She looked at him. She saw the glint in his eyes.
The glint of a puppeteer, a child, a madman.
She tried to dissuade him, but he just sneered at her. “You know I can handle it.”
But he wasn’t in control. It was intriguing, fascinating, disturbing.
He continued to play around with the strings, trying complicated new knots, swimming through them, pulling at them, trapping himself, finally emerging tired and worn out. But always fascinated, yearning to go back for more.
It intrigued him. It scared her.
She thought he’d stop after the first time. The second. Finally, the third. She could see him wearing himself out, he let go of all his other strings, slowly weaving a web around himself, feeding on himself, over and over.
And that’s when he offered her his hand. A hand with a promise. A promise to pull her out of her world, to show her beauty as she had never experienced, yet always known to exist, to explore, to understand, to be herself.
She clenched her fists, her hands trembling with anticipation. She looked at the world she had left behind. The puppets were dancing around and making merry, unaware of the strings, pulling at them and mocking at their jerky movements. She could see the strings, she held them in her hands, playfully twitching, waiting for her touch.
Intrigue doesn’t begin to describe what he felt when he saw her expression. The first thing he noticed was the glint in her eyes, the glint he had come to love and respect. But there was something else. He reached out to her, and saw her step back. He approached her cautiously, circling around her, one cautious step at a time. He tried, more than once, to attach a thin translucent string to her, to pull her in, into his new world. But the strings wouldn’t hold…they never did.
She turned around and dropped the strings in her hand. She merged into the crowd of puppets, without so much as a glance in his direction. She could pretend, she could be herself again. A puppet, a puppeteer, a master of her will. Three worlds merged by one heartbreaking journey.
He heard the last of his translucent string snap.
And he smiled.