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The Tinkerer’s Daughter

The tinkerer’s daughter had once been burnished bronze, her parts oiled daily to ensure they were in working order. Her father received good work on the daily from those who would visit him. Those who came from afar would bring him small gifts of rare metals and gems that he kept in various drawers and cabinets.

There was one day the girl couldn’t help but be stuck out in the rain, the pitter patter of the drops on her exterior lulling her into a deep slumber she wished not to wake easy.

When she did wake, finally, she found herself somewhere unfamiliar. The back of a cricket crackety cart that juttered her around making her loose limbs clank against each other.

She went to stretch and felt herself strain as her rusted limbs creaked against each other.

She wanted to cry for being a fool, falling asleep in the rain and allowing herself to be taken so far from her father, but what good would tears do her but rust her further?

Hearing her creaky stretches, the owner of the cart soon made himself known at the back entrance, pulling wide the heavy curtains that had darkened the interior and revealing a gruff, weathered face of an old man.

The tinkerer’s daughter went absolutely still. Unmoving, like a doll, she pretended to be one of his knickknacks.

The man entered the back of the cart, leaving the curtain up to light the back.

First, he inspected a shelf full of metal rings, raising a bushy gray brow at the collection of varied metals. He moved on.

Next, were chimes hanging high near the very back of the cart but tied tightly together so not a single chime clang against each other.

Lastly, he approached the tinkerer’s girl where she sat amongst a row of dolls sitting primly, properly stacked against each other.

Here, he lingered, examining each and every doll closely before finally coming to stand before the tinkerer’s girl.

With him fully before her, she was freely able to observe his face, wrinkled, kindly, old.

His eyes were deepset, one blue as the sky she was unsure she’d see again, the other as brown as the soil the farmers back home tilled for their crops.

He seemed to linger on her, and, unwillingly, the girl shuddered.

He seemed not to notice for a moment, then in one smooth move, she was in his arms.

“Are you alive, girl?” he muttered, seeming almost insulted.

“Y-yes, I am,” the tinkered girl muttered.

The man, now seeming gruff, sighed, big and heavy.

“That won’t do.” Both eyebrows moved to meet at the middle of his face.

Fearfully, the girl responded. “S-sir?”

He sighed again, placing her on her feet.

“The back here ain’t exactly meant for a thing alive. It won’t do to have you back here alone.”

At the word “alone,” she suddenly felt anything but.

He looked away “I suppose, if it’s okay with you, you can ride up front with me.”

Tentatively, the girl nodded and joined him. 

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