Edmund stared at the slumped figure of the statue.

The voice was very faint and rough, like the throat was rusty from disuse, accepting of course that this voice came from no living throat. Suddenly, Edmund felt very self-conscious. In an instant, he was no longer alone; now he was in the company of something entirely new–something with a voice.

Edmund stood, and slowly walked around the statue. It still hadn’t moved. He cleared his throat nervously.

“Can you hear me?” he asked, tentatively.

“I can hear you quite clearly,” the statue said. “However, my eye is currently blocked, and my strings seem to be hampered, preventing my movement. I hesitate to ask when you have done so much already by returning my voice, but would you able to help me a bit more?”

“You can’t move?” Edmund asked, piecing together what he could understand.

“That is correct,” the statue said, her voice wispy and tired. Edmund realized that the curve of the alcove was twisting the sound so that it seemed to come from the wall itself, rather than the base of the statue. “First, I will tell you my name to establish trust. My name is Tayatra.”

Edmund felt a chill run down his spine. Now this thing not only had a voice, but a name. He had thought the statue would simply move when he activated it–perhaps dance or write something on paper, but not speak.

“My name is Edmund,” he said nervously, smoothing his rumpled shirt down after a long pause.

“It is a pleasure to meet you, Edmund,” Tayatra said. “Now, to the repairs. Are the strings untangled and free to move?”

“What strings?” Edmund asked. “The only string I’ve found was the wick I tied to the silk cone.” There was a pause before Tayatra spoke again.

“I understand,” she said–Edmund supposed it was a she, rather than an it. “This will take some time then. Can you please acquire a large quantity of string? Tayatra will then instruct you how to use it in the repairs.”

“I suppose,” Edmund admitted, feeling uncomfortable. “I don’t know how long that will take though.”

“Surely you can simply ask Patron Rotchild for some string,” she responded, sounding as confused as a statue with ragged silk vocal chords could. “He was always willing to aid in my repairs.”

“Did he build you?” Edmund asked.

“I was a gift to him from his father, Patron Plinkerton. Has he not explained me to you? He used to constantly talk about me to his guests.” There was a pause, and a sound like a grumbling dog whose head was stuck in a rusty wagon wheel. “I must not hold his interest any longer. He has moved on to far more complicated and interesting things.”

“Rotchild is not Patron any more,” Edmund said. There was another pause as the dog got caught in the wheel again.

“My master is gone?” she asked.


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