Before Ib and Garry became her friends, Mary used to wander from room to room, exhibit to exhibit, not particularly happy and not particularly sad either, just a numb, alone sort of in between that she can’t really put into words.
The paintings and statues have long since grown bored of her games, and sometimes they would take to chasing her, and sometimes she chose to chase them, and the loser would have to cry and bleed and hurt, and it was so fun! But then the numbness would make its return, closer and closer, nipping at the heels of her happiness.
But now she has two brand new friends who can never leave her. Mary doesn’t sleep or eat or feel scared, and so Ib and Garry shouldn’t either. And so she does what friends are supposed to do and she helps them fit in.
She helps Garry first. She figures that Garry’s biggest problem is being too afraid and so she helps him to not be afraid any more by taking away his eyes. Mary was never scared of anything and so she had never thought to remove her own eyes.The dolls are sad to hear about it, but perk up when she promises them his eyes. After all, Garry won’t need them and they aren’t even her favorite color anyway.
The red paint that leaks all over the place is disgusting. It dribbles everywhere, thick and cloying and strange smelling. It stains her pretty green dress until it’s nothing more than a stiff foul-smelling mess, but it makes her feel so good to help that she happily ignores it and only hurts Garry a little bit for not apologizing for the mess he made.
Halfway through she ends up taking out his tongue and his teeth as well, and eventually, just sews his mouth shut completely because his incoherent screaming hurts her ears. She’s sure that Ib doesn’t appreciate it either, with the way she claps her hands to her ears and stares at Garry like he’s stolen something from her. Garry’s lips are soft and the needle goes through really easily. Garry makes funny noises in his throat the whole time and when she puts her head there it feels just like a cat's purring.
The pulpy soft things she digs out are amazing and gross and fun and she squeezes them in her hands before she forces herself to hand them over to her cute little dolls. They beam at her with their red lantern eyes and she shivers with delight because she has so many friends now and she’s making them all happy at once.
Ib whimpers and Mary turns to see her all but collapsed in on herself like a rotten fruit.
“Oh Ib,” Mary says, crouching down and touching her hand to Ib’s shoulder. “I can help you too... if you’d like? You're my friend now and you’ll never have to worry about anything ever again.”
Mary is scared that Ib will say no because then Mary will have to hurt her, and Mary never wants to hurt her friends again. Nothing will ever hurt her friends again.
And so she uses her sharpest, prettiest palette knife to gently and sweetly carve off Ib’s ears.
In the end they rest like pale flower petals in Mary’s palms. She rubs them against her cheek and she thinks about putting them in a little jar, perhaps with a bit of water so they won’t shrivel like she’s read flower petals sometimes do.
Ib just stares into space, but Mary is sure that she sees a spark of gratitude in her maroon eyes. She looks so pretty, even without her ears, and one of Mary’s most favorite colors has always been red.
Ib doesn’t even scream, and doesn’t talk much at all really, and so she doesn’t worry about taking her tongue or even her tiny white teeth.
She touches her hands to their faces and they lean into her like sweet little kittens, so happy to be hers.