16
Jan
21

Writing Prompt: Menagerie

They called it Katy’s Menagerie, but Kathleen Maclendon thought of them as her children.

A thirty-foot section of wall, rounding two corners, was devoted to thick glass shelves and recessed accent lighting, and in nearly every bit of real estate on those shelves, dolls were crowded in.

Some of them were recent acquisitions; American Girls or Barbies. Others were older – one of her pieces of pride was an original Little Miss No Name, still with a tear on her cheek – and others could even be considered antiques, old china dolls bought at auction from decrepit estates that had last been remodeled sometime in the last century.

Every one of them had a name: Susie, Annabelle, Robert. Hundreds more. Only Katy could keep them all straight, and sometimes when she had visitors and one of the dolls was called by the wrong name – by accident or maliciousness, Katy was never sure – she would apologize to Naomi or Hayley or Liam later, and make sure they had special lap time.

Lap time was the best for her, because it was then she didn’t feel alone. She would take down one of her dolls, and speak to it and cradle it gently. She would tell it about her day and ask what they had been up to, which of the other dolls had been naughty that day, which had performed some unseen kindness.

Though they never talked back, Katy imagined that they did, and it made her feel better. It served as a balm on her troubled, lonely soul. So it was, and so it would be, forever and ever, amen. Or so she thought.

Then came the day when, at lap time, Jose really did speak back to her.


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