“I do declare, Betsy, you are the finest one I’ve ever found,” Harriet said, stroking the doll’s porcelain face. “I’ll take her, Henry.”
Harriet carefully set the doll in her lap as she sat in the buggy.
“Betsy,” Harriet said, “I would like to introduce you to the others. This lovely gentleman is Andrew, and the little girl over there in the beautiful green dress is Amanda. I know you’ll all get along together splendidly.
Elmer set the box of dry goods in the kitchen and shook his head. He’s been with Miss Harriet since he was a boy and felt sorry for her. She was at least twenty years older than him and had no family to share her life with.
“Is there anything else, Miss Harriet?”
“No, Elmer. Thank you. Did you meet Betsy yet?”
“Yes’em, I did when I drove you home, Miss Harriet.”
Harriet ignored Elmer and went about introducing Betsy to the rest of her collection throughout the old house. Elmer took it upon himself to call on Dr. Howard on his way home. Her family was always good to him and he felt a sense of obligation to care for her, but he was also worried for her. His suspicions were right, but by the time Dr. Howard arrived at the old Spencer Plantation, Harriet had passed in her bed holding Betsy.
“Excuse me, Sir, how much is that doll?” a woman asked the clerk in the antique shop.
“You have a good eye, ma’am,” the clerk said, smiling. “This beauty is ten dollars, but worth every cent.”
“It was hand-made in 1886, her dress is original, and –”
“I’ll take her, young man, thank you.”
The woman took the antique doll home and checked in on the cook’s progress toward her daughter’s birthday cake.
“Oh, that is a lovely doll, ma’am,” the cook said, putting the finishing touches on the cake.
The gift was well received, and Jessica hugged her new doll after a long day at school, then a fabulous party complete with a pony, clown, trained monkey, and cook’s giant chocolate cake. When morning came, and no one stirred, neighbors knocked on the door to check in on the family. Screams and tears flowed as all nine people in the house were found deceased in their beds. The newspaper said it was from the gas lights.
“Lot 641,” the auctioneer yelled, “antique porcelain doll. Rumored to be cursed. Its creator died of a heart attack shortly after its completion. The unfortunate first owner died within hours of possessing the doll. An entire family died at the hands of the doll, and there are rumors that the doll was once owned by family of carnival workers who perished in a horrific workplace accident. Shall I start the bidding at five dollars?”
After two minutes, the auctioneer sold it to the highest bidder for one dollar. Its new owner laughed and clapped thinking that he managed to get a cursed doll for such a low price. The others in the group would not believe it. Their response, however, was not what he expected.
“What the hell is that?” Eric said, laughing at the doll.
“You should hear its story,” Brian tried telling him, but he wasn’t going to listen.
Eric grabbed the doll, wrapped a rope around its head and tied it up with the others on the lowest branch of the tree. As the others gathered in the graveyard by the crypts under the full moon for their latest ceremony, the graveyard residents gathered watching the wannabes. Eric began the ceremony with the slaughtering of a chicken, and the local residents took that as their cue to make their presence known. Screams, cries, and begs filled the air as the wannabes learn they really did not want what they were toying with.
When it was all over, and the graveyard was quiet again, Matthew stepped over the bodies taking in the beauty of a particular doll hanging from the tree. Its face was cracked and dirty, the dress torn, but there was something about it that was just perfect. He took it down and walked back to the family crypt as the sun was starting to rise.
“Come see what I have for you.”
“Oh, Daddy! For me! She’s beautiful! Thank you.” Lily was grinning ear to ear and took her new friend back to her casket with her. Matthew chuckled as he listened to Lily talk to her new friend all day long.
This was inspired by the WATW photo prompt.