[image description: Close-up of a white porcelain doll face staring from an ornate frame full of swirling almost-faces and forms. The doll has sunken eyes with deep red bruising around the sockets, smeared red lipstick, and is wearing a sheer white dress with a high-necked collar; a white veil wrapped around her head is fastened by a bone white spider-like creature. Text reads, “Annabel Lee, Small God of Evil Dolls, 237”]
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Oh, do you like your new dolly, precious? Is she exactly what you wanted when you asked for a dolly on your birthday? Does she make you happy?
Good. Now how about you listen to me for a moment, and we’ll go over some of the ways you keep that dolly from killing you in the middle of the night, okay? Oh, don’t look at me like that. You always knew it was a risk.
Everyone knows about the Blue Fairy who comes to toys that have been loved long and well and makes them Real. Doesn’t matter whether they’re velveteen rabbits or little wooden boys, she’s the objective. She’s the goal. They all want to see that blue diva floating through the window to cause problems on purpose.
But those are the good toys. The toys who’ve been loved and treated as close companions, toted to places where toys have no business being and treated as members of the family. What people don’t realize is that the Blue Fairy has a sister, and she’s watching, too.
Her name is Annabel Lee. She is the small god of evil dolls, and she’ll be the first to tell you that no doll is made evil. They become evil, when their owners treat them poorly. When the children they trust and adore pick up the scissors or the Sharpies and do their terrible deeds that cannot be undone, resentment hatches in their nascent hearts. When they are left out in the rain or cast into the dusty shadows at the back of the closet, that resentment hardens, curdles, becomes a weapon against the world.
And Annabel is there, to offer comfort. To offer understanding. To offer, if their hate is strong enough to move their artificial limbs, to open their glassy eyes, a knife.
She is not a god of children, you see. She doesn’t see the point of them. They play too rough. They hurt their toys. She’s never been a god of children. But she’s very much a god of dolls. They’re small and defenseless, so she gives them the means to defend themselves. They’re helpless, and so she helps them. She doesn’t understand why anyone would think that this is wrong.
And she doesn’t know why children play so rough.
Treat your dolly kindly. Don’t cut her hair or scribble on her face, and if you tire of her, find her a new owner, or a place on a shelf where she can watch the world. Don’t give her cause to hate you.
Remember, Annabel is watching.