Fungal Halo

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The Last Mistake

When the doll accidentally drops the teacup, shattering it, she knows just what to do. She takes her time wiping up spilled liquid and carefully picking up each shard to throw away.

Then, with equal care, she follows the trash, climbing into the garbage can herself.

She doesn’t want to be thrown away, of course. She likes it here. She loves her witch and her sisters. But she knows, deep in her heart, that if she can’t do something right, she should not be permitted to do anything at all. And useless things naturally go in the trash.

If her witch should find her there, it might pull her out, clean her off, and remind her that she is worth more to her than the occasional shattered teacup.

That would be nice. She can’t ask to be comforted like that, of course, but maybe being pathetic can inspire kindness.

The next time the lid to the garbage can is lifted, it is another doll dumping more trash onto her head, not seeing her or even looking down.

The time after that, the trash is bundled up by another of her sisters and taken out.

The doll knows she should stop being foolish, escape the garbage bag, and go back inside, but then what would they say? That she was just being dramatic for attention? No. That would be worse than sticking to the plan.

So she stays.

One part of her hopes they notice her missing and go searching until they find her. Then maybe they’ll comfort her feelings of worthlessness.

Another part knows she should be thrown away forever.

She leaves it to the universe to decide what she truly deserves.

She realizes what decision the universe has made for her when she hears the arrival of the garbage truck and feels herself tumbling, disoriented.

At the last moment she changes her mind. She wants to apologize. She wants to go back home to comfort and family.

She yells, trying to get someone’s attention, but she’s too muffled to be heard. The compactor bears down, and her limbs creak and crack and break, and she knows there is no escaping the fate she chose for herself.