Thursday, August 14, 2008

Doll Box

The building is shaped like a pyramid that never quite comes to a point. The walls slope inward and upward closing in on themselves. As high as the eye can see, covering the faces of all four walls, are the dirty plastic and porcelain visages of dolls. Some are just heads, others wear ragged dresses, sailor suits, or overalls to cover their little bodies. Some are missing an eye, from others an arm or a leg is absent, or even the hair which should adorn a head. In some cases the hair has been cut down to reveal the little round pin holes through which silky synthetic hairs once cascaded generously. Now only short outcroppings protrude like thirsty weeds from un-watered earth. They are bathed in shadows from which they peer out at each other timidly.
The smudges of dirt and dust upon their apple shaped cheeks blend inconspicuously with the general gloom. The only light to trouble the inanimate inhabitants of this space comes from a small round window positioned somewhere up high. It is dirt streaked and lets in just a touch of light, enough to make the occupants of the room visible. If the mass of dolls, with their dirtied lace petticoats and moth eaten pink bloomers could be lifted from the walls, only faded gray planks of wood would be revealed with splintered edges by their absence. The floor too is of the same wood planks looking ashen under a film of dust. This film is completely undisturbed, like a blanket of new snow, it is spread snugly over the floorboards.
In one corner, a spider is walking along, leaving behind pin prick arachnid footprints. His body is very round, his legs are not too long compared to other spiders. To the dolls he looks black, especially as positioned over the dust. To another spider he would appear to be more of a dark grayish brown.
He ambles along under an unfinished pine rocking chair. It too is subject to the powdering of dust. Its great curved sled feet rise up from the floor, the tips pointing toward a ceiling invisible in the murk.
There is no apparent doorway leading in or out. Along the wall on one side of the room a dark counter top with a few drawers juts like a fat lip from under the dangling legs of dolls. A few lengths of wire lay out across its surface, gathering ashen particles so that they have come to look fuzzy. They hang over the edge and just reach to the floor. On one corner of the counter sits a glass jar. Several bushy brushes, like those made for applying make up, cross lengths with a more petite variety, like those used for painting some fine detail. Hidden among their stems at the bottom of the jar, one blue eye rests unblinking, perhaps lost from the face of some poor citizen hanging high above.
There is a faded yellow paper laying out, also coated with the velvety dust. Upon it, faint graphite markings are approaching invisibility, now too faded to make anything of their original design out. From the outside the building looks like a chimney stack covered in shingles, all painted a robin’s egg blue. The panes crossing the round window are painted goldenrod, as is the lattice around the superfluous eaves at the building’s crest. A large black crow sits perched on the western lip of the roof, looking silently at the steely blue storm clouds as they drift out into the distance.

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