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Krzysztof Komeda Lullaby
There had been something distinctively bogus about her ever since her cellophane had been unwrapped for the first time. Trapped inside for as long as she cared to remember, she finally had an escape from the dime store shelf she had inhabited for seemingly years. Nobody cared about ragdolls anymore, they simply weren’t sought after. Yet DeAnnah Grimm had remained upbeat or, at least, as positive as you can retained inside a musky receptacle.
She was one of only five of her type, in original 1947 packaging, flown over to the states from Romania after the second world war. Gustav Popescu was a toymaker who had been forced to flee his country and start a new life with only a suitcase of said dolls to peddle. Nobody really knew the atrocities she witnessed through those beady black sequins she wore as eyes. But one thing was abundantly clear, she was crafted with malevolence and beneath each woven fiber was great evil, crying out to be freed. In 67 years she had remained sealed within her clear casket until today.
Emily Jane was seven years old and different from all the other girls in school. Most of the other kids had smart phones and Nintendo DS whereas she was never afforded such luxuries on account of her father leaving before she was born. She lived in a third floor apartment which hadn’t seen renovation since it was first erected and was in a serious state of decline. Her mother Edith worked as a topless waitress by night, not because she enjoyed it, but because it was the only way to make ends meet. She couldn’t afford new clothes and elaborate possessions thus she never necessitated such. Emily Jane was just content with what she had.
Nevertheless she had been petulant this day. From the first moment she laid eyes on DeAnnah Grimm she had been mesmerized. Somehow the doll seemed to call her name, despite her sown features her eyes smiled kindly at the girl and Emily Jane had harried her mother until which point she was rendered powerless. No money changed hands as Edith waited for an opportune moment to slip the doll into her jacket and hastily exited with the storekeeper none the wiser. He probably wouldn’t ever notice she had gone judging by the thick layer of dust which had accumulated on her packaging over the years.
“Can I open her mommy…pleeease?” Emily Jane had pleaded and her mother had been worn down by her incessant droning so agreed for her to remove her from her string ties. Edith had never understood the concept of buying a toy, only for it to sit in its packaging for eternity, while its collectible value sluggishly escalated. Kids want to play. They want to be hands on and, besides, she hadn’t ever seen her daughter want for something so passionately. It only seemed right, despite her unorthodox approach for acquiring DeAnnah Grimm.
“Mommy look. She’s smiling at me. She likes me. I’m going to take the best care of you DeAnnah. You’re my best friend now…forever and ever”. It pleased Edith to see her child so contented, although she couldn’t shake a feeling of slight unease each time she looked into those dead black eyes for herself. Still, as long as it raised a smile, then she was happy too. Emily Jane meant the world to her and had been the only person in her life who gave her validation. Nobody else gave a shit that her plumbing had been on the blink for two months and nothing had been done about it.
When they arrived back at their apartment Emily Jane ran straight to her room to give pride of place for her new best friend. She cleared her shelf and placed her next to Monsieur Heureux, a ventriloquist’s dummy which had been her father’s when he was a boy. Heureux was all she had left of daddy apart from a couple of murky Polaroids which she had framed by her bedside. Edith hated him for walking out but understood the importance of her daughter knowing her roots and not being lied to in an attempt at protecting her. Truth is, that damned dummy gave her the creeps too but it meant too much to Emily Jane to take away.
To begin with everything appeared to be fine. Emily Jane took the doll everywhere with her and doted on it. No longer consigned to the shelf, she now slept in the girl’s bed and some mornings she woke still clutching her tight. Their bond was unbreakable. As time wore on, Edith noticed an unhealthy change in her daughter’s behavior and she started to despise the doll. She couldn’t eat a meal without having those unfeeling features gawking at her from the other side of the table and she just wanted rid of it. Easier said than done, it was never out of the child’s sight and traveled absolutely everywhere she went.
What unnerved her most was that she often passed her room at night and could swear she still heard whispers coming from inside. She questioned Emily Jane about this and, of course, she pleaded ignorance but she knew what she heard. Over time, it began to get worse. Sometimes, at four in the morning, she would wake and go for a glass of milk. A light sleeper at the best of times, she had settled into an unorthodox sleep pattern and woke like clockwork at the same time night after night. Every time she passed the doorway the whispering reconvened yet the moment she entered the room it ceased and Emily Jane was fast asleep, grasping her tightly under her wing.
Ordinarily she bolted in but tonight she felt as though she couldn’t take any more and listened intently to what she could make out of the wisping audio. It seemed like incoherent ramblings at first, maybe it was just talking in her sleep. That would explain the fact that she was dead to the world whenever Edith attempted to catch her in the act. After a few minutes certain words began to catch her attention. “Bitch” was the word which rattled her initially. She never cursed around her child and had never once heard her cuss although she was growing up and she couldn’t wrap her in cotton wool forever. Kids pick things up in their school environment that you cannot police and she put it down to bad influence.
The word “suffer” gave her added reason for consternation. Delivered raspingly and clearly audible, there was no mistaking it. “Kill” almost stopped her heart in its bracket, sending an icy chill rappelling her spine, it was as plain as day and followed by a demonic giggle unlike anything Edith had ever heard before. She wrapped her shaking palm around the door handle and prepared to go inside but she knew only too well how the scenario played out. The instant the door was opened she would be left in the dark so she continued to listen. “Mommy” was the straw that broke the camel’s back, Edith began choking back the tears as the words were executed with no warmth and, instead, emotionless and with underlying vitriol.
She had reached breaking point and swung the door open, striding in to find out what the fuck was going on. This had to stop, it wasn’t healthy and she was totally beside herself with worry. With the lights being fully dimmed, she was unaware of the marbles which had been knocked from their jar on the shelf and were rolling freely about the floor. She trod awkwardly on at least three and fell headlong forward, impaling herself on the front spire of Emily Jane’s dollhouse. It punctured her left eye socket and entered her skull deep enough to kill her almost instantaneously. As she lay twisted and twitching, the final drops of her life force ebbing away, she heard one more word from behind her where Emily Jane was sat up watching the whole episode unfurl with DeAnnah clutched by her side. “Done”.
Truly, Really, Clearly, Sincerely,
Keeper of the Crimson Quill
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Copyright: Crimson Quill: Savage Vault Enterprises 2014