Doll Games

I search the garden, behind every bush and tree trunk, in among the trellises of cascading beans and peas, all the places a precocious six-year-old would deem a magical queendom. She wasn’t in her bedroom or the den, not lurking in the ghostly shadows of the infinite corridor, so the garden is the only place she could be.

I cross the lawn and enter the copse behind the hedge covered, rural Irish style, with yesterday’s washing, pinned with twigs instead of pegs. Branches rustle and there’s a childish giggle from the tree-house above my head. That’s her realm, a place I’ve never been invited, never trespassed in all the time I’ve stayed here. It existed long before my friends moved in; nobody knows who built it but it has stood the test of stormy winters.

I see the rickety ladder leaning against the trunk, teasing me, a subtle warning with a frisson of foreboding. I need to know she’s safe, seeing as she was left in my care, so I scale the tree rung by rung; sweaty fingers grip rough wood, its splinters sharp against my skin.

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

Kim M. Russell, 5th May 2019

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

My response to Poets United Telling Tales with Magaly Guerrero: a Pantry of Prose, #3 Phobias and Fears

Magaly says that, after a conversation (or 3) on phobias and fears, she thought those 2 could bring interesting stories to life.

For today’s prompt, we can either write a new story (of 313 words or fewer), inspired by phobias and/or fears, or we can take one of our old poems and turn it into a new short story (of 313 words or fewer).

I have chosen to turn an old poem into a story of 239 words. It’s one I wrote and posted last July called ‘Treehouse Terror’, which I have renamed for this prompt.


42 thoughts on “Doll Games

  1. Ewwww, this is really eerie. That last paragraph…… a funeral game chills me. But I am still wondering where the girl is. IS she safe? Where is she?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My goodness this is chilling! ❤️ I love the dark and eerie details you have woven in this story especially; “torsos, limbs and heads, muddy parts dug up from the flower bed where they were buried last week in a funeral game she loves to play,” fantastic plot line and fodder to expand upon in the future 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. First, you are my heroine (not my “heroin”, as autocorrect wanted to write, since that would be a whole different ball game). Anyway, after I wrote the prompt I wondered if you’d write about dolls. I remembered how much said they scare you, and goodness gracious! does that show in this story.

    From the beginning, I feel the pull of the slightly Gothic setting. The detailed descriptions, the care the narrator takes in her search, the things she notices… I can almost hear her heart pounding against my screen. And when she gets to the end, what we learn about the tree-house and its contents… what a chilling rush.

    I wonder who played last week’s game with dolly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is based on an experience from my past, when I was pregnant and staying with some friends.They had a six-year -old daughter who played on her own with bits of dolls. She was quite creepy.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Eek! I got the most delightful of shivers from this piece. I love the creepy enchanted vibe you slowly built up here, letting the dread slowly slide up next to us before we could feel it’s cold nails run down our backs. Nice!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A little girl with a love for a funeral game… Oh, my, not sure I would want to babysit that child. Love this dark, creative piece.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wonderfully creepy. I thought of different phobias. None grabbed my imagination until I thought of a subplot in a novel I’ve been dabbling away at for years…there’s a tough, defiantly antichristian character who might eventually realize she’s suffering from Christian-phobia. Maybe.

    Liked by 1 person

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