The Old Man

by Sebastian Heisler-Martin, age 14
The Old Man

“There was a man. The man was lonely, sad, and old, so he went into the forest to die. He wandered for hours, dwelling on old memories, until he came across a cottage in the woods.”

There was a man. The man was lonely, sad, and old, so he went into the forest to die. He wandered for hours, dwelling on old memories, until he came across a cottage in the woods. The man thought that the cottage would be a good place to die. He entered the cottage to find a toy makers kit, sitting on a desk. The old man had always loved toys and had made them for a living. He decided to die doing what he loved, so he sat down at the desk and started to inspect the tools. He opened the toymakers chest and was startled to see that the tools in the chest were extremely old, but in amazing quality. He had never seen such good tools and was happy to have access to such grand instruments, so he got to work quickly. Hours passed, a storm of creativity flowing through the man.

In the morning he awoke to see a massive amount of toys all around him. There were dolls, and toy soldiers, teddy bears, and a few rocking horses. He was happy and content to see his efforts and was shocked and surprised to see that his creations were moving around and repairing the broken down cottage. He jumped up in surprise, and they all turned to look at him. The toys grew giant smiles and began to run over to him. The man, terrified, stumbled over the chair and fell to the ground as the toys swarmed him. He screamed, until he realized that the toys were hugging him.

He sputtered out, “W-what? What’s going on? What’s happening?”

A clown walked out from behind the mass of toys. “Why, you made us of course! Can’t we be happy to greet our creator?”

The old man rose, startled, and proclaimed, “What? But how are you alive?! I know I made you, but how are you living?”

The clown shrugged, unconcerned. “Does it really matter? We are, and you made us. Now we can play with people!”

The old man was concerned, but also overjoyed that his life had come to something after all. He was a nobody, with a job nobody paid attention to and a boring life with no family or friends. He was so excited to show everybody what he had created, he didn’t notice that the clown began to smile behind his back. He gathered all of the toys up and marched them into town. A crowd of people gathered by the commotion, and he began handing out all the toys there were. The toys went gleefully, as their only aspiration was to play with children. Finally, all the toys but the clown were given out, and there was only one child without a toy, the mayor’s daughter.

The clown walked over and picked her up, who laughed gleefully. “Are you my new owner? O boy, I can’t wait to play with you! Let’s go!”

And they ran off. The old man was very happy to have done something good in his life and walked back to the cabin to spend the night.

In the morning he woke, stretched, and got dressed. When he walked outside, however, he saw smoke, rising in the distance. He grew worried and decided to go check it out. He made his way back to town, and when he got there, all hell had broke loose. There were fires everywhere, mangled bodies strewn like neglected dolls, and a massive demonic ferris wheel in the middle of town, with screams eminiting from it. The toys were all laughing with glee, chasing people, torturing people, and the clown was the worst of all. He was on top of the ferris wheel, with a terrified girl crying near him.

Are you having fun, darling? I know I am! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!”

At this point, the old man was absolutely petrified. He had no words to describe the horror that lay before him. As he stared, he had a sudden realization. Everything he made did the exact opposite it was supposed too. Things made to entertain, tortured. Things made to comfort, terrified. He ran to the cabin as fast as he could. Meanwhile…

The mayor ran, terrified, away from the center of town and the laughing clown. He ducked behind a nearby wall to catch his breath and peeked around the corner to get his boundaries and immediately pulled his head back. There was a teddy bear a couple feet away, tearing up a corpse. His heart pounded in his chest, and he held his breath and listened. A couple minutes later, the teddy bear walked away, and the mayor tried not to look at the body as he made his escape. He ran and ran, never stopping until he reached the next town down the road. He collapsed at the town gate, and when he came to it, he told his story. His story about an insane toymaker and a devil banding together to cause chaos spread like wildfire, and centuries later, would develop into a fairy tale to scare children.

Now then, back to the old man. He ran as fast as his legs could carry him, all the while hearing the devilish carnival music behind him. He slammed open the cottage door and scrambled inside. He shut the door and sat down on the bed to catch his breath. He began to realize what he had done and cried himself to sleep.

When he woke up, he felt determined to fix his mistake. He picked himself up and walked over to the desk and its cursed tools. He sat down and put his head in his hands. He began to think of ways to fix this with what he had at his disposal and if he could fix it at all. He thought and thought, until an idea struck him. If the toys he created did everything in their power to do the opposite of what they were supposed to, then what if he made a toy that was intentionally bad? If he needed something that disobeyed and hurt others, then a dummy would do the trick, wouldn’t it? He began to craft his masterpiece, making it as scary as he could possibly be, giving it knives and weapons a plenty. When it was done, it sat motionless.

He gave his first order. “Y-you m-may speak. A-and move on y-your own will if you will c-cause no harm to o-others by doing so.”

To his surprise, the dummy immediately sat up and jumped off the table.

