Book 1.5: Side Tales – Koko: The Puppet Asylum (part 2)
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Eh! Where Did My Pen... Pen... Go!?!

Book 1.5: Amaranthe Guild – Side Stories

Koko's Tale

The Puppet Asylum (Part 2)

“Dr. Gladfellow! Dr. Goodley! Emergency Doctors! Emergency!” A female voice echoed into the large lobby from the tall right corridor.

“What seems to be the matter, Nurse Penny!?!” An older sounding male voice echoed down the wide staircase leading up to the dimly lit second floor behind the center of the long lobby desk.

“Yes, yes. Just what seems to be the problem, Nurse Penny?” A second, more baritone voice quickly followed the first from out of the left corridor; Koko crouched behind the large and long lobby desk, listening.

I knew this huge creepy place couldn't be empty. Koko thought to herself; Her grip tightening on her umbrella as her eyes jolted from the left corridor to the stairway to the right corridor coming to rest on the long lobby desk.

A silver bell gleamed with a bluish-white glow, drawing her attention.

“The Patient Doctors! The Patient has escaped! And is on the loose inside the asylum!” The panicked Nurse Penny shouted, her voice sounding a bit mechanical as her running footsteps began to echo towards the lobby.

“WHAT? Are you certain Nurse Penny!?!” The doctor's voice rushed down the stairs.

“Yes! Quite certain Dr. Gladfellow. The Orderlies Six have confirmed it!” Nurse Penny responded, her footsteps sounding nearer than before causing Koko's heart to beat faster as her eyes searched about for a hiding spot.

“Well, that's not good is it Dr. Gladfellow. If I remember correctly, that special Patient hadn't completed his treatments yet.” The voice said matter of factly from the left corridor; The disappointment evident in his voice.

“Not good indeed Dr. Goodley. I was really looking forward to his puppetfication. Alas, I hope he's still within the premises.” Dr. Gladfellow said, their voices sounding near though their bodies were somewhere else. “Any idea as to when the Patient escaped Nurse Penny?”

“We're not exactly sure Dr. Gladfellow. The last time anyone had seen him was three days ago during the group therapy session.

He had become a bit... unhinged. It seems he became triggered when one of the other patients began to talk about her precious daughter.

Dr. Sadere had to call for assistance.

The Patient was then subdued, 'packaged', and carried out of the room by Orderly Kresh and Orderly Bashin before his true nature could fully awaken.

It seems they tossed him in the 'Silent Screams' room so that he wouldn't bother the other patients in that wing of the asylum.”

“Hmm... three days ago. Why was he left in that room for so long?”

“Ah, that would be due to Orderly Kresh. It seems he was supposed to retrieve the patient the next day but had forgotten.”

“Ahahaha... That sounds like something Orderly Kresh would do.”

“Indeed Dr. Goodley. Anyways, by the time the Patient's absence was noticed 3 days had passed by so when Orderly Bashin went to retrieve him the room was empty. Hence the situation we're in now.”

“Well then, since that's the case then there's a real good chance the Patient has already left the premises then...”

Why does the name of that room sound so familiar?...

Ah, nevermind! One of them is coming... the nurse from the right corridor so then either I go up or to the left. And now because I can see a shadow moving my way from the right corridor which means Nurse Penny will soon arrive!

I can't let them catch me and do whatever it is they do to people here because that whole puppetfication thing doesn't sound good! And that... that bell Koko paused, her eyes drawn to the silver bell atop the lobby desk. I can 'feel' that bell...

“Nurse Penny! Ring for the Orderly Six and have them leash the Kreepers to search for our little lost Patient.”

“Good call Dr. Goodley. Those Kreepers should be able to pick up the trail if he's still nearby. Well then, since the problem is resolved I'll get back to my patient, his mutterings have become quite interesting.”

“Indeed Dr. Gladfellow. I have an interesting newly puppetfied patient of my own as well. It seems one of the extra buttons we've sewn onto his face has opened his 'sight'! And ever since he's been muttering about the 'unseen' and 'the coming of the Nethryn'...”

“That sounds fascinating Dr. Goodley! I look forward to reading the patient's updated file.”

“Will do Dr. Gladfellow...”

