By Victoria Siek (’18)
Prologue – November 23, 1812
“Come in, Mrs. Stevens.”
“It’s Miss now, Dr. Fosterem.”
“Oh, right…. I am very sorry for your loss.”
Miss Myra Stevens was a dainty girl of seventeen years of age with beautiful chestnut locks and a fair complexion. Many of the lads wanted to marry her, but she loved only one. And that was her dear deceased husband Harold Stevens. They had one beloved child, a boy, to whom she would give the whole world to if she possessed that power. Nothing could measure up to the love she felt for her little baby boy. She may have even loved him more than her husband, but no one has to know that.
“Have you been taking the medicine I gave you?” asked Dr. Fosterem while taking out his notepad and pen.
“Yes, sir. Every night. Just like you said.”
“Can you describe what you are feeling right now? Your thoughts, your feelings, your desires….”
“Well, I haven’t been able to fall asleep and I haven’t been eating properly. As for feelings, I feel nothing… pure numbness….”
“Mhmm… ,” said Dr. Fosterem, while taking notes. “I believe I might have to increase your medicine dosage.”
They sat in the small cozy room full of paintings and books. “I am afraid I am going to have to report you, Miss Stevens.” “What are you talking about, Doctor?”
He leaned in and whispered in her ear: “I know what you are.”
Myra, confused and innocent, got up immediately and replied: “Sir, I believe you are mistaken and I have to ask you to please respect my personal distance.”
“Be careful, Miss Myra. You never know who might be watching.” His tone was calm but at the same time skeptical.
Myra quickly left the office and rushed out into the cold wintry air. There were no carriages or people in sight. The road was full of snow. She began to walk home, quickly but steadily, almost slipping on the ice that covered the sides of the road. It wasn’t a very long walk; however, the chilly breeze and the darkening sky seemed to extend its length.
As soon as Miss Stevens reached the familiar red door, she sensed something was wrong. The atmosphere was strange, bitter even. She carefully opened the wooden oak door and quietly stepped into the house.
“Hello?” Her frightened voice echoed in the empty hallway. There was no reply, so she immediately ran to the nursery where she had left her dear child. She couldn’t take him with her to the doctor, and there was no one to stay with him. She knew she wouldn’t be gone for long, half an hour at most. She believed nothing bad could happen; this was a safe and quiet neighborhood, a tight community.
Myra burst into the room, her heart hammering in her chest. Oh, the horror of it all!
Her beloved child, the one whom she loved more than anything in the world, had been slaughtered. It was a terribly ugly sight. Myra, unable to believe it all, sank down to the floor. It was then that she felt something inside her, a strange vibrating feeling surging through her veins. And just like that, everything happened but nothing happened at all. For Myra was a witch yet she did not know it until this very moment. There was a reason for her poor eating habits and her lack of feelings. That was the beginning of her development, her development to become who she truly was. She was never sick; human diseases do not infect witches and neither does any medicine work that is used to cure humans, weak creatures of this world.
The room, of course, was completely demolished; no power is greater than the power of pain and sorrow, especially if it is the First. One figure, however, was left completely untouched by the impact, and that figure was him, the baby boy. It was as if he were asleep; all wounds were mended, his body clean of all blood. Asleep, but dead.
Myra would soon preserve the body in a glass case with the use of embalming fluid and seek revenge for what had been done to her only beloved child.
End of prologue
August 17, 1877
The door bell rang and a lady entered with a little girl, about seven or eight years old. The girl wore a frilly light blue dress along with a light blue bow in her luscious long blond hair. The lady wore a long violet coat, her hair tied up in a tight bun.
“Good afternoon.” Miss Myra Stevens, old yet still so young (for witches did not age) now owned what had been the old doll maker’s shop. The same doll maker who had so ruthlessly murdered the young kin.
“This is my daughter, Lisa. It will be her birthday soon and we would like to buy a doll… made out of porcelain, of course,” said the older lady. Their extravagant attire reflected their rich and expensive lifestyle.
“Ah, yes. Would you like to order the doll or have a look around and see if anything catches your eye?”
“Order it. I want my Lisa to have the exact doll she desires.”
“Alright then. Let’s start with the size?”
“Lisa, how big would you like your doll to be?”
