The dollhouse was the best present in the world. A giant cream-coloured wedding cake affair. Tiny framed pictures on the walls, Christmas decorations in the attic, even cupboards of pots and pans in the kitchen.
Inside live mum, dad, Chris the son and Bootleg the dog.
Although the dollhouse was Poppy’s present, and Chloe at thirteen, was really too old for it, they share a bedroom, and most days they climb inside and take Bootleg for walks around the living room. Both Chloe and Poppy have secret crushes on Chris. Really, he’s too old, too cool, too grumpy, and spends of his time in his room, listening to his mp3 player and kicking the wall. His pimples give him that ‘older man’ allure. In their separate classrooms, Chloe and Poppy pencil his name in love hearts over their schoolbooks and rub it out again.
The week Chloe has the ‘health education’ course at school her class learn about the dangers of drugs, sex, STIs, and sexual abuse. That night Poppy sleeps over at a friend’s house.
Poppy returns home to the dollhouse the next afternoon. All over the carpet are pieces of dollhouse shrapnel: cracked miniature crockery, ripped up stamp-sized paintings, the house itself crushed to shards. Then Poppy notices the shoebox coffin. In it, all separate, Chris’ head, his pencil-thin plastic limbs, his torso. Poppy stares. Chloe says: ‘Last night whilst you were gone, Chris started touching me inappropriately. I told an adult - his dad - and he said to do what I thought was best.'
submitted at 12:28pm
22 April 2009
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