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Budapest, 18th century

It was Christmas Eve. Everyone was on the way to the Theatre of the Puppets. There was this, really big, Christmas show, a really great spectacle. I was on my way too. It was a cold, dark night, thick clouds were covering the sky and snow was lightly falling from the sky. So many people were waiting in line.

The Theatre was dark inside, gas lamps were lighting the stage, people were seated in their seats, me in the first row, and the curtain rose. Then the puppets came on the stage... there was one... two... three! Three puppets were coming on the stage, the Puppet Master held their strings high above. The puppets were almost human sized. Their skin looked like old, sick human skin.

What a magical, mystery feeling was to see them dancing on the end of their silvery strings! The Puppet Master pulled one string, up went the leg, down went the head, he pulled one more and then, he let them all down. But the puppets were still standing. Suddenly they started to move - all by themselves! I looked at the little drummer boy... I looked in his eyes, I can swear he looked at me! And suddenly he started to play on his drum, which scared me a little. And when I took a look at his hands I saw a small cut on his arm... and it was bleeding! Everything here was not what it seemed, and I was uneasy... but soon the show ended and I left the hall in a hurry.

As I was waiting in line to get out, I saw a girl, standing in the crowd, and our eyes met. I stepped towards her and greeted her. We talked for a bit, her name was Victoria, and when we were outside we took a seat on the stairs at the entrance we continued our talk. We both knew that what we saw in the Theatre was, had to be, magic, that night was full of it.

We talked all the night long, and as I was looking in her eyes, her beautiful blue eyes, I saw magic in them... all the people were gone, but we were sitting there and I felt cold, as if one of the ghosts from the Theatre was next to me, and I heard a whisper in my ear: "Kiss her now!". And I did kiss her and that kiss was a magic seal of our eternal love.

Almost a year had passed and Christmas will be here in two weeks. There was another show in the Theathre. I was occupied that night so Victoria went to the Theatre alone. But when she didn't come home by midnight I got worried and went to look for her. I went to the Theatre first, it was a dark and cold night, much like one year ago. Behind the Theatre I saw some stairs leading down, in the cellar bellow. As I was about to go down, someone opened the door. It was a big, fat woman. I knew her. She was the Puppet Masters wife, named Emergencia. I hid behind a bush and saw her carrying a big, butchers knife in her hand and she was pulling a cart behind her. I decided to follow her.

Trough the streets, dark and old, I followed her for some time when I saw someone lying on the floor. It must have been a homeless man. Suddenly her hand with the knife rose... and, oh no! went deep in his chest. He barely made a sound before he died. She left the knife in his chest, all that blood had to stay in its nest, and wrapped him in the sack she brought and put him on the cart. I followed her again trough the streets and when we came to the Theatre she pulled the body of the cart and carried it in to the cellar bellow. I followed her down, trough the ancient hallways, hiding behind corners, when suddenly, she was gone. I saw a light coming from the door ahead of me and I decided to look there. And as I opened the door and looked through them, I was terrified! Oh, such a horror show! But then I felt a blow on my head, I fell to the ground and my vision went black...

As I opened my eyes I couldn't see anything... darkness was all around me, I must have been lying on stone floor, and I couldn't move at all, my arms were chained to the wall. I felt that no one was here but me. As my eyes got used to the dark I saw many puppets sitting on the shelves and some jars besides them, which were filled with a liquid dark as hell. I was looking at the puppets when I saw... No, that's impossible! Eyes on that puppet... those blue eyes! I know those blue eyes! Blue eyes in the dark, which saw nothing, and yet they were so alive. It were the eyes of my love! Someone better say it's a dream! My eyes filled with tears, I could barely see a thing, when I heard the door open.

The Puppet Master and his wife entered. I couldn't speak, as I was shocked. Emergencia put the lantern on a shelf, and The Puppet Master went to an altar, with ancient books and human skulls on it, lit few black candles which lighted up the room a bit. I saw a strange symbol on the wall. The Master started chanting magical words from ancient tongues. I felt some kind of Magic inside me... I got afraid and, in panic, kicked one of the shelves with the jars, one of them fell down and broke... in light liquid was red, it was blood!

The Puppet Master turned to me and said: "How dare you disturb my work!?" and in that moment a demons head, red as blood appeared on the wall. I felt a sting in my eyes, they were given eternal life, because of the disturbance in the ritual. The Puppet Master continued chanting and I could feel... feel my soul leaving my body and felt tingle in my skin. The the tingle grew in pain and I felt magic in me. In the next moment I lost my consciousness.

