Title: Porcelain Doll Traps

Author: Tinkerbell99

Rating: PG

Disclaimer: These characters are not mine. They belong to someone else.

Summary: She cradles the shattered porcelain doll. The painted eyes aren't vacant now. (Rousseau fic)


Twisted images claw at her mind even as she shakes herself free. Waking from a rest that isn't sleep, she can't separate the truth from the dreams. It's the middle of the night, and she hears her baby cry.

Her sluggish heart dares to hope; it forgets they took Alex months ago.


Spinning, dizzy and confused, she stumbles through the night. Bare feet slide over slippery leaves and rocks pierce through tender skin. Branches whip across her face, but she tears away the brush, searching for the phantom sound.

There's something pale, half hidden in the grass. The moon falls behind a cloud and she drops to her knees with a racing heart. The crying chokes to an end she rips away the weeds to free her tiny child.

But the body is cold, and nothing is real.

It's a china doll. A porcelain toy mocking her in the dim, glowing light.

Reeling back, she drops the figure as though it burns, this pale recreation of the child she lost. The stillness suffocates her; the sudden silence a heartbreaking shock. It's painted eyes stare with an unseeing gaze, and the twisted lips grin at her despair.

She smashes its head into the ground, beating and grinding until it's dust.


She wonders, for a time, why they're here. She wonders why she never saw them before. She wonders if she sees them at all.

The dolls litter the island, found in grass and weeds and at the bottom of streams from which she cannot drink. They taunt her with perfectly formed features that twist with the image of her own child's face. Always, she's captured by their empty eyes.

Her hands are scarred from the porcelain's shards.


The blankets she used still smell of Alex; they're all that's left of her child now. They billow and fly against the wind, snapping and whipping while she lowers them down. The fire she built disappears beneath cloth, and the flames cry out for air. She keeps her hands pressed to the blankets and the heat; she doesn't feel them blister and burn.

When the flames rage again and the smoke appears, she stumbles back and watches it tower into the sky. It's a thick black column rising high, taking away what's left of her child.

She waits for days, but they don't come again.


She learns to survive. She hunts. She kills. She eats, but is empty.

She still hears Alex crying in the night.

She can't remember her own daughter's face. All she sees are vacant, painted eyes.


She takes shelter one day under an arching tree and waits out the rain. There's another doll buried in the mud, what's left of its hair matted and soaked.

She watches the baby through the rain. It's pathetic and alone, its skull cracked open and features faded with the passage of time.

She lifts the figure from the ground. She wipes away the mud as gently as she can and tries to smooth the tangled hair. An almost-forgotten lullaby enters her mind.

She cradles the shattered porcelain doll.

The painted eyes aren't vacant now.


She spends hours twining threads with her quick, practiced hands. While her fingers nimbly weave, she hums a song, letting its melody set the rhythm of her work. Her thoughts wander to dream of baby blankets and boots knitted for wrinkled feet. She sways back and forth while she sews for her child, and her lips relax into a smile. The lines around her eyes soften as her gaze falls to the figure sleeping nearby.

Fingers press against her lips, then reach to caress the porcelain face.


The baby is swaddled in a warm bed of leaves, and the net is ready and strong.

They took a daughter from her once, so very long ago. She waits for them now, knowing someday they'll come for the child left sleeping sweetly in the leaves. She sets each trap precisely and clears the dirt from each perfect face. She never leaves them alone for long.

They cry for her in the middle of the night.