Jack is set to marry the Finkelstein heiress, named Marina. However, when he meets Sally, who is a rag doll created by Dr. Lord Finkelstein to serve as a maid and second child, the two take an immediate liking to each other, and eventually fall in love. Problems do arise with that, and it leads them to making tough decisions.
TNBC and Characters belong to the ever-awesome Tim Burton, with credit to director Henry Selick, as well. CB belongs to Tim Burton, of course.©
The Kingdom of the Undead. A place within the depths of the Underworld, where souls and beings of the undead roamed. To most, it is a desolate place of horrid afterlife...and yet, if you really looked, you would see that it was a society much yours and mine. Who are we to say it's not beautiful? To them, it is paradise.
Ruling this place, was none other than a King by the name of Frederick Skellington, a skeleton man. Alongside him was his Queen, Patricia, a skeletal woman. The land had been ruled by them for many years, and had always been revered as wondrous rulers. Kind, wise, and giving. There was not a soul in the Kingdom who didn't find them to be the rulers they'd always hoped to have.
The heir to this throne, is their son, named Jack. He is the Pumpkin Prince, next in line to the Pumpkin King. Despite being young, fairly naive and very, very curious and quite childlike, Jack had continuously displayed leadership skills that were quite formidable. He too, like his parents, is kind and wise to a point, and never treated any of the townsfolk like they were below him. They had always been considered equals. Jack saw himself as their future protector, and a friend, not some power-hungry dictator. Just as his parents did. The Kingdom loved him as well, most especially the women. Very much a charming, suave, and very kind gentleman, it was no wonder that Jack was considered a ladies skeleton man.
He was very tall, taller than many of the denizens of the Kingdom, and even close to towering his own father. His skull was round, with large, empty eye sockets that were just as vivid and expressive as can be. He had a very long mouth that nearly circumferenced his entire head, and was perfect for adding distortion to his face in order to create a scary, menacing expression. On a usual basis, he often wore a dapper black and white pinstriped suit, a white shirt beneath it, and a bat bowtie.
On this particular fine, horrible day, Jack was sitting outside in the garden of Skellington Manor as he enjoyed the cloudy, overcast day. The breeze blew, with the dead leaves blowing and crisping around, creating something of a natural melody and dance. He smiled. This kind of day was just perfect here in the Kingdom of the Undead.
“Master Jack.” Said the butler, named Marcus, as he approached where the Prince sat. Marcus was a Frankstein-esque being, wearing an equally dapper suit and a napkin draped over one arm. “I do hate to interrupt you in your relaxation, but your parents wish to summon you to your father's office.”
A soft sigh escaped Jack as he nodded. “All right. Thank you for telling me, Marcus. I'll be there in a minute. ...And please, just call me Jack. You know that.” He smiled pleasantly as he stood up.
Marcus smiled, chuckling. “I'm sorry, sir. Old habits die hard, I suppose.”
Jack stood up, and followed after the butler to get back inside. He knew where his father's office was, he knew the whole mansion by heart. But, he followed him anyway to humour him.
Skellington Manor was a huge, three-story gothic mansion standing upon the hill in the town. It was located near the graveyard, and the famed curving, crescent hill known as Spiral Hill. It was where the Royal family resided for generations since the beginning, obviously, for it truly was the heart of the Kingdom of the Undead. A huge tower arose from the front, the windows were arched and shaped very much like something out of an old horror movie, the bricks and stones were dark, dismal gray shades. Truly any monster's most wonderful nightmare.
Marcus opened the door to his father's office, which Jack entered. The mansion didn't have a throne room per say, his father's office was also adjacent to a meeting room, where council meetings and other such things took palce.
“Thank you, Marcus.” Jack said to the butler, before approaching his father's desk. “You wanted to see me, Father?”
King Frederick nodded, and looked to his wife, who stood behind his chair, with her hand on his shoulder. “I did, son. This may come as something of a surprise to you, but we know now that it must be done. Jack...you are our only son, and the heir to the throne. It's a lot of pressure to put on you, and we don't wish to make your life any harder than it should be.”
