Vincent the Vole
It’s been five years since we first introduced Vincent in the basement of the blue-eyed girl and her family. Five years since she and her family left on that fateful night.
Vincents whiskers are greyer now, as are his paws and feet. A condition common to voles that live to a great age. But Vincent doesn’t complain, and even though he now carries an oak cane, says it’s only because it makes him look more distinguished.
He still climbs to the basement window every day, the journey made easier with the wooden walkway he built. Not because of his age of course, but to make his journey a little more comfortable. He also added a winged back leather chair, a side table, and a little kettle from the dolls house to make his time there more accommodating.
A lot is not known about Vincent’s time during the war. A war that forced the girl with the blue eyes and her family to flee. It wasn’t till after they left Vincent realised the thunder was from the enemies guns. The enemy that occupied his little town until they were driven back by the local resistance fighters. A role Vincent played a very small part in.
There is also some discussion on Vincent’s torn ear. But as with the war, Vincent keeps those answers to himself. If someone does continue to persist, Vincent looks down his nose and with a steely eyed glare, and says. “Even the smallest of us can be more courageous than a ferocious lion, when required.”
No one knows for sure, but this could also be a reference to the green-eyed cat that lived across the hall. The rumor was that the cat and its owners bore the symbols of the invaders during their occupation, and with Vincent’s association with the resistance, their paths would inevitably cross. Whether or not this is true, it’s hard to say, but one question remains. How did Vincent get his torn ear, and why does the tip of the green-eyed cat’s fluffy black tail hang from the mantlepiece above his fireplace?
But I digress…
So, with no more ado, let’s continue with Vincent’s story.
Vincent sits in his winged back chair. The sky outside turns red and gold in its parting glory. Silhouettes lengthen as the last ray of sunlight fade from sight. Vincent lights a candle, and with cane in hand, makes the slow trek down the walkway to his doll’s house, the light from his candle illuminating his path, casting fleeting shadows into the recesses of the darkened basement.
He pauses as he reaches the doll’s house door. A tear wells up in his eye, for today is a very sad day. A hard day, a day Vincent will always remember. Today is the blue-eyed girl’s birthday, the day they first met.
Vincent hangs his head and sighs. The emptiness that has grown with each passing year grows a little deeper with every passing sigh. But Vincent has a promise to keep. He lifts his head and turns his tears into a smile. The emptiness he feels begins to fade.
He rests the crook of his cane on his forearm and turns the doorknob. The door opens and the light from a candle Vincent left burning on the mantlepiece illuminates his face. In the candlelight, the emptiness he feels recedes and love floods his heart. Love to do what must be done. A love to care for the dolls under his charge till the girl with the blue eyes will come.
At the center of the room, a leather winged back chair and side-table are waiting. A leather-bound book lays open, faced down on the table, and a covered cake plate.
Arrayed in front of the chair are beds full of dolls. Their eyes are open, yet unseeing.
Vincent blows out the candle on the mantlepiece then sets his candle on the side table beside him.
The dolls do not stir. Vincent doesn't expect them to. The dolls have been this way for a very long time.
For you see, when dolls are left alone for a long time, without no human contact, they fall into a sleep called the forget-me-not slumber. And the longer they are alone the deeper they fall until one day they forget forever.
The sleep can be undone by the love and affection of a child. Or an adult, for that matter. As long as they aren't left alone for too long. But until then, their eyes will only reflect the glass from which they are made from. the point of no return.
Vincent tried his best to keep them awake. But being a Vole he doesn't carry the gift that a child can bring. So one by one they slipped into the forget-me-not slumber, till all he could do was make them comfortable and read to them.
You see, reading out loud to a doll is the only way to stop them from falling so deep into the forget-me-not slumber that they will not return. There are many cases in history where mice, cats, dogs, and even an elephant saved the life of a doll until their owner returns or a new owner is found. But of course, these records are only passed down through the animal world.
So with this knowledge, Vincent reads to the dolls every night, using the books from the extensive library upstairs. He does prefer the books where an animal is a hero but any book will do. He always starts by telling the dolls of anything interesting he saw that day. And after he has read from a book, ends with the words, “The girl with the blue eyes and her family will be here soon. Just you wait.”
The dolls never reply, of course. But Vincent always sees a faint glimmer in their eyes. Enough to show him they were still there. And as strange as it may sound, it gives Vincent hope too. At least enough for another day.
But today is a special day. One that lays heavy on Vincent’s heart. Today is the blue-eyed girl’s birthday. The day she brought him home. The day he will never forget.
Today Vincent will finish his time with the dolls a little differently. So after he reads from his book, and tells them the news of the day, he lays the book aside and with a faraway look, blows out his candle. In the darkness, Vincent lifts the lid off the ceramic cake plate. There is a spark as Vincent lights a match, but Vincent hides what he is doing from the dolls with his hand. In the flickering light, Vincent smiles. He looks at the dolls and removes his hand, revealing a raisin cake with a candle in its center.
Vincent isn't the best cook, but he does try, so the raisin cake he made is literally five raisins squashed together to form a cake. And as Vincent is commonly known to say. "it's the thought that counts."
He cuts the cake into nine pieces; which was quite a challenge for such a small cake. Vincent offers a slice to the dolls. Obviously they refuse in their current state. But there is one thing the blue-eyed girl taught Vincent, was the importance of good manners.
Vincent bows his head, and with his hands clasped, says a wee prayer, ending with the words the blue-eyed girl taught him.
His prayer concluded, Vincent picks up a slice and holds it up to the candlelight for a moment, as if raising a toast. A glint of his teary eyes reflected in the eyes of the dolls glassy eyes.
Vincent wipes away the tears and opens his mouth for a bite, but stops. A sound on the edge of his hearing makes his ears twitch.
Vincent puts down the raisin slice and lights the candle on the side-table. He looks to the dolls but there is no movement.
He hears it again, and for a brief moment the dolls stir from their restless sleep.
A smile appears on Vincent’s face and he rushes to the basement stairs. He reaches the bottom as the basement door opens. A blinding light floods the basement, the light from the bulb outside the upstairs door. Vincent shields his eyes, and a silhouette appears in the light.
“Vincent.” said the voice.
Vincent eyes smile with the sound of that voice. The strain of the last few years falling away as his youth returns in that moment.
The girl with the eyes of blue rushes down the stairs, her smile as big as the vole whose's rushing up to meet her.
She gathers Vincent up in her cupped hands, and rests him against her cheek. Vincent stretches out his hands and hugs her face.
“Oh, I’ve missed you,” said the blue-eyed girl, tears streaming down her cheeks.
They stand like that, frozen in time, their hearts speaking more than any words can express.
After a while, the blue-eyed girl pulls Vincent away for a better look. They stare into each other’s eyes, the life they both lived while parted, reflected in each other’s eyes. Tears filled the blue-eyed girl's eyes once more, and she pulls Vincent close to her face. Her tears full of the gratitude from all that he has done.
As Vincent wipes away her tears with the palm of his soft leathery paw, he knows they will never be apart. And he knows that once the dolls awaken from their long forgotten slumber, the dolls will do what all dolls do best, bring the love that dolls can bring to a blue-eyed girl with the saddest blue eyes.
The love that only a vole named Vincent and a girl's dolls can bring.
Picture created with A.I.