January 1902.
An old toymaker loses his wife to the cold harsh winter and an empty bank account.  His heart breaks and the shop goes dark.

Years pass quietly by, wood and sawdust filled creatures stare longingly out of half-boarded up windows at the world outside.  Afternoons pass, children dance by and adults squint through smokey windows, shake the doorknob and sigh, explaining to their little ones that shop is closed today. and today. and today... The old Toymaker sits in back of the small bare room wrapped in blankets and tears.  He is pale and broken spirit, sleeping cold next to a long-empty stove with dreams of a life he does not have.

One morning the sun rises and fever has set in; the Toymaker bolts upright out of slumber.  Creaking to a shaky stand, he shuffles to the workbench and carefully runs stiff fingers over long-ignored tools.  He walks to the corner to pick out a small block of pine.  In darkness, with fervor and sweat; over hours a form emerges in his careful hands.  Needles and thread now.  Paint, glue, and horsehair.  Metal clasps, boot-shine, taffeta, and red feathers...  little tweaks and thoughtful details come to life.  He steps back and looks at her.

Raising his flask, a mumbled word and long drink for his work...  Trembling, he brings the toy to his lips.

Whiskey Doll is born.  Graceful silk dress and a smokey hard breath.  All jawline, strong shoulders, hips and soft curves.  She is lost and sublime.

Eyes rest on the dresser in the corner, his wife's shrine untouched for years.  Her comb and compact next to a cracked mirror, the small red bottle she loved sits center with dust and spiderwebs coating it in dull glitter.  He imagines her waving scented oil over her neck and across the shop, and the old Toymaker sets his new mistress down.  Uncorked now.  Her scent rolls into the room - wafting memories, it grows legs and dances around.  He drags cork over Whisky Doll's dress.  A hug and she is set tenderly in the window with all the other long-waiting toys.  Signal to the town that shop will be opened again.

Old man shuffles to unlock his door, he makes way to the corner in back, and wraps up in his blanket, falling asleep.  A smile curls lightly at his lips and dreams are filled with her smell, white light, and slipping into forever.
 


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