“However, things must be done for the good of the Kingdom.” Patricia said softly. Unlike her husband and son, her head was more of an oval shape, and she wore a blonde wig of hair in delicate waves and curls. Her eye sockets were smaller, shapely, but still expressive. “And we know in our hearts that you will rule the Kingdom as well as we have, and your ancestors before you.”
Jack gave a little nod. “I understand, Mother. I will do what I can to take your places well, I promise.”
Frederick smiled. “I never doubted that, son. However, this next bit will not be easy for you. And we understand that. Every King needs a Queen. Before you are to be crowned King, you are to marry.”
This made Jack's jaw drop.
“We have found an elligible wife for you. Probably one of the best in the Kingdom. The heiress of the Finkelsteins, Marina.”
Now Jack was taken aback. Despite that, he knew this was coming. He was told since he was young that one day he would have to marry woman before taking his place as King. And likely, that woman was to be someone he never met.
He had heard of Marina, since she was widely known around the public school she went to and some other places around town where she achieved many great honours. But he had never once met her.
“We're meeting the Finkelstein family tomorrow.” Patricia told him. “The wedding itself will take place in about six months. We figure that it is only fair for you two to get to know each other beforehand.”
Frederick gave a nod of agreement. “I concur. So that is why we've arranged to meet with the family and get to know one another over the course of the six months.”
As much as he didn't want an arranged marriage, Jack did feel grateful for his parents actually having him and his future wife meet each other and get acquainted before all the big stuff happened.
“...I understand, Mother, Father.” Jack said softly. He looked at them with a small smile.
“Son, we know this is hard for you.” Frederick said, looking at his son with a comforting smile. “I know...you aspire to marry for love, and believe me, I had the same ideals myself before I became King.”
“As you do know by now, we were also arranged to be married.” Patricia said, smiling toward her husband. “Neither of us liked the idea of an arranged marriage, let alone marrying someone we never met before. But, we were given the chance to get acquainted for a few months before marrying. By a miracle, we actually fell in love.” She squeezed her husband's bony shoulder.
Frederick nodded, patting his wife's hand. “Even if you don't fall in love, son, we just how you and Marina will get along, and at least be happy with one another. She has been said to be a very nice girl.”
Jack exhaled and gave a nod. Maybe he and Marina could be content and happy with each other's presence, even if they weren't in love. That would surely work and make things easier, but it still made him wish that he would marry for love. But, he had to think of what was best for the Kingdom and not just himself.
“I'm sure you're right.” He murmured, and looked out the window for a moment.
We now go to the Finkelstein household.
Dr. Lord Finkelstein was a nobleman of upper class society, and also a brilliant scientist. Many health remedies, physical living creations, and other such experiments were made by his hands, and he was quite acclaimed for it. He had a wife, who he had created long ago, named Jewel. She was on the town council, and sometimes worked as his secretary.
The two had a daughter of their own, biologically (though with many DNA modifications), named Marina. Unlike her parents, she was actually quite a hauntingly beautiful woman. Her skin was very pale blue, her eyes were silvery gray, and she had long, wavy curly sea-green hair.
Marina was also a very gifted overachiever. She was immensely intelligent, creative, logical, athletic, and diligent. She accomplished many things in school, and other such events outside of school. High grades, winning contests, winning sports games, and had many, many trophies to show for. She had many friends, with her bright and sunny personality, as well as being very charitable. She volunteered helping others in need, performed for sick denizens, and played games with children, as well as tutoring them.
Now Marina was set and arranged to marry the Prince of the kingdom. She truly was the envy of many girls her age or younger in the kingdom.
The envy, though not completely, also lay within the household's little secret. Or rather, something not exposed very much.
Not many knew this, of course. There came a time when Dr. Lord and Lady Finkelstein could not conceive another child. To remedy the situation, Dr. Finkelstein created a new child for them. However, nothing seemed to go as planned for this idea. He created a rag doll. A living, anthropomorphic rag doll, which he called Sally.
