The other day I glanced through my bedroom door, and almost emitted a yelp at the eerie scene.
It was the balloon blocking the crucifix, and the old cat, and the weird light and... yes.
But then, just yesterday, 16-month-old William was sitting on the kitchen floor playing with something white in his mouth, and when I fished it out I did yell.
Dear God, how did I pull a full grown tooth from the baby's mouth?
Now there is a basic explanation for both these instances. The balloon was from a kid's birthday party, and was attached to a glow stick, and people had left it in my room in rather blatant disobedience to Daddy's rule of no balloons near him, ever. And the cat... okay, he's odd, but he's just the cat, and he's been around forever, so it's usually no surprise to see him lurking on the bed. All these things together were totally bizarre, but each in itself was explainable.
The tooth happened to be one that Isabel had extracted several months ago, and they gave her a little box at the pediatric dentist so she could treasure it as a keepsake, which is kinda odd right there. I've seen that box sitting unmolested on her dresser for a long time, but for whatever reason, someone decided to dump it out in the kitchen, where William found it and put it in his mouth because he puts everything in his mouth. I simply happened to find it at the freakiest possible moment.
That's all pretty basic. After the first shock, one analyzes the situation and realizes that nothing is actually wrong. But then there are things which defy all reason and rightness.
This is no steampunk horror movie prop. This is no mad artist's image of the terrors of childhood. This is a real, historic thing: the Edison talking doll, which is is the running for "things no parent would ever put into a child's bed". To make this doll even more unholy, if that's even possible, it has a tiny phonograph in its metal torso, which recites a shrill, tortured cariacature of the classic childhood prayer about death, "Now I lay me down to sleep".
My friends, most things in life have, at root, some reasonable explanation. But for this abomination, there is no possible defense. Even state-of-the-art technology and the free market fall short when it comes to the creation of this doll. All we can conclude was that someone at Edison's laboratory thought that the pampered children of the 1890s needed their little psyches scarred. And then what happened when those children grew up? World War I, the most steampunk of wars. I rest my case.