Civil Hands: The Abysmal Dollhouse (AtoZ Blog Challenge)


** New Readers to this challenge: This is a serialized, continuous work. Please start with the first piece, Abysmally Yours. The AtoZ Blog Challenge began April 1st; ends April 30th. Thank you.


Civil Hands

The Abysmal Dollhouse

The Shopkeeper heard the duo arguing long before they stopped in front of her window. A woman and man, both getting on in their years, she noticed. Composing herself, patting down her white linen skirt, fastening the top button of her starched blouse,  untying her grey apron only to firmly tie it once again; she waited.

The light outside was bright as it fell through the glass, creating a myriad of shadows that fell from one dollhouse onto another, from the front of the shoppe to the back wall. A deep shadow remained in the far right corner of the main room. Nothing was ever bright enough to pierce its darkness.

As the arguing grew in intensity, the Shopkeeper saw the shape beginning to emerge from the corner. The outline of a leg, leading up to an arm clutching a long serrated knife. Dark, ringlet hair crept slowly into the shoppe.

“No,” the Shopkeeper commanded. “No. Not this time.”

She felt the waves of anger directed at her.  The intense emotion slowly dissolved, the figure drawing back: the ringlets first; the leg, slowly; the arm…stopped. The Shopkeeper saw the arm raise, the knife edge tilted back, handle in a throwing position.


The tinkling of the door chime severed her connection with the corner. The arguing couple were entering, quiet now after experiencing the Shopkeeper’s yell. She watched as the man closed the door, the woman a few steps already inside.  Her glance over to the corner satisfied her that it was just shadow, now. Turning her attention to the pair, the Shopkeeper smiled.

The woman looked around at the multitude of dollhouses, countertops laden with so many different styles. More adorned shelving that went around the walls, with some more displayed in curio cabinets.

“This is lovely,” she said, her eyes skipping around.

The man muttered. “This is stupid. What the hell are you thinking? This is a waste of time.”

“Enough, already. Enough,” she screamed. She turned quickly and glared at him. He matched her glare.

“If you need any assistance,” the Shopkeeper inserted, still smiling but not moving towards them, “please don’t hesitate to ask.” She picked up a duster and busied herself.

It was enough to break the standoff. Going off in different areas, quiet settled in the shoppe. It didn’t last long.

They collided with each other in front of a Craftsman Style Bungalow dollhouse. It started them off, quietly at first but soon boiled over to raised voices, fingers jabbing into each other. A shove. A push. Yelling, swearing, spittle spraying. The woman was fiercer in this instance, forcing the man to take steps backward. She inched him back, and then back some more.

Too late, the Shopkeeper saw they were closing in towards the far right corner.

“NO,” she shouted. “No!”

Two arms darted out of the shadows. White, stitched arms that ended in hands that, clawed, grabbed a hold of the dueling pair’s throats. Squeaking, they were forcibly pulled into the shadow.

The Shopkeeper reached the spot just a fraction of a second too late.

“No. No.”

To Be Continued…


The AtoZ Blog Challenge

During the month of April, 2018, the challenge requires that we write 26 posts, starting with the letter A on April 1st (yes, it’s not an April Fool’s Day joke) and ending with Z on Monday, April 30th. A week or so later, there will be a reflection post that will wrap up this experience, for me as well as my readers.


13 responses »

  1. Never had a dollhouse myself, so it’s not ruining old memories. I will be making sure I don’t get one for my granddaughter after these stories! Seriously though … on edge waiting for today’s. You’re doing it on purpose aren’t you? 😉

    A-Zing this year at:
    Normally found at:


  2. I will never see a dollhouse in the same way again. How very sad that where I live we commemorate the 9th anniversary of the Binghamton, New York shooting (13 dead plus the shooter) today. The teacher in that adult ed classroom, Roberta King, was well known for her dollhouse collections. They are still displayed annually, in her memory, at the Hanukkah House museum in Binghamton. I know that has nothing to do with your story, but it made me think of all those innocent dead – not in fiction, but in fact.


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