Children are fascinating creatures. I can't help but marvel at they way they act and think. Their minds are molded so easily, so effortlessly, like the softest of dough in the strongest of hands. I worry that I will never understand this child, though, and how she thought.
These things drifted through my head as I examined the dimly lit room. The doors and windows were taped off with crime scene ribbon, the sticky messes on the floor were being sampled by a forensics team.
The site before me was grisly; what was once an eight-year-old lay on the ground. One wouldn't be able to tell what she was just by looking. Her head was hardly attached, if only by the spinal column, it lolled grotesquely to the side, the syrupy liquid coagulated after all these hours. One eye was missing from the skull and sitting a few feet away.
There was a gap where her stomach used to be, as if bitten through by a beast. Innards lay strewn about her, like a party popper on New Year's. Ghastly slash marks adorned her tiny wrists, hands, and fingers crusted with blood and shredded bodily tissue, most likely from who... or what... was after her. Clearly something wanted her dead. Her parents were in similar conditions, a mother, a father, and a grandmother, all strewn about the living room.
The place was a bloodbath. It made my stomach turn. It was clear that there was a struggle. Toys, dolls, puppets, blocks were flung about the place, magazines, broken glass. The living room looked like nightmare fuel.
I gagged at the smell of blood and insides. They had to be at least three days old. It was becoming too much.
Dizzily, I turned and walked away from the scene. Perhaps somewhere else in the house would be easier to stomach.
I found myself upstairs once my daze passed. From the looks of it, I was in the child's room. No sign of struggle here. All was peaceful and everything was in place... except one thing. A notebook. A little school notebook lay open on the floor, I plucked it from the ground, turning it over in my hand. I nearly dropped it out of shock.
Crusty, bloody lettering covered it. Symbols, signals, and signs. A face was scrawled on the paper, on almost every page. A stitched up, twisted face. The eyes were blacked out with tiny lines through them, like buttons. It looked familiar, but I couldn't place it. A small piece of paper fluttered out of the pages and landed on the floor. I knelt and picked it up.
"Don't you fear, my child, I'll keep the ghouls away
I'll keep you safe at night, I'll be your friend by day.
But when it comes to friends, I have very few,
So please don't leave me darling, or my heart will be torn in two."
This didn't seem quite right.
I turned the paper over and read the back.
"Madame Zoh's Worry Dolls.
Your friend 'til the end."
I paged through the book again, starting at the beginning. It looked like any normal diary. Little things were written about friends at school, conflicts with parents. Though one thing caught my eye:
"Grandma got me a doll for my birthday. It's nice, I guess, but scary. Mom said I couldn't give it away. I don't want it, though..."
A few pages later was a similar entry.
"I keep Grandma's doll in the drawer. I don't like its eyes, it stares at me at night.. It's creepy."
There were several more like this.
"The doll watches me where ever I go now. Its head turns. None of my other toys have come alive before... it's weird. But neat!
"I named my doll Aggie. She's not so bad. She told me today that we're going to be friends.
"Aggie doesn't like my mom or dad or grandma. I don't know why. Maybe because they think I play with her too much."
The entries became more and more disturbing as I read them.
"Aggie made me mad today. She called my mom bad things. She wouldn't stop talking, so I ripped off her eye. She didn't like that. I said sorry later...
"Aggie is my best friend.
"I love Aggie.
"I hate my parents.
After the last entry, there was nothing but scribble and symbols.
A chill struck my spine. I felt acid of vomit rising in my throat. Something was terribly wrong.
I had been in the room for hours and hadn't realized it. Hastily I made my way downstairs as quickly as I could. The house was empty. The investigators were no longer there. All that was left was puddles of blood and the mess. The bodies had been removed already.
I glanced around the room, my eyes skimming over anything that could mean something.
"She did this to herself, you know..."
I nearly shit myself at the sound of the hollow female voice. It sounded like it was right next to me, old and ancient.
I spun around, looking for the source and halted abruptly as they passed the doll I had seen earlier. One of its button eyes were gone.
No, no, no... impossible.
The voice came again.
"She did it to herself."
There was no movement anywhere, but the sound came from the direction of the dolls.
I felt crazy for doing it, but I spoke, "Aggie?"
"Yes?" the voice replied, almost pleased that I was speaking to her.
That was it, I couldn't hold it anymore, I vomited. This was far too much for me to handle.
"Oh, dear," she said to me, "poor thing... come and sit down... you're not feeling well..."
"What... the fuck?" I choked, swearing to God I was having a dream.
Regardless, I bit.
"Did it to herself?"
What did she do to herself? Who?
"Yes, the girl. She did it to herself. I saw the whole thing. Killed her family, one at a time. Granny was first to go. She used her own little hands..."
The doll's head lolled over to the side, as if someone pushed it.
"Ripped them apart. Then herself. She tore out her own eye, you know, I saw it. Then she ripped her own throat... it's an amazing thing, possession... before she even knew it, she had torn open her insides like a gutted fish... that's what she gets, the little bitch..."
I couldn't believe what was happening... I was being spoken to by a fucking puppet... a doll... a toy. It was talking and moving. A fucking plaything just described to me a terrible murder. It was horrifying, but alluring.
I had to be crazy, I had to. But I moved closer to listen and to ask.
"Why?" I said, my eyebrows furrowing in confusion. The doll simply shook her head.
"Shhhh... don't ask... it'll be okay."
A rush of hot air filled my head. My mind was suddenly blank. My eyes were drooping and tired. I was losing control.
My hands suddenly lifted and made their way to the front of my shirt, fingers gripping at my flesh. It hurt, but I didn't want to stop.
"Don't tell my secret..." Aggie whispered to me, all I did was nod.
My nails began digging into my skin, blood began trickling, appearing through my shirt. Within seconds, my fingers were imbedded into my flesh, the first two knuckles sinking in the warmth. It hurt... it hurt... I was on fire...
"No..." I started, unable to control my movements. "No!"
My flesh was tearing, the muscles rending in two. She had me. She had me completely as I felt the pressure of my organs pressing against the muscle and membranes.
This was it; I couldn't stop.