My response to the prompt artificial.
They were on their way home when Jana heard someone crying.
“Who’s crying?” she asked her brother.
The arm she was holding on to shifted as Julian looked around. When he told her that the cries came from a doll, her eyes widened. For a doll to cry, it had to be one of the Wilhem Dolls. No one threw away Wilhem Dolls. They weren’t common enough to be thrown away.
Making up her mind, she asked her brother for a brief detour. As they headed towards the source of the crying, her brother described a female doll that was missing a leg and most of an arm, with a cracks across half her face. It sounded bad, but that usually wasn’t enough reason to throw a Wilhem Doll away.
“We’re here,” her brother murmured. She slowly knelt down.
“Hello, you alright?” she asked.
A sniffled, then, “Are you… talking to me?”
“Yup.” Jana gave the doll what she hoped was a friendly smile.
“Because I’m junk.”
Junk was pretty extreme, even if it referred to physical disfigurement in dolls, but their conversation so far suggested that the doll’s internal system was in working order.
“Why are you junk?” she asked.
Without hesitation, the doll replied, “Because I’m not perfect.”
By that logic, everything in this world was junk.
“Do you think I’m junk?”
“No!” the doll sounded horrified.
“But I’m blind. That means I’m not perfect, which, following your logic, makes me junk.”
“You’re not junk.”
“Neither are you. You sound perfectly fine to me.”
“I’m missing limbs. And my face is broken. And I’m too clingy. And I’m stupid.”
That was… more issues than she expected, but her family hadn’t abandoned her because of her blindness. She didn’t want to abandon this doll because of a few cosmetic problems and potential system issues.
Did she really know what she was getting herself into?
She shelved her concerns for her future self to deal with.
The doll responded first with silence, then with a fresh round of crying. Why? What did she say wrong? She didn’t mean to make the doll cry.
“What’s wrong?” She lifted a hand towards the sound, but held back, afraid that she would poke out an eye instead with her blind groping. Her brother took her hand and guided it the rest of the way to what felt like the top of the doll’s head. She carefully ran her fingers through the tangled hair. “Don’t cry.”
The cries slowly wound down into sniffles. A cool hand tentatively touched her forearm.
“I think she wants you to take her,” her brother whispered into her ear.
“Would you like to come home with us?” she asked.
The hand lifted off her arm, then returned with a more solid grip. “Please.”
With Julian’s help, she gathered the small doll in her arms. There were a few awkward moments as she fumbled to find a comfortable position for both of them, but she finally settled into holding her arm across as a makeshift seat for the doll. She let the tiny head rest against her collarbone. Julian repositioned the spindly limbs and helped her to her feet.
“Let’s go home.”
Perfect Junk is actually something I wrote a few years back. Part of the driving motivation for the piece was the idea of taking two ‘imperfect’ beings to make a ‘perfect’ one. Not literally but something more the lines of the doll guiding Jana as her eyes and Jana… doing something for the doll. It was a story I really liked, even if I didn’t expand on it much, but the prompt fit this so well, I had to dig through my old stuff to rediscover this.