(For over ten years, Ellen de Vries and I have run Not for the Faint-Hearted, a workshop where people have three minutes to write a story prompted by a picture. This is a story I wrote in a recent session, lightly edited)
As a child, Ella was terrified of the puppets. They covered every wall of the room, meaning whichever way she looked, some were behind her. She tried to memorise the position of their limbs, to know if they’d moved since she last turned around.
One night she woke with a puppet in her bed. Her mother forced her brother to admit he’d put it there. Sobbing, the next day, he told her the truth – he was too scared to even touch those things.