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Jason wobbled back and forth. He was extremely dizzy after staying up all night drinking at the nearest bar. He definitely wasn’t one to take a breakup lightly, especially when it involved a cheating hoe of a girlfriend. His orange-red hair flopped over his eyes and he swayed his head to the side, letting his hair fall with the gravity. It was getting dark and the once crimson sunset had become an indigo screen of sky with little stars shining like pieces of glitter on dark paper. He looked around slowly, moving through a suspiciously black alleyway he had come across while stumbling around on the sidewalk avoiding women who were armed with pepper spray.
At the moment, he was alone, having escaped the common dangers of a nighttime street. His vision was slowly beginning to sharpen as he came closer to the other road on the opposite end of the alley. He was exhausted and decided to stand at the corner, waiting for a taxi to call for. Despite the fact that he wasn’t exactly known for his infinite wisdom, he still understood that it was not good to drive after drinking, even though his head was beginning to clear. However, his train of thought was hindered by the sound of a few trash cans tumbling over from their pile a few yards back. He was startled at first, thinking it was a few criminals or angry drug-dealers, but relaxed when he saw nothing, assuming a stray cat had somehow gotten into the trash.
Of course, he couldn't have been more wrong. There was a bit of a whimpering noise, and what looked like a small little girl stumbled out of a trash can. Jason's eyes widened and he rushed over, horrified that someone would leave a helpless toddler in a city alleyway. It wasn’t a common sight to see a small child left in the middle of a rodent infested alley.
"What the hell? Where are your parents at?"
The little girl's lips curled up into an eerie smile that sent chills down Jason’s spine.
"They're gone," she calmly replied, her voice tone a bit too mature to be as small a child as she appeared.
Jason was confused by her ease of saying so, and the grin she bore with the supposedly sad news, so he asked her once again just to confirm what he had just heard. Surprisingly and horrifyingly, the skin of the girl’s lips began to peel back, revealing razor sharp, somewhat brown teeth. The muscles around her mouth were visibly tightening, her smile seeming strained and forced. Though Jason was perplexed and intoxicated as hell, he still knew one thing:
This girl had an appetite.
It wasn't until then that he realized that this poor little girl was not human. Only some kind of demon would be able to make a face as disgusting and unnatural as that. The blood in Jason’s veins, cold from fear, pumped in his ears wildly, seemingly deafening him. Still, he was able to utter one last question. “What,” he stuttered, his mind going numb. “What in all hell are you?”
“Me?” The doll looked at him with an abnormal mix of innocent eyes and an untterly intimidating and creepy grin. “Why, I’m just so shocked you would ask! And why’d you have to bring up hell? You’re such an offensive little twerp.”
“Answer my question,” Jason half-demanded, only gaining a bit of his confidence, nowhere near enough to run.
“You’re in no position to boss me around. Now come here.”
That did it for him.
Jason quickly started to run away, but the creature grabbed his leg with an amazingly firm grip, causing him to trip. He stumbled forward, and for some unintelligent reason decided that it would be best to call the police. Of course, before he even turned on his phone, it was slapped out of his hand by his attacker. That is when he realized that, instead of nails, this thing had viciously sharp claws, almost like tiny talons. But now, the doll was but inches from his face. He may be somewhat vacuous at times, but he knew that this wasn’t a good thing. He immediately attempted to get up and get his phone only to be pushed back again by the super-strong demon girl.
"It's snack time!" the girl vocalized in a sickeningly innocent little voice.
Jason was going to die. His heart skipped a beat and the child’s mouth opened wide, defying any sign of a jawbone. Except, something was wrong. Yes, even more wrong than a little girl murdering a drunken pedestrian. Something about the creature’s features were especially inhuman, down to simply the feel of it’s skin. There was nothing warm or soft about it, just a chilly, solid surface, stained brown on the white of it’s new-looking dress. This creature wasn’t just a demon, it was a doll.
A porcelain doll.
A burnt porcelain doll.
Jason was going to be murdered by a doll.
Jason flinched away as the dolls razor sharp, darkly stained teeth sank into his own human flesh. He cried out only once, and with that Jason was killed, and his body, or what was left of it, was dragged away.
"Daddy, I wanna Snack Time Mary doll!"
