The Writing Disorder


rebecca wright

New Fiction


by Rebecca Wright

      A doorbell chimed and tiny feet skidded around a corner. Dirty blonde hair fell into jade eyes as a pudgy hand reached for the doorknob. Fingers tightly gripping his wrist stopped him.
      “Luka! You know better.”
      The young boy’s face fell as his hand dropped down to his side. He backed away to stand behind his mother’s skirts. She turned the handle and the door opened with an audible click.
      A large woman clutching a canvas bag stood there, a grim smile painted on her face.
      “Ma’am, I was told to deliver the offering to this house.”
      “Ah yes. How old is it?”
      “At last check, six.”
      “Well, where is it?”
      A shadow moving behind the woman caught Luka’s attention. He tugged quickly on his mother’s skirt. Her hand reached out and smacked his away. A hushed “Stop that!” escaped pursed lips.
      “I’m supposed to have you sign this paperwork first to ensure delivery.”
      “Of course.”
      The mother snatched the pen from the woman’s hand, causing her body to flinch. She began going through the paperwork as the shadow moved again. Luka gripped his mother’s skirt and tugged harder. The pen came down hard on his hand and the tugging stopped.
      “All right. Is there anything else?”
      His mother passed the papers back to the woman.
      “No, ma’am, that should be everything. Here are the belongings.”
      The woman handed his mother the canvas tote before she put her arms behind her back. The shadow moved and a small girl was pushed out from behind the woman. Dark brown, almost black hair covered her face. The woman ran her fingers through the girl’s hair, pushing it out of her face. Azure blue eyes met Luka’s.
      “And this is Indigo, the offering.”

      “This is a big responsibility Luka. You will be in charge of everything.”
      “I know. But I’m a big kid now.”
      Twelve-year-old Luka grinned up at his mother’s face. He sat on the couch across from her, a coffee table separating them.
      “All right. If you think you can handle it, then I know you can.”
      His mother dismissed him and he ran to where the guest room was. Knocking on the door to announce his arrival, he opened the door. A lump was in the middle of the bed, covered by a pile of covers.
      A head shot out of the covers. Luka grinned when he saw the haystack of hair on Indigo’s seven-year-old head.
      “C’mon! We have things to do.”
      “But I don’t wanna.”
      Walking to the bed, Luka tugged on her hand. It didn’t take much for him to get her out of the bed.
      “Get dressed. We’re going outside.”
      Luka headed towards the door but turned around when he didn’t hear anything. Indigo was just staring at him with her mouth open.
      “O-outside? Your mother says I can’t go outside. I’m to stay indoors in case someone sees me.”
      “But I’m in charge of you now.”
      Indigo walked over to him and grabbed his hand.
      “Really? I get to go outside?”
      Nodding, he pushed her over to the closet and motioned for her to get dressed. He ducked out of the room and headed over to his own across the hall. He grabbed the tote he had packed and waited in the hallway for Indigo to finish.

      Luka grimaced at the sign outside of the performance house. It wasn’t unusual for there to be a doll auction announcement. It was the name on the sign that left a sour taste in his mouth. His mother used a stapler to post the announcement listing Indigo as that evening’s performance.
      “I’m only going to assist you for the first couple. After that, you’re on your own.”
      “Yes, mother.”
      He stumbled but regained his footing as they quickly moved through the performance house. His fifteen-year-old body was still adjusting to his recent growth spurt. His mother pointed out the dressing room she would use to prep herself and the entrance they would come in.
      “Why do we hold an auction?”
      “Because that’s the only way the dolls are sold. No one would know about them if there wasn’t a public auction.”
      “But why Indigo?”
      “Because she was offered up for this.”
      “Can I keep her?”
      Her glare stopped the questions that were on the end of his tongue, barely hanging on and staying quiet.
      “Now, if everything goes correctly, you should only have to do the auction once. If not, well, the results won’t be pretty.”
      He cowered from the glare she sent him.

      “What do you mean you want to return her?
      Luka stared down the balding man in front of him. Sweat beaded on the Alfred Clark’s red forehead as his suit collar dug into the rolls of his neck. He glanced at the figure kneeling on the ground, a tight leather collar around her throat.
      “She isn’t what I need.”
      “What is it that she lacks? We can train her to suit your needs.”
      The man gripped the armrest of the chair he sat on and released a heavy breath.
      “She won’t cooperate. It’s too much of a hassle to deal with.”
      Luka sighed and nodded.
      “What form would you like your money to be in?”
      “You don’t have to return the money. Consider it an incentive for the future.”
      Luka grimaced but it quickly disappeared of his face.
      “All right. Thank you sir for your patronage. We’ll tell you of any future events.”
      He shook the man’s hand before showing him out the front door. He returned to his office to see Indigo still kneeling on the floor. He kneeled down next to her and put his hand under her chin. He lifted up her face to look and frowned. Teardrops leaked from an eye that was swollen shut. Dark black and purple bruises surrounded the eye and down the side of her face. He moved his hand to rest against the normal side of her face.
      “Oh, Indigo. What did he do to you?”
      A whimper escaped her split lip. He remembered the collar and quickly removed it.
      “That should feel better.”
      A slight nod was all he received. He stood and held his hand out to her. She moved her hand into his and he pulled her from the ground.
      “Come. Let’s get you cleaned up.”

