Postcard #38

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Dear Pumpkin,

I brought this doll in a charity shop for you. There’s something up with her, though. She’s creepily sweet and innocent looking, but that’s just a front! Things have been happening; I found a pot pumpkin smashed and autumn flowers knocked on the floor. I’ve heard the giggling of a little girl also her singing nursery rhythms! This morning, I found her in my bed when I’d left her in the box ready to send to you!

She really is something else and I hope you have as much fun with her as I’ve been doing!

All my love, Ghost.

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Creepy Doll Face

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I looked up and there she was staring down at me again. My breath caught and I chocked on a bit of water I hadn’t swallowed. A coughing fit hit my chest and I had to turn away whilst it felt like I was coughing up a lung. I couldn’t breath and panic shot through me.

I sat down, luckily landing on Harriet’s bean bag or else I would have been on the floor. I rubbed my chest and calmed myself. Most of the coughing subsided and I was able to think again. I took a few depth breaths and tried not to think about anything other then my breathing.

Reaching up to the small desk, I took down the bottle of water I’d brought upstairs with me. Unscrewing the cap, I took a sip, testing my throat. It seemed okay. I took a few more and shut my eyes. Music was still rocking through my headphones. I slipped them off, wanting a few moments without Meat Loaf singing his love to me.

The coughing stopped and I took a mouthful of water. Feeling better, I put the cap back on and tried not to look up again. I scanned my ten year old daughter’s bedroom. Taking in the bright pink princess wallpaper, Harriet’s collection of unicorn teddies, all her books, the doll’s house and all her fake looking dollies.

The vacuum and cleaning bucket stood in the middle of the room like intruders. I should get back to cleaning. Harriet hated anyone cleaning her room, luckily she was a very organised and her bedroom was always tidy. Still though, there were things a child couldn’t clean.

I went to stand up and my eyes began drifting up to the top shelf again. I stopped myself, not wanting to look at her again. Those piecing blue-grey eyes were a death trap and all that blonde curly hair wasn’t as innocent as it looked. I focused on the floor and the vacuum, planning what I was going to do next.

I couldn’t escape her though and I lifted my eyes upwards. She was sat on the corner of the highest shelf above Harriet’s bed, where all the precious things Harriet was too young yet to play with sat. There were things like pot ponies, glass teddy bears, a paper weight with a real flower inside and the doll.

My breath caught again and I was taken in by her as if she held power over me. Her china face was snow white and perfectly heart shaped. Her red painted lips were a tight bow as she faked a smile. Her glass eyes had little black eyelashes brushed on which give a frame to her glaring gaze. Her face was framed by all that blonde hair which there appeared to be far too much of. She was wearing a pale blue dress, trimmed with white lace at all the edges. Her limbs had been arranged so that her arms and hands rested on the shelf and her feet hung down. She had on tiny white lacy socks and blue leather shoes.

‘It’s just a doll,’ I said aloud, breaking the spell.

I took a deep breath and looked away. I got up and went over to the vacuum. I plugged it in and turned it on. I cleaned the carpet and I tried to let the noise of the vacuum drown out my thoughts, but it didn’t work.

The doll had only been here two weeks. A late birthday present from Harriet’s grandmother. The woman was almost a hundred and in a care home down south, near the coast. The doll was probably around the same age as her. Harriet had only meet her twice,  as a baby, so Harriet wouldn’t remember. Mrs. Perkins did though! And every birthday and Christmas Harriet would get something in the post from her. Normally, they were suitable gifts, but that china doll totally wasn’t.

Even though, Harriet had cried and moaned, I had put the doll on the shelf and told her could have it when she was older. It hadn’t worked though. I had been hearing Harriet talking to the doll as if it was her best friend. Also, I kept finding the doll about the place. Yesterday, it had been in the bathroom, on Saturday it had been on the sofa and this morning, I swear the doll was in the kitchen, but then I hadn’t been able to find it.

Now, the doll was staring me down.

Ignoring it, I finished my cleaning. Then as I was leaving the room, I reached up and pulled the doll off the shelf. She slide easily enough down. Stuffing her in my cleaning bucket, I took that and the vacuum downstairs again. I put anything away then debated what to do with the doll.

Finally, I got a plastic bag from the cupboard and wrapped her in that. Her creepy face didn’t seem to happy about that. I didn’t care! Then I went up into the attic and left the doll on an old wooden chair that had belong to my great-granddad.

The rest of the day was normal and I had this strange peace of mind. However, when Harriet came home the world collapsed.

‘Where is she? Where is Esme?’ Harriet wailed.

‘Who?’ I asked.

I was in the kitchen, sorting out dinner and my husband was in the living room. I’d picked Harriet up from school two hours or so ago and she’d only now just noticed her doll was missing.

‘Grandma’s doll,’ Harriet clarified.

