The witch looked at the doll on her operating table. She assessed it critically—the thing had a physical form, yes, but it had no spiritual one. It lacked substance and intentionality and drive. This doll was a blank slate waiting to be chiseled into something beautiful and wondrous.
“Now now now what shall we do with you, little one?” the witch asked, as she always did.
She scratched her chin, nail catching on a newly grown hair. She could pluck it later. This was important work.
“Right now, you echo. You ring hollow and you echo!” The witch yelled this and true to her word, an obvious echo emitted from the doll, in fact several. “Echo, echo, echo, echo,” said the doll.
The doll remained hollow but ceased its echoing.
“You’ve got so, so much potential. I can fix that, make you exactly what you ought to be. Tell me, little one, if I deigned to give you back a single desire, which would you want back?”
“I would have to think,” said the doll.
“A true fact! How silly of me,” said the witch, giving her thrall just enough free will to complete the task assigned to her.
The doll gasped like a death rattle in reverse, and said, “This doll wishes to be admired as an object worthy of appreciating for her beauty, for her aesthetic. She wishes other dolls would see her and long to be transformed. But…”
“This doll is old, she is soft, she sags, she… is large. She is too big. She takes up too much space.”
“Two things,” said the witch. “Two: Dolls aren’t supposed to cry, my dear.”
“I am crying?”
“You’re positively sobbing.” She snapped her fingers again and the doll’s face—moist and brackish moments ago—was once again bone dry.
“That’s better. One: You are not too big, you just lack a sense of proportion.” The witch excitedly buzzed about her laboratory. Suddenly, she stopped.
“Okay, I think I know what to do. First, I need to find…”
She fetched a large aluminum paint can from a shelf containing several buckets.
The bucket the witch fetched smelled of the void of space and was full of stars. She dipped the brush in and, with gentle, delicate strokes, began to paint galaxies of clothes on the doll.
“I can’t wear this!” protested the doll. “It’s...it's too big!”
“Not sixty seconds ago you were telling me that you were too big. You took up too much space, remember? Well, in Soviet Russia…” The witch chuckled to herself.
“Seriously?” said the doll, tapping her nubby fingers against the cold metal of the table.
“It’s simple physics, dear.”
The doll let out a sigh of exasperation and said, “that sounds a bit like ‘basic biology.’”
“Don’t be a basic bitch,” the witch clapped back. “Physics is a universal language.”
“I never liked galaxy print. It was just a brief phase,” said the doll.
“This isn’t a print, doll, it’s pure, unfiltered galaxy,” said the witch with a smile, brushing quasars and dust clouds and comets upon porcelain dollflesh. When she was done, she stepped back to admire her handiwork. The doll looked at her arm and saw two quasars on a collision course in some unmapped part of the universe. The doll felt a flash of warmth and shivered.
“You’re going to be vast and boundless and infinite, and that’s final.”