Little Girl Lullaby
Posted by Hannah, Jan 19, 2013. 1983 views. ID = 6082
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She knows she isn't crazy. She knows, despite what they tell her, that she is as sane as the next person. But they won't listen, won't let her explain the monsters in the dark and the claws that come, every night, only when she's alone.
She lays on her thin bed, staring up at the white ceiling, begging for sleep to come before they do. Her eyes are cold, dull, but her brain is racing. Three more hours, she thinks. And then they'll be back, faceless and begging to be heard. She shifts her arms under the blankets, pulled up to her neck and almost over her face. It makes her feel safe somehow. Like maybe they won't get her if the blanket protects her like armor.
She looks away from the white ceiling, moving her gaze to the white wall with the black hand prints adorning it like wallpaper. Her memories flash across her eyes, moving fast as a hummingbird's wings, and she fights back a sob. She wishes she could forget little girl lullaby, her white tulle, pink satin slippers, and the ink man with the red eyes and long fingernails. She wishes, and dreams, and hopes, and prays that little girl lullaby will just go away; she wishes, and dreams, and hopes, and prays that the scars on her wrists that demon created would have done their job and she could begin again in the clouds.
She remembers the doctors' voices, all speaking at once. “The monsters don't exist. Little girl lullaby is a figment of your imagination, a vision your psyche created to deal with your childhood.”
“No!” she says. “No, I can feel her, here, inside me.”
But they never listen, only shake their heads and push her away. But the one doctor, the one who pulls himself away from the others, he seems to understand. He watches her, his eyes so clear she can see into his soul.
“Listen,” he says gently, a small smile on his hesitant face. “Tonight, when the monsters come and little girl lullaby asks you where she is, listen, and answer as best you can. Maybe you'll come to understand why they come to you each and every night.”
She thinks on this as she watches the room around her, with the black hand prints that cover everything. But, just as the moon begins to rise in the starless sky, little girl lullaby begins to cry.
She looks down at her, little girl lullaby's face coated in pink tears, with the hand prints painted on her white tulle in black ink and the little tiara on her soft hair. She looks down at little girl lullaby with tears in her own eyes, and asks as quietly as she can,
“What's wrong, little girl lullaby?”
Little girl lullaby looks around, doesn't listen, and screams, so loud and piercing and full of fear it makes her scrunch her eyes shut against it.
“Where's my mama?” little girl lullaby cries.
“Oh, little girl lullaby, don't you cry. Your mama's in a palace, up in the stars.”
“Oh,” sighs little girl lullaby, not listening. “Where's my daddy?”
“Little girl lullaby, don't you cry, your daddy's in the green pastures up in the skies.”
“Oh,” says little girl lullaby, suddenly afraid. “Where am I?”
“Little girl lullaby, you're locked away, 'cause I can't bear to see your little girl slippers and your little girl bows.”
“Who,” squeaks little girl lullaby, still deaf to her pleas. “Who gonna take care of me, now I'm all alone?”
“Oh, little girl lullaby, alone is better than life with him.”
Finally, little girl lullaby looks at her, her face streaked with the black ink and pink tears. Her eyes are wide as she whispers, “The ink man.”
And then little girl lullaby is gone, and to replace her, sharp blackened claws and a horrifying grin, speaking of pain and a longing for darkness that could never be sated in mortal life. She screams and fights against demon's claws raking against her wrists, creating the scars that run ragged up and down her arms, but he's smiling and she can't break free.
“Why are you so weak?”
“Demon,” she cries, her tears leaving bloodstains on her pillow. “My mama and my daddy, they went to live in the light now, and they left me all alone to face the demons and the night.”
“Why,” says demon, staring into her eyes somehow, even though his are covered in two white lines, crisscrossing to create x's across the lids, to keep his eyes clenched shut against the light and the visions he can't get out of his mind. “Why didn't you fight?”
“I fought against him so long, demon, I just had to stop.”
“Why,” says demon, his breath in her ear as hot as embers. His voice sounds like nine men, all speaking at once, telling her things she doesn't want to believe. “Why are you so pathetic?”
“Oh demon,” she sobs. “He put blackened hand prints all over my bedroom, and now I can't sleep there anymore.”
“Why can't you learn to paint over the black?”
“Oh demon,” she sighs, her eyes falling closed against her will as she loses all strength and wants to give in to the seemingly endless power of demon's anger and vehemence. “I wish I could, but it's just so deeply embedded in the walls and the furniture. It's impossible.”
“Who can you ask to fight for you?”
She looks up and her eyes grow wide, only just beginning to understand. “Dragonfly.”
Finally, a soft but firm hand grips demon's shoulder, and just as quickly as little girl lullaby left, demon is gone. Dragonfly smiles down at her, his smile as wide as the English channel. He is always the most frightening to her, with his dragonfly wings fluttering on his back, but somehow, tonight, he seems kind and quietly somber.
“Oh, how did you come to be here?” he says gently, helping her to her feet and putting his hand on her chin to make her look up at him, at his face that is blurred, as if he was being looked at through glass.
“Dragonfly, please don't judge me, but demon and I came to this point together. He is the reason I hide under the blankets from the darkness.”
“How did you come to be this way?” dragonfly asks, staring at her with his eyes that are so blue she can see his thoughts.
“Dragonfly, please understand,” she begs. “Little girl lullaby and I stopped fighting because the ink on my walls was just too heavy to carry anymore. That is the reason I am all alone in the darkness, the reason I allowed demon to claw my wrists that almost carried me into the white lights and the purple dreams.”
“Oh, don't you see?” dragonfly asks, reaching down and pulling the white strips off of her eyes and wiping away the pink tears that cover her cheeks.
She stands and looks into dragonfly's eyes, so clear she can see into his thoughts. “Dragonfly, please don't be angry, but I can't open my eyes for fear of seeing. That's why I wear the white x's, to cover what my glance might light on.”
“Well,” says dragonfly gently. “It's time you allowed yourself to see.”
She looks back and sees little girl lullaby and demon, hand in hand, watching her, little girl lullaby's eyes begging her to see her and understand, the black hand prints on demon practically jumping out at her. And he looks different than he ever had, his face much more feminine than it had always been, looking almost soft and sad. He holds little girl lullaby's hand gently, as if comforting her and trying to erase the tears. His hard face watches her, protecting her blindly.
She turns to a mirror on the wall and sees herself. She sees, on her face, demon's bittersweet smile, little girl lullaby's soft and innocent lips, and dragonfly's eyes that show into her soul. And the black hand prints that had been so heavy on her body are replaced with pink skin, as clear as little girl lullaby's had been before ink man painted over it. And only a few smudges remain, just as a reminder of what was, for she can never go back to white tulle and golden tiaras, but she can move past demon claws and to dragonfly wings that would take her to freedom.
“I understand,” she whispers, and all three disappear. But she knows they're there, deep inside her, hidden away where no one but her can see. And she smiles.Copyright 2013 Hannah. All rights reserved. FifteenMinutesOfFiction.com has been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work. For permission to reprint this item, please contact the author.
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