It wasn’t until I was ten that I realized my dad was a perfectionist. Don’t get me wrong, my dad is a very kind and talented man. He just gets really into his work, sometimes too much. You see, he’s under alot of pressure since he’s a world renowned doll maker. People pay thousands of dollars for one of his dolls due to the near flawless nature of them.
Some were porcelain and some were cloth, and I preferred the latter because the porcelain ones simply creeped me out. The symmetry and detail were so real the porcelain dolls looked like they’d reach out and grab you at any moment.
When I was twelve we had an especially busy Mothers Day coming up so dad was under more stress than usual. Everything he did was handmade so when alot of orders came in he got really stressed. Mostly we had small orders due to the price but it was more than enough to make good money. He had two other workers who took orders and essentially dealt with customers. He refused to let anyone help him make the dolls, afraid that any mistakes made would look bad for him. While I understood this, he couldn’t go on doing this forever and should have an apprentice to carry on his name.
Anyway, he never even entertained the idea of a helper so things were really getting on top of him. This was also compounded by our mother pestering him about her gift.
“Make me the most beautiful doll yet,” she would request every year. And dad would oblige her, but it was never good enough. Things got really heated, but it always settled down. I’m not sure what got into mom this year, but she was really riding dad about getting the most immaculate doll ever made. The whole thing was ridiculous, because both my sister and I knew that mom only wanted a doll to show off to her high-class friends. For something that she acted like was so personal to her, it was all superficial.
So we’re coming up on Mothers Day and my sister is bothering my dad because he’s almost living in his workshop. I can’t tell you how many times I heard this.
“Jamie, come get your sister!”
To which I would usher out my pouting baby sister. My dad would close the door behind us, but it never kept Jocelyn out.
“Jocelyn, dad’s gotta work alot right now, OK?” I’d console her as she’d kick in the air from frustration.
“Dad never plays with us enough.”
“Joss, I knew it feels like that now but he’ll get a break after Mothers Day, I promise.”
This was a cyclic event every year, and I always hoped Jocelyn would finally get old enough where I didn’t have to keep gong through this again.
The night before Mothers Day, I knew that dad was under the most stress to meet deadlines so I had to go back and forth between entertaining Jocelyn and playing video games. It was easier with mom home to keep Jocelyn busy until around five ’o clock when mom left to hang out with some friends. This was not typical for mom, but it was Friday after al. So I did my song and dance with watching Jocelyn and gaming. At some point, I really got into a game and before I knew it, it was ten ’o clock.
“Jocelyn?” I called, feeling unease at her silence. She should have come bug me way before now. Checking her room and all the upstairs beared no fruit, so I cautiously made my way downstairs so as not to make any noise. No Jocelyn was to be found, so I knew the only other place to check was dad’s workshop.
“Dad?” I called through the door.
“Yes....?” His agitated tone could not be mistaken.
“Have you seen Joss?”
“She was getting into my hair and I knew you were tired of watching her so I sent her to a friend’s house for the night.”
A wave of relief washed over me.
I realized I was suddenly starving. For the last four hours I’d played games right though my hunger. Soon after, I chowed down on leftover pizza and made my way upstairs. Before long, I began tiring out so I caked a “good night” to my dad and hit the bed like a sack of potatoes.
The next morning, I woke up to the sound of my mother’s scream. I lept out of bed and raced downstairs. The whole time I heard my mom scream over and over. The source was from my dad’s workshop and I braced myself as I flung the door open.
“Ahhh, I love it!!!” My mom exclaimed as I entered. She didn’t even register my presence as she leaned in and ooed and ahhed over one of dad’s creations. I only caught a brief glimpse of a porcelain doll that sat upright on his work table.
“I’m glad you finally got the doll you wanted,” Dad commented with a beaming smile of his own. “Just don’t touch the face yet, the glue is still setting.”
“Oh, darling it’s perfect! Thank you, thank you, thank you!” She pulled him in close for a kiss.
“Ewww.” I left at the sound of my parents chuckling. Well, at least mom finally seemed satisfied with her Mothers Day gift. I wasn’t prepared to hear her go on about it quite yet. Looking at the clock, I saw it was half past nine. I must have stayed up really late, cuz im usually up by seven.
