The Toy Man | Ivory Wyndham-Howard

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They called him the “Toy Man”, but children were never happy when he passed by. He rode atop a cart that creaked and moaned, with plush toys swinging from ropes above his head. Stuffed dolls made from scrap and rags watching the world from shiny, button eyes.

The Toy Man dealt with family problems. Families that found a sickness had crept into a loved one, who could not afford the cost of a witch’s magic. Not that a witch would dare to bargain with such things.

No gems, or coin, or favours could afford his work. He only came for the sickness.

No one would ask why he would bring out a half-finished plaything as he politely asked the family to wait outside. No one would notice that he would be sewing them up after the door opened again. Carefully placing the finished doll into a box locked with a key he kept around his neck. They had their loved one back and that was all they cared about.

Sometimes a stuffed rabbit, its head flopping back and forth, would ride next to him. He would pass it a pin slicked with a prick of blood. Its thick arms bobbing as if waving to passersby.

This was the first spooky story I told my daughter over her crib. She slept well. @IvoryWHoward

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