master turned to me and said: "How dare you disturb my work!?" and in that moment a demons head, red as blood appeared on the wall. I felt a sting in my eyes, they were given eternal life, because of the disturbance in the ritual. The Puppet Master continued chanting and I could feel... feel my soul leaving my body and felt tingle in my skin. The the tingle grew in pain and I felt magic in me. In the next moment I lost my consciousness.
When I woke up I was strapped to a hospital bed. Emergencia was cleaning something, the Puppet Master approached me and said: "First your eyes, then your skin, we will make you feel born again, no more you, my friend!", his wife turned around, I saw a shiny scalpel in her hand. I got terrified. She gave it to her husband and took a jar... I knew... it was a jar for my blood. The Puppet Master took the scalpel and I cut at the top of my eyelids... oh, god, the pain! He cut out both of my eyelids and threw them in a trash can. I was bleeding from my eyes, like... like I was crying blood! He put down the scalpel and took up scissors, grabbed my eyeball with his fingers, it was now connected to me only with few strings of nerves. The scissors snapped... oh, god! ...he put my eyes... into this puppet thing... like those puppets in the Theatre, just without that human like skin... oh, god, why!? My eyes could still see, because of the ritual, that went wrong, I was looking from the puppet to myself, but what I saw was no more me. He started skinning me, separating my skin from the bones... OH, THE PAIN!!! Emergencia made sure all my blood went into her jars. ...pain... my senses went numb... I should be dead by now, but I was still alive inside my eyes! And I saw Emergencia throw my carcass in the thrash.
As they dressed the puppet... me... in my skin they put on a shelf, next to Victoria. I couldn't move, only look around. But I couldn't see her eyes or body move at all. I was sitting in darkness, thinking about what happened to me... I knew the things will never be the same again. I might only be able to move because of the disturbance in the ritual, but what about Victoria and other puppets? Are they ever going to see? Will we have to dance for the Puppet Master?
After much time the Puppet Master and his wife returned. They took me and Victoria off the shelf and put us in front of each other. Emergencia took two little jars from the shelves, and took an injection, and filled it with blood. She came to me and sticked it in my skin and emptied all of it in me. At first I didn't feel anything... but after few seconds I felt some kind of a tingle in my skin... She did the same with Victoria. My limbs suddenly started trembling and moving. So did Victorias. There was no mistake now, that was my love. She was scared and surprised. She looked in my eyes and, believe it or not, our love was so strong that we could talk by only looking in each others eyes. "They're alive!" we heard Emergencia say. "That's enough for today... put them away!". Few minutes later we were sitting on our shelves. Sitting opposite to each other, talking with our eyes, trying to remember everything we did together and what has happened to us. Sadness filled my heart... I knew that, that one year was the best year of my life, but nothing will ever be the same.
We have trained for thirteen days, the Puppet Master brought as back to life and made us dance on the strings. Every time, after the training was done, he put us back on the shelf. We had about half an hour every time to talk with our eyes, but then she had fainted again and I couldn't move at all. On the thirteenth day, as they brought us to life, the Puppet Master said to Victoria: "Tonight you will dance for me puppet girl, no strings attached!". Victoria looked at me: "Oh no, I can't! Never ever did I dance, I don't have a chance!", "Dance!". She made a step, oh, she tried her best, but stumbled in to the shelf with the jars of blood. Six of the fell down... Broken glass with puppet life was on the floor. The Puppet Master was furious and said to Emergencia: "Send her far away, far away from here, to the other Theatre! Tomorrow morning she must be gone! Send her to Berlin! Send that puppet to Berlin!" and stormed out of the room. Emergencia put us back on the shelves and went to prepare the box to send Victoria to Berlin. We were sitting in the dark... I knew if they take her away there is no life for me, take her away and I die. Victoria said: "Tell me this is not goodbye."
I asked her: "Do you remember the butterfly?"
"It made me cry..."
"I know... but we dried its wings, so it could fly again. I wonder if this is the end for you and I. I know we've got to say goodbye. I know I would change my life for you... I would die for you..."
"I will always remember the things we used to do, all the memories, I keep in here, just for me and you. With your image in my eyes I take you with me, when it's time to go."
"I swear... I swear I'll find you! I'll keep on searching... searching to the end of time!"
"But what if I can't survive without you by my side?"
"Then wait for me, wait for me, wait on the other side! I'll be there."
"I can barely see you anymore..."
"You must remember the butterfly... it did not die!"
"I love you..."
"I love you too..."
"I can't see you anymore!"
"Goodbye, my love..."
And in that moment I knew it was all over for us.
Now I'm hanging in this old toy store in the backstreet in the poor part of the town. Hanged on the wall, a nail sticking trough my throat. I've been hanging here for... what was it? 18 years? The Puppet Master and his wife sold me to this shop for little more than few shillings. All these years I have been hanging on the wall, all I could do was move my eyes, look around and listen to people talking. The children who came in to the store were scared of me: "He looks sick!", "He's scary!", "His eyes just moved!". I will never get bought. In all these years I've never seen my love. One day I heard the shopkeeper talking with a customer about the Puppet Master and Emergencia. They are opening a new Theatre in London Town, for children, run by their son and daughter. Think of it... for children... it's gonna be a bloody mess...