The street was desolate except for a few stray streetlamps. There hadn’t been many stragglers around these parts; these back alleys of London didn’t see much traffic nowadays. Not since the murders started anyway. But I wouldn’t know anything about that. Wink.
A wailing shriek erupted through the darkness and the rain. A cop car was either hot on the trail or had a hunch about something. I needed to duck and cover, and fast. I dashed into a dusty old storefront to let the wailing sirens scream off into the distance and to get out of the rain for a bit. The rain didn’t bother me near so much as the commotion.
The smell of moldy books permeated the shop. There weren’t really any wares of note; the place was empty save for a smattering of old bookcases bereft of their contents. Despite the lingering odor, there were no books to be found, or anything else for that matter. There was nobody around to greet me, except for a strange object perched on the front table by an antiquated cash register.
It more or less resembled a baby doll head and other detritus on a metal structure. It was unlike anything I’d ever seen, like some sort of horrific creation by one of those nasty children that harvested all of their sister’s dolls for parts. I grinned as I recollected my misspent youth. Eventually the dolls gave way to a bigger and brighter enterprise – harvested bits can get you a long way, you know. Even a crooked tooth can fetch a pretty penny if you know who’s in the market…
The cop car wailed past, off towards some unseen calling. Good riddance. The cops typically never take much interest in these parts, which is part of why I’d picked this as my stomping grounds. Less attention can go a long way. Smile. Yeah, a couple of vagrants had died here already. And sure, they’d started an investigation. But it wasn’t going anywhere fast, and it wasn’t likely to. No sense in moving on just yet.
The damn doll head continued to drill holes into my psyche. What was even more disconcerting was the fact that I could sense that it was watching me. Not that there was anything to show for it, since the eyes never blinked nor dilated or anything. But nonetheless, it was following my every movement, I was certain of it. I wanted to reach out and smash its head in but something within me dared not draw too close.
Still, the shopkeep would be an easy mark and there was no one to be found out and about given the weather and the recent circumstances. The remaining vagrants had cleared out save for myself. Best not keep my buyers waiting… I ducked behind a nearby bookcase and called out to the empty storefront, “Hello! Anybody here?” A gust of wind outside the window roared in response. I clutched my dagger close under the fold of my coat. Nobody came. I peered out toward the register.
Suddenly, the doll’s eyes flashed a blinding beacon of white light before returning to their vacant stare, as if I had been caught in the flash of a camera. A hollow shrill sound like a mechanical chime echoed forth from within the bizarre creature and was gone again only a moment after. What a creepy security system.
I was most definitely being watched and decided to take to the street again. I had to get out of there. Briskly, I left the dusty vacant storefront and crept out into the rain. I could still feel the doll’s gaze at my rear, causing the hairs on my neck to jolt and prickle from the wayward energies charging the air between us.
I swaddled myself in my trench coat as I turned away from the building to slink into the nearby alley. From there, a flash of light greeted me and I heard a familiar mechanical chime, My heart sunk in my chest. I turned slowly to see the baby doll headed creature a little ways down the alley studying me with those same hollow eyes from atop its metal tower. Only moments before it had been perched by the cash register in the vacant storefront and now here it was in the alley.
My mind reeling, I turned back towards the storefront and picked up my pace, heading for the park across the street. What was that thing? Why was it following me? Who knew? I stopped under a burnt out streetlamp and stared back towards the alley and vacant storefront. Nothing. The rain drummed down in silvery streaks across the street, flickering into and out of focus. I shuffled over to the park bench I knew would be waiting for me. Sigh.
As I glanced over my shoulder at the street, I saw it again. The same creepy baby-doll-head-watchtower-thing. It just stood sentry, offering no clue as to how it had gotten there. My fear gave way to hate, boiling and festering beneath my skin. No one was on to me; I’d covered all my tracks perfectly. Whatever this was, it had to go. Anger welled up in me. I stalked over to the thing and stared at it. It stood there unmoving, staring blankly ahead.
My hand drew back in slow motion, knife in tow. I lunged forward at the creature, intent on smashing it in. The butt end of the knife met porcelain as I made contact with the baby doll head, sinking into the fragile surface as if it were an egg. It gave way, shattering into a million points of light as it emitted one last bright flash and mechanical chime. I recoiled and stared at the scene before me as it came into focus.
“Don’t move,” a cop shouted from the car, hunched behind the driver’s side door like it was a riot shield. Another cop had his sights trained on me from the passenger door, I could feel the weight of his itchy finger at the trigger of his gun. The cop car headlight lay smashed and shattered at my feet, glass strewn everywhere.
You can read another tale of creepy doll head mayhem by Jennifer Weigel on Haunted MTL here.
You can read more of Jennifer Weigel’s writing here on Jennifer Weigel Words.