- Halloween Town Arc::
Creating a living creature is a difficult thing to do. Even in Halloween Town, where bizarre and impossible things are said to happen, there are only a few considered capable of accomplishing such a feat, one of them being Dr. Finkelstein, the mad scientist who dedicated his life to the research of life. Amongst his many creatures was a girl named Sally. She was a living doll that resembled a human who even managed to gain a mind and a heart of her own.
But that’s it. She was only similar to a human. She was just leather stuffed with cotton, she felt no pain and she couldn’t die. Something like that couldn’t be called a human, or at least that’s what Professor Hydenkill, Finkelstein’s long-time rival, believed. He thought that Sally wasn’t an “incomplete” human, and felt frustrated at the fact that no one could create anything better.
No one? Yes, a lone person shouldn’t be able to do the work of God… but how about more than just one person; more than just one mind? Hydenkill knew that he couldn’t defeat his rival alone… but with the help of companions who shared his same intellect, even creating a human from scratch was possible. He gathered these people, using all the connections he had, and together they aimed to create a real human.
The first step was to gather human parts from all the cemeteries they could find. Full bodies weren’t as useful, as some parts rotted faster than others and sometimes they weren’t as compatible with each other as they should. They needed to find parts that could work under one same system. This included the skin, limbs, face and the many different organs a human had (the fresher, the better), and in order to make a complete and perfect being, they needed to make it look like a normal and common person. In the end, they decided on the shape of a young girl, as young maidens’ bodies were numerous in their reserves and because it represented a human being in its most “pure” state.
It took them many years to finish the task. Finding body parts compatible with each other wasn’t easy and once they did, they usually found out afterwards that the sizes didn’t match. The brain was especially difficult to assemble, as fully functional brains were impossible to find. They had to mix together the brain parts of different people to make one that’d work.
The job was certainly hard, much more when the intentions of the scientists involved collided. At first, their only goal was to create a human, but the closer they got to the goal, the more they asked themselves exactly what that human needed to be or do after being granted the gift of life. Some thought she needed to be as obedient as a servant, like a doll, while others believed she needed to be strong in order to defend Halloween Town from impending threats. Some even believed that the girl had to be constantly experimented on to learn the secrets of human existence… Hydenkill, however, convinced every one of the following: that they were going to teach her, as a normal human, everything they wanted her to know. Her fate would depend on those teachings.
And one day her body was finished. Hands were sewed to the arms, arms were sewed to the shoulders, the head was sewed to the neck, but her petite figure looked so natural that anyone would have said that she was simply reattached to her original state. They had put a large deal of effort into her face, to the point that you’d only notice that the skin was different on both sides if you looked from a close proximity. She had all her organs and she even had blood coursing through her veins… Now, the only missing step was to give the spark of life to her lifeless body.
The scientists preserved her inside a capsule while they waited for the next thunderstorm. Once the storm reached its peak, they connected every nerve of her body to an electricity-transferring device. Afterwards, they could only pray for their plan to work when the strongest lightning bolt hit the antenna-like receiver of the machine.
…Like that, Faye was born, named so after the faith (“Faye”) her parents had on the success of her creation.
Having acquired some of the traits of her brain’s last owner (one of the many whose parts conformed her brain), Faye developed a cheerful and obedient personality after “being born”. It wasn’t like that during the first few weeks though. Her actions were dull and emotionless at first, as if she was a body that moved without a soul. However, the scientists discovered that these reactions were mostly towards their experimentations on her, as she showed slight signs of emotion when told to eat with them or offered to play a game. In other words, the more human the treatment towards her was, the more “human” she became.
It was arranged that she’d live in a mansion along with the rest of the scientists and researchers in a family-like environment. They were to be her parents and she was going to be their daughter, the only daughter of the household.
Faye knew nothing about her own birth. She was oblivious to everything regarding her identity as an artificial human or the reasons behind her creation, but she didn’t inuire and accepted things as they were. Certain lingering memories in her mind told her that her current life was strange, so isolated from the world and with so many parents, but her heart refused to hear those words and led her to blindly live a happy life with the scientists.
They taught her about a variety of things: from plants and animals to Heartless, Nobodies and the history of the Universe they resided in. The topic that interested her the most, however, was the many legends and myths told in the festivity of Halloween celebrated every year. Things girls her age would have found terrifying she thought as fun, making her spend most of her free time researching the matter.
The true objective of teaching her so much was to observe the way external information affected her mind, and the scientists were pleased with the results.