      He pulled the frosted yellow cake from the fridge and placed it on the tray. “Happy 14th Birthday Indigo” was written on it in his sloppy writing. Grabbing two plates and forks, he added them to the tray before lifting it. He headed to Indigo’s room, pushing the door open with his hip. Setting the tray on the desk, he moved over to the bed to wake Indigo.
      He nudged the pile of blankets but nothing moved. He grabbed the pile and pushed it off the side of the bed, leaving it empty.
      “She’s not there.”
      Luka’s head whipped around to look at the doorway. His mother stood there, arms crossed across her chest.
      “Where is she?”
      “I sold her last night.”
      “You’re getting too attached. She’s nothing more than a doll.”
      She moved her gaze from him over to the cake he had spent the morning baking. Walking over to it, she placed one of her hands on the tray handle.
      “Was this for her?”
      Luka nodded, not understanding why she was asking. He jumped when she pushed the tray off the desk, covering the floor in splattered yellow cake.
      “Damn it Luka! I knew you were too young to get involved in this.”
      “No! I promise I’ll do better!”
      He shook from the glare she stared at him with.
      “You better. Or you’ll join her.”

      “How soon would you like your refund, ma’am?”
      “As soon as possible. I need to replace this one.”
      “Of course. It should be returned within two business days.”
      Luka scribbled down the message on the paper in front of him. A woman with a beak for a nose sat in the chair in front of him. A broken figure lay next to the chair. Showing the woman out, Luka rushed back to his office. In his twenty years, he had never seen a person so defeated.
      “Oh, Indigo.”
      He noticed the broken arm she had tucked against her chest and her swollen ankle. Sighing, he released the rope collar from around her throat and rubbed the tender skin.
      “Let’s get you fixed up.”
      He lifted her body into his arms, listening to the painful whimpers escaping her swollen mouth. He moved her to the guest room, waiting for the doctor to show up.
      “It won’t be much longer.”

      Two soaring sparrows were inked into the arm that cradled her head. He held her as she lay on the floor of the guest room with no thoughts in her mind and no voice in her throat. This was nothing like the vibrant life he remembered her having, her previous owners having sucked it out of her. He watched her chest barely move with each faded breath, another fragment of her souls escaping through her cracked lips. Pieces of a broken picture frame littered the floor around her, glass embedded in her skin. He hated how she had been discarded, destroyed, demolished on the floor. Violent thoughts and memories swirled around in his head, taking over, controlling him. He wanted more for her than this life. They were skeletons escaping the closet and coming to life. Bitter broken bones lay beneath her failing flesh, failing to hold everything together with glue mixed from blood and lies.
      “Ready, love?”
      He lowered her head to the ground and stood up above her. He hovered over her, unsure how to help her. The door opened behind her. His mother stood there, watching and critiquing. Tonight was his only chance. His hand reached out and gripped her hair, pulling her up. He knew she couldn’t cry. There were no liquids left to release, no pent up anger, no emotions.
      “C’mon, we don’t have time for this. They’re ready.”
      He lifted her, slinging her over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes but mindful of the glass in her skin. Following his mother out of the apartment building as he carried her, he pushed her into the dark car outside. Telling the driver to go, he passed her a duffle bag.
      “You know what to do. Get to it.”
      As if on strings, she acted with jerky movements from his command. He was her puppeteer, she his marionette. Luka hated how she dressed in the uniform, not caring that the driver was leering at her or that Luka’s mother was glaring at her. Just as she finished tying the ribbons on the shoes, the car came to a stop.
      “It’s time. You better be ready. There’s a lot of money riding on you tonight.”
      Exiting the car after his mother, he turned to see if she had moved but she still just stared forward with blank eyes.
      He waited for her to acknowledge his voice but the sound flowed through her ears and bounced around her barely functioning brain. He walked back to the car door and grabbed her hand, pulling her from the vehicle. As they walked, she followed behind him as if he was pulling her along with a leash. Her white skin glowed from the marquee above them that announced “Indigo Torrie: Performing Tonight Only.”
Leading her backstage, he motioned for her to enter the dressing room.
      “There you go, love. Everything is ready for you. Make yourself pretty.”
      She moved into the room and he shut the door behind him as he left. He headed to the gallery to greet the buyers that had received an invitation to the event.


