By: J.J. Cheesman
My sister Katie and I had a bit of a rivalry growing up. She knew I absolutely hated dolls. So, sometime in the middle of the night she snuck into my room and planted an old china doll that our grandmother had given her before she died. I would wake up and see the doll sitting on my dresser as it stared straight at me and have a small panic attack. I never even touched the thing. The thought of handling that creepy mockery of a human girl sent chills up and down my spine. So, I would leave for school with it still sitting on my dresser and when I got back, Katie had it moved.
Now. I was never a mean-spirited girl, I enjoyed my sister’s playful prank. It was true that dolls absolutely freak me out but I never let anyone know how badly they bothered me. I kept exactly how scared my irrational fear made me a secret. I was never smart enough to get her back with any practical joke of my own, my brain just didn’t work that way. So, I would just deal with morning after morning of having a near heart attack.
Then the day came when my sister was moving out of the house into her own apartment and I rode with her to help her unpack. As we went through box after box removing their contents, I noticed something.
“Katie, where is the china doll grandma gave you?” She looked up at me from the box she was unpacking.
“Oh, I’m not taking it, since you wanted it so badly I just left it at home in your room.” I hesitated for a moment, confused by her words and then I laughed when I realized she must be joking.
“Katie, I hate dolls, especially that one, they give me the creeps.” This time, Katie looked puzzled.
“Then why did you move it to your room every night?” Her words unsettled me, and I became very uneasy.
“Katie, I didn’t, you did to try and scare me.” “Amanda, stop messing around you’re going to make me angry. I know you always resented that grandma gave me that doll, so now it’s yours, I don’t want to hear anything more about it.” Her face became hard and her voice became angry. I stood there, mouth agape and bewildered. Was she being serious? Was this just part of some elaborate joke? Her face softened.
“Look, I’m sorry. I got a bit angry over nothing. Let’s just finish and we’ll order a pizza and have a sister’s night. You’re still staying, aren’t you?” I nodded, deciding not to argue with her.
We finished getting everything settled in her new home, then Katie and I began watching movies while we waited for the food to arrive. When we were done eating we were both beat from the long day of moving, so we turned in early. I made my bed on the couch while Katie slept down the hall in her bedroom. I briefly thought over what Katie said about the doll and I wondered why exactly she lied about moving it into my room at night. Exhaustion overtook me quickly however, and soon I was fast asleep.
The next morning, I awoke to a low and rhythmic banging sound. Rubbing sleep from my eyes, I sat up and looked toward the front door. It stood open, and the wind was blowing it against my shoes that I had taken off and placed on the mat in front of it. There were brown and red leaves blown in from outside, and my gaze followed them all the way to the coffee table that sat inches from the couch, and I screamed.
Sitting on the coffee table, staring directly at me, was my grandmother’s china doll.