Ellie woke to the sound of laughter. She shot up from the comfort of her bed and briefly fluttered her eyes. Glancing out the window, she caught a glimpse at the corner house veranda. Light shone onto the patio furniture. The glass top table reflected very little of the light, covered nearly completely. The luminescence was further muted by a light fog and the pitch blackness surrounding it.
Still, she saw, in wonder, a smorgasbord of candies, root beer floats, and pastries. On the edges of the table, dolls with soulless eyes and cheeky grins seemed to be begging for playtime.
She pushed her blankets off and opened the window.
She was ready to push off and into the grass beyond her window but hesitated. The people that lived there didn’t much like her on account of her riding her bike into their yard all the time, but they had to know that it was the best place to start a race! It was right at the top of the big hill, and sure, it wasn’t much fun riding back up the hill, but the exhilaration of those few moments of reckless abandon were worth it.
It was only yesterday that Mr. Ferguson had scolded her, “If you do it one more time, you will be in really big trouble.”
She laughed at him. “My mommy doesn’t care what you say. She thinks you’re a big jerk.”
Mr. Ferguson sighed and shook his head at her, “Mothers aren’t the only ones able to punish. Devils can too.”
Ellie stifled a laugh and kicked off her bike again leaving a small gap in the grass behind her.
Right now, though, the dolls stared straight at her, and she wanted so much to hold them as she consumed chocolates and other sweets.
She jumped out of her window and sprinted across the grass. Pricklies attached to her feet from the bindii plants, but she ignored them.
Ellie made it to the patio and grabbed the first doll closest to her. She snatched a big chocolate muffin and began to devour it.
She heard the doll giggle at her, and then a echo came from the remaining dolls.
All around her they turned to face her. Their eyes pierced her own, and she shrieked.
On the edge of her consciousness, she could hear her mother screaming for her from her house. She turned to look, but it seemed she was in a tunnel in a car. Her mother’s face was fading away until all she could see was darkness around the ever-expanding patio.
Ellie heard a man chuckle.
“We warned you, did we not?” Mr. Ferguson asked. His yellow teeth showed through his devilish grin.
Ellie cried, but no tears came out. Her little hands tried to reach her eyes, but their hard plaster made it hard to move right to left. She turned her head to Mr. Ferguson and tried to scream, but her throat felt hollow. Her eyes blinked, but it felt unnatural and forced. Even her eyes couldn’t look anywhere but forward.
Her mind panicked. What’s happening to me? Why can’t I move? What did I do to deserve this?
“You were a menace. Your own mother won’t punish you for your wickedness, so someone had to.”
She heard the laughter again. The wicked sound ran through her and had she still had her skin she may have had goosebumps.
“Evil girl. Wicked girl,” echoed in her mind.
Mr. Ferguson picked her up and stared straight into her very soul. “You knew what you did was wrong but did it anyway.”
“You’re one of us now,” the dolls chanted.
Their words and giggles turned from whispers to shouts. The sound consumed her wholly until she felt compelled to join in. Slowly, her laugh went from hollow and mirthless to hysterical. As she embraced her new life, her lips spread into a cheeky grin, and her doll eyes shared the same soulless gaze as those before her.
Mr. Ferguson carried her inside where she joined the rest for the remainder of his days.