Dolls

The rooms are empty, as always, echo-y, even if there is no one there to make the echoes.

Her hair straw blonde, yellow, almost too yellow to be believably natural, but it is. Beige-pink cheeks and golden lashes, she is like a porcelain doll, small, fragile, to be kept safe in a tissue stuffed box away from danger.

She is almost always alone now. Sometimes she runs around the hallways, pretending she's playing with the others, filling the house with pattering children's feet. But it is all a lie. And it does not chase away the cold loneliness she feels.

They come back occasionally, bloody, bleeding, damaged, tired. They never tell her what is happening. She looks from behind the doorframes, hands gripping the wood tightly, curious, but knowing they'll just shoo her away again. She loves them. They are her family. But they are never around. They always leave the next day.

She only has her dolls left. And she only has faith in her dolls now; to keep her company in the long absences of her loved ones. They have become her surrogate family, loving her as they would, talking to her, comforting her.

But in the night, when all is still, she knows that plastic family is, in then end, still plastic.