Is anyone there?
Maya where are you?
Honey, mama needs help, get someone to help, I can’t see.
I can’t…I can’t feel anything. It’s dark.
The sound shifts around me and I’m made aware that someone has opened some kind of door into another room before me. My vision, still black, is the only sense I have to rely on. No air flow is coming through my nose, my mouth is closed, yet somehow I feel my pounding heart bringing life to my chest. I’m lying on my back, pinned to hard surface with restraints I can’t maneuver. I can’t feel my limbs or move them, yet somehow they’re a part of me.
Familiar excited squeals echo around a room behind the doors.
Baby, is that you?
Mama needs help
“Abuela! It’s just what I wanted!” I hear Maya say, a quake in her voice that means she’s jumping up and down the way she always does when she’s excited. I attempt a smile, but my face doesn’t move. Rough, crunching and crackling noises surround me. My ears feel as if they’re about to burst when suddenly I feel warm hands around my neck and waist; hands larger than seem possible on any human, let alone Maya.
Before I can process what’s happening, my eyes open and I’m staring into the face of my daughter. Her hands seem massive around my throat and grip it tightly, roughly. I have no breath to choke on. I feel her pull at my hair, tug at the clothes I’m wearing, and roughly undo my restraints. She flips me upside down like I’m nothing, I can do nothing to stop her.
“Abuela, I’m going to call her Marisol, after mama.”
“Mija, she would have loved that,” I hear my mother say, a smile in her voice.
What’s going on?
Maya, I’m right here.
I flip through the files of my mind for the last thing I remember before ending up here, but I just can’t. There’s nothing but white light and the whisper of blinding pain in my minds eye as I try. Maya grasps me firmly in one hand and runs off towards her bedroom. I’m horrified to see the rooms and hallways flash before my eyes as my eyes open and close without my permission.
I’m soon seated at a table, a teapot, plate, fork, and cup atop the lace tablecloth. I’m horrified to feel the joints in my legs roughly flattened and placed on a hard, flat wooden chair. My arm is placed on the table to steady myself, and for the first time, through peripheral vision, I catch a glimpse of my arm. My hand. A formed plastic thing, is resting on the plate before me, having knocked over the teacup. I still can’t feel my extremities, but I’m aware of them enough to feel violated as they’re moved without my say so.
Maya sits on the other side of the table, it’s dwarfed by her stature. She crosses her legs and with her thumb and index finger only, lifts the teapot from the table, pours something invisible into my cup, and holds it in my hand, unable to grasp it, with hers. She lifts my arm to my face, the cup flat against it, and suddenly feeling courses through the small body I’ve mysteriously inhabited. The sensation of boiling tea ripples through my nerves. The entirety of my mouth is so badly burned, it nearly feels cold. The front of my clothes are soaked in the hot liquid, and the stuff runs down my legs and onto the chair below me, soaking through my undergarments. Yet, nothing was there. It was all invisible. There are no stains, no scalding temperatures; nothing.
After several hours of play time, Maya sets me on a shelf above her bed. By now I’ve had invisible crumbs fall down the front of what I now know is a dark blue satin dress, tea spilled on me multiple times, and my scalp burns thanks to the fevered excitement of a 6 year old with a hairbrush. The sensations I feel are unreal and, due to the fact that whatever source is keeping me conscious doesn’t want to waste energy on my limbs, each new pain overwhelms my entire being. I can’t keep this up. I don’t know how I ended up in this place, why I’m suddenly a toy, or what is going on. I do know that I need to get out of here.
I’m not sure what time it is, but it’s getting brighter in here so it must be the next day. Maya is nowhere to be seen. I think this is my chance. The door isn’t far, just a few feet away. There has to be something I can do to move myself. I can’t close my eyes, but I do my best to focus on one spot on the wall before me.
A rumble from the shelf shakes me, and the jar filled with doll-sized cutlery and accessories beside me, a few inches towards the edge. I just need to land on the bed, then make it to the floor and figure things out from there. I’m as enthralled as this body will let me be that I’ve even moved this far.
Again, I focus, more determined this time, and the shelf rumbles again, the jar falls to the bed, spilling small silver knives, forks, and various other items across the clustered floral bedspread. Thankfully, I remain teetered on the edge of the shelf, one stiff plastic leg adorned with a pleather mary jane and white stockings striking the perfect balance between safety and disaster. If I fall just right, I can avoid the blanket of cutlery below and possibly hit the edge of the bed.
Focus, rumble, and I’m falling. I tumble down from the shelf, hit the corner of the mattress, and topple to the ground. I’m ecstatic that it’s worked as I hoped it would. However, thanks to the fall, my eyes are now shut and I’m on my side, my legs still bent at the hip. Seconds pass before I feel something sharp stick into my leg. It must have been something from the bed that fell off with me. Hot blood falls down my thigh and the gravity of the object sinks it deeper into my skin.
Now, if only I could straighten my legs, I might be able to will them to walk. The ground beneath me shakes. It’s more than a rumble. Clattering noises erupt around me, screams echo down the hall, and I…don’t move.
I don’t understand.
I made it off of the shelf.
I got all the way down here and now whatever power this is isn’t working?
It was in this moment that I realized how helpless I was. My eyes closed with nohope of opening them, my body made of plastic, my size less than that of a small dog. What would I do if I did make it out of Maya’s room? I’m not tall enough to reach a doorknob. How will I get down the stairs? Fall and hope Maya doesn’t hear, bring me back and place me back on that shelf? I wanted to be with my little girl, no matter how that happened…but not like this.
Yet another shudder returned to the earth below me, the pain in my leg a sharp reminder of my fate should I stay this way. I wasn’t ready. I didn’t will this.
Suddenly, from the hall outside, I hear Maya scream
“Terremoto! Terremoto! Marisol! I’ve got to save Marisol!”
Everything occurred to me in one instance. I hadn’t been moving myself at all, the earth was shaking of its own volition and I just so happened to go along for the ride just as the jar of cutlery did.
I was soon swept up in the arms of my daughter, her moist palms sliding across my plastic skin, frantically grabbing at my hair, her tears absorbing into my dress. My mother clutched her tightly to her as she made her way down to the cellar to wait out the aftershocks.
I was with my family; no hope of escape. I was now no more than a plaything.
Last Story: One of the Lucky Ones
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