On el Dia de los Muertos, the Puppet Feels

She births me on el Dia de los Muertos, stuffs me with hope and stitches me up… with deeds.

“Hope isn’t hard to find,” she says, “the thing grows wild out of the eyeballs of young children, and steady in the far stares of well-lived adults, who understand that ends are just new kinds of beginnings. The deeds, well… those take work and pain and blood.”

“It does hurt,” I say, clenching the painted cloth of my teeth against the jabbing pain, rubbing the crimsoned stitches she is using to secure the hope of young and old to the inside of my chest.

“I know.” She cuts the spare thread with her teeth, and kisses the top of my head, before taking a step back to smile at newly born me. Her lips are bloodied. Red has trickled down to her chest.

“You are dirty,” I say, pointing at the cloth that covers her heart.

She unbuttons the top of her dress, revealing fresh ragged stitches that mirror my own, and says, “Dirty? No, just paying the price for hope, for life.”

“I’m sorry,” I say with a smirk, knowing the crooked lines of my mouth morph the gesture into a creepy thing.

“Be not sorry, and live,” she tells me. Her smile is a red kick in the face of impossible.

She births me every Dia de los Muertos. And she stuffs me with hope which she bleeds for me.
.

the wee notes…
– This bit of fiction was born out of my need to know why the Puppet in “Dance, Old Bones” had such a creepy smirk on her face. I guess now we know—most of us cringe at needles… but some of us (since we know we must) smirk in Pain’s face, showing a menacing amount of teeth.
– Linked to Incipient Wings’ Haunted Humpday.

puppet-detail-from-spelling-healing-into-a-rotting-world-by-sunshineshelledetail, from “Spelling Healing into a Rotting World”, by SunshineShelle

Dance, Old Bones

“Humans are mad. I like that about them. My best friend finds that fact about our companions somewhat worrying. But no wise soul could expect any less from a dog who was named after his severe separation anxiety. I, on the other paw—”

“Cobweb, would you please stop mewing to yourself and come with me to our Mistress’ studio?”

If my dear friend, YoBoy (which, by the way, means I’m going in Spanish) had one imagination bone in his body, I would tell him that I’m narrating for you. But every one of his bones is made of dread and of need to please, so I won’t waste my spit. “I was not mewing to myself, dog.”

“Sure you weren’t,” YoBoy barked. “But we’ve no time to discuss your feline weirds right now. Our Mistress and her friends are writing and painting and singing and sculpting and sniffing… and, as always, they are doing it separately. We need to show them that if they are to rescue the others from the killing man, they must craft as one. Our human needs our help, lady cat.”

“We can’t go—” I began to say.

“We must. Everything depends on it. If we don’t, everything will stop being. We would never be able to come back. Don’t you know what that would mean, cat? Our home won’t exist! Our…”

I stopped the neurotic dog’s yapping right before he choked on his own desperation. “We can’t go before we pick up Old Bones. Our influence hasn’t been enough. We need her help, YoBoy.”

The dog was panting too hard for words, but he followed my steps to our Mistress’ bedroom.

dance-old-bonesOld Bones sat on our Mistress’ mantel surrounded by candles, flowers, stones, and old photos of long gone humans. Her perpetual grin looked… peculiar. But I couldn’t figure out why. “YoBoy, do you noticed something different about Old Bones?”

“The flowers,” YoBoy said, in a shaky voice that turned him into a puppy. “Look at the flowers.”

“I saw the flowers, and they stink to high hells,” I hissed. Fresh flowers always made me sneeze. “I don’t care about the damn…” Fresh flowers? I finished in my head. “That is not possible,” I said. “Those flowers have been dead since—”

“The flowers died on the same day your Mistress stopped dancing,” Old Bones said. “With the stillness of human feet, came the rotting of rivers, the shriveling of unripe fruit, the slowing of flesh, of blood, of hearts.”

“You can’t be talking,” YoBoy said to Old Bones. “You’ve got no lips,”

I glared at the dog, and said, “We come back from the dead every All Hallows’ Eve, and you are shocked by a talking skull?”

“I…” He began to whine. “Old Bones never talked before. I just thought—”

“No you didn’t,” I said. And pretended I wasn’t feeling as perplexed as he was. “Help me with Old Bones. We need to take her and some of the flowers to the studio. If this doesn’t give our Mistress the push she needs to get started, then nothing will.”

I held my breath and gently closed my jaws around the stems of three daisies.

YoBoy, his expression haunted, tried to grab Old Bones with a shaky paw. When that didn’t work, he bit the side of Old Bones’ left eye socket and followed me out of the room, whining.

dance-old-bonesA cat, a dog, and a talking skull walked into a tiny room and no human found that strange. They smiled at us, before returning their gazes to the cauldron bubbling in the middle of the studio.

YoBoy and I placed the flowers and Old Bones at our Mistress’ feet. She arranged them by the cauldron, next to a camera, books, a spoon, knitting needles, and a puppet that smirked creepily.

I smiled, and said to YoBoy, “Maybe they can come up with a spell that will make the others better, and get them away from the killing man.”

Old Bones spoke through nearly transparent lips. “They are working together, my girl-child and her friends. The healing has already begun.” Three daisies multiplied around Old Bones’ skull, to form a crown that encircled a brow, which wrinkled with a smile that was a longer-lived version of my mistress’ grin. All Hallows’ Eve magic gave Old Bones arms, legs, feet… and she danced.
.

the wee notes…
– YoBoy was my brother’s dog. My brother failed to name his dog. And since the dog followed my brother everywhere, and my brother was always crying “Yo boy!” (I’m going in Spanish”) whenever my mother left the house, the dog started answering to YoBoy. The name stuck.
– Cobweb was my sweet friend Yvonne’s cat. Cobweb is no longer in the world of the living, but I know that her feline soul (and her memory) will always live… to boss others around.
– This is my contribution to Witches in Fiction 2016: Spelling Healing into a Rotting World.
– Linked to Prompt Nights – A Million Years Howl When Voices Whisper Among The Trees – Halloween Special

spelling-healing-into-a-rotting-world“Spelling Healing into a Rotting World”, by SunshineShelle