I had just come into existence and what was the first thing I felt? Agonizing pain. My entire body hurt, it felt like I had tried to deadlift an entire bulldozer with one arm, then got crushed by the dozer. Funny, I come to exist and the first thing I get to feel is this. But that was pushed away, it was subsiding and I felt calm.
"Todd? Are you awake?" An elderly voiced asked. My senses came to me, and I realized i couldn't actually see anything at the moment. At least I knew I could hear things. I responded to the voice.
"H-hello?" I called out.
"Oh thank the heavens, I thought it didn't work for a moment there."
"Hey, why can't I see anything?"
"Oh right, let me take that off for you." I felt a small rag being taken off of me, and I could see. I looked around and saw I was in a workshop of some kind, with a large observatory as the roof. There was multiple rows of tables, scattered with various tools, materials, vials, and supplies to make tiny puppets. I looked forward and noticed an old man, who must've been beyond his 60s, or at least it looked so. He wore a striped longsleeve shirt with a dark vest over it, and dark jeans with dress shoes.
"The procedure worked, you are alive!" He exclaimed.
"Uh, if you don't mind me asking, where are we and who are you?" I asked.
"Oh of course, we are in the Muttons mansion, and I am Simon Muttons," Simon explained. I noticed something at that moment, and I looked at my body.
"Ah! Why am I so tiny?" I said, just realizing how small I was.
"Er, right I should have explained that first. Todd, you are a worry doll," Simon said, not really making my situation any better.
"A worry doll? Why am I a worry doll? How am I even alive?" I asked. "
"Todd, I didn't do this through some magic, that's absurd, I did it through science! And since you are alive, it means that science says I can make you alive!"
"Now Todd, we need to get to business. First off, you're not the only worry doll, there are more like you, living deep in the house."
"Alright, anything else I should know?"
"Yes, there are strange beings that lurk in this house, beings make of shadows itself! They call themselves the boogymen."
"That doesn't sound scientific."
"Nonsense! Science, it is!"
"Ok, so how does this correlate to me?"
"Well, it correlates to all of us. You see, the boogymen want you, me, and the rest of the worry dolls dead, and so most of them, including their leader, Nick, is a threat."
"Most of them? So not all of them are bad?"
"No, some of them you can trust, but the majority of them you must stay away from. The ones that don't want us all done live with the puppets."
"So what are we supposed to do?"
"Todd, I made you so you could help solve that question. I know, I forced you into this, but it was for good purpose. You aren't made like the others, Todd, you are unique to everyone else. Once you have put the threat of the boogymen away for good, you can go free."
"How come I can't just leave?"
"That's another problem, as when the boogymen started appearing in the house, I decided that they could never be let out to the world, so I locked down the mansion and made sure they could never leave, but there is a failsafe to the lock, as should I or Nick die, the house will shut it's defenses down and will be opened."
It was a lot to process, and I struggled to even try and register this new information, but I knew my purpose then. I turned to Simon for instructions of what to do next.
"For now Todd, you must go to the puppets, where the rest of the Worry Dolls reside. There you will be safe, or at least safer than you are now. I'm sorry, but I won't be able to go with you, as I have work that must be done," Simon explained. "There is a passageway built by the Worry Dolls right there, it leads to the vents. You'll have to wander for a bit, but you'll find your way."
We looked to the passage, which was a small crack in the wall, only big enough for a 5 inch worry doll to fit, just like me.
"Er, should I encounter a boogymen, can I have a defensive weapon for my own protection?" I inquired, concerned about my safety and my estimated lifespan in that tunnel. Simon nodded and opened a drawer in the work table and pulled out small items, putting them together. After a solid minute of construction, Simon came back and handed me a tiny sword, the blade of it glowing a soft green.
"The house has strange materials forming in it, one of them is called summer metal. It absorbs light, and radiates heat. It's also quite effective in defensive and offensive situations."
I stared at the sword in amazement and raised it up. "I will call it the master blade!"
"No, that name is already taken."
"Really? Alright uh, ah I got it! I will call it Radius!"
"Right, right. You know what, we'll call it the Sun Blade!"
"That name is taken too, but we're running out of time Todd, so it shall be named Sun Blade."
I gave a nod and ran to the crack in the wall, glancing over my shoulder to see Simon walking to another workshop table. I jumped into the opening and looked around. It was cold there in the vents, and he heard constant taps and echoes. With no other options, I just started to walk through the vents. After a few minutes of walking I heard the sound of something cutting through the air behind me, and I was knocked off my feet, sent flying into the side of the vent.