Bailey yanked on Austin's sleeve. "I'm sorry, sweetie, but I have no money! You know money doesn’t grow on..."
“Yes, I may be young, but I still understand some basic biology.” She rolled her eyes and groaned. "Besides, how can you not have any money when I saw you buy that huge sparkly ring for mommy? You are obviously rich."
Austin gulped, obviously caught.
"Well, if I spend my money on you today, how am I supposed to buy you all those other dolls you want?"
Bailey thought for a minute, but didn’t respond. She was stumped, which was a rarity. "I give up," she murmured before throwing her hands in the air in surrender.
Austin Marcson was about thirty years old, with a wife and two kids. His wife, Allison, always stayed at home with his two daughters while he worked at his office in Baltimore, MD. His two daughters were Bailey and Maddie Marcson. Bailey was in the first grade, and was doing a pretty good job in school, but Maddie, however, was just a baby, and didn't even know how to walk yet.
Since Austin had finally gotten a day off, he decided to spend it shopping with his eldest daughter. Of course, this was her favorite thing to do, especially if it involved finding new dolls for her excessively large collection.
On the news that night, the reporters were in an alleyway, ranting on about how this was where some guy named Jason Dolan was last seen before he mysteriously disappeared. According to the police, this disappearance had something to do with two other disappearances, both in the exact same alley.
"Remind me never to go there alone," he joked with his wife Allison, who smiled through her exhaustion and went to go tuck Bailey and Maddie into bed. But before she went, Austin stopped her. "Honey, Bailey wanted a Snack Time Mary doll today. She told me that all of her friends had been wanting it and she wanted to get it before any of them. Do you think we could get it for her for Christmas?"
Allison thought about this for a moment. "Well, sure. After all, I'm going to do all of my Christmas shopping tomorrow. I’m glad you told me now, otherwise I probably wouldn’t have gotten it."
In about three weeks, the den was quiet and dark. The Christmas tree was in the corner of the room, right beside the TV, turned off so not to waste any electricity. All was silent, until one of the boxes made a rattling noise and began to shake, as if an invisible person was trying to hear what was inside. Everyone was still in bed, so no one heard the noise. Eventually, the box started to rattle again, this time louder, starting to move around the room after the second time of making noise. The box was sliding on the floor, towards the bedroom that Bailey was sleeping in, which was located right on the other side of the hallway that connected the den to the rest of the house. The box entered her room and silently yet quickly slid over to her bed...
Austin immediately woke up to Bailey's screams. What was happening? He rushed into her room to find a box lying on the carpet beside Bailey’s bed, fully wrapped, as if she was about to open it.
"Daddy! How did that box get into my room?" Bailey pointed at the box and whimpered, tears beginning to accumulate in her eyes. Austin examined the box, noticing that two of the sides were torn. A small Echowater Dolls logo was visible, and Austin immediately knew which present it was.
"Bailey, were you opening your presents early? We told you that you weren't supposed to do that!”
"It wasn't me! I swear!"
Austin rolled his eyes, obviously not believing her. "Don’t swear, Bailey. You were probably just sleepwalking again. Bailey, you know what we say about eating sugar before bed."
Bailey looked at her father, then at the box, and then back again. She calmed down, though still not convinced. "Okay, I guess you're right, but I'm not saying that I truly believe you."
Austin rolled his eyes. She obviously didn't want to admit that she had been opening her Snack Time Mary doll box.
In the morning, the whole family gathered around the Christmas tree, preparing to open their presents.
"Ally, don't open your present yet. I need to get my camera ready. Your parents were asking for pictures or videos since they couldn’t be here today." His wife smiled for the camera, trying not to laugh at the small gurgling noise that Maddie made. As she sucked on her small bumble-bee pacifier. Austin turned on his video camera and pressed the record button. "Okay, you can open your present now."
Allison smiled and tore off one strip of wrapping paper and placed it aside, completely shredding the rest. As soon as she saw her present, her eyes lit up and her smile grew bigger. "Oh my gosh, Austin! It's just what I wanted!" She hugged him and kissed him once before Bailey started fake gagging at their somewhat public display of affection. Maddie, being an infant, just sat there silently, almost in an adorable state of confusion.
