The observant among you will note that I’ve written a couple of stories about ghosts (I don’t consider either of them ‘ghost stories’) over the last few weeks. The timing of these in the run up to Halloween has been purely coincidental.
This week however, I had a list of about 12 suggestions to use in the run in to the end of the year, and I picked this week’s theme specifically because the plan I had for it was actually much more in line with a ‘horror’ story than either of the ghost pieces.
Anyway, the suggestion I chose this week came from Dean Horsefield, who suggested that I write a story about ‘A kid who opens the curtains one morning to find their room is now part of a giant dollhouse. The rest of the family are oblivious.’
Enjoy. OR DON’T. *spooky laugh* *crack of thunder*
2014 – A Year In Stories
Toys R Us
“It’s 7.30am!” the alarm clock blared, “And boy, we’ve got some absolute classics coming up for you before 8. Let’s kick you off with some Wham!”
Becca’s hand finally found the snooze button, just in time to prevent her hearing George Michael’s requests to wake him up before she went-went.
The alarm clock had been a present, if you could call it that, from her parents for her tenth birthday earlier in the year. Her mum had said that as she was growing up she would need to learn to get herself out of bed, and not rely on her parents.
Her father had added, with the sort of self congratulatory laughter that often comes from a father about to commit a dad joke related crime, that it was going to be her worst enemy for the next 50 years, and knowing your enemy was half the battle.
Becca hadn’t understood that one, but then she rarely got any of her dad’s ‘jokes’. Anyway, she already had a worst enemy: Karen Timpson. If she had another then neither of them could be the worst.
She rolled over and went back to sleep.
9 minutes later the alarm came back to life in the middle of ’5, 6, 7, 8′ by Steps. Becca lay in bed until the song finished, and the enthusastic DJ started rambling on about something or other. She wondered how anyone could be that cheerful at 7.41 in the morning. He must be an alien, she decided.
Reluctantly she got out of bed and out her dressing gown on over her pyjamas. It was late autumn, and the air was beginning to get chilly. Her father refused to put the heating on until he saw the first Coca Cola Christmas advert, and right now their TV was on the fritz.
Out of the corner of her eye, Becca could have sworn she saw something moving outside her window.
This was very strange indeed, as her bedroom was on the first floor. She dismissed it as tiredness. After all, she had only slept for 10 hours last night.
But then she saw it again. Curious, she wandered over and pulled back the curtains. She shrieked so loud that her parents, who were downstairs having breakfast, rushed upstairs immediately.
“Becca?!” her dad shouted, bursting in to the room. “What’s wrong? Are you alright?”
“An eye!” Becca said. “A giant eye outside the window!”
Her dad walked over to the window and opened the curtains, which Becca had jerked shut again immediately upon seeing the eye. The eye was gone.
“Come now, dear,” her mum soothed. “You must be seeing things. Come downstairs and have some toast.”
“I’m NOT seeing things!” Becca replied, shrugging her mum off. “It was THERE!”
Her mum and dad shared a look.
“Of course it was, sweet pea,” her dad said. “We believe you. But you’ll feel better after something to eat.”
Toast did sound appealing, so, reluctantly, Becca allowed her parents to lead her downstairs.
Becca sat at the table, and tucked in to her third round of toast. The scare that she had got from the eye earlier on had made her very hungry.
“Would you like some eggs with that, dear?” her mother asked.
“Ooh, yes please mum,” Becca replied, pushing the memory of what she saw from her head.
But, to her horror, instead of walking over to the oven to make the eggs like a normal mum would have, something very strange happened.
The kitchen was filled with light as the wall swung away, and a giant hand reached in. The hand picked up her mum, who seemed totally oblivious to the whole experience, and placed her down in front of the cooker, where she began to busy herself with the preparation of the eggs.
Becca stared, wide-eyed and open-mouthed in disbelief. The slice of toast she was holding tumbled from her grip and landed, butter side down, on her plate.
“Did you see that?!” she asked incredulously, as the hand withdrew and the wall swung back in to place.
Her dad, who was sipping at a mug of tea and reading the Sunbury Morning Post, glanced up and said, “Hmm?”
“The wall…a hand…picked up mum!” Becca gibbered. “How did you miss it?”
The look her parents shared this time betrayed much more concern.
“Are you feeling alright, sweet pea?” her dad asked.
Her mum, moving normally now, walked over from the oven and pressed a hand against her forehead. “No temperature,” she said.
“Perhaps you should stay home from school today, get some rest,” her dad said. “Just in case.”
“I’m fine!” Becca replied. She thought about going to school, but when she really dug down for the memories, beyond what was on the surface, she couldn’t remember anything about her school. In fact, she couldn’t remember ever having left the house before.
