It was a cold, dark evening when Linda and her father drove down that small, isolated road. “Where are we going, Daddy?” The little girl asked. The man said nothing as he stared ahead at the lonesome road. Linda had no idea where her father indented to go, and he has not said a word to her since the beginning of their drive together. She only knew that because the man was a truck driver, he had a lot of paperwork to complete immediately.
It would be days or sometimes weeks before she could see him again, yet he was never excited to be in his daughter’s presence; and now he wouldn’t acknowledge her. The more she tried to get his attention, the stronger the silence became. Sadness and confusion took over those raging thoughts as they quietly traveled down this unknown path. Her father wouldn’t look at her or even speak to her, so tears filled the corners of her soft eyes. Why won’t he talk to me? The weepy girl thought as she looked ahead.
Then as the car slowed down, they turned into the woods and carefully rolled down a small slope leading to a gravel road. Blackness overtook the rocky path as well as the area around it, which was barely brightened by the headlights from the car. All Linda could see were rocks and trees at the edges of the beams. The deeper they traveled into the forest, the stronger the blackness became. Even those car lights couldn’t cast out the darkness in their path.
Although it was only a few minutes, the journey seemed like hours as this hidden road stretched out into an endless trail of rock and dust. “Dad, why are we going this way?” She asked, but her father continued to ignore. Shivers ran throughout her arms and legs as she stared into the blackness of the deep woods. Her father’s unwillingness to tell her where they were going only made her more nervous.
Finally, the road ended and a silhouette of a large house faintly appeared underneath a bland moon. They drove up to a tall, black fence that was shaped like a half-circle, which had pointy edges at the top. With a sluggish motion, it automatically opened as though someone from the other side of it had been expecting their arrival.
Her father drove through the opening with a still expression on his face that was not affected by any uncertainty. He remained silent and unfazed; however Linda grew more baffled as they drew closer to this unfamiliar place.
“What is this place, Daddy?” She asked once more, but still he wouldn’t answer. The silhouette got bigger with every closer inch that they’ve reached. There were neither stars to fill the black sky, nor any clouds to cover what little light the thin moon casted. This place reminded Linda of the haunted houses that she had seen on television shows.
It was a small, three-story high mansion with six windows on the front. A small amount of light barely brightened up the upper, right corners of all six rooms, and the brilliance of the lower corners of the every window coincidentally faded into blackness. Each side of the roof was shaped like massive, slanted rectangles that were surrounded by small black fences with razor sharp tops and corners.
Linda found every detail about this hidden place odd, and a hollow feeling inside her tummy grew more and more the closer they came. Just as they slowly rolled by the front entrance, a figure had been spotted in plain view.
There was a three-foot tall, wooden boy standing proud and straight with his hands folded together in front of his lap. He had short, brown hair that was parted at the side, and a shiny, beige complexion with bright red lips. A black tuxedo fit smoothly over his tiny body, and a black bow tie was wrapped neatly around his neck. The life-size doll resembled the ventriloquist dummy she had once seen on the cover of a Goosebumps book.
He stared at the car that passed by, his head turning with a speed as slow as the turning of those wheels. A long, red smile with lips closed was clearly visible through the headlights. The whiteness of those black, polished eyes were wider than quarters, and the tips of such heavily curved eyebrows where turned downward like the slope of a steep hill. An evil expression, which showed too much happiness, was enough to send violent shivers down anyone’s spine that dared to get too close.
Linda cowered below the window, and quickly peaked up to gaze upon the dummy. He stood alarmingly close to the passenger door, and he kept watching them as they passed by until they were out of sight.
Butterflies rapidly fluttered inside of her tummy as she stared at that eerie, smirking face, but she did not panic just yet. She knew that as long as they stayed inside the car, the scary dummy couldn’t get them. “Oh…let’s get out of her, Daddy!” The child pleaded, hoping that her father would shove the pedal to the floor, and speed away from this bone-chilling place.
Instead, he drove to the side of the house and stopped the car. It was a small, brick driveway that could only fit one vehicle, and theirs fit perfectly.
With one movement of the gearshift and a turn of the key, the car was off. Her father stepped outside and walked over to the bumper. He stopped and waited for his daughter to get out and join him, although he still wouldn’t look at her. With fright and hesitation, she climbed out of the passenger seat and trotted over to her his side.
As the two began to walk towards the front porch, Linda asked once again in a quaky voice, “Dad, why are we here?” But he did not answer, or even give her a glance. The closer they came to the entrance, the more she became scared of running into that dummy at the door.
