The boy tried to pull the restraints off. They were tight. Still, he pulled and kept trying. They hurt his wrists. He tried kicking or using his legs off the chair and pull on the ropes around his wrists. It did nothing.

To make it worse, being unable to see because of the thick blindfold heightened his other senses. His heartbeat thumped like a war drum though it had little fight left. His breath pained him on his lips, both of them dry and broken from screaming and swearing.

“Please let me go,” he pleaded.

Hours ago, he’d sworn he’d kill the old man. He threatened and argued. Now, he begged.

“I swear. I will not tell on you. I ain’t no snitch, sir.”

“Quiet boy,” the old man responded, his voice calm and controlled. Too restrained for someone who had just been shouted at for nearly two hours. Or, had it been more? It was hard to track time when unable to see natural light or anything beyond the basement. Anyway, the boy had only managed to see part of the room before the blindfold came on.

“I ain’t no snitch,” the boy said under his breath. He wasn’t trying to speak to the old man anymore. His words had stopped being directed at him for a while now. No, he spoke because he wanted to convince he still tried his best to get out of it. It wasn’t hope. That had been quashed already. “I didn’t mean to jump the fence. They dared me to.”

The old man sighed. “It is not personal, boy. I do not really mind visitors, even if they are not expected. That is why I have the welcome mat on my front door. All you have to do is knock on the door.”

“Then why? Why are ya doing this to me?”

“Oh, that is because I knew you would be the perfect gift for my granddaughter the moment that I lay my eyes on you. You are absolutely the perfect match for the prince.”

“The hell are you talking ‘bout, ol’ man?”

“Do not worry about it. Just know you will make a little girl very happy!”

The boy tried pulling the ropes off his wrists again, but it was too painful for him to continue. After a few attempts, he felt his wrists burn so much his eyes cried. He could not run away. He could only hope for his friends or someone to call for help. They were waiting outside, right? Right? But, they hadn’t come yet, and that was strange. Someone would’ve come after he went missing. His friends had dared him to steal something from the house. Where the hell were they?

“Okay, let us see what I have to work with here,” the old man said and the blindfold came off.

The light’s intensity forced the boy to wince. A spotlight shined on his face as if he were on a dentist chair. On the side, a tray, like those in hospital television shows, held silver tools for surgery. There were also some strangely-shaped bottles of chemicals with handwritten labels, clashing with the more contemporary tools on the tray.

“What the fuck,” the boy said, and pulled back, his legs pushing him up on the chair, but ropes held him down.

The old man squinted and turned his head to the side. “You have very pretty eyes. That is what I noticed first. I wish I had found you before I made the prince,” he pointed behind him.

The boy hadn’t seen it, but there was someone else in the room. A taller boy, who looked maybe 13 or 14, smiled and stood perfectly still. He was dressed like a prince, almost as if he’d come out from a fairy tale.

“But alas, I don’t need another prince. Still, your eyes are beautiful. And, you are also much shorter, which will make the match fit even more.”

No, it wasn’t someone dressed as a prince. As time went on, the boy realized that other kid didn’t move. He was a statue, a mannequin, or some kind of doll. It might have looked alive, but it wasn’t. It was a perfect reproduction of a person.

“What the hell is this?” the boy screamed, but the man ignored him.

The old man, instead, analyzed the boy. Even took measurements. “You are going to make my little granddaughter so happy. She has always wanted to have someone about her age to play with, and you are perfect. Your height, and your face. You have very beautiful features. Has anyone told you that?”

Even without the blindfold, the boy could hear his heart thump more and more. This was bad. The old man was insane. What the hell was he planning. Where the hell were his friends?

“Help!” he screamed. “Please help me!”

The old man laughed. “I thought you had given up already. No one will come. That is the nature of this. Once you step in my house, you are in my world.” The old man smiled.

“Fuck you, ol’ man.”

“It is okay. You will learn to like this just like all the others did. I am the finest doll maker in the country after all. All you have to worry about is making one girl very happy, and I am sure it will come naturally to you. You will be the princess she has ever wanted.”