A Happy Haunting

A Patchwork Fantasy Snippet full of unusual inventory.

In which working at a toy store has some surprises.


[Soft, mysterious music]

Laura: Hi, you can call me Laura. This is Patchwork Fairy Tales and you’ve just stumbled upon a Patchwork Fantasy Snippet. If you want to read as well as listen, check out the transcript linked in the description.

[Music fades]

“You know this is weird, right?” she mutters. “You told me to tell you when you were being a weird boss, this is weird.”

Her boss makes a dismissive noise, taking a set of keys off a hook on the wall. “It’s only weird because I haven’t explained it yet.”

She decides not to argue with that. The fact is that her boss is weird most of the time. It’s one of the things that makes this job so nice.

Because working at the toy store is nice. That’s kind of the only word for it too. It isn’t particularly exciting and the pay isn’t great. But the hours are reasonable and it’s rarely boring. Plus she gets along with her coworker really well, the half day a week they actually have a shift together. It’s just nice. A nice job. One that makes her feel better about giving up uni.

Besides, no time to miss eccentric teachers while her boss is at this very moment jangling a comically large set of keys at a securely locked door while meaningfully raising their eyebrows.

“I thought this might be a good time to show you the back room.”

It’s a good thing her boss, while inexplicably weird, is pretty much incapable of being in any way threatening. She raises her eyebrows right back at them. “The back room?” she repeats.


“The one that’s always locked, because of Reasons.”

“Yes, that one.”

“The one that, and I quote, I was never ever allowed in.”

They look a bit awkward. “Well, that was before I knew you’d fit in here so well.”

She can’t really help smiling at that. “Okay then,” she agrees. “But if there’s anything nasty in there I’m resigning.”

“Don’t be silly,” they tut. “It’s only the haunted dolls.”

She laughs. But only for about as long as it takes for the door to swing open.

The entire room is lined with sturdy wooden shelves and sitting on those shelves are rows and rows and rows of clearly haunted dolls. Some of them wooden, some of them china, some of them far more modern in make, but all of them staring straight at her.

“Okay,” she says, meeting her boss’ cheerful gaze. “What the hell.”

“I mean, I did say they were haunted dolls,” they argue.

“Yeah…I can see why you keep the door locked.” She frowns at the rows of neatly cleaned, dressed and brushed toys. They look extremely well cared for. I mean that’s only right and proper, neglecting toys is just…well it’s not nice. But these all look as if they’re about to be wrapped up and taken home. “You actually sell these?”

“No!” her boss exclaims. “Goodness no. We place them.” And they explain, with their typical cheerful matter-of-fact tone that exchanging money for dolls like these is simply not done and that they certainly cannot give them away to just anyone. “They don’t all go well with children, or animals,” they say. “Some of them can’t be near fire. You’ve got to keep an eye on their requirements, you see. And the family’s, of course.”

She blinks. “You’re…you’re running a haunted doll adoption agency?”

Their face lights up like a lantern. “That‘s right! That’s exactly what this is.” They give her a delighted nudge. “I knew you’d get it! We should have that put on the pamphlets.”

Her poor head makes another spin, just when it had thought it had caught up. “You actually advertise for this?”

“Well, yes, or how would people know where to get a haunted doll?”

How indeed. Well. She gazes up at the neutrally smiling faces. “Nice to meet you all. If you ever need your ribbons changed, I’m your girl.”

The overhead light swinging from the ceiling flickers.

Her boss beams. “See? They like you already.”

[Soft, mysterious music returns]

Laura: Thank you for listening, I hope you liked this snippet of patchwork fantasy. Transcripts, easy streaming, and all the information about this podcast and all my other creations can be found on laurasimons.com.

There’s another tale to tell some other day, but until then: remember to guard your name, and be safe.

[Music fades]

Image of the Patchwork Fairy Tale dragon from the podcast logo.

Copyright Laura Simons, please do not copy my stories without my permission, lest you insult the fae.

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