Saturday, March 23, 2013



I could always tell Sharlene everything and she would understand. She came when I was seven, three days after Christmas, in a box as tall as me, and I couldn't imagine what it was! I only knew that Mummy had thought about me enough to send a gift and that made me smile. Soon I was taking Sharlene with me wherever I went. Not that I went far. Mostly just in the garden, sauntering along the topiary paths, and out near the edge of the woods behind the house where I'd been told not to go. We sat together making up stories about impish fairies and handsome princes all the day long. Every Saturday morning I took her to visit Daddy. Sometimes the vicar came nosing around, looking down on us with his baggy mournful eyes as we sat round the grave. When he would finally leave, Sharlene and I would laugh at him and I would continue telling about Daddy and the morning he didn't wake up. I told her about Mummy too and how she always came to visit in the early winter. Then all through the year Sharlene and I would look forward to her visit.  But she didn't always come.  And sometimes she came without warning, stayed a day or two and went away again.
Sharlene looked a lot like me and was nearly as tall as me when she first arrived. But she wasn't as pretty as me and had only the one dress that she wore all the year round and which got awfully dirty. Too much wear and too many launderings caused it to become faded and ragged, and in a year's time Sharlene had acquired an awfully grubby appearance. She took on a forlorn look, with a sad and haunted expression in her eyes. And it seemed there was nothing I could say or do to cheer her up. It didn't even help when I let her wear some of my old clothing, some of the prettiest of the dresses that had been my favorites. There was simply no disguising the emptiness in her eyes, the gloomy shadow that darkened her face. Finally, when her appearance and demeanor had grown too disturbing for me to face any longer, I took her out very early one morning and buried her next to Daddy. I made a brilliant job of it, so that you couldn't even tell a hole had been dug. I can still remember, as I began tossing the dirt over her, how she lay there so stiff and uncaring, not batting an eye, not protesting her fate, just staring up at the sky overhead as though there were nothing anyone could say or do to make her smile ever again. She turned out quite a silly thing, Sharlene did. Whilst hurrying home before the vicar could come nosing about, I thought of how clean and happy and pretty Sharlene had been on the day when she'd first arrived, and what a shame it was, the nasty ways in which the world had changed her in so short a time, and the ghastly condition into which she had allowed herself to fall.

D.E. Sievers


  1. awesome. You really set a tone that rapidly deteriorates from happy little girl to downright eerie at the burial. Also, the doll disintegrates as the world changes for the girl (she's obviously growing up), nice. This needs to be a whole short story or even expanded as a novel. All I can say is...more, more!

  2. Such kind words, thank you, Rick. I'm glad you enjoyed it, these short pieces are fun to write. Not sure about a longer exploration of this particular one at the moment. But when you say novel, I do agree that a novel can be written about almost anything if you have the drive and dedication and skill to make it happen. Not sure what my next will be, but I'm eager to do another one soon.