"Okay, my turn!" Bailey grabbed a particularly large present and began to rip it open. Austin and Allison exchanged glances, knowing what the present was, and anticipating the reaction. She obliterated the wrapping paper and the cardboard box was reduced to a couple shreds of brown paper. Her eyes lit up and her smile spread to her ears. She looked up to her parents' grinning faces.
"Mommy! Daddy! It's Snack-Time Mary! Thank you so much! I love you!" Bailey hugged her parents as tight as she could, which really wasn't very tight, seeing as though her arms were tiny compared to her parents’. They smiled at her, loving how her excitement could be evident from the other side of the neighborhood. The look on little Bailey's face was priceless and Austin made sure to take a picture. She hugged her doll and immediately ran up to her room to put it in her toybox.
"That was all the presents!" Austin sighed and got up.
"Christmas is always gone right after it starts, don’t you think?" Allison remarked as she stood up as well.
Maddie started giggling as soon as everyone had left the room. Austin smiled at the noise and went to go clean up the wrapping paper. He bent down to pick up the remains of the box of Bailey's present when Maddie’s giggle abruptly stopped and turned into a screech of pain. She began to wail. This wasn’t just a hunger cry or a sad cry, Maddie was in pain. Austin immediately got up to see what was wrong.
The first thing he noticed was the toy on the ground beside the baby seat.
Snack-Time Mary. Were those eyes... red?
Austin was a little confused, even a little frightened. He had seen Bailey take the doll to her room with his own eyes, so what was she doing down here? He dismissed the thought and went to examine the wrist that Maddie was waving in the air. He looked closely and soon noticed a red mark on her wrist. It looked as if someone had been gripping on to her arm. Whoever it was must have squeezed it much too hard, because the wrist was red with bloody scratches. Austin took the doll and placed it on a chair and put Maddie's hand underwater to soothe some of the pain.
The next day, Austin took his baby to the emergency room. They were sitting in the waiting room, patiently waiting for the doctor to call their names. Some other patients, Austin noticed, were coughing, bleeding, or clutching their arms as if they had broken them. Almost immediately, the doctor came in and called their names. Austin calmly carried his child into the room and placed her on the bed where the doctor started to inspect her wrist.
Doctor James, as he called himself, informed him of the fact that Maddie would have to go to the X-Ray room. Austin gulped, nervous about how bad the wrist might be. He reluctantly followed the doctor into the room, watching the doctor place grayish-green bags on her and start to take the pictures. After a few minutes, Dr. James turned back to Austin. "Sir, we caught a fracture in her wrist..."
"Her wrist is broken?"
"You didn't let me finish, sir. Yes, her wrist was broken, but it seems that her arm has been dislocated as well. It looks just like someone grabbed her hand and yanked it out of its socket. It's surprising your child is still conscious or even alive. A child so young should not have to go through all that pain.”
Chills were sent down his spine as a reaction to the news, but the doctor continued to relay the information, “There have been some cases where the child has died. Consider yourself lucky, Mr. Marcson."
Austin stared in horror at his baby, who was about to fall asleep. "Thank you, Dr. James. I will try to take extra good care of her. I can’t believe I was foolish enough to let something like this happen." He immediately rushed out in a big hurry to get home. As soon as he got in the car, he got out his phone and called his wife, so he could inform her of what the doctor had said, and by the sound of the conversation, it seemed like she was just as terrified as he was.
As he stopped at a stoplight about a block from his house, he paused to think about what in the world could ever cause something like a dislocated arm to happen to an infant. There was no one else there in the room, and Maddie obviously couldn't have done it herself. The only thing in that room at that moment was the doll, but how could an inanimate object cause such an injury, much less be alive? There was absolutely no explanation to how this whole thing happened. Besides, Bailey had taken the doll to her room. He saw it with his own eyes. He wasn't imagining things; at least, he thought he wasn’t. Austin knew in his heart that a doll couldn’t move or even live, but with the evidence, how could someone not be at least a bit suspicious? He knew how ridiculous he sounded, but what other explanation was there? That doll isn't alive, it can't be. Or can it?