The Doctors' voices faded away as Nurse Penny's footsteps announced her entrance into the lobby.

Her low heeled shoes clanked against the black and white checkered flooring as she headed straight towards the desk looking to ring the bell and call forth the Orderly Six... but the bell was gone.

“Where ever is that bell? It should be right here atop the desk. Did Nurse Annidose or Nurse Prickly take it with them? Or maybe they misplaced it?” She spent a few minutes searching for the bell but came up empty.

Sighing heavily while shaking her head, Nurse Penny made her way to the other side of the desk and began to search for the inferior spare copper bell whose tone was a bit discordant and unpleasant to her copper-tin ears.

The sounds of drawers opening and closing echoed into the corridor on the left where Koko carefully made her way along the cluttered wall heading to the end of the long hallway; She made sure to check the many doors along the way but unfortunately, they were all locked.

It's a good thing I'm barefooted. Koko thought as her footfalls lightly fell onto the cool tiled floor. After a dozen minutes or so she reached the T-shaped intersection at the end of the long corridor.

Warily, she peeked her head out, and quickly looked left and then right.

I must be careful... I don't know how many others are in this place. What I do know is that this is the corridor that Dr. Goodley's voice came from and he was with a newly puppetfied patient...

And I definitely don't want to be caught and puppetfied as well!

Koko shivered at the thought, strengthening her grip on the umbrella with her right hand while partially supporting its top half with her left hand that was holding onto a silver bell; Two of her fingers were within the bell's cup pressing the swinging clapper up against the bell's side to keep it from ringing.

“Don't ring, don't ring, don't ring...” Koko whispered as she continued to search both directions of the corridor's intersection. I shouldn't have brought it with me but there's just something about it... some kind of pull... of connection. Even now I can feel it thrumming in my hand.

I need to find a place to hide and think.

A place with better clothes than this long dirty t-shirt I have on. And hopefully filled with things that will not only help me get out of here... but help me against that beast that's waiting for me in the forest outside as well.

Time to choose... left, right, left, right, lef... shadows moving in the distance... let's go right!

Koko's little body scurried down the right corridor as shadows danced far down the left corridor; A squeaking sound could be heard coming from that direction.

Ugh! One of these doors just has to be unlocked!...

The sound of the squeaking grew louder and louder as Koko rushed along the clutter filled wall, staying low as she went from tall door to tall door... Tall door? Why is everything so tall in this place? Or is it that they are not tall but that I'm now... small.

Did I shrink down to... to doll size? But I don't remember drinking anything to make me shrink as Alice did...

squeak squeak SqueaK

Closer... something is getting closer, coming this way! And I won't be able to hide behind all this... side corridor clutter for much longer. Heart beating fast, Koko hurried to the next door, turned the doorknob, and... click!

She quickly pushed the door open, scurried inside the dimly lit room, and then softly closed the door shut behind her (making sure to turn the lock).

She let out a deep breath of air as her tensed muscles loosened, “Finally. I finally found one unlocked... looks like things are finally turning my wa... EEK!” Koko let out a startled shriek, quickly dropping the umbrella and bell in her hands to cover her mouth.

The umbrella hit the ground first, followed by the silver bell which should have rung but didn't.

Only Koko didn't notice because her eyes were taking in the scene around her; A scene that seemed to be ripped out of a horror movie or manga. The scene that caused her to shriek the moment she turned away from the door to inspect her new surroundings.

Her breathing (muffled by her hands) slowed down as her wide eyes began to return to normal as she realized something... something important.

“Ah, they're not real... all those heads, limbs, and torsos are not real... Thank the powers that be...” Koko muttered, looking around the large doll and puppet storage room.

Two of the walls were covered in floor to ceiling shelves filled with heads, limbs, torsos, and other doll and puppet parts; Some of which were spilled onto the floor.

The wall to her right caught her interest. It was made up of the biggest wooden wardrobe she'd ever seen in her life.

The bottom of the wardrobe held rows of various-sized drawers, some of which were opened with clothing sticking out. The upper section held mostly closed doors with only a couple partially opened giving Koko a peek inside at the different clothes hanging within.

