*This is from the sixth tale of my story “31 horrific Halloween tales”. Gacha Club character designs are on my wall. Enjoy!*
Estella didn’t like the feel of all of those old dolls just staring back at her. They wouldn’t stop looking at her. The whole place reeked of mildew, dust, and…was that smoke?
She turned to her parents, who were admiring some musty old chair. They wanted to come to Brookwood boutique. They liked dragging their kids there, too, for “family time”.
But her little sister, Cathleen, enjoyed shopping at boutiques. She liked getting dolls and music boxes from them.
Estella was so looking forward to whatever new creepy thing Cathleen was going to buy.
“THIS ONE! I WANT THIS ONE!” Cathleen shouted from a far section of the boutique.
Estella grunted as she pushed past the chairs, mirrors, lamps and dolls. There was too much stuff in there and none of it was in order. It would take her parents longer to navigate through the maze of stuff, because they got distracted by whatever old thing was lying on the ground. But they eventually made it through.
When she finally pushed away the last wide-eyed doll, she found Cathleen staring at an old yarn clown doll with button eyes sitting lonely on a high top shelf.
“Really? A clown doll?”
“Yup!” Cathleen replied brightly.
“You cannot be serious.”
“I can be very serious.” Cathleen’s six year old brain often took sentences like “You cannot be serious” literally.
“First the dolls, then the music boxes, now a clown? Cathleen, don’t you understand? Clowns are creepy! They have it written all over their painted faces. Getting a clown doll from a boutique is a very bad thing, because most likely it is a demon attempting to possess people and-“
“You don’t actually believe in that stuff, do you?” Cathleen asked, crossing her arms over her chest, raising an eyebrow.
And suddenly, Estella felt very stupid. Here was her six year sister who didn’t believe anything unless she saw it with her own eyes. Meanwhile, at thirteen years old, she still had her superstitions.
Their parents finally made it through and of course, they smiled at Cathleen and promised to get her the doll.
Maybe it was just Estella’s own imagination getting the best of her, but..
She did not like that clown’s smile.
ESTELLA’S HOUSE-LIVING ROOM-AFTER BUYING THE DOLL.
Estella flipped through the channels on her TV. Maybe watching something would take her mind off of…Binky Slinky.
That was what Cathleen had decided to call her “new friend”. Binky Slinky. Mom even washed him (how she was able to wash a yarn doll without causing any damage Estella will never know). He looked brighter and cleaner than ever before.
Maybe she wouldn’t mind his smile if it didn’t look like he had razor sharp teeth. (Seriously, who sewed a doll to make it look like they had razor sharp teeth?)
Cathleen had left, just left, him next to Estella.
She picked up her phone that was lying next to her on the couch and called Luz, her friend.
“Oh hi! What’s going on?”
“Cathleen got another thing from the boutique.”
“What is it this time? A dusty bride doll?”
“It’s a clown doll.”
“A clown doll?”
“You’re kidding. No kid would want something like that. Not even Cathleen.”
“I wish I was.”
“You mean that she really got a clown doll?”
“It’s creeping me out.”
“What? The doll?”
“I understand. Clown dolls are pretty creepy looking. But understand that it’s just an old and ugly doll. Nothing more.”
Estella turned to look at Binky Slinky, who of course, continued to smile.
“Promise me you won’t overreact?” Luz asked.
Luz knew that Estella broke a few of Cathleen’s dolls and music boxes because she feared them. Estella stopped doing it a few years ago, yet now she wanted to chuck that stupid doll out the living room window…
Just because she didn’t like Cathleen’s stuff from the boutique didn’t mean that she had to destroy them.
Like a good sister, she wouldn’t break anything.
INVITING LUZ OVER
“See? Isn’t it creepy?” Estella asked, pointing to Binky Slinky. She invited Luz over to hang out (her parents didn’t care), but now she wanted to show her the doll which was still sitting on the couch.
“Yeah, so? What are you going to do about it?”
“I don’t know.”
But she did know. Her other friends, Natalie and Molly, encouraged her to do it.
She would throw it out. Chuck straight into the abysmal trash, rotten banana peels shrouding it from the world.
“Don’t throw it out.” Luz said, glaring at her. So Luz knew what she was thinking?
Cathleen pushed Luz and Estella aside and grabbed Binky Slinky.
“Nobody is throwing him out! Nobody!” She yelled defiantly.
She ran to her room.
Fine, okay. She wouldn’t throw him out.
THREE DAYS LATER-BROOKWOOD SCHOOL
Estella and Luz walked the halls to their next class, history, where they would certainly be lectured for doing the tiniest thing wrong, when suddenly, something loud and annoying pierced Estella’s ear drums.
“Goodbye, dolly!” A little kid’s voice yelled. The yell was followed by the cries of another child.