At a certain point, they decided it was time to teach Faye about magic. She was extremely excited when offered the idea, making her parents start the classes right away. Studying magic wasn’t a problem: she was easily able to remember spells and their properties. Problems arose when she proved herself unable to cast any of them: no matter what she did, nothing would happen. After many days of continuous failures, she became depressed and disappointed on her own abilities. However, the scientists discovered that this was caused by the simple fact that Faye lacked a magic circuit in her body.
Every human was capable of magic to a degree. The fact that she couldn’t meant something wasn’t working right. The magic circuit inside her “soul” probably didn’t recognize the many different human parts as a single entity, thus not allowing magic to flow through her body. The answer to the problem was relatively simple: they just needed to create something similar to a magic circuit that would accept a body like Faye’s. They built a magic core, a type of artificial circuit that absorbed a portion of the magic in the air and adapted it to Faye’s body, making it her own. They implanted it in her during her sleep, and from night to morning she suddenly became proficient at casting multiple spells. She was overjoyed, to the point of saying she felt like a witch. As a reward, her parents gave her a witch outfit to wear. She’d cherish it forever.
Besides this incident, everything in her growth went smoothly for a year. The scientists began to consider showing Faye to the world as the first artificial human, and they were already making plans for their future as the men and women who perfected the act of creating life, without thinking much about what would happen to the girl.
However, for better or worse, a certain event changed the destiny of them all forever.
Destruction befell Halloween Town in the form of a man with the power to control lava at will. He preached salvation under the form of destruction, obliterating everything that lied on his way. Though the mansion stood far away from Halloween Town itself, the wave of death still reached it: in a moment, the building was engulfed in flames and smoke, threatening to kill every single living being inside.
Faye was sleeping in her room when everything happened. She woke up startled and soon became terrified at seeing the building burning down. She ran around the rooms and corridors, desperately searching for her parents. The first one she found was trapped under a heavy bookshelf. The man ordered her to pull him out in desperation. She did what she could, trying to push the man out with her slim and weak arms and trying to lift the weight that trapped him, but it served no use.
“You useless child!” The man shouted, scaring the young girl. “You can’t even do this… you are a failure! A failure!” Those were his last words before debris fell and crushed his head in front of Faye’s eyes.
The girl screamed in horror, covering her face in disbelief. She had just seen one of her parents die. She wanted to fall in her knees and cry… but it was clear that she couldn’t. Not yet. She needed to search for the rest to make sure they were alright.
While running through one of the corridors, she found one of her few mothers. She looked calm, watching something through an open window. When Faye stepped in to hug her, the woman stopped her and pointed outside. “Look”. Halloween Town was at the distance, as well as the incarnation of destruction fighting against the resistance. “Our Town is lost… but there’s still chance for some to survive. You should go defeat “that thing”. With what we’ve taught you, it should be possible.” Faye looked outside. Her? Defeat “that devil”? Impossible. It was impossible. The mere thought of getting near made her want to scream and hide. “So you can’t?” The woman looked at her coldly. “I suppose you were a failure from the very beginning then”. And then jumped out of the window, escaping from the catastrophe.
Faye kept running through the corridors. Half of the scientists were dead, most of the others died when she arrived and just a few were capable of escaping. Everyone that she met said the same: “Failure”, “Failure”, “Failure”. Why was she a failure? What had she done wrong? She tried not to think about it as she made her way through the debris. There was one person she needed to save, no matter what.
Faye arrived to Professor Hydenkill’s room. Through the course of the experiment, the man had grown old, weak and finally unable to walk around without a wheelchair.
He was like a grandfather to Faye. He always told her stories and taught her things that interested her. He was the person that treated her best.
Professor Hydenkill was calm when she arrived, looking at the door in the midst of a collapsing mansion, as if waiting for Faye.
She urged him to escape, did everything she could to convince him and even tried to take him by force, but the Professor stopped him. Almost in tears, Faye told him what had happened to the rest and how much she wanted him to survive. After a brief silence, he said: “You can’t lift a bookshelf, you can’t repel danger, you’re scared, you tremble, you cry… such weakness… as a human, you are now complete.” And he handed Faye a small notebook.
For the following hours, Faye was in a daze. She couldn’t remember how, but she somehow managed to escape the mansion. Her feet took her aimlessly through the deserted, death-filled streets of Halloween Town. Having lost everything she ever held dear, her mind was too confused to even think straight.
And before she knew it, she had arrived to Traverse Town.
