THE NODDING DOLL

Following on from last week’s writing prompt, this week’s picture is of a Japanese Nodding Doll I bought in Nikko when I visited there a few years ago. See what you think and please leave a short piece of work in the comments.

Anyway, here’s my short piece inspired by the picture.

THE NODDING DOLL

How angry Lisa was.

“We’re home, Honey,” shouted Dad. “You miss us?”

“No,” said Lisa.

“Come and get a kiss,” Dad said. “Come and see what we’ve got for you.”

Lisa walked into the room. Dad’s new wife was sitting on the sofa, just were Mum used to sit.

“Look.” She held up a Japanese wooden doll. It was more like a skittle than a doll, with big wooden head that waggled back and forth. “What do you think?”

Lisa shrugged.

“Answer your mother,” said Dad.

“She’s not my mother,” said Lisa. And that sparked it all off. Dad started shouting. His new wife smiled at Lisa, and somehow that just made it worse.

“Leave her,” she said. “She’ll come round in time. Won’t you, darling.”

“No, I won’t.”

“Go to your room,” said Dad. He always took her side.

In her room, Lisa set the doll on her night stand. “I should throw you away,” she said. But as she spoke, the wooded doll wagged its head from side to side.

“You’re on her side.” But again the doll’s head shook: No.

Lisa hesitated. “Why should I keep you? You can’t help me.” Now the dolls head bobbed back and forth. Yes.

“You can? Now?” The wooden doll’s head stared at Lisa with unseeing painted eyes.

“This is stupid, I should throw you away.” Again doll’s head shook: No.

Lisa lay back on her bed. She would leave the doll for now.

“She’s not my mother.” The doll nodded in agreement.

Why did her own mother need to die? Every time she thought of it, she wanted to cry.

“It should be her that’s dead.”

The nodding doll agreed.

The End

Now lets read your story!

8 thoughts on “THE NODDING DOLL”

  1. That’s a foreboding ending, love it! I’ll give it a go with a poem this time, “The Doll in the Closet.”
    I sneezed in the dark
    on the shelf in the closet
    your dog heard and barked

    Through the slatted door
    eyes never blinking, I watch
    you age, sleep, and snore

    You will die and I will not,
    your life, a mere little dot.

    (If you give us another poem next week, I’ll have to do something cheerful!)

  2. I love your story, David, and your poem, Priscilla. I’m afraid I can’t live up to either of you, but here is my offering:

    The Doll
    Ciara noticed the Japanese nodding doll the minute she entered her bedroom to get changed for work after school.
    For a moment her heart leapt at the thought her mother had remembered her birthday, but hope died when she remembered how her mother thought presents were a waste of money. Besides, her mother hated the Japanese, or anyone from another country for that matter.
    Sitting on her hard, narrow bed, Ciara picked up the doll to examine it. It looked old, scuffed with soot and greasy finger marks, the paint faded or chipped off in some places on the body. The head was in slightly better condition, with lustrous black hair, and the closed eyes and upturned lips of the face still visible, although were those tear tracks through the dirt on her cheeks?
    “Where did you come from?”
    The same place as you.
    Ciara almost dropped the doll when the voice spoke in her head, as clear as if someone sat on the thin duvet beside her. The motion set the doll’s head nodding, as if she was laughing about some secret joke. In response, a circular window appeared in the air between Ciara and the door of her bedroom. It expanded until it was taller than her, and as wide as her bed was long. The surface glistened as if it were covered in cling film.
    Through the window, Ciara saw a room that had been badly damaged by fire, but was still recognizable as a nursery. The remains of a crib sat in the middle of the room, and under crumbling masonry and twists of invasive vines lay moldy stuffed toys and baby clothes.
    A photograph in a cracked glass picture frame drew Ciara’s attention. The dark eyes and wild hair peeping through the dust could be her own.
    She stood and reached through the window for the picture, and the portal seemed to swallow her, so that she found herself standing in the cold abandoned room with the doll in one hand and the photo frame in the other, with no sign of the window or her little bedroom.
    She rubbed the smut from the glass with her sleeve, revealing a picture of a woman ten years her senior, proudly holding a swaddled newborn. Faded lettering on a tattered piece of card at the bottom of the frame declared Emma’s first day home, and a date a few days after Ciara’s birth.
    “Did I come from here?”
    We both did.
    This time the doll nodded without any movement of Ciara’s hand, and once again a window opened before her. She saw a quiet suburban street lined with pleasant houses. A middle aged woman cut roses from a bush in the front yard of one of the homes. Her eyes looked sad, and her haired was tamed by a scarf, but Ciara recognized her from the photograph.
    Clutching the doll to her chest, she stepped confidently through the window.

    1. Great story Iseult you always have unique take on things. You remind me a bit of Joan Aitken’s short stories always clever, always wistful and always a little sad.

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