Heart of Glass
“So, it’s a date, then.”
You recounted his velvety voice, his half-lidded eyes watching you as you walked back to your house. That damn smile, always plastered on his downy puppet face.
You had no idea what you got yourself into when you agreed to this.
A roller rink had opened up in the neighbourhood, so your neighbours suggested to host a roller disco to celebrate.
Okay, it was mainly Julie. That silly little monster is always thinking of new ways to liven up the town.
You were the newest resident in Home and you felt like you had to make a good impression on the rest of neighbours. In a place full of puppets, you were the only human. That, in itself, made you feel a bit of an outsider.
The one puppet that really helped your transition was the town’s favourite - Wally Darling. He was loved by all, and was always willing to lend a helping hand to anyone in need.
When you first moved in, he was the first to help you unpack - being a good neighbour that he is. It soon felt like he was inseparable from your side. As days passed, you felt like you can really trust him to be your good friend. He always listened to you, his sweet voice praised you for your strengths, and even your short-comings. So, when he asked you on a date to the roller disco… it felt natural to say yes.
You stood in front of your bathroom mirror, nitpicking on the minute details of your appearance. You decided your hair needed another sticky spritz of hair spray. After staring at yourself for a few moments, you gave a resolved sigh.
This was as good as you’re gonna look.
Hair? Up. Chunky rose tinted glasses? On. Groovy apparel? Diggin’ it.
The glasses were a welcoming gift from Wally. Since he gave them to you, you felt like you couldn’t split from it. They were a statement piece now - to new beginnings!
A knock at the door pulled you from your inner musings. You gave yourself one last look over before sucking in a deep, calming breath. You found your voice finally as you skipped to the door, “Coming!”
You opened the door to view the cardigan clad man you expected. He gave his usual friendly smile, “Hey, neighbour! Are you ready?” wave of nervousness started to blossom in your chest as you gave him a shy nod.
Wally picked up on your unease. He extended his hand for you to take, his tone dropping in a warm, comforting reverb, “You look marvelous. There’s no need to worry. It’s just a hang out with friends, right?”
The kindness of his sleepy stare was enough to melt whatever knot you felt. You extended your hand to take his, feeling the warm fuzz of his palm. You gave him a nonchalant chuckle, “You’re right. I was just overthinking!”
“Yeah,” he pulled you off your porch, his gaze never leaving yours, “new things are scary, aren’t they? But don’t worry. You have me.”
Heat now warmed your stomach, soothing out whatever nervous knot that was there before. He was always there for you, even at your most stressed. There really is nothing to be worried about with him. “You’re the best, Wally. Thank you.”
A look of adoration beamed on him, love trickling from his voice, “And you’re the absolute most.”
You giggled at his euphemism. Such a Wally thing to say.
Both of you trekked to the roller rink, which was built just adjacent of Howdy’s shop. It really is convenient how small towns operate.
It wasn’t long before you both reached the double doors of the building, the blaring music thrumming the still night air. As you opened a door, jivey music released into the evening, revealing a multi-colour view of your friends blissfully skating.
You can dance
You can jive
Havin’ the time of your life~
Abba blasted on the speakers while the disco ball twirled a rainbow light show onto the rink. The big bird with fluffy feathers, Poppy, was desperately holding onto Julie’s hand as they skated close to the wall.
Sally, the theatrical star, was soaking up the spot light in the centre of the floor, twirling in elegant circles. You internally wondered how she learned how to roller skate so well.
Howdy the caterpillar was behind the concession stand, handing over a cherry-topped hot dog to the towering blue dog, Barnaby.
The mailman, Eddie, was leaning on the side of the rink, talking to the stuffy researcher on the other side, Frank. Frank’s blue face was a bright shade of red while Eddie stared at him with dopey, love-drunk eyes.
“I’ll go rent our skates,” Wally’s voice cut through your observations. You offered him a nod and a smile before focusing back on your friends.
Wally began meandering to Howdy’s stall, casually greeting Barnaby in passing.
Julie had finally taken notice of your entrance and released an audible gasp. She released Poppy’s hand, to which the rainbow bird squawked and barreled around the rink. With lack of control, Poppy’s trajectory was aimed at Sally’s elegant solo-show!
They collided with each other, both spiraling around on the hardwood floor. They groaned in unison, before Poppy chirped up, “Julie! Please give a heads up next time!”
Julie, on the other hand, was completely oblivious to the blunder she caused. She was gliding her way toward you, a smile plastered on her cute little monster face. “Oh bless my world! You look amazing!”
