Mia Millington watched from her position on the highest branch of the tree as a new friend arrived. The girl didn’t yet wear the uniform but she’d look pretty in it. Like most new people she had a funny smile on her face like she was super excited about something but couldn’t quite remember what it was. Her lips were smeared with bright red lipstick, and her curly hair sprung around her face like a giant ball of orange twine.
Mia climbed down the tree slowly so as not to scratch her legs like she had the other day. Dr. Scott was cutting across the grass towards her, and she wanted to talk to him before she went to meet her new friend. Dr. Scott was in love with her and it was only a matter of time before he asked her to marry him. Then she could live at his house.
She reached the bottom and twirled for him, hoping he’d notice her dress.
“Mia, I need you to come with me,” he said, drumming his fingers against his clipboard. “We’ve found something in your room that we need to talk to you about.”
“Okay.” Mia batted her eyelashes exactly how she knew men liked. She was careful to walk two steps behind Dr. Scott because he didn’t like it when she ran ahead, and she didn’t want him to give her the shocks again. It burned and hurt like holy hell. She had to be good for Dr. Scott or he wouldn’t want to marry her.
When they reached her room, Mia hovered shyly in the doorway. Dr. Scott didn’t come to her room very often so she wondered if he was going to give her a special present.
“Come in, Mia.”
She smiled and skipped across the room, wishing she had a skirt that swished. Her mother had once made her a pink one with frills.
“I want you to tell me what happened to Sally.”
“Sally?” Mia asked as she studied herself and Dr. Scott in the mirror. She was a bit taller than him and wondered if it was bad for a wife to be taller than her husband.
“Over here.” He motioned for her to come closer. “Don’t be shy.”
Mia turned and took four steps, her eyes resting on Sally’s cherry red shoes. Her red shoes.
“What happened to Sally?” Dr. Scott asked again.
“She wouldn’t play with me.” Mia glared at the brown haired woman.
“What game were you trying to play?”
“I wanted to play Dorothy and Toto, but I wanted to be Dorothy and she wouldn’t give me her red shoes.”
“What happened then?”
“She was mean to me. She said I was too ugly for pretty shoes.” Mia nudged Sally with her foot and waited for a response. When she didn’t get one she knelt down and pulled her hair. It made no difference and Mia straightened up and clapped her hands. “She can be my new dolly,” she beamed. Sally was pretty enough to be her dolly, even though she wouldn’t give back the shoes. And evil Nurse Mavis had taken her old dolly away so she’d had nothing to play with for weeks.
“Mia, Sally is dead.”
“She’s just pretending so she doesn’t have to give me her shoes.” Mia practised tapping her heels together, just like Dorothy had in the movie.
“Why is her corpse under your bed? What did you do to her?”
“Yes, Mia. Sally’s corpse. Tell me what you did to her?”
Mia glanced at Sally’s body. So still. “What a pretty corpse.” She curled her fingers around Dr. Scott’s. “Can I have my shoes now?”
Danielle Ferries lives in Brisbane, Queensland (Australia) and adores dark and dreary weather, wicked characters with fractured worlds, gothic horror, collecting creepy dolls and Hitchcock. Other publications include stories with Darkened Horizons, Atrum Tempestas (Black Hound), Sinister Tales, Flashes in the Dark, and the Festive Fear with Tasmaniac Publications.