The toys settled in for the night. The playroom’s girl-child had been taken to bed in the nursery by Nanny without time to tidy behind her properly. The Jack-in-Box was not pressed back beneath the lid, now hanging over the edge in a mess of head-springs. The Dolls House was left lit, its front-hinged ‘lid’ swinging imperceptibly to and fro in the moving air. Air moving because the Radiators were yet to be turned off. The window locked ajar.
No, not Radiators! It was a coal fire behind its metal-mesh guard still smouldering quite warmly in the playroom’s dimming light. Radiators were for the future. Not now. As was the screen flickering in the corner where the Rocking-Horse, when untended, used to rock as imperceptibly as the Dolls House’s ‘lid’ did. Time seemed to strobe between then and now. Screen, horse, screen, horse...
There was, if one squinted hard enough through duration’s migraine, a large wooden Hoop to be seen leaning against the now re-established Rocking-Horse. This ‘installation’ was not far from another which was, if every irrelevant detail is required, formed by a Whip and Spinning-Top within the Hoop’s circle of sight.
A cuddly Winnie-the-Pooh Bear lolled against the Jack-in-the-Box’s box, its ears tangled with the extraneous loose springs that had previously required such little description before the radiators intervened with their own attention-grabbing modernity. In the end, neither Jack-in-the-Box or Radiators deserved description, as it was the Winnie-the-Pooh who had actually now had the gumption to move for real, it seemed, of its own volition. This was the stuff of fairy-tales of which any description here aspires to be part.
No mistaking the Bear’s tentative paw moving to comfort the dead Toy Soldiers strewn across the floor in a path of radiant moonlight at its feet. One wondered if the Bear wondered how the playroom’s usual occupant was ungirly enough for such mind-activities as soldiering in wars or watching sparks moving up the back of the sooty chimney as imagined armies heading for battles in the sky above the house.
But wait! The slowly gaping door (in magnified mirror-image of the dolls house ‘lid’) is casting a wedge of marmaladed light from the landing. Nanny returning to tidy up? Or the child herself, escaped from sleep’s enticing arms? Or indeed, on the contrary, quite fast asleep enough to dream of this return to the playroom?
Winnie-the-Pooh turned with a sudden snarl and, for whatever mysterious inverted purpose, psychokinetically called the wooden Hoop across the room. This was managed by employing a magic of some scientific force: perhaps hyperlinking it invisibly under the more realistic subterfuge that it had been bowled across the playroom floor (in the direction of the Bear) with an ability to thread between the Toy Soldiers’ bodies – bowled indeed by the Rocking-Horse’s final nod of grudging acceptance towards the realms of death it clearly saw for itself within a screen.
Only time now to warn that the hoped-for fairy-story was left undescribed and replaced with the above spiteful symbolism, and that this very coda or caveat (or apology?) may spring off the bottom edge of the page before it’s read.