“I thought you’d neva ask. I been conscience eva since you started packing me with weapons, ya hear. Now, what can I do for ya?”

The old man was quite startled at his abruptness, but he got over his surprise quickly. “I, uh,” he began, but the dummy interrupted him.

“Wait wait, lemme guess. Youse did something youse regrete with the doohickies that made me, and ya want me to clean up your mess? No problem, lead the way.”

The dummy jumped off the table and made his way to the door. The old man was very confused and concerned, but followed the dummy outside. The dummy was waiting for him, and the old man began walking towards the town. He turned around when he noticed that the dummy wasn’t following him and asked why he wasn’t following him.

“Well, I forgot ta mention dis before, but if ya want me ta do anything, ya gotta give me veeery specific instructions, so get on dat, would ya pal?”

The old man walked back over to the dummy and began to speak out his specific instructions.

“You are going to destroy everything that I have made and make sure that they stay dead. If any escape, you will hunt them to the end of the earth. You must never intentionally hurt a human being, and you will come back to me when you are done with these instructions.”

The dummy nodded once and took off towards the town like a flash. The old man watched him disappear back into the forest and walked back into the cabin, where he promptly hanged himself. Well, onto the next main character.

The dummy ran the forest with unending stamina and broke through the forest with a flying leap. He landed heavily and looked around. He saw a platoon of wooden soldiers heading his way and sprinted towards them. They turned to look at him and got into a firing line of maniacal smiles. He jumped right into their midst, with a knife in hand, and turned into a whirlwind of carnage. Body parts flew everywhere, and before long, he stood along in a pile of firewood. He took a breath and turned his attention to the ferris wheel and the clown. For some reason, the dummy could feel the clowns eyes on him, and started to head in that direction. Before long, he had reached the base of the ferris wheel and stared up at the tower of torture before him. He waited for the perfect moment, then jumped onto the closest compartment.

In a matter of seconds he was at the top, directly confronting the clown. “So then, you da boss, huh?” the dummy remarked. “I gotta say, I was expecting someone taller.”

The clown continued to sneer at him and said, “While I appreciate the sense of humor you’ve got, it seems a little misplaced! I’m the clown! I should be making the jokes! Meanwhile, I’ve got something to laugh about!” He pointed at the sniveling pile of flesh at his feet and promptly kicked the girl off of the ferris wheel and watched her plumet.

The dummy sprinted towards the clown, seeing that he was distracted, and pulled out a wooden club with nails on the tip. He slammed it with all his strength into the back of the clowns head, and to his surprise the head went flying! However, to the dummy’s surprise, the head bounced back on a spring and slammed him across the face. The dummy flew across the top of the ferris wheel, and the clown was on top of him in a flash.

“I got plenty more tricks in store than that! You’re gonna have to try a lot harder than that to kill me!”

The clown pulled out a scythe from seemingly nowhere and swung it at the dummy’s head. The dummy barely had enough time to pull out a hammer to block and swiftly counter attacked. The clown jumped back, but not before dropping a jack-in-the-box on his chest. The music played very quickly, and the dummy was blown over the edge of the ferris wheel.

He hit the ground with a thud and immediately got back up. The clown had jumped down after him, and he pulled out a massive club and took up a fighting stance. The clown hit the ground with a sproing and immediately ran towards the dummy, his scythe at the ready. When the clown was within the dummy’s range, the dummy swung with all his might, but the clown jumped over and sliced of the dummy’s head. The head flew from the body, landing several feet away. The body slumped over, all signs of life gone.

The clown let out a laugh. “HA! Is that all you got? To think that the one thing I was a little worried about would be this easily defeated!”

He walked over to the head and picked it up to gloat. To his surprise, the head said, You’re not da only one wit tricks! as the dummy’s body impaled him with a broadsword. The clown sputtered and went limp, falling off to the ground.

The dummy walked over and picked up his head and screwed it back on.

“Dat’ll teach him. All I gotta do now is ta take out da remaining small fry, and I can meet up wit da old man again.”

Unknown to him, the other toys were watching the fight, and when the clown was defeated, the toys were surprised that the clown lost. Half of the toys wanted to run and spread out. The other half of the toys wanted to band together to defeat the dummy. They decided that the toys that wanted to band together to defeat the dummy would buy time for the other toys to get away. Meanwhile, the dummy was retrieving his greatsword from the dummy’s body. He had just gotten the sword free when the toys pounced, catching him off guard. He was exhausted from his fight with the clown and put up little resistance. He took out the majority of the toys before they subdued him, and before long, he was on the floor defeated. The clown had given the toys a protocol to follow if they defeated him, and they followed it to the letter. The dummy was immobilized and tossed into a box, and then buried the box underground. After his escape was impossible, the toys all scattered around the world, their one adversary trapped, for centuries to come.

END PROLOGUE


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