We had breakfast and all seemed well. Then it hit me.
“Hey, is Joss still at her friends?”
“Yes, we’ll pick her up later today.”
We finished up breakfast and before I went back to my room I decided to check out the doll that mom was fussing about so much.
I entered the workshop and was greeted by my dad’s creation still sitting atop his table. I was instantly repulsed, as it was the creepiest doll I’d ever seen. Not because it was ugly, but because it was so beautiful. It was the most proportionate and ornate doll he’d ever made. And the dress was a beautiful floral that dad obviously had sewn himself. Yet, it absolutely horrified me.
Even with a sense of dread knotting in my gut, I crept closer to get a better look at the doll. The eyes were always the most dreadful part, yet they had a strange hypnotic effect. My eyes were locked with the doll’s as I got even closer when...
...the dolls eyes moved.
I screamed and bolted out the door. Everything became a blur as I scrambled room to room until I found mom laying on her bed.
“She’s sleeping, don’t wake her, Jamie.” The harsh whispered voice of my dad made me jump.
“Sorry, didn’t mean to scare ya like that.”
“Why is she sleeping? She was so jazzed up about... ”
“She’s not feeling well. Come on, let her get some rest.”
We both walked out into the hallway when my mind jumped back to the whole reason I was up there.
“Dad...the doll’s eyes were moving!”
Dad got a funny look, then smiled.
“Oh, almost got me there!”
“No, I mean it...”
“Jamie, aren’t you a little old for this?”
And even though I was so confident of what I saw, his words made me falter. Maybe I did imagine it. Maybe if I could only...
“Dad, come see for yourself.”
“Jamie, I won’t give time for something foolish. Now go play in your room. I need to get a shower I’ve been working for almost 24 hours now and I need to rest.”
I went into my room and turned on my game system and waited for the hiss of running water. When I felt sure he was in the bathroom, I silently made my way down to the workshop.
I had to resist the urge to run away as i entered. It truly felt like the new doll was staring right back at me. Then, the doll spoke.
I nearly jumped out of my skin and started to run when some unknown force stopped me. Turning back, I could hear more noises emanating from the doll.
“This isn’t happening,” I thought. “I’m losing it.” The strange force pushed me back towards the doll, and my terror melted into an Insatiable curiosity.
The doll was slightly shaking, and it looked like it was struggling to speak. I reached my hand towards its face.
“No, what are you doing don’t touch it, Jamie!” My internal alarms gave me every reason not to, but I pulled at the porcelain. It shifted but didn’t come off, and I heard a muffled cry of pain from underneath.
“Oh my God, there’s a person under here...”
My nerves felt icy, but I knew I had to help this poor soul. Whoever it was, they couldn’t seem to move their limbs, just their mouth. I found a nearby hammer, and struck the porcelain just hard enough to crack the mask.
After a couple more strikes, I fell back in sheer horror and stifled a scream. Beneath the porcelain mask was my sister, her mouth sewn shut. It took a few seconds for my mind to catch up, and then I started searching for a pair of scissors.
Jocelyn began frantically trying to scream, knowing I could soon free her.
“Calm down, he’ll hear us! Just relax...”
I dropped the hammer in surprise at the disappointed voice of my father.
“I was hoping to wait a little longer for this, but you just couldn’t leave well enough alone!”
I backed myself up into a corner, looking for something to defend myself from the man I trusted the most. My look of betrayal bore into my dad, and he seemed unfazed.
“Now now, Jamie. Don’t take it so hard. It’s nothing personal. Things would be different if it wasn’t for your mother....the bitch got what was coming to her! She wanted perfection, so I gave it to her! You know, I didn’t lie when I said she was sleeping, I just left out for how long hahaha!”
The grim reality of my situation pressed into me, and I slumped to the floor in a helpless daze.
“There now, Jamie. Don’t think of it as dying for you and your sister. The two of you will be seen for everyone in the world to admire! You will be my most perfect work. I wouldn’t dare sell you, we can all still be one big happy family forever and ever.”
He grabbed a cloth and doused it in a clear liquid as he approached me.
“No need to be afraid anymore. Just relax, and take a deep breath in...”ns184.108.40.206da2