Dollhouse #FirstLineFridays

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‘I don’t care what you do with it. I just want it gone,’ Alex said, pointing at the dollhouse.

I withdrew my hand from the dolls’ living room and looked up at my older sister. She had a full black bin bag in one hand and a flat empty one in the other. We were surrounded by so much stuff in my late uncle’s attic it was hard to believe she could just single out one thing to just get rid of.

‘Why?’ I asked, ‘don’t you think your daughters, Sophie and Lucy would like it?’

It was hard to tell in the dim light of a single, dusty bulb, but Alex’s face seemed to pale. Her expression become tighter as if she was holding all her emotions in but I could see she was upset and distressed. She turned away, collecting herself.

‘Fine. I’ll take it for my Millie then. I’ll keep it till she’s a bit older though,’ I added.

I looked back at the dollhouse. It was a fine thing, modelled on famous Victorian ones but made more cheaply. Red brick wall paper covered the outside, only curling a little at the corners, the window frames were white but held clouded glass panes and the chimney was wobbly.

Two doors opened to reveal the inside which was divided into 4 floors then seven different rooms by staircases in the middle. The ground floor had a kitchen and servants’ bedroom. The next floor had a grand living room on the left with a fancy dinning room on the right. The third floor had a master bedroom to the right and a double children’s bedroom on the left. At the top, was an attic children’s playroom.

All the rooms were made of dark wood – walls and floor, some of which was covered by patterned wallpaper and rugs. The pretend Victorian furniture looked original and complete, sitting in the rooms I expected the pieces to be in. There were seven dolls; a butler, a cook, a maid, a gentleman, a lady, a boy and girl. They were all dressed in faded clothes and made of china.

‘You can’t,’ Alex said in a shaky voice, ‘I want it gone. Into the skip now!’

I sighed and fought back arguing, it wasn’t worth it, ‘I’ll get Michael to move it later. It’s too heavy for me.’

Closing the dollhouse’s doors, I moved on to helping my sister sorting through things. The dolls and their house lingered in my mind and when our husbands turned up at the end of the day, I had mine packed the dollhouse into our car with some other of things. I made sure to keep Alex busy so she didn’t see him taking it.

At home, we put the dollhouse and everything else in the spare bedroom to be sorted for later. Sitting before the house, I opened the doors and looked at the little dolls. They could almost be Victorian originals but I knew nothing about that. I carefully arrange them in the rooms they most fitted in; the cook and butler in the kitchen, the lady and gentleman in the living room, the maid making the beds, the children in the playroom attic. Wondering all the time why my sister had just wanted to get rid of it.

The next day, we were back in the attic again and I just had to ask her why.

‘What was with the dollhouse yesterday?’ I asked over a pile of cardboard boxes we were opening.

Alex was quiet then she said, ‘you took it home didn’t you?’

I pressed my lips together and pretended to be busy writing a label ‘glass’ to put on the box before me.

‘It’s fine. It doesn’t matter,’ Alex replied, sadly.

‘Tell me,’ I responded, ‘is it haunted?’

‘No…really, it has nothing to do with the dolls’ house.’

I waited, wanting to break the silence but knowing she needed the chance to open up.

Slowly, Alex began, ‘Before you were born, mum was sick and dad was away with the army. Uncle agreed to look after me and I moved in for a few months. His and wife daughter had long moved out but since he couldn’t bear being in her bedroom, I was put into the spare.’

Her words sparked something familiar; a family story I had heard before about the time our mum was ill in hospital. Alex had been eight then and there had been no one else to look after her.

‘I don’t know why I did it, but one night I couldn’t sleep, so I went into our cousin’s bedroom,’ Alex picked up, ‘I saw the dollhouse and was so drawn to it, I flung open the doors and began playing with the dolls. Uncle found me and he was…so angry…He took me over his knees and lifted my nightdress. He beat me with a slipper. I cried and cried. Then he dragged me out and threw me back into bed.’

‘That’s horrible! I gasped, ‘you told right?’

Alex shook. Her head was down and partly turned away from me. She was quietly sobbing. In the gloom, it as hard to tell if she was crying or not yet. Her hands were wrapped around something; a piece of cloth?

‘The next night, he came into my bedroom, saying how sorry he was. He hugged me and then he started…’ Alex dragged in a deep breath, ‘touching me…it felt wrong, I struggled against him but there was nothing I could do. He said he’d make me feel better. That everything would be okay….’

I bite my lip and tried to reach through the boxes before us, but my sister was just out of touch. She didn’t seem to care though. She was lost to her past thoughts now.

Alex wiped her face and carried on, ‘he told me to keep quiet about it. No one would listen to me anyway, mum was dying. So, I didn’t say anything and he got into bed with me often after that. As praise, he let me play with his daughter’s toys but I found no joy in them. I never told anyone, not even when dad came home and mum got better. Then you arrived and everything changed.’

‘You should have told someone,’ I growled, balling my fists.

Alex rubbed her eyes and stood up. I hurried to my feet too and crossed the distance between us. We hugged tightly.

