H. M. L. Swann
Day 21: Photograph
So as I open up word and a ten-minute timer, I tell my partner “the prompt for #300DaysOfFlashWriting today is ‘Photograph.’” To which he responds, “Oh, do I have the photograph for you,” and sends me THIS nightmare fuel doll that I’m 100% certain haunts the Lakes.
Anyway. Today is day 2 of #100daysofwriting. I went for a run where I came up with a character name and did some rough plotting. I also sent out some queries.
Now it’s time to write a story for “photograph”
300 Days of Writing
Day 21 Photograph:
Molly didn’t like having her picture taken.
So when her mother hired the cameraman, Molly hid in the attic. She blocked the trap door with heavy suitcases and unused weights she slid across the floor, leaving thick trails in the dust, like a slug on pavement. She cried alone in the attic, refusing her mother’s calling voice, her mother’s scolding tone, the threats of punishment.
Once her mother quit shouting, Molly felt safe and started to explore.
She found a tall mirror, the antique glass was speckled with black, and Molly felt as if she were a dalmatian. She played puppy in the mirror, growling and barking at her reflection. She imagined her mother was Cruella de Vil and decided never to go back downstairs. Molly decided to live in the attic.
Opening one of the suitcases, she found a heap of her mother’s old clothes and played dress up. They smelled of must and mothballs. She wrapped herself up in scarves, tying them around her head, pretending she was in a foreign land. Sandy beaches and cruise liners taking her far far away.
There was a cardboard box taped shut. Molly tore at the layers of tape, eventually opening it by tearing a hole in the cardboard. Inside were photographs.
She flipped through the images and didn’t recognize anyone. At first, this puzzled and upset her. Who were these people? Her mother and father were nowhere to be seen in the hundreds of pictures she laid out on the floor.
Molly decided they could be pictures of the fellow passengers. Fellow holiday friends, all of them on the ship together, cruising away from angry mothers and cameramen.
That was when Molly saw it.
At first, the photo frightened her. It scared her because the doll was camouflaged in the old walls, her coloring and decomposition matching her surrounding almost perfectly, until Molly saw her black eyes.
But it wasn’t the black eyes or ceiling placement that scared Molly. It was the fact that the wall in the photo was the same wall as her attic home.
Looking over her shoulder, Molly saw the doll from the photograph hanging in the rafters. How had she not noticed it before?
Molly crept towards it; the photograph gripped in her sweating hands. Once she was directly beneath the doll, she let out a breath she didn’t realize she’d been holding.
It was just a doll.
Its voice was that of rustling leaves, or chalk on dry hands, imperceptible but undeniable. Molly screamed when the doll turned its blank face towards her.
She rushed to the trap door, pushing the suitcases out of her way, clothes spilling across the floor, scattering the photographs, but the door was gone, disappeared into the hardwood floor of the attic.