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Musical Fiction Contest: "Mannequins"

Musical Fiction Contest:

By Miss Marm

It's Friday, I'm exhausted because I couldn't sleep after a cockroach crawled into my bed last night (I KNOW), and I'm punch-drunk with excitement about the soft, lovely New York weather. For some reason, leames1701's story is perfect for my odd mood.

Mannequins

“Stephen, are you ok?”
Lily was standing in the doorway, surveying the wreckage of his once neat, one-room apartment.  Domino’s boxes and empty cans of Busch carpeted the floor except in a narrow path leading directly to the bathroom.  The blue-green glow of the TV set was the only source of light in the room, slightly dimmed by a layer of dust at least a week old.  Magazine pages and newspaper clippings had spread across the walls.  Notebooks open to hasty scribbles buried the coffee table.  Stephen himself looked as though he hadn’t slept since the dust began collecting.  He had heavy bags under his bloodshot eyes and a beard had grown on his normally clean-shaven face.


“Get out Lily.  I’m working.”
“Eliza and Harry are worried that you aren’t.  They say you haven’t sent anything in for more than a week.”
Stephen dismissed the comment with a wave of his hand.
“Are you working on anything?”
“I told you I was.”
“What then? “
“Come sit over here, I'll show you.“
Lily closed the door to join Stephen on the couch.
“Don’t move that!”  Stephen cried, grabbing the notebook Lily had tried to move.
“Where do I sit then?”
Confounded, he shuffled the notebooks on the coffee table to make room for one more.
“Listen to this,” Stephen said, turning on the TV again.
“Stephen, that’s the prime minister’s last speech.  It was a little late after the bombings, but there’s nothing more to it.”
“No, look at his eyes when he’s talking about the actions he’s going to take.  They’re blank, like a mannequin.  He doesn't believe in what he's saying.  He either doesn’t think war is the right option or he’s on the same side as the terrorists.”
“But he’s taken a similar stance in the past towards similar situations.”
“Right, and I’ve reviewed those tapes.  He meant what he said then, or at least he made it look like he did.  He doesn’t agree with going to war…this time.  Which means someone else is really making the decisions.”
“Stephen, do you have any proof of this?  You’re entire theory is based on a look in the Prime Minister’s eyes on a grainy television set.”
“I know what I saw.  And I know it exists.”
“You’ve also been alone in this apartment for more than a week.  I know you.  Your mind runs wild when left to its own devices.  You’re looking at a familiar scene and making it different out of boredom.”
“Listen to the words themselves. They’re empty!”
“Stephen.  You need to get out.  I hoped we could go out for dinner tonight, but it seems like you need to work this out.”
“It’s night?”
“Yes, Stephen.  It’s Friday and the stars are shining.  Goodbye Stephen.”
“Lily, please listen; you don’t understand.  Someone is dressing up the Prime Minister and telling him what to say!  We can’t trust anything he says.  We can’t trust anything anyone says!”
“Good bye Stephen, I’ll come back tomorrow.”
“Lily…I… All right then, see you tomorrow.”
As she left, she heard the drone of the TV returning to life.  She sighed and braced herself for the cold walk back to her apartment along the Ouse Embankment.  The only sounds were the click of her heels on the pavement.  She was growing tired of Stephen’s conspiracy theories.  When they first started dating, she had found him fascinating; but now, now she had begun to think he was a madman.  He bombarded her with theory after theory every time she was with him, and it was growing tiresome.
Deep in her own thoughts, Lily didn’t notice the men behind her.

*

The black bag made a quiet sound as it slipped over Lily’s head.  She found herself in a small, dark room with nothing but a toilet.  The walls were cold stone.  Groggily, she scrambled to sit up.  As her vision settled, she noticed another huddled mass in the cell.  It was a man.  Dirty and bald, he looked as though he had been beaten a number of times; his face was purple and swollen.
“Sir, are you alr….are you alive?”
He chuckled a dry laugh, “It doesn’t really matter.  I don’t exist anymore.  I’ve been replaced by a doll”
In shock, Lily stumbled backward.
“Prime Minister?”

Based on "Through Glass," by Stone Sour

Does this story suit your mood, Sparklers? What do you think of it?

To review the contest rules and read the stories of other finalists, go here. To submit a story, email missmarm@sparknotes.com.

Topics: musical fiction contest
 

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