Jabber Wonky: 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.

Jabber Wonky

The Abysmal Dollhouse

No Bernard Hermann orchestrated violin screeches. No frame to frame jumps. No bewildered surprises. After his first time, no sneaking behind, no hiding behind the curtains. He didn’t get the same satisfaction. He did not want anything obscuring the process: the vorpal knife in hand, the vorbal knife raised up, the vorpal knife descending, the vorpal blade sliding and  plunging in. Repeat; no rinse. Repeat.

There was symmetry in threes. One definitely wasn’t enough. Two didn’t achieve fruition. Three. Three was complete. Three was Divine. A trinity of deep stabs, releasing the crimson in light, black in the night. Shadows, John Prine sang: shadows formed by the tree that shared the killing space.

It was 4:00 p.m. when the deed was done, the third on the third day. A live mop of a blackbird cried out before it took off, wending round and round the man and his kill. The vorpal knife was shaken towards the daft thing, and it took further flight as droplets, lithe and slimy, flecked its unruly feathers.

Kneeling, the killer jabbed his vorpal knife into the grass-plot at the base of the tree. Three times again; the vorpal blade was cleansed. Only then did he stand and place the weapon back inside the sheath that was the inside pocket of his dark oily duster. His prey lay beside this purifying space, face up, color and warmth drained away.

Backing out of the brush that hid the tree that hid the grass that hid the body, the jabber of the vorpal blade strode along the path that led to the main street thoroughfare. He was whistling Greig’s “In the Halls of the Mountain King”, badly, as he walked away. His need was sated; good for another month. As he passed a roach coach food truck, a line extending from the curb long enough that he had to walk around the queue. this bothered him greatly, but, again, his need was sated. He walked on. Whistling.

The shadows, formed by the tree as it blocked the fading sunlight, grew darker. Out of this stepped the Unfolding Doll, piece by piece, until it stood, whole, flush against the tree trunk. Late. It was late, again. The once alive was sprawled by the doll’s linen shoes; it was careful not to step into the slowly seeping into the ground ichor.

The black button eyes, fixed in place with black thread-like stitching, moved with the turning of its head. There was no more presence, nothing to draw it on further. Nothing in this spot, not anymore. The Shopkeeper felt the need to set it free, even for this little bit, but her hesitation was its undoing. Its knife appeared in its hand, the blade scraping against the trunk of the tree, and then receded and drawn in.

The knife folded into shadow; the Unfolding Doll followed. The hold of the shoppe, and of the Shopkeeper, was too strong. The doll could not fight its return, yet fight it tried. As the shadow crept over and through, the Unfolding Doll struggled to remain where it was, its need to track and destroy the jabber strong, but not strong enough. With a pull from the Shopkeeper, the doll was yanked into the shadow of the tree…

And out of the shadow in the far corner of the shoppe. The doll stood, just on the edge, facing the Shopkeeper, whose broom was in hand.

“Late. I know. I know. I acted too late, giving my consent to hunt. To take him down.” The Shopkeeper slumped, allowing the broom in her hands to help support her. Her head drooped, slightly, and with averted eyes said “Another time. Next time. I won’t hesitate.”

She looked up at the doll.

“I won’t hesitate!” She returned to her counter, busying herself with odds and ends that did not need busying about.

The knife appeared in the Unfolding Dolls’ hand. It turned it left to right, back again, left to right. The rigidness of the doll faded and it moved among the dollhouses. As it came near, there were squeaks and gasps and shutters slamming shut, tiny sounds made tinier by the menace prowling around them.

It stopped its meandering. Standing in front of the Lawang Sewu, then standing inside, the Unfolding Doll began to travel the thousand doors, in search of a prey of its own.

To be continued…along the way


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.

*I’ve decided to reblog past Abysmal Dollhouse stories on Sundays since we’re not required to write those days. The reblog will not correspond to any specific letter. Just thought you might enjoy some of the previous entries that I’m fond of.

14 responses »

  1. Mine was : Backing out of the brush that hid the tree that hid the grass that hid the body. It has the rhythm of ‘The house that Jack built’ whilst being as far away from a nursery rhyme as one can get. I can feel we’re on the edge of really knowing … But my sense is that you’ll make us suffer a lot more before we truly do. Great!

    A-Zing this year at:
    Normally found at:

    Liked by 1 person

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