Tree-house Terror

I search all round the garden;
she wasn’t in her bedroom or the den,
not lurking in the ghostly shadows
of the infinite corridor. I cross the lawn,
enter the copse behind the hedge
covered with yesterday’s washing:
sheets, pillowcases pinned to twigs
instead of using washing pegs.

Branches rustle, I hear giggling
from the tree-house above my head.
The rickety ladder leans teasing
against the trunk, a subtle warning
with the frisson of foreboding.
I scale the tree rung by rung,
sweaty fingers tightly gripping
rough wood, splinters sharp against skin.

The platform looms above me.
Silence tickles hairs on my neck.
I raise my head above the parapet
of childhood and come face to face
with mutilated dolls: torsos, limbs and heads,
muddy parts dug up from the flower bed
where they were buried the other day
in a funeral game she loved to play.

Kim M. Russell, 27th July 2018

Image result for mutilated doll parts in a treehouse
Image found on Pinterest

My response to Imaginary Garden with Real Toads Out of standard: Fear into farce

This Thursday Izy’s challenge aims to shake us out of the ordinary. She says that we all have that one unfounded, completely unjustified fear, a nightmare scenario that we know will never really happen, but it plagues us nonetheless. It bubbles up when alone in the dark or when falling asleep at night. Izy’s is badgers with switchblades. Our challenge is to take our personal unfounded fears and write poems about them – taking a comedic stance.

I fear I failed on the comedic stance as I got carried away in a real story that over the years has turned into a nightmare. As some of you know, I have a doll phobia. While I was pregnant and living in Ireland many years ago, I stayed with friends in a lodge house with a huge garden and a tree-house. They had two children, a baby daughter born months before mine and a six-year-old daughter. Once, when I was looking for her in the garden, I looked in the tree-house and found a pile of mouldy dismembered dolls.

By the way, I had a horrific time looking for an image to illustrate this poem. I won’t be going back to this any time soon.


16 thoughts on “Tree-house Terror

  1. This reminds me of the doll in the movie Chuckie. I was once babysitting and we were talking about that doll…… grandson was especially freaked out by it and, just as we were discussing it, one of the little girls’ heads appeared above the freezer she was walking past, looking disembodied, and I thought my grandson was going to have a heart attack. We sure laughed about it after, but he was freaked right out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I tried to watch that film with my daughter – we only managed about five minutes! I did manage to watch Magic with Anthony Hopkins without being sick but I had to hold a friend’s hand. 😉


  2. I don’t watch movies in this vein, along with war movies, I’m bothered too badly by them. Father Brown is more of my caliber. I had a tree house and had read many tales of them. A lot more goes on up there and around than parents will ever know.
    But I was a good boy, tobacco was the worst evil my tree house.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow Kim! I will admit while not entirely comedic, this piece really stands out in how you captured some pretty terrifying images but with a unique and almost satirical voice. Very interesting. I love this poem!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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