My Wax Children

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
A lonely man named the Artist creates three artificial children from wax in order to feel part of a family. Locking them away in his cellar, he soon finds that his attempts to keep them content and away from the outdoors are in vain...

Submitted: May 24, 2013

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Submitted: May 24, 2013

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I call myself the Artist, for I have succeeded in creating the impossible. Such things began when I fled from those monsters we call “humans.” What is a human beyond a mind full of expectations that I cannot meet? What is there besides a heart full of judgments that I cannot change? I was too short to be noticed, too ugly to be adored, and too much of a failure to be of any importance. Thus, I retreated from those cruel reminders of my inadequacies so that I could reconstruct my broken world.

And what a world it was. I had my forest, which I found with the keenest of eyes. I had my cabin, which I built with the sturdiest of wood...

... And I had my family, which I molded with the most proficient of hands. From my own ten fingers and a mound of wax came a family of three, my children: Eliza, Max, and Abbott. They stood precisely four feet in height, with eyes of glass and the simplest of minds. Such naïve little things they were. They held no judgment against my lack of stature, my tired eyes, my hair which was only ever combed by the wind itself. They accepted me. They held no expectations to my name, save the duty of a father to his children; everything I did was right in their eyes. They respected me. I was their creator. Their god. They loved me.

The one thing they never understood was my love for them. I went to great lengths to protect them. The sun is a beast whose blistering rays were simply waiting to claw at their faces. I kept my children indoors, in the cellar. In safety. And they didn’t understand. But they still loved. And my perfect, predictable world was finally nearing completion.

I’d spend most of my days down there, usually reading or watching them interact with their surroundings. They had to be watched. The cellar had to be locked. I had to be there, to regularly persuade them against their curiosity of the outdoors. They always agreed with me in the end. I was the Artist, after all. I knew what was best for my creations.

“Today looks like such a lovely day.”

I glanced up from my book on this day, my chest pounding. The wistful tone of Eliza’s voice was enough to send a legion of warnings to my brain. I hadn’t predicted this. She wasn’t supposed to say this. Not in this way. Yes, they’d sometimes express their admiration for what little part of nature they could see from the window, but never like this. Never in such a tone that might suggest… No, the cellar was locked. They were still there. Everyone was still there. Everything was safe. Predictable. I had imagined her tone. Relief swept over me.

“So it does, little Eliza,” I replied with a chuckle. My hand gently closed the book. “It is a lovely day.”

She turned to look at me with her perfectly round eyes, and my hands began to shake. Such a look of melancholy was never before seen on my angel. “I’ve never been outside before, you know.”

I jumped to my feet. “O-of course I know!” I exclaimed. “I know everything. I know enough to tell you that it is dangerous to go outside—too dangerous. You know that, don’t you?”

She frowned now, and Max abandoned his game of marbles with Abbott to join the conversation. “How can something so pretty be so dangerous? We’ve been in this cellar our whole lives. I, for one, want to see what it’s like.”

No, no, no! I didn’t create them to be like this. They weren’t meant to be like this. I stumbled over to my wine rack and grabbed a bottle. Never mind what brand it was. I didn’t care.

A solid ten seconds of bitter drink-consumption were needed before I could find the words to speak. “The sun… You’ll melt. You’ll die if you go out there. It’s not safe. You are far better off in here, with me. We’re a family.”

“Can’t we be a family outside?” asked Abbott.

All three were in a line, staring at me with their eyes—no, my eyes, my eyes that I crafted. I hadn’t foreseen this. I hadn’t created them to go against my wishes! Half the bottle’s contents was depleted within another ten seconds.

“I hate living like this,” cried Eliza. “I want to leave!”

“No,” was my simple reply, although slurred. Then it occurred to me; what was giving them these thoughts and desires? What caused this outburst of defiance? My gaze wandered behind my beautiful wax cherubs, behind their perfect, golden hair, their small noses and pink mouths, their eyes of glass…

It was the window. They looked out the window. They saw there was more to the world. And they wanted to experience it.

The next few days went on in silence. Dark silence. I had boarded up the window from both sides, much to their disappointment. No more arguments were exchanged, but my children’s pouts were more than enough to weigh down my heart with sadness. I reminded myself that this was for their own good. They were still here. I wasn’t alone. I could still change their minds.

Of course, all hope vanished one day when I heard a persistent pounding and a cry. Putting down my latest bottle of wine (which was quickly becoming a new pastime of mine), I rushed to the only place from which that sound could have come.

“Let me out, let me out—let me OUT!”

“Eliza!” I sternly grabbed her shoulders and shoved her away from the door. “What on earth do you think you’re doing? The door is locked. You are not to leave. You can’t leave. Now, calm down,” I added in a softer tone. “Come sit down, yes? Go read a book or play a game with your brothers. You don’t want out. You wouldn’t like it. It’s better down here. It’s oh so much better.”

She shook herself free of my hands and stifled a sob. “I hate you.” Then she ran off, leaving me to lean against the door, bewildered. She didn’t say that. Of course she didn’t say that. I didn’t design her to say that. My wine... Where was my wine? I rushed to my abandoned bottle and polished it off in record time. Empty. I searched the rack for more, but there was none. Then I remembered.

I had another bottle upstairs.

I couldn’t unlock the door fast enough, taking two steps at a time to bring myself closer to satisfying my burning tongue. The wine bottle sat on the table, already opened. Almost as if it knew of my imminent arrival.

I hate you.

In an excited delirium, I downed its contents in what seemed like one gulp. It was strong, stronger than anything I had ever tasted. Its power took me immediately, and I sunk to the floor with the empty bottle in hand. As my vision escaped me, I saw that the door appeared to be open. No, it didn’t appear to be open—it was open. A scream arose in my throat, but all I could muster was a moan before everything went dark.

I hate you.

***

How much time had passed? I stared at the ceiling, feeling the wooden floorboards pressing against my back. I turned my head to look at the bottle lying in my limp hand, then at the door that was still very much open.

I hate you.

I groaned. Such an idiot I was for allowing a simple comment—one my dear Eliza certainly couldn‘t have meant literally—to affect me so greatly. Rising to my feet, I descended the staircase and turned on the lights. What greeted me was an empty room.

Empty room.

“Eliza?” I called out. “Max? Abbott? Are you in here?” What a silly question. Of course they were. Where else would they be? They were playing a game with me—hide-and-seek, I believe it was called. They wanted me to play along. I searched every corner, every place I could imagine they would be, waiting for them to jump out and run to their father.

Where were they?

That all-too-familiar pounding in my chest returned. “Eliza?” I called out again. My voice sounded weak to my ears. “Everyone? Please come out. Please…”

They couldn’t have…

They wouldn’t have…

But I had to check.

The day was a lovely one, just as lovely as the day Eliza mentioned. It was warm, too. Disgustingly warm. I cried out my children’s names, staggering through the forest in a panic, twisting and turning around the mess of trees. I didn’t care if I were to become lost and never see my house again; I had to find my children. My world. This was my world. I fashioned it, but not so this could happen.

My eyes were blurry with fear. I couldn’t see.

I stepped in something. Something sticky.

No.

I closed my eyes, willing them to focus. Upon opening them, I took a deep breath and peered down at the substance under my foot. It was yellow and smelled suspiciously of a candle.

No.

I jumped back.

I wrung my hands.

There were three piles on the dirt-laden ground.

One of wax.

One of clothes.

One of three pairs of glass eyes, all staring up at me.


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