      “Luka Santino! How have you been?”
      Turning away from the couples and singles that were mingling, he looked at the older, balding man that headed towards him. He shook the hand that the man held out.
      “Alfred Clark! It’s been a long time.”
      Luka knew that Alfred had wanted Indigo ever since he had first had her when she was twelve. He lost his wife soon after the return and believed Indigo was the perfect replacement.
      “Indeed it has. Did you send Indigo through more training?”
      “I did. She should cooperate now and agree to everything.
      Luka frowned as Alfred nodded, grinning like a fool. If everything went Luka's way, Indigo would not be going home with anyone but himself. He had groomed her specifically to his own preferences. No, she only belonged to him.
      “Good luck.”
      The older man nodded and grinned wider, the dark spaces of missing teeth prominent.
      “There’s no way I could persuade you?”
      Alfred pulled his wallet out of his suit jacket and opened it. Luka glanced at the large amount of green bills that were bursting from the leather bi-fold.
      “You know very well that everyone gets an equal chance.”
      Luka grimaced as Alfred clapped him on the back of his shoulder.
      “That’s what I like about you. You make sure everything is straight.”
      “Thanks. But now I must go check on the star of the evening.”


      Luka opened the door to the dressing room and watched as Indigo got ready. After she washed the dirt off her skin, she began applying concealer to the bruises covering her scarred body. He frowned at the blacks, the greens, and the yellows that stood out against her pale skin. They were the gifts, the lies, the punishments left behind from previous owners, ones that grew old and left her behind. He hated how each time she had to do this performance; there were more to cover.
      “Ready, love?”
      Luka smiled at the thought that this would be the final act of her profession as a puppet. He had been planning this since he took over for his mother.
      “Just one more thing before you go.”
      He walked over to a table where a single case sat. Reaching into it, he pulled a needle out filled with a pale blue liquid that shined when the light hit it. Bringing it over to Indigo, he motioned for her to hold her arm out. Gripping her elbow, he injected the liquid into her outstretched arm.
      “There. Don’t worry, everything will be fine.”
      He led her to the red curtain blocking the stage from the spectators. He could hear the faint murmurs of those there to watch and those there to buy. He didn’t acknowledge them, instead staring at Indigo’s blank face, wishing he could take her away.
      “Good. Now dance.”
      Leaving her there, Luka headed to his place to stand next to his mother just in the wings of the stage. Nodding to the stagehand, the curtain rose.


      The audience watched Indigo with pity, with remorse, with glee in their eyes. Those looking to buy focused on the way her body twisted and bent in pirouettes. Rain poured above them, seen only through the glass-tiled roof. Shadows danced across the onlookers’ faces, casting them in greens and blues. Dirt from the rarely used stage stained her skin as she moved, ruining carefully done makeup. The music rhythms in the background became her heartbeat.
      Luka knew Indigo wanted to stop but he didn’t tell her to, especially with his mother standing next to him. Seeing the faces in the crowd sneering at her made him wish for a different life for her. He could see that she wanted to scream but words can’t pass her lips. Not in this moment.
      When she turned her head towards him, Luka knew it was time for the final curtain call. Luka walked to the center of the stage to announce the winner as she continued to dance
      “Attention everyone!”
      As the audience quieted down, he turned to look at Indigo. Her hands went to clutch her throat as the burning began. He knew she had never felt a pain like this before but it was necessary. He watched as she stopped dancing and bent over, trying to force air into her lungs. A sticky, wet cough and cabernet colored candy syrup came out. Her cracked lips parted with gasps of hot air and failure. With another cough, Indigo fell.


      He stood in the dark corner, just outside the sight of room. Luka watched as Indigo opened her eyes to see darkness with only a faint glow from the moonlight coming through the barred windows. The room had no exit and no entrance for her. Hope leaked from her broken lungs as she watched the freedom of people pass by. Faces pressed against the glass, fog escaped their gaping mouths. He knew that she recognized Alfred’s face as he came into view of the window. He hated how he had to use shackles to hold her thin arms to the wall. Her skin was dry and bleeding hidden beneath dark silver metal. Shivers rocked Indigo’s broken body.
      He watched as she searched for an escape from the room. Blood covered fingertips and nail grooves were scratched into the wall. Fragmented faces of those that didn’t win the bid screamed of lost time and made-up lies outside the window of the room. He hated listening to them but that wouldn’t be able to change it now. Her teeth sunk into her swollen lip and concealed her cries.
      Luka moved forward and opened a portion of the wall, sliding across the floor with a scraping sound.
      “Hello, love.”
      She cowered back from him into the darkness of the room.
      “Are you ready? A new home is waiting.”
       There is no life for the broken doll.

Rebecca Wright is a 21-year-old graduate of University of South Florida with her BA in Creative Writing. She wants people to analyze why she wrote something and what it means, when in all actuality, she wrote it because she could. She currently resides in Tampa, Florida, with her polydactal cat, Huckleberry Fynnigan. She plans to receive her MFA in Creative Writing and in the future, change the world.

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