This is a sequel of sorts to Misery’s story about the radio doll. This story might not make much sense if you haven’t read that one first.
“…this must have been what led to rumours of her witchery, because whenever you’d reached…”
The radio output turns to static, briefly picking up split-second transmissions between the bursts of noise, before settling on one stream.
The witch standing across from the device pauses for a moment. Her eyes and mouth are slightly crumpled.
The voice on the radio is very peculiar. It is small, yet very undeniably present. Its tone is neutral, the kind of neutrality that those with less tact would describe as robotic. In fact, it is exactly the kind of utterance that one would expect to hear from the doll that is sat in a chair across the room.
The doll looks especially small in this tall armchair, as if it was placed there specifically to emphasize what set apart the doll from its witch. In this seat, the doll is somewhat tipped over, as if it slowly slipped into that position over a span of a few hours, and hasn’t yet bothered to correct itself. The doll is very much embodying Stillness.
The witch’s hand breaks away from the tuning dial, and begins hovering toward the volume dial. A thumb and two fingers grasp it, and begin slowly turning the dial counterclockwise.
The voice emitted by the radio has quieted slightly.
Even quieter, and now with a touch of inquisitiveness.
The dial stops turning, and the hand releases it.
Silence, followed by a noise from across the room.
The witch turns around to see the doll sitting straight. Once her eyes meet the glass orbs in the doll’s face, the doll shuffles forward, gets up out of the chair, turns toward a set of stairs carved into one of the room’s walls, and begins walking toward then up the stairs, briskly but not hastily. Seeing this new Purpose take hold, the witch’s eyelids narrow, her lip slightly curls, and she departs toward the destination that the doll is leading her to.
After a dozen steps, a few paces, and a turn at a doorway, she reaches her destination to find her doll already seated on the bed, making unflinching eye contact with the witch. Where the witch has a subtle look of gleeful curiosity, the doll’s face is stiff, its visage betraying no expression. With no functioning radio in the room, it would be a significant challenge to discern the doll’s thoughts.
The witch steps into the room, extends her left hand back to grab the door, then twirls around to close it. Her right hand reaches up near where door meets doorway, finds a latch, then grabs and closes it. She lets go, then makes her way down to grab the next, closes it, and does so again with the next. To complete this part of the ritual, she reaches down to grab one last bent piece of metal, twists it, lets go, and with her foot she pushes it into the floor. She reaches back up for the door’s handle, clutches it, turns her head toward the doll, and pulls at the door. It doesn’t budge. The two of them aren’t leaving until she says otherwise.
The room is lit very brightly, natural light pouring its way in from windows on the chamber’s three other walls. The windows are all high up, near the ceiling. Given the placement of the windows with respect to the sun’s procession, it’s rare for the sun’s rays to shine directly into the room. Very little other than the sky can be seen, and the distant mountaintops are barely visible. It is as if this box had been built specifically to allow light without allowing anyone to violate the privacy of its occupants.
The witch makes her way to one of the windows, and reaches for a second glass pane on a hinge at the window’s side. While she doesn’t necessarily need to stretch her arm to reach it, it wouldn’t take much more distance to require such effort, almost as if the height was meant to keep it out of the doll’s reach. The pane in her grasp, the witch slowly closes it to the window, and again as with the door, her hands find a bolt to lock it in place. The glass on the hinge contains some kind of metallic lattice, the presence of which becomes clear only in juxtaposition with the clear blue sky against which it now stands.
The witch sets her course toward the opposite window, and much of the same happens. Close. Lock. Turn toward the doll, its gaze is still affixed to the witch. She makes her way toward the bed’s head, and the wider window above it. She closes the one pane within reach, then makes her way around the bed, coming within such close contact with the doll as she does. Once she reaches the other side, she raises her arm, closes the last pane, and latches the two together.
The witch closes the last few bolts to lock the lattice lined glass panes into place, and now the cage is sealed. The doll’s invisible light is now confined to this room.
With radio silence in place, the witch finally moves on to preparing the doll for the main event. She undoes buttons, bows, ribbons, removing layer by layer until nothing is left, pushes the doll onto the bed, straddles it, and with all confidence that what happens here can only ever be between the two of them, she takes the plunge.
Several hours after the witch sealed herself and her doll away, the locks come undone. One, two, three, four. The door opens, revealing a witch with much messier hair than before. She exits the room. Following the witch, the doll leaves as well, but it looks identical to before. It makes its way down the stairs, ending at the witch once again standing at the radio. The witch raises her hand up to a dial, and slowly raises the volume.
She gasps slightly, and her eyes light up. She twists the dial all the way.
Compared to the earlier broadcast, the voice was much more lively. Some might say it was contented or even blissful.
Meanwhile, the witch simply smiled, happily basking in the sound.
It was music to her ears.
This story was also posted to the Fediverse at https://mastodon.triggerphra.se/@flora/109645826625145399.