blush of dawn Jade Nicole Beals

“The Doll House”

The Doll House

by Jade Nicole Beals

Sara was climbing the hardwood carpeted stairs into what once was her playroom as a child. She was delighted to come upon a huge mysterious wrapped package that she’d never seen before. Should she open it or not? Sara questioned this as her hand hung in the air reaching toward the package, unsure. She untied the ribbon and the bow and out came the most elaborate, elegantly yet warmly inviting doll house. So familiar, she instantly remembered her dear cousin who used to construct these as a child himself. He couldn’t speak in conversation with words to her or anyone else; he knew some sign language he’d still seldom use. 

She looked at the separate set of dolls and furniture and items to decorate and nurture a home. He felt like a sweet part of the past she could experience right now. And then her eyes glanced to the cubby play spot where her cousin John loved to sit when they were all children. He was not sitting there now, but suddenly Sara heard through the air a loud gunshot and then another. It sounded more like fireworks but somewhat sinister. Sara was in a safe place but she still wanted to hide. Who was it? She’d learn later, much later, the woman was her elder cousin Penny. Ever since John returned to town still unable to speak but very well, Penny would shoot at the town filled with rage. The kid should be able to talk normally; it is a disgrace to our family, said Penny. The gunshots stopped with a single hole through the window like a tree with a center to hide in, inside an illustrated fairy-tale storybook. Sara admired the doll house a moment with a warmth in her heart, and she had to go out of the room, hurried down the safe passage, and to her surprise, she’d found on the other side of the house her wonderful cousin all grown up, the dollhouse and the dolls and everything held in his arms like a perfectly burdenless bundle. He was quick with dexterity and generosity. The two cousins said nothing, and then they’d signed hello at the same time; Sara drove her cousin John and herself away to a town that was unknown to them yet, and felt very inviting.


This story has a little story itself behind why I wrote it: I wrote it for my sister Jenna as a gift (a custom story surprise win someone would receive there 😉 that I gave to her at our late-Christmas gathering. I wrote it in a genre she reads (psychological fiction and thrillers), and I included her field of work in it. She works as a behavioral director and designs plans for adults with special needs like autism. She was especially delighted with the story and sent a personal thank you message. The subject was found through Charles Dickens’ piece on dolls I’d recently read, and I’d remembered how my sister and I enjoyed doll houses to play together as children.

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