- Traverse Town Arc:
Traverse Town was one of the many worlds connected to her own. Gaye had studied the subject with one of her parents, so she was able to recognize the place at glance. Traverse Town was a world that took in those without a home to return to. A fitting place for the current her. Faye didn’t know how had she arrived there (maybe she had stumbled upon a portal or maybe she opened one up herself) and didn’t really care. After finding herself in the dark alleys of a place that was foreign to her, Faye’s only concern was to decide what to do next.
Then she felt the small notebook in her hands. She was holding it tightly against her chest but only then had she taken notice of the fact. Her only remaining memento of Professor Hydenkill… it was possible that she’d find directions or a message inside, so she opened it in a haste to read the contents.
The “message” was far more unexpected and far more terrifying for the young girl.
Inside, the “Artificial Human Research Logs” were written. She got to know about the many truths once kept hidden from her: that she wasn’t “born” through common means. That she never had real parents. That she was an artificial existence. That her body was made from the corpses of many deceased girls. That she was an experiment. That she was cared for in order to obtain scientific results. That she was never loved by anyone. That she was only a tool used for men to prove themselves as powerful as god. That her whole life was a lie.
She understood why she had no memories of the last 12 years of her life (there weren’t), why she was never allowed to go into town or why her naked body was so different from that of other people. Many questions she once had but had decided to ignore were answered… and she didn’t like it one bit.
Her brain couldn’t stand the shock. Too many emotions made her heart overflow and she became unable to think straight. She was a monster. She was an aberration. She shouldn’t exist. No, she shouldn’t exist. Faye denied her own existence, experiences and self, letting herself be consumed by a slow and silent mental breakdown.
Like this, Faye became a street child of Traverse Town.
Street children were young orphans that wouldn’t be taken by orphanages or anybody else and were forced to live on the streets. Faye became like that. No one would take her for different reasons, mostly because she didn’t have a background and couldn’t really tell anyone about herself. Her messed up clothes, the many saturations that they didn’t cover, expressionless face and weak complexion probably had something to do as well.
The streets and abandoned buildings that she sometimes shared with other kinds became her home. Not being accepted in any place to have a proper job, she began to beg on the streets. Faye understood what type of face made passersby give her something and which streets gave the biggest profit. Sometimes she fought with other beggars for the best spots and something she was even forced to cry and kneel to make others have pity on her.
Up to some months after the incident, she was able to get by like this. However, her “success” began to drain the profit others used to make, and one night they ganged up on her and robbed everything she had gained. Faye started to be avoided by the rest of the beggars and they stopped her from staying in a place for too long. No money meant no food, and Faye had already seen many children her age die of starvation.
Seeing no other option, she took on stealing to live. She wasn’t fast nor strong and the weak state of her mind made her forget most of the spells she knew… but some were still there. Faye used her magic to get away with everything she did. It was nothing too serious, just pick pocketing, but her powers gave her a huge advantage compared to other small-time thieves. She over-indulged in said advantage and took more than she should have.
One thing was a skilled thief that used normal methods to rob others… and a completely different thing was a thief that used magic to steal. It didn’t take long for the security forces of Traverse Town to be on her trail. Though not many knew her by face, some were able to describe her as a “girl wearing a witch costume”. People began to recognize her like this. They started calling her the “Witch Thief of Traverse Town” or simply the “Witch Thief”. It was all because of the clothing given to her by her parents… something she didn’t want to get rid of, as they were her only personal properties that remained from her past life.
Faye had the ability to get away from the security forces that pursued her, but people were too wary of her to let her steal with ease. After a few weeks of trying, failing and running, hunger began to take a toll on her body. She felt that she couldn’t go on anymore. However, Faye didn’t want to give up her life. To be more precise, she did; but for one reason or another, she managed to convince herself every day to persevere. As an aberration, as a monster, as something that shouldn’t exist… Faye still persevered.
However, she needed food, she needed money. If she couldn’t steal, she had to sell… but she didn’t own anything worthy of being sold. No, there was one thing… one single thing she could sell…
Faye took her last resort: to sell her own body and the little purity she had. Prostitution. She had considered it a while back but never actually tried. She stood alone in Traverse Town’s red district at night and offered herself to everything she saw for a reasonable price. Faye was young, too young, with an undeveloped body, a forced smile and tattered clothes… abut maybe because of this, a man decided to take her in exchange of enough money to buy food for a month.
The man was excited when they reached the hotel. He got even more turned on when she told him that she was a virgin. He could barely manage to keep his pants on when she began to undress on her own with a pained look on her face… but the expression of horror and disgust came to him when she showed her naked body and all the sutured wounds it had. She looked like a dismembered corpse put back together. A zombie. A Frankenstein-type of creature.
