At each chime of the clock, all the toys in Hans' playroom came to life, the little dolls giggling and the toy cars rolling on the floor. One by one the little tin soldiers hopped out of their case in an orderly fashion, except for one tin soldier, who stumbled slightly
His name was Brian Haner, and he only had one leg. The old toymaker had run out of tin to mould his leg and left him like that. But he gave so much detail into Brian to make him as life-like as possible. He was painted with sun-kissed skin, a charming smile and soft chocolate-eyes that twinkled in the right light
The tin soldiers slowly hopped down the table and made their way down to the floor, Brian falling slightly and causing the others in the line a fright. He gave a an embarrassed smile and hung his head, looking around the room. His eyes stopped at one figure and his mouth opened a little in awe
Standing in a paper garden of roses was a paper ballerina, the one belonging to Hans' little sister Alexandra. The ballerina's beauty truly took Brian's breath away, the tin soldier slowly making his way over. The ballerina had a dark green dirndl that went to his knees and black pointe shoes. Brian did a double take and saw that the ballerina had only one leg. He excitedly hopped down the table to the paper garden
Brian cleared his throat, biting his lip as the ballerina looked at him in surprise. "Hello, I'm Zacky... the paper ballerina" He smiled, the smile pure and gentle.
Zacky's own green eyes followed Brian's, but he didn't turn away and run. He did quite the opposite. He moved closer and smiled.
"You're very beautiful Zacky..." Brian smiled, causing the paper ballerina to blush and giggle.
Suddenly, Brian was wrenched away from Zacky by a giant hand, the hand of Trinculo the jester-in-a-box. Trinculo had spied the two from a small crack in his box and was furious, no one stole his Zacky from him. No one
"Hey!" Brian yelled, furious at Trinculo for taking him away.
Brian screamed as he felt himself falling through the air, gasping as he landed in water and swept into the sewage
'I'm gonna die' Brian thought, holding his breath as he spiralled in the water. He saw a dark object above him and thanked the Lord as he saw it was a small toy boat. He hoisted himself up and clung on for dear life as the water churned and caused the boat to rock violently. The light at the end of the sewer was growing brighter, and before he knew it, Brian and the boat plummeted into the blue ocean. His eyes widening as he saw the open mouth of a fish swallowed him whole
Zacky stared out into the storm in despair, curled up against the glass. His tin soldier was lost in the human world alone, wet, cold and miserable. Trinculo observed Zacky, frowning in anger as he saw the paper ballerina is still in love with that tin solider and not him. He went back inside his box and closed his eyes, falling asleep
Zacky glared at the wooden box that Trinculo was sleeping in, sighing as he looked away. A sharp knock on the glass startled him, Zacky lifted his eyes to meet with Johnny's caramel eyes. Johnny pointed at the box of tin soldiers, Trinculo's box, a toy trampoline and the fireplace in the room. Zacky understood immediately and grinned, cheering as Johnny, with the help of the other tin soldiers, lifted the glass and freed him before going back to their areas and falling asleep.
Zacky sighed as he saw Jimmy and Johnny kissing, exchanging sweet words before Jimmy hopped back into the toy box and Johnny hung himself on his perch. The paper ballerina briefly saw an image of himself and the one-legged soldier before standing on one leg in his paper garden and falling asleep
Imogen wandered through the market street with a smile on her face, walking home from the morning shopping. Suddenly the smell of fish drew her into the fisherman's stall, who was shouting out his daily catch. She didn't know why, but she just had to buy the large herring that stared at her glassily
She smiled at the fisherman and pointed at the herring, who wrapped it up in brown paper and handed it to her. Imogen soon made plans on what to do with the fish, to feed her children Hans and Alexandra
When she reached home she immediately placed the shopping in the right places, but as she grabbed the herring something fell from it's mouth. To her amazement it was a small tin soldier, one that only had a leg
'How peculiar, it looks just like the one in Hans' set' Imogen thought as she entered the playroom and returned the tin soldier to it's place
The clock chimed midnight and all the toys came to life once again. Trinculo hopped over to Zacky, presenting a plastic rose to the ballerina. Zacky scowled at Trinculo and tried to run away, but the jester was quick and grabbed the hem of Zacky's skirt. "Let go you pervert!" Zacky shouted as Trinculo lifted his skirt higher
Suddenly, a ball was thrown at Trinculo, making him let Zacky free and turn himself to face the thrower. To his fury, it was the tin soldier that he threw out the window.
Slowly they pulled him back o the table and the toys cheered, because Trinculo was a nasty toy that bullied everyone. Brian smiled all around him, but then his eyes landed on his green-eyed ballerina. Brian hopped forward with a smile on his face, taking Zacky's hands and kissing the delicate fingers.
"Wow! That was a great story Daddy!" Nathaniel Haner smiled, hugging his dad goodnight.
"Again with that story?" Zacky Haner chuckled as he got in bed, snuggling under the covers.