THE OLD MAN

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CHAPTER 7: THE DREADED DOLL, PART 3

They drive away as Prem closes the main door. After latching the bolt, he goes to his room but is surprised to see Urmi missing from the bed.

The Barbie doll slowly starts to descend the stairs.

Loudly calling out Urmi’s name he goes towards the bathroom.

Prem: Urmi, Urmi, Are you there in the bathroom?

There is no answer from the bathroom. He opens the door, but there is no trace of Urmi.

Now Prem gets a bit worried and frantically searches everywhere inside the bedroom.

Barbie doll waits in anticipation at the bedroom door.

Prem (worried): Where might she be? (Sensing that Urmi might be teasing him by hiding beneath the cot, he looks under the cot and with a smile) Might be hiding down here.

He bends to look below the cot, but is taken aback to see the Barbie doll lying there motionless. Confused, he peeps at the doll, when, with a sudden rotation it looks straight at him. He stumbles backwards and trips. With bated breath he stares at the doll. The doll sits up and giving him a cross tilted look, smiles at him in empathy. Horror-struck Prem crawls backwards, when all of sudden, Urmi scares him from behind.

Urmi (loudly): BHAUuu..!

Prem (shrieks out): AAAaaaaaa! (Shocked out of his wits, he tries to turn around swiftly. But loses his composure and falls on his back in a clumsy way.)

Urmi (mischievously laughs): Hahahahahahahaha… Uncle is freaked out… Hahahahahaha…

(Startled, horrified and angry he manages sit up.)

Prem (shouts): That wasn’t funny, Urmi?

Urmi (cringes and very innocently asks): Why are you so angry?

(Owing to his earlier doubts of hallucinations, and looking at Urmi’s innocent face, he cools down a bit, but still stares at her.)

I was just playing hide and seek with you…

Prem (stern): This isn’t the time for hide and seek … Come let’s sleep.

Urmi (pleading with childlike fervor): You had promised to play… (Going near him, she holds his chin.) At least for a couple of minutes... please play with me….

(Prem completely cools down and tries to explain.)

Prem: Urmi… It’s very late in the night, please understand. And come; let me put you to bed.

Urmi (starts crying): I won’t get sleep till mom comes… and also you will be breaking your promise if you don’t play with me…

A completely helpless Prem now gives in to the child’s demand.

Prem (with a smile, consoles): Ok… Kido… but not hide and seek…Let’s play something else…

Urmi (wipes off her tears quickly and smiles cutely): Can we play with my dolls?

Prem (smiles and strokes her head): Okay then... bring in your dolls…

Urmi: Dolls are kept in the play room, upstairs… Let’s go there...

Prem (making out for being rude and childishly): Ok then, you go ahead and I will follow you…

Urmi (holding Prem’s hand): Yes (very happily laughs and with baby steps she runs and skips)

Prem walks behind Urmi maintaining his pace.

They reach the play room. But unknown to Prem, the Barbie doll is following him.

Urmi: Uncle, put on the light (pointing towards the switch board).

As Prem switches on the light, he is pleasantly surprised to see many colorful dolls and toys. He surveys the whole room with a delightful smile.

Prem (with a smile): Wow Urmi… your collection of toys is impressive.

Urmi responds with a cute smile.

Prem: Ok tell me…what game do you want to play with the dolls?

Urmi (confused): Mmmmm, tchu, what will we play?

Prem: Hhmm, first introduce me to your dolls, what are their names?

Urmi (with popped eyes as she is surprised to realize that she hasn’t named her dolls yet): I haven’t named them yet… Uncle!

Prem: Then, we will start from there...

Urmi: Ok… That would be fun… (And chuckles)

After settling down on one of the cushions, Prem looks around and picks up a teddy bear.

Prem: What should we name this Bear?

Urmi (spontaneously): TEDDY BEAR…

Prem (frowns): Naah… That’s a common name… Think of something different.

Urmi (a bit disappointed but with a made up smile): I don’t have a clue!

Prem (cheering her up): Don’t worry, will make this game a little more interesting...

Urmi (with a cute smile): More interesting…! How?

