There is one thing I want to clear up. I am not here to make any excuses. I am not a good person and I have done my fair share of bad things, so get off my back.

I am only here to tell you the shit that happened to me about a week ago. I’d laugh at how weird and ridiculous it all was, if it wasn’t so terrifying.

Well let’s start with me. My name is not important. What I am doing are things that are either not completely legal or down right illegal.

I am not a crazy lunatic nor a murderer, so don’t get your hopes up if you are hoping for that kind of story. I am just a small fry, a thieve or burglar, whichever you prefer. I rob people to keep afloat. Lots of shit happened in the past and I ended up in this ‘profession’.

So me and this guy, let’s call him Frank, are working together. We’ve been partners for quite some time now. The guy is a nutjob, but if he has one talent it is finding juicy targets. Especially those that are easy to deal with.

The target he found this time was an old, remote mansion. It was completely isolated in the middle of nowhere and belonged to a very rich family. The only one living there now was the last descendant of said family, an old lady.

Frank said, it was most likely the juiciest target he had found yet. He wasn’t really counting on lots of cash, but instead on pricy artwork, expensive jewelry, silverware and other stuff rich people owned. Lots of that. We had to drive through half the country to get to the place, but Frank assured me it was worth it.

We pretty much went by the usual protocol.

Wait for a couple of days and check the place out. Get as much information as possible: who goes in, who goes out, when, where and how tight security is.

There was no one who left or entered the place at all during that time. The only thing that proved that someone was even at home, was one lonely light on the second floor. Each day, after dark it went on.

The one thing I had been worried about during the whole drive to the mansion was security. Pretty soon I found out, that my worries were unfounded, because our surveillance revealed that there was no such thing at all. The whole place was ripe for the taking.

We decided to take care of the job on Thursday evening. Things always went better on weekdays.

Breaking into the place was Childs play. It took me not even a minute to open up one of the huge old windows.

The inside of the place was as huge as the window made us believe. The hallway we found ourselves in must have been at least as high as ten feet. The walls were decorated over and over with paintings of boys and girls. None of them made the impression of being worth much.

Our goal was the room on the second floor. It was most likely that we’d find the old lady there.

Most of the time, the best way to find out where people kept their expensive belongs was to ask them nicely. If that didn’t work, the second best way was to ask them not so nicely.

We checked some of the rooms we passed, but most of them were empty or sparely furnished. The only thing we found were more of the same type of painting. There must be dozens of them here. In every room we checked there was at least one of them.

It wasn’t long before we found a stairway that led up to the second floor. As we started upwards we could see the small amount of light that escaped from under the door. We knew we were at the right place.

As we entered the room we noticed it was a sort of study. The old lady was wearing a nightgown and sitting in a huge armchair in front of a fireplace. She didn’t notice us as we entered the room. As we got closer I realized that she was reading a story out loud from a book in her hands. At first I thought it was a kid sitting in her lap, but I soon noticed it was just a doll. More specifically, the doll of a little girl, wearing a yellow dress and long red hair. Maybe she had gone senile I thought, as me and Frank went closer to make our presence known to her.

“How about you put the book down, lady.” I said.

She didn’t seem too scared or surprised to see us.

“Well, what brings you two young man to this old place?”

Another indication about her mental state, I thought.

“It’s all pretty simple. Tell us where you keep your valuables and nothing bad happens.”

Frank went forward and ripped the book from her hands.

“You listening old bitch? You better not make me wait.”

He said it right to her face, looking at her with a sardonic smile.

Frank had no problem hurting people. He was a pretty tough guy. Used to be a street though. The type who’d do pretty much anything if the money was right. He’d almost beat some poor sucker to death when he didn’t tell us where he was hiding his money.

It took a few more moments, but finally the old lady seemed to understand what was going on. She was mumbling to herself while she first looked at Frank, then at me, then at Frank again.

Frank got closer and put his hands on the chair’s armrests.

“Well old hag, you’d better spill the beans.”

Her eyes were resting on Frank.

“Cash, jewelry, anything else. Where is it? I really don’t want to ask again.” I said in as friendly a tone of voice as I could.

“In the bedroom, at the end of this hallway.”

She pointed into the direction with one of her thin arms, not hiding the anger in her voice.

“Please take good care of our host.” I said to Frank, who nodded, took his hands from the armrests and started to clench his fists.

“Well then, I am going to check if you told me the truth, mam. I hope you did, wouldn’t want things to get ugly, would we?” I said as I started to make my way into the direction she had mentioned, slowly one step at a time.

This was usually the moment when people broke. It doesn’t help to have someone like Frank standing in front of you, with a wide grin on his face clenching his fists. The lady kept quiet though. I was turn between admiration for keeping it together so well and wondering if she really understood what was going on.