She was kicked out, still naked, and Faye ran back to the streets in frustration after recovering her clothes. What a pitiful being she was: people wouldn’t even buy her. She was obviously better off dead. That was her original state anyways. Dead.
…yet there she was the next morning, willing to try again. Not prostitution, as it clearly wouldn’t work, but stealing. It was the only thing she could do.
Faye had decided on her victim: a young man who walked down an empty street while cheerfully humming a song. Her reason for choosing this person was the mere anger it made her feel to see such a laidback person when she was so miserable; to see someone who could nonchalantly take a walk through a dangerous place when she could barely keep herself alive. She was only blaming a normal person for her misfortune… but he was going to pay.
She walked behind his back for a while, she silently approached… and suddenly, the young man was not there. She wanted to cast a levitation spell on his pouch… but she couldn’t. He had disappeared. Faye felt extremely confused, gave a step back…
…and bumped into him. The young man was looking at her with half a smile on his face. Though she could have commented on many things, there was something specially remarkable about his appearance: his cat-like ears. He was a cat-like person or a person-like cat. Faye had seen many strange people before… but a cat-person was a first.
“Hey.” The cat-person greeted Faye, as if there was nothing wrong. “Your clothes… are you the Witch Thief, by any change?” Only then she saw it: a sword tied to his belt. The cat-person was a warrior. Had the security forces contacted a warrior in their attempts to catch her? Unfortunately, she wasn’t going to let herself be caught so easily. The moment the cat-person tried to approach her, she turned around and ran away.
Faye knew Traverse Town as well as herself. Along with her spells, it’d be a piece ot cake to lose her pursuer. However, after an hour of turning corners, blending into crowds and using passages no one else knew, he was still there; the cat-person had kept up with her. How was that possible? Only a person that had gone through the same things as her would know the streets that well.
In fact, he knew them better, and before long Faye had been cornered in a single-exit alley. “Finally caught you…” The cat-person smiled at her the best he could. “Now, now, there’s no need to run; I just want to talk a little, that’s all.”
“Talk?” Faye’s response came out in a mocking tone. “There’s nothing to talk”. Before the cat-person said anything else, she used her magic to pass through the wall and escape with the little energy she had. The young man hadn’t pointed his sword at her, his words were kind… and his smile seemed genuine. She wondered what his real intentions were… but even if he intended no harm, she wouldn’t stop.
The chase lasted for 5 days. The cat-person sometimes appeared to her at morning, just after waking up, and sometimes at noon, when night was about to fall. With each day, Faye’s remaining strength diminished, as she had little time to rest and no food.
The night of the fifth day, Faye decided on a certain place to stay for the night: one of the many buildings used by the street children as a hideout. It was well-hidden and only a few others knew people lived there. It was the perfect hiding spot. She accessed the old building through the stairs leading to the top floor, expecting to find five or six other children sleeping there as well.
The place was silent and deserted. Faye barely had the time to wonder what had happened before her sense of gravity was turned upside-down. She found herself on the floor. She tried to move, but something had her restrained. They felt cold by warm… like human hands. And even though it was too dark to see his face…
“Finally caught you!” His voice and his painfully honest smile identified him as the cat-person. “Now you can’t escape.”
Yes. Faye couldn’t escape. She didn’t have the energy to struggle, much less cast a spell. Silence surrounded them, the only noise being their tired breathing. “So?” Asked Faye. “What are you going to do? Turn me in?”
“No.” He answered. “At first I planned to, but I’ve changed my mind.”
“…you have me pinned down.” She said, as if taking notice of something obvious. “You want to rape me?” She tried to hide the fear in her voice. “I-If you just pay me… I’ll do it willingly… a-as whatever… and I’ll do it.”
“Sorry, I’m not interested in little girls. I just want to talk.”
“Then let me go”. Her voice was harsh. “There’s nothing to talk about.”
“There is.” The young warrior sounded rather convincing with that smile of his. “For the moment, calm down and listen to me, ok?”
After a few moments of silence, Faye reluctantly nodded. She felt the grip around her wrists weaken and soon she was free. There was nothing restraining her anymore, but the young warrior would probably catch her with ease if she tried to escape, so Faye sat in the floor instead, the cat-person doing the same afterwards.
He explained that he was contacted by a friend in the security forces about the Witch Thief and went there from another world to kelp out. However, after learning that the Witch Thief was just a girl and seeing her first-hand, as well as her talent at the use of magic, he became curious about the person herself. So he tracked down one of her hiding spots, convinced the kids sleeping there to go somewhere else, and waited.
“Why are you using your talents to steal?” That was his question after finishing his explaination.