When I woke up I was strapped to a hospital bed. Emergencia was cleaning something, the Puppet Master approached me and said: "First your eyes, then your skin, we will make you feel born again, no more you, my friend!", his wife turned around, I saw a shiny scalpel in her hand. I got terrified. She gave it to her husband and took a jar... I knew... it was a jar for my blood. The Puppet Master took the scalpel and I cut at the top of my eyelids... oh, god, the pain! He cut out both of my eyelids and threw them in a trash can. I was bleeding from my eyes, like... like I was crying blood! He put down the scalpel and took up scissors, grabbed my eyeball with his fingers and pulled it out, now it was connected to me only with few strings of nerves. The scissors snapped... oh, god! ...he put my eyes... into this puppet thing... like those puppets in the Theatre, just without that human like skin... oh, god, why!? My eyes could still see, because of the ritual, that went wrong, I was looking from the puppet to myself, but what I saw was no more me. He started skinning me, separating my skin from the bones... OH, THE PAIN!!! Emergencia made sure all my blood went into her jars. ...pain... my senses went numb... I should be dead by now, but I was still alive inside my eyes! And I saw Emergencia throw my carcass in the thrash.

As they dressed the puppet... me... in my skin they put it on a shelf, next to Victoria. I couldn't move, only look around. But I couldn't see her eyes or body move at all. I was sitting in darkness, thinking about what happened to me... I knew the things will never be the same again. I might only be able to move because of the disturbance in the ritual, but what about Victoria and other puppets? Are they ever going to see? Will we have to dance for the Puppet Master?

After much time the Puppet Master and his wife returned. They took me and Victoria off the shelf and put us in front of each other. Emergencia took two little jars from the shelves, and took an injection, and filled it with blood. She came to me and stuck it in my skin and emptied all of it in me. At first I didn't feel anything... but after few seconds I felt some kind of a tingle in my skin... She did the same with Victoria. My limbs suddenly started trembling and moving. So did Victorias. There was no mistake now, that was my love. She was scared and surprised. She looked in my eyes and, believe it or not, our love was so strong that we could talk by only looking in each others eyes.

"They're alive!" we heard Emergencia say. "That's enough for today... put them away!". Few minutes later we were sitting on our shelves. Sitting opposite to each other, talking with our eyes, trying to remember everything we did together and what has happened to us. Sadness filled my heart, I didn't have... I knew that, that one year was the best year of my life, but nothing will ever be the same.

We have trained for thirteen days, the Puppet Master brought as back to life and made us dance on the strings. Every time, after the training was done, he put us back on the shelf. We had about half an hour every time to talk with our eyes, but then she had fainted again and I couldn't move at all.

On the thirteenth day, as they brought us to life, the Puppet Master said to Victoria: "Tonight you will dance for me puppet girl, no strings attached!".

Victoria looked at me: "Oh no, I can't! Never ever did I dance, I don't have a chance!", "Dance!". She made a step, oh, she tried her best, but stumbled in to the shelf with the jars of blood. Six of the fell down... Broken glass with puppet life was on the floor.

The Puppet Master was furious and said to Emergencia: "Send her far away, far away from here, to the other Theatre! Tomorrow morning she must be gone! Send her to Berlin! Send that puppet to Berlin!" and stormed out of the room. Emergencia put us back on the shelves and went to prepare the box to send Victoria to Berlin. We were sitting in the dark...

I knew if they take her away there is no life for me, take her away and I die. Victoria said: "Tell me this is not goodbye."

I asked her: "Do you remember the butterfly?"

"It made me cry..."

"I know... but we dried its wings, so it could fly again. I wonder if this is the end for you and I. I know we've got to say goodbye. I know I would change my life for you... I would die for you..."

"I will always remember the things we used to do, all the memories, I keep in here, just for me and you. With your image in my eyes I take you with me, when it's time to go."

"I swear... I swear I'll find you! I'll keep on searching... searching to the end of time!"

"But what if I can't survive without you by my side?"

"Then wait for me, wait for me, wait on the other side! I'll be there."

"I can barely see you anymore..."

"You must remember the butterfly... it did not die!"

"I love you..."

"I love you too..."

"I can't see you anymore!"

"Goodbye, my love..."

And in that moment I knew it was all over for us.

And so came the day of the big Christmas show... I made a plan last night, how I will get my revenge. I will mess up the show, and then they will send me away, hopefully to Berlin. They injected blood in me and two other puppets and so we went from the cellar to the back entrance of the Theatre. Snow was falling from the sky and all I wanted to do was cry. So here was I again.

