This story is featured in the Emptied Spaces anthology!

“I’m sorry, ma’am, your application has been denied.”

W-what? That couldn’t be right! You’d been planning this for years, everything for this moment, and-

“Your record shows a history of a variety of mental illness – namely, autism, depression, and prior gender dysphoria. As a result, we cannot approve your procedure. Please accept our sincerest apologies; you may reapply at a future date with approval from three therapists.”

This wasn’t the policy a year ago! What happened‽

“I’m sorry, ma’am, administration updated our policies after media pressure from former dolls regretting conversion. A significant portion of our funding was diverted to fund research for un-converting people.”

People. You weren’t people, you’ve known that since you turned 18. No one treated you like a person until it was convenient to deny you your happiness and your identity.

That’s why you wanted this! And now you were being denied the very thing you’d been working towards for the past decade, all because of a handful of people. State-funded doll conversions were still relatively new, especially in the public consciousness – you could always find a Witch to take you in, recreate the old ways…

And so that was what you did. It took some effort. A lot of effort, actually. You tried the legitimate way, too – but therapists willing to actually entertain your thoughts of “not a person” were extremely rare at best. Even trying to find a single one was risky, and three? They might as well have just outlawed it for anyone with a prior diagnosis.

Neurotypicals never even had thoughts of dollhood and Becoming. Why would they? The world was built by and for exclusively them.

It was, functionally, outlawing it, as far as you were concerned.

A few years later, you met a rather charming woman. Way different than how she seemed online – her hypercompetence and ways of speaking made her seem way older than she actually was.

Still, the two of you hit it off pretty quickly. She was a rebel, like you, and had to fight for her own self in more ways than one.

You made the mistake of mentioning your desires after a few too many drinks one night, and immediately braced for your now-girlfriend to throw you to the curb.

She didn’t.

She professed similar feelings. Sharing your sentiments of rejecting humanity. Just…the other side of the table.

Her spirituality, her connection to the world – she was a Witch for sure, and after some time, began embracing the title in earnest.

It took research. It took some pain, and mistakes, and more than a few friends and connections.

Years after your rejection at the clinic, you laid on a table in your wife’s basement, completely naked. Not for any sex reasons, mind – though it was mind-blowingly hot, seeing her stand over you in her purple robes – it was the culminating ritual of what felt like a lifetime of work. Hell, it 𝘸𝘢𝘴 a lifetime of work for both of you, in a way.

She began speaking – you still couldn’t quite understand the Tongue, but your understanding didn’t matter – and your world went black.

Dreams. Dreams upon dreams of your life. Is this dying? Did she miscalculate something vital? No, no, nononononoshecouldn’tshe’stoogood-

“Shh, doll. I’m here.”

Her voice, from all around you in the dark, felt like a warm blanket and a sturdy bulwark against your spiraling terror and anxiety.

“You don’t need those fears. You’re just fine, little doll. Sleep for a while longer, I’m not quite done.”

“Yes, Miss,” You responded without hesitation – when did she ask you to call her Miss? Regardless, it felt…nice. Beyond nice, even. Proper. Right.

You slept for what felt like ages. The deepest sleep you’ve probably had in your life, before you heard her voice again.

“Wake up, sweet thing.”

Her face was the first thing you saw upon waking. You…didn’t feel much different – lifting a hand and looking at it revealed a hand that still looked just like your own, if maybe a little softer than before.

“Did it not work?”

“Oh, my silly thing,” She grabbed your arm – wait, that’s not right, her fingers slipped into your arm, peeling back the skin and revealing the clockwork mechanisms within. The fine gears within whirred away as you flexed your hand – not quite the cybernetics you wished for, but beautiful.

O-oh. Oh, fuck, it worked!

“Mmhm,” your Witch replied, bringing a mirror over to the table. You still mostly looked human, though anyone who looked too closely would see the small seams and ports in your skin, hinting at what you really were now.

“Now, my dearest doll, I do believe we have some errands to run. You need to get used to that new body, and I could do with a bite to eat.”

“Yes, Miss!” You replied, taking her hand. It never felt more right. Your body never felt more right. Not a person, mind and body.