Herr Drosselmeyer's Doll

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by GeekOut, Jan 24, 2013.

  1. The figure sat poised elegantly, back straight, a book in its hands. A frozen expression showed no emotion. The girl could have been barely more than a child, but for the strange beauty. Porcelain edged seamlessly into pale, preserved flesh that ran to painted cloth. Tiny keyholes marked joints that could be fastened tight, binding limbs without cords. No breath made her chest rise and fall, her eyes stared blankly at nothing at all. The ticking that came from within her body was dull, sluggish. It was the only sound in the dark, cluttered room. Scraps of fabric and brushes were strewn about beside gears and springs, all to repair her, day after day.

    She used to like to think that she had been someone, before. That she had been part of a family, that she had been loved. She didn't remember anything of the sort, but she had pretended. False memories of carriage rides to different parts of the sprawling city, days at school. It had been a comfort, for a while. Now she knew better. If there was a girl who she had been, she pitied her. A soul should not have to endure what she had. Death would be a truer freedom. This false death, this existence without living had taught her that. She knew better now.

    The clock that was only in her mind told her daylight was fading. Soon she would be wound up, and dance. Perfectly timed movements, adjusted by shifting a gear, tightening a screw. She would move in a graceful ballet, and she would not have any choice. What came after... she would not have any choice either. Her paralyzed body betrayed her nightly, forcing her to move or to remain absolutely still. She could not even cry through her glassy eyes.
  2. A brilliant man, was Drosselmyr, but there always seemed something odd about him. Not because of his patent – that was a marvel of the age’s mechanics, something the customers thought he should pride himself on. And he did – the girl was something he could behold, in all its pale beauty, something he looked forward to winding up every night. The clockwork ticking of her inner mechanisms was music to his ears, and her cog-driven movements were a sight to see. Some would say it was an obsession of his, but he retorted that it was no more than pride for his work – he had created her, and he had every right to be proud of her.

    Looking at the clock on the mantle, the warped-minded inventor-come-businessman took himself to his pride and joy’s ‘room,’ spinning the keyring jovially around his finger. He took a moment to drink in what he saw before him – even after all the times she had been sent up, and brought down, he still thought of her as pure. And he shared her purity with those willing to pay, with those who could get in. She was a popular attraction, but to him, she was so much more – something he did not think he exploited, but rather, displayed.
    “It’s almost time, my sweet. Be sure to do your best out there.”
    His voice was soft – like satin, but there was an unmistakeable darkness to it, something just… off.

    He set to work on the keyholes, so that she may walk with him, and so that he may set her cogs in motion.
  3. Do her best. Drosselmyr spoke as if she had some say in the matter. Her eyes stayed fixed ahead as the man unlocked her limbs. The keys were small, but they rasped at brass and porcelain in an almost painful manner. If Coppélia was capable of wincing, she would. She could feel each metal clasp releasing, freeing her to a new cage. The audience demanded perfection, and she gave it to them, willing or not.

    Her left hand dropped from where it had held a book to her side, swaying limply. It didn't take long before her armature was loose, leaving her draped on the chair. Once the master key was turned, she would move. Despair came and went, but she fancied that it was something she both longed for and dreaded. Whatever it was that she was forced to do, at least she moved.

    The ticking grew louder as her gears whirred. Each joint ached to stretch, in a way that was beyond her knowledge. How could something of china and sackcloth and metal feel anything? Whatever science or magic it was that animated her allowed sensation and thought. The way the man spoke was madness, but surely Drosselmyr knew that within the casing he had created there was, if not a soul, a sentience?
  4. Yes, he did see that he had infused the doll with sentience. However, he did not see her as a sentient being, much less a living one – she was a pet project to him, something that was not truly intelligent, merely something a little higher than a machine. Because, in his eyes, the only thing that separated her form his other failed clockwork projects, and the more successful ones, was the fact that she could think. Speak? Maybe not. But he knew, felt, that she could see, think, and do things. But yet, he refused to recognise her, refused to see that she suffered.