Her skin was made of very pale blue material, and crudely stitched all along her body and head. She was stuffed with leaves, which was odd, but it seemed to work. She was given big, round, expressive eyes, long eyelashes and midnight red lips. Her clothing consisted of a simple patchwork dress, made with different fabrics and materials, with none of them matching at all. Her hair was long, and made of soft, fine yarn that really did come to resemble actual hair, and was a shade of rusted red.
Sally was created to be yet another perfect child, though a rag doll. But unfortunately, this was not to be.
In the first couple of months, she was practically a robot. Obeying orders, not questioning anything, and just doing what she was told and went to where she was told to go. She was created, programmed to be that way.
But then came a defect.
Sally eventually grew to have a personality, to be a person of her own. Which proved to make her much different from Marina. She wasn't an exact opposite, but she wasn't like her. She was kind and sweet, just like Marina, but she was shy, soft-spoken, and not exceedingly talented. She could cook, quite nicely, and she was able to sew. Of course, this was a skill she had been created to have so that she could repair herself if needed. Sewing was by far her strongest talent. But overall, she wasn't just the “perfect child” she was created to be. She was Sally. A complete person of her own.
She even questioned things, and while she was far from disobedient or rebellious, she was still not quite all that pleasant when you had her do things. If anything, she was distressed. It wasn't the chores themselves she didn't like, and it also wasn't the idea of contributing to the household. She was fine with that.
The problem lay in how the family, aside from Marina, treated her. When she grew her personality and became to be known to be like a regular person, this was when Dr. Finkelstein nipped this in the bud. She was no longer considered their second child, but a convenience. A servant, a maid and caretaker to the household. Since she was efficient in doing chores, they made use of her.
Originally, he had wanted to take her apart and end her life. But Marina begged him not to. She liked Sally, and considered her as a little sister. So with compromises, Sally was not destroyed. But she was confined to the house, and often sent to her room when guests were over. Anyone who visited that met her, the Finkelsteins just referred to her as their live-in maid.
Sally was smart, though. She read books, both scientific and fictional, and was very curious of the world, but she was not like Marina at all. This disappointed the Finkelsteins very much.
She envied Marina very much, but not in the way you may think. She didn't want popularity to to have a room full of trophies in her name. What Sally wanted, more than anything, was acceptance. To be a part of the household as a family, and be able to venture in and out at her leisure. She just wanted her family to love her. Marina appreciated her very much, and she was glad for this, of course.
None the less, Sally did what she could to get through her days. Her books and stories, as well as a cute little pet dove that Marina had given her, were her only escapes. She could never leave the house, and was often very bored when she had nothing to do.
She just hoped, one day, to be able to venture out there, and to be accepted as a real person, and not just a piece of convenience.
So on this lovely day, Sally was in her room, having completed the morning's chores, working one some cross-stitching. All the while, her gaze sometimes drifted to stare out her barred window, admiring the scenery of the backyard, the sky, and the other homes all around that she could see. She did this a lot, either reading or sewing by the window during her spare time. Another day, another day of being denied to go out.
Marina had tried to hep before, but even her efforts were fruitless. Anytime Sally asked one of her “parents”, or rather, creators, they always denied her. Even when they were in a good mood. Nothing Sally did was any good. She was just never allowed out of the house. She felt like a prisoner in her own home, and longed for an escape.
But today, was just the start of the crazy turn her life would take. Her perception of reality was soon to change.
It all began when Marina came into her room that day, with some surprising news.
“Sally...!” Marina gasped, and closed the door behind her. “Sally, you won't believe this. But I...I'm going to be married!” She looked distraught at this.
Sally's eyes widened. “...You are? To who?”
“...It won't be Spencer.” Marina sighed.
Spencer was Marina's secret lover. He was half skeleton, half human, considering how his dead body was very much half in half. But he was a kind and generous man, also a bartender at the local favourite bar in town. They had been seeing each other for two years now, and only Sally knew about the affair, since Dr. Finkelstein and Jewel would not put up with it.