That child, the one crying, sounded like Cathleen.
The girls ran towards the cries, until they found themselves standing in front of the doors of the cafeteria.
A little girl was holding Binky Slinky by his left foot and was walking towards the trash can. Cathleen sat helplessly on the ground, watching the girl, crying.
Estella rolled her eyes. If she wanted that thing so bad, why didn’t she get it?
She walked up to the girl and snatched the clown from her tiny fist. The girl stuck her tongue at her, to which Estella stuck her own out.
Then, she shoved Binky Slinky in Cathleen’s chest, almost making her fall.
“Here. Take your toy.”
Cathleen looked up at Estella, eyes soaked with tears, seeming to ask:
“Did you have to shove him in her arms like that?” Luz asked.
Estella and her friends were now talking about the incident with Cathleen. It was seen by nearly the whole school and as many kids who lived before them, they spread the story throughout their peers, changing the details ever so slightly to make it out like Estella was the one being cruel.
But Estella was never cruel. She was just being a good sister and doing the best she could to not throw out Binky Slinky…
“Can I sit with you guys?” A small voice asked.
They turned around to face the owner of the voice.
It was Cathleen, holding the smiling, button-eyed Binky Slinky tenderly in her arms.
“All of the other kids are too scared to sit with me.”
“That’s because you brought him along. Did you have to take Binky Slinky with you to school?” Estella asked.
“Well, I thought that everyone would like him.”
“No one is going to like him. Come, sit with us.” Estella patted an empty spot next to her. She was trying her best to say in the nicest way possible that Cathleen‘s clown was weird and creepy. She really was.
Cathleen smiled, forgetting what everyone thought of her, and took the spot next to Estella.
If anything, Estella loved him.
WALKING BACK HOME
Estella didn’t say anything to Cathleen as they walked back home. It had been a long and stressful day of school. All she wanted to do was get her homework done.
Cathleen squeezed her hand extremely hard, to the point where Estella imagined that it would fall off.
Cathleen’s right arm hung sadly at her side. It was the arm that had hugged Binky Slinky tight to her chest, the arm that trapped him in her embrace, was empty. It had been thrown out by her teacher for “causing a distraction in class”. Cathleen sobbed while telling her the story.
But she has grown silent. Her tears all dried up. Her grip on Estella tightened.
To be honest, Estella was glad that he was gone. He was distracting the class with his eyes and his smile and-
There again! She was rejoicing over the sadness of her sister! She wasn’t supposed to be happy about it! Luz wouldn’t like it. Her parents wouldn’t either. No one would.
And yet, she couldn’t help but feel…
They finally arrived home and..
Sitting on the front porch steps…
Estella couldn’t believe it…
“Binky Slinky!” Cathleen exclaimed happily, running up to the grinning clown.
He wasn’t dirty at all. He was perfectly fine. No sign that he had ever been thrown out.
How did he get back home?
ATTEMPTING TO FINISH HOMEWORK
Estella couldn’t focus on the blurring sheet of math questions that continued to get increasingly blurrier. She kept thinking about Binky Slinky and how he was thrown away, but then somehow reappeared on the front porch steps.
How did he come back? Could he have been haunted? No, that stuff was only in the movies. Maybe he was never thrown away in the first place and Cathleen had lied about it. It wouldn’t be completely out of the ordinary for her.
She slammed her pencil down on her desk. She just couldn’t focus..
Estella’s painted pink nails frantically typed a text to Luz’s group chat.
She should tell her friends what happened.
THE PHONE CALL
“You heard how Cathleen’s toy got thrown out?”
“I overheard a few little kids in the halls, yes. What about it?”
Luz was the only one talking in the group phone call. Molly and Natalie weren’t paying attention to the conversation. They were too busy playing some kind of fighting video game.
“It appeared on the front porch today.”
“No. I’m not.”
“Estella, this isn’t funny.”
“I’m just as surprised as you are.”
“What? What happened?” Molly asked, for she was just joining in.
Estella and Luz groaned.
“I’ll explain again now.” Estella sighed.
Why couldn’t her all of friends pay attention?
WATCHING TV IN THE LIVING ROOM-HOURS AFTER HOMEWORK
Estella was able to finish her homework after all, but she still had to deal with Cathleen and her doll.
She tried calling her friends again, but they didn’t respond. Probably busy with more “important things” in their lives. So, she settled to watch cartoons with Cathleen.
The cartoons weren’t that bad. They were okay enough to watch. She wasn’t even really paying attention to them.
It was the fact that Binky Slinky seemed to be sitting upright in Cathleen’s lap, perfect posture, no sign that he was a sagging yarn toy, watching the show with them.
Any moment now he would turn to her…any moment…
No. Binky Slinky didn’t turn to face her. He was just a regular old doll. Just like what Luz had been telling her.