‘I’ve not seen her. Did you leave her laying around some place again? I’ve told you not to play with her, remember? She’s a special doll,’ I replied.

Harriet puffed out her cheeks, trying to hold back tears as she thought.

‘Why don’t you ask you dad to help you look?’ I suggested.

With a huff, Harriet stormed off.

For the next few minutes, I heard my husband and daughter searching the whole house. I busied myself with making the meal. When I called them both to eat, Harriet declared the doll was still missing.

‘I’m sure she’ll turn up,’ I said.

Doll

Kinsey admired herself in the long mirror. Her Halloween costume was perfect, even if she did say so herself. Gently, she rearranged the tight blond curls over her shoulders and realized for the first time that for once she was happy with her hair. All the wigs she had looked at had been nice and suitable enough, but she just hadn’t found the right one. Instead, she had decided to style her own hair and the hours of curling had paid off.

The days practising her makeup had also come full circle and now the cracked face of a porcelain doll reflected back to her. Kinsey pouted her full and heavily redden lips as she posed. I so need a pic of that! Right now! She thought. Gripping her IPhone, she took a few snaps then flipped through them. It could almost be a real doll’s face. Smiling, she selected the best one and Tweeted it.

Bouncing back in front of the mirror, she fiddled with the large blue bows on the end of the skirt. The actual dress has been an afterthought, which was strange for conscious fashion Kinsey. However, a month of searching the internet and shops had proven fruitless for anything close to what she had wanted. Luckily, she had talked a dress maker into designing and creating her idea. Now the blue and white pinafore dress, with a large, but short puffed up skirt, really brought her doll face to life.

She took a few fuller pics to show off the dress, before going over to her bed. A pair of white leather boots, a blue sun hat and a blue velvet pouch bag was lying together near a pile of scatter cushions. Sliding the phone into the bag, Kinsey squeezed into the boots and balanced the hat on her head. Now her costume was really complete.

The doorbell ring, dimly echoing through the massive house and Kinsey heard Mrs Buzan answering it. The grandfather clock struck up the hour chime and with another quick check in the mirror, Kinsey picked up her pouch bag and hurried down the stairs. The hall and porch lights were on and she came to the bottom of the stairs she could see her best friends shadowed in the front door frame.

Thanking, Buzan, she stepped outside. Warm October air trailed across her makeup plastered skin and her nose flared at the autumn scents. Two Jack o’ Lanterns sat in pools of light flanking the porch steps and a bowl of candy on a stand stood to the side of the door. Kinsey twirled for her friends, who laughed and applauded, before they inspected each other’s’ costumes, causing more giggling and posing from the four teenagers. Abbey was dressed as a Playboy Bunny, Alicia as a sexy Snow White and Destiny as a corpse bride.

Chatting away, they climbed into Abbey’s car and drove to the party. Kinsey kept glancing out of the window on the way. The houses all seemed dimly light and heavily decorated with Halloween props. Kids and adults all dressed up roamed the streets, becoming to the unknowing eye as the gates of Heaven and Hell had let loose the supernatural.

The party was well underway when they arrived and it was easy to blend in. Loud music rocked the house, mingled with the shouts and laughter of the teenagers. Alcohol flowed, the sticky scent mixing with wafts of hot food, sugary treats and perfume. Kinsey’s costume was admired greatly and her throat grew raw with thanking people. Finally though, she found her boyfriend amongst a tangle of zombie football players.

She spent the rest of the night dancing and drinking with him. She couldn’t remember leaving the party or saying goodbye to her friends as the sudden night chilling air blasted through her. Kinsey stopped and glanced around the empty street. Her arm slipped from her boyfriend’s, but he quickly grabbed her shoulders. Faintly, she could hear him asking if she was okay. He reminded her, that they were walking back to her house and they were nearly there. Kinsey felt nauseas and dizzy. She wanted to sit down, but she tried to do so, her boyfriend hauled her up and supported her fully. They carried on walking down the street, her feet dragging.

Finally, she was lowered on to a bed and Kinsey flopped out. Her limbs felt numb and heavy. Her head was still spinning and though the need to throw up was burning her throat, sleep had taken her hard. Nightmares clawed through her, but somehow she couldn’t wake up. She called for her boyfriend, who she thought was asleep beside her, but he didn’t help. Twice she thought she had fallen on the floor and once she thought she was on fire. Then she finally managed to open her eyes.

A dark ceiling filled her vision, though it appeared fuzzy and she couldn’t focus on anything. Her arms felt hefty and seemed to be dragging her down. She tried to raise one hand and heard a clinking and creaking sound. Reaching up, she aimed to touch her hair but couldn’t feel anything. Panicking, she slide off the bed and went towards the full length mirror.

The reflection of a porcelain doll stared back at her.