The hallway was longer than I had expected. There were a couple of other rooms to both sides of it, but those too, were mostly empty. I didn’t bother with them.

The bedroom was almost as big as the study she was in. I have no fucking idea why anyone would need a bedroom that big, especially if the thing is mostly empty. There was only a huge wardrobe, a few cupboards and the biggest bed I had ever seen. I shit you not, there was probably enough room for half a dozen people to sleep in.

I started to go right for the first cupboard to see what I could find. There was a ton of useless crap in there: documents, old newspapers, notebooks, pictures, but no jewelry. The second one was much the same. I found a few necklaces, but they were cheaply made. Once you’ve been doing this thing for a while, you are able to see if something has value or not. Most fakes can be easily detected and this stuff wasn’t even trying to be anything it was not.

As I moved to the third cupboard, Frank cursed loudly and then heard the echo of his footsteps in the hallway. When I met up with him I could see his eyes were wide open and his face had lost most of its color.

“What the hell are you doing, man? Why aren’t you watching the old bitch?”

“Jesus fuck man, the thing started to fucking talk and move.”

“What are you going on about?”

“The freaking doll. The one on her lap. It started to talk to me.”

“The hell’s the matter with you, Frank? You never heard of talking puppets or dolls?”

Frank started to shake his head.

“This shit was different. Didn’t sound like no recorded voice to me and it was moving way too fucking fast.”

He looked straight at me. I could see how terrified he was.

“Something’s wrong with this place, I tell you.” he continued.

I looked at him for a while, wondering if he was tripping balls. It was part of his normal routine to take a few pills before we got going. Maybe he had overdone it this time. I cursed and left him where he was and went outside into the study only to find the armchair empty.

“The fucking old bitch is gone. Why did you have to leave her alone? Jesus fuck, man.” I yelled back towards the hallway, but got no answer.

This wasn’t good at all. I could already imagine her on the phone calling the cops. Fuck, we hadn’t found anything of value yet.

I ran towards the staircase, but she was nowhere to be found. She is fast enough, I thought.

At this moment I heard Frank storming into my direction.

“So you finally” I started, but didn’t continue.

His face showed no sign of fear anymore, only pure anger. He didn’t like to be made a fool or to be responsible for trouble. He was seriously pissed and it was best to not talk to him now.

Without another word, I followed him down the stairs.

Now where can this old bitch have run off to, I wondered. After we descended down the stairs, we started to check the rooms to each side. Since they were mostly empty it was easy to see if someone was hiding. So far, we found nothing.

It was after we had checked a couple more of those rooms, that we heard a voice down the long hallway. It must be the voice of the old bitch, I was sure about it. As soon as Frank noticed it too, his steps became quicker. I could hear him mumble to himself. He was completely out of it.

Suddenly Frank stopped in his tracks. At first I didn’t see why he stopped, but soon enough I saw the little red-haired doll that the old lady had sitting on her lap. It was leaning against the doorframe, the head tilted in our direction.

“Jesus fuck, that’s the thing.” Frank cursed.

We heard the voice of the old lady in front of us again and simply walked on. I hadn’t even taken more than a few steps, when I heard a childlike voice from behind.

“Why are you ignoring me, mister robber?”

I felt the hair on the back of my neck stand up as I turned around. There was no one there except me, Frank and the damned doll. As I looked at it I could have sworn that the angle of the head was different now, as if it had turned its head after us. I wasn’t even able to finish thinking about it, because right at that moment I saw the little mouth open again.

“Cat got your tongue?”

Then I saw it jump up on his little white, porcelain legs. It looked at me for a moment before it started to giggle and ran off down the hallway in front of us.

It was at this moment that I lost my balance. I am not a pussy. It takes a whole fucking lot to scare me. I have seen my share of shit. Two people being almost beaten to death in front of me, torture and several dead bodies. This shit here though, it was different.

You might not believe me, but I have never seen anything as terrifying as this piece of porcelain, this supposedly inanimate object, getting up and running away. And the fucking voice, that giggling. Frank was right, this was no recording.

“That’s it.” I heard Frank say.

While I was still trying to get a hold of myself, I saw Frank storm after the thing.

“The fuck you doing, Frank.” I yelled after him.

“Let’s just get the fuck out of here.”

I was serious about it and for a moment I considered to just run off and leave him behind. I was scared shitless of whatever was going on here. Then, after a few moments, I cursed and ran after him down the hallway.

Soon I saw him stepping inside of a room. As I followed him I noticed that the room was huge. Not just big, as the study or the bedroom, but much, much bigger. This one was the size of a ball room or whatever you call it. The rooms you see in those shitty old movies, where people dance and stuff.

