My grandmother Phyllis used to always talk about writing a story about a dollhouse in a garden. It’s a sweet idea, once that I’ve tossed around in the back of my head for years, but for some reason, the narrative always turns . . . creepy.
Here’s another attempt starting:
The dollhouse in the garden was there when Alyssa moved into the old farmhouse she’d rented. She could see the dark grey roof peeking through the tops of the wild raspberry bushes and the rhubarb leaves, and when the wind blew aside the masses of flowering yarrow, its weathered red shutters and bleached wood walls were visible, too. But in between all of the unpacking and sorting and painting and cleaning things to do, the garden in the small backyard was neglected and she never got around to investigating the dollhouse up close.
But on days when the rain poured down, she felt it there. The word she would have used was “watching”, even though that was clearly sily. Dollhouses didn’t have eyes. Those glimpses through the waving greenery had on occasion showed glassless miniature windows between the decorative shutters, but that’s all they were: windows. And not even real windows. Facsimiles in 1′:1″ scale. She was an adult and it was a plaything. Ridiculous even to think that it had anything resembling a personality or — dare she say it — a soul.
So she went about her business, setting up her first real grown-up home and letting the grass in the backyard grow long and wild.
Alyssa sat one night beside the gas fireplace with a glass of wine. The season had turned cold and stayed that way, but she’d noticed a change in the colour of the leaves so the chill in the air made sense. She’d lost track of the days, even with the calendar on the fridge firmly marking her first day of work at the new job. With fall coming, and her internship about to begin at the hospital, the backyard was soon going to be a mess of dead foliage and drying leaves. That would be the best time to clean it out, right before the snow flew and buried it all for six months.
And she would be able to set the dollhouse by the road for either garbage pickup or someone to try to fix.