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Intermediate. Years 7/8/9

The Mannequins

By James Kail, year 9, Elizabeth College

He was a quiet man, in a quiet town. No one knew much about him, nor did anyone want to know anything about him.
His shop was why and how people knew him. Mr Mandle owned a fantastic bridal shop that was well known for the most beautiful and life-like mannequins that presented his wonderful dresses.
Mr Mandle’s shop was clean and well looked after. He was only really seen in his shop, cleaning his mannequins, his floor, his windows. Generally, Mr Mandle loved his shop. Never had I ever seen him out.
Sometimes I stare outside my window, into his shop and I watch. For hours. Trying to understand him and why no one sees him outside, with friends, family and why no one sees him going home or why there have been no lorries dropping off dresses, tools and mannequins for his shop.
I don’t see him as just a quiet man. My parents don’t believe me when I tell them. They say ‘leave him alone, he’s just an old man.' I spent hours trying to work out a way for everyone to believe me. Then it came. One day I was watching him from my normal position, watching him walk around his shop. Then I saw him slowly, discreetly open a small hatch beside his counter when no one was around and slither down there like nothing happened. This was my chance.
Why was I doing this? All this time I’d been looking at him from my window and now I was here, outside his shop, alone, trying to tell people that an old person had done something wrong but I didn't even know what he’d done?!
I entered the shop, pretending to look at his dresses when suddenly a rotting odour came drifting up my nostrils. I could see him in the corner of my eye, watching me. I knew he would only go down his hatch once I had left, so without thinking I dashed under the nearest table where a pile of dresses laid on top, with him still in my sight but hopefully me not in his.
He was gone, my time was now. I crept towards his hatch, which was slightly open. I got onto my knees, opened the door on the hatch delicately and stuck my head in. When I saw it, my feelings numbed, my life just stopped. Cages, cages are what I saw, cages with women in, tied up, in his white dresses. I knew it: this is why his mannequins look so life-like.

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