“doll,” by Cherie Ann Turpin – Story #12 (30 Stories in 30 Days)


by Cherie Ann Turpin


She bought the red felt for a dollar from a big metal basket of assorted cloth pieces a local fabric shop maintained.  She paid another 25 cents for the tiny square of white cloth she would use for the eyes, and a dollar for the spool of black thread she would use to sew up and seal the poppet doll.

The clerk took the three dollars from the mildly disheveled woman wearing jeans and a tee-shirt, and tried without success to not react to the large purple bruises surrounding her eyes that peeked out from the frame of the aviator sunglasses. When she arrived home, she glanced at the clock and began to work quickly.  The herbs and paper strips were already sitting in a basket waiting to fill up the felt doll.

The spell sat on a small wooden table next to a black and red reversing candle dressed with run-devil-run powder, black arts incense, and black pepper.  Just before she began the ritual the phone rang in the kitchen.  As soon as she picked it up the voice on the other end began a staccato of chattering before she could get a word in.

Finally, she broke through–

“Look, I already filed the restraining order paperwork.  The court date’s been set for the domestic assault charge.  What more can I do?  He still hasn’t posted bail.  They told me I can’t do anything about the stalking unless he tries to kill me.”

The voice on the phone continued its staccato sounds.

“I’m already on it, Liz.  And yes, this is the last time I ever do a love ritual to draw somebody I don’t actually know into my life.  I get it now–no more manipulative magic.  Gotta go, the sun’s setting.  Bye-tell Chris I said hello!”

Click.  She turned off the ringer and walking into the living room tossed the phone into the big red easy chair in the corner.  She winced as she instinctively blinked her left eye and considered the throb of pain on the left side of her face.

Picking up the doll, the yellow lighter and a box of pins, she spoke to the red felt doll, imagining the white bits of cloth to be his eyes:  “Love shouldn’t have to hurt.  Not like this, Adam,” she whispered, tears flowing from her blackened, brutalized eyes.  Lighting the candle, she spoke the words of the spell to break the chain.  The first pin pierced the red felt fabric version of Adam’s left leg.

Somewhere in one of the cells within County lockup, a man’s blood-curdling screams could be heard.   A bone specialist was called to the Emergency Ward after he was air-lifted to County Hospital:  he would need a body cast and tests to determine the cause of so many fractures without physical trauma from guards or other inmates.
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8 thoughts on ““doll,” by Cherie Ann Turpin – Story #12 (30 Stories in 30 Days)

            • You guessed wrong. I’m an avid fan of cartoons. And flowers. And love. And non-violence. We all have dark sides. Question is: do we hide it in our art to comply with social conventions about gender, talking about dysfunctional relationships, abuse? Yes, this is a dark tale, one with a backstory. There are consequences to violence–and there are consequences to using manipulative means to achieve an end, however justified someone may feel about exacting revenge–hence the coming follow-up story. Good and evil and everything in between are all fertile topics to consider when tapping into our imaginations.

  1. DARK! I like it. But she was so nice. I would have left him in a full body cast from head to foot. What is the point of having magic if you can’t make bastards pay!

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