I Am First

This is my entry for Chuck Wendig’s “Doll Heads” flash fiction challenge. I strayed a bit from the prompt picture, but it was  a fun story to write and I’m happy with it.
A pile of doll heads
I Am First In Line
By Leo Godin
Soy la primera.”

“I’m sorry, no hablar,” I say, then realize nobody is near me.

Shaking my head, I look around. The shopkeeper and her only other customer stand in the front of this store outside Tlaquepaque, Mexico. It’s been a long trip, but it’s almost time to get back. I have to get something for Anna, my daughter, before I leave.

Seventeen dolls in a disorganized pile catch my eye. Various arms, legs, clumps of dark, synthetic hair poke through. One doll in particular sits atop them all. It is beautiful.  With skin the color of Sedona red rock and black hair, it appears out of place in the mostly Spanish-looking community. Its arms hold hands, slightly askew, in front of its chest. A black and red velvet dress adorns its torso while black shoes and red socks cover its feet.

Soy la primera.”

The shopkeeper is still up front with the same customer. I look around the rough, wooden shelf holding the dolls. A bin full of cut-rate candy and a shelf of wooden ornaments fill the space. Nobody is there. Damn, I got to lay off the tequila before I fly home.

I consider buying the doll, but something doesn’t seem right about it. It’s like, when I look at it directly it’s a normal doll, but when I look away it seems to move, to shimmer.

I walk towards a music set with bright maracas and a wooden flute.  These would more likely survive the flight home in my carry-on than a doll. I grab the set and start walking up front.

I hear the petulant voice again. “Soy la primera.”

Somehow, I can’t take another step. The shopkeeper looks at me then quickly looks away, crossing herself.

Soy la primera.”

I walk back to the dolls and pick up the one on top. As I lift it up, its eyes meet mine. Transfixed, I stare, unmoving.

I hear in a soft whisper. “Soy la primera.”

Hours pass, and I stand there.

Softer, I barely hear the wisp of a voice. “Soy la primera.”

The dolls eyes turn bright white.

Soy la primera.”

Its face fills my vision. Nothing exists but the doll.

Soy la primera.”

My view shifts. I can see the shopkeeper but a plastic leg cuts most of my view. I try to push it away. I can’t move. I look up and see my body walking away with the music set and a single thought fills my mind.

I am seventeenth.

7 thoughts on “I Am First

  1. Thank!

    Soy la primera means “I am first” It’s a shortened translation of I am first in line. Did the context of the story portray that?

  2. Nice. I was a little confused about “Soy la primera” until I read your comment, but now I get it. Another question: why did the shopkeeper cross herself after looking at the main character? Or was it because he was near the dolls?

  3. I had hoped people would be able to understand “Soy la primera” through context. I may have to make a few changes.

    The shopkeeper crossing her arms is just something I put in there to suggest she knows what will happen. Not really an important part but just a little ambiance.

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