On a cold winters day, when the delicate snow was gathering gently in heaps on the ground, a small girl was to be seen skipping and dancing along one of the darker, sadder alleys. She may well have been the only one out in the streets that day, but Alma, (for that was her name) did not seem to notice or perhaps she did not care, but that is not of significance at this point. The snow was wet and cold, but strangely peaceful. Alma felt as if she were a cold fawn, snuggling into his mother (even if she was chilled to the bone.) she felt free, wet, but free.
Alma turned to a wall, it was large, black and covered in names written in chalk and jumping out into the snow like cold floating shadows. She picked up the piece of chalk she had brought, and slowly wrote her name large and clear in a space near the bottom of the wall, ALMA.

Alma turned, something wasn’t right. She listened and slowly looked around, no one. She blinked, and saw a small building with a large window across the street, Alma crept cautiously toward it, she was interested, curious about the secrets the shop may hold. She frowned, staring at the window, and rubbing the frost off of the uncared for, beast like window, and saw a doll, it was not really a very magnificent doll, but rather, plain. Alma’s head tilted, her eyes widened, her eye brows rose and her jaw dropped. She looked the doll up and down, as though it was going to disappear any minuet. Alma realized that, the doll was wearing similar, or perhaps the same clothes that she herself was wearing. Alma looked up smiling, it was her doll, or rather a doll in her image. The fleeting moment of excitement and joy that had over come her, was suddenly was reduced to confusion as her face fell, the doll was gone.

She looked up at the shop, its window was strange and rustic with an eerie feel to it. Scaly reptile like tiles were beneath the window, and frostbitten glass allowed the darkness to seep into the shop. Smaller windows lined the top of the larger in a teeth like formation, as if ready to swallow the first person to open the shop’s door. The colours of the shop were dull and dark, the windows reflected the wall covered in names and to the shop’s right were around twenty missing posters. Above the main, there were 2 smaller windows, one to the left, and one to the right. The main window separated into three sections, the beams dividing them dripping suspiciously from it’s arch, as if there were some kind of monster hiding in the strangeness of the window!

Alma was puzzled, that doll had been her, a rather less authentic her but still her. No one was allowed to own her. She ran to the door of the shop, all these thoughts swirling in her head like a hurricane. She pushed, but the door did not budge, she pushed again, harder this time, but still nothing happened. Alma felt a surge of anger overtake her, like the tide taking over a beach. She bent over and plunged her hand into the snow, making a large snow ball. She forced all her resistant anger into that ball and threw it hard at the door. Then, feeling slightly out of breath, she turned and began to walk moodily away. After she had walked about ten steps, the door creaked open and Alma heard the tinkle of the shop bell. She turned once more and stepped cautiously into the shop, the stench of dolls, mice and dust overwhelming her senses.

The tiles, broken and decaying, moved noisily as she walked to a table in the center of the room, her doll was standing there, looking innocently out the window, not a care in the world. As Alma reached for the doll, her foot nudged a smallish doll on a bicycle, he was so obviously mechanical, because his feet were peddling like a terrified circus clown. Alma took pity on the doll and bent down to lift it upright. As she rose, the doll on the bicycle sped towards the closing door, he wasn’t fast enough. Alma smiled, ‘silly doll’ she thought.

When Alma reached her full height, she gasped, gripping the table she looked wildly around, searching for the doll. Then, she saw it, sitting on a high shelf above an old, dusty couch. Alma hurried over, climbed onto the couch and scrambled up the shelf. Taking off her glove, Alma stretched, as she did, she imagined walking through the door of her home and showing her doll to her mother. ‘why, Alma, that doll is your splitting image!!!’ she would say. Alma continued to stretch, her full attention on the doll as her fingers became level with the dolls nose, she swayed slightly excitement overcoming her.

As Alma touched the doll, she saw flashes of not only her own life but of the dolls too. She saw things that she hadn’t experienced in many years, and things she did not know or understand. Suddenly everything was still again, and Alma was staring through clear, glassy eyes. Her heavy and out of control breathing mixed with the slower, calmer breathing, the movement of her eyes imitated by hundreds of others, clicking from side to side. As Alma heard these things she also looked around the room, she felt betrayed, scared and miserable.

She saw another smaller doll rising up in the window, it had scraggly red hair, pale skin and was wearing a pinkish flowery dress with little gold buttons going down the front. She had a sad, disoriented look on her face, as if she was lost, or lonely. She had bright green eyes that could have been very pretty, if they were not clouded with confusion. Alma felt sorry, not just for the little girl that would be the new doll, but for herself she would never see her family again. For she had been sucked into the doll.