I’d been watching her secretly for quite a while. I knew that she routinely went out at this time and would be gone for a while; that she kept a spare key under the flower pot by her back door.
I crept into the house and listened. But where to look? Where would she keep such a thing?
It was a small house: kitchen, sitting room, an alcove for a bedroom. There it was. I picked it up and examined it: a kind of doll crudely made from sail cloth. Wool defined the features; brown for the eyes, black for the hair. Just like mine.
Two thick pins stuck out of the knees. Gently I pulled one out. My right knee relaxed. Then the left; my pain had gone.
There was a pin cushion on the shelf as well. I knew exactly where those pins had been. I saw the pin holes in the soles of its feet; a nick in the fabric of its dress over the stomach. And there was a burn mark on its left arm. Like the one on mine.
I put it in my pinafore pocket; left the house, locking the back door and replacing the key.
Then I saw her; coming towards me across the village green. Walking it that quick, determined way she had. ‘I know you took it,’ she said, as she drew level with me. Her eyes flashed. ‘I can easily make another.”
So can I, I thought, so can I.
©2018 Chris Hall