December the Twenty-second

“Everything?” From asked. Everyone stared at Song.
“The Noise isn’t… it isn’t a thing. It’s… everyone,” Song continued to speak in frantic riddles. “We’ve got to help them all.”
“Help them do what?”
“Give them what they want,” they said. “They’re not the things themselves. They’re what they want…”
Glass tilted her head. She knew that already. That was the whole ordeal. That’s why she made the doll. That’s why she defied everyone and did it anyway. But it was wrong. Nothing came from making a doll. Nothing came from it.
“It’s not about a doll called Mary,” Song said. “It’s about giving the doll to Mary.”
“To Mary? But who’s Mary?”
“The one who wants the doll.”
Glass raised her voice. “But how do we do that?”
Song shook their head. “I don’t know. I don’t know.” They came to and fell down again, restless, shaken, still cold. From and Cometh watched in agony, unsure how to deal with anything.
The Silence was still non-existent. From realized he wanted it to come back right now. To guide them. To tell them what to do in this time of confusion. He didn’t want to be lost anymore. He’d give all of this up to only be told why the Noise insisted on being there when they did not know how to help it. When they did not know if they wanted to.
“We have to give this Mary a doll?” Cometh said.
Song didn’t answer.
“It appears so,” said Glass. “But we have to do something more than we have. I already made the doll.”
“How do you give someone something?” Wayside said. “When you want it to be a surprise?”
“You make it a…” Glass paused, watching Wayside’s eyes with a glittering smile, “gift.”
“You make it a gift,” Wayside repeated, wild smile all over him.
Glass flew back towards the board, and the rest set in motion at once after her. One found wrapping paper, the other tape, the other string, and another created a card and found a pen. They brought it all to the board hall and wrapped the doll carefully, crafting a box of wood and cut careful pieces of wrapping paper around it and tied it with the finest string they could find. Glass placed the doll inside, and Wayside strapped the card on it, and they gave Song the honours of writing the name.

To Mary

When the name was written, they heard a sound—not a noise—a ringing, endorsing sound, a clear bell, a spark of light, and they saw the name Mary disappear. Mary, a Doll evaporated and all the names slid down one space. The gift itself evaporated, as if taken by the outside world and given to its rightful owner. To who needed it the most. A sense of pride entered the room, as if rising from the ground, emanating out through them, shared through their eyes, felt through their fingers. They all stared at the board in relief.
Now there was only one problem.
All the other names stared down at them with intent, hope, and purpose.
All the other hundreds and hundreds and thousands of names.