The Doll Collector

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Chapter 26

Joshua woke up to the sound of his own snoring. I never sleep well on my back, but my movements, as well as the girl’s, are restricted.

He remembered his actions with her after the lights were out. He had done similar things several times. He had wanted to involve Bethany in similar activities, only to have his chance removed from him by a change in circumstances.

He wished he could have brought both girls along with him, but that was infeasible. One will prove sufficiently difficult to keep under control.

He had a return of the feelings of shame and guilt that often followed swiftly on the heels of the satisfying of his own appetites, despite his own opinions regarding self-gratification. He had technically kept Abigail’s virtue intact, but her innocence would have been reduced from its earlier state.

How long until I find someone with whom I can share a physical relationship? When will I find a girl that is not repulsed by me? He hadn’t found that with Abigail, or any other girl. Even his late wife had been repulsed by the time their relationship ended.

Previous girls had hated him and they had suffered. He longed to find a girl that would submit to his desires, and that would actually enjoy doing so. There has to be a girl out there that’s pure and innocent, but with passion and lust bubbling below the surface. His face twisted into a combination of a scowl and a grin. Some young girl, somewhere, is waiting for the chance to cast aside her innocence for me.

Maybe such a girl didn’t exist. Maybe innocence carried with it a need to be horrified by people like Joshua. Their virtue was intact because they avoided people like him. It wouldn’t be in the nature of most to throw everything away for a moment of pleasure shared with a stranger.

In addition to the ankle restraint, his sleep was interrupted on numerous occasions by dreams of his former life. These dreams were not surreal or absurd. They were memories, locked away in his mind. He only wished that he had lost the key.

His mind, once again, returned to the porcelain dolls collected by his mother, put on display in several rooms in the house. They would sit there in a perfect row on the shelf above him. Their faces did not change from the default expressions. When he was happy, they were smiling along with him. Their collective grins could also convey a contrary connotation. When he was distraught, in pain, miserable, they seemed to be mocking him.

The voice of a distant, familiar adult was complimentary, but Joshua had not wanted to hear their praise over the sound of a camera shutter. Such words had done nothing to abate the terrible pains he had felt in his lower body for hours afterwards. The dolls would look down, gloating that they were not human, immune to such trauma.

Following such nights, he had found himself to be completely unable to look other school children in the eye. He found himself loathing those children who showed up, day after day, with smiles on their faces. Maybe they didn’t have the same relationship with their parents. Maybe they just hid things better.

Whatever their own circumstances, almost every other child seemed happier by comparison. The broad spectrum of facial expressions ranged from the elated to the miserable and everything in between. There was no doubt that he was almost always at one end of that spectrum, and that the pretty girls, who seemed to thrive on teasing others were the happiest.

Every now and then he could have sworn that the faces of those dolls above his bed were those of the young Yvonne or Samantha, the girls at school that could get whatever they wanted by fluttering their eyelashes. Once or twice, in his lowest moments, the dolls would seem to speak with the voices of those girls, their words laced with synthetic sympathy.

Joshua would spend night after night, mentally reaching out to some unknown person, someone who could save him. Someone who did not exist. He had lost count of the times he had wanted to scream, wishing he could be free. Eventually he was big enough and strong enough to grant his own wish, free to search the country for indications of the innocence that had been missing for most of his own life.

Joshua’s arm reached out and his legs stretched. As his hand touched the bedside cabinet holding the key. The chain of the handcuffs rattled, relinquishing him from his reverie. Staring wide-eyed at the ceiling, he considered using drugs to aid his sleep. I can’t put myself in that position. I need to stay alert, stay in control.

He looked to his right. Abigail, the closest to perfection he had found thus far, would need to be gone in a matter of days. I don’t want to hurt her, but can I let her leave, knowing the things she knows?

His next thought was a crazy one. I’m fascinated by this girl.

He could try and take the girl to some foreign country where he could force her into marriage at the age of fourteen. Eventually she will stop resisting me.

Maybe he was getting ridiculous. He nodded his head sarcastically, moving his pillow in the process. Maybe? OF COURSE I’m being ridiculous!

She hated him and she would always hate him. He could give it a day or two and see if she softened towards him. If she resisted his advances as much in forty eight hours he might have to consider travelling lighter.

Killing her goes against my code of conduct. I need to find a place to put her where she’ll be found long after I’m gone.

His mind started to drift as his eyes closed. Despite the effect of his dire dreams he was not yet ready to wake up and face the day. Time with Abigail would likely be fraught with problems. He could anticipate some, but not all. He smiled. She’s worth the struggles. She’s my favourite.

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