Samantha Dahl

Love Created Me

I sit on your shelf, just where you left me all those years ago. You like to say it’s my home, but I think of it as a prison—a place where old toys go to die. My only friends here are the occasional spiders which tie their cobwebs to me, and the occasional unfortunate fly that falls into its sticky trap. I guess you could say I understands its pain.

You’re waking up now. I see you. You’re looking back and forth as you sit up in your bed. Your eyebrows are furrowed together, wondering where exactly he went.

How can you not remember?

It’s cold up here, you know. The dust that collects on my shoulders is my only blanket, bringing to me the warmth you once did.

Remember that? When you’d hold me because my skin was so cold?

You didn’t understand why I lacked the ability to warm myself. So you’d wrap me in your arms for hours, trying to give me what you had. In your head, you truly believed it was real—that I was like you. You believed that somewhere inside my hollow body, there was room for a heart, one that could work just like yours, and you believed it was your duty to create one for me.

It was love, you said, that could bring me to life.

So you’d hug me tight, wishing on every star in the sky to give me a heart to warm myself. The stars never replied, my chest remaining empty, but your childish ways clung to my frozen skin.

Eventually you stopped though, your hope running dry.

It’s been so long since you’ve held me.

Funny, because for a moment you even had me convinced I could one day be alive. What a silly dreamer you made me.

Where was that child of you I miss so much? Where is that grand imagination of yours? He one that could never be bounded to gravity—by reality? Where are you rosy cheeks? Did maturity take that, too? What about your innocence? What was it that corrupted you?

What was it that took you away from me?

I thought we were inseparable.

You rub your tired eyes and yawn, figuring he’s making you breakfast, or maybe watering the garden for you, being the perfect man he is. And now you’re standing up, heading for your closet to change out of your nightgown. You ache as you walk, and you’re wondering where your slumber has gone. I mean, it’s almost as if you haven’t slept in days.

I wonder what could have caused that.

You must be too tired to notice the red stains on your clothes.

Or the stains on mine.

You don’t spend much time choosing an outfit. Lately, you’ve been lacking the energy to even pay attention to what you’re grabbing.

Remember when you’d change my dresses, Evelyn? You had a different one for every day of the week? You believed that if you were to dress, then so was I, all in the sake of building me a heart—of giving me life. But one day, those many years ago, you stopped, and you left me in Thursday.

Today is Monday, Evelyn.

Don’t get me wrong though, I do love the dress. It’s quite a beautiful blue, one similar to your light eyes. But what was once sparkly is now dulled by age, much like yourself. You begged your mother to buy it, getting down on your knees and clasping your hands together in a pleading fist, because you had a dress that was nearly identical. You always wanted me to look just like you.

You’d tell me I was the sister you never had.

You loved me like a sister.

Now you’re dressed, and you’re wearing something far from the sweet blue dress you once had. You look like somebody else. Never would I have imagined you to wear sweatshirts or jeans. Because you were a princess. Yes, that’s what you were. But worn out is what you are.

You don’t look like my sister anymore.

Your eyes, they used to glow, Evelyn. But now hollowed out rings of darkness surround them like stormy nights.

Oh, did I do that?

Did I deprive you of your precious sleep?

Well, as you’ve taught me, life isn’t always fair. And lately, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to feel pity after so much negligence.

I know pain too, Evelyn.

You used to give me sleep, you know. Every night you’d tuck me in your bed so that I’d lay at your side. And every night, you’d kiss my head and wish me sweet dreams.

But now he’s the only one who shares your blankets—who shares your warmth.

I’ve seen the foul things you’ve done. I’ve watched your innocence crumble and burn in the taunting fire of corruption.

You’ve been sick.

Very sick.

Now you’re walking to the door, slow-paced like the zombie you’ve become, but you realize it’s closed.

Did you leave it like that? You ask yourself, just as you do every morning.

Wasn’t it wide open before you went to sleep last night?

Maybe he did it, you tell yourself. Yes, he must have.

Pathetically, you try to laugh it off.

You’re swallowing and knotting your hands together as you brace yourself to turn my way. Your fear begs you to stop, and to instead keep walking. But you do it anyways. You stare into my eyes. And, like always, you’re wondering where the blindfold disappeared to.

Last night, you were feeling so anxious—so very tense. So you secured the knot tighter than usual. How in the world could it be gone?

Oh, Evelyn, haven’t you learned by now?

I want you to look at me. I want to see you fidget in the confining hands of distress. I want you to feel the pain you’ve inflicted onto me.

Can you blame me?

I can see as the tiny bumps spread across your skin in a petrified dance, and you quickly look away. And now you’re swinging open the door and storming out of the room, breathing out these loud, heavy sighs as you run your hands through your messy hair. You forget to brush it. Just as you’ve forgotten to brush mine. My fine blonde hair is tangled, you know. Awfully tangled.

It used to be so smooth. Just as yours once was.

Remember when you hated when anybody but yourself touched your hair?

Now you like it.

You like everything he does.

It makes me upset.

You know I can’t help it. Because he’s your playmate now, instead of me. You do everything together. Even from up here on your shelf, I see all the times you hold hands as you take long walks outside. See it through your window. He makes you smile, he makes you laugh, he makes you happy.

Remember when I made you happy? When you loved holding me by my fragile hands and swinging me round and round in the sun? Remember when we’d sit at your tiny tea table and you’d take sips from itty bitty, empty cups? You were so kind back then, so thoughtful, because you’d always gold the cups to my frozen lips so I, too, could bask in the joy of nothingness.

But that nothingness was an idea—a way of thinking rather than something you could hold. It was your love.

You were my best friend, Evelyn, don’t you know?

And, I think, for a time, I was yours too.

