It Is Alive
It Is Alive!
The next ten or so days were normal for our household; everyone enjoyed everyone else’s attention and our personalities meshed really well … except Chrissie, but that was normal, too. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t like Chrissie was abnormal in the conventional ways. She wasn’t retarded or on the Autism spectrum. She was just a brat! Self centered, self interested, unsympathetic to anyone or anything, demanding, manipulative. A brat! Because Mom never saw her do anything bad, meaning she couldn’t bring herself to believe anything bad about the kid, it was up to the rest of us to correct her so she retaliated. “You’re not my mother!” was a common phrase heard in our house whenever anyone had to correct Chrissie. She’d take the fun out of family game night by being a sore loser. She threw tantrums when she lost a game.
I remember one winter day when she was four, Robert and I had had enough of her complaining about how unfair we were with the sled. We gave her the sled and took her to the highest hill around the house and shoved her off. She got scared of the speed and when she hit the berm at the bottom of the hill she spilled over into the hard packed snow. We rushed down the hill and buried her! We left her there, kicking and screaming and using up all her oxygen … as soon as she got quiet we dug her out. She hadn’t passed out but she sucked in a huge lungful of the cold air and then spent ten minutes coughing because the air was too cold.
“I’m telling Mommy!” She screamed and ran up the hill to the house.
I didn’t worry because I knew Mom would believe me that we dug her out immediately that the berm fell on her. And she did. Robert and I never got in trouble for that.
After a while, the feeling that I was being constantly watched in our room began to feel malevolent. I’d turn to look at that ugly doll with its burned out looking eyes and swear it was smiling evilly right at me.
Then I would hear tiny feet walking around the room at night. I took to sleeping with a flashlight and if I woke up and heart footsteps I’d roll over quickly and hit the floor with the light but I never caught it.
I began watching, very carefully, the position of the doll in its box. I swear it was moving. One day when Chrissie wasn’t in the room I took a highlighter and marked where one of the hands could be seen in the box. The next morning, I saw the hand was not in the same position and I’d swear those burned out eyes were looking at me and the doll wasn’t smiling.
When Chrissie walked in she opened her mouth to bitch about me being on her side of the room until she saw the horror on my face.
“What’s your damage?” She asked softly.
“This thing moves in the box.” I whispered.
“Probably because I take it down almost every day. I really want to play with it, but I know the value of it depends on my not playing with it. I don’t think I can con Daddy into buying me another.”
“If this thing moves again … I’m taking it down to the furnace and burn it.” I told her.
“Don’t be silly, it’s a doll, a plastic doll, it can’t move.” But she didn’t sound convinced.
“You did the ritual, Chrissie. You told me these things are individually made by witches.”
Chrissie looked scared now, too. “When did I do the ritual?”
“The last Thursday when we had the bad storm.”
She began to tear up. “I don’t remember that. Mom gave me the sleeping pill because storms scare me and I can’t sleep.”
That’s when I knew the sympathy was bullshit. Storms didn’t scare Chrissie, she loved them. She’d be on the catwalk at the top of the house if we didn’t have the door locked.
I shoved her away. “Don’t patronize me you little Imp!
All she did was laugh at me as I stormed across the room and got ready for school.
Two weeks later, as we were getting up, I heard a loud scream from the younger twins’ room. I rushed across the hall and Fred was sitting on the floor with his rat cage in his lap bawling his eyes out. Whiskers was lying on his side at the bottom of the cage with his head turned all the way back. Rats can’t do that. He was dead.
“MOM!” I yelled, “Something has killed Whiskers.” I yelled up the hall. Teddy was trying to comfort his twin brother but he was crying, too.
I stormed back into my room and up to that damned doll and tore the box open. There was red staining the lips and chin of the doll and I swear it wasn’t there before. I couldn’t wipe it off.
“Hey! Now you’ve ruined it!” Chrissie shrieked at me. I turned to her and shoved the damned thing into her face; I actually knocked her back with the force of the blow.
“This damned thing just killed Fred’s pet, Chrissie and it’s your fault.”
“Is that why he’s screaming like a baby? Over a dead rodent?” Was all she would respond.
“I hope the next thing this doll kills is you, bitch.” I hissed at her and threw the doll on the floor.
There was no school for the youngest twins that day and Mom and Dad let me stay home too because Fred wouldn’t let go of me. Cat gave us food but we didn’t leave Fred’s room all day. After Dad came home from work that night, we had a funeral for Whiskers. As rats go he was a great pet. Never bit anyone and we all enjoyed the way he played with us. Rats are actually pretty intelligent for animals. We’d all miss him, except Chrissie, of course, who wouldn’t even come to the funeral. Mom, always making excuses, said she was too upset but I knew she wasn’t upset at all. She hated Whiskers.