“Thank you all for your undying attention, see you next week for another unforgettable performance!” He said as the audience broke out in applause. They knew the man behind Alfred was nothing more than a clever performer, expertly using his own hands to control the ventriloquist doll, while not even twitching his lips.
It was a thoroughly fantastic experience, but despite the joy brought to his audience, Daniel did not smile. He kept his mouth shut each day until he was alone, never speaking without Alfred.
Daniel had done this gig for almost twenty years by now, and his faithful doll had almost become a part of himself, or rather he a part of it.
He retreated back to his personal wardrobe, removing the makeup that had added to his amusing, yet ever-so-creepy act. Still not saying a word, all the while Alfred sat quietly on a chair seemingly staring at his master with dead eyes.
The audience did not know what terrible secret had haunted Daniel for the past three years. He was still in great pain from the event that changed his life forever.
Phantom pain was not an unknown phenomenon to Daniel, his own father had lost an arm in the war, but he could still feel his hand tightly grabbing his friend who had stepped on a land mine. It was reminder that followed him until the day he died, but Daniel never thought such a thing could haunt him.
While removing his makeup he glanced in the mirror to see Alfred’s mouth slowly slide open. The old doll had gone through some expected wear and tear over the years, but he firmly believed that he would perish long before Alfred.
‘Who would his audience miss the most?’ He thought to himself.
Once again glancing at Alfred he saw his legacy, a painful reminder; His own tongue placed inside Alfred’s mouth, after three years it still seemed as fresh as the night it was taken from him, untouched by time.
Daniel looked at Alfred with pleading eyes, silently begging for release, wishing for nothing more than to get his voice back.
The doll moved its head from side to side, denying his master any freedom, and without a spoken word Daniel knew that his tongue would only be the first of many things taken from him.