Sunday Fiction - The Changeling

What if Changelings were left in order to keep children safe?

The Changeling

Stealing in through the nursery window, the baby monitor let out a scream of static and showed snow on the monitor. But it only took a moment for the dollmaker to place the life-like doll in the cradle, pick up the sleeping child, and climb out the window. She scurried down the fire escape to the door of Faerie where the doctor was waiting.

“The hair’s the wrong shade,” the waiting doctor told her, his haunted eyes gaunt in his face. He showed her the form the parents had completed, with tick marks next to the attributes they’d wanted their child to have.

She knew her face showed him the disdain she felt.

“They’ll be furious once they realise it’s not their baby. But who knows what else went wrong.” He stared at the form again. “They paid for an athlete... but the tests now show...” The doctor turned and walked away, still staring at the form.

She shivered. She knew what some did to her dolls. Better the dolls, she thought. Too many children were called Changelings these days. Too many didn’t conform to the recipe their parents had chosen.

She stepped through the doorway into Faerie.


Hi again!

Hope you’ve had a great week and enjoyed this week’s story!

Thoughts on “The Changeling”

“The Changeling” was written for the 30 October 2020 Flash!Friday flash fiction competition. The story for this competition needed to include a dollmaker, had to be shorter than 200 words (mine is 198 words) and had to be inspired by a creepy photo prompt in which the children of a family were dolls.

Thinking about the dolls replacing the children, I immediately thought about the folklore of Changelings. Of course this led me to knocking on JSTOR’s door - because, let’s be honest, there is story fodder there that could keep you busy for 10 lifetimes - and looking at the titles of some papers written on this folklore.

Some of them focused on how disability and changelings seemed to go hand-in-hand. The thought that struck me then, was what if the disability/whatever was wrong with the child was something extremely minor. Like hair colour being wrong. Enter genetically engineered humans being so commonplace that children would be abandoned for the slightest “imperfection”.

As I needed to include a dollmaker, I made them a fairy-dollmaker who is actually saving lives through replacing the unwanted children with dolls. Ta-da!

If you’d like to find out more about Changelings, read this essay by D.L. Ashliman on his brilliant folklore and mythology website.

In Other Writing News

In other news, I’m still busy with Where the Stars Used to Sing’s stories and sketches, but all still looks good for a mid-December release - yay!

I’ve also been extremely busy with actual Work work (thank goodness!), though it looks like I’ll be able to take next weekend off completely and just spend Sunday working on Stars, editing and sketching.

The Ruon Chronicles is still being outlined (yes, this is taking longer than anticipated because of Work work), but I’ve finally figured out what I’m doing wrong in the first part of book 1 that is making the whole thing feel wrong. Apparently writing completely other stuff and listening to the podcast I Should Be Writing are what I needed!

I’ll be back on Wednesday with some more writing news and info about Ruon Chronicles, but, until then, keep well and thanks for reading!