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The Puppet Master

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"Do I see thirty pounds? Thirty pounds, do I see thirty five? Thirty five, do I see forty? Forty pounds anyone? Going once... going twice... sold for thirty five pounds to the gentlemen in the blue top," said the auctioneer.

I had always wanted to visit a live auction one day, to see the thrill and excitement for my myself, feel it and touch, to hold up my numbered card and win something unique. My card read '325' across it.

Today seemed like any other auction day, boring stuff which wasn't worth anything of interest to me, there was only one thing I came here for. I got a tip from a friend of mine that someone was selling some vintage, untouched, mint condition puppets.

Just the kind I collect, having sixty three of them so far. These next four will look awesome in my collection but I have to wait and take them at last minute," thought the hat-wearing, leather jacket-supporting die-hard puppet fan.

Time went by as auctions flew out of the window, the hat-wearing man had already bought three of them, one for fifty-five quid, another for thirty-two and the final one for one hundred and twenty-five quid. Spending a total of two hundred and twelve quid, but he held back his real money for the main price, for the puppets he longed to have in his possession.

Eagerly waiting, bidding his time for his precious items, auctions went over and over, time flew by and before he knew it, the clock already read '15:37' in that red writing the digital, twenty-four hour clocks have. He listened up for the auctioneer, for those words he craved so badly, the time for his place had arrived.

"Auction collection two, two, five. The Mahogany Puppet Collection. Going for two hundred, do I see two hundred?" he asked. The man jumped from his chair and raised his card as high as he could while bellowing, "Two thousand pounds!" at the top of his voice. The bidders look at him in awe, one of them even got up and left the auction as no-one else bid on it. "Sold for two thousand pounds to number Three Two Five," the auctioneer spoke again.

When all was said and done, the man went to collect his winnings, he handed over his money and picked up everything he bought, putting them all in his car boot. As he was about to enter his car however, someone from the auction walked up to him.

"You must really want those puppets, it's too bad they don't belong to you," he said, as he walked off with a menacing laughter. The hatter ignored the ramblings of the old coot, he got into the drivers seat of his Honda and drove the thirteen mile drive back to his house. Where he parked up outside, carefully took all his new belongs and placed them gently outside his house, searching for his key.

He made sure to lock his car with the buttoned lock on his key-ring after he opened his red front door, with the number '12' written across it in plastic gold. He carried the bagged up items and placed them on the carpet floor of his living room, handling each puppet with the utmost of care, the extremity he went through to place the puppets in the perfect places was mind-boggling to his two year old little sister, whom he had to look after.

After he had cooked some food and tidied up, he sat by and watched the puppets, observing every little speck about them. Their red ribbons, their smooth and shiny wood, their ragged hair, each to their own individuality, yet the same to the untrained eye of a two year old. Time was getting on as the clock struck ten pm. The man put his younger sister to bed and read her a story, before heading to bed himself, due to the long, arduous journey. He made sure to lock up each door and window, then sent to his own room, all the while he was thinking of those puppets.

The next morning woke with a thud, as his younger sister ran into his room, banging the door against the wall hard. "Brother get up, you need to see something, your dollies are alive!" she mentioned. The man jumped out of bed and barged his way downstairs, running right through his living room door to see naught but a note, in the place of his puppets. He picked it up and read it, as it said:

'Clodure street. Puppeteer's patent.'

The man got angry at this theft, his prized possessions, his pure obsessed had been ripped from his life, like pulling the soul from the body. He left the house in a rush and burst into the driver's seat of his silver Honda and sped off, leaving his house unlocked with his younger sister still inside, just as his older sister was arriving home. He cared not for the laws and regulations of the road, he just kept on driving until he arrived at his destination. Parking outside in a bit of a hurry.

He was curious as to why exactly he was brought here, the neighbourhood seemed like a ghost town dancing around a grave-less graveyard. He looked at the houses, the business for some clue, for something. He walked up and down the street but nothing was there, nobody was around. It sent goose-bumps all over his body, the chill running down his spine was enough to make his legs weak.

He thought he would give up for the day and go back home, since it looked like a pointless endeavour. On his way back to his car he saw someone, just one person, slowly approaching, as he got closer to his car he saw the man stop outside a building, so he slowly approached him, but he couldn't see his face.

As the lock of the door popped open, the key-holder started to grin as he turned to face the man. "I told you those puppets weren't yours, but I would gladly sell them back to you Jesse." He said as he walked in the building and stood behind the desk, the now confirmed 'Jesse' followed him in slowly, looking around. Puppets here and there, all different types and sizes.

Some of them made from wood, some with pull-strings, some of them made purely from straw, cotton, wool and all sorts. Hand-held puppets from different sizes, all the way up to human sized, six foot puppets. The man behind the counter pulled a string tightly as a banner rolled down, with the words 'Puppeteers Patent' Across it. "They call me the Puppet Master, you may do the same," he said. He threw his hands to the side of the counter and pressed a button on each side, which turned on all the lights in the place.

"So what the hell do you want with my puppets? Why the hell should I buy them for a second time," Jesse said, throwing a fit in the middle of the room. The Puppet Master picked up one of the pull-string puppets from the left-hand side of the store. "You don't have to, you could always try to get them yourself, just go through the back, through the door called 'Storage' and all the way at the back," he said, Jesse rushed past him like a raging storm, and walked to the door. As he held the handle he felt a strange, ominous glare from behind him. He leered around the room to see every single puppet, each kind just staring at him, looking down on him with those, soul-shaking glares. The moment he opened the door he could hear a string being pulled, with the words "Good luck!" in a slightly, high-pitch voice.

