It started when grandma died. I was just five, but as soon as I saw her motionless in the coffin, looking quite and beautiful in her white dress, she was so much like them that I knew immediately that they had taken her away. They did this to everybody. Some day they would also take me.
They haunted my dreams. When the light was off, they started whispering terrifying things into my mind. I was forced to stay there and listen to them without moving. My mind was trapped in my body like grandma in her coffin; I could neither scream nor run away. One night they told me that if I let anybody know about them, I would die immediately. So I suffered everything they imposed on me – the night terrors, the sleepless nights when they kept threatening me in the darkness without moving their lips and- most revolting of all!- the daylight when they stared at me with the big innocent eyes of a cruel hypocritical kid mocking my weakness.
I spent my childhood in fear and powerlessness. On my fifteenth birthday, I decided that this was enough. I would fight back.
I took one of them in the kitchen and tried to kill it with the sharp knife Mom used to cut the bread. I only broke the knife and Mom shouted at me. Of course, I brought their wrath on me; in the coming days, they tortured me so much that I thought I would go insane. Obviously this was not the right way to get rid of them.
I tried to avoid them as much as possible, but this wasn’t easy. They are everywhere. They get kids to take them to the park. Maybe they threaten them like they did with me. Or, like the Earl King in Goethe’s poem, they mesmerize children…
Nowadays, I pretend to be cool when they are around. At their presence, my heart beats like a mad hammer and I shiver so much I think I’ll faint, but I don’t let them sense my fear. A few days back, a friend invited me for dinner. Her place was crowded with them. I wanted to scream and run out of the house, but I did nothing. I ate and chatted with my friend and pretended not to notice their demonic eyes locked on me.
My latest strategy seems to work. They don’t annoy me as much as they used to. So I took a step further. I changed my hair style and renewed my wardrobe. I did a good job; I am so much like them that the other day when I looked at myself in the mirror, I scared myself. Now I fear mirrors too. I’m afraid that they will use them to get to me. So I also avoid mirrors; which is much easier than to avoid them.
At least, my tormentors leave me alone. They think I have surrendered to them. They don’t know that I am actually preparing my revenge. I will pretend to be like them to know their weaknesses; then I will destroy them. All of them. I don’t know yet how I will do this – I will find a way when the right time comes.
In the meantime, I have to be wary. They are everywhere watching me. I will never allow them to find out what I am up to. This is difficult, but I am good at keeping secrets. They taught me this by threatening me into silence for so many years. Now I can conceal my thoughts and my feelings even from them.
I still fear them; I will always do until the day I know none of them is left in the world to annoy me.
I won’t let them ruin my life.
I won’t allow those dreadful dolls to get to me.