The place where it all started in the Theatre. But this time I was on the stage. All the seats were taken and... we started. First the Puppet Master was controlling us with the strings. This year I was the little drummer boy. As I looked in to the crowd I saw a boy, who reminded me of myself. So it came the part when the Puppet Master let down the strings. The crowd was amazed when we started to dance all by ourselves. And I was playing the drum... and made myself fall on the face! The drum shattered in million pieces which fell all over the stage. I just messed up the biggest show of the year... that was a small revenge...

Now I'm hanging in this old toy store in the backstreet in the poor part of the town. Hanged on the wall, a nail sticking trough my throat. I've been hanging here for... what was it? 18 years? The Puppet Master and his wife sold me to this shop for little more than few shillings. All these years I have been hanging on the wall, all I could do was move my eyes, look around and listen to people talking.

The children who came in to the store were scared of me: "He looks sick!", "He's scary!", "His eyes just moved!". I will never get bought. In all these years I've never seen my love. One day I heard the shopkeeper talking with a customer about the Puppet Master and Emergencia. They are opening a new Theatre in London Town, for children, run by their son and daughter. Think of it... for children... it's gonna be a bloody mess...

I was very young when this event happened to me, young enough to be scarred for life by what I witnessed many years ago. I was probably around 3 or 4 years old I think, old enough to speak and walk to my knowledge, everything is fuzzy from that time, for good reason too.

Currently, I live with my aunt and uncle, I have lived with them since they took me in because my mom wasn't really ready to raise a child just yet. I love my mother, but she is still a teenager at heart, still loving to party, drink, and doing drugs. Just like any person like this, whenever she drank or did drugs, she lost all sense of judgement and made a lot of bad decisions, one of these decisions, one that to this day, she is still unaware about, screwed me up for life.

Back then, my mom didn't really live in a home of her own, she sort of just stayed the nights at her friend's houses, bringing me along with her. I would meet various people and children, but I never had time to make a decent friend since we never stayed long, just a night or two if I remember correctly. This also kind of made this event more unique for that time, I actually did make a friend who actually helped me deal with what happened. Her name was Emma, she was a little girl who was about my age. She was a very kind girl, you could probably say that she was my first official friend.

This event that I keep mentioning is the reason why I'm terrified of the dark to tell the truth, it really screwed me up since, even though I am aware that there is nothing in the dark, there is a subconscious fear I feel every time the lights go off. Another weird anomaly of this event is how well I can remember it, my memory isn't really that good.

It was a dark and empty night in the small town my mom's friends lived in. Outside, you couldn't see anything except for what the street lamps were illuminating. My mom's friends lived in a small house in the middle of what I would call nowhere. My mom, her friends, Emma, and I were all hanging out in the living room. I was in the corner playing one of those educational computer games on the small computer that my mom's friend owned. Next to me was this big wooden TV cabinet that held a pretty big TV for the 1990's.

In the middle of the cabinet, there was the TV, and on both sides of the TV, there was the biggest collection of VHS movies that I have ever laid my eyes on at the time, but not being interested in films at the time, I didn't really care for it. In front of the TV on an old, blue rug was Emma. She was laying on her stomach watching TV while my mom and her friends were laughing drunkenly on the old brown sofa behind her.

They continued their merry little party for a couple of hours until my mom eventually became exhausted and decided to go to bed. Before she left though, I remember seeing her turn around in the hallway to her friends and telling them to put me to bed in 30 minutes, then she went off to bed. That is when I got bored with the game and turned off the TV to go watch whatever was on with Emma. But right as I sat down, I heard one of mom's friends tell her to go to bed, and of course, she obeyed, leaving me alone. Once she left, my mom's friends then picked me up and placed me on the sofa. They looked at each other and then laughed.

"I think I have a show you can watch before bed" one friend said as he grabbed a VHS from his collection.

The VHS box was pure white, but a little beat up. He then took the tape out of the box and put it in the VHS player that was in it's own cabinet under the TV. He then whispered to the other friend as he pressed play. His friend laughed at whatever he said.

"Now don't you move" the man said as he and his friend laughed and left the room, leaving me all by myself.

The TV suddenly flared on with a bunch of static for a few minutes, then some faint carnival like music could be heard. Then, the opening credits for this show flashed onscreen with it's many colors and balloon like text. I can't remember much about the opening credits, nor can I tell you who starred in it, though I can tell you that I had a faint feeling of uneasiness as the credits rolled and the music became louder and louder. At the peak of the music's loudness, the music stopped and it cut to a shot in a very colorful living room.