Landing on the metal floor of the vent, I jumped back to my feet, with the Sun Blade in hand and prepared to duke it out. I looked and saw a large, slender figure staring at me with white eyes, though the vent was only about a foot tall, so it had little space to grow. It's mouth was formed into a grin, revealing sharp teeth. It also had a lit cigarette in its mouth and a flip lighter in it's left hand. There wasn't too much else about it, other than it had two horns atop it's head with one being cut horizontally.
"You can put the toothpick down, I won't hurt you," It said, taking a puff of the cigarette.
"Stay back, I-I'm warning you!" I warned, my sword shaking in my hand. I was trying my best to not sound nervous, but that was difficult seeing my situation.
"Kid, I won't hurt you, boy scouts honor."
"W-who are you?"
"Me?" The boogyman said, putting his right hand to his chest in mock offense," You don't know little ol' me? I'm Dings Loris, but call me Dings. I'm an emperor boogymen."
I tilted my head in confusion. "Emperor boogymen?"
"Well sure! There are different kinds of boogymen, don'cha know? Why, there's the talkers, oh they can strike up conversations that go on for hours. Then the gores, they love tearing puppets and traitors apart. Can't forget the queens, the colossal beasts of the boogymen. Then finally, there are emperors, the mix of all three and the rarest kind."
"How many emperors are there?"
Without really thinking about it, I lowered my sword.
"So where are you headed, kid?" Dings asked. "It's not everyday a puppet wanders around these tunnels without a purpose."
"Trying to find the puppets, d'you happen to know where I could find them?"
"Sure I know where they are, follow me."
Dings started walking forward, and I had to run to catch up with his long strides. We took various turns and stopped a few times to allow Dings to take a smoke of the cigarette. It went on for at least 10 minutes before finally we turned a corner and saw light seep down from the end of the tunnel.
"Here we are, right down there is where the puppets reside," Dings said. He then crouched to his knee and beckoned me forward. "Listen Todd, I'll meet you further inside, if the vent security sees me, they will most likely tear me to pieces, thanks to the new recruits guarding the vents. Just go to them and they'll let you in. Good luck kid."
I nodded, thanked Dings for his help, and ran down the vent. But then something crossed my mind, something that didn't make sense. How did he know my name? I stopped midway in the tunnel and turned around.
"Wait, how do you know my-" I was saying before realizing Dings was gone already. My voice echoes through the tunnels for a bit, and I listened in to the sound of my voice repeat. Ok, remind me to ask him how he knows that, I thought to myself before continuing the run down the vent. After making it all the way to the end, I hopped out the opening at the end, landing on wooden scaffolding obviously too small for a human, but just the right size for a couple of tiny dolls like me.
I looked around and saw I was in a cavern, and just below the scaffolding was a large structure that resembled a city, again only fit for the size of dolls.
"Halt! State your name, newcomer!" A voice suddenly demanded. Startled, I put my hands up and looked to where the voice had resonated, which was to my right. There stood a worry doll similar to me, with the exception that they wore a cloak without a hood, and had a spear with a blue crystal attached to the end of it. I had a cold feeling rush through my body just looking at it.
"Todd," I said.
"Hello Todd, tell me, did you happen to see any boogymen down that vent there?"
"Yeah, I saw one."
"Um, he said he was an emperor boogymen." Upon hearing this, the spearman (or should I say spear doll) gasped.
"W-what was its name?"
"Oh thank god, I thought it was Nick. Well, if Dings helped you get here, you must be good," The puppet said, sheathing its spear. "My name is Andrew, sorry we had to get off on the wrong foot here."
"It's all fine," I responded, putting my arms down.
"We expected another puppet to come in, though we didn't quite expect a worry doll. Either way, you're here, and we should get going to the base," Andrew said. "Follow me, I'll show you the fast way down.
At first, I thought the fast way would be perhaps an elevator or ladder, or at the very least a kiddie slide, but no, when he showed me the quick way, my heart dropped, metaphorically speaking. The fast way was a zip-line, and I did not like the idea of a zip-line. I don't exactly know why, but I had a fear of heights that struck me just then, though I felt deep down that that fear wasn't my own. Either way, we took the zip-line. It conveniently had 4 seats with belts for strapping passengers in, and had a handle bar for each person to grab for dear life on the descent.
"Just hold on tight, Todd, and look down, because that makes it more fun!" Andrew said buckling us in.
"Wait why would I loo- AAAHH" I was stammering before we launched, going at what felt like the speed of light. My body was pressed up against the seat, I felt like I was going to be sick.
"Woo hoo!" Andrew shouted in excitement.
