Second Chances Made of Glass and Wood
by Michael T. Banker
2nd Place - Best Interior Art - 2011
I stick my head through the door and spot the new doll, jerking and tripping over
herself in the corner, making a racket with all of her clacking wooden parts. Of
course Faerci's there too, that giant of a man, hunched over the pitiful thing. My
own carved parts snick away as I run into the room and collapse onto the rug next
to him, landing with my head propped against my hand. I always insist on seeing
the new dolls when they wake up.
Ooh, and her eyes are still closed -- have I got timing or what? Probably only just
I jump at the solid thud the doll's head makes when it hits the wall behind her.
She's flailing her arms and kicking her legs -- good thing she doesn't have enough
control to stay up on them or else she'd be running circles around the room. This
one's excited; poor thing looks terrified.
Then I hear the familiar click and her left eye opens, revealing an empty glass orb
in its socket. She freezes, looking right at me, and slowly tilts her head up to take
in all of Faerci towering above her. Then she flops to the ground like a rag doll and
throws her limbs around in another noisy, wordless tantrum.
I look up at Faerci. "Well, she can see, anyway -- your face scared the spirit out of
her! But really, what's with the right eye? You glue it shut or something? Sloppy,
"Did you say 'her'? Nattly, it's a boy! A boy! Can't you tell? Look in a mirror and
see how I carve a girl."
I break down laughing as Faerci growls this at me. "Tell? No, I can't tell! Oh
Faerci, you are dangerous. You like carving girls too much."
"Bah! It's the hair, that's all, and it's his own that I used for the wig, so you can
hardly blame me for that. And that eye . . . probably, his eyelashes are sticking.
Happens sometimes. Nothing to do about it 'til he calms down, if it doesn't fix
itself in the first place."
"Sloppy, sloppy," I repeat. That gets a satisfying grunt out of him.
But when I look again, he's smiling. I caught him. Everyone knows Faerci has a
soft spot for all of his creations, even if he looks gruff on the outside.
It's . . . quiet, I realize.
The doll is staring right at me, head lolling against its shoulder. Then there's
another click and the second eye pops open.