Hello Friends! I can’t believe it is already Wednesday. This week is flying by. Lucky for you, Wednesday means a new short story. And this week it’s a new short story for a new prompt. So let’s get to it!
I shouldn’t be here, wherever here is. I should be at home in my bed, dreading getting up and going to work. Right now is about the time I should be hitting my snooze button for the last time. Instead I am in this place…this fantastical place that I should be happy to be in. I didn’t fall down a rabbit hole, walk through a closet, or take a train. I just woke up to a fairy dancing on my chest.
Yes! A freaking fairy! Dancing on my chest!
When I woke up, she giggled and darted away. Of course she came back, chattering away at something following her. Once the thing following the fairy held up a lantern I almost screamed when the light hit his face. At least I thought it was a him. In my mind it was a male anyways. It wasn’t until it spoke that I was sure it was a male. His voice was deep and scratchy with a little squeak when he exhaled. His skin was made of plastic and his eyes jiggled with every movement. I wasn’t even sure if he saw me or could focus. His creepy googly eyes just bounced all over the place. His painted on mouth opened and spread in a grin and one tooth peeked from the bottom of his mouth. “Well, hello.” He said as he walked closer to me. I backed away and he frowned. I instantly felt bad for being so rude.
“Where am I?” I asked, my breath escaping quickly. I gasped, trying to fill my lungs with air, but I couldn’t seem to get enough. The air felt thicker, damper, something other than what I was used to.
“Stay calm, Meg, everything will be explained.” I jerked when I heard my name. It wasn’t fear that set in, it was wonder. Was this a dream? It had to be a dream, how else would this creepy walking and talking doll know my name. I stared at him and paused, what fear was left drained as the blood drained from my face. I knew this creepy googly eyed doll.
“Ollie?” I found him in an attic one day. I had been exploring my new home, thinking how sad and lonely I was. I had crawled through the cobwebs and dust, coughing as the dust stirred up and tickled my nose. I was taken by a sneezing fit, and when it was over I found myself in the corner of the musty attic. There in the corner sat Ollie. He was an old, beat up doll with googly eyes and a painted on smile. He wore a checkered blue shirt and a pair of jeans. He was all alone in the attic and he instantly became my best friend. Of course, then he was just a doll that didn’t talk.
“You remember me.” Ollie smiled at me. I reached for him and took him in my arms, hugging him tightly. He laughed, which reminded me that I should still be curious as to why my childhood doll was suddenly talking to me.
“What is this place? Why am I here? Where did you go?” I couldn’t stop my questions as I sat him down.
“Follow me.” He said. I stood and dusted off my pants, following my old friend, a doll who could talk. The fairy still chattered in his ear, but I couldn’t understand a word she was saying. Ollie peaked back at me. “This is your home now.” He said.
“Ollie, I can’t stay here. I have to get back home, go to work, pay my bills. I am an adult now.” I said. Not that I really wanted to go back, but it was the most logical thing for a 25 year old to say. Responsibility is what being an adult was all about, right?
“Your purpose has been served.” Ollie said, not looking at me. He continued down the path and I could only stare at his shiny, plastic, bald head. I was distracted by his strange walk. I had never seen a stuffed doll walk, but here he was, walking away, holding a lantern.
“My purpose?” I asked. What could he possibly mean?
“We were afraid this would happen. It happens to some of us. We forget that we are only a piece of time. There in the moment when the child needs us most. You have been on one of the longest jobs any of us have ever seen. It may take a few days for you to remember who you are.”
“What are you talking about?” We stopped in front of a large tree that was wider than any tree I had ever seen. I looked up and gazed at the opening that a set of stairs lead to. I looked back at Ollie, confused.
He pointed me toward the opening in the tree. “I’m sure you’ll be pleased. It’s surprisingly large once you’re inside.”
“What is this place?”
“Your new home, Meg.” He smiled and started walking up the stairs. “Don’t worry, it will come back as soon as you come in. I followed, mostly out of curiosity and partly because there was nothing else around but forest and I was slightly creeped out at the thought of being left out side alone. Ollie opened the door and walked in, lighting up the room. I gasped as I followed, recognizing the attic where I first meet Ollie. I shook my head and stopped in the doorway.
“This can’t be real.” I said, trying to find air again. I kept shaking my head and pinching my arm. I had to wake up from this nightmare.
“You were never real Meg. You are a doll. A beautiful doll that girls love and connect with. When they need you. When they are done with you, you come back here, you come back home to the attic.” Ollie says, trying to sooth me.
It started to come back in flashes. I had never gone to work. That was Coral, the girl who found me one day. She had kept me, needed me longer than most. It was her clock that went off. It was her that hit the snooze button too many times. I just sat on her shelf and watched it all, providing comfort when she needed it. It had been months since the last time she even looked at me. I guess Coral finally grew up.
I smile, happy for her, but sad that I am no longer with her. I wipe a tear from my cheek and walk into the attic. Ollie is sitting at a table of plastic tea cups, pouring steaming cups of air and serving plastic crumpets. What else would a doll do on her off time other than have a tea party with all the other dolls on break?
Let me know what you think. But here is a question for you. Would you have a tea party with your dolls from your childhood if they showed up talking? I liked my childhood dolls, I would totally have a little chat and tea with them.