There was no reply from little Lisa. She was too preoccupied with one doll in particular. This doll had the same light blue dress with the same light blue bow and the same luscious long blond hair.
“Lisa!” the woman said sharply. “Would you please come over here?!”
Lisa didn’t budge. She just pointed to the doll on the shelf behind the counter and said: “This one.”
After only a few months, Lisa befriended the doll. They were inseparable; constantly in each others presence. Lisa eventually learned that the doll had feelings, thoughts, and could speak.
“Come and play,” the doll would say.
Of course no one knew about these strange abilities the doll possessed, except for, obviously, Lisa and Miss Myra Stevens.
Over time, the doll required its own bed, its own seat at the dining table, and, finally, its own room. The funny thing was, no one ever suspected anything. It was as if the doll never existed; never had come in to Lisa’s life. They were all under some sort of incantation, slowly accepting the doll as part of their own family. Lisa’s parents treated the doll like their own daughter; the servants treated it like their master.
October 22, 1878
All good things must come to an end. “Come and play,” said the doll.
“I would like that,” replied Lisa and followed the doll into the bedroom. “Close the door,” commanded the doll.
Lisa did as she was told and then sat on the bed. The doll was already there, sitting among the pillows.
And just like that something in the doll’s face shifted. There was a sort of flicker in its eyes; they were… glowing; a red color illuminated its irises. Suddenly, the doll began charging at Lisa, a knife in its hand.
April 2, 1924
A middle aged woman entered the old doll maker’s shop, a little girl holding her hand. The woman wore a long sleeved gown, her hair up in an extravagant hat. The girl, about nine years old, had short brown hair and wore a quite simple pink dress.
“Good morning,” said Miss Myra Stevens (still as young as ever). “May I help you?” “We are just going to have a look around, if that’s all right,” replied the woman.
They began walking slowly around the shop until, suddenly, the girl stopped walking. “What’s going on Margaret?” asked the older woman.
Margaret didn’t say anything. She just stood there, not moving, and stared at one doll in particular on the shelf across the counter. This doll had the same short brown hair and wore the same simple pink dress as the girl. She pointed to the doll and said: “This one.”
September 30, 1924
“Look how much you’ve grown, Margaret!” greeted Aunt Elizabeth. Margaret smiled at her, her doll clutched tightly to her chest.
“I’m very glad you will be staying with us Elizabeth,” said Catherine, the woman who came with Margaret to the doll shop.
“Oh, and who’s this?” inquired Aunt Elizabeth.
“This is the new addition to the family, Margaret’s new sister,” replied Catherine.
Aunt Elizabeth thought she was joking, but then realized she wasn’t and said: “That’s… nice….”
“Would you please pass the the potatoes, darling?”
Margaret passed the potatoes to her mother, Catherine. Catherine put a spoonful of potatoes on her plate and then turned to the doll and did the same to it.
“Um, Catherine, don’t you think it’s a little strange to have a doll at the dinner table… and also be giving it food?” asked Aunt Elizabeth.
“No, it is not strange at all! If you say anything to offend my daughter, then I will—“ Catherine stopped talking abruptly and then continued: “Excuse me. I didn’t mean to raise my voice like that.’’
Aunt Elizabeth just stared at Catherine and the doll. She sensed something was wrong but decided not to speak her mind.
It all happened that night.
Aunt Elizabeth was still up after everyone had already gone too bed. She couldn’t sleep, not with a doll treated as family in the house. After tossing and turning for a couple of hours, she decided to get up and try to call her husband. There was a phone in the room.
“Operator, could you connect me to Arthur Camerson?”
Aunt Elizabeth waited and waited until, finally, someone answered the phone. “Hello?” said a sleepy voice.
“Arthur…. Arthur, you have to help me.”
“Elizabeth? What are you doing up at this hour? Aren’t you supposed to be at Catherine’s?”
“I am, I am, but there’s this doll and—“
That’s when the door opened and there it stood.
Aunt Elizabeth, in shock, dropped the handset; it hung from the cord. She began slowly backing away further into the room.
“Come and play… or else you will pay,” recited the doll, it’s eyes glowing red. Suddenly it charged at Aunt Elizabeth, knife in hand.
