Through Doll’s Eyes: Intervention Part II by Jesse Orr
Ever since Mommy had stopped moving, Sofia had been living outside with Janie. It was great fun. Sometimes she missed Junie and her mommy, but Janie said not to worry. Her daddy was with Janie’s sister while mommy was in the forever sleep.
When Janie told her about the forever sleep, Sofia had been scared. What if she, Sofia, went to sleep one night and it was the forever sleep? Janie said not to worry, that Sofia was safe from the forever sleep as long as she did exactly as Janie told her.
Sometimes Sofia wondered about Daddy, but she didn’t ask anymore. The first time she had, Janie had said Daddy was fine, with Junie. The second time she asked, Janie got mad, and said that she hoped Daddy hadn’t fallen into a forever sleep. She asked Sofia if she should go and see. The look in Janie’s eyes made Sofia shake her head, and that night, Janie had punished her for asking. She had not asked about Daddy since. Besides, she had such fun with Janie that she hardly thought of Mommy or Daddy anymore.
She and Janie were having tea in the garden as was their custom, when Janie told her that very soon, some men would come.
“What men?” Sofia asked, setting down her cup of tea. She didn’t like tea much, but Janie told her she did when they played tea party. “What do they want?”
Janie said they were going to take Sofia and her daddy away so they couldn’t play with Janie and her sister Junie anymore.
“Why?” Sofia was horrified. Lose Janie? Her closest friend in the world? They couldn’t!
The men wouldn’t understand that they were friends, Janie explained. The men would insist that Janie and Junie weren’t worth bothering with, and they would take Sofia and her daddy away.
“No!” Sofia said, beginning to cry. “They can’t do that, can they? Can’t you stop them?”
Janie told her not to worry, there was nothing to fear. Daddy would be taken somewhere else, but as long as Sofia did exactly as Janie told her, the two of them would not have to part. Sofia skipped over what would happen to her father, fixating like a dog with a bone on the most important facts. If Sofia listened to Janie, they wouldn’t take her away.
Sofia promised to listen. “When is this going to happen?” she asked, her voice still shaky.
Janie said it would be very soon.
Eduardo the paramedic was already on edge. The scene in the house had been weird to begin with, without the stench and the oppressive mugginess. Eduardo ducked outside to the marginally fresher air and stood gulping in breaths. The stench of rotting meat surrounded the house, baking in the heat. He looked around the garden, seeking diversion.
A little girl with brown hair sat in a plastic chair with her back to him, apparently engaged in a tea party with a plastic doll set. Eduardo started. “Hey, there’s a little girl back here!” he shouted to the people inside the house. “Hey! Little girl! Are you ok?”
Eduardo jumped down from the porch and walked toward her, glad to get away from the stink of the house. Mentally he ran through his opening line. Hi honey, my name is Eduardo and I’m with the paramedics, how are you today?
His little speech arranged, Eduardo reached the tea party. “Hi honey, my name is E–”
His name died in his mouth as he took in the scene. The little girl sat at the green plastic table, knees tucked under its faded surface. Her hands were on the table, palms flat, as she stared at a doll seated across from her. She was nodding as though it spoke to her. Her hair was not brown, as he had thought, but a blonde so dirty it appeared to be a brown wig. In her matted hair were branches and leaves from a bed she had dug herself under a bush. Looking at the girl’s hands, Eduardo’s stomach swooped as he saw she had only nine fingers, her left smallest finger gone above the first knuckle. The wound was gray with dirt and infection. A puffy scratch above her eyebrow had swollen her left eye half shut, giving her eyelid a droop.
Hiding a sob, Eduardo sank to a knee, his speech forgotten. “Oh my god, what happened to your finger?”
The girl looked at him without a hint of emotion. “Janie took it.”
The paramedic heard others crossing the garden and felt sweet relief flooding into him. Relief that he was no longer alone with this horror. “Who’s Janie?”
Raising her four-fingered hand, the girl pointed at the doll sitting across from her.
Eduardo looked at the doll, and his stomach swooped again. The fucking thing was creepy. “Well that wasn’t very nice of her, now was it?” He glanced over his shoulder. Swanson and another paramedic were approaching. “Honey, we’re going to take you with us, somewhere safe. How about that?”
Her eyes shot to his. “And Janie?”
Taken aback, Eduardo nodded. “Of course, you can bring your doll.” He plucked Janie from her seat and deposited her in Sofia’s lap. He missed the look of peace which came over Sofia’s face as she wrapped her arms around the doll. She smiled as he stood up and turned to the two men. “Little girl’s lost a finger, she’ll need to roll.” The medic knelt down beside her.
“She’d have to roll to a foster home anyways,” said Swanson, glancing down at Sofia’s hand. “Father’s off his rocker, can’t leave her with him.” He shook his head. “Fucking sad.”
Eduardo nodded, his face grim. “I think we got here just in time.” He gestured at the house. “What are we doing with him?”
“They’ll take him to the mental hospital up at Stonebriar,” Swanson said. “Once they patch up his missing finger, they’ll–”
“Wait a minute,” Eduardo said, turning to look at the detective. “His missing finger?”
Swanson nodded. “Left pinky, lopped clean off. Says the doll took it.”