I wanted to cry out for him not to leave, but my lips were just stitches on fabric. He was the best brother a girl could ask for, but he was going to get himself killed.
When I was seven, I fell into a magical coma. I accidentally triggered the warding spell in my uncle’s study and nobody knew how to contact him to get him to reverse the spell. For as long as I could remember, it was just me and my brother living in our uncle’s house. Our parents left when I was a baby, leaving behind a stuffed tabby cat and two children. Suddenly becoming legally responsible for our well-being didn’t change our uncle’s ways.
He was never around, always off at some overseas conference or another. He really couldn’t be bothered to raise us—didn’t have the time or desire—so he left us to the tender care of the cook after I started kindergarten. Mrs. Toffee was a sweet and caring lady, but she left for the day after dinner was over and cleaned up, and we were left to our own devices. We were expected to finish our homework and go straight to bed, but that rarely ever happened as planned.
After I fell into a coma, my brother tried to call our uncle, but nobody quite new how to reach him, or at least wasn’t willing to tell us. So he did the next thing he could think of and found the listing for a hedge witch in the phone book. The hedge witch who told him if he assembled the body of a doll that had been scattered throughout the town, my spirit would be released. The first piece of the doll that he found was its head, and he dabbed the magic potions the witch gave him onto the painted eyes so that I could see and on the ears tucked beneath curly red hair so that I could hear. It was weeks before he found the doll’s torso, carelessly tossed into a garbage bin. He’d washed it out ever so carefully and then stitched my head back on.
If any of his friends knew that he was collecting doll parts they would have laughed at him and called him a sissy little girl. But they didn’t know. And even if they did know, they were wrong. Henry was the bravest person in the world.
I watched him load the gun tonight, saw him carefully place it in his little red wagon. I wanted to tell him not to go. I tried to plead with my painted eyes. He ruffled my hair and leaned me against my stuffed tabby cat.
“I’ll be back soon. I think I found one of your arms.” So he took his little red wagon and left. Who would think to be suspicious of a young boy and his wagon?
I waited for hours and still he didn’t return. When the door opened, sunlight spilled in, and it was Mrs. Toffee returning through the front door.
“What a ratty doll!” She gathered me up and dropped me in the trashcan. I was falling, falling, and then I landed with a squish. I was glad that my brother hadn’t returned my sense of smell. Though why hadn’t he dabbed the potion on my lips so that I could speak?
“Henry? Breakfast is in half an hour!” Mrs. Toffee hollered up the stairs, and then she returned to the kitchen. Every time she opened the trash can, I hoped to hear my brother’s questioning voice asking Mrs. Toffee if she’d seen me. I hoped that it was just rotten tomato muffling my hearing so that I couldn’t hear his words when the lid was closed. Instead it was an eggshell that landed on my face or the wrapper for bacon. Soon I could see nothing; trash completely covered my cloth body. What happened to Henry? Why didn’t he ever come back?
Had my brother’s quest gotten him killed… or had he given up on me?
Please brother, I’m okay with being stuck in a doll, I just want you to be safe. Please come back to me.