” Don’t turn away, don’t cry out in fear. Just look into my eyes and whatever you do, don’t look away. Not even for a minute. I’m going to tell you my secrets, give you my nightmares all of my demons and unchained fears. You and you alone I will trust. You and you alone I will die for and cherish. Look into my eyes and don’t look away. “
I put my hands, both of them against my reflection in the mirror and said ” Of course I won’t.”
The dolls were packed shoulder to shoulder, face to face, cheek to jowl, hip to eye on every single shelf in every single room of the Abandoned House on Elman Drive the Groundskeeper told me on my one and only visit.
One thing I should clear up here is this, the house wasn’t Abandoned per se, it was just called the Abandoned House because people went there to abandon their dolls that they no longer wanted. Most people would tell the current Grounds Keeper that there was nothing wrong with the doll, they just didn’t have the heart to toss it in the trash like it had never mattered at all.
The current Grounds Keeper, I was told, would nodded non-committedly and then unlock the door and let the dolls last owner in to find a place to leave their doll that had nothing wrong with it, you understand, wherever they chose.
After the doll was settled in the Grounds Keeper would go in a little later do a bit of arranging if need be and would leave the Abandoned House to it’s own device until the next doll and it’s confused and somewhat embarrassed owner showed up.
How often do people stop by with their dolls I asked.
Now and then the Grounds Keeper said. Every once and awhile. Always before dark and never after. There house has never been wired for electricity and someone who get hurt in there if they weren’t sure about where they were going.
” Can I go in and take a look around? ” I asked.
The Grounds Keeper reached over and pushed at the door and it whispered open, a cool draft crept out and brushed past my cheek.
I stepped back.
” Go on in, take a look around. Nothing in there but dolls that no one wanted. They used to matter and now they’re just cluttering up people’s lives. So they bring them here and leave them wherever they can find a spot. They don’t just drop them anywhere, like they never mattered. People place them very carefully. Some get left shoulder to shoulder, others are face to face, a few are even cheek to jowl or hip to eye.”
” I don’t have a doll with me. No. Wait I do. I’m sorry. I just wanted to look around before I-”
The Grounds Keeper watched my face.
I decided it would be ok. I could leave my doll here. I could choose a spot for it and leave it there with all the others.
In The Abandoned House.
I went back to my car to my trunk and opened it slowly because it felt like the right way to do what I was about to do.
I looked back up to the house, packed with dolls and regret and carefully reached down into my trunk and began to lift mine out.