‘It doesn’t matter now. He’s gone and so have mum and dad,’ Alex uttered.

‘But…’ I trailed, she was right, what could be done now?

‘I can finally move on,’ Alex cut back in, ‘that’s all that matters now.’

 

(Inspired by; https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2018/02/16/first-line-friday-february-16th-2018/ with thanks).

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Snow Fall #FridayFictioneers

Looking out of my window, I was surprised to see deep snow covering the street. It was early in the morning, so the streetlamps were making the falling flakes sparkle. Frowning, I wondered how unpredictable snowstorms were. No one had said anything about this and though a few people would be happy, I wouldn’t be.

My wedding was in a few hours. The idea of cancelling, drifted into mind but it was impossible. Rain would be worse, I told myself and at least the wedding photos will look really pretty. It was hard to feel sure though.

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2018/02/14/16-february-2018/ with thanks).

Spider

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This morning whilst on the loo, I looked into the bathtub and saw a spider. It was struggling to get out; every time it slipped back down it would scramble back up again. I thought about turning on the tap and washing him away. Though that seemed to me I   a total waste of his efforts to escape. Instead, once I was finished, I used an empty loo roll to scoop him out with and setting him free. A thought came to me; weren’t we all trapped like the spider waiting for someone or something to set us free?

Saved #SundayPhotoFiction

20 CEAyr January 21st 2018

My granddad saved the carved wooden cupboard door from a skip. He said it was too nice to throw away and he could easily build it into something. The carving sat in his shed for years and each time I saw it, I asked what it was of and he’d tell a different story each time;

‘It’s a knight saving his village from a monster attack.’

‘The windmill’s on fire and that guard is charging in to save the man’s family.’

‘A staving solider is raiding a farm.’

Those stories stuck with me and when granddad died, I tried hard to find the carving wanting to save it. We searched everywhere with no luck but I couldn’t believe granddad would have just gotten rid of it.

Then my older brother removed a small cupboard that was in the hallway and on the back of it I saw the carved panel!

‘So, he did finally get to use it!’ I cried, hugging the cupboard.

I took the cupboard home with me and placed it in my bedroom. I can see the carving all the time now and recall all those memories of granddad.

 

(Inspired by; https://sundayphotofictioner.wordpress.com/2018/01/21/sunday-photo-fiction-january-21st-2018/ with thanks).

Valentine’s Day

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This Valentine’s day, let’s find an empty beach where we can eat what nature gives us, beside a fire. I’ll write songs about you and perform them on my guitar. As the sun sets, we’ll say our forever love to each other and everything will be all right in the world.

No Longer #3LineTales

Bob still couldn’t believe that underground train network was closed down as he started to turn off the lights. It had only been open a few years but its’ popularity hadn’t been able to save it when the business and economy had gone bust. Still he’d somehow held on to his cushy night watchman’s job, even if all he was guarding now were empty stations and tracks.

(Inspired from; https://only100words.xyz/2018/02/08/three-line-tales-week-106/ with thanks).

Sanctuary #Writephoto

I’m there still, in that one single memory.

Our laughter sounding across the garden, mixing with the sound of the sweet summer rain. Our racing footsteps to the old family mausoleum, the closest shelter around. Us standing in the doorway, watching the rainfall as the drops dripped off us like it did on the tree leaves.

We cuddled together upon one of the cold marble beaches that formed a broken circle around the staircase that led down to the tomb. You kissed me with the softness of first love. I said we shouldn’t, but we both wanted it and it felt so right.

Laying naked on the stone floor, staring at the mosaic on the ceiling, not thinking anything. Listening to your gentle breathing and heartbeat, realising my own was right alongside. We kept warm by shared body heat, dozing on and off. How I wished that moment could last forever.

Time and life don’t wait for anyone. At least we had all those years together and now we can finally be together once more.

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2018/02/08/thursday-photo-prompt-sanctuary-writephoto/ with thanks).

 

Winter Escape #FridayFictioneers

It wasn’t what the holiday brochure advertised but I wasn’t one to be picky. Everything worked, it was clean, the view was nice and the hotel staff friendly. It didn’t seem a bad place for a single traveller to stay in during a sunny holiday. Though the building looked really ramshackled and about to fall down. It creaked something awful which the sounds of the river and boats couldn’t counter. The feelings of danger never left and I just couldn’t relax. Sad to say, but I went home early and back to my country gripped in the blast of winter.

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2018/02/07/9-february-2018/ with thanks).

Made It! #1linerWeds

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You know you’ve made it when you can wake up and don’t hear the zombies breaking your door down.

(Inspired from; https://lindaghill.com/2018/02/07/one-liner-wednesday-you-know-youve-made-it/ with thanks).

Bench Love #TwitteringTales

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Sitting on a park bench, I saw a paper pinned by a rock. With a quick glance, I picked up and read what was a love letter. The named addressee seemed familiar and looking I spotted the same name on the bench’s plaque. I returned the letter and left.

(Inspired by; https://katmyrman.com/2018/02/05/twittering-tales-70-6-february-2018/ with thanks).