I’ve helped and protected many during my years on this earth, but I’ve never felt as helpless as I did with Rayna Mudwing Guilbeau. If I could have screamed and cried with this child, I would have. Many think a cursed doll has no feelings, no empathy for a broken, human heart. They’re wrong. I’ve felt anger, heartache, love and regret … especially regret.
I came to Rayna when she was a toddler. She was as happy as any baby I’d ever seen. Made me question why she would ever need me. Surely such a smiling beauty would have her pick of good men. I’m afraid I let her sweetness cause me to lose my focus. She made me feel human. Maternal. While I basked in her affection for me, I was taken off guard. I forgot that precious children are often born into evil families. That was certainly Rayna’s fate. Was I supposed to protect her from her family?
In the dead of night, no matter where I am or who I belong to, I still hear Rayna whimpering my name: “Tiva, my Tiva.” That’s what she named me the moment the mute woman handed me to her. She opened her arms and laughed. “Tiva.” I loved hearing her giggles. Rayna filled my cold bones with warmth and joy.
The fights began. The accusations. The threats. The smell of burnt flesh. No call for that! God destroy anyone—anyone—who harms a child! I say those words often, but only in my head.
Rayna was taken away. I was tossed aside, given to one and then another, went through much until I found my way back to that devil’s house in Oklahoma City. Funny how things happen.
The moment I was stuffed in a box and placed on the front porch of that hell-hole called Wounded Heart, I knew Rayna had come home. I was wary of what she may have become (inside and out) but I shouldn’t have been. She squealed, “Tiva. It’s Tiva.” She pulled me out of the box and familiar love and laughter bathed over me like that feather duster the old mute used when she changed my dress and cleaned me up.
I wanted to cry. Don’t tell me cursed dolls can’t weep with joy—I know differently. Of course, I didn’t. Instead, I looked over her shoulder and saw the funniest looking guy. Extremely cute, in a too-much-wild-hair-lop-sided-grin-curious-about-that-ugly-doll way. I knew what he was thinking.
And I knew without a doubt that he loved Rayna. If he hadn’t had a smart mouth, I wouldn’t have given him such horrendous head-aches. I felt bad punishing him for his uncontrollable wit. He didn’t deserve it. I saw his love for her, his protectiveness—his strength. He proved himself worthy. He took everything I dished out and he hung in there. He’ll never love me as much as she does, but he’s willing to try. I trust him. Good thing too. I wouldn’t want to have lost my so-called life without knowing he and the last daughter were in love . . . and safe.
Whew! I’ve never come so close to death. Made me realize there are people out there so much worse than a cursed doll.
The Last Daughter by Jessica Ferguson – Available in 2013 – Watch for it!