The Doll

When I was a little girl, I hated dolls. Especially the variety that sings or talks. The ones with eyes that open and close were the most terrifying.

In refugee camp, I bit a man who tried to give me a doll as a gift. Mom tried to warn him, but he didn’t listen. Dad had to slap me across the face and pry my jaws open with both hands before I finally let go.

I really hated dolls.

For some reason, people just kept buying me dolls for my birthday and Christmas. There is a reason so many horror films use dolls as a motif – every single one looks like it could be possessed.

There was one doll in particular that haunted my childhood. One of my aunts bought it for me. She had brown hair and wore a blue dress with a matching hat. You pushed a button on her back, and she sang this song in an eerie little voice:

Mistress Mary, quite contrary
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockle shells
And pretty maids all in a row.

I was very careless with this doll. I felt obligated to play with her and yet I wished I could lock her in a closet. But I also worried, irrationally, that she would be upset if I did. One day, I dropped her, and one of her blue eyes popped out.

Dad said I should apologize or she would haunt me. He was being funny, but that’s not something you joke about with a child already terrified of dolls. Mom assured me he was only teasing, although I apologized just in case.

Some time later, Brother and one of my cousins used the same doll to terrorize me into staying out of their business. I chased the two into our house, only to stop in my tracks – the singing doll was floating in one corner of the living room! I didn’t see the fishing line that strung her from a hook in the ceiling. The line ran around the corner and down the hall, to my parents’ bedroom, where Brother was hiding while his accomplice banged on the hot water heater to make creepy sound effects.

Needless to say, I did not stay to investigate. I bolted out the front door, screaming.

I hate dolls.


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