The Dancing Mannequin

The Dancing Mannequin

by Steven Chevalia

Marcus gulped.

Mary gasped.

The Mannequin danced.

What in the blazes…?

Mary shrugged.

Well, what do you think it is?

I dunno, looks like plastic to me.

Well, can’t be that.

How so?

It’s moving.

So it was. The plastic Mannequin turned, dancing in circles like a ballerina. Her thin, melded-together fingers, touched its twin on the opposite hand, her hands sticking straight up and forming a half-crescent moon in the space between them.

Touch it.

You touch it.

Marcus sighed. Then he reached over and gave the plastic mid-section a good, hard poke with his index finger. The Mannequin danced.

Nothing

Husband and wife continued to stare at the circulating doll, wondering what kind of magic had brought it to life. It was their first time in the Chicago-land area. Now that they were here, they wouldn’t say they cared for it much. ‘You guys like it here?’ Their grandson, whom they were staying with, had asked earlier that evening.

Yessir. Suppose so.

It’s alright.

Like the house.

Where your Bible at?

Their grandson had shrugged and walked away, leaving Marcus and Mary in a state of utter confusion.

Well, what to do on a Sunday evening without a Bible?

‘Spose we take a walk down the street?

The golden, orange sun was in the process of setting when they left the house. Fifteen minutes later, the sun was in almost the same spot, and so were husband and wife. The store, less than a half-mile from where they had started, which housed the spinning Mannequin, provided adequate coverage on the floor so that the elderly couple did not see the small section of her platform that rotated along with the life-like ballerina.

I like home better.

Yes, yes, I do too.

Marcus, you ‘spose our kids are doing alright?

Yes, yes, I do.

I guess younger generations catch on quicker, don’t they?

Yep.

You want to walk back?

Marcus shook his head for a second, and then began to nod it. He gave the Mannequin another good, hard poke on its side and it began to tip over.

By the time the Mannequin had crashed to the floor – rotating much slower now, with a missing head, and struggling to keep its hands attached every time it bumped into a new object – the older couple were gone from the store. When the store’s owner ran from his office to see what was happening, the pair were disappearing around the corner – turning onto the street their nephew lived on – by the time he went outside to see if he could catch the fleeing culprits, the man and woman were gone. He looked down at the still-rotating plastic mass that had set him back more than three-quarters of a grand. Then, heading back to his office he flipped a switch, stopping the spinning floor from slapping the doll around anymore. He placed a direct call to the police and explained the vandal attack.

The Mannequin lay still.



– Refers to the word “dance” in Dawn Corrigan’s story Golden

  1. I enjoyed this very much! It was unexpected and nicely surprising! Thank you!

  2. Thanks for the kind words. I was surprised by the ending/story in general as well.

    -Steven Chevalia

  3. Something about automata is unfailingly creepy. You’ve latched onto what’s required in flash fiction: huge suggestions the reader wants to puzzle over afterwards. The heart of the story was sweet too, in a melancholy way.

    Thanks for the moment of introspection.

  4. Thanks, Steiner.

    I’ve been trying to remember when the idea first came to me, and I keep coming up blank — aside from the vague feeling that it might have been after watching the first episode of the Doctor Who revamp series, where mannequins come to life and attack people.

    Thanks for the comment.

    -Steven Chevalia

  5. I love this discussion! I LOVE the new Dr. Who series. What a great way to be inspired 🙂

  6. I feel like I have bipolar disorder since two of my comments came from different accounts. Which was the good Steven and which was the evil Steven? No one will ever know….

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