Chapter 6

Written by: Anna Zhigareva

Sarah felt a stabbing sensation wrack her body and pummel her head. She drifted, confusing the conscious world, with a luminous head and malicious smile hanging over her, and the fuzzy grey obscurities of the unconscious.


The first time Diandra and Sarah made dolls had been eight years ago. Diandra’s mother had run a store selling hand-crafted dolls before her death under the wheels of a motor vehicle. Following those tragic events, Diandra’s demeanour had become darker and she had changed in other ways too, from the thick dark hair she let grow down to her hips and the taut voice Sarah had never heard escape those red lips, to the sudden desire to experiment with materials and weave dolls like Diandra’s mother had done. If anything, Sarah’s best friend, who had never been close to her quiet and mysterious mother, had become much like her, in style and in thought.


Sarah had always believed that ice skating had brought the life back into her best friend. Perhaps she had been mistaken.


One day, they stumbled upon a 15th century charm book among Diandra’s mother’s old things. Everything had gone to storage in the dusty attic of the shop, far away so that the eye could not rest on anything painfully reminding of a loved one’s death. Hidden above the present antique jewellery store run by Diandra’s aunt, a notorious businesswoman with an eye for sparkles, the book hadn’t seen light in over a year before the girls found it. 


From then, Diandra’s obsession had grown. Every spare moment was spent poring over the book of charms and weaving dolls, sometimes with Sarah but mostly, as Sarah realised now, without. What had Diandra read in the darkness of those nights, what had she given to make the book work for her and her dolls? Sarah had been interested in voodooing from a theoretical perspective but as soon as Diandra had invited her to try it one stormy night, she decided to have a try. Between Sarah’s timid treatment of ‘the science’, as Diandra called it, and her growing success in ice skating, the girls had slowly drifted apart.


As Sarah struggled against the luminous face blinding her, the only thoughts she could muster were: what had Diandra conjured with the help of the charm book, and what for? What – or who – had brought her lifelong best friend to this cruel, jealousy-driven witchery? Sarah’s mind whirled with the ridiculousness of her thoughts, and yet what she saw was no dream. The luminous face was real, present, ready to engulf her if she stopped fighting.


Sarah imagined the doll’s neck and instinctively squeezed the pendant in her hand. 


The source of the blinding light screamed, shattering her ears. Far away, in another building, an inmate, a girl with long, dark hair was also screaming. Suddenly everything went quiet. The room was dark, the clock on the wall ticking away with not a care for the happenings it had witnessed.


Gosh Anna, you have brought the threads of this story together linking the historic story and idea of past lives to the present and you have injected the supernatural with surreal realness. You also show very clear insight into the human condition. Daughters who swear they will not be like their mothers often are. The story goes on with this very clever platform you have laid down. The contrast of the ticking clock with its link to time is very clever. Congratulations!