Staring at the old doll, Skye wondered where it had all begun. Obviously, it’d happened when she’d purchased the doll, an old rabbit with wobbly ears in a sundress with tiny black tap shoes, for her daughter, who had been away at her grandmother’s house for the last week enjoying life on the farm. She’d seen it in a used bookstore and had found it to be only one dollar! She’d snatched it up and readied the doll by gently washing it to clean away any residual stains, in preparation for her little girls visit.
That had been two days ago, and in those two days, strange things had been going on. Her lights would turn on all by themselves while the apartment slowly began to grow chillier and chillier. The heater was either broken or just not up to snuff for the snowy winter laying siege to the city now. All these things had been easy enough to explain, from electrical problems (the apartment complex was rather old) to a damaged or overworked heater. These were all reasonable and straightforward answers that Skye could live with.
Then the accidents started to occur. Mugs of coffee or tea would scrape across the countertop and fall to the floor, breaking loud enough to wake the dead. Scratches could be heard under doorways, like a cat trying to enter a room it knows it’s not allowed in. This would follow Skye around the house, forcing her to leave the doors open. And when she did leave the doors open she could feel eyes on her, probing and judging; the eyes of someone far older than Skye, and far more dangerous. Skye had taken to ignoring these feelings, but this just led to even more problems!
Books would rearrange themselves on the shelves; her computer browser would be open to awful sites… not pornographic ones, but sites where dead bodies were displayed proudly for the world to see. She was even receiving messages from these sites from forum posts she’d made using her personal e-mail, with a bizarre handle: bunny_26. When she found this out, she’d gone upstairs and looked at the stuffed rabbit, perched in the middle of the dresser, surrounded by her daughters other stuffed animals. She’d stared at it for minutes, before asking “what are you?”
It hadn’t responded.
That night, she heard it. The tapping of hard soled shoes running about down the hall. She’d grabbed her wooden bat from the spot she kept it, hidden behind her bed post, and walked into the hallway, flicking on the lights as she did so, bat held high in case a burglar was somewhere nearby. That was what she expected to find.
What she found, however, was the small bunny sitting against the far wall of the hallway, facing her with its small fingerless arms crossed in front of it. Skye remembered walking up slowly to the doll, looking in the bathroom and her daughter’s bedroom as she passed, just to make sure nobody was in the apartment beside her. When she reached the doll, she had looked down at it for several moments, trying to discern what had happened.
Then the lights had gone out.
Cursing, Skye had padded back towards her bedroom door, where the lights to the hall were placed. As she walked, she stopped when she heard the hastened movements of the hard-soled shoes clacking close by. She’d raced to turn on the lights, so she could see what was going on, but by the time she’d reached them and flicked them back on, the bedroom door to her daughter’s room was closing shut, the doll no longer in sight.
She’d panicked, and ran to her daughter’s bedroom door, locking it from the outside. This had been a mistake, as creaks and groans could be heard from within the room, as well as the tapping of tiny feet running along the wooden floorboards.
That’d been last night. The noises stopped around dawn, and when Skye had gone inside to see what kind of damage had been done, she found the room to be in perfect order, save for her daughter’s collection of stuffed dolls. Most had been torn or cut, with what instrument Skye couldn’t guess, and all of them were missing their eyes. The only doll left unscathed was the bunny, which had moved from its perch on the dresser to the middle of the bed. Skye had quickly closed the door, locking it for safe keeping.
Now she sat, drinking her coffee, thinking of what she could do with the doll. She’d read that destroying haunted or possessed items was a bad idea, so that idea was immediately discarded. But she couldn’t keep the doll! What if it ended up doing something to her daughter? Haley was only nine years old and nowhere near old enough to handle a possessed doll. Hell, Skye didn’t think she was old enough to handle a possessed doll.
Looking over at her calendar as she sipped her coffee, she stared at a circled date before breaking into a soft smile.
Three days from now was her ex-husband’s birthday… and thinking about how he had cheated on her with that young secretary (who he ended up marrying) she thought of the perfect place for the doll to go.
So, she went down the hall, unlocked the door, and carefully lifted the doll up off the bed. Looking into its glassy black eyes, Skye smiled for the first time in days. The little doll felt alive beneath her touch like there were organs sluicing about the inside of the furry white coat, twisting like serpents. This only strengthened Skye’s resolve.
“I have a new home for you little bunny, a place you can really let loose in. Would you like that?” Skye asked the small stuffed toy.
A faint chill in the air washed over her, and she could swear she heard a whispered “yes” in the gust of wind. Taking the bunny, she found a shoebox and lined it with tissue paper, before gently laying the rabbit down as if giving it its last rites. Closing the shoebox, she quickly wrapped the present and put it in a larger shipping box, marking the address of her former home where her ex-husband lived.
Staring at the box with the old doll inside it, she slowly lifted the carton and brought it out to the mailbox, where she slid it into the outgoing mail, making certain there was no return address. She may not know what was wrong with the doll, but she, at least, knew it was going to torment someone who deserved it.