by Laurie Razor
What Instincts drive these wooden monsters? SCREAMS!!! Entry. Prompt-Instinct.~999 Words.
I guess I should tell you a little about myself.
My name is Jon, I'm holed up at 702 Holzente Circuit, Teufeldorff.
I am an animator, a bearer of instinctual knowledge passed down my ancestral line for generations; a lifelong student of the arcane, a specialist in the field of alternative life-giving.
Most people think animation only happens on screens, blind to the potential that all inanimate objects and things hold.
I can't exactly fault them, they only believe what they've seen and heard; I envy their ignorance.
Once I mastered the finer points of animation, venturing well past the fringes of boredom, I discovered the wonders of reanimation.
Making teacups dance was one thing, but seeing something dead come back to life was something else entirely.
The process is a lot more convoluted than a mere animation in that one must first relocate the departed's soul to an inert effigy before revival; I tried carving these effigies at first but found the act too time-consuming, so replaced them with store-bought art mannequins.
You wouldn't believe how cheap they sell these little wooden-folk for.
I started small, with mice and birds then moved my way up to cats, dogs, cows, horses, before finally testing it on humans.
Without a soul to drive them, dancing meat-dolls have their limits and so in time, they too became tiresome; the townspeople were starting to get suspicious by my late-night cemetery excursions, I knew that I had to again mix up my studies.
If only I'd stopped there.
My next stop was animating one of the soul-bound mannequins.
I had acquired thousands of them by this point and never once thought of labeling them; I grabbed one at random from the shelf and gave it life.
As expected, it danced around and shook off the shock of motion.
I didn't know that it contained a human soul until it spoke; the wooden thing called itself Lena.
She conveyed her former life to me, I lost interest in the conversation after a short time although my excitement grew with each word it delivered.
I let it know that I was about to return it to a state of insentience, to say that it took the news poorly would be an understatement.
After a few heated words, I tried reciting the first of the inanimation rites, though she leapt from the table and skittered across the linoleum.
I ran after her, but only made a short distance before I felt a sharp piercing pain at the back of my right ankle, and tumbled to the floor.
This art-store homunculus rammed a phillips-head screwdriver through my Achilles; I know a limited amount of first aid, so left the screwdriver jutting from my skin to prevent bleeding out.
Unfortunately my injury slowed me down considerably, and I lost track of Lena.
She taunted me, calling my name as I hobbled around my house searching for her.
I grabbed a small hatchet and ravaged my abode in my floundering attempt to hunt her; in my panicked haste, I didn't notice that she had rifled through my library, until she started chanting.
Usually I wouldn't be concerned as others do not hold my gift, however with her animus still so instinct with life, the laws of magick lie broken already.
Shuffling back to my workshop, I observed to my horror that all the mannequins were missing; empty shelves that once lined the wall, broken by my frustrated outburst.
A cacophony of animal calls joined Lena's chanting, along with a growing choir of human voices.
Their volume drew me to the attic, my slow painful ascent up the stairs thankfully muffled by their deafening hullabaloo.
When I reached the top, I kicked the door in with my wounded foot and saw them, an army of wooden dolls, at the centre of which stood Lena.
In a rage I tossed the hatchet at her, striking her in the torso, before then losing my balance and falling on my face amid these godless abominations.
My axe-head split her wooden flesh in twain and buried itself into the wall behind her; Lena bled thick resin from her bifurcated body.
All of the Mannequins stood silent with a newfound fear, a unified fear of their own mortality.
I'd hoped that destroying the original vivacious effigy would end all of their animation, though as Lena sputtered her final drop of resin, I felt the hateful tension in the room rise and knew that this nightmare was far from over.
Before they could retaliate, I crawled over to the doorway and threw myself down the stairs, tucking and rolling to alleviate serious injury; the fall sent the tip of the screwdriver out the front of my foot, which left me in further excruciating agony.
I pushed past the pain as I heard the balsa homunculi make their slow descent, I rose to my feet and swiftly limped to the cellar, where I am now currently locked.
Thankfully I left my laptop down here; if you are reading this, you now know my dire plight.
Even though they're trying to kill me, I know that I'm due this karmic retribution.
They're driven by an innate survival instinct, imprinted by primal memories of their past lives; my affronts to the order of nature have backfired, my methods are a nightmarish sham.
I am the architect of this army of fiends; these walking mannequins, instinct with unwelcomed life, now fight to save what they never asked for.
For hours I've sat here, waiting for them to finally enter and take me for their sinister purposes; I'm not concerned for my safety anymore, I'll succumb to my fate with grace, although what happens after my passing is beyond me.
Send help before it's too late, what instincts will drive these wooden monsters?