WHAT‘S IN A NAME ?
By Melissa L. Webb
“I don’t know why your parents left you here with me,” the stern-looking woman spoke as she looked down at the girl in front of her. “I despise children and my sister knows it.”
“I’m sorry, Aunt Emma,” the girl spoke softly.
“Well,” her aunt continued. “Maybe, if you stay out of my way and I never see you, I’ll forget you’re even here.” She turned and started to walk out of the spare bedroom, before turning back around suddenly. “One last thing. I am not a nice person. I have never been. If you make me angry for any reason, any at all, there will be dire consequences.” She stared at her niece. “Do I make myself clear, Susan?”
Susie nodded. “I understand, Aunt Emma.”
The woman stared at her a moment longer. “Good,” she finally spoke, satisfied with the girl’s answer. She turned around and walked hastily out of the room, leaving Susie to herself.
Susie waited a few minutes until she heard her aunt’s footsteps descend down the long staircase. When she was sure she was alone on the second floor, she tiptoed quietly into the hall and looked around.
The hall was long and stark with doors lining either side of it. Susie smiled as she imagined what might lie on the other side of those doors.
She glanced over her shoulder towards the stairs, checking that she was indeed alone. She figured she could explore as long as she kept silent.
Susie tiptoed further down the hall, coming to the first door on the right. She wrapped her fingers around the doorknob and gently pushed the door open.
It swung silently in, allowing Susie to take in the sight that lay before her. There were dolls everywhere. They filled the entire room. Their eyes seemed to watch as she crept forward.
Susie was mesmerized by the sight. She had never seen so many dolls in one place before. It was amazing.
She let out a small cry of joy and rushed forward, examining all the dolls. Susie picked up a few, creating a small pile in the center of the floor. She had found her new friends. They would offer her solace while she was banished to this awful place.
Susie sat down among the dolls she had picked out. She touched them here and there, straightening their hair or smoothing their clothes. Each doll she had picked out reminded her of someone she knew. Having them surround her made her feel not so alone.
Susie picked up one doll in particular off the floor. She didn’t know why she had brought this one; it was just something she felt compelled to do.
“Well, is doesn’t matter,” she spoke softly as she straightened the doll’s dress. “In this room, all of you are my friends.” She smiled as she looked around at the dolls before her.
“Susan,” she heard her aunt’s voice from the hallway. “Where are you, child?”
Susan looked at the doll in her hand. Would her aunt be mad at her for being here? She quickly got to feet, an apology already forming on her lips.
Her aunt stepped through the doorway. “Susan! What are you doing to my dolls!” she screamed, coming towards her in a blur of motion.
Susie flinched, backing up suddenly. She bumped into a chair hard, toppling it over into a display case. The glass shattered instantly, scattering shards all over the carpet.
Her aunt froze, her mouth quivering as her hand went to her chest.
Susie looked at the destruction around her, horrified at what she had done. “I’m so sorry, Aunt Emma,” she said softly, expecting an outburst from her anytime.
Instead, her aunt seemed to collect herself. She turned and looked at the doll in the girl’s hand. “I see you’ve taken a fancy to one of my dolls,” she spoke as she stepped closer to her. “How nice,” she cooed. “I bet you even named it. Tell me, did you name it after someone you know?”
Susie nodded weakly, never taking her eyes of her aunt’s face.
“Isn’t that sweet,” her aunt spoke as she reached out and took the doll from her hands. “You know, child, you should never name something. Especially not something like a doll.”
“Why not, Aunt Emma?” Susie asked, quietly.
Her aunt stared at her a moment. “Because, silly girl, it creates a link between the doll and the person you think it represents,” she told her as he eyes drifted over the doll. “I think it’s time to teach you a lesson, child. A lesson about messing with things that don’t belong to you.”
Susie’s eyes went wide. “What are you going to do?”
Her aunt remained silent as she stared at the doll in her hands. After a few minutes, she looked up at Susie. “I bet you loved whoever this doll represented to you. To bad you’ll never see them again,” she told her coldly as she ripped the dolls head from her shoulders. A smile spread across her lips as she threw the pieces to the ground.
Susie watched the pieces bounce across the floor and then looked up at her aunt, a curious look upon her face. “I don’t love the person I named the doll after,” she said, speaking the words slowly.
Her aunt’s expression changed as she watched Susie face. Her head tipped forward slightly as a frowned formed on her lips. “Susan,” she muttered before her head lolled all the way forward and crashed down upon carpet. Her body stayed up a moment longer before pitching to the side.
Susie stared at the broken pieces of her aunt’s body as they lay next to the doll’s pieces. “I named the doll after you, Aunt Emma.”
©2010 Melissa L. Webb