[In the story, a group of hard-faced men search through the forest with their dogs. Outside the story, MRS GROOTER’s daughters listen with bloodless faces]

The men searched those woods for days.
They never turned up no sign of poor Polly. All they
ever found was an old doll, thought must’ve been hers.

[In the story, the men find a creepy doll. Outside the story, we see COT scrubbing the floor. He can hear the story through the open bedroom door. He leans closer, enthralled]

It had Polly’s same hair color, you see. And it was
dressed like what she’d been wearing that day.
But Polly wasn’t carrying no doll.

[Outside the story: closeup of MRS GROOTER’s face, lit from below]

The Totters kept it. Something to remember her by, they said.
Wasn’t long before strange things started happening.

[Inside the story, a gaunt mother stares mournfully at the creepy doll on her mantle. Tears appear in the corners of the doll’s eyes]

Poor Mrs. Totter swore she could hear that doll crying at night,
when no one else was around. She started to believe that doll
really was ol’ Polly, transformed by some unnatural magic.

She lost her mind then. Her husband had to send her away to the doctors in the city. Now he lives in that old house on the edge of town, all by hisself, just staring into that forest what ruined his life.

[unimpressed] ...Magic?

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The Field Guide To Magical Animals by Joe Wierenga

I want this to be a world where there are worse ways you can end up than dead.

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