“No Dad,” She yelped, “I don’t want to go there!” Without a response, he walked until they reached the porch. She saw that the dummy was no longer there, and a sigh of relief came out through her dry lips.
They walked through the door and entered a wide, dark hallway where a faint light shined down on the opening of a staircase. It was as though something mysterious was leading them down a desired path.
Without thinking twice, her father headed up the stairs and Linda quickly ran to his side. Although he still gave her the silent treatment, she felt safer with him instead of being alone in this creepy place. Once they reached the top of the stairs, her father turned and walked into the side room on the left.
“Daddy,” The child growled as she raced to catch up, “What…is…this…place?” There was no answer from the man yet again, and Linda’s limbs shook with fear. Inside the room was a dusty, glass chandelier with gold handles that hung from the tall ceiling, which faintly brightened up the red walls.
Flames from a square-shaped, brick fireplace casted shadows that danced all over the wooden floor. Green curtains hung neatly against the windows, and a round table stood in the middle of the floor with four chairs around it. Her father headed to the table and sat down on the chair that faced the doorway, and she sat on the chair next to him.
Then, he took out a black, wrinkled binder and pen, dragged the zipper across the side until it opened, and retrieved a small stack of papers. He flipped through the papers before running his pen along the lines of the first page.
The scared child sat there and anxiously scrutinized every dark corner of the room, hoping not to see that daunting, wooden face again. “This place is creepy, daddy!” She moaned as she turned her head from the room to her father, “Daddy, why won’t you listen to me?”
Fear and panic were boiling inside her tummy. Linda couldn’t understand why her father had to be here to do his paperwork or why he wouldn’t talk to her, therefore she felt more insecure with every passing moment.
Suddenly, a small, lively chuckle came from the doorway, and her stomach jumped inside out within her quivering cavity. With a rapid turn of her head, she saw a familiar figure with lustrous eyes standing beyond the limits of the dim light.
It was that life-size doll with wide, black eyes and a lengthy red smile that was wickedly over joyous; and it was what Linda dreaded to see. “Daddy,” The little girl screeched as she pulled on his shirt, “It’s the dummy again…Daddy?” The man was unmoved by the unsettling figure or his daughter’s cries of terror, so without looking up he flipped to the next page.
With a creaking sound, the dummy put one foot in front of the other and emerged into the faint light. Maintaining a magnificently straight posture, he prowled slowly like a wind-up toy as each limb moved with another. Those wooden joints jolted slightly back and forward while that head shifted sharply from side to side. Linda winced from that awful sound, and she watched in horror while the dummy moved closer to the table. “Dad…Dad he’s coming!” She whispered loudly, yet her father paid no attention.
When the dummy reached the table, he stood there and turned his glossy head towards her father with a slow, clicking sound so loud and terrible. He climbed on the empty chair and sat there with his hands folded on top of the table; his hair-raising gaze fixed on the busy man. Linda sat back and fixed her terror-filled eyes on the gawking dummy.
Then the dummy gradually leaned forward, and with high voice that was wimpy yet uncomfortable to hear, he exclaimed, “Boo!” Again and again he said Boo with a horrific, red smile painted across that face. He kept leaning back and forward-each time getting closer as he tried to get her father’s attention, but he wouldn’t look up.
Oh that voice! She couldn’t stand to hear small, meek sound, which came through his red lips. It made her skin crawl with fright. “Dad!” Linda whispered loudly, careful not to bring the dummy’s stare towards her. The busy man ignored his daughter’s cries, and the dummy continued to say Boo.
Finally, a bit of bravery raced through Linda’s lungs, and she called her father one last time in a bold, sharp voice yelling, “Dad!” Now the dummy no longer said Boo, and her father’s hand stopped moving over the page.
Together, they looked over at the child. Her father’s face was blank and expressionless, yet his eyes were as sharp and wide eyes as the dummy’s, which penetrated her skin like a needle. She was overcome by a feeling of still fright as though she had been placed on stage with all eyes on her.
They weren’t friendly eyes nor were they harsh, but they were freakishly scrutinizing eyes that were fixed in her direction. Now her father looked upon his own child, but it was not at any moment so desirable. With his attention brought that menacing stare from the dummy in which she hoped would never be casted upon her. Linda sat back in her chair as her body gradually became numb from the tingling fear that crept through those shivering limbs.