The Haunted Toy Store… Canto 21

Canto 21 – The Burned House

“This is all that is left of the house that Momma and I were living in,” said the doll in Brittany’s arms.

It was a brick foundation full of burned wood and charcoal.  It was mostly black and smelled of ash and extinct wood fires.

“What good does it do to bring me here and show me this? 

“You will see when the Lonely One that was my momma shows up at midnight.  I will then be able to show you everything.”

“So, we’re waiting for a ghost?”

“No.  Momma is not a ghost.  She’s a Lonely One like me.”

Brittany did not trust the doll any longer.  She was feeling repeatedly tricked, repeatedly lied to, confused, and definitely kidnapped… yes, that was the word.  Taken without her consent, kidnapped.

The sun was long past set.  The witching hour was at hand.  And Brittany was shivering in the cold night air.

It was at that moment that a glowing ball of red light came down the street from the north.

“There she is,” the doll said.

The light moved to the burned-out ruins of the house.  As it approached the place where the front of the house had been, a sudden growth of red bricks, becoming a red brick wall with a red front door in it, and widened out into the red front of a modest two-story home.  An eerie red ghost of a house stood before the woman and the doll.  Brittany put the doll down, letting her stand on her own two porcelain feet.

“Let’s go in.”

“It’s only a ghost of a house.  There’s really a big hole there to fall into.”

“You are not in your former world.  The rules of this world are different.  We can go into this house and watch what happened there in the past.  You will see what I need you to see.”

Reluctantly, Brittany let the doll lead her towards the front door.  The doll opened the door and ushered Brittany inside.

The living room was typical of a home in the 1940’s and reminded Brittany very much of Great Aunt Tilda’s home when she was a child younger than Hannah.  But everything was lit in an eerie red light.

Brittany took in a sudden, sharp breath when she saw the ghostly image of the momma.  It looked like a duplicate of Brittany herself but dressed in 1940s fashion and with a grim expression on her face that Brittany hoped no one in her future life would see on her own face.

“She’s beautiful, isn’t she?” asked the doll.

“Did she really look like me?”

“No.  You look like her.  That’s why I chose you.”

“Can she see us and hear us?”

“No.  This is an echo of the past.  She has no idea that the two of us are here.”

Then there was the sound of small feet on the stairs.

“Here I come wearing…” began the doll, but trailing off into saying nothing.

Molly came skipping down the stairs wearing a lovely and extra-frilly dress.  She looked exactly like Hannah.

“No!” shouted the momma.  “You should not be wearing that dress!”

“B-b-but it’s a gift from Daddy.”

“It’s cursed.”

“It’s not.  His letter said it was a gift from the lady.”

“You mean the Italian lady?  The one he saved during a battle?”

“Yes… that one.”

“She had the dress to give him for you because her own daughter was killed in the war.”

“But…  It’s my beautiful blue dress.”

Brittany turned to the doll and whispered, “It looks red to me.”

“Everything in Momma’s world was red.  Mad red.”

“Take the dress off.  I should burn the thing.  It is the dress of a dead girl.”

  Molly began to cry.  Then she stormed back up the stairway apparently to take the dress off again.

“Your mother seems overly angry,” Brittany said to the doll.

“My Daddy was the one who really loved me,” said the doll.

Brittany silently bit her lower lip.


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Filed under ghost stories, horror writing, humor, novel, NOVEL WRITING

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