She thought that she could picture trips to the cinema, the park or visiting a friend’s house, but somehow all the memories seemed false, and she definitely couldn’t remember any of the journeys.
In a panic Becca bolted from the room. Did her parents feel the same way? Why had she realised this all of a sudden? She sat, her head in her hands on the bottom step, wondering if her brain was playing tricks on her. Could she even trust her own memories anymore?
Come to think of it, she had always wondered how the family got their stuff. They never went shopping, but every week new items would appear in the house. Cutlery, crockery, furniture and clothes all appeared out of nowhere, as if by magic.
She recalled the time that a new summer dress had appeared in her wardrobe. Upon closer inspection the dress had a tag, which had read ‘Smith Co. Summer Dress SC01127′. On the reverse of the tag there had been an unusually large price sticker, indicating that the dress had cost £0.99, which had always seemed awfully cheap for such a nice dress.
A thought struck her. She ran upstairs and opened her toy cupboard. Flinging aside toy trains, a hobby horse and some clothes she had shoved in there to pass a room-tidiness inspection, she finally found what she was looking for. Her old dolls house.
She’d had the thing as long as she could remember. Her dad had always boasted that he had made it for her, but she had found the remains of a scraped off sticky label on the bottom that suggested otherwise. Being a veritable grown up now at age 10, she couldn’t be seen playing with dolls anymore, and the thing had lain undisturbed beneath a pile of stuff in her toy cupboard for the last couple of years. She gave it the once over, and then, rather gingerly put her theory to the test. With one hand on each half of the house, she slowly swung it open.
Sure enough it came apart, operating on a set of hinges. Becca gently placed the house on the floor in front of her and sat there, not sure what to do or how to react.
Her silent introspection was broken by her mother shouting up the stairs for her.
“Becca!” she called. “Abigail is here to see you.”
Odd, thought Becca as she got to her feet. She hadn’t heard the door bell, or any knocking. As she went out on to the upstairs landing, she could have sworn she saw the walls of the house close up again, just as they had in the kitchen.
When she got downstairs, Abigail was sat at the kitchen table.
“Abigail,” Becca said urgently. “How did you get here?”
“Well my mum brought… Or did I walk? I don’t think I rode my bike.”
“Don’t you think that’s a bit odd?” she asked the room. She’s only been here 2 minutes and she already can’t remember how she got here.”
“Oh don’t be silly, dear,” her mum replied. “Abbie’s always been a bit forgetful, haven’t you, love?”
“That’s right,” Abbie smiled. “Shall we go upstairs and play?” she added.
“Play, but we’ve got to go to school. Dad, why haven’t you left for work? It’s almost 8.30.”
“Oh, no work or school today, sweet pea,” her dad replied, his head still buried in the paper.
“But two minutes ago you said I could stay home from school…” Becca trailed off, as her mum was busying herself about the washing up, and her dad was engrossed in the sports section. Neither of them was listening to her.
“Look,” she said to Abigail. “I appreciate you coming to visit, but now isn’t a very good time. Some strange things are happening around here and I think I’m the only one who has noticed.”
“Oh, strange like what?” Abigail asked.
Becca looked at both her parents, then leaned in to her friend and whispered conspiratorially, “I think we are living in a dolls house.”
“Oh!” Abigail replied. “That is strange. Well, I’ll see you later I suppose.”
And with that, the walls swung aside again, and the hand reached in and plucked Abigail out of the kitchen. Becca’s mum went to put some dishes away in a cupboard that had been on the wall, but they fell and smashed on the floor instead.
“How strange,” she muttered, and began to sweep up the mess with a broom as if it was completely normal for your cupboards to temporarily vanish.
Maybe this is all a dream? Becca thought. Yes, that must be it. I’m still snoozing after I turned the alarm off this morning and this has all been a weird dream. Perhaps, she mused, in order to wake up, I need to go back to bed in the dream.
Before the walls closed up again, the hand returned and picked Becca up. It removed her from the room and went up a level, before moving back the covers on her bed and placing her underneath.
With its final act before withdrawing and closing the house up, the giant hand tucked her in.
Ah yes, Becca thought. That’s much better. I’ll be awake in no time, and I can tell mum and dad about this funny dream over a couple of rounds of toast.
The walls closed back up, and the house was complete again.
“Mitzy, honey, we have to go.”
“But mum!” the little girl protested.
“You can play with your dolls later, sweety, but right now we are going to see your Grandad,” her mother replied, firmly.
Mitzy stood up from the floor and went to leave the room. Just as she was about to walk out of the door she remembered that she still had the Abigail doll in her hand. Running back over, she placed it in a box next to the house.
“Mitzy!” her mum called. “I’ll not ask you again.”
“Coming mum!” she replied, grabbing her coat and shutting the door behind her.