Dollie |
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By Miranda Renaé

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Nora had a love-hate relationship with her job, the smells of a campfire, and fresh dirt being the love. She sat down on a log at the edge of the fire, watching her clients, the bright lights of their phones, and orange spikes of the flames highlighting their faces. Ignoring her, making her feel invisible, she hated that.

She didn't speak, waiting for someone to acknowledge her.

The guy, Jared, their client, sat across from her, looking at his phone. He tapped Piper, on the leg. "I don't understand why we are doing this? I thought we were here to roast marshmallows, maybe hunt some ghosts. Not telling stories about them."

"Tradition?" Piper said.

Darci pushed her dark hair behind her ear before turning to Piper and Jared. "Tradition is just pressure from the dead," she said.

Nora sighed. She was right, of course; it was why they were here.

Jared laughed before hiding his phones away.

That was Nora's cue; she pulled the doll from its hiding place. The heavy iron chains wrapped around its tiny body knocked her knees as she set it on her lap. "This is Dollie." She adjusted the doll's dress. "She's nothing special. Old and maybe a bit creepy, but nothing special." She rubbed her finger across the doll's porcelain cheek. "At least that's what her previous owners thought at first."

Jared opened his mouth to say something, but Darci beat him to it. "The chains say otherwise."

Nora clasped the chain in her hand, twisting it around the doll, unraveling it from its small frame. "That was the last owner's idea. She read somewhere that iron trapped evil spirits. To be fair, she spent her life inside a mental hospital after witnessing the murder of her entire family at fifteen.

"When the police found her, she was hiding in the closet, kitchen shears in her hands, covered in blood. She was rocking back and forth, mumbling about the doll and its nails. They found the doll on the floor next to the dead, her light blue dress spotted with blood, her fingers covered in blood."

Nora finished unraveling the chains, staring at the group. "They say if you look close, you can still see the blood." She placed the doll on her lap, waiting for the silence to become uncomfortable. It didn't take long.

"Is that it? That's the story?" Jared grumbled. "It's not even scary."

Nora shrugged, knowing what was coming next, the part of the job she hated. Clean up was going to suck.

She tossed the doll toward the guy.

It landed in his lap with a thud. Jared stared down at it, confusion plain on his face. "What the…"

The doll stood up, balancing on his meaty thighs, her head near his heat. The doll's head turned, it's painted eyes staring at Jared's chest. In a sweet child-like voice said, "You are not my mommy."

He scrambled off the log, dropping the doll on the ground, causing it to let out a babyish cry. He looked to the woman for help.

Piper smiled at him revealing her long white teeth. "I told you Nora told the best stories."

"With my help, of course." Darci dropped her phone she'd been using to control the doll and causing it to collapse into a heap. A smile spread across Darci's lips, her sharp canine teeth glistening in the firelight.

Piper moved closer to Jared, a predator seeking its prey. She leaned in to lick the soft skin of his neck. He didn't move, his face frozen eyes darting back and forth, looking for an exit. Darci moved closer, licking her lips, excitement hanging in the air around them.

Nora watched as they sunk their fangs into the pulsing vein on his neck.

Blood trickled from the open wounds.

He screamed, and Nora did the only thing she could to save his life. She gave him advice.

"The louder you scream, the more blood they take."

It was his choice if he took it, her debt was paid either way.

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About Miranda Renaé

Miranda Renaé spent much of her childhood avoiding reading. Letters were nothing more than a jumbled mess. One day her dad gave her the novel he just finished reading. It was full of suspense and horror that she’d only seen in movies. Only so much better. From that day on she devoured the written word, no genre was safe

When Miranda isn’t reading or writing, you can find her taking care of a pack of foster kittens or cuddling her two cats Hettie and Courage the cowardly cat.

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