THE DARK • by Yancy Caruthers

The Dark was long this time, but just like that, it was gone.

The first time The Dark was short, and not all that dark.  I forgot all about it, because I met Louise right after it went away.  I can’t remember much before that day.

Louise was such a wonderful, energetic child, but she never played rough with me.  I sat on her nightstand and listened to endless chatter that I didn’t understand.  She would hold me in her lap, stroking my hair, and sometimes her mother would carefully tuck me in next to her.  She told me about princesses and magic and how her favorite color was blue.

Then the day came she started talking about boys, especially one named Charlie.  The Dark came again not long after that, and I thought that’s all there was.

It wasn’t to be so, because when it went away, who should be there but Charlie!  He wasn’t a boy but a grown man whose hair had turned to gray, but this was something that happens, I am told.  I was excited to meet him at last, and he talked to me for a while as he fixed me.  Years in the darkness had faded me, but Charlie was patient as he cleaned every part.  One of my arms needed some stitching, and he fixed that, too. When Charlie finished, I was as good as any other doll.  He showed me to Louise, who was happy to see me, even though her hair had gotten gray, too.  I felt young again, as though The Dark wasn’t.

Charlie made the formal introductions to their granddaughter, Ashley, while Louise looked on and smiled.

Ashley was much like Louise.  I sat on her nightstand and listened to endless chatter that I didn’t understand.  Sometimes she would hold me in her lap, stroking my hair, and sometimes her mother would carefully tuck me in next to her.  She told me about princesses and magic and how her favorite color was pink.

The day came that she started talking about boys, and I expected The Dark to follow soon, but it didn’t.  Instead, Ashley took me back to live with Louise again.

I sat on Louise’s nightstand, and listened to endless chatter that I didn’t understand.  Sometimes she would hold me in her lap and stroke my hair, and sometimes Charlie would carefully tuck me in next to her.

He had a reading chair in Louise’s room, and he would sit with us every night until she was asleep.  Then sometimes he would cry a little bit until he fell asleep, too.  Louise needed to be fixed, but I don’t think Charlie could fix her.

I waited again for her to tell me about princesses and magic and the color blue and Charlie, but she never did.

Eventually, the time came for Louise to go into The Dark. Charlie and Ashley carefully tucked me in next to her.


Yancy Caruthers is a retired emergency/trauma nurse and veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He is currently living with his family in Lima, Peru, where he is on diplomatic assignment for the U.S. Department of State. Previous short works appear on www.microhorror.com, and will appear soon in Ascent Aspirations magazine.


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 average 3 stars • 1 reader(s) rated this

Every Day Fiction

  • Taking ‘Toy Story’ to another level.

    That was enough to make a grown man cry – but not me, of course!

  • MaryAlice Meli

    The simplest stories told simply are the best and this story is one of the best. Thanks for telling it so well.

  • Roberta SchulbergGoro

    From what perspective is the MC (the doll) telling the story after being “tucked” in “next to her”?

  • Tina Wayland

    This was lovely! Very poignant without resorting to anything more than a description of what the doll saw. The repetition of the same details at different times in the girls’ lives just added to the impact. I really liked this one.

  • Carl

    When I realized the narrator was a doll, I thought I wasn’t going to like this at all, but I was very, very wrong.

  • Michael Stang

    A sweet tale told from the sweetest character turning the wheel of life for us to see. Extremely well done writing. Do you always write like this?

  • I loved this story and your writing style.
    This is my favorite flash fiction piece ever.
    I’m impressed.
    Keep up the good job!

  • Rose Gardener

    I hate dolls, but this one captured my imagination and evoked an emotional reaction. Well done.

  • This is a darkly beautiful tale. I love the repetition of imagery told from the simple mind of a doll. At first, I thought we were hearing the voice of a cat— which is just about always a turnoff for me. Thanks for stretching our imaginations.

  • One of the better stories I’ve seen here. Well done. Very well done. Five stars…..

  • Rori

    I thought it was a teddy bear at first, maybe bc I don’t really like dolls, but I absolutely loved this beautifully simple and sad story. I was hoping the doll wouldn’t witness anything that would make me cringe and feel helpless, and I’m glad it didn’t since it could’ve easily gone that way. But it’s the cycle of life and this, as scary as it is on its own, it’s also very beautiful. I love this storytelling and the writing. Huge fan.

  • Gwen

    Really well done. Loved it.

  • John Brooke

    Disarmingly clever, devoid of mawkish centilmentality told with total innocene that in its simplicity tugged, and rejuvenated my atrophied emotional heartstrings. I can only give it 5 stars.

  • chris

    Such a lovely story, even a bit of suspense. So well- written. Reminds me of the ‘also lovely’ artist’s work of Margaret Kane. Very old, but find the one of the dolla, marionettes, and little girls. Also lovely.

  • sonya

    beautiful final line.

  • Very well done. I, too, though the repetition added a lot to the story.