My next project after Silver City is a book of short horror stories titled Thirteen: The Horror Collection.
Thirteen will feature thirteen short horror stories on a range of different subjects such as curses, zombies, aliens, vampires, ghosts, a puppet clown, witches, werewolves, hell, sirens and a highly infectious disease.
I will be writing Thirteen at the same time as Silver City Two: Black World.
Here is the first story from Thirteen...
The Antique Doll
I always admired buying and selling at auctions. Buying kept me in my element, as I had recently lost my auction virginity and I visited at least one auction a month. But none of the auctions were anything compared to the last one.
I had never been the kind of girl to believe in ghost stories and curses and I’d never really liked pot dolls. Yet one day during an auction, I came across an intriguing pot doll.
Her eyes looked full of sorrow as they drew me in, making me feel sad even though she was only a doll.
Just before the auction started for the hypnotic doll, the seller had a story to tell relating to the history of the doll. All I could imagine was the seller rambling on about the technique of doll making or something close.
The seller was an odd looking middle aged man. He was dressed entirely from head to toe in black with long, wispy, grey hair. He had no fashion sense to be seen. His eyes were filled with an anxious look and I could see beads of sweat beginning to form above his brow.
The doll’s facial features were oddly realistic. I guessed she must have been made by a great artist. The doll’s hair was made up of perfectly formed blonde ringlets. Her skin as pale as the first winter’s snow and her lips were vibrant red and full of pout. Her cheekbones were beautifully defined with iced pink flushes at either side and her eyes were wide and green.
After a brief and boring introduction about the history of doll making as I assumed would happen, the man began to speak strangely about the doll, as if it was a person.
‘I will now tell you an interesting story about this doll, which I was told many years ago. Almost one hundred years ago there lived a great witch. The witch practiced magic of the blackest forms. She cursed many people during her years. She was feared by many and was later cast out by the people of Eldritch. The only ones that she trusted were her lover and daughter. The witch’s daughter was greatly admired by every man; she was called a goddess, overly beautiful on the outside. One evening on the day of her sixteenth birthday the witch returned home to find her daughter in the arms of her lover. The witch’s daughter had been having an affair with her mother’s lover for one hundred days.
‘The witch, devastated by her daughter’s betrayal, swore that she would punish her for exactly one hundred years, a year for each day she spent with her lover. It is said a terrible curse was cast trapping her daughter’s spirit inside this doll. A legend was told that on the dawn of the new moon after one hundred years, her spirit will rise from within the constraints of her lifeless shell to claim the body of another.’
As the man headed towards the back of the room he eyed me on his way past. The way he looked at me gave me the creeps and I swear I saw a slight grin creeping from his lips. He was a good story teller but there was no way the story could be true.
I found the doll inspiring so I decided to place a bid.
‘Do I have an opening bid of ten pounds?’
‘Fifteen, do I have a bid for fifteen? Yes to the lady in the corner.’
‘Twenty, thirty, forty, forty five. Do I have a bid for forty five pounds for this incredible antique doll?’
That was my call, I just couldn’t resist; forty five pounds seemed reasonable enough so I raised my hand.
‘Going once, going twice and sold to the girl in the front row.’
After a while if I decided to sell her on, I bet I would get triple of what I paid.
When I returned home that night my boyfriend, Brett, had made me a surprise meal and cracked open a fresh bottle of champagne.
‘Are we celebrating?’ I asked.
‘Hi there, Hun, I was made chief executive of the company today, so it looks like we are going to have far more money in our pockets, he said smiling.
I jumped up in excitement throwing my arms around his neck before I kissed him.
‘I’m so proud of you. Look what I bought today, I said pulling out the antique doll.
‘Creepy, he laughed.
We sat down to our meal and a flute of champagne, catching up on the day as we always had.
The next night Brett had to go away on business for a few days as he was now chief executive and with the title came responsibility. I guessed that he wouldn’t be around as much, but we both enjoyed our own space every now and again.
Before I went up to bed I placed the doll upright on the sofa and I decided to leave her there for the night, until I found a suitable place for her.