And in the middle of the wardrobe was a pitch-black ornate door that wasn't nearly as wide as the others. It was decorated in web designs of silvery-pink and lavenders; There was even a fluffy spidery spirit emblem in its center which she found to be quite cute and captivating.

Slowly, she began to step towards the spidery emblem when suddenly a loud SQUEAK sounded on the other side of the room's door, breaking her out of her trance.

The doorknob rattled... and rattled some more followed by muffled trombone grumblings.

“Not good... I need to hide.” Her eyes looked towards the big wardrobe doors.

“That'll do!” The sounds of keys clinking making her ears... twitch?

With no time to wonder, she rushed towards wardrobe doors, only to come to a sliding stop as she realized she forgot something... something important; My umbrella and silver bell!... If they see those inside here, that might lead them to think someone is in here... which means they'll search the room.

After all, they're already searching for some escaped patient.

Koko rushed back to where her umbrella and silver bell lay on the ground near the door as the sound of a key unlocking the door seemed to ring out loud.

The doorknob began to turn as Koko quickly realized she didn't have time to make it across the room to the wardrobe so she had no choice but to go with plan B!

She moved swiftly as the door was pushed open and a squeaking metal cart loaded with doll and puppet parts, threads, buttons, and clothes was pushed inside.

And the one doing the pushing was a tall lumbering... plushie?

A wide oval-shaped head with a milky gray face sat atop its husky body. The new arrival's face was adorned with swirling black inked eyebrows and a large pair of shiny red bead eyes.

His wide flat head was covered in black velvet cloth; Including the long tentacle looking appendages on each side that came down to the top of his shoulders in round circular curls.

The black velvet cloth that made up everything on his head (with exception of his face) was sewn into the collar of his loose-fitting jester patterned full body onesie which was red and black in color.

He looked awfully cute to Koko, for a big human-sized plushie puppet working in such a nightmarish place.

The Orderly puppet pushed the cart up to the right of the door where a sorting table stood pushed up against the wall. Humming a playful tune, he began to unload the cart unaware that he was not alone in the room.

Koko did her best to remain unmoving, quiet, and hidden amongst all the broken and partially completed dolls and puppets of the left wall's lowest shelf. The only thing peeking out from her hiding spot was her small head, matching all the other doll heads around her.

“Jobs done.” The big plushie orderly rumbled. Then turned to push the squeaky cart to the back wall to begin loading it up with new parts and items.

He'd stare, push, pick, load, stare, push... the cart squeaking as he went down the rows heading towards the left wall.

Not good, not good... he's coming this way! Koko froze, making sure to keep her eyes looking towards the giant wardrobe way over on the other side of the room, doing her best to think of calm things like tea parties with her dollies and puppets and the kind old lady, Grandma Addelton that took her and her mother into her big two-story house; Even though mother had only worked for her for a short couple of months.

Grandma Addelton, for that's what she insisted on Koko calling her, even gave her a beautiful old dollhouse that she had kept stored away in the attic. It was the perfect place for her precious friends to share... precious friends. Why do I feel like I'm forgetti...

“What's this? I no see that pretty pinkish-white rabbit-eared doll head before. Something so pretty, why is it in spare junk room? Must be mistake. I take back to Puppetfication room now.” The big plush Orderly bent down and reached his large hand towards Koko's head...

Huh? Rabbit-eared doll head? I don't have a rabbit-eared doll head!... Do I? Frell! That's not important right now. Koko felt flooded with energy as soft giggling laughter thrummed through her body. Her grip tightened on her hidden umbrella...

The big plushie hand moved slowly but with purpose towards her as it grasped something attached to the top of her head, yanking up and away.

Sounds of things spilling onto the ground filled the room as Koko's body was pulled out of hiding causing the big Orderly to hold her flailing body up in front of his confused face.

“What's this?” The big Orderly asked as he shook Koko by her long fluffy ears, her body waving to and fro as she desperately held onto her umbrella and bell. “This no pretty bunny girl doll head. This be whole pretty bunny girl dollie. Why you sleeping in spare junk room little bunny dollie girl? You should be in your room sleeping. I take you back now and come back for stuff later.”

