Come on in. I don't bite…

The Damned Doll (A Myths and Tales story)

Lot’s of people say that porcelain dolls are creepy. I always disagreed. I was given my first doll for Christmas back when I was eight and I loved it so much people kept flooding me with more and more. I’m now thirteen and I still love my dolls.

“Their horrid. How can you sleep at night with all of them staring at you like that,” my best friend Otto says. He’s not the free spirit I am. He thinks I don’t notice but he tends to turn them to face the wall if we happen to be watching TV at my house. I can see his eyes dart every now and again to them to check they haven’t moved on their own.

The bright pink walls of my room are lined with various porcelain faces. My favourite one is one that always sits in the middle. She wears a purple dress. Her eyes are beetle black and she has a thick head of spiral curls like my own. Dad brought her back from a trip to the lesser known country of Mergovia. He was on a photography assignment from his newspaper when he saw an old woman who easily looked like she had seen one hundred years. She was selling the dolls so he brought one home for me. He said that the woman had tried to usher him some kind of warning but he didn’t understand the language. He always did have a flair for the dramatic.

I named her ‘Hate’ because of all my dolls – their faces normally serene, shiny eyes vacant – she looked like she was scowling a little. Given her stern expression and crazy hair I always imagined her angry. I would tell Hate all of the things that were bothering me. She wouldn’t dismiss them or tell me that I was over reacting like most people did. She listened. She scowled on my behalf and I felt better. I had a good thing going with Hate. That was until the night I woke her up.

It had been a particularly bad day. I had failed a Spanish test, I dropped my lunch tray in view of everyone and I had been walking around all afternoon with toilet paper stuck to my shoe. Rather than telling me this the girls felt it better to giggle at my expense. It wasn’t until I met Otto after school and he told me was it finally removed. My name being Tally, it lead to the new nickname ‘Toilet Paper Tally’. I will now bear this new name until I can talk dad into letting me move school.

I was relaying all of this to Hate, spilling my inner nastiness. She stared down at me with her scowl like she felt the pain of each of my words.

I smiled, content that I had managed to shoulder my humiliation. I switched my lamp off and laid my head on my pillow. I gave one last look at Hate and could have sworn she was angled more towards me than she had been. Anyway, off to sleep I went.

In the middle of the night I heard a soft singing. It was a tune that seemed familiar but I couldn’t quite place it. It was a soft little voice that sounded younger than my own. There was someone else in my room! I looked up. This time Hate definitely had moved. She was staring straight at me.

“Well look who’s awake,” she said in a sharp, shrill shriek that wasn’t as soft as her singing voice.

I could only stare at her. How often does a doll come to life? Too often I’d say.

“Aren’t you going to lift me down from here or are you just going to keep staring at me like a dim witted moron.”

“You’re not real,” I gasped.

Hate shook her head. “You can bet your ass I’m real.”

“Dolls don’t come to life.” I tried rubbing my eyes. My brain told me I was dreaming.

Hate shook her head slowly. It a slow moment that required a lot of effort from her. “This one does. Now get me down from here. We have work to do…”

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