    Though he did not wish to ‘defile’ her, like so many other patrons, he had still created a doll used for pleasure of one kind or another, and intended to use her as such. His dry, cracked lips met with his clockwork project’s as he wound her up, planting themselves upon her as he gave her movement. However, he would seem to physically convulse at the idea of going any further, of doing any more. Quite hypocritically, though he kissed her so, he considered doing anything more as barbaric – borderline incestuous, in his eyes. She was a pure, white flower in his eyes, something that he would not spoil.
    He simply saw her performances – both kinds – as a means of showing off how wonderful his creation was.
  5. Coppélia felt the springs tighten with each turn of the key. She continued to gaze at some fixed point as he kissed her. The analytical engine stirred, and she stood. Her movements were not quite fluid, but mimicked a ballerina's grace closely enough to fool an untrained eye. The tulle of her full skirt fell about her knees, and her slipper clad feet stepped forward. The engine had a pattern for her to follow, to step from her closeted room to the stage.

    Despite the brass that filled her, she was light on her feet. Silently she walked to the curtained backstage. Boisterous laughter and bawdy jokes filtered through the velvet partition. The crowd was large tonight. Strains of steam organ music began to play, cuing the engine to thrust her onstage. Applause filled the air as her arms traced through the air.
  6. Standing back as Coppélia charmed the audience – and aroused them, in quite a few cases. He marvelled at how she moved, with such practised grace, his face lighting up at how a machine – the pinnacle of clockwork, in his eyes – could move so wonderfully, yet with a distinctly… artificial… feel. Still, it was natural he think of it that way, given the fact that she was someone born of cogs and wheels, with a sentience planted inside. The audience had paid for a show, and what a show they were given – at least, that was how he thought. Even a man such as himself could not deny some of the patrons were here for other recreational purposes, and were in no way interested in watching Coppélia’s motions.

    Indeed, he had deemed it almost a crime to have her do such things at first, but as time moved forwards, his ideas became altered. He wondered what he could do to make the people see her beauty, her elegance, more so than just her dancing. Exquisite as it was, he could only show so much of it. Thus, he devised a plan. He let men do as they pleased with her – women too, but they were far less common. The idea had repulsed him at first, but something in him egged him on, made him do it. He himself had held back, limited to engaging his lips unto hers, but he did not dare to o further.
  7. Her hands stayed delicately open as her arms drifted about her body. She spun on point, her back leg held straight behind her. Plié, back straight, head up, chest forward. The rhythm never faltered, and neither did Coppélia. The dance held her audience captive now. No one whispered, and all eyes were on her. Without being able to look, she knew that many of the people watching did so with a hunger. As the music died, she finished her routine by tracing a circle around herself with a slippered foot, and sinking slowly to the ground in the deepest of bows. Her forehead brushed the floor, and her dark brown hair pooled around her.

    After a moment, the spell broke, and the audience broke into chaotic cheers. Coppélia stayed where she was, waiting for the curtains. They closed ever so slowly, and only then did her body stand. She wondered who of the hungry would come to her first. She waited, frozen, for her creator to lead a supplicant to her.
  8. “My dear… My wonderful, wonderful child… A kind benefactor is here to see you. Surely you do not mind helping your dear father keep us both alive? I only want what’s best for both of us, you know, so please don’t be sad…”
    Leading his clockwork creation to a place but a few steps away, Drosselmeyer seemed to almost skip, delighted that the audience had – once again – received Coppelia’s performance with such rapturous applause and approval. He had that spark in his eyes, the one that only appeared when he was especially proud of his creation, the one that only appeared when she had fulfilled one of her purposes.

    Before leading her through the door, Drosselmeyer planted a deep kiss upon her, parting slowly, with regret lingering on him. It was hard for a normal person to define their relationship – not lovers, not family, not business partners… Most could not think of a word for it, but assumed they did not need to. They saw her as a doll, and not much else, believing its inner workings to just be extremely intricate. But, to this man, this man with a slanted view of the world, she was so much more, so much else. He led her into the room, where the patron was waiting impatiently, rolling his eyes when Drosselmeyer entered. The clockwork girl was led to the bed, whereupon her owner exited, blowing her a kiss as he left the two to their own devices.