The Bones of Baby Dolls
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She had begun creeping out of her room late at night, once she could hear her father 'sawing logs' as her mother called his snoring. She would creep down the hallway to baby Jack’s room, staring at him as he slept in his crib. He laid in his crib sleeping quietly making even less noise than her tip-toeing down the hallway. She would stand there staring down at him instead of up at the ceiling for hours on end. The moonlight didn’t shine through little Jack’s window at all. His room was as dark as it could get, but after a few minutes her eyes always adjusted allowing her to see him lying there still as the dead, other than the occasional sucking motion of his lips as though drinking from an invisible bottle.
Some nights she would stand there almost the entire night with Lily weaving in and out of her legs, while other nights she would sneak back to her own room, pulling apart another doll. She had a few left now. She had begun splitting the torsos open, methodically, like a coroner performing an autopsy. She would slip her knife in just below the plastic head, run a smooth straight slit down to the doll’s ambiguous crotch, disappointed each and every time to find nothing other than cotton filling the interior. It was incredibly unsatisfying finding no blood, no bones, nothing but different types of cotton stuffing. Sometimes, Cassie would cry but mostly she only grew more and more angry, brewing with an unquenchable rage.
“There will be no more of this talk, young lady! Do you hear me? Little girls do not think of such things! That is absolutely enough!” Her mother was nearly screaming at her now.
“Enough! But nothing! There will be no more talk of what’s inside people. Not another word, Cassie!”
“Yes, Mom.” Dejected, Cassie ran to her room crying, jumping on her bed to bury her face in her pillows.
Cassie couldn’t understand what her mother’s problem was. “Little girls don’t think of such things?” Wasn’t she exactly that, a little girl thinking of such things? Why did her mother hate her so much? The rage that had been building for weeks began to burst out of her eyes, in torrents of unstoppable tears. She wasn’t sad, she was furious. She began punching her pillows out of sheer frustration, but found her anger not ebbing at all, instead only growing with each strike. Cassie sat up, trying to wipe away the flood pouring from her eyes. She knew what she had to do now. She found the realization stopped her tears from pouring down her cheeks. Her rage subsided as a smile grew across her lips. She had what an alcoholic would call a moment of clarity. She didn’t know what to call it but she knew she felt better instantly. She wiped her tears away on her shirt sleeve, exiting her room to apologize to her mother.
Cassie was filled with excitement, never had she wanted bedtime to come so quickly. She stared up at the ceiling, unable to stop smiling while she waited to hear her parents’ door close. The wait was killing her. She waited and waited, finally hearing the door close, followed shortly after by her father’s wall-shaking snore. She waited a while longer just to make sure both her parents were asleep. She slipped out from under her pink Cinderella comforter, squeezing her little toes into her pink carpet, trying hard not to sprint to the door. She knew it was nearly impossible to wake her parents, even if a train rolled straight through their house, but she didn’t want to take any chances.