“Some days you battle yourself and other monsters. Some days you just make soup.”
Patricia McKillip

author: Nicole J. LeBoeuf

actually writing blog

Notes from the author:

Writing prompts for this one included the Knight of Pentacles and the phrases “come apart at the seams” and “rock the boat.” Thus the story centers around a cloth doll who isn’t afraid to fight the status quo. The allusion to the Velveteen Rabbit is intentional and lamentably unsubtle.

Ragged Amelia’s brains were made out of stuffing, but that didn’t make her a fool. And it wasn’t like she didn’t have eyes. Mr. Magus had made her a good, sharp-sighted pair. He could hardly expect her not to use them.

Mr. Magus had made her to be his fetch-and-carry, his to-and-froer goer. “Amelia. Fetch me two bundles of vetiver, thick as your arm.” “Amelia, three leaves fresh mugwort--on the instant, do you hear?” “Amelia, fill these vials with blood from a black-eared sow.” “Unicorn’s water, Amelia, enough to fill a bath, and I want it yesterday.” Those kinds of errands took fast feet, clever hands, sharp eyes and sharper wit, so Mr. Magus had made sure to bestow them all and more on his creation. And if Ragged Amelia used them for anything other than--

“Dragon’s teeth, Amelia. Two. The best you can find. Pull them bloody from the wyrm’s jaw if that’s what it takes--”

Well, then, what did he care, so long as she delivered?

But she cared. She thought about the materials he sent her out to fetch. She thought she knew what they were adding up to. Mr. Magus was making himself another fetch, that much was clear. Bundles of vetiver grass made lovely legs, strong and fast and unlikely to get nibbled on by vermin. Mugwort granted clear sight through this world and into the next. And anything immersed in unicorn’s water came to life, of a sort. But dragon’s teeth? Nothing good ever came of dragon’s teeth, she knew that much. Mr. Magus hadn’t used dragon’s teeth when he made Ragged Amelia. Nor sow’s blood, nor deadly nightshade. Why did he need these kinds of things now?

He sent her far and wide, up and down, but one place Mr. Magus never sent her was back into the cold room where he worked. He took what Ragged Amelia brought him and took them through the strong iron door, locking its strong iron locks behind him.

Ragged Amelia was more than strong enough to force an iron door....

This has been an excerpt from the Friday Fictionette for March 12, 2016. Subscribers can download the full-length fictionette (1085 words) from Patreon in PDF or MP3 format depending on their pledge tier.

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