Prem (chuckles at her innocence): Tell me, according to you, who does this bear resemble with?

Urmi (mischievously giggles): It looks like Grandpa.

Prem (laughs): Hahahahahahaha… Grandpa? Hahahahahaha.

Urmi also joins the laughter with a mischievous face.

The dreaded doll stares at Prem from the door.

Prem (composing himself): Then, we will name him bruin Grandpa….

Urmi (a bit confused): That’s cool… But what’s “bruin”?

Prem (caressing Urmi’s cheeks): “Bruin” is an English folk word for Bear.

Urmi (with a twinkle in her eye): Hmmm… (Nods in affirmation and picks up a canine doll.)

Urmi (looking at the doglike doll): He doesn’t look like anyone. Again I am out of clue.

Prem (instilling confidence): Will find a way out... Think something creative!!

Urmi (with a eureka feeling): Doggy always likes to wag his tail… …

Prem looks on with anticipation.

Urmi (feeling hopeful): Let’s name him Wager Boy!

Prem (astonished): Well Done, Urmi! That’s indeed creative..!!

Likewise, one by one, they name all the dolls, unaware about someone watching them stealthily.

Prem (feeling a bit drowsy): Ok, then. All the dolls have been named; now as promised, let’s go to sleep…

Urmi (confused): No! Not yet; this Barbie doll is remaining to be named...

Fear pinches Prem, alarming his cognizance and he lets out a gasp.

Prem (looking everywhere with fear): WHAA? WH…whh… which Barbie doll?

Urmi (pointing towards Prem): The one right behind you… She always scares me… Let’s keep her name, “Scary Sissy”.

Prem flips around to see the dreaded doll, with blood-oozing eyes and scruffy hair. She menacingly laughs at him. Terrified, he turns back to look out for Urmi; but she has vanished!

Prem (terrified shouts): Urmi….!! Urmi….!!! URMIIIIIIII!

All of a sudden mist and fog start wadding the room…The lights starts to flicker spontaneously. Prem looks back at the terrorizing Barbie doll; she tilts her head from one side to the other; and giving him a sinister look, again starts to laugh like a maniac. Terror engulfs Prem when the doll shrieks as it lunges onto him. Horror-struck and doused with perspiration, he paces towards the staircase and briskly tries to climb down. But after reaching halfway, he is startled to see the dreaded doll prowling towards him from the other end, with a spooky shrill. Desperate and frustrated, he tries to turn back and run the other way; but he stumbles and falls down. Paralyzed with terror, he is unable to get up. So he tries to slither away as fast as he can, from the inevitable danger. However, with another eerie shrill the doll catches up with him in no time. She intently watches the slither of his quivering body with a contented smile before grasping one of his legs and dragging him downstairs with enormous force. Laboriously moving his legs, Prem desperately tries to escape from the clutches of death.

With a drop of hope, he starts to beg for his life.

Prem: Let me GO… PLEASE LET ME GOOO!

The doll stops for a moment and Prem heaves a sigh of relief. After remaining motionless for a matter of seconds, the cursed doll spookily revolves her head. Prem is horrified to see Urmi’s face instead, but with the same dreaded ghostly attributes.

Prem (horrified): WHAT? URMI…! Is it you….? And why are you doing this?

Urmi (spookily): You wanted to put me to sleep, right? Now let me put you to your final sleep….

Urmi screeches her lungs out. Prem struggles to shout out loud, but only a feeble, hoarse sound is able to flee from his mouth. At last, resigning to fate and expecting the worst, Prem’s vital force begins to gush out as he stares at Urmi’s dreadful face. Urmi’s unbearable screams urge Prem’s diminishing focus to narrow in on her nearly invisible and rapidly fluttering vulva before everything blacks out.

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Back to the verandah…

Pritam is perspiring with horror.

Pritam: What happened after that?

Prem (with a wicked smile): You really want to know what happened after that?

Pritam shakes his head in affirmation.

Prem (with a wicked smile): After that… The alarm went off and I woke up…!! Hahahahahahahahahahaha…

The surroundings echo the splutter of a hearty gang laugh. Pritam feels insulted to the core of his ego, and enraged he abruptly gets up to leave.

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