“Put me down!” Koko shouted, causing the big plushie Orderly to stop moving towards the door. “I'm not some... doll! I'm a real girl and I don't belong here. I belong... belong...”

“Belong where pretty bunny girl dollie? Where you belong if not here?” The big Orderly asked as he tilted his wide head.

“I-I don't know bu...” Koko began to answer, glaring at the big 'puff n stuff' Orderly.

“If you no know then you belong here where doctors fix you good,” The big Orderly reasoned, then looked back to the door. “Now hush. It's late and others sleep now. Don't wake them while I take you to room you like. Nice room with soft cushy walls...”

“N-no thanks! I'll find a place of my own.” Koko lifted her umbrella and brought it down hard atop the big Orderly's head.

The umbrella sunk into the plush flat head and bounced back up as a susurrus of dollish giggles echoed in her head.

:gigglings: “Foolish incomplete Nethryn Hare forgot to magic her umbrella...” :giggles: “... newb pygmy girl, cute as a dollie and just as bright...” :gigglings:

“Huh? W-who said that!?! Who's talking!?!” Koko cried out, her eyes looking about the room as the big plush Orderly held her up to stare at her strangely while mumbling “...Did I break pretty bunny dollie girl? Doctors will be mad, should I... get rid of her? Doctors no see her, then no know I broke her... I no be in trouble. Yes, can bury her outside in field of dirt beds with others...”

:giggles: “Newb Nethryn Hare better put her Nethryn magic in her bell and ring before big plush dummy takes her out of room to bury...” :gigglings: “... Yes. Listen and hear us well little Nethryn Hare... search within for your magic and put it into your bell to ring to save yourself from dirt bed...” :giggles:

Either I've gone mad in this place or... those voices are some kind of twisted game guides.

Now... let's see if I can feel the magic inside... something thrumming about... like tingling strands... There! I feel it fluttering about inside my chest. Now I just need to gather, gather, gather it and...

Roll it into a ball of energy and push it to my left hand... Yes! Like that... now out into...

:giggles: “Do you think our pretty newbie will remember to say the chant first?” :giggles:

“Chant... what chant?” Koko asked, her body swinging in the air as the Orderly moved her about to look at her once more.

“Cant? What'sa cant little bunny doll?” The Orderly asked, even more certain than before that he must have somehow broken her.

:giggles: “Well, we wouldn't call it a real chant. Just a name for the spell you're making... just a NAME... Name... name...” :gigglings:

“Not a chant, but a name. What name? Any name?” Koko asked but received no response. I guess that's it for the help... huh? So I'm making a spell... a bell spell with Nethryn magic? Energy? Either way... I just need to name it... to call out its name... A dollhouse door quietly opened in her mind as she heard a voice call out...

“Good. Bunny dollie quiet now. I take bunny dollie out now to dirt beds for her to forever sleep...”

Spirin Discordance Belltoll!”

RING... ...RING... ...RING!


The big plush Orderly fell down to his knees, releasing Koko as he used his big plush hands to cover his long curling tentacle ears. “Make it stop! Make it stop!...”

That was fine by Koko because she was now free but that darn big Orderly fell down in front of the door blocking her escape!

I need to go somewhere he can't reach... but I can. Koko thought as her eyes searched the room, stopping to focus on the top shelf of the back wall where lots of doll and puppet parts sat unmoved in ages.

“Hmm, they did say I'm a... what was it again? Oh yeah, a Nethryn Hare. Well, I'm not sure what Nethryn is but I do know that hares can jump!”

So let's see... what if I put the energy into my legs and call out a name for a double jump? I've always liked doing those in games so let's give it a try.

A shadow fell over Koko's body as a big angry plush Orderly growled, “Bad Bunny Girl Dollie! You hurt KRESH! Make threads come out my ears. Kresh now punish bunny girl dollie for being bad!...”

“Kresh... so this is that Kresh huh.” His name sounds a lot like crush which is what'll happen to me if I don't move now!

Koko ran forward to the back wall with everything she had, pouring all the energy spinning about in the pit of her stomach into her legs and shouted out as an image entered her mind... an image of Pinocchio “Nethryn String Double Hop!”

Koko jumped up off the ground reaching over 6 feet high as Kresh's overhead Double Hand Hammer Krush slammed into the ground where she had been just a moment ago.

