Dolls

The house is home to a mother and daughter. Eveline prefers to spend her days sitting downstairs with nothing but a tea set as company. Emily likes to play with her dolls in her doll's house and wears old fashioned dresses. They have a guest who stays with them, but sometimes they also have unwanted visitors.

"Good afternoon. My name is Eveline Violet Blackwood, but to save time you may wish to call me Eve. Welcome to my house."

Other than those three sentences, the memory of the moment I first arrived at the house is vague in my mind. With the state of mind I was in at the time, everything is. All I knew was that I had to be somewhere. I had to cling to the first thing I saw so that I wouldn't float away and disappear. Being nothing was always what I feared the most.

I remember meeting Eve and Emily, though. I can recall more easily the first time I sat at the table, facing Eve. We sat staring for a few long moments that time. On her pale face was a hollow, polite smile and a masked expression. Her red lips were pressed together, and her grey-blue eyes gave away nothing. She sat upright, her head held confidently up. Her ebony hair - a colour to match most of the furniture in the house - was pinned back neatly, though a few ringlets escaped and framed the sides of her face. I suppose you could call her beautiful, but she looked more like a painting than a real person.

"Emily, dear" she tilted her head to face the doorway, the same smile still fixed on her face. "Would you bring the tea for our guest?"

The little girl, who had hesitantly entered the room when called, nodded quickly. She turned on her heel and ran, her long waves of hair lifting behind her.

"Don't run, you'll knock something over!" Eve called out, before turning back to me with a sigh. "Why must children run everywhere?"

I expressed my agreement on this mystery with an uncertain gesture, my mind too overwhelmed by the house to find words. It was an old house, but I couldn't say how old. It may have simply been the things it was filled with that gave me that impression; an array of odd ornaments, worn, dusty furniture, and dim lights that didn't seem to work very well anymore, which I later found out meant that it was often necessary to use candles instead.

"I do apologise for the mess," Eve said, almost as if reading my mind. "You see, it's rather difficult for us to get around to cleaning properly. It's only me and Emily here."

I nodded uneasily. The heavy curtains were drawn, even though it was a bright day outside. A clock ticked from somewhere but I couldn't see it in the room.

Emily eventually walked back into the room, carefully holding a tray of cups and saucers, and a teapot. She set it down on the table that separated me and Eve. Suddenly though, I didn't feel like eating or drinking at all.

"No thank-you," I said, raising my hand slightly as the girl was about to pour the tea. For a moment she looked at me in a strange way. Her eyes seemed to stare right through me. She was as pale as Eve was, but her hair was very blond - almost white - in contrast, and much longer. Her clothes were just as neat - a pretty, detailed dress that brushed the floor. I've never been very good at guessing ages (houses or people) but she acted very much older than she seemed to be. I assumed that she was just shy around new people.

"Say hello to our guest, dear." Eve told her. Her voice was soft but it sounded like an order.

"Hello." the girl said, in almost a whisper.

"Good girl, now go and play with your dolls. You need to leave the adults in peace." Eve said firmly, and the girl left the room again. Eve turned to me. "My daughter can be rather odd sometimes, I believe it is just a phase she's going through. I would pay no attention."

"Well, from what I can see- Emily, was it?"

"Emily Rose. But again, it may be more convenient to exclude her second name when referring to her in conversation." Eve gave a slightly sarcastic smile as she spoke in this overly formal manner.

"Well, Emily seems to be a fairly well-behaved child."

Eve laughed a little, but didn't reply for a while. She looked into her teacup and went to pick it up, but seemed to change her mind.

"You will find your room to the right as you reach the top of the stairs." she said abruptly. "Emily is in her room which is two doors down, so she can show you around the rest of the house if you wish."

The rest of that first day is, however, as faded a memory in my mind as the beginning of it.

The End

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