Fiction: ‘The Doll’

Today’s blog is a departure. As my loyal readers will know I write regular pieces for this blog, and also plenty of short plays. I have been neglecting my prose writing however. Having no writing project on the simmer at the moment, I decided to attend a writers’ workshop near my house today.  Time to practice my fiction.

The concept was simple. The facilitator provided a visual prompt. We then had thirty minutes to write a piece. Afterwards those who were willing would read it to the group.

Today’s prompt was a ‘Tiny Tears’ doll.  This is my endeavour. I’ve not edited it apart from the spelling mistakes. I hope you enjoy it.


The parcel lay on the kitchen table. Maggie noticed it immediately when she entered. It must have been delivered during the day. The strange thing was how it had gotten inside the house. Both her and Colin had been out at work all day. Living on the fourth floor of a shiny new apartment complex in the Docklands – their apartment was like Fort Knox. Nobody had a spare set of keys. While security had a key for the main gate, the flat itself was meant to be secure.

She was not unduly worried. Perhaps Colin had been to the post office collection depot during his lunchbreak from the bank. He worked on the other side of the river. Maybe he had forgotten to mention that he was expecting a parcel. Maybe he had pocketed the collection slip from their letter box and collected it that day. There must be a simple explanation.

She dropped her bag on the cushioned chair and switched on the kettle. A cup of tea before she’d change into her evening clothes. That evening they were meeting Jack and Melanie at the new sushi bar that had opened a few streets over. It had been so long since  they’d socialised. Not for almost a year.

They had decided however that they’d need to make more of an effort, to get back to reality. To a normal life.

What had happened had been the most devastating thing that had ever happened in their five year relationship. Her counsellor had told her that it would take time to process everything, Healing may take longer and might never come. But becoming paralysed by what had occurred would eventually destroy them. They needed to make an effort. Try to get back to a routine. A semblance of a normal life.

Idly she fingered the card hanging from the side of the parcel. She glanced at it. With a start she noticed that it was addressed to her. She picked it up. The package wasn’t heavy. Turning it over, she realised that it was plainly wrapped on all sides – no stamp, or DHL waybill anywhere.

Very odd. As hers was the name scrawled on the card, she went to the kitchen cabinet for a knife to cut open the wrapping. It was taped tightly. After a few seconds of stabbing, she punctured the paper, which she proceeded to rip off. The box was brown and made from cardboard as she had guessed from the texture of the package. Feeling quite excited she pulled off the lid. Could this be an early birthday gift from Colin? It must be – no-one else had access to the flat.

Giving a gasp of shock she flinched back. Inside was a doll. The ugliest doll she had ever seen. The size of a newborn, its facial expression was an ugly leer that was probably meant to be cute. It was a baby doll, with a malleable rubber head.

Gingerly she picked it out from the box and inspected it. It was no different from many of the dolls she had seen in the toystore when they had been visiting them. What a horrible gift to receive. It couldn’t be from Colin? Considering recent events it was certainly in poor taste. She’d been barely able to function for so long. Why would someone send such a hideous present so soon. So soon after she’d begun to feel human again.

Losing their baby, a mere four days after he’d been born had nearly destroyed her. He’d been twelve weeks premature. After the birth, he had been whisked immediately to intensive care. She’d not been allowed to hold him.

The doctors could make no promises but said they’d do their best. Their best had failed. Baby had died.

What followed had been a trancelike time. Crippled by grief she’d moved back to Limerick to her mother’s. Colin had stayed in Dublin. Her work had been understanding. She’d gone back only a few weeks earlier. Things had been starting to get back to normal.

Glancing down she saw a note. Nervously picking it up she read it. A tiny yelp of terror. Its message was quite simple. It read ‘you killed him, this is what you have left.’

Tears rushed to her eyes. What nightmare was this?

Grabbing her bag she ran to the front door. Her way way was blocked.

There stood Colin. A strange look on his face.

‘Hello Maggie’ he intoned.

His voice was as cold as his eyes, as he approached her.

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