Her body started it's downward fall when all of a sudden, it felt like ghostly strings were attached to her legs controlling her to jump again which she did; The bottom of her feet pushed off the air as the unseen Nethryn Strings yanked her up to the top shelf of the back wall unprepared. The jarring motion causing the silver bell and umbrella to fall out of her startled hands.

Her weapons (for that's what she thought of them as) fell atop the confused Kresh's plush head and bounced off to fall onto the ground.

Koko watched from on high as energy scuttled about within her; She trembled as she felt small aches, pains, and tingling sensations taking place all over her body.

An angry Kresh glared up at the bad bunny girl that got away unpunished. She was up top where he couldn't reach, looking down at him causing him to stomp about, kicking the clutter on the ground and flailing his big plushie arms in the air.

That was too close. Koko thought with a shiver as the strange body sensations she had just felt finally died down. I do believe his 'punish' would have killed me.

And I don't want to die, even if this is just a game so...

“Looks like it's either him or me. Now, what do I have that can punish him the way he tried to punish me since all my weapons are now on the ground.” That whole getting yanked up really took me by surprise. I better remember that for the next time I double jump.

:giggles: “Little Nethryn Hare wants to play punishment game with Kresh. Little Nethryn Hare must be an itsy bitsy S girl...” :gigglings:

:giggles: “Yes. Our little newb girl is changing fast. Now she also itsy bitsy S girl, ready to play big boy games...” :gigglings:

“Oh great, the dollie voices are back. Instead of saying dumb things like itsy bitsy S girl, why don't they say smart things that will help me punish the stuffings out of Kresh?” Koko grumped, her hands folded over her chest as she looked to her sides in thought. “All I have up here are a bunch of doll and puppet heads and parts. Kind of creepy really... and sad.”

:giggles: “Little Nethryn Hare doesn't know... doesn't know... doesn't know...” :gigglings:

:giggles: “She doesn't, does she. Look at little miss itsy bitsy standing there in the middle of all those weapons without a clue... without a clue... without a clue...” :gigglings:

“Weapons? They're just a bunch of doll and puppet heads... aren't they. What do you want me to do? Toss them down at the big plushie headed Kresh? Even my umbrella smash didn't hurt him... what could tossing these things possibly do to him?”

:giggles: “What could they do she asks but already knows so why ask us for the answers that live inside her dollhouse? Such a silly hare... silly hare... silly hare...” :gigglings:

:giggles: “Maybe the itsy bitsy girl has locked herself out and lost her keys. If so, then why not climb in through an open window? For when one door closes... one door closes... one door closes...” :gigglings:

“Okay, okay. I get it... When one door closes, another door opens but just where are these doors? Better yet, where is this whole dollhouse of answers your muttering about?”

:giggles: “It's in your head. In your heeaaad!...” :gigglings:

“Great, I ask for an answer and they sing me a song... Unless the dollhouse really is in my hea... Ouch!” Koko cried out, rubbing her head that was now growing a small bump.

She looked down to see a satisfied look on Kresh's face and a doll head in his wound up throwing hand, ready to strike again. “Good! Little bunny dollie girl now listen to Kresh. Come down so Kresh can punish you for being bad or Kresh throw more stuff at you.”

“I think not,” Koko said, rubbing her head as she moved away from the edge of the shelf to crouch down against the back wall staying out of sight. Now, where was I... dollhouse... in my head so I need to get in my head. And according to some of the stories I read the way to look within oneself is through meditation.

“So then, let's give it a try, close my eyes, and picture myself in my head as I slowly breathe...” In and out, in and out, in and out...

“Come down now bunny girl! Kresh getting madder. Kresh going to climb up and get you if you don't come down by time I count 10!

One... Two... Tree...”

Looks like Koko is in trouble now; Locked in a room now weaponless with an oversized plushie Kresh down below wanting to play the punishment game with her and there's only one way for her to leave without having to deal with resurrection sickness, that's entering the dollhouse in her head and learning the secrets needed to punish the stuffings out of Kresh! Coming up next in The Puppet Asylum Part 3... entering the dollhouse.


Revised on 9-11-2020