Nothing to worry about.
He was just a doll…just a doll...just a doll…
GOING TO BED
“I hope that you don’t mind if Binky Slinky sleeps with you.” Cathleen said.
She stood at the doorway of Estella’s bedroom, holding Binky Slinky in her arms. She wore a white nightgown, unlike Estella, who wore a simple tank top and sweatpants. If Estella squinted hard enough, Cathleen almost looked like a stereotypical creepy ghost girl.
Anything she said wouldn’t be heeded, so Estella shrugged and said:
“Thanks a bunch!”
Estella couldn’t sleep with that damn thing staring up at the ceiling like that, lying next to her, no less. If Cathleen loved it so much, why didn’t she take it with her? Why did she have to dump him in Estella’s bed?
The window was right next to her bed. If only she could creak it open and chuck the stupid toy out-
But she could do it, couldn’t she? Chuck it out the window? She had the ability to do so. Besides, Cathleen would love another doll the week after, when they shopped at another antique store.
Estella pulled back the covers and walked up to the window. Then, she creaked it open and let the cold air settle on her skin.
No, she couldn’t waste her time letting the cold air deep into her bones. She had a job to do.
Estella crawled back on bed and grabbed the doll.
She held it in her arms and walked up to the window, as if it were her baby.
And then, she threw it far out into the cold wild, as if it were a baby she truly detested and wanted to get rid of at once.
Another bright and warm day. The sunlight was streaming through her window and-
Binky Slinky was back?!
There was no denying it. Binky Slinky was sitting on the floor, smiling at Estella like he always did.
She sighed. No matter what happened, he always came back. She might as well dunk him in acid water and he’d still come back. Clown grin and all.
“Estella! Downstairs, now!” Mom called out.
Well, it was no use just staring at him. She had to get on and have as normal as a day she could get.
Estella didn’t tell Cathleen about Binky Slinky. What was the point? She wouldn’t believe her any-
“What’s wrong? You haven’t eaten a single spoonful of cereal.” Mom asked worriedly.
Well, a cold bowl of cereal wasn’t exactly a dream breakfast, but that wasn’t the reason why she didn’t eat.
Estella sighed. Mom wouldn’t believe her either, but maybe it wouldn’t kill to tell the truth.
“Yesterday Cathleen’s doll got thrown out in school. Yet it appeared on our front porch, looking clean and bright.”
Mom raised an eyebrow. She wasn’t believing anything she said, but Estella continued anyway.
“And last night Cathleen wanted it to sleep with me. I threw it out the window, but it was back in my room this morning. I don’t know what’s up with that thing.”
“Those are very nice stories, Estella. You should be a writer.”
“They aren’t stories! This is real.”
“October will be here before you know it. It’s one month away. Don’t worry about it.” Mom patted her arm affectionately.
She meant well, but…
She was no help.
Estella didn’t utter a word. Cathleen was skipping ahead of her, for once not having that infuriating clown doll around.
If nobody believed her and these things continued happening, then what would she do? Live with it? How could she? Well, maybe she could learn. Just like how she learned history and then forgot every little word the teacher sa-
Luz was waving her over. She stood at the front school steps, with Natalie and Molly.
Estella approached them. Maybe talking to them would make her forget about her own feelings for a whi-
“Leave me alone!”
Estella turned around and saw kids, kids the same age as Cathleen, pushing her onto the ground. They were picking on her and calling her a freak. The usual to happen in movies.
Estella groaned. Of course Cathleen would still be bullied, even though that doll wasn’t with her. Of course Cathleen would need her help right when she was going to hang out with her friends.
“Just a sec.” Estella said to Luz.
Luz and the others nodded, understanding what she needed to do.
Estella walked up to the kids, her blond ponytail swinging from side to side.
“Leave her alone. Don’t you brats have something better to do?” Estella asked,pushing a girl away from Cathleen.
“Don’t push me and don’t call us brats!” The girl pouted. A boy and another girl, the other kids with her, followed suit.
Estella ignored them and turned to Cathleen, whose eyes glimmered with tears. Her face had faint scars on them, but it wasn’t too serious. Nothing a trip to the nurse’s office couldn’t fix.
“Can you get Binky Slinky for me?” Cathleen asked softly, as if she were afraid to speak any louder.
“I can’t. He’s not here, remember?”
Estella was trying to be as patient as she could.
“Yes he is. Look.”
With a shaking finger, Cathleen pointed to the road.
“Cathleen, I don’t have time for thi-“
Estella turned her head to where Cathleen pointed and-
He was there.
Lying in the middle of the road was Binky Slinky himself.
“Is this some kind of joke? Did you put him there? Did you-“
“No, I didn’t. I swear.”
