by Ivy Z.
You’re walking down an unfamiliar street. Red and green garlands are wrapped around the edge of every roof. Light-up decorations fill up each front yard like a den of wire reindeers and inflatable Santas. Some even go as far as covering the lawn with powdery fake snow before they’re covered by real snow. When the night falls, from far away, every street is illuminated by the bright lights and decorations. If you listen closely, there will be the faintest sound of Christmas music coming from each house.
Peek into the window of the house with the dark red brick walls. Squint through the sheer frosty curtains. Light greets your eyes. You absorb the view in the living room.
Presents, wrapped in paper that are either shiny and metallic or covered with holiday designs, are stacked under the tree. There are boxes big and small. The stockings hanging above the fireplace are bulging with surprises. The centerpiece of the room, the plastic pine tree, has every centimeter of its available space covered with ornaments. They catch and reflect the light in the room, bedazzling your view no matter which angle you turn to. Beside the tree, the amber flames in the fireplace flicker and dance.
Strangely, the room is empty. Everything looks too picture perfect, not a thing out of place. You are intrigued by what looks like your dream house. You want to go in.
On the intricately carved door hangs a wreath covered with red ribbons and silver mini bells. You knock, but nobody answers. Turning the brass handle, you’re surprised to find out that it isn’t locked. You tentatively push open the door.
A blast of warmth greets you. Closing the door behind you, you survey the same scene that you’re peering at from the window before. Holiday music softly blares from somewhere in the distance.
“Hello, anyone there?” you call out, scanning your surroundings. It seems like there isn’t a trace of life in this house, yet every inch of the floor and furnitures is spotless.
Suddenly, a bell jingles behind you. Startled, you spin around and face the long dining table, adorned with food that you didn’t see when you came in.
A steaming roasted turkey sits on a silver plate in the centre of the table. Mashed potatoes, a gravy train and appetizers are set around the main course. As you slowly approach the table, the amazing aroma surrounds you, making your stomach growl. Suddenly you realize that you’re starving. At the end of the table is a single chair, a china plate and a set of silver cutlery. The luring smell is getting stronger and your stomach protests loudly. Something is not right, but you can’t be bothered to think things through. Your hunger is taking over your mind. Before you know it, you are wolfing down the food in front of you. As you eat spoonful after spoonful, you find your limbs starting to become stiff. It’s more difficult to raise the fork to your mouth each time. But you still want more. Finally, your legs lose their feeling and you can no longer move your arms. You sit frozen with one arm still hovering, reaching for the sugar plum pie.
A giant hand reaches through the window and grabs your rigid body. It neatly arranges your limbs until you’re standing upright, like a puppet.
“Welcome to the dollhouse.”