“Mmmm… do you remember Cabbage Patch Dolls?”

“What? Yes…. Why?”

Mr. Horror leaned on his cane, his gaze tracking a silverfish as it scuttled across the wall.

“I never really understood the fascination. They seemed too real to really treat as a toy.”

He leaned a little closer to the wall, following the leggy bug.

“And I think the uniqueness was highly overrated.” His sidelong glance caught the hero off guard. “Kind of like heroes. They all seem kind of the same under the mask.”

The hero wished he could raise his arms up to scratch at his neck. It almost felt like there was something crawling there. Of course there wasn’t — he was too far from the walls for that. Instead, he raised a shoulder and tilted his neck awkwardly to rub at the area.

“I took one from a younger child in school one day. ‘Give me my baby!’ she cried. So I gave it back.”

“Later, I stole another one when no one was looking. I really wanted a toy, like the other children had.”

Mr. Horror had turned his attention back to the silverfish. With a quick, birdlike motion, he snatched it between thumb and forefinger.

“I really wanted it as a toy. But it was too real. Too much like a real child.”

He paused to watch the legs squirm against his thumbnail. With another birdlike movement, he popped it in his mouth, chewed quickly, and swallowed.

“I couldn’t keep it in one piece.”

Around the hero, faint lights began to pulse in the corners of his vision, dull red and heavy orange.

“After that, I decided to take up collecting superhero cards.”