Dolly

They sat at opposing ends of a long, oak table, sipping sweet raspberry tea. Jane's cup had been chipped, but Dolly's was perfect. Tiny, antique flowers swirled around it, touching her lips each time she lifted the cup to drink.

"More tea?" inquired Jane.

Dolly shook her head, but extended an empty hand. Jane stared, unsure of what this signal meant. The hand stretched further, appearing more demanding by the minute. Jane began to panic and look about the table for a thing that would please Dolly. She came upon a plate of scones, set in the middle, and passed one to her friend, who accepted it graciously.

"You're welcome," replied Jane.

The rest of their afternoon was silent, except for the slurping of tea coming from Jane's end of the table. She had always been noisy, never completely mastering the niceties of dining. Dolly glared in disapproval. This caused her tablemate extreme displeasure. She lowered her head and began to cry.

Jon entered just in time to see the first tear fall into the tea glass with a quiet plop. He approached her and placed a comforting hand on her shoulder.

"What's wrong, my dear?" he questioned intently.

She did not reply, or move at all.

"Why don't we go for a walk?" he suggested.

Jane rose from her chair but did not go anywhere. She waited to be dismissed.

It was a warm summer day; sun shining brightly behind the fully leaved trees. Jon chose a path they'd walked many times before. It wound through the neighborhood and led them out towards the bay.

"How's Dolly today?" Jon asked Jane, squeezing her fingers gently and smiling.

"She's a little angry with me."

"Oh?"

"Yes, I didn't pass the scones."

"Oh."

He was unsure of what had gone on between the two of them, but figured it was just a petty disturbance as usual and let it go.

She began to sob uncontrollably. He came to her aide, wrapping his arms around her tired frame and rocking her back and forth. She succumbed to his strength and let herself swing left to right.

Jon worried about her a lot. Why did she have such horrible outbursts at the disapproval of this friend? After all, Dolly wasn't even a very good friend. She sat motionless and never said a word, expecting everyone to know what she wanted. He thought that she was rather rude, but would never divulge that to Jane. She would surely be upset at that.

The floorboards squeaked as the two entered the house. Jane quickly kicked off her flats, attempting to minimize the noise. She invited Jon to remove his boots, but he declined, hating the way his white socks slid around the wood floors. She gave him a disgruntled look, and without raising her voice, asked him to remove the boots. Again he declined, and began to walk toward the parlor.

"Dolly doesn't like noise!" shrieked Jane, quickly covering her mouth, realizing her mistake.

Jon stopped dead in his tracks. Dolly again. What was it with her?

He peaked around the corner and saw the small, frail friend sitting in the same spot as when they left her. In one hand she held a scone, half eaten, covered in jam. He stared for a minute, watching her jaw move up and down as she chewed.

The rhythmic movement hypnotized him, and before he knew it, Dolly was out of her chair and on the floor. She was slowly approaching him, something silver shining in her free hand. As she got closer, Jon realized what it was: a butter knife.

He felt the blade pierce his boot and penetrate his foot. A scream exploded from his mouth as the pain surged all the way up his leg. Jane came running, not to the aid of her boyfriend, but to the aid of Dolly. She scooped her up in a warm embrace, cooing, "Is everything alright? He didn't hurt you, did he?"

Jon began to feel nauseous, and within minutes, he blacked out and fell to the ground. Shortly after, he awoke to find the two girls peering down at him. Both had a twinkle in their eye. Comforted by this, he laid his head back and relaxed. Jon felt their warm hands on him, pulling something up over his legs. It was tight and constricting, like the wrap on a mummy. He tried to squirm free but it was no use; it was over his head. He lay there, cradled inside this linen womb, listening to the two of them giggle. Within minutes, everything went dark.