“You say I should use them for something else in my situation?” She asked in a mocking tone: “I can’t work and stealing barely gives me enough to live.”
“But maybe some type of job involving magic? Like… doing magic shows or something.”
“You’re making fun of me. No one would like to see a magic show with me on it in any case.”
She remained in silence for a moment. In the year she’d been living in Traverse Town, Faye never spoke about herself with anyone. Maybe a little with other kids… but never anything serious. Was it really alright to share something like that with a stranger like the cat-person?
“Because I’m a monster.” She finally answered. “No one wants to see a show ledby a monster.”
“A monster?” The cat-person sounded confused. “Well, you do look a bit scary, but you’re pretty cute beyond the witch getup.”
“It’s not about appearance. No… maybe it is. Both from the outside and the inside I’m a monster, an aberration… something that shouldn’t exist.”
“…what do you mean?” His question wasn’t without worry.
“…Do you want to see?”
The moment the cat-person nodded, Gaye began to take away part of her upper clothing. Not enough to reveal the embarrassing parts… but enough to show the disgusting parts: sutured skin, body parts stitched to each other… the body of an artificial human.
“I was created by others”. She began to say. “I’m not someone, but something. My body was made by profaning countless corpses… skin, limbs, organs, everything was taken from them and later disposed of if they didn’t fit… all to create me… a living corpse… a horrible creature…”
The cold and the darkness became ever more present between them.
“Put your clothes back on.” And that was his answer. He didn’t want to look at her heinous body. Faye did as told, having expected rejection all along.
“I’ll be going now. “ She stood up.
“No.” The cat-person did the same. “First answer me something: do you truly believe you’re a monster?”
Why was he asking that? The answer was obvious.
“Of course. I’m a monster that shouldn’t exist.”
“If you shouldn’t exist… then why are you still living?”
That was a question Faye hadn’t asked herself before. If she really thought of herself that way, she would have thrown her life away long time ago.
“Instincts… or something”. She tried to hide her confusion under a fake answer, but the question left her thinking.
“But then you wouldn’t be struggling so much. You wouldn’t have stolen on the streets, using everything at your disposal, just to keep living.”
“…and what would you know?” Lacking a better answer, she just shouted at him. “What would you know about what I’ve gone through?!” She gave a step forward and with her small hands she tried to punch him repeatedly. “You understand… nothing…”
She was frustrated and angry, yet the cat-person, as kind as ever, simply held her weak hands and smiled:
“You’ve showed me feelings. You care about things. What does it matter how you were born? You can feel, you can think, you can express yourself… that alone is enough to make you an individual that can live in this world.”
“In my eyes, you’re human; you can live.”
Those words reached her heart. “You are human; you can live”. They were enough to break through the shell she had formed around her for a year.
“B-but I don’t have anything… left… to live for…”
“Don’t worry about it!” He put his hands in Faye’s shoulders. “No one has an answer for the meaning of their life… at least they don’t get it so easily. But isn’t it alright if you’re just here?”
“Yes. Isn’t it alright if you just live?”
It’s alright to just live. You’re not a monster, but a human. You don’t need a reason t be here. How long had she been waiting for those words? How much did she want someone to reassure her existence like that? The feeling that coursed through her body… she couldn’t describe it.
“Y-you know…” Her voice was low and timid, like that of a child.
“The scientists that created me… I lived with them for a long time…” It felt like a knot was being formed in her throat.
“They just wanted to observe me… but I loved them a lot…”
“They must have treated you well.”
“Grandpa was especially good with me.”
“I lived in Halloween Town… but then someone came to destroy and killed most of them…”
“Ah… “that” time…”
“Grandpa gave me a notebook with the truth about myself… and then I came to this town…”
“The streets were cold and I had no food…”
“It must have been though…”
“I was scared… and then… and then…”
Tears began to flow down her eyes without Faye noticing. She became unable to speak, just sob, and before long she buried her head on the cat-person’s chest to cry. She cried like a small and scared girl after finally finding a person she could trust… the tears she didn’t shed when her home was destroyed, when her loved ones died, when she was left all alone… they all came out that night.
The two talked until morning. They shared their own life stories and experiences. Faye got to know a lot about the cat-person, and so did he. And when the sun rose to illuminate the room, Faye reached a resolution:
“I want to travel to find a meaning to my life.”
The cat-person didn’t stop her and even cheered for her success. After hearing some tips from him, who happened to be an experienced traveler, she fixed her clothes, ate and slept well (using his money) and the following day she set forth to another world, willing to follow through her newfound determination until the end.