I looked to my left where Andrew was seated, and the mad man had his hands in the air! I covered my eyes with my hands, screaming the entire way, though at the speed we were going I doubt Andrew heard me. But finally, we were slowing down, to the point where the world wasn't a blur and it was possible to see. That city from a distance we had seen we were now in, with the exception that it was a lot bigger to me now that I was in it.
It reminded me of a medival city, with the exception that it was not. The place looked beaten down one, buildings and structures made of wood, stones, scrap and other materials. There were multiple puppets walking the streets, looking like me, though of course with a different clothing opinion and look. Some wore rags to resemble cloaks, and others wore small metal plates and scraps on them for protection. Their hairstyles differentiated, from long to short, and I'm pretty sure I saw one without any wooden shard hair at all.
We came to a stop after a minute of gently gliding along the zipline. Andrew looked at me while unbuckling his seatbelt.
"Wasn't that amazing? Wanna go again?"
I unbuckled my belt and we hopped off. I looked around and saw that we had stopped at what appeared to be a market place, judging from the multiple vendor stands. The puppets manning them were selling various things, most of which was weaponry like tiny crossbows and swords. I even saw a tiny pump-action shotgun, and I was considering about buying it before Andrew pulled me away.
"Alright, so just up ahead is the headquarters for the puppets, we're gonna go see Alexia and Marco there, they lead the puppets," He explained.
"Should I bring a present for them or something?" I joked. Andrew chuckled and responded.
"Christmas was a month ago Todd, bit too late for presents." He then turned and led us to the head building. We passed through the market place to do so, and I noticed something similar among all the puppets I saw, they looked beaten up, like the city had been under attack so much their condition was deteriorating. They seemed so depressed and sad. Despite all of the sadness around us, we went on to our destination.
The building was made out of daily items, like cardboard boxes and plastic. The place had fortifications too, if you could call thumbtacks and pin needles positioned to be barricades to be defenses. Multiple guards stood watch, most of them equipped with spears similar to Andrew's, thought their spears had glowing green crystals instead of blue ones. Andrew caught the attention of one of the guards and told them to bring out Alexia and Marco.
"Right away," The guard had said before marching inside the building.
"You aren't allowed in yet, it's just how things roll around here," Andrew said to me. I guess since I wasn't the cool guy I wasn't allowed inside the cool puppets club, but I didn't really care too much. Just then, two puppets walked out of the building, accompanied by 3 guards.
One of them wore makeshift armor made out of rusted plates and had long wooden hair, and the other had more basic clothes with short cut wooden hair. They introduced themselves, starting with the one in armor.
"I'm Alexia, commander of our small, but tough army," Alexia said.
"I am Marco, leader of our people," Marco said, right after Alexia's introduction.
"I'm Todd, I got sent by Simon," I said, not coming close to a good introduction as they did.
"Simon? You mean the creator?" Andrew asked, confused.
"The creator? Don't we all just call him Simon?" I remarked. The other three puppets looked at eachother and broke it down for me.
"Todd, down here we refer to the creator as a kind of god, after all he did gift us life and made us. If god had a name like say Bob, would you rather to call him Bob or God?" Marco said.
"I've met Simon personally, so I'm gonna call him that," I said. It felt weird to me to pretty much call this man god. It was just strange to me.
"Very well, but everyone and everything else that lives in these walls uses the creator to describe him, so remember that," Alexia responded. "Back on track here, you were sent by the creator, yes?"
"Yes, he told me I was unique to everyone else and I was able to help solve our problem with the boogymen."
"If you really are here to help us, we need to test you first, to make sure you really can help us," Marco said. He then turned to Alexia. "Does Clicker still need help with that scrap hunt?"
"Yes, he's been nagging about it for weeks now."
"Very well. Todd, go down the city to the scrapyard and find Clicker and help him collect resources for his...project. If you manage to do this, it'll convince us to let you join us in the fight to end Nick."
"Wait, so you're sending me on an errand?" I asked, starting to get the feeling that I was going to do alot of running back and forth here.
"Yes, but this errand is actually important. If you really are here to help us, you'll do this for us," Alexia replied, crossing her arms,"The commander starts out as a recruit in the beginning."
"Well, alright but answer this, where exactly this Clicker guy will take me?"
"He'll take you to the old ruins of our old headquarters, infested with boogymen, but loaded with scrap, springs, gears, and other things Clicker needs to continue his work," Alexia elaborated. I looked to Andrew, who gave me a Your call look.
"Can Andrew come along? You know, the more the better," I asked, hoping I could get some answers while I was doing this. The two puppet leaders nodded.
"Now get moving Todd, time is ticking."
Me and Andrew turned around and walked down to the scrapyard. I wasn't excited about having to be the errand boy, but like Alexia said, the commander started as the recruit once, and I was the recruit.