The Dollhouse

Prompt Day #163: Craft a new piece using this sentence as your opening line: “I never used to be this violent.”

The Dollhouse


“I never used to be this violent” he says to the girl as he drags her up the steps of the back porch. The porch of the dilapidated Victorian sags in the center making outdoor furniture useless. She whimpers in half-consciousness. “I used to be a nice guy, always putting myself out there for girls like you.” He uses the same key the lawyer handed him the day of the will reading to let them in. The stink hits them immediately and works like smelling salts on the girl. She lifts her bruised and battered head and sees the tableau he has set up in the kitchen. She wants to scream but the jagged incisions running from the corners of her mouth up to her cheek bones burn with a searing pain that keeps her quiet.

“Do you like it? He asks, sitting her down on the only empty chair. “My life size doll house.” It feels better to sit down, her ankles are swollen and when he is dragging her around, the fragments of bone rub together painfully. She stares, wide eyed at the bodies occupying the other three chairs. Their black bloated bodies posed as if every family rots together over a healthy, home-cooked dinner.

“My grandmother left this house to me. Once I hoped to meet a woman, get married and raise a family here” He gestures to the kitchen as if the faded 1970’s olive green and orange motif is every modern girl’s dream come true. The girl follows with her eyes; everything else hurts too much to move. He comes up behind her and slams her head into the table.

“Damn it! I shouldn’t have to do this. Why do you make me do these things?” He holds her head to the table, pressing with all his weight. Her eyes are watering. The pressure on her swollen cheek is unbearable and she lets herself sink into the darkness edging in from the periphery. He is shouting but his shouts drown in the waves washing over her.

“Why can’t you smile? Why can’t any of you smile, why do I have to make you love me?” He sees her losing consciousness again. He can’t have that. He pulls her up by her hair; up off the chair and onto her broken feet. Now, she screams. Good. He wants her to feel his pain. The pain of rejection, the pain of this empty, lonesome house. He drags her over to the first girl he had brought here last month. The date was going fine until he showed her the house, told her all his dreams and she laughed at him. He killed her too fast, but he found his grandfather’s old taxidermy equipment and did his best, playing house with her for a week or so until her bored expression began to wear on him and he knew he needed a new doll for his house, one that was moveable, one that smiled.

“I had high hopes for you.” He tells her, accenting each word with a jerk of her hair. Until you, I thought the girl would have to be dead. I tried posable girls. He grabs the arm of the cadaver closest to her and moves it around. There is a sickening wet sucking sound as it moves and the smell that wafts up from the putrefied remains makes her gag.

“I thought you understood me, I thought you wanted the same things I did.” Is he crying? His voice is breaking as he talks, as he drags her further into the house of death. “I wouldn’t make you work at that stupid coffee shop anymore. You wouldn’t have to listen to guys like me pouring their hearts out to you while you pour them a drink. I thought you liked me.” She catches a glimpse of another body sprawled out, naked from the waist down, on the chair in the living room. She, too, wears a surgically altered grin. She shudders; thinking about what he has done with that body.

“I got something for you, for us.” He tells her still dragging her by her hair, she struggles to keep up, limping clumsily. There is a side room immediately to the right of the living room and this is where he is taking her. She is afraid of what lies in store for her here. Upon entering the room, however, her fears are focused instead to the bassinet lying innocently under a mobile of fluffy white sheep.

“I want to have a family, I want that to start now. I’m adding pieces to our doll house, see. Here we can pretend to be a happy family, a life size happy family” He says and plops her down into the rocking chair. He walks over to the bassinet and she prays there is nothing in it. If she is wrong, she thinks she will die, right there and then. He picks up a bundle and carries it to her. She is hyperventilating. Please don’t let it be a dead baby, please don’t let me have to hold a dead baby, she thinks.

“Here, let me see how you look with this” She can’t bring herself to hold her arms out for it.

“Take this or I will break your arms like I did your feet.” The memory flashes through her head, waking up with her ankles braced in vices as he turned the screws. The maddeningly slow torture she cannot survive again. She holds out her shaking arms. He places the bundle carefully in them and pushes it towards her chest. She looks down; she doesn’t want to, but she has to. It is heavy like a real baby but its face is frozen in porcelain. She feels her shoulders drop. It isn’t real.

“You look like a mother” He says, his voice softening. “We can still do this, you know, be a family. I’ll make the other girls go away if they bother you. This can be our home. I’ll go get you a baby tonight.” He bends down, using her knee to steady himself. His face softened as if he truly was her lover, proposing marriage.

She grips the too perfectly round, smooth head of the antique doll in her palms. She musters all her strength and crushes it between the two. Her hands are bleeding but the pain is so minimal compared to everything else. He stands up and back hands her hard.

“Why did you do that? That doll was my grandmother’s! She left that to me, for you, you stupid whore. You’re no better than the others.” He pulls back to hit her again and she buries the largest chunk of broken baby into his groin. She lets go, leaving the piece impaling his penis. He is on the floor, rolling in agony. She will have to crawl past him in order to escape. She grabs another chunk of porcelain and begins to army crawl across the floor. He grabs her wrist and she puts the next shard deep between his ulna and radius. The fingers on his hand curl up like a dead bug.

She makes it past him, past the object d’necrophilia in the living room and the two poorly taxidermied corpses in the Brady Bunch kitchen. She bloodies her fingers and rips off a fingernail trying to get the back door open. She manages finally and the screen door puts up no resistance.

She lies in the valley of the sagging porch, gulping in the fresh air and for the first time thinks that air actually does have a sweet taste to it that she will never again take for granted. When she has filled up on oxygen, she attempts to climb out of the depression. He comes lurching out onto the porch, staggering, blood soaks the front of his pants.

She screams as he loses consciousness and falls on top of her, the weight of his body on hers breaking through the rotting floor boards. They fall several feet and land just as they started; his dead weight on top of her. He is dead. He broke his neck in the fall. She passes out from the pain.

She awakens when the light of the afternoon sun shines into the hole. It allows her to see that his is not the only dead body sharing the space with her. She no longer has the strength to push him off her, so she lies still resigned to her fate. She thinks instead of the baby who will sleep safe in its mother’s arms tonight and wonders if she will be dead before the sweet air turns sour.