Chapter One: Fear
Started: February 15, 2009, 5:59 PM
Edited: 10/31/10 12:07:51 AM (Happy Halloween!)
Story Quote: The edges of her lips upturned slightly at his question. "I'm going to have to fix you. This is Coraline's world, after all, so everything needs to be perfect. That includes you."
Thread, needle, dust, fabric, and a couple of buttons. That's all it took to make him who he was today. A living doll. Made solely for one purpose and for that one purpose alone.
If it had not been for her, he never would have been born. His mother, the Beldam, had made him for her. A friend and companion, someone in which to share experiences and adventures. Someone to entice her to believe in this mock world his mother had created. He just needed to keep her there with him. Such a simple task. That was all he had to do.
And he would do it well.
For the Beldam.
With hands tightly clasped behind his back, he wandered; his bright, black button eyes assessed everything and anything around him: the yellow snap dragons nipping playfully at the hem of his coat, the bright blue glow of the moon illuminating the path before him, even the origami dragonflies as they drifted by on the nonexistent breeze. This was the world meant for the Beldam's new child. He hoped that it would suit her. Mother put so much work into it.
What a shame it would be to see her work so hard for nothing.
But who wouldn't love such a lovely place?
He smiled gleefully as he walked over the wooden planked bridge. When he peered over the red-painted railing he saw the one of the only other inhabitants in this ideal world, Coraline's 'Other Father'.
He was busily crouched down by the river's edge with a short shovel in hand and a batch of pink roses by his side. His skin was pale and the expression he wore was somber as he drove the metal blade of the shovel into the damp earth with more force than necessary. Moving the freshly dug dirt aside, he released the hand tool and went to scoop a flower into his shaky hands.
Sometimes he would talk to himself as he worked in the garden. He would tell himself things like 'As long as I work she should be pleased' and 'Don't talk unless instructed to' or sometimes even 'Remember, it's Coraline not Caroline'. There were other things as well but Other Wybie had never bothered to try and listen.
Today was no exception.
He muttered gibberish under his breath as he worked. Firstly digging the hole in the ground, then retrieving a rose from the burlap sack they were held in, placing it gingerly into the hole, and then finally replacing any space in the whole with loose dirt. As he dropped a flower into place he noticed Other Wybie's distorted reflection on the river's glassy surface. His head shot up immediately and he looked at the boy with terror filled button eyes.
Other Wybie didn't understand why.
What could possibly be wrong to make him so sad-looking? Well, actually, he knew why.
It was because of Mother.
The elder man was always so terrified by her. Constantly he would try to avoid her by working in the garden. In a way, this was actually a very poor decision on his part. More often than not Mother would need him for something and she would get testy if she could not find him right away. After all, he was supposed to be her husband, right? So why should she be forced to scavenge the entire garden for him?
Anyone would be irritable after that. This garden was massive.
Besides, was it so wrong for a mother to want everything to be perfect for the arrival of her new daughter?
It would only be a matter of hours for her to show up, too. If he didn't get this garden finished soon, well, Other Wybie didn't want to think how angry she would be then. And hopefully he would never have to.
So long as he did the job he was given, and he did it well, he wouldn't need to.
Coraline's Other Father took a moment to stare at Other Wybie before the realization finally dawned on him. With a shaky hand he waved at him. The boy returned the gesture slowly and with a crooked smile.
"H-hello, Mr. Jones," he said quietly as he leaned a little further over the railing.
"Hi there, Wybie," he answered. "Why don't you join me? I could use some help with these roses." He patted the damp ground beside him with a dirt-tinged blue glove.
"S-sure," Other Wybie agreed. He leaned back from the banister and plodded off the bridge to stand alongside the elder man. It wasn't like helping would hurt any. Maybe mother would even be pleased with him. Then maybe Other Father would understand that there wasn't any reason to be so afraid of her.
Just do as you were told and she would be happy.
"Go on and hand me a rose there, bud," said Other Father with an outstretched hand. Wybie nodded and plucked a rose from the sack that held them and then handed it over. Other Father smiled at him lightly as he took it and placed it into the freshly dug hole.
"So what is Coraline going to be like?" asked Other Wybie as he patted loose soil around the flower's stem, the bones on his skeletal gloves somewhat shaded darker due to it.
"I don't know," admitted Other Father. "But Mother will tell us, I'm sure."
Other Wybie nodded and pulled another flower from the bag and gave it to him. He was very curious as to what this new friend, Coraline, would be like. Would she be kind? Would she be tall? Would she enjoy all these flowers? What sort of foods did she like? What color were her eyes? What sort of interests did she have? Maybe she would like science? Or maybe she liked to act?
All in all, he couldn't have been more thrilled to finally have a new friend. Even though he had only been born mere hours before, he couldn't wait to be around someone new. It wasn't so much that he hated being around the other people, they were just too much alike. Every time he would try to converse with one of them it was no better than trying to talk to a wall. Yes, each one had their own personality, in a way, but not a single one had individual thoughts. They only focused on two things.
Please the Beldam and please Coraline.
It didn't take long for him to grow bored of them. So, in the meantime, he settled with roaming around the house and garden. That was all the farther he was admitted to go. Well, that was all the farther this world went. But that was alright with him. He wouldn't be bored for too long. In the interim, he would preoccupy himself by helping with the garden.
Pass by pass and rose by rose the riverbank gradually was spread with joyous pink flowers. Other Father gave a feeble smile as he surveyed their handiwork.
"Nice work, Wybie," he declared triumphantly as he set both of his hands on his waist. "I do believe that we're done. Now all we have to do is wait."
