Ashley arrived at home excited and left her last acquisition on the desk. The young witch couldn’t believe her luck, she had bought a real victim of the Doll Maker! One never seen before!
When she saw the figure while exploring an old pawnshop that she found in some random alley Ashley didn’t feel it was anything special. Just another old figure collecting dust among many others in the shelves of a boring store. Ashley went into the store looking for books, it wasn’t too usual, but occasionally, from time to time, a smart witch could find a personal grimoire between the most mundane romantic novels and fantasy books that humans made, a book of power and secrets sold in the belief that it was just some sort of grandma’s recipe book. That was her idea, but she just needed one accidental glance at the figurine to forget about the dusty books.
It was a fantastic figure, way too much for a crummy place like that. The girl gave a closer look to the small statuette of painted porcelain, taking note of every delightful little detail, the impeccable craftsmanship. She couldn’t resist using her eyes of witch to refine her inspection and thanks to that she saw it, the dibbling heat of life trapped inside the smooth surface: A soul.
Her hands flew, she grabbed the figurine and turned it upside down and there on the base it glowed to her magical gaze: The signature of the Doll Maker.
Ashley didn’t have a second consideration for the books or anything else in that store. Without losing her grasp on the porcelain she paid for it to the old man behind the counter and left directly back to her house with a permanent wide smile on her lips. She couldn’t believe it was sitting there right in front of her, on her desk, thirty years or more after having been created by the crazy witchcraft of the infamous witch Doll Maker. At some point in the past it had been a poor mundane girl that had the terrible misfortune to cross her path with a deeply black magic that was going to perfectly preserve her for the rest of time.
Doll Maker. That name gave Ashley some spooks, she was once one of the Great Witches and her greatest experiment would have been an spell to grant the gift of immortality to the mundane mortals, but it went worse than wrong, it failed and the magic overloaded her brain before it dissipated. At first she seemed fine, all right, but her mind got irremediably affected, she slowly went crazy and the community of cabals turned their back on her.
For several decades she was left alone, isolated, trapped, until one grim day she either escaped or was liberated and decide to return to the community... not the cabals, but the society of the mundanes. Perhaps pushed by the will of the magic that fried her mind she took the Doll Maker name with which history would remember her, and begun to collect mundane females, forever reducing them into perfect figurines that represented what the crazy witch thought they were good at and nothing else. A twisted version of what should have been a gift.
Singers, actresses, models, waitresses, maids, police women, secretaries, housewives, students... it didn’t matter at all who they were, their status, their futures, their fates decided by the chance of crossing paths with the witch or not. Rumour spread, the community got worried, and by the time Doll Maker was finally stopped by magical agents she had around 150 figures in her collections, although it was guessed that the real number of victims could be at least double, if not triple, because when one of her victims was transformed, if the witch didn’t like how the figure looked she would simply leave the new thing in the place a woman once stood without a second glance.
After her judgment Doll Maker had been condemned and sentenced to lose all of her magic, her body destroyed, and her soul locked inside a magical prison crystal where her person and her legend should had been forgotten.
Some experts tried to restore the victims to their previous self, but it was futile. The last horrendous discovery of the case was that the insane witch didn’t just shrink and transformed the unlucky women into mocking porcelain shapes, but totally erased their existence as human beings and rewrote it with a new one as porcelain statuettes taking from them not just their futures, but also their pasts. In the process, their minds were frozen and their memories gone, and nobody, neither family or friends, could remember who they were, because after the spell was finished they simply never existed, at least not as mundane women. Their histories were erased until there was left just a new, beautiful doll.
Only their souls, the only thing that magic can’t destroy, were preserved inside the porcelain bodies, trapped and empty for the rest of eternity.
The original idea was to treat the victims as people, because, although they weren’t strictly alive, they weren’t exactly dead. Someone thought that they could be exhibited in the magical academies as a reminder about the dangers of using magic wrongly, but the consensus agreed that such exposition would had been very disrespectful to the victims. The final consideration about the figurines’ fate was, as usual when the mundane and the magic cross, a practical one. Despite their previous existence as women, inside the figures still remained human souls, souls that could become powerful magical batteries, batteries that would had been a shame to waste, maybe even an insult to what the victims had lost. So, after a long debate, the magic council decided to assign their usage to high class magicians and witches for research, experiments and other proposes. But like every rare and valuable thing in the world, after a time some of the victims were sold as powerful amulets, and a black market begun in which the figures reached exorbitant prices.
And Ashley had just bought one of those figurines.
Why just touching the smooth shining porcelain she could feel the soul inside, empty of magical power for the moment, but ready to be filled and have purpose once more...
But... This young witch wasn’t too interested in the practical applications of soul batteries, for her magic was little more than a tool to make life easy, like money. She had magic already, but not much money, and the small statuette was worth quite a lot of magic gold if she found the right buyer... and few things made her happier than a lot of magic gold... Ashley chuckled. It had only cost her all the luck the mundane figurine hadn’t had, and also 99 dollars... and 99 cents.