You bashfully rubbed the back of your neck, “You really think so?”
She rolled her eyes, that playful smile still tugging at the corners of her fuzzy face. “Duh! Is it because this is…” she looked suspiciously over to Wally’s direction, her voice lowering, “a date?”
A hotness crept up your neck, your ears turning a vibrant shade of red. “I-is it that obvious?”
Julie giggled at your reaction, her hands coming to grasp yours, “Barnaby’s big mouth let everyone know.”
You groaned, wishing to just vanish on the spot.
“But if you ask me,” she tipped her head down to try to get your attention, “I think you’re both cute together.”
You sucked in a breath, giving her tiny puppet hands a squeeze. You gave your best chance to smile through the embarrassment. “Thanks, Julie.”
“Am I interrupting anything?” Wally appeared next to both of you, skates in one hand, and a smoothie in the other.
Julie’s hands dropped from yours, giving the other puppet a proud smile. “Nope! But, I think I’ll leave them with you!” She turned to leave, only to give one quick glance at you and winked, mouthing ‘good luck!’
You waved her off before looking over Wally’s offering. A smile broadened over your features, “Oh! How’d you know I like smoothies?”
He gave a nonchalant shrug. “You just look like the type.”
You happily accepted the drink while Wally escorted you to some seats.
You followed his instructions without question. He then bent down and started to undo your shoes. It caused you to jump back in alarm. “Wh-what a-are you doing?” your voice raised.
“Hmmm?” Wally gave you a carefree smile, “Putting on your skates, silly!”
“Y-you don’t need to…”
“Well, that wouldn’t be very gentlemanly of me not to!”
You released a pent up sigh, resigning to the fact that Wally was probably going to do this, even if you told him not to. You took a sip of your drink, tasting the delicious flavours of berries and milk. The tart sweetness calmed your senses and you hummed contently. You tried not to kick your feet happily as Wally pried your shoes off of you.
As he effortlessly tied the skates on your feet, he went to do his own. You shifted to help him, but he stopped you with a single gentle touch on your thigh.
“…You sure?” you mumbled, mouth full of smoothie.
He giggled, “You’re enjoying yourself. I could never ask you to stop what you enjoy.”
A blush warmed your face to the umpteenth time today. You were suddenly very aware of how soft his hand was against your leg.
Without warning, he pulled it away to finish tying his laces, and you secretly cursed him for stopping.
You both pulled up from the seats, awkwardly shuffling on your skates to reach the rink. You placed the smoothie on a nearby table before embarking onto the shiny hardwood flooring.
And the beat goes on
Just like my love for you
All the groovy hits were playing, the music guiding both of you as the skates carried you across the waxed floor.
Julie had went to help Poppy and Sally off the rink, apologising for the mishap she put them through. But they were all laughing about it, feigning anger.
Next to you, Wally was swaying effortlessly to the rhythm of the song, the wheels of his skates elegantly gliding as he swirled.
You couldn’t help but be breathlessly gaze at his beauty.
And the beat goes on
Still moving strong on and on
Don’t stop for nobody~
Watching him move was hypnotising. You let him twirl to the centre of the rink as you watched from the side. Everyone was now watching as he boogied, his arm thrusting upward before pointing back down at his hip. Was he doing the John Travolta?
You giggled at his antics, all while all your neighbors cheered him on. They all moved to the side as they let the town favourite have the dance floor.
Wally’s eyes met yours again, his lips curving into a mischievous smirk now. He swayed his hips, fingers pointing out to you, beckoning out for you to come closer.
Embarrassment threatened to bubble in your stomach, but you heard Julie’s happy voice, hollering your name, encouraging you.
You bit your lip to try to soften your growing grin, your skates having a mind of their own as you glided out to him, joining him in the centre.
You both danced as another song started up, your heart thumping so hard in your chest that it almost clouded the beat.
Half past twelve
And I’m watching the late show in my flat all alone
How I hate to spend the evening on my own~
Your hands interlocked with his as you both began to swirl in a circle, looking at each other’s eyes. It felt like it was just you two in the world, the music willing both of your bodies to circle.
He speed increased, forcing you to keep up. The peripheral of your vision started to blur as you focused on his sleepy eyes.
It reached a speed now that you started to sway. Your foot angled awkwardly as the rubber stopper of your skate jarred your movement, causing you to trip. You braced for a fall that didn’t happen as Wally’s hands gripped tightly onto yours.