He felt like he just entered a totally different realm, a whole new dimension. Surrounded by the conspicuous and devilish puppets, all of them saying the words 'la la de da' over and over again, synched up to the sound of the olden day clock. Tick, tock, tick, tick, la, la, de, da. Over abd over. Like on repeat from a ten hour video. Jesse began skimming through his surroundings, looking for those precious puppets of his.

He walked around the labyrinth, unwilling to give up until he reached his puppets. On his way he saw a rare puppet, one he had huge eyes on for years, but as he went to steal it, it turned slowly to face him, the creaking could be heard from anywhere in the room.

The puppet widened its eyes as it spoke to him, in a high-pitch, slightly giddy voice. It said "I wouldn't try that if I were you, it would end badly." Jesse had a distraught and freaked expression on his face, his mind itself felt like vomiting never mind him. The puppet started grinning at him, before going back to that damn la la de da.

Jesse thought he would lose his mind if he spent to much time in here, so he began to frantically run from place to place, hitting dead end after dead end, never finding the correct path which leads to his puppets. The sound of the ticking was being pounded into his head, the thoughts of all the 'bastard dolls' as am I to quote, were ripping apart his last nerve and toying with it like a jump rope in a school playground. He continued searching endlessly, no halting in his forwarding movement, inching ever closer to the end of his adventure.

Time seemed to fly around his head, calendar papers landed in the mental floor his pictured in his mind. Feeling insecure and trapped like a bird in a cage, being hunted and waiting for death, craving it. Eventually he found his way to the correct path, just as pure exhaustion kicked in, as food and drink called to him from amidst the shadowy surroundings.

He stopped as an oak puppet seemed to... to move and walk on its own, Jesse could see no strings or anything, he thought he was in a typical Chucky film scenario, but the puppet soon began to laugh, getting louder and louder every second, those sounds slowly turning into an echoing beckon.

The puppet stood in front of him and look up to him. "Keep going that way, you're almost there... if you survive that is." Said the puppet, as it began that demonic laughter again, slyly making its way back onto the stand, number '12574' was the placement number. Jesse decided to keep on going, even as the sweat was pouring from his face, down his chin, eager for release. Drip! Splash! His sweat pounding against the floor swiftly and his feet thumped, step by step against the oddly clean, marble stone floor tiles.

Closer and closer he got, the door seeming to get bigger as he reached it, he slowly but surely grabbed ahold of the silver knob, turning it ever so slightly to the right. Upon the blood red door was an etching, a very ominous etching of the puppetmaster, he had a suspiciously big grin on his face.

With the door ajar Jesse decided to take a closer look at the etching, each line down to the exact detail, well the detail you'd expect of an etching, it looked exactly like the face of the puppermaster, even the hair was in the same style. Jesse ran his hand over it, touching the lines and feeling it every stroke put into it. As he stopped he thought he heard a voice, unknowing whose it was, the only words spoken was "That tickled."

Jesse shook it off as just another strange phenomenon, He pushed the door open, closing it behind him as the lights burned bright in this room. "Welcome Jesse." Said a voice, the same voice from before. The familiarity of the voice as jaw-dropping, it definitely came from outside his current room, where he'd just come from, so as he slowly left again he looked around. No puppets seemed to move, nobody was behind him, yet something was different, he checked out all the puppets but nothing was out of the ordinary, well more so then they already were. He checked all around him but nothing... Well going back to the room he saw it.

He saw that the etching of the puppetmaster, it had vanished, gone. The door was only the blood red colour from before. He burst into the room and slammed the door behind him. "Just what the fuck is this place? Is this really a puppeteers storage room?" He thought to himself. Slowly making his way to the big, silver pedestal in the distance, the one which withheld his puppets on top. They just sat there... Watching him, as he slowly climbed those stairs. As he reached the top and was about to take hold of what he loved once more, he saw they were encased in a tube of some sorts, with no way to lift it.

Behind him the lights began to flicker, then slowly switch of, one by one, closing in on him, trapping him in the darkness. Until only the stairs, the puppets and an eat part of the landing was light up. He walked past his puppets, towards the extra part, to see two video tapes, a small tv set. He sat down and looked upon the tapes. The first was called 'puppeteer' while the other was called 'Jesse' but before he got the chance to look upon, the light blew out. Jesse backed away to the tube, which was the only place still lit up.

As he turned around to face them, they began to stand, and turn around.Facing their former master with a look of hunger on their faces. The light burned out as a screeching sound was heard throughout the room. Glass shattering and a males scream was heard in the entire storeroom, the puppetmaster back in the entrance started smiling, grinning as he began to walk to the the storeroom.

Three days had past since that happened. The cops received an anonymous box, with the two tape inside, as well as the note that Jesse was given at home. The first tape they watched showed Jesse, within the video it has everything which Jesse did from the moment he stepped into the storeroom, all the way up until the point that he died. After watching this video the cops sent out a patrol towards the shop.

They put the next video on, which shown the puppetmaster and a big model version of his shop, without a roof. The video shown him con trolling Jesse, controlling himself and every single thing which went on in the other video, instead all them, even Jesse, was a small, miniature puppet, but the similarity within the two videos was uncanny. The strangest thing was the dates on the videos.

The patrol car pulled up on the Clodure street. Jesse's car was still parked there, but the Puppeteers Patent was no longer their, it was like the shop itself had been moved. Jesse's remains, by that I mean his head, a few guts, bones and other such entrails, were laying on the ground, in that tiny little spot where the shop had been.

They got a call on their radio, the leader of the case called in, saying that the videos were three days apart. While talking though they were intervened by interference. The radio was flying off sounds of white noise, but subtly, in the back ground was a simple sound, four simple words followed by ticking. Those sounds were la, la, de, da.

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