The Doll

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“Elizabeth, the authorities went through that furnace with a fine toothed comb. They did find the remains of what was probably a plastic doll and some organic material that yet has been tested. Do you know what the doll was made of?”

“No idea. The body was not plastic. It felt like a cloth body filled with sticks and grasses.”

“We may take Mary’s doll away from her when we get the opportunity and have it examined to discover the contents. Perhaps there were some psychotropic ingredients in the doll that caused this madness to fall on you and Chrissie.”

“You don’t believe me either. Fine. I didn’t expect to ever get out of this nut house because no one in their right mind would accept the truth.”

“The truth that your six year old sister killed the rest of your family and broke both of Cat’s legs? It is hard to believe.”

“You’re just as much of an eraserhead as the rest of the idiots in here who call themselves doctors! If this played out in front of your own eyes you still wouldn’t believe it. What was it that Shakespeare wrote? “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” Open your mind, doctor. Demons are real, angels are real, the Djinn are real and what you see day to day and rationalize with your five senses is not the be all and end all of life.”

“Actually, I do know that, Elizabeth. You are saying that through … psychokinesis this … Djinn which possessed the doll on the night of the thunderstorm is responsible for the … ingenious methods of killing your family.”

“That’s exactly what I’m saying. Chrissie was not strong enough to push Fred three quarters of the way down the laundry chute and cut him in half. She wasn’t fast enough to entangle Ted in that wire and then get it wrapped in the lathe. She wasn’t strong enough to subdue my father much less nail him to the pew and make it stand up like that. She might be the one to cut him up the way she did, and mother and I’m almost positive it was she who slit Robert’s throat. But Chrissie was already dead when the Djinn broke Cat’s legs and if she ever regains her senses she’ll tell you it wasn’t me.” I hadn’t raised my voice. I’d been through this story four times in the month’s I’d been in this sanitarium. It was pointless to get angry.

He sat there studying me for a long time with that look people have when they are concentrating on a subject of study, then very slowly, a small smile came to his lips.

“We need to obtain one of those dolls and dissect it. If the spell was real, then the doll would have to be something like a voodoo doll with herbs and weird stuff in its body.”

“The head, hands and feet are the usual doll plastic, Doctor, but the body is cloth. It could very well contain junk that helped the Djinn take possession of it.”

“OK, we will move Mary to another ward so you don’t accidentally come across that doll again, and we will work on getting it away from her and replace it with something a little less ominous. However we can’t destroy that specific doll. It will be returned to Mary’s guardians.”

“Why is she here, anyway?”

“Night terrors.”

“Then whether or not she screams her head off, get that cursed thing away from her.”

“Do you want to know why I believe you?”

“I’ve been here for two years dealing with the drugs, which I do not need, and the stupid disbelief of the rest of the alopathic morons … yeah, I am a little curious.”

“Because of how rational you are ninety-nine percent of the time.”

“I’m not crazy, I did not kill my family, I loved everyone in my family except Chrissie. I didn’t kill Chrissie, the doll did.”

“Oh, we know you didn’t kill Chrissie. There’s no way you had the strength, even hyped up on anything we could think of, to twist her head a hundred seventy five degrees. There was so much muscle damage that no one could figure out how her head got twisted that far. It takes twelve hundred pounds of pressure to snap the neck, severing the spinal cord, turning her head that far was overkill.”

“Besides, if I was the one who would have killed Chrissie it would have been a stab to the heart not breaking her neck.”

“This sounds to me to be more like what a sister would do; neck breaking is a professional kill, not a familial kill. I seriously doubt you are a professional killer.”

“Doctor Campbell, I don’t even kill insects, I turn them loose outside.”

“So we’ve noticed.”

“Excuse me?”

“Five times since you’ve been here you’ve taken bugs outside instead of killing them. You rescued a spider from Joanna who almost hurt herself trying to step on it. She’s arachnophobic.”

“She’s afraid of everything that has the potential to bite. She’s really afraid of that red headed girl who has to wear a mask. Joanna found out she’s here for biting.”

“Teresa thinks she’s a vampire.”

“Has she been tested for porphyria?”

“Why porphyria?”

“We did a study in school about what may have actually caused people to act like werewolves and vampires and that was the main disease that was sited.”

“I’ll have to look at her records. If she does have porphyria, there are things we can do to treat the underlying disease as well as her obsession with biting people.”

“If I was out of my mind, bat-guano crazy, would I have thought of something so rational for another patient?’

“No, and that’s what I mean by saying you are always more rational than this event would have found you to be, had you been the killer.”

“So what are we going to do with me now? I’m still a minor … for another seven months. Once I’m eighteen can you still keep me if I’m actually sane?”

“Legally or medically no, we do have custodial care until your eighteenth birthday but once you turn eighteen and if I qualify you as sane you get to walk out the front door.” Campbell smiled.

“But I’m stuck here until then.”

“I’m afraid you are stuck here until then. However, I want you involved in the investigation into of what these dolls are made. Knowing that some form of chemical attractant was used in the manufacture of these dolls will help you with the nightmares.”

“It’s been two years, Doc, not so many nightmares any more, though after seeing one of those dolls again they might come back.”

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