Short Story: Playtime

The first jolt sent Molly flying out of her bed and into the wall ahead, almost comically slipping down shortly after the impact until she touched back down onto the floor head first. Her legs remained propped upright against the wall as the skirt of her dress did the exact opposite, depriving the girl of what little dignity was left in her these days.

The jolts always meant one thing: playtime. Whenever her master demanded entertainment the whole house would shake as if were suddenly moved to one side, not enough to completely relocate the place but just enough to draw attention. That was signal enough. Molly hated playtime, but she needed to heed that one call with haste regardless lest she suffer painful consequences. There was something different about this particular jolt though, almost as if something of greater import demanded her attention. The clue was in its ferocity. Never before, not even once, had she been thrown across the room like that. Was her master angry? Had Molly upset her somehow?

As the young woman pondered this from her awkward position, a second jolt struck the house with equal force and sent her toppling face down to the floor. Something was definitely out of order, she realised. Ever fearing that her tardiness would someday be punishable by death, the girl scrambled to her feet, brushed her frock down with her bare hands and took a moment to hoist the strapless bodice back up to an acceptable position before making for the bedroom door with haste.

Another jolt would have sent her tumbling down the darkened stairs were it not for the years of her life spent in the house eventually teaching her to be prepared at all times. After the fourth she couldn’t decide whether to count herself lucky that a bookshelf narrowly avoided falling onto her. On one hand, Molly could have been put out of her own misery once and for all, but on the other, there was always the chance of rescue some day.

Approaching the front door, beyond which her master would await, another jolt struck. One that differed from the others prior. One accompanied by the gleeful giggling of a little girl. The sign of a happy master. Perhaps Molly wasn’t in trouble after all. That thought alone dulled her reluctance to open the door for a moment before she recalled that master might be in one of her more malicious moods today.

Nevertheless, Molly reminded herself that when she was called, it was an order that could not be refused, and with that in mind she twisted the handle and stepped outside, where she was greeted not by her master, but instead a gigantic bloodied hand that slammed down in front of her with such force it was all she could do to stumble back into the doorway behind and cling onto the frame for support. Following the monstrous limb to its source, Molly looked on as its owner, a gargantuan man who had seen better days, primarily those that didn’t see him beaten badly and coughing up blood, letting it drip all over his shirt and the shadow black body armour that covered it, struggled to stay on his own feet.

Another giggle drew Molly’s attention ahead of the titan before her, toward his foe: another giant that stepped, no, skipped out of the shadows. This one, pink of pigtailed hair and clad in a similar dress to Molly’s strapless number, albeit with full sleeves, appeared to be much shorter than the man yet she was still at least twentyfold her own size. Meanwhile, the man reached for something beside the house. A pistol large enough that Molly could have easily used it for a seat and could have easily knocked her into the air had the barrel not narrowly missed her legs as the giant dragged it across the surface and swung it straight toward the ‘little’ girl.

“You inhuman fiend…” the man spluttered, pulling back the hammer. A brief pause was spent spitting out the blood that had filled his mouth before continuing. “You have… no power over m-”

Molly watched in horror as the man’s proclamation was reduced to gagging, one bloodied hand hopelessly squeezing an ineffective trigger while the other groped at the unseen force that seemed to have wrapped itself around his neck. In less than a minute he was brought to his knees, his struggle for air raging on as he toppled over. And finally he stopped moving, then stopped breathing and ultimately stopped living.

The girl adopted a defiant pose and let out another proud giggle. “I have power over everyone and when I say nobody can have my toys that means not even you!”

Peering over the edge of the table, Molly took one last look at fallen giant and the armour that had failed him in his hour of need. One of the smarter ones, she realised, and judging from the soft golden aura around its edges, one with the sense to have it enchanted beforehand. But it seemed all the preparation this man could and may have done beforehand would have been little defence against the dark magicks that ultimately spelt his doom. She would have to wait longer for someone to rescue her.

Before she had even finished mourning yet another would-be saviour, her master plucked her from the table, the titan’s unusually careful index finger and thumb holding her by the waist. Now it was playtime. Molly hated playtime.

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