The results for the 24 hour writing contest came out about an hour or so ago.  Again, I got honorable mention, one of 30.  According to the judge, there were hundreds of entries.  Here is my entry,   and you can read the winners here: writersweekly.com 24 hour contest  Clearly I need to learn to write darker stuff for this contest…

(this story came in at one word under the max wordcount)

   The Prompt:

From her lap, his shiny black eyes stared up at her as
she admired his permanent red smile. Fingering his tiny
overalls, she pictured the little ones’ faces, pressed
against the icy windowpanes, waiting for her to arrive
with another basket of her lifelike, homemade gifts.
The last strand of hair was finally in place. As she
gently inserted the needle to tie a knot, he lurched
in her hand and a high-pitched voice said…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Doll’s Job

 

From her lap, two shiny black eyes stared up at her.  The last strand of hair was finally in place.  As she gently inserted the needle to tie a knot, the doll lurched in her hand and she comforted the doll, “Now you will have a new mistress, be a good little girl for her, always be helpful.  Helping your mistress is your new job.”

 

The doll nodded at her solemnly as the woman wrapped her and carefully placed her in a shipping box. 

 

Anne took the slip from her mailbox to the Post Office and slid it across the counter.  The clerk glanced at it and found her package.  “This must be my new doll,” thought Anne happily as she turned toward the door.

 

“Miss, you forgot your receipt,” called the clerk but Anne kept walking. 

 

When she opened the package at home, Anne touched the delicate lace and the cascading curls.  “What a lovely addition to my collection.  I wonder why she is sad, the advertisement showed her smiling.  She is still beautiful.”  Anne set her in the place of honor, next to her Dakin Sweet Dreams doll.

 

Anne woke up to the sun shining on her pillow.  She was hungry for bacon and pancakes. Stumbling into the kitchen, Anne poured herself a cup of coffee from her automatic coffee maker.  “The neighbors must be making bacon,” she thought to herself.  As Anne walked past the dining room, she noticed it was set for breakfast; pancakes, bacon and freshly squeezed orange juice.  She stepped in for a closer inspection and couldn’t believe her eyes, who had been in her apartment making breakfast?  She checked the windows and door and searched the apartment for an intruder, but she could find no way someone could get in.

 

In shock, Anne collapsed in her chair gazing at her shelf of dolls.  Suddenly she sat straight up in her chair staring, the new doll had just smiled at her. 

 

“Excuse me mistress, I made your breakfast, do you like it?” asked the new doll. 

 

As Anne watched, the doll’s mouth moved.  Dolls didn’t talk.  Anne could read lips, but the doll’s mouth was painted on and impossible for Anne to understand.

 

With a shudder, Anne ran to the kitchen for a plastic bag.  She wrapped the doll in the bag without touching it and took it to the dumpster.  “That was freaky,” thought Anne, still shivering.

 

The next morning Anne smelled sausage and gravy.  “What?  Not again.”  She opened her email account and emailed her mother that her new doll was making breakfast and talking to her.  Would she please come over?  Anne’s mother emailed back that she had a busy day but would stop by tomorrow. 

 

It was Saturday morning and traffic on the street was heavier than usual.  Anne stepped out to get her paper and noticed her neighbors were having a garage sale.  She took the doll to her neighbor’s garage sale.  She thrust the doll at her surprised neighbor and said “I don’t need the money for this, I just want to get rid of it.”

 

As Anne walked back to her house, a woman picked up the doll and asked, “How much for this?”

 

In her own apartment, she sighed with relief, the freaky doll was gone.  Anne went to bed that night and slept soundly.

 

The next morning she woke to omelets with mushrooms and cheese.  Furthermore the laundry she had left overnight in her drier had been folded and placed neatly on the counter.

 

Anne took a photograph of the new doll on her cell phone, so she could post it on eBay and send the nasty thing to another state.

 

Three days later, Anne packed the doll in its original box and mailed it to North Carolina, taking it personally to the Post Office.  “Good riddance,” she thought. 

 

Anne awoke the next morning to the scent of waffles.  A huge lump rose in her throat.  “Why won’t you leave me alone?” Anne asked the doll.

 

“You are my mistress, helping you is my job.”

 

Anne emailed her mother and told her about the doll.  “Are you taking any medication, dear, this really seems a little out of it, even for you,” replied her mother.

 

“No, mom, I am not taking any medication, this doll talks to me and cooks for me.”

 

Anne’s mother let herself in with her key, “Come with me,” she signed.  Anne got in the car like a robot.  She hadn’t slept well in a week.  “Let’s go for a little ride.” her mother signed.  Anne dozed in the passenger seat, waking up to find herself at the state institution for the mentally ill. 

 

Her mother admitted her matter-of-factly.  The orderly took her to a plain room with a bed and a narrow window.  Anne read her lips, “Get some sleep.”  Anne crawled onto the bed, curled up in a ball and wept until she fell asleep, her pillow soaked beneath her cheek. 

 

The sun streaming through the narrow window woke her.  Anne looked around with a sense of relief.  She sniffed for the scent of breakfast.  Nothing, the doll was gone.  With a light heart, Anne put on the sweat suit the orderly had provided her the night before and walked into the bathroom to find the doll, sitting next to her toothbrush, which had been helpfully tooth-pasted.

 

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