Tom Bagshaw

Tom Bagshaw


She’d been collecting dolls and stuffed animals all her life.  As with most little girls, her parents and friends would gift her a new doll on just about any occasion that popped up, unlike most girls though, she never played with her dolls.  She never had tea with them or took them from the niches she’d placed them in to go out and play house.  Her dolls were her audience her peers.

When she began school, she’d return home and tell her dolls about her day, she’d read to them the stories she read in school and show her art work to them.  As she grew older she’d write her stories and poetry then read the drafts and make corrections according to what she imagined they commented on her work.  Eventually, she reached 18, went to college, taking just those dolls she felt were the most articulate.

When she met Matthew in her second year of collage, she felt that he was the man she wanted to marry.  There were aspects of his personality that worried her a little and she discussed them with her special favorites, but in the end, she decided that these defects were minor and could be worked out.

They married when they both graduated.  She’d been publishing her work from way back in her early teens.  He wasn’t a writer.  He’d graduated with full marks at the top of his class as an engineer.  Where she was a little dreamy he was very pragmatic.  Upon graduation he took a job with a prestigious company in the mid-west and so they went to live not far from St. Louis in one of the nicer areas of the state.

Their marital problems began almost as soon as they set up house together.  She had her own studio where she had her computer, printer and reference books, which she barely used now that internet was so easily accessible.  She also lined her room with all her dolls.

He felt that her dolls were superfluous and somehow kept her from becoming a full adult.  He wanted her to get rid of every last one.  She’d explain that they were her muses, that they were her audience and without them she couldn’t write at all.  This explanation only convinced him even more that the dolls had to go.

During a month-long book signing tour around the country, one evening, he took all her dolls and put them into a large box and left them at the Good Will.  His nightmares began that night.

He’d toss and turn in bed as the dolls surrounded him and mutely stare at him.  They never said a word, just stared or maybe glared would be the better word; those looks they gave him as he’d stood in the middle of a room surrounded by them made his blood run cold.  Each night the dolls would come closer and closer.  After a week they seemed to start to whirl around his head even in day-time.  He couldn’t work and he began to take sedatives.

When she returned home, she was shocked, not only by the fact that he’d so high-handedly given away her dolls but also at his appearance.  He was haggard and gray faced.  He was afraid to go to sleep at night and would stay up late drinking.  He never told her about the nightmares…the pragmatic part of himself refused to admit that something so intangible as dreams could have any relevance on his life.  He figured he’d been working too much, and that of course he felt a little guilty for having taken that step which he knew was actually based on his jealousy of her work which took time from him.

On the other hand, she grew despondent as she slipped into a writer’s block that no exercise could break.  Tried as she might, no stories were forthcoming.  Her poetry was flat and without her habit to read her work out loud to her dolls she couldn’t infuse them with life.  He’d never been interested in her work, so it was useless to read to him.  She’d spend an hour, ostensibly writing, just staring at the empty spaces around her room.

The evening he died, a Good Will van pulled up in front of their home.  The driver got a large box out of the back of the van and came up their sidewalk, rang the bell and waited.  Matthew opened the door and when he saw the box he let out a yell, grabbed his chest and fell over.

The day after his funeral she placed her dolls back into their special niches and wrote a loving eulogy for Matthew.


This Short story was written for Photo Challenge #4 “Figments of Inertia” Go by Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie and become inspired by a new prompt every day!

Ciao, Bastet.


13 thoughts on “Dolls

  1. While I didn’t wish him dead I was happy of the nightmares if I am honest for throwing away something so precious to her. I can relate very much to this story not because I collect dolls but because as a writer I find people are always telling me to grow up and stop daydreaming and to be more practical and logical, to act a certain way. No one wishes that I were as I am. So I know very well how the character feels.


    • Know the feeling all too well believe me and it’s so frustrating. One would think that artists though not writers would be at least a little more entuned but I’ve found that that isn’t the case…I used to draw and paint alot, so some of my work hangs around the hous, when someone sees them and then hears I’ve moved on to photography and writing I get the “What a shame…you should start drawing again.” bit.
      Anyway, about the story…I’ve been looking at this photo since it came up and couldn’t get a story together until this morning…I hadn’t though to kill the poor guy off, but I wanted to write something outside my comfort zone…a dark story and this was the result..not completely satisfying but, well, as I said, don’t have a lot of experience in dark stories.


        • Tell the truth…I don’t either. I’ve come to think that everyone sort of feels their form of art is THE form of art (as far as artists are concerned) maybe it’s just because we evade reality in a way…a little envy perhaps 😉 And thanks for the wonderful feedback!


  2. Wow! I had not read this yet…it’s not in Mr. Linky so I missed it. What a great Twilight Zonish, Alfred Hitchcock type story…wonderful, Georgia!! Im actually glad he had the nightmares but not that he died but I guess it was the only way to rid of the nightmares…


    • Darn…I forgot to put it onto Mr. Linky? Well, I wasn’t sure where I was going with the story ’til it arrived where it did…then the finale seemed logical so I didn’t change it…I did want to try and write a “dark” story. It is a weird one for me 😉


        • lol..very droll my girl! I did put the story up after your reminder and did so this morning too…now I should drop by Anmol’s prompt and see if I did that one. Funny how Mister Linky doesn’t seem to be in my memory banks!


  3. For someone who doesn’t write dark stories from someone who does — this piece is amazing! I just said wow at the end, blown away by the plot, the characterizations, the imagery, the descriptive, moody words. If Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone was still on TV, this would make one h**l of an episode!


in shadows light - walking under weeping pines - spring rain

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.