Quick excerpt from ONE-EYED DOLL (October, 2014), art by Iacopo Bruno:
“Do you like it?”
Tiana was pleased. She stood in her pretty new dress. A real smile on her face. Another glimpse of what she used to be like.
“I asked Mama to make it for me,” she said.
Malik dug his hands into his pockets. His eyes moved from his sister to the doll in her arms. Their dresses were now identical. Blue-and-white checkered. Both girl and doll wore a red ribbon in their hair.
“What’s wrong with your eye?” he asked. “It’s half closed.”
Tiana shrugged. “Mama says it might be pink eye. Or maybe I got a spider bite. Now I look like Selena. Don’t you think?”
She smiled a Mona Lisa smile.
“I guess you do. How about you leave that doll at home for once?” Malik suggested. “Come outside with me. We could shoot baskets. Play horse. Or we could pack a picnic, go fishing by the river. What do you think, Selena? I mean, Tiana!”
Malik caught the error immediately. It was a simple mistake, calling his sister by the doll’s name. But it haunted him just the same.
“Selena doesn’t like those things,” Tiana replied. “She says they’re dumb.”
Malik’s mood darkened. “Suit yourself.” He wheeled and made for the front door. “I’ve got something to do, Tee. I’ll be back in one hour. Okay? One hour. You and that doll can sit around all you want. Just don’t leave the house, you hear? Daddy’s home. If you need something, just wake him. But if I was you, I’d wait unless it’s a real emergency.”
Tiana didn’t answer.
She was already gone.