The Broken Doll: Chapter Eleven.

by | Jun 4, 2024 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

He unwrapped the package to reveal the doll.

Tahir ibn ‘Abdallah was not a man to get on the wrong side of. His temper was lightning quick and his patience, non-existent.

His Excellency possessed narcissism and misogyny in equal measures having no respect for life of any kind outside of his immediate family. If he could find no use for people he either denied their existence or worse. Worse was not good and varied from a quick exit if one was lucky to a slow, long, lingering one where every breath was a curse. This was the fate he bestowed on Soraya.

The young girl had long outlasted her usefulness in the manner for which His Excellency had originally acquired her. Nevertheless he had kept her barely alive to satisfy his other depraved addiction.

The apple of the Governor’s eye was another young woman of the same age as the tragic Soraya. This girl wanted for nothing. If she desired a small village as a playground, the governor would clear the place and those who refused to to leave were dispatched with the usual efficiency by the Royal Guard. Fortunately for the population of the Province of Khorashan this request had only been granted a couple of times.

Amira by name Amira by nature the young woman lived up to her appellation being the niece of the ruler of Samania. Khorashan was the defaqto Kingdom of her father and she was the Princess. The attentions of her adoring father and the protection accorded her, meant that she had a mental age of a child half her years. Material Riches were no substitute for education and life experience.

Her favourite pastime was to sit on the steps of the Governor’s Palace and play with her collection of dolls. The tiny mannequins sourced from all over the known world had been acquired by her father and his merchants on their travels from China in the East to Al Andalus in the West. The child dreamt of being a teacher like the many such professors that had been appointed by her father to try and hasten her development. Most had come and gone without success having very little to work with. Although beautiful to the extreme with her jet black, waist-length hair and green eyes, Amira was a lost cause when it came to education. Play was her thing and she did that everyday day. Lining the dolls up on the steps like a small amphitheatre, she would play to her inanimate audience singing songs and telling stories. The one exception to the long list of failed tutors was the ancient visitor she called Uncle Shah. The old man would teach her songs and tricks which she would then practise on her dumb but attentive audience of figurines.

Amira had no friends of her own age as children, including her many siblings, were banned from the palace. She did, however, have one companion briefly, the girl with hair like a ripe wheat field in summer. They played together and the girl would tell her fascinating stories about another world; a world outside the palace. Sometimes, nevertheless, she would disappear for days or even weeks at a time. Amira missed her golden-haired friend. On returning she would always look tired and have some sort of injury as if she had been in an accident. “Don’t worry Princess, I’m just a bit clumsy”, she would say. Then, one day, she left the game abruptly when two Palace Guards came to escort her and she never returned. After that it was just Amira, the dolls, her father, Mustafa, the giant Turkic guardsman who stood permanently at the door and the old man in her life.

One morning the Sage visited the palace holding a small package wrapped in white linen. Amira was curious and demanded that the old man show her the contents of his bundle.

“I’m afraid I can’t do that Princess, this is a special present for a special person,” the old man replied to her pleas.

“If Baba finds out you have been cruel to me you will pay with your life just like all of my other professors!” The child threatened.

“Oh well, in that case, the special one will have to have her gift now,” the Sage conceded with false reluctance. He unwrapped the package to reveal the doll. Immediately the girl’s face lit up her emerald eyes growing large like two ripe olives.

“Give it to me now , old man or you’ll regret it!” she screeched and the bodyguard at the gate turned, quickly placing his hand on his scimitar. The soldier would have beheaded the Sage instantly, on the command of the child.

“Here take her, my little Iris, she belongs to you anyway,” he uttered, bowing his head to the young girl. Amira immediately snatched the doll from Shahid holding it first at arm’s length and clutching it to her chest. With one sweep of her small arm, she sent the collection of dolls crashing across the Mosaic floor of the palace. The porcelain faced mannequin, a gift from the King of the Mongols, shattered on the hard surface but the Girl took no notice.

“Enjoy Princess,” the old man whispered as he backed out of the room giving a subservient nod to the huge soldier that stood at the front door.

“I’m going to tell you all about the world outside,” Amira said mimicking her lost friend Soraya.

As the Royal Guardsman opened the door for Shahid, he glanced up and smiled at his young charge. The soldier had fought many battles, killing hundreds of the enemy. He had sustained life threatening injuries which was why he was now the guardian of the child. Still, nothing he had witnessed in his long, distinguished and violent military career had papered him for what he was about to witness. The young girl turned and reciprocated his smile and he averted his eyes which was customary. At that very moment, the palace was filled with a brilliant golden light. As the soldier shielded his eyes, the girl turned back towards the doll. There, occupying the step where the toy had been sat a beautiful young woman, a veil of flaxen hair covering her visage. Parting the golden curtains to reveal her face, the woman whispered.

“Hello Princess Amira, I’m back.”

The giant guard had been given his instructions, under pain of death. No visitors other than those on the list, without exception. Having been a disciplined soldier of the battlefield, he did not hesitate in drawing the scimitar to dispatch the beautiful young woman who had mysteriously appeared in the room. Regardless of the fact that the girl was exquisite and somehow familiar, Mustafa knew that failure to act would mean his own quick demise at the hands of his master. Add to this the circumstances of her arrival, other than by the only entrance to the room, which he was guarding, meant there was to be no hesitation.

The soldier took one giant step towards the pair, which would be his last. The flaxen haired maiden raised one hand in his direction and he froze like one of the many statues that adorned the palace. Every muscle in his body went into a cramp simultaneously and the pain was like nothing he’d experienced in a war zone. His eyes almost left their sockets as the trooper was glued to the spot. He was forced to witness the next set of events, so horrible, that even his excruciating pain would be secondary.

