There would be thousands of children working on a farm a day. The would be plowing and harvesting crops all day long. They would be tired and fall asleep from exhaustion because they would work twenty four hours. The men got tired of whipping them and asked a man to make them toys, but this wasn't any ordinary man, he was a mad scientist. They asked him to make evil toys that would torture and even kill the children if they didn't listen or if they fell asleep. He agreed and went straight to work once they left. He made the toys so sinister that he himself couldn't bare the idea of it, but he kept working. Red eyes, happy smiles, knives, and whips. His most diabolical plan was almost finished. All he had to do was test them out. He was almost done with them all, but that year they passed a new law that abolished all children slavery. The scientist was so upset that he couldn't try his new evil inventions that he turned on one toy and killed himself. The toy terrorized the villagers, until one boy stopped it by hitting it in the face with a hammer. The villagers boarded up the house and it was never opened up again. The boy who destroyed the toy was my great great grandfather. After nearly 2 centuries, this was my Christmas of twenty ten.

I hear that story over and over from my grandfather. It's been in the family for two centuries. The funny thing is that I live three houses away from that very house. It's very decrepit and has cob webs everywhere. The wooden boards that cover up the shattered glass are rotting away and the weeds are up to the second story.
"Josh? Go help your father with the Christmas tree please."
"Ok!" My mother was very irritating to me, but I still loved her dearly. I found my father struggling with the tree. Schmuck, I thought. My father and I weren't really close. He always said I was the weird one. Then again when you have black straight hair in your face with blue tips, then I would say yeah I am weird.
"Josh! Let’s go kid help me!"
"Ok father, I will help you." Like I said we weren't that close.
Me and my four other siblings are very close though. We love each other dearly, but we all know that dad can be a bit of a pain at times. They all follow me around because I'm the oldest. Selena is next in line and she is very pretty, she got the looks in the family. Beautiful long brown hair that just hits the tip of her shoulder blade, blue eyes that look like little pools that shimmer in just the right light. Then comes Adam, well he is the jock of the family and everybody loves him. Kyle, well Kyle is very strange; then again he is a five year old little boy who loves to eat bugs from time to time. Then you have sweet and innocent little Mary, she's three and screams like a baby that was just born. Then you got me, the rebel in the family. Nothing ever stops me. My girlfriend Aria is a rebel too, at times.
"You got it Josh?"
"Yea Dad I got it."
"Thanks buddy, you’re a big help. You know my neck, it's bad"
"I know dad, I know." It was that wonderful time of the year; you know when the chestnuts begin to roast. Everything was going good except the horrible noises coming from 7 Emerald Avenue. The entire neighborhood was trying to forget about it. There would be clanking of metal and crashing noises coming from inside. The neighbor across the street is saying that the ghost of Samuel is back. Others are saying it's just the house settling or that just gravity was taking action. Who knows. Samuel DiLaurentis was a very sick and sadistic man. Which the whole neighborhood knew already. They also know that it was my great great grandfather who destroyed the first toy. That was also the family’s first encounter with the toys. Buzz, Buzz my phone started vibrating. "Hello?"
"Hey cutie what’s up?"
"Hey lovey, I'm good, what about you?"
"I'm good, hey you want to hang out now?"
"Ok Aria no problem." Click. Man how I love her. She has the hottest voice and has the perfect black hair and her eyes, oh her eyes are beautiful. A beautiful green, they shine like little emeralds.
"Hey Mom I'm going out with Aria, I'll be back later, ok?"
"Ok have fun, BE SAFE!"
"Yea ok Mom." Jeez can she be any more annoying. As I'm walking down the road to get to Aria's house I pull out my iPod and I start to blast Bad Romance in my ears. “Rah Rah Rahahaa, Ruhmama Ruhmamaa GaGa ooolalaa, Want your bad romance.” I love that song. BANG! Holy good god what was that. I look around and find that it came from the mansion. I start pacing and find Aria standing at the corner with her arms crossed. "Sorry Ary I got distracted."
