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Audrey Parvus was turning ten this year. May 8th was on Sunday and it was Saturday afternoon. Audrey, being a terrible person at dropping hints, her mother brought her to the 99 cent stores, letting her choose her own birthday present.
“Now, just look around and let me know if you see anything. I’ll be looking at novels over there.” Her mother had told her. A knick-knack here, a curio there; it was a quaint little shop. Audrey didn’t know what to get; there were so many things to choose from. She’d just about settled on a stuffed rabbit toy when she saw it in the window display.
A beautiful old Victorian doll, with brown hair and brown eyes, with a red dress with blue trims. “Oh, she’s so pretty!” she said, in awe of the beauty of the doll. She happily skipped to her mother and brandished the doll. Ms. Parvus raised the doll up like Audrey did. “Wow, something like this in a simple 99 cent store? You can buy it, dearie.” She handed it back to Audrey, who ran to the old cashier. “I’d like to buy this doll, please, sir.” she asked politely.
The old man squinted at the doll and said “Oh no, you wouldn’t want that doll.” Confused, she asked “What? Of course I want this doll.” He just shook his head and said “Well, alright, but…” His next words were mumbled under his breath. She took the doll off the counter and held onto it as Ms. Parvus paid for a few books. On the way home, she couldn’t stop looking at the doll. Such ornate features, done with perfect accuracy! Such a beautiful doll needed a name. “… Molly. Her name is Molly.”
She hugged the doll tight on the way home. Upon even closer inspection after arriving home, she noticed a flaw. Molly had an extra finger on her right hand. Audrey pinned this as weird, but nothing is perfect. After playing with the doll for the entire day, it was bedtime at 9:00. The doll was porcelain, so she left Molly on the living room table to play with after breakfast. Her mother kissed her good night and walked down the stairs to her bedroom.
Audrey had lovely dreams, her playing with a living Molly in a meadow and dreams such as that. Then she awoke, hearing clacking. Tiny, but audible clacking footsteps. They grew in volume, sounding like they were getting closer to Audrey’s room. Then there was high-pitched mumbling. Audrey stopped whimpering and listened closely. “… first step. Molly’s on the second step, Molly’s on the third.”
Refusing to take anymore, Audrey yelled out “Mommy, mommy! Come quick!” The tiny footsteps pattered away as Ms. Parvus rushed to her daughter’s room. “What, what, what?” “Mommy, I heard footsteps and I think it was Molly!” Her mother sighed, unhappy at being woken up at 11:15 at night. She took Audrey and turned on the light in the living room. Molly hadn’t moved an inch from her position.
Audrey unhappily went back to bed as her mother left to rest. She managed to get 30 minutes of rest before the sing-song chanting and clacking returned. The chanting continued past three. “Molly’s on the fourth step, Molly’s on the fifth step, Molly’s on the sixth.” Calling her mother again, Audrey insists she believes its Molly who’s making the noises. Another check-up on Molly reveals no change.
“Audrey Veronica Parvus, I really am getting tired of this act. Molly is a doll, she can’t walk, she can’t talk, and there’s nothing to be scared of.” Audrey looked uneasily at Molly. The longer she stared, the more Molly’s expression looked malicious. “I have to work overtime tomorrow, and you have daycare, so please sleep and forget about Molly. She’ll seem less scary during the day.” “Ah… Oh… Alright, mommy.”
She sullenly climbs the stairs to her room and lies in bed. She manages to get some sleep when the clacking and chanting come back. It exceeded the sixth step and continued. There were only 12 steps to her room. “Molly’s on the seventh step, Molly’s on the eighth step, Molly’s on the ninth.” “M-m-mommy!” she couldn’t help yelling out. Her mother didn’t respond. “Molly’s on the tenth step, Molly’s on the eleventh step…” “MOTHER!!!” she screamed out. Silence was her response.
“Molly’s on the twelfth.”
There was silence in those heart-pounding seconds. But the doorknob jangling broke the silence. The door creaked open. There stood Molly, holding a steak knife, all bloody. Audrey scrambled under her bed, hoping Molly didn’t see her. “Molly killed your mommy. Now Molly’s gonna kill you~” She grabbed Audrey by the hair and pulled her from under the bed. Pointing the knife towards the crying little girl and said “Molly’s in your room.”
On the corner of Cedar Boulevard and 24th Avenue, Molly is still in the window display, in the 99 cent store, still run by the same old man. She’s waiting for another victim to fall for her charms. She now has eight fingers on her hand.