But seeing you storm out of the room like this, hearing your unbalanced feet patter down the stairs, only feed me the notion that you can’t even treat me as an acquaintance. Instead of greeting me with toothless grins, your suspicious eyes avert mine, as if running away. You like to pretend I’m not here.

I know you don’t do it to be mean, Evelyn.

I know it’s because you’re scared.

And I can’t punish you for being afraid.

But I can punish you for abandonment, Evelyn.

You’re screaming now. It’s so loud I can hear it all the way from up here.

And there’s something satisfying about it.

You’re crying in his name, wondering what cruel creature could’ve done what they did. Only the insane tear open bodies.

You even left the knife in him, Evelyn.

Tsk, tsk.

You’re trying to get a hold of the police. But don’t you remember? You already called, just moments before you dragged yourself into bed?

Just moments before I released you.

As you hold the phone to your ear, you stop at the sound of sirens outside your front door. I can see the flashing red and blue lights as they pull alongside the street.

You’re backing up now, I can hear your apprehensive footsteps, and I know just how big your bright blue eyes are in those sunken sockets. And that’s when you suddenly realize that your nightmares are not nightmares. And that the mysteries you do in the night can no longer be dismissed as mindless sleep walking.

Can you blame me for wanting to play, Evelyn?

If I can’t have you in your wake, I’ll have you in your sleep.

I’m the one who makes you smile as you dwell the halls with lazy eyes. I’m the one who makes you dance, who makes you sing. I’m the one who makes you remove my blindfolds.

We always stash them under your bed, and it makes you giggle.

But you know that now.

Good job, Evelyn.

You’re looking back down at the dead boy you called a lover. The boy you called a friend.

I’m your friend, Evelyn.

How dare you let somebody take that away from me?

Now you’re wild. You’re running up the stairs with heavy, feverish feet. You don’t know whether or not to be strong or to be afraid.

You don’t know how to stand up against someone like me.

You’re coming in through the door now, and so is somebody from downstairs. You don’t turn when you hear their intrusion though. Instead, you keep walking forward. Tears glisten in your marble eyes, and one corner of your dried out lips is tilted into a snarl. You point a shivering finger at me.

“I know it was you. I know that somehow—somehow it was you,” you say, and it’s as though you’re speaking to me for the first time.

That’s not the way to welcome back old friends, Evelyn.

“You did this.” You shake your head, not understanding your own words. Not wanting to understand. “I know you did.”

But Evelyn, I don’t know what you mean. I’m only a toy, Evelyn, just as you’ve said to yourself so many times before. How could I have, Evelyn? I can’t walk, I can’t talk. Don’t you know that it was only you who gave me such abilities? Don’t you remember giving me a voice? Don’t you remember moving me legs, as though you were teaching me to walk? You gave me characteristics.

But due to your absence, I have, like any doll, remained inanimate.

The loud slapping of heavy boots are running up the stairs now. They’re running after you, Evelyn. They want you, Evelyn. You can blame me all you like. But it’s you who they want.

You made me your puppet.

Then you suddenly stopped.

And now you’re mine.

But the flashing lights outside can’t try a doll for your crimes.

Don’t you know that, Evelyn?

You’re digging your nails into your fists now, your head misfiring like a broken record. You’re not able to keep up with how quickly your future—your life—is falling apart. What will they do to you, Evelyn? Will you defend yourself with insanity? Will you let them lock you up in a padded room rather than a stone-cold cell?

You’re lost as you stare at me. Reading you is so very easy.

It’s as if your thoughts are constantly written in those clear blue eyes of yours.

“How did you?” you whisper, and that’s when you notice the large hole in my back, the break in my skin, and the red fingerprints on my face.

Is that where his heart went? You wonder.

Evelyn, it’s where it belongs.

Charging in through the door behind you, strange men in strange uniforms wearing strange badges hold out firearms which they have pointed at you. I can hear one of them gagging downstairs at the horrible mess you made.

Silly us, we forgot to clean up after playtime.

The guns don’t scare you like I thought they would, because you continue to seethe. Continue to look my way. You’re not done with me yet. “How could you do this to me?” Your voice is nearly a shout when you lung forward to grab a hold of me.

You’ve tried to break my before.

Don’t think for a second I ever forgot.

Like always, you barely miss, only it’s these strange men that are pulling you away from me, your fingers just brushing my cold skin. They yell into your ears, telling you to stay quiet. But you can’t.

You keep shaking your head, spitting out slurs of how it wasn’t your fault. You point your finger at me, still trying to reach me, to destroy me, but the men pull your hands behind your back and knock you down onto your stomach.

“She did it,” you try. “She killed him!” you’re starting to sob now as you recall to the bloody mess in your kitchen. “She took him away from me.”

Now they’re lifting you back to your wobbly, dancing feet.

Remember when you’d dance with me in your arms.

“Why did she take him from me?”

I think you’ve convinced these men of your unstable mind. Well done, Evelyn. You look better in white anyways. Striped never suited you.

They’re dragging you out of the room now. One man even turns to look at me, his eyebrows furrowing together, but it’s only a glimpse. They never can look for long, can they, Evelyn?

You’re leaving now. They’re taking you away.

They’re taking you away for a long time.

Just as you left me those years ago.

You’ve imprisoned me up here on this shelf, and now it’s your turn.

I miss you, don’t you know that? If you won’t play with me, Evelyn, then I’ll play with you. Isn’t that fair? Isn’t it my turn to control you, Evelyn?

Why can’t I cry like you can, Evelyn? You never taught me how.

You’re still screaming something about it being my fault as they drag you down the stairs.

Oh, how you love to blame me.

But you’re the one who wanted me to have a heart.

I was only giving to you what the stars couldn’t.

Don’t you know that, Evelyn?