"No you didn’t, you just started listening to Lady GaGa and lost track of time.”
"That and I heard something come from the mansion again.”
"Oh, what did you hear?”
"I heard something really loud over my music, so it must have been something big, want to go take a look?”
That was the best thing about Aria, she wasn't like any other girl, she was a daredevil. She would do anything with me. We get to the house and stop in our tracks.
"Are you sure you want to go Ary?"
"Yea don't chicken out of me now, plus it was your idea."
"Yea I know, ok let’s go." We start walking closer. BANG! We jump out of our skin and realize it was the DO Not Enter sign that hit the gutters of the house. We started to walk. We get to the back of the mansion where no one could see us and break open one of the rotted pieces of wood. Cob webs, dusty sheets, faulty lighting, and really old looking machines. They had cogs and pulley systems all around them. It was nothing you would have ever thought from a scientist in the eighteen hundreds, but like we always say the man was mad so who knows what he was capable of.
"This is so unreal."
"Aria shush."
"Why no one is here, they will never find us."
"True, just be care..." Before I could even get the words out Aria tripped over a wire and one of the sheets fell from one of the long glassy cases.
“Damn it Aria you’re so clumsy."
"Shut the hell up moron, I didn't mean to."
One of Aria's weaknesses is that she was so clumsy. Every time we ask Aria and her mother to come over for dinner (because its only Aria and her mother, her father left them) something always goes wrong with her. Christmas Eve last year we had Aria and her mother come over for dinner. It was going very well until Aria picked up the soda bottle and dropped the whole coke bottle on our dinner.
"Sorry Mr. and Mrs. Montgomery, I didn't mean to."
"That’s ok Aria we'll just order out."
"I really am sorry."
Suddenly I was back to reality. Aria and I were looking into the dirty glass case. It was the craziest thing we have ever laid our eyes on. It had dark eyes that seemed to glow an eerie red, hands that looked like humans, huge knives attached to those hands, an old fashioned looking coat, and a piercing smile that burned your soul if you looked at it. It was about six feet tall and had a on and off switch in the back.
"What the hell is that thing Joshy?"
"It looks like a nut-cracker, but I'm not sure."
"I think it is because today in school we were learning about nut-crackers and their history and back then children would collect and play with them, instead of their real use, which was to crack nuts."
"Wow Aria I'm impressed that you knew that." A big grin went across my face and she started to laugh. Oh how I love her, she's so adorable. We pulled another curtain down. This time it was a scary looking toy soldier. Another curtain goes down. It was a raggedy Ann doll and next to it was a raggedy Andy doll. One more curtain to pull. Down it comes. This time it was a... huh? It looked just like me! Aria and I just stared at each other for about a good ten minutes.
"Josh let's get out of here I'm scared. Josh?"
I couldn't move, I was so scared. The words wouldn't come out. Instead I started moving back, slowly.
"Joshy? Are you going to be ok?"
I tripped on wires and fell back into machines. All of a sudden a bright light came on. Then a screaming came from the machine that pierced your ears. I was deaf for a second then my hearing came back. The machines haven’t worked in so long. Then I realized. I accidently hit the on switch! It was the universal switch that controlled them all. A shaking started and the floor started to rumble. Then the glass on the cases shattered. A glowing red appeared in each toy's eye. The machine stopped shaking and stood still for a little bit. Then... THUD! Oh... oh my god they started to move! They were walking right towards us. We ran for the exit (the one we made trying to get in) and jumped right through the shattered glass. OUCH! I cut my hand jumping through, but that didn’t slow me down. I was right behind Aria holding my hand. Then we started yelling for help.
"Help, Oh god please somebody HELP!" We were screaming and no one heard us. We ran to my house and shut the door behind us.
"Oh my god the story is true Aria!"
"Uh, no duh stupid head. The house has been right in front of you all those years. What did you think was in there? Your grandmother?"