It was a very quiet dinner that evening when Austin got home. Bailey was upstairs playing with her doll, Maddie was resting in her crib, and Austin and Allison were all too shaken to talk, much less start a conversation. They ate their share of food, while listening to the soft snores of their little baby who had almost died that day. After the meal, Austin got up and took his drink from the counter. He went into Bailey's room quietly, stealthily watching as she played with her little doll. Something was wrong with that doll, Austin knew it. If there was any chance that his daughter's doll could kill his family or even simply hurt it, then that doll had to go. Even if it meant stealing it from his daughter and burning it, and throwing the ashes into the reservoir.
The next morning, Bailey was asleep after staying up all night talking to her doll. Austin crept through the door silently, heading towards the bed. Bailey was clutching the doll in her arms, snoring into her face. The doll rose and fell with every one of Bailey's breaths. He quietly slid the doll out from his daughter's hands, replacing it with another doll that he had taken from Allison’s closet. He took one last look at the doll, the old cuteness was now sickening to him. Maybe even horrifying, or bone-chilling... or just plain evil. He was about to place it in the old, unused toy box in the closet, but suddenly, one of the doll's eyes turned to the side. He froze, horrified, and continued to watch the supposedly lifeless doll start blinking. He immediately dropped the doll, knowing that there was danger. The doll was waking up. Without thinking, he kicked the doll against the wall and sprinted out of the bedroom.
Maddie was still sound asleep, quietly snoring as her father grabbed her stroller and quietly tried to calm himself down. He stopped a second after setting up the small seat. He had forgotten about Bailey! Dread gripped him like the clutch of death on one’s shoulders. He was incredulous that he would ever forget about one of his children, whom he loved so much. There was an eerie feeling of doubt, but it was pushed far to the side as he scrambled into her room and attempted to shake her awake.
She didn't move.
"Bailey! Wake up! We have to leave right now!" He shook her one last time and suddenly a small voice sounded from the bottom of his pants, almost like the squeak of a mouse.
"She's gone. Just like you're going to be."
He immediately looked down and yanked off the covers to Bailey's bed, revealing what would end up traumatizing him more than any other thing he had ever experienced. A parent's worst nightmare.
His daughter was dead.
Austin looked around wildly, fighting back the tears that were forming around his eyes as he tried to stay away from the murderous doll that was coming towards him. He was panicking now, trying so hard to get as far away from this demon as he ever possibly could. This thing had dislocated a baby's wrist and murdered a first grader. He took the body of his daughter and jumped over the doll, narrowly missing its grasp on his leg. He sprinted out of the room, shouting as loud as he could to his wife, who immediately sprinted out of her room and ran outside, grabbing the baby's stroller on the way out. The couple raced out of the house, holding their baby and the corpse of their daughter. His instinct was to cry, but today, he was going to be strong. He was going to protect what was left of his family, whether it cost him his life or not. He grabbed a lighter, much to the dismay and reluctance of his wife, and lit the house on fire.
The small flame didn't take very long to grow into a huge fire, but he didn't call the police, nor the fire department. Not until the house would fully burn down. The smoke was starting to rise into the atmosphere, much to the shock of the rest of the neighbors, who were waking up at the sounds of screaming and the smell of smoke. It wasn't until the final floor of the house was engulfed in flame until he heard the sirens of the all-too-late fire trucks. He didn't care how much money he had to pay for these repairs. That demon was destroyed, and his family would never be harmed again. With that final mixed thought of grief and relief, he threw his daughter’s corpse into what remained of the fire before anyone could see.
Many years have passed since then. Maddie is now 13, and hasn't remembered anything about that day her big sister died. She only remembers stories of the house being burned down, and that her sister was caught in her room and was burned. She tried not to think much of it, but she had many thoughts of what she thought had really happened. She often dreamed about her sister being murdered, beaten, or even kidnapped, but the truth never even crossed her mind. She was busy doing her homework in her room which, interestingly enough, used to be her big sister's room. She was working on her math when she suddenly heard the small, sad voice of a child coming from her old toybox.
"Why do you want to kill me?”
Maddie closed her book for a second, pausing to listen. She was a bit bewildered to be hearing voices from her closet, but soon dismissed it as a figment of her imagination. Maybe she was just going crazy.
"It's snack time!" The second voice, which kind of scared Maddie, was a very high-pitched and seemingly innocent voice.