The door to Margaret’s bedroom opened, and there stood the doll. “Come and play,” it said to Margaret.
“It’s is a little late, but I would like to play,” Margaret replied.
“Close the door,” commanded the doll, and Margaret obeyed. She then proceeded to sit on the bed, the doll already there.
The doll’s face shifted, a red glimmer in its eyes. It charged at Margaret, a knife in its hand.
After all these years, Miss Myra Stevens still worked at the old doll shop. Every time a little girl came to buy a doll, she would always point to the same one on the shelf behind the counter, and that’s the one they would buy. After having the doll in the house for a few months, they learned to accept it as their own, giving it everything a real girl would need. All was well until the day that it would all end. It would always be the same: the doll would say “come and play” and the girl would obey.
It was always the little girls that would end up dead. No adults were meant to be killed. The only reason Aunt Elizabeth was murdered was because she knew something wasn’t right since she didn’t live in the house. Maybe the doll would have left her alone if she wasn’t planning on telling anyone, but, of course, that was unlikely.
Miss Myra Stevens walked downstairs into the basement to add the latest addition to her collection. The basement was full of glass cases and inside those glass cases were… bodies.
But there was something off about them. They didn’t look quite like normal dead bodies would. The bodies of the little girls had been stuffed, their faces painted, and their eyes glass. They were made into real life size dolls preserved in glass cases.
Myra kneeled and began working. First the stuffing, then the painting, and finally, the eyes made of glass. Once she was done, she carefully picked up the new doll and placed it gently into and empty glass case. She then picked up her litter and threw it down the chute that led to a hole deep underground.
“Well done ma petite chérie,” said Miss Myra, while lightly stroking the killer doll’s hair. Why did the doll have human abilities? Because, in a way, it was human. You see, when
Miss Myra Stevens went to avenge her dear beloved son, for her, killing the murderer was not enough. So, she trapped his soul in this very doll. He would now have to serve her and be devoted to her for all of eternity.
She believed it was her duty to make people feel the pain of losing your only child. To her it wasn’t fair that such a horrible thing would happen in her life but not in other lives. But these parents could never feel the same pain that she felt. Because of the incantation that the doll brought upon the families in order to be accepted into them, the residents could barely remember having a daughter, let alone loving her.
Why make the bodies into life sized dolls? Well, this was a doll shop. No one was ever going to find out anyway; Miss Myra’s protection charms did the trick. No one would ever suspect anything. People came and went but only entered the shop if they had an intention of purchasing a doll (one doll in particular, to be precise).
March 7, 1948
Arthur Camerson, husband of deceased Elizabeth Camerson, had finally arrived at the place of the murder of his lovely wife. He was here to investigate not his wife’s murder but something his wife had said before she had so abruptly stopped. Something about a doll….
“May I help you?” asked a police officer.
“Yes, actually. I am looking for something that has to do with dolls.” “Sorry?”
“Like, for example, a toy store that sells dolls or—“
“There’s a doll shop on the corner. No one really goes there but you might as well have a look.”
“Yes. Thank you, sir.”
Miss Myra Stevens was a bit confused when she saw Mr. Arthur Camerson enter her shop. He didn’t have a little daughter, so why would he ever be interested in a doll shop, especially this specific doll shop.
“May I help you, sir?” she asked.
“I don’t know. Do you sell any… special dolls?” “Special? Whatever do you mean?”
That’s when Arthur noticed something. It was a very small flicker… on a shelf across the counter… just a small movement coming from a doll with slightly red glowing eyes.”
“Excuse me, ma’am,” said Mr. Camerson. “I have to be somewhere right now.” Arthur hastily exited the shop, probably saving his life by doing so.
Who would have ever thought there would be a fire that very night, a fire so bad that nearly the all of the buildings on the street would be burned down. It had never occurred to Miss Myra Stevens that her long life would come to an end due to a fire. A fire would be no match to a witch like her if she had been conscious. But she wasn’t…. She was fast asleep….
As for the doll, it was destroyed in the flames as well. It couldn’t leave without the witch’s permission; it was bound to her for all of eternity as long as she was still living. All the bodies were destroyed; not a single bit of anything was left. Except for one thing…. The old doll maker’s soul was released and it migrates from place to place, doll to doll.