Liah S Thorley - Writer

Childhood Companion

She is sitting on the shelf watching her, just as she always does. Dim moonlight is casting a sharp silver shadow over her face like the glinting slash of a knife. Her eyes are glistening like ice in her pale head. Ellie screws her eyes shut and whispers a quiet prayer. The bedside light is so close yet so far. She would have to sit up to reach the switch.
All her childhood that face had looked down at her, cold and frozen like a dead child. Even now, years later, whenever she visits, that face is still there and chills her to the bone. Once, when she was very young she had put her in the closet, closing the door and propping the chair against it. But it hadn’t made any difference. She had begged her mother to take her away, but the request was refused. ‘An heirloom she must love and cherish,’ her mother had said. But Ellie couldn’t love Maisy. There is nothing lovable about those small parted rosy lips, nor the pale blue of her eyes. There is nothing endearing about the slight flush of her cheeks or the dark corkscrew curls of her human hair. Ellie had a vivid imagination her mother had said. But she was grown now, twenty-three and a collage graduate, rational and clever.
Ellie tells herself she is being foolish. She opens one eye to glance up at the shelf. Pulse thumps hard in her ears and heart rises to her throat. Ellie sits up and reaches for the lamp. The warm yellow glow should be comforting, but Maisy isn’t there. A shuffle under the bed. Ellie looks down to see nothing but dust bunnies. Tiny feet scuttle across the room. Ellie jumps down from the bed and grasps for the first thing she can lay her hands on. She waits, breath held and defiance rising in her chest. A cold hand grasps at her ankles. Ellie has to fight not to scream. Closing her eyes she swings the baseball bat wide and crashes it down. She had kept it by her bed since she was ten. A scream, stomach turning and heart stopping. Ellie’s eyelids fly open. Maisy is on the shelf, her fixed stair glaring right at her with satisfied malice and her puffy little lips curled into a sneer. Something is crying, whimpering at her feet. People are running through the house towards her. Someone screams. Ellie looks down and sinks to her blood coated knees as her two-year-old nephew breathes his last.