She got up from her bed and started backing away, but the voices continued. She could tell that the first voice was a girl, and she was trying to scream. Maddie could tell that she was either in pain or experiencing immense feelings of grief. Perhaps both, but there was something blocking her voice. Something similar to a...
She was cut off from her thoughts when one of the voices screamed. "Maddie! Get away! RUN!" Maddie's eyes widened and she started to sprint towards her closed door, but something stopped her. She felt the tug of a very small hand at the bottom of her sweatpants. Maddie was confused, knowing that no one else had been in the room with her. It suddenly hit her. One of those girls was a ghost.
The ghost of her dead sister.
Maddie somehow had a feeling that the other being there was the one holding her leg. She didn't have time to look down before the ‘child’ yanked her to the ground. She soon caught a glimpse of the doll. Her hair was singed and her arms and legs were covered in soot and decade-old, almost transparent blood. Her clothes had been burnt to a crisp, she could easily tell because of the brown colored tint on them. She wore a small, blank apron embroidered with yellow thread on the top of her shirt. The garment of clothing had once been perfectly white, but now there were several smudges of grime and a burnt color from the fire all those years ago. The rest of the doll's clothes were decorated with small holes, leaving a trail of dust behind as the doll moved; they were dry-rotting. Before Maddie had a chance to scream, the doll had already gotten ready to kill her. The doll's head turned to the side in a split second before saying in an extremely deep, demonic, and antagonistic voice to the first that she heard, "It's snack time!"
Allison came into the room, bringing dinner for her daughter. She looked around a little before looking under the covers. She wasn't there. Allison was confused, and looked around a little bit.
That was when she was tripped.
A small toy lay on the ground. Allison picked it up, knowing that Maddie was way too old to be playing with dolls, and took a look at it.
Snack-Time Mary stared straight up back at her.
Allison gasped and threw the doll against the wall in complete and utter disgust and horror. She was too busy trying to catch her breath to scream for help, but she didn't need to. Austin came running as soon as he heard the noise against the wall. He didn't even have to say a word to see Snack-Time Mary sitting up from her distorted position. His eyes widened in pure terror and he grabbed Allison's arm. He quickly snatched the doll up and opened the closet as fast as he could and opened the old toybox immediately. However, his discovery almost gave him a heart attack. Bailey's corpse was jammed into the little box, with a leg missing and no eyes. There was dried blood where her leg and eyes were removed. She didn't look burnt at all. She was just decaying. For thirteen years, that was a very small amount of decay. There were barely noticeable smears of blood around the joints where her appendages had been ripped off, indicating the fact that she either struggled as much as she could...or she was writhing around her bed in unbearably excruciating pain. Sadly, that wasn't all that they found. His other daughter was jammed in the other side, with her arm missing and her eyes ripped out of their sockets to almost mirror her older, decayed sister. Teeth marks covered her body.
She wasn't even dead, however. Her chest was still faintly rising and falling, but they could easily tell that the pain had rendered her unconscious. They couldn’t help but wonder why she hadn’t screamed and wailed in the unendurable pain she must have been feeling. Unfortunately, their unasked question was answered when they realized there was a translucent liquid running like dribble down Maddie’s almost dead chin, along with a string of red, fleshy material, an optic nerve.
Her eyes had been stuffed down her throat to prevent any noise.
The couple froze in absolute terror when they saw that their daughters had been gruesomely and grotesquely murdered and stuffed into an old antique toy box. They both could now piece together the cause of death.
Slowly, agonizingly so, the doll had eaten parts of their body and they were left in the toybox to die of suffocation and blood loss.
It must have taken several hours for them to die. They could tell by the difference in color of the blood that the eyes had been removed before death and Bailey’s leg had been eaten after death. Unfortunately, however, Maddie’s arm had been eaten while she was still living. They couldn't even begin to imagine the pain that must have been endured for a first grader and a thirteen year old to be sentenced to such a horrible fate. The couple stared at the bodies that were stuffed in the toybox as the doll slowly got up and turned her head towards them. An eye was hanging from the hole where it had been placed when she was being created. Either that or it was the eye she had been currently eating. Either way, she staggered towards the couple, who had already started to cry at the horrific sight they were observing. They didn't turn around in time to see the doll slowly reaching out to grab them… Their eyes were first to go.