Other Wybie nodded happily and tapped the tips of his fingers together. The toe of his boot nudged against something, and he looked down. The shovel gleamed silver in the moonlight, reflecting back in his eyes. For a moment he just stared at it, enraptured, but then he reached down and ran a finger along the edge. It was sharp, but only just cut through a few threads. It could do so much more damage, though, if used in such a way. He pulled his hand back to his chest and looked away.
That was when he heard it.
"Oh, Wybourne dear," called the tentative voice of his mother. The man beside him went rigid with fear. With a disapproving shake of his head, Other Wybie left the man's side to trek across the flourishing garden. He hadn't noticed when he first passed by, but the snapdragons were more of a nuisance than anything else. They kept rushing his shoes as he tried to pass and on more than one occasion he was forced to his knees.
With some effort, however, he did manage to escape the garden.
When he arrived at the house he was presented with the image of his mother, her stout figure sitting on the metal bench and her black button eyes looking at him endearingly.
"H-hello, mother," he stammered as he tripped up the steps.
Her smile widened a bit at his voice.
"There you are, Wybie dear. I was getting worried you wouldn't show." She uncrossed her legs and stood so that she could place a comforting hand on his shoulder. For some reason, this all seemed different that normal. Her fingers felt cold as they dug a little too tightly into his coat and her smile sent a chill down his spine in the most unpleasant of ways.
"Did you w-want someth-thing, mother?" he tried. Her fingernails were now almost painfully tight as they wrenched themselves further into the slippery fabric, he could almost feel them brush against the fabric of his skin beneath.
"Well, yes, you see, Wybie, it seems like Coraline rather likes being in the company of those who don't talk very much." She kneeled down so that she was button-eye level to him. He felt like his insides were being iced over as he stared. He no longer felt the warmth he had felt before emitting from her.
"O-okay, I-I won't talk much then," he began and tried to back up slowly, hoping her grasp would release in the process.
"I don't think you understand," she announced, her voice full of malevolence as she drew him back to her. For some reason her face seemed more narrow than it did before, and he could have sworn that she was about four inches taller now.
"Wh-what don't I und-derst-stand?" He lifted his hand to his shoulder as her nails finally punctured the fabric, only to have his wrist gripped with the iron grasp of the Beldam. No, this could not be the same person that had created him. This couldn't be his Mother.
The edges of her lips upturned slightly at his question.
"I'm going to have to fix you. This is Coraline's world, after all, so everything needs to be perfect. That includes you." Her grin widened as she stood straighter; now a full foot taller than she had been. Her face was tapered and her once plump figure now elongated and gaunt. She began to drag him into the house.
The single word shot through his mind like a bullet from a gun.
He yelped and tried to pull from the Beldam's grasp with all his might. It was no use. She out powered him without even the slightest effort. Still, he tried to fight. He wriggled in her grip futilely and swung his limbs in every which way. But nothing worked.
"Don't be such a brat," the Beldam chided as she turned down the narrow stairwell that led to the basement. This was the place no one ever went near. It was sort of an unspoken rule between the residents of this world. No one went near there, and no one spoke of it. He hadn't known why then.
But he did now.
It was the Beldam's workshop.
And so for the first time in his immensely short life in this false world, Wybie felt a feeling he would come to understand all too well.
"Aaahhh!" screamed the voice of a young boy in the darkness. His eyes scanned the pitch black void of his room. Searching for the threat that seemed so near; the long gangly figure that sent dread into his heart.
But there was nothing.
"Wybourne, is that you?" asked a bleary voice from a room far away.
Wybie took a moment to settle his nerves before replying, "Yes, Gramma, It's just me. Go back to sleep." He placed a shaky hand on his chest and took a deep breath.
What a bizarre dream!
Usually if he ever dreamt of anything worth remembering, nightmare or not, it would involve some sort of technology or something else involving science. But this…was like nothing he had ever dreamed of before. What would inspire him to dream of a world where all the people he knew—including himself—had buttons for eyes? And this world was meant for Coraline? Why—even if it was just his subconscious—would he create a world for her? And what of this 'Beldam' woman he had referred to as his mother?
He groaned and placed his head on his bent knees and ran a hand through his curly, rust-colored hair; a habit he obtained from years of lonely nights just like this. The dream had really rattled him up. His heart was still drumming in his chest, his hands shook with panic, and tiny drops of cold sweat were beginning to bead up on his face and neck.
He attempted to take deep breaths to try and stabilize himself, but to little avail. Really the only thing it managed to do was make him light-headed. Still, the beating of his heart was beginning to pound a little less harshly and his trembling hands were less tense the more time elapsed.
After a few more minutes of silence he was able to lie back down upon his dark blue sheets. Lie back down, yes, but not fall back asleep. So, instead, he let his mind wonder idly through the aspects of his dream. Why had it seemed so real when it obviously was so false? The entire thing was so outlandish. Besides, he hadn't even ever seen Coraline's real father, so how could he make a copy? And the Beldam…maybe she was from some science fiction book he had read?
He grumbled irritably as he glared at the poster of Albert Einstein on his ceiling. There was no way he was going to be able to go back to sleep now. All he could do was wait. It was just a little while before he would be able to sneak downstairs and steal some breakfast before grabbing his makeshift motorbike and leaving. But 'a little while' was still a ways off. And there was one thing about his dream that made the ever residing feeling of dread linger in his chest.
What did she mean by fixing him?
Ending Song Time!
She has seen no words speak through him,
he has seen her grow through plastic eyes,
and the sign that's posted on the door reads:
do not enter, monster in disguise
Artist: Audio Karate Song: Monster in Disguise