“Then who?” Sally asked gently.
“...The Prince of the Kingdom. It was arranged now that I be married to the Prince and become the Queen. They all feel...that I am the most eligible woman for it, considering...my accomplishments.” Marina sighed, shaking her head. “I don't even know him! I've heard he was very nice and all the ladies love him, but...I'm in love with Spencer.”
The Prince of the Kingdom, Jack. Sally had obviously never met him, either. But she too had heard stories, and was quite curious. Especially since she had never been to any of the Halloween celebrations. She could not believe that Marina of all people was going to be married to him one day. On one hand, it was almost to be expected considering Marina's reputation and accomplishments, but to actually see it come to fruition? That in itself was something astounding.
Marina wasn't even thrilled. Sally understood why, and knew that it wasn't because she was an ungrateful, spoiled brat who didn't get her way. It just simply wasn't what she wanted, and she didn't want to settle for a loveless marriage. That was perfectly understandable. She would never wish a loveless marriage on anyone. She was simply in love with someone else and didn't want to marry someone she didn't want to be with, even for the sake of family.
However, Sally knew that Marina had no other choice. Unless she wanted to bring up her secret affair with Spencer, she would have to go through with it. That was already a tough dilemma to begin with.
As much as she envied Marina for having the acceptance and love she desired, she did still feel bad for her.
“Oh, but Sally...maybe this can be good.” Marina said, taking her sister's tiny hands. “Maybe I can finally take you away from here, and let you live in the mansion with us. You can be free! Do what you want and make lovely clothes all you like and not have to worry about being a maid.”
Sally's eyes widened. “Marina, I-”
“No! Not another word. And I think, if Jack is really as nice as he's said to be, he'll welcome it! Who knows, you two could be good friends! Wouldn't you like that? To have a nice friend?”
Sally couldn't exactly deny that. Aside from Marina, Sally really had no friends at all. She rarely ever met anyone, even when guests were introduced to her, and could not consider anyone a friend.
“I don't want to be a freeloading burden if that happens, Marina...” Sally protested yet again.
“Then we'll have you utilize your talents! You can have the job as the Royal Seamstress! With your amazing sewing skills, you'd be perfect for the job!” Marina smiled brightly, liking this idea she had all the more. “So what do you think? How about it?”
“Well...perhaps if it would work out.” Sally managed.
“YAY!” Marina squealed. “OH! And I forgot to tell you the best part! Mom and Dad are taking me AND you to visit the mansion tomorrow, we're going to meet the future in-laws! We'll be staying there for a few days.”
Sally's eyes went really wide. “You...and I?”
“Yep! I convinced Mom and Dad to let you come along! I don't care what he says, you are my sister.” Marina said firmly, but happily. “But of course I had to throw in the old servant thing, you know, saying that you'd be helping us with our things and stuff... So he agreed to it.” She rolled her eyes. “But don't you worry, you are going to be introduced as my sister, and I will show the Skellington family just how nice and sweet you are!” She smirked a bit then. “You know, if it weren't for me getting married to him, I'd definitely set you and Jack up...”
“Marina!” Sally cried, blushing. “D-Don't say things like that...”
“You're no fun.” Marina pouted, but giggled. “All right, all right. No more teasing. But you are going to come with us tomorrow!”
Sally gave her “sister” a nervous, but grateful smile. Maybe this would be embarrassing and very nerve-wracking...but at least she would have a chance to FINALLY get out of the house! She was very much looking forward to do that. Then to meet some new people? That made her nervous, but, she was more than willing to reach out and try to be nice to the future in-laws. Especially since they were the royal family of the kingdom.
“Marina...thank you very much for this...this opportunity.”
“Awwww! You're welcome, Sally! I'm just glad you're finally going to get out and meet some new people! I promise you, this is going to be great for you, too!” Marina smiled and hugged the rag doll.
Little did Sally realize yet again, that tomorrow was going to change her undead life forever.