The next morning I awoke to a strange clanging noise coming from my kitchen downstairs. I rushed down the stairs with my bedside vase in my hand, only to find that the waste bin had been tipped upside down and rummaged through. I almost tripped over a pile of tin cans, as I knelt down to pick the bin up from the floor. As my fingers neared the bin I saw the image of a face skip from one of the cans, and the vase fell from my fingers shattering all over the floor. I immediately looked around but there was nothing there. Standing up from the kitchen floor, I paced quickly into the living room. I walked towards the sofa to retrieve my antique doll, but she was nowhere in sight. Searching around the back of the sofa, I looked underneath, but there was still no sight of the doll. I started to look around the house: downstairs, upstairs and in every cupboard and place in sight. I completely tipped my home upside down but I still could not find the doll anywhere.
After a while I gave up the search as a failed attempt and went back into the living room to sit down and rest for a while. To my surprise the doll was right there, sitting in the exact same position I had left her the night before.
‘That’s odd, I said to myself.
I must have somehow missed her.
Night soon came again and I decided it was time to call it a day. I went to bed leaving the doll still sitting on the sofa.
I tossed and turned in my bed all night, having unusual dreams of being locked inside a box, a box that was the same size as me from every angle. It was a terrible nightmare as I had been claustrophobic since I was young.
I awoke the following morning with sweat dripping from the top of my hair line and without a pillow under my head. As I looked around for my pillow on the floor I found a small blonde curl on the carpet. I knew that the hair wasn’t mine as I was a brunette. My first thought was of Brett having an affair, but it seemed unlikely as when he wasn’t at work he was with me.
I decided it was time to clear my hazy head and wake up so I jumped into the shower. Whist the water ran down my body the glass door began to steam up and I felt as though someone was watching me. I closed my eyes telling myself to stop being so paranoid when the feeling came on stronger. When I opened my eyes I saw the doll through the corner of my eye bolting past the shower door. I blinked and looked again to find the image had vanished into the steam. I opened the shower door slowly but nothing was there. I stepped out and walked back into my bedroom to get dressed. When I opened the wardrobe door, there was my pillow hanging from one of Brett’s ties. The tie had been tightly wound around the top of my pillow, giving the impression of a person hanging from a rope.
I was freaked out to say the least. To put my nerves at ease I called Brett. When he answered he explained that he had just finished his meetings for the day so he stayed on the line for a few hours. He promised me that he would be back as soon as possible. Brett had always been such a loving boyfriend. Whenever I felt uneasy he was the only person that could manage to calm me down and make me feel myself again. He told me not to worry because before I knew it he would be home.
Once again night dawned upon the sky as I looked outside the window to see the moon. I remembered the man’s story from the auction. There was no moon to be seen. I looked every ten minutes but still no moon appeared; it looked as if tonight was a new moon.
I ran downstairs grabbing the doll from the sofa. I planned to lock her up in a cupboard upstairs but as I searched around for the key, a flash of bright light blinded my sight and I fell to the floor. Crawling around the room, trying to make my way outside, I began to feel faint. The light faded as the doll stood upright. I felt as if she was starring right into me and then she blinked. My mind faded into a cloud of darkness as I fell unconscious.
I awoke the following morning as the sunlight shone through the window almost burning my eyes out of their sockets. Something didn’t feel quite right. I didn’t feel like myself. My breath was shortened and I felt lighter than usual. I tried to move but my whole body was paralyzed. Then I noticed that I was no longer in my own body.
She walked over to me carrying a gruesome grin on her lips; she picked me up in her overheated hands as I tried to scream. I could hear the screaming inside my head but nothing was coming out of my mouth. My lips were glued together. I screamed louder and louder and then Brett walked through the front door.
‘Help me Brett that’s not me, I screamed.
But he walked straight over to her and kissed her plump lips; she turned her head towards me and winked with her toxic eyes, which had once belonged to me.
‘Your hair looks great blonde, Hun, did you do it last night? And your lips look fantastic. Is that a new lipstick?’ said Brett to the temptress.
I carried on screaming until I barely felt the will to live. Then she looked at Brett and spoke.
‘I had a makeover for you, I wanted to surprise you. And I have been thinking we should get married.’
My heart began to pound and my body began to shiver as shooting pains thrust their way through my porcelain body.
‘No,’ I screamed.
But it was useless; he could not hear me. Brett pulled out an engagement ring. It seemed he had already planned to propose to me, only now he was proposing to the wrong girl.
Just as I thought that my life had come to a standstill and that I would have to wait a hundred years to be set free, I was in store for another shock.
‘Could you do me a favor, Brett, and throw the doll in the grinder for me? I found out she is worthless after all.’
Thanks for reading,