Hi! A few quick things before I share the story. I finally found some time to write. I haven't written a story in a while, so mind my not-so-sharp writing skills. I wanted to write something scary because spooky season is upon us. That said, this story might be a bit scary to some people, so be warned. I think that's everything I wanted to cover, so enjoy!
I never should’ve bought her that doll.
What can I say? I saw it was on sale, and it was the last one on the shelf. Of course I had to get it. She already lost her other doll, and she wouldn’t stop whining until she got something to replace it. I was in such a rush to leave that I didn’t even notice the dents and scratches all over the box at first. The writing was barely legible in some spots. Whatever, it’s not like she’ll notice or care...
“Sabrina, look what I bought you today!” I faked a cheery voice, hiding the beat-up box behind my back.
Her blue eyes lit up. “Wow mommy, what is it?”
I brought the box in front of me. “It’s a new doll!” I pointed to the box. “Look, sweetie, it says here that her name is…” I squinted to read the doll’s name through the scratches. “...Denise!”
She snatched the box from my hands. “Yay! New dolly!” She ripped it open to the best of her ability. It was actually kind of cute to watch her little hands struggle with the cardboard box. I smiled a genuine smile.
That was probably the last time I was happy to see that doll. Over time, I found that the doll never left Sabrina’s side. She’d take that thing outside and roll around in the grass and play in the mud. That thing smelled rancid. No matter how many times I washed it, it’d get just as dirty as it was the previous day. Ugh, and don’t get me started on the whole “Denise said this” nonsense. “‘Denise said we’d play later so I can’t put these away.’” “‘Denise said I don’t have to eat the yucky broccoli.’” She can’t keep using that damn toy as an excuse to be bad.
I went into her playroom one day to confront her about the doll. She was sitting in front of her little easel, toys thrown across the floor.
“Sabrina! This room is a mess! Clean it up right now!” I commanded.
She seemed slightly startled. “Sorry mommy, Denise said --”
I was trying my best to hold my temper in, but that set it off. “NO. I don’t want to hear that sad excuse again. You need to learn to take responsibility for your own actions,” I boomed, my voice echoing against the soft pink walls. I heard her beginning to whimper, hugging the wretched doll tight. I noticed on the easel that four of the five paint containers were sitting on the ledge. She must have knocked over the red one, because I saw red splatters on the carpet.
I sighed. “Oh Sabrina, why didn’t you tell me you spilled paint? You know the rule- if you make a stain, tell me or daddy right away and we’ll clean it up before it stays forever.” She didn’t respond, a confused look on her face. Probably because she’s gonna blame it on the damn toy...
“But mommy, Denise can talk to me! She always asks to play kitchen and go dig in the dirt! She wanted to paint with me today! Look at her paintings!” She frantically picked up the papers scattered across the floor and held them out to me.
“Oh sweetie, that’s…” I stopped mid-sentence, horrified by what I saw on those papers. I dropped them and almost dropped to my knees myself. “H-how did that... doll... y-you drew these?” I asked with a shaky voice, almost afraid to hear her answer.
She smiled cheerily. “No mommy, I said Denise drew these!” She picked one up and held it to my face. “Lookie!” There was a knife dripping with blood, the word “demise” written below it.
Everything began to darken. It felt as if gravity intensified on my body. It became harder and harder to hear anything over the sound of my pounding heartbeat and sharp, ragged breaths. A high-pitched, horrific snicker rang in my ears. I felt some kind of demonic presence staring at me with piercing eyes. My surroundings began to spin, until I saw nothing else. I felt nothing else.
That was really scary. One of the details i found most interesting is how the doll would smell rancid and get dirty, no matter how often it was washed. I think something cool also about the story is that the way the doll looks is not described, the box is described in a lot of the detail, but not Denise herself, and what I find neat about that is that it leaves it to the reader to imagine what the doll looks like, and you will never know if the next doll you purchase might be her.
The ending is brutal and unsentimental. Also the nameplay is clever. It's so cynical knowing in the end what they were digging for. Your short story is flawless, even if it's probably the last thing I should read as a doll collector. I can't help but love this fic though. You did an excellent job!