The walls were a bright yellow and there was odd blue furniture everywhere. It was a bit obvious that this was just a TV set that was hastily made since some walls were more crooked than others and some of the photos on the walls were tilted. That's when a man in a white lab coat hopped in from the right. If I remember this man correctly, he was a very jolly, skinny man who to me, looked a lot like Bill Nye the science guy, but a bit more crazy. He began to talk to the camera, just like anyone in children's TV.

He began to talk to us about how he is looking for his friend since they are playing a game of hide and seek and such and he wanted our help to find him. Eventually he found him and that's when we learned his friend is actually a ventriloquist puppet who looked sort of like Charlie McCarthy in a way. The episode continued on like any regular kids show, nothing bad or anything. That's when the first episode ended and the second episode began...

The second episode began exactly like the first one, the carnival music, the man looking for his friend, etc. If it wasn't for what happened next, I would have thought I was watching episode one again. But this time, the man approached a yellow door. He turned to the camera excitedly and said,

"I think he might be hiding in here! But be careful! Monsters lurk in the darkness of the basement! Good thing I just changed the light bulb!"

So he entered the basement. He left the door open behind him for extra light as he began walking down the stairs. I could hear the eerie creaking of the wooden steps under his feet as he walked down the old steps. Midway down the steps he turned to the camera and said,

“I really hope he's down here, basements can be very scary...” then, as he turned back around, the light bulb above him, which was the only illumination in the basement, shattered and the room was swallowed by darkness. The man began to become very nervous, as shown by the fact his breathing becoming faster and faster. He then called out for his friend, voice shaking.

We then look over at the doorway as his friend stuck his head out and said “How's it goin?” in a cheeky tone. The man was glad to see his friend, glad being a bit of an understatement though. He begged for his friend to toss him down a new light bulb as the sound of a low, intimidating grumble began to be heard coming from the darkness. His friend let out this maniacal chuckle and in a playful tone he said “ok” and he literally tossed a light bulb at the man.

The man couldn't catch the light bulb as he couldn't see where it was heading, but you can hear the light bulb crash onto the ground of the basement. Right as the light bulb hit the ground, everything went silent, like all hope was immediately lost. The man's friend then silently closed the door as the man cried for help. The door then clicked shut and again, everything went silent.

What happened next will be stuck in my head until the day I die... The silence was then broken by the man screaming bloody murder as the sound of these....monsters killed him. The show then cut to static for the rest of the video, then to black as I sat there in silence, forever scarred from what I saw that day.

To this day, I can remember almost everything that I saw, and I wonder what it was I saw. I don't remember the name of the show, I don't remember any of the character's names either. If anyone who knows anything about this show or anything related to it, I would love to hear it, I've been looking for this show for years and I cannot find it. It's been tormenting me subconsciously and all I want to do is watch it one more time and confront my fears...

The Puppet Man was man of cheer,
whose puppets made people laugh all year.
He lives with wife on Tabeth Lane,
to make a person happy and not make pain.
The Puppet Man so fulfilled is he,
has puppets as far as the eye could see.
One day, however his luck came to end,
as a drunk driver turned quick on the bend.
His truck filled with fuel blew a tire,
and flew into the Puppet Man's home, now lit on fire.
People came to put the fire out.
The Puppet Man screaming, as he ran out.
Tears of sorrow ran down his face,
he lost everything, in his now destroyed place.
The man who was drunk, soon brought to court
was acquitted, the judge his cohort.
The Puppet Man was brought to rage,
and demanded the man be put into cage.
The law would not help him, no reason why.
So the Puppet Man deemed by his hand, the man shall die.
And though he killed him, he was brought to trial.
Given a fate worse then exile.
The Puppet Man was hanged, his body now dead.
But his spirit remained, new purpose to bring dread.
Those who were guilty to the unfair crime,
soon were punished within a year's time.
Their corpses strung up on black, chalky wire.
In his basement, which had survived the fire.
His ghostly hands are soaked in red,
from all the blood of those he made dead.
And his practice of crafting still goes on,
to those unfortunate who ever see one.
For when you see a human puppet in your dream,
you will wake up to his face, but cannot scream.
His dark work shall continue, you see.
Pray that he does not take either you nor me.
This mad man's soul will not cease,
till hell fire claim him, will one know peace.
So tread carefully when near a puppet or doll,
for you might become one, hung up on the wall

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