Turning to see her guardian stop mid step, warm yellow liquid running down his bare, stiff leg, Amira opened her mouth to scream. With a flick of her wrist the intruder muted the scream at source so that all that left the child’s mouth was a rattling breath. The Princess’s eyes widened and her lower lip jutted out in a portrait of terror.

“There, there you ruined one, don’t be afraid. Your suffering won’t last, unlike mine which I endured for two long, agonising years,” hissed the other young woman.

Amira’s face turned from terror to anger at the words of this interloper. Her eyebrows formed a deep “v” over her eyes which darkened to the colour of a rose leaf. Her companion flicked her hand from side to side as if repelling an insect. In perfect synchronicity, Amira’s face shot first left then right and back left as if slapped by something invisible. Huge welts appeared on her cheeks and her eyes began to water. Blood poured from the corner of the child’s lips. A look of puzzlement came over her face as she felt something in her mouth. Bringing her hand up to it, she spat out a gob of blood and saliva into her palm. To the girl’s horror, there in the scarlet pool in her hand, sat two pure white teeth. Wiping her hand on her favourite white dress, she sent the two tiny pieces of ivory skating towards the paralysed guard.

In an instinctive motion, she spat out a mouthful of blood and a third tooth was sent spinning across the floor leaving a thin red trail.

The giant soldier managed to lower his eyes as the two teeth clattered into his feet coming to a halt in the pool of his urine. The horror of the developing scene was beginning to numb the searing agony of his paralysis. Tears formed in his staring, unblinking eyes, blurring the horrific scene temporarily. 

As his vision cleared he saw the blonde girl raise her arm in the air, two fingers pointing to the sky. Then with a sharp stabbing motion she raised them in a mock salute to the Trooper.

The princess let out an ear splitting scream and bent double as if she had been punched in the stomach. Clutching her abdomen with both hands, she collapsed onto the hard floor curling into the foetal position, her knees almost touching her chin as she writhed in agony.

The young tormentor gently lowered her hand and Amira emitted another deafening howl as the invisible implement was withdrawn from her body. Blood seeped through her dress below her waist and she instinctively stood up swaying with nausea, from the pain.

Making both hands into fists, the girl brought them together and then twisted them imitating the snapping of a small twig. Amira’s left index finger snapped back, doubling over the back of her hand. Her scream was muffled by the look of sheer disbelief at the broken digit. Repeating the motion, the aggressor caused Amira’s middle finger to mirror it’s neighbour so they both flapped like pegs on a clothesline. This time the princess could not hold in her horror as the vision of her disfigurement combined with her agony. The room echoed with her wails as she tried, in vain, to replace the broken fingers. At that moment the other girl made a slicing motion with her hand miming a chop with a meat cleaver. The two fingers flew into the air and landed on the marble floor next to the third tooth in a macabre collage of body parts. Blood from the two stumps reminded the blonde girl of her own disfigured hand. “Now we are almost equal, your Highness. Just one more task. Unlike me, you won’t feel a thing” she hissed at the Princess.

Finally with a sharp flick of her head the golden haired torturer spun it around so that she was almost facing behind her. There were three loud cracks, one from the young assailant as her neck snapped first out of place then back in. A second emanated from Amira as her head jerked sideways as if clutched by two strong hands; her death was instant as the cervical vertebra sliced through her spinal cord. She was gone from this world before her pretty face hit the marble floor with a muffled crack. The girl’s attention turned to the guard as she raised a hand then lowered it slowly. The soldier felt the pain ebb away as his limbs loosened and the feeling returned to his frozen body.

Staggering with his new found freedom, the horror of the scene hit him. His young charge, the one he lived for and loved with all of his being lay broken in a scarlet-stained heap before him. Reaching for his sword, Mustafa took several quick steps towards the young aggressor. As he drew his weapon, however, the child raised her hands as if to brandish her own invisible blade. Holding the imaginary scimitar over her abdomen, she made the soldier copy her action. He stood in amazement as his own arms turned the weapon on himself. It was then that he recognised the girl as the one he’d escorted from Kashmar and abandoned to the vile clutches of the Governor. He knew then that his fate was sealed and he relaxed into her control.

He was powerless to resist, staggering two steps forward; he could now smell the familiar fragrance of the young woman, he was that close. She pulled her crossed fists towards her midriff and the soldier duly copied; the tip of the scimitar grazing the skin just above his row of taut stomach muscles, below is bottom rib.

“Try not to resist my hero, a better place waits for you. Give into it,” the girl uttered. Just as he decided to concur with her, she pulled her hands quickly down into her waist and then up towards her chest. In a mirror image, the huge soldier did the same. The blade of the sword tore into his flesh, splitting his left lung and piercing his massive heart. Bright red bubbles gurgled from the wound followed by a spray of claret liquid coating the prone body of the Princess. 

Unlike his love the brave warrior remained standing, the scimitar piercing his gut and emerging just below his right shoulder blade.

“Take her to her father, fearless one,” the girl breathed, looking into his dead eyes. In senseless obedience, the guard bent down, the sword still in place and picked up the two severed digits. He closed his hand and the blood oozed between his own fingers. In the same motion, he scooped up the bloody corpse of the Princess into his immense arms like one of the broken mannequins that littered the floor. In his zombie-like state the guard moved towards the door with the tragic burden. Watching him disappear through the doorway the princess turned and addressed the array of tiny figurines.

“Now it’s the turn of his excellency and his end will not be as swift as his special one.”

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