“And you expect me to go out in the middle of the road for a stupid doll?”
“No. I have tried to love that thing but all you have done is shove it in my face. It can rot for all I care.”
“Can you please jus-“
“I’ll get him for you. At one condition.”
“What? I’ll do anything! Anything!”
“After I get him, when we come home, you have to give me five hundred dollars for what you put me through.”
“Five hundred dollars? But that’s my birthday money!”
“Give it or no deal.”
Estella sighed and got up from the ground. Everyone was minding their own business. No cars were in sight. She could just walk on the street and grab him. It wouldn’t take that long.
She crossed the sidewalk and got on the street. It was amazing how no one noticed her.
She was getting closer and closer…
Finally, she could see Binky Slinky smiling up at her, just next to her feet. She knelt down to pick him up and-
“LOOK OUT!” Cathleen screamed.
Estella lifted her head up and saw the front of a big black car, its headlights flashing madly-
A loud explosion rang in her ears…the sky tumbled around her…the doll flung out of her hands...
That stupid doll.
She woke up in complete darkness. For a moment, Estella forgot what happened. Then, she remembered the car crashing into her and her body crumpling and-
“Oh my god, am I dead?”
“Well, yes, you are.” Another voice said. The voice sounded like a teenage boy. Why was there an adolescent boy?
She couldn’t even see the boy.
“I’m behind you.” The voice said, followed by a gentle tap on her left shoulder.
Estella turned around and saw..
A teen boy, dressed like Binky Slinky. The only difference were that his eyes were real, whereas the doll had button eyes.
“Who are you? Where am I? What’s going on?”
“Slow down there. I’m Binky Sl-“
“You’re the doll?”
“Yes, I am. But I would prefer if you called me B. I don’t like my name that much. As for where we are..”
“We’re in the doll.”
“I still don’t understand. Could you explain things a bit more clearly?”
“Alright. I remember I had a little brother whom I loved very much. He had this doll, too.”
“Did he now?”
“Yeah. He did. I didn’t like it very much.”
Estella smiled knowingly. She knew how he felt about it.
“Yet I accepted it. I accepted it all I could. But then there was this…this murder..everybody died…including me…the murderer dressed me like this doll…and...and I woke up in here.” His eyes were starry, he looked sad. Estella wanted to hug him at that moment.
“If you don’t mind me asking, what is your real name?”
“I don’t remember. My brother called this toy “Binky Slinky”, so I told Cathleen to call me that.”
“You told her to?”
“I thought you said that you didn’t like that name.”
“No child would want to call me B. Anyway, back to what I was telling you. I died and possessed this doll. I only kept appearing because I wanted to help Cathleen. That’s all. I did not mean to scare you.”
“Did you have to appear in the middle of the road?”
“No, I didn’t. But I heard Cathleen’s cries for a mile away-“
“Yes, I did. I’m a ghost, I can do all sorts of things. I heard her cry and I just thought of how I wanted to be with her. I didn’t know I would appear on a road and I didn’t want you to pick me up. I would have appeared in Cathleen’s arms if you walked away.”
“But I was trying to help-“
“I know. It’s not your fault.”
There was an awkward pause between the two of them. Then, B’s face brightened and he said:
“Do you want to see what’s happening right now?”
“If you jump high enough, you’ll get to where the doll’s eyes are and you’ll be able to see the real world around you.”
“But they’re button eyes.”
“It’s called magic, my friend.”
“We’re not fri-“
“Just take my hand and jump.”
So, Estella took his hand and together, they jumped.
It appeared that Cathleen had fresh tears in her eyes and that she was sitting in the backseat of the car, clutching Binky Slinky in her arms. The small scratches on her face was gone, courtesy of the school nurse.
B clasped Estella’s hand, which didn’t last very long, for Estella wiggled her way out of his grip.
“What’s your name?” B asked.
“Estella. My name is Estella.”
“And don’t touch my hand again or you’ll die a second time.”
The afterlife wasn’t any easy for B and Estella. Especially Estella, who had to watch Cathleen grow up without her and then for the doll to rot on a shelf of yet another antique store.
But while B accepted the fate of never being free, Estella thought of plans for their souls to be saved. She would not spend eternity in a clown doll.
The bell hanging just above the antique store chimed. A little girl with long black hair in a pink hoodie scrambled in, her oversized blue pants making her almost trip.
The girl smiled at the clown doll. It was the same grin Cathleen wore whenever she was around the toy. She had smiled just like this girl at the sight of it.
Estella grinned back.
“Why are you smiling?” B asked.
“She wants this doll. She’s the key to freeing us!”
“Freeing us? Are you brain dead? We’re trapped.”
“No we’re not. I have a plan.”
“Well, what is it?” B was very curious now. He never thought that their would be a way out.
“I’ll tell you later.”