There are very few good things about being alone in a forest at night, she decided.
It was cold and dark and damp and scary and…. she ran out of words. But it was definitely unpleasant.
Something howled in the distance and something much closer chittered and squeaked as it ran by. Something, she imagined, with claws and teeth. Something that could tear a little doll like her into pieces. Her little rag-doll heart leaped and raced inside of her cotton-stuffed chest, knowing that there was nothing she could do.
She had not thought that this would be the end. Actually, she had not thought much about the end. Toys are not generally made that way – it is simply not the way their minds are inclined. Dolls, in particular, are made to think of sunny days and tea parties and dresses. And those are all subjects that this particular doll had spent plenty of time reflecting on. But somewhere in between, in the shadowy corners of her mind (insofar as dolls have shadowy corners of their minds, reader, and this one did), she had thought a little about what the end would be like.
This was not what she had imagined. She had thought, perhaps, someday, in the far distant future, when the little girl did not love her anymore, she would be relegated to some dusty shelf in a rarely-visited playroom. And that had seemed bad enough – to be unloved, to be forgotten and left behind on a shelf somewhere, watching the world go by.
This, she thought, shuddering at the damp dirty ground beneath her, was infinitely worse.
And she hadn’t expected it to come so soon – it was their first picnic, after all. She’d been excited all through the ride to the forest preserve, had watched with big, glowing, glassy eyes as the blanket had been laid down and the food had been set out.
And it had been wonderful. The little girl had fed her pretend spoonfuls of potato salad, given her pretend sips of tea to wash it down with. There had been cake, and cookies and spots of sunlight dappling the red-plaid blanket….. It had been perfect.
And then the food was packed away and the blanket was folded up and everything was placed in the car….. and she was left behind, alone on the dirty forest floor.
And this was it. Any moment now, some foul creature would scoop her up in dirty claws and that would be the end. If dolls could cry, reader, this is the moment when a tear would’ve slid down from those big, glassy eyes. But dolls cannot cry and this one had no outlet for her pain.
And then…. She could swear she heard noises. Car noises, and boots crunching through the grass…. Could it be people? Could it be her people? If she could’ve held her breath, she would have. And then, suddenly, bright light shone into her face. And she heard a familiar voice.
“I found her!”
The same little girl’s voice that had crooned to her a million times sounded happy now. She found herself being scooped off the ground and hugged tight in a pair of familiar arms as the adults crunched their way over.
“I can’t believe we drove all the way back out here, just for a doll,” an adult male voice said. “Do you know how much gas we wasted?”
“It was worth it,” a female voice said. “Look how happy she is.”
But the doll didn’t hear any of this. All she knew was a pair of loving arms around her and a small voice whispering in her ear.
“I missed you,” the little girl whispered, and the doll’s heart soared.
This was what she was made for, after all. The same thing we’re all made for, really.
To be loved.
Writing Prompt: Comfort, Forest, Doll
Prompt courtesy of: