Gabriel aged 11 from ST.JOSEPHS COLLEGE TRENT VALE
We moved house today, i am sitting in my new room: It is all dark and damp, but huge. I have to admit that i hate it. There's paint peeling off the walls and there are weird words inscribed in the moldy skirting bords. I am bending down right now to try and make out what they say: DO..NUT..TUUCH...DOLLY...DEAF..WILL...BE...YURS. What did that mean? Probaly just some toddler who was messing around with something sharp and decided to write some gobbledygook on the wall.
That night i could not get a single wink of sleep so i picked up my torch, crawled out of my sleeping bag and decided to go exploring, where should i go? I know the attic! I love attics with the daring floorboards and the memories and secrets stored in a couple of cardboard boxes.
I found the attic. It was strange though because the entrance was hidden behind a little door, almost as if whoever once owned this place wanted it not to be disturbed. An y way i open the little door and find some tiny stairs in a spiral, so i creep up and up until i reach an old dark, wooden room filled with dust, i cough a bit but then stand up straight and look around... it was empty! But then just in the corner i can make out a little object, i tiptoe up to it. It is a doll, one of those china ones with huge glass eyes that stare up at me, making me feel quit queasy. I pick it up. It moves. Oh My God the doll's right arm shot up sending me staggering backwards dropping her as i fall. I fall all the way down the hard, stony steps everything blurring and then everything around me blanks and there is total blackness...
I wake up with a start. I am lying in a white room with white walls, white duvets and a weird white gown wrapped around me. Blood is blotched every were as if some one had got a pot of bright red paint and splattered it all over me, i shuddered. My head felt awfully heavy with pain and everything was still blurry. Then the next thing i knew was mum sitting next to me hugging me and crying
"Oh Danny, darling i...i didn't think you would make it, in fact none of us did" she cried glancing up at a huge amount of nurses bustiling around me with weird machines.I lay back again, feeling dizzy and closed my eyes...
I'm out of hospital now and i decide to go back up to the attic and have another look at that doll. I am trembling all over as i thought of the cold hand coming up and sending me backwards...I once agin crept up the spindly stairs and crossed the attic room to the doll. I bent d own looking at her and taking in her full description. It hurt to stare her into her piercing eyes, my left arm was in a sling and my head had a weird band round it so i had to be careful. She had a long pretty white frock on with lace up and down her un-realistically thin arms.A waterfall of chestnut hair fell in waves down her straight back. She had long peach laced stockings and black heeled shoes. I force myself to look into her eyes again, they seemed to seep through my brain like freezing water, making me clutch my head in pain. I couldn't make a noise as mum had forbidden me to go any where near this attic after the accident.
I come out of the attic shutting the door very gently so i didn't wake up mum or my little sister Molly. I then tiptoe back into my room, as i am about to clamber back into my bed my foot scrapes against the skirting boards, this time i can't help crying out in pain as i fall to the floor. Then i turn to the skirting board , and i see it. The inscribing in the wall. Warning me about the dolly. THE DOLLY. Death? Suddenly everything makes sense: Someone had found out about the deadly doll and obviously someone had come to close to it in their family and died, so it was there to warn. But why hadn't died, maybe it was because i didn't touch it for more than a few seconds.So what can i do to get rid of it? or maybe i could tell mum to lock up the attic, what if Molly went up there without knowing she wasn't allowed and thought that it was just a little play dolly...Oh my goodness i've got it. Surley the doll is there to coax girls to pick her up and kills them the second that they meet sences. Lucky i am a boy...very lucky, infact that means i could probaly get rid of it without dying, Okay maybe another trip to A and E but it's better than all of my family dying isn't it?
I wake up this morning, however i don't feel right .I know that i must get rid of the doll...but how?
I need to talk to the girl, the one who wrote the life saving message in my room. But how?, so i go up to mum at breakfast:
" Yes honey " she replied
" Do you know who lived here before we came?" i asked casually.
"Yes, actually, your poor dad and i( My dad died when i was younger )knew them when we were in Julia's class."
"Oh well there was a dad but he is very old now and then there was a little girl called Julia. And then, and then..." mum stops, bringing a tissue out and dabbing her eyes.
" Go on mum" i say encouraging her.
" Yes, yes, sorry darling, it is just that there was one more little girl, her name was Angelina, ever so pretty, she was only 4 when it happened"
"That's the trouble really, no body really knew what happend. It was Ange lina's birthday, she got a lot of beautiful presents that day; A new frock, a lovely drawing pad and some water color paints, she loved drawing. Oh yes and then her horrid step mother carelessly gave her the most beautiful doll, it had a gorgeous white frock...in fact it is probably still lying around in this house some where. Any way the night after her birthday her step mother seemed very upset, almost like some thing was disturbing her, she got the doll and hid it from Angelina in the attic. Angelina loved that dolly dearly so that night she must have gone up to the attic to get it back...but the thing is that the next morning she was lying dead, right at the bottom of some small stairs, her step mother was so upset that she killed herself, Julia was only 6 when it happened but still remembers everything to well"
"And where does Julia live?" i asked my heart thumping madly under my chest.
" Just in the village, in fact there are a few belongings of hers which she l eft here, you wouldn't be darling and take them to her you can take my bike with the basket, it will only take ten minutes to cycle there and she's ever so nice "
"Oh, of course i'd be happy too, i'll do it right now"
I pack up the boxes into the basket and sit on the rubbery seat and start cycling up the narrow, bumpy track through the woods with menacing trees.
And as i cycle a disturbing, grey mist settled over the grounds of Dry Fingers Manor...
I lift the big brass knob on number 16, it is a small but tall house towering above me with 3 stories, it is painted a deep red with ivy crawling up the brick walls.
The door opens,
A slightly plump lady with brown hair and big, brown eyes smiles down at me.
"Aah!, you must be Daniel Peters, Rachel and poor old Freddie's son"
"Err yes, i am and iv'e bought you some parcels from your house, you left them behind when you left."
She frowned, her eyebrows slanting inwards creating a deep line in the middle of her forehead, and then she started to smile again."Oh yes, do exuse me, you're living there now aren't you?, been exploring round the house have you? Have you been up to the attic, you havent have you?"
"Well actually i have, but don't worry i know all about your sister and..and, well" i couldn't say it, she may think i was crazy because she might of not been the one who wrote the inscribing.
"Yes dear, what is it?"
"Well it's about the, the China Doll" i whispered.
Her expression changed once again to a sad mysterious look"I think you had better come in side"she said staring at me curiously as i stepped into number 16. An ordinary looking house...on the outside but as i stepped in it was like entering a wonderland. Lined up on the stairs, on the mantle piece, on the table, on the sofas and guarding vases containing Red Roses were a thousand, twin china dolls, all staring at someone, all staring at me...
"Do take a seat dear i'll go and put the kettle on, i think we will be here for some time this evening" said Julia.
I perched on a red sofa feebly staring around at all the dolls. There was a mother doll with long, golden locks falling down her shoulders, she had a long, silver frock on, studded with tiny little pearls. In the mothers arms there was a tiny china baby. She was beautiful. Big blue beady eyes, a long, white gown and a little blue bonnet with a few blonde curls flowing out over her fore head.
But then there was an even beautiful doll, the prettiest i had ever seen.A Brunette waterfall of curls cascaded all the way down to her hips. She had a long, pristine white frock flowing down to her feet where a pair of ruby red slippers lay on her feet. But her face was the most beautiful, mysterious thing about her. She had dark long lashes, misty grey eyes, a perfect nose and smooth, pale lips with a perfect dip in the middle.
"Don't touch!" a voice sounded right behind me, Julia was standing there watching me and i suddenly become aware that i am standing up and my arm s outstretched about to take a strand of the dolls hair in my fingers.
"I..i'm sorry i didn't know i..i"
"It's OK, i think you'd better sit down again" said Julia gently pushing me back onto the sofa and offering me a biscuit.
"Why not? Why can't i touch her?" i asked.
"Well" sighed Julia leaning forward in her seat." It's a complicated story . I expect you know about what happened to " she broke off wiping a stray tear from her eye.
" You mean what happened to Angelica? yes i do know" i said, making i said the word "Angelica" softly so she could trust me.
She smiled weakly, "Yes thats right. Anyway, my step mother, her name was Melisa i knew about what was in store for me on Angy's birthday.
"What was in store for you?" i ask curiously.
" Whenever it was one of mine or Angies birthda ys we would always get a doll even if it was the other sisters birthday. On Angies birthday it was our first family birthday with our step mother. Now the next bit is a bit weird so you have to promise not to laugh and to take this seriously."
"Of course" i say
" Okay, so when our father and step mother were married we found out that Melisa's job was a scientist, or atleast that's what she said. There was this room in the house. She would do all her work in there. None of us ever got to see what was in the room . She wouldn't let us in. But one night i woke late and went for a wander, i stopped out side her lab. She was in there working, it was 5 days before Angelica s birthday. The door had been left open a crack so i peeked inside. She was in there and on a table we=here she was working was the 2 china dolls that we were going to get on Angie's birthday. I didn't know why they were there at first but then i saw her opening up the stomach of Angie's and putting some thing in it it looked like some sort of electronic thing. I was only 6 remember and so i burst in on her i asked her what she was doing. She was furious. She told me that if i told a single soul what i had seen then i would regret it forever."
" So what was the electronic thing?" i said
" Well hang on. When i was in the lab i realised that she was wearing black glasses so i asked her why and she gasped and said not to look at the china doll. I did, and a pain swept through my body so painful you just don'tn know."
"Um.. actually i do" i say
"What?" asked Julia looking puzzled
"Well i went up to the attic.. i mean i was only exploring but the only thing in the attic was a doll, a china doll." I close my eyes, remebering it all
"I kind of went into a trance and walked towards it i took one look and i was thrown back, all the way down the stairs, i ended up in hospital, i'm OK now but i don't feel settled." i said.
There was a pause as Julia reached out and rested her hand on my shoulder looking amazed.
"Well we are both extremley lucky not to of been killed. So i obviously knew something weird was about to happen on Angie's birthday so i warned her, but she was only 3 so how on earth was she going to have a clue what i was talking about? So on her birthday we got our dolls i was amazed that Angie could hold the doll in her arms without being thrown onto the floor. Later on that day Angie and Melisa got into a fight and she took the doll away and threw it into the attic. That night Angie went up to the attic to get the doll obviously, and then, and then the next day she was dead, dead, my sister." cried Julia.
I awkwardly patted her on the back and smiled at her, she smiled back. i said to her " So is there a way to get rid of the doll with out being killed?"
"Yes without looking at it"
"Well that's just too simple" i say.
"No. It's not. Think about it walking up and down those lethal stairs with no vision , and walking al the way into the garden without being seen and dumping it into the river so it melts?"
"Yes, it will melt the minute it is in that river"
"Wow" i say
"So." says Julia."Who's up for a challenge?"
Cora Harrison says
Beautiful descriptions of the dolls!
Nice twist and an element of danger which keeps the reader going.
I think if I were you I would expand the short, simple everyday language of the dialogue with a sentence or two telling how the speaker is feeling (if it's the narrator) or looking/sound if it's the other person.
For instance after the last sentence you could have something like:
Her words sounded brave, but when I looked at her I saw the fear in her eyes.
I love the dolls - very scaring! A writer called Daphne du Maurier wrote a short story called, I think, 'The Doll' and it chilled the spine!
I changed the trees to menacing, but you can chose another adjective if you like.
Also I thought 'small, but tall' didn't make me see the house. What do you think?
Yes! You're keeping up the tension very well. I like 'a disturbing grey mist' - not sure about the 'spindling trees' though. What are you trying to say about the trees?
Brilliant! I love the sense of menace toward the younger members of the family. Do make the most of this. When I want to imagine something very carefully I close my eyes and put my head in my hands. Do this and continue the sense of danger
You have a nice way with words - I love such sentences as :
'I love attics with the daring floorboards and the memories and secrets stored in a couple of cardboard boxes'
'with huge glass eyes that stare up at me, making me feel quite queasy'
I like the way there a sense of the personality of the china doll - something evil perhaps...
I'm really looking forward to the next bit of the story.