Oh, your glasses.
You stared down at the disco floor, your rose-tinted glasses a few feet away. They had skidded across the worn wood, picking up a film of dust that was collected on the rink.
Dust? That wasn’t there before.
You pulled your gaze up, and your brain couldn’t process what you were witnessing.
The smell of mildew and mold was the first to penetrate your senses. The rafts and beams of the rink had broken through, water damage from long since gone thunderstorms had destroyed parts of the building. The wax floor beneath you was warped from disuse.
Your stomach churned as you witnessed something unreal.
Your friends on the side wall were all held up by strings, hanging lifelessly from the busted ceiling. Their body parts were mangled, some even missing limbs.
Barnaby’s head was gone, revealing a hollow suit.
The music still played, just low, corrupted version echoed through the old speaker system.
There’s not a soul out there
No one to hear my prayer
You vision finally snapped to Wally, fear and adrenaline rushing through your blood. He looked perfect, pristine. But his eyes were wide, and those tiny dark pupils were watching you.
“Silly, silly,” he tutted, his fingers tightening around your hand. You tried to pull away, but he only strengthened his bond. He pulled you to your feet, and he started to circle again.
You swallowed hard, feeling your chest and throat tighten with fear. He forced you both to resume, the speed increasing once again. You could only focus on his tiny pupils as the abandoned roller rink blurred into dark swirl mold and sadness.
Gimme, gimme, gimme a man after midnight
Won’t somebody help me chase the shadows away?
You tried to look away, the dizzying feeling of reality bearing too heavy on your fragile mind.
“Look at me,” he commanded, but his voice was that soft velvety sweetness. “I only have eyes for you. Can you not do the same?”
Tears prickled the corners of your eyes as you did what he said. Your whole body shook as the dread settled into a cold knot in your tummy.
You stared into his eyes, his pupils dilating. Inside the dark mass was a spiral, ever circling, going deeper and deeper. Your breath caught in your throat as you found yourself lost in the circles.
Your body was going in spirals.
Your mind was going in spirals.
Everything is spirals.
Bile began rising from you stomach. A sickness pulled you from the hypnotic gaze as you found the contents of your stomach rising to your mouth.
Finally, Wally let go of your hands, allowing you to keel over and empty your stomach.
Tears streamed freely now as the sourness stained your lips. You sobbed with each passing heave, all while a soothing, fluffy hand rubbed your back.
When nothing else was threatening to come out, you felt a pressure on your skull.
Then something slipped behind your ears.
The world burst with life once again. The music was clear and happy, the floor was neatly polished, and the sound of your friends clamoured behind you.
“Oh my! Are you okay?!” Julie’s voice echoed to you. When the little monster puppet reached out to you, you instinctively coiled away.
“Ohhh,” Poppy crooned, “I had a feeling you shouldn’t have skated with that smoothie! You have to be more careful!”
You stared at the mess you made before you. Instead of chunks of vomit, was a spilled smoothie container, berries and milk splattered everywhere.
You felt your head go heavy, the adrenaline in your system slowly depleting.
“Wh-what…happened?” you finally felt words leave your trembling lips.
“Oh, just a case of the spinnies!” Wally was beside you, his eyes back to their half lidded state. “I think I spinned you too fast!”
Your eyes were starting to feel heavy, your whole body threatening to lay down. Wally’s arms were faster, though. He quickly wrapped an arm beneath the hook of your knees and raised you up bridal style.
“You just need some rest,” he assured sweetly.
Everyone gathered worriedly asking if there was anything they could do to help.
Wally was already gliding his way off of the rink with you in his arms. He hummed at everyone’s request, answering on your behalf. “Maybe clean up the spill? Would hate for that to go on the bottom of anyone’s wheels!”
Everyone giggled at Wally’s suggestion.
You, on the other hand, were shivering nonstop. Your reality felt warped and wrong. Did you just experience a hallucination?
The sweet smell of apples wafted from his blue cardigan. His warm touch cradled you, and the sway of his arms felt so comforting.
A hum could be felt thrumming from his chest as he lulled you with a song.
What I find is pleasing and I'm feeling fine
Love is so confusing, there's no peace of mind
If I fear I'm losing you. it's just no good
You teasing like you do
You couldn’t resist the tempting call of sleep. Slumber found you as you relished in Wally Darling’s embrace, each click of his shoes echoing to the deep recesses of your mind as he carried you home.