The old lady was standing right in front of us. She was dressed in the same nightgown she had been wearing before. Only now could I see just how skinny she was. It seemed as if all her appendages were as thin as sticks, while the rest of her body looked weird. It seemed to be almost shifting around under the gown. In front of her I saw the little doll again.

“You have done well my dear, little girl.” the old lady said smiling at the doll. Again she didn’t give us much attention. The little doll started to giggle and raise her hands in front of her face at the praise she got.

I still stood at the entrance of the room, no idea what to make of the things I saw.

Frank on the other hand stepped forward without so much as a thought.

“That’s it you damned thing.” he yelled out as he went for the doll and grabbed it. The little voice changed from giggling to screaming and the old lady broke into a wail.

Frank ignored all of this, raised the doll right above his head and brought it down on the floor again. Parts and bits of porcelain flew everywhere.

“Fuck you.” Frank yelled again and again as he destroyed the doll.

As the old lady came towards him, he simply raised his fist and hit her square in the face with full force. There was a weird noise and I saw her go down like a wet sack.

I took only one step into Frank’s direction, when I saw the slumped down body move again. Right then I saw multiple little dolls come out from under the nightgown. As the things jumped out, I saw the head and even one of her arms being pushed away from the nightgown and her remains.

“Now you have done it.” I heard one of them mimic the voice of the old lady. Then they all started to look at us and started to giggle in a similar fashion as the other doll had.

“You will never get out of here again.” they all started to suddenly yell at us, now in a unison of childlike voices.

Right at that moment the walls of the huge room started to shake and move. At first I thought the whole room, or even the whole mansion was collapsing. Then, a light in the room went on, and I was finally able to see what was happening. The walls of this huge room had been covered in hundreds if not thousands of dolls. They had been stacked upon each other in heaps and heaps. They all were now coming to life and moving forward towards Frank and me.

“Frank, run!” I screamed, but I could see that right at this moment some of the dolls that had made up the old lady jumped him. As he was trying to get them off, I saw how a flood of tiny, white little bodies closed in on him. As he was buried under them, I ran.

As I ran through the hallway in a panic, I soon found myself at the foot of the stairway again. I thought about turning around, but right at that moment I heard it.

It was the most ridiculously terrifying sound you can imagine. The scampering of thousands of little legs and feet. I knew what it meant. Only moments later I saw an army of white porcelain bodies, dresses and smiling little faces all running towards me.

The worst of it all was the giggling.

At this moment my instincts took over. It was as if I was watching, while my body was acting on its own. I ran. I was in the study, then the little hallway that led to the bedroom, then in one of the rooms on the side. I had no idea where I was even going. My mind was completely blank.

What saved me from ending up like Frank, was a window. As I heard the giggling of the porcelain army getting closer, I threw myself through the glass.

I don’t know what would have happened if it wasn’t for the bushes I landed in. I screamed as I felt my left arm twist below me. The landing pushed all the air out of my lungs and for a second everything went black. Then I was running form the mansion.

I have no idea how long I ran, but at one point I simply collapsed from exhaustion.

When I woke up I was in terrible pain. I half expected to find myself back at the mansion, surrounded by an army of white little bodies.

Instead I found myself alone in the middle of absolutely nowhere. The sun was already getting up.

I had no idea where I was or where I should be going. In the end I simply decided on a direction by random. It wasn’t long before I hit a small road.

After what was an almost endless odyssey along these small roads, at least in my state, I finally found my way back. Not at to mansion mind you, but to the place where me and Frank had set up camp and parked the car.

At first I thought I wound not find anything. I had somehow hoped that there’d be nothing here at all and that this whole damned night hadn’t happened. The car was there though. What was missing was Frank.

I jumped in and seated myself behind the steering wheel. I thought about Frank. Sure he was a nutjob and sure he was a psycho, but I had worked with him for years now. I didn’t make us friends, but it made us something. It felt weird to simply abandon him.

As I started the car I drove it towards the mansion. I stopped it right at the path that lead down towards the front yard. I took out one of the binoculars we had used to keep the place under surveillance.

Everything seemed as normal as it could be. It was just a huge old building. The windows were either empty or the curtains behind them were closed. As I looked though, I finally saw something. It was right at the second floor window. There was no light there now, but instead it was a small red-haired doll in a yellow dress, sitting on the windowsill. As I looked on I saw the cracks all over its face, I saw the smile and the eyes that seemed to look straight at me. When it raised an arm to wave at me, I could have sworn I heard low giggling.

I started the car, drove away and never looked back. Fuck this place, fuck Frank and especially, fuck dolls.

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