"You don’t have to be so mean, I was just stating the obvious." A half smile went across my face. I always stated the obvious around her because I knew how mad she got. It was funny to me.
" Mrs. Montgomery...ummmm... evil toys are coming after us."
"You went into that house!?"
"Mom I'm sorry."
"Your grounded young man, get the kids and keep them upstairs, do it, NOW!"
I rounded up my siblings and brought them upstairs. "Stay here you guys, there is a bit of a problem."
"What kind of problem Joshy?"
"Selena, evil toys are coming our way ok and if the story is completely true, then well, they don't like children, so stay here."
I ran to the window to see if they were coming. Nothing. Where are they? Was it all fake? Wait... what is that? A shadowy looking figure appeared across the street. In my best friend’s house, Michaela. I’ve known since I was born and she will always be my best friend. Aria doesn’t like it much, but I tell her to get over it. In the window was a tall curly haired woman. Oh thank god it was only Mrs. Lombardi. No…wait it wasn’t! It was the raggedy Ann doll. I ran to the phone and dial the numbers as fast as I could.
"Mrs. Lombardi get out of the house NOW!"
"What are you talking about Josh?"
Then all of a sudden I hear a scream.
"Bill? Are you there?" screamed Mrs. Lombardi.
"Mrs. Lombardi get Michaela and get out NOW!"
Then another scream.
"Oh my god, MICHAELA!"
Click... Great she hung up on me. My best friend was captured by a gigantic raggedy Ann doll. Her worst nightmare. She didn’t like dolls much, and raggedy Ann was the creepiest to her.
"Aria the raggedy Ann doll got the Lombardi's!"
"Oh my god! I’m sorry Josh."
Then I realized that Michaela is a tough cookie and would never let anything happen to her family. I ran to the window again to see what was happening. Then my doppelganger was walking towards my house. He looked just like me only he was more evil, but there was something different about this particular toy, his knives were a lot more bigger than the others and he looked a lot stronger too. I'm still watching and the distance between him and the house got smaller and smaller. What do I do?
"Aria he's coming."
"The doppelganger!"
"Oh my god, what do we do?"
"I don't..." BANG! The toy smashed through the door. Aria screams at the top of her lungs. He starts to go after her.
"NO, STAY AWAY FROM HER!" I jump on his back and he lunges me at the wall. My head was spinning and my vision got blurry. I see the toy getting closer and closer. He looked even more taller through my blurry eyes. I see him pick his arm up. JAB! The knife pierces my side. "ARIA!" I manage to scream out. She never came? Where was she? The pain was searing and there was blood all over the knife and the floor. Oh yeah my hand was still bleeding. I go to put my hand on the wound on my side, OW! It burns. Everything is spinning and it started to get cold. Then I see him pick his arm up again. "No, Aria, Mom, anybody." I could barely get the words out. JAB! Right in the stomach. I started to taste blood. It got colder. Oh my god I'm going to die. My life started to flash before my eyes. When I was five I was verbally abused by my kindergarten teacher, she didn’t like me much. She always said I was a mistake to my parents. Then I was ten when I cut myself for the first time because I was beaten up in school for not following the crowd. Then I was suddenly sixteen again and Aria's face just popped in my head. Oh her beautiful green eyes and that beautiful black hair. Her adorable face and her adorable button nose. "Aria." This time I barely breathed it. He raises his arm again. NO please NO. He started to watch me like I was his accomplishment. Just staring at me with that evil little smile. He took a couple of steps back and started to chuckle. It sounded so sinister and evil that it sent a tingle down my spine. I could see, in peripheral vision, someone walking. Great, not another toy.BAM! Aria hits him in the head with an axe. Thank god, I thought i was a goner. He starts to spark and his glowing evil red eyes fade out. He falls on the floor next to me. Then...
"Joshy? Are you alive? Cutie, answer me."
I open my eyes ever so slightly to see Aria standing over me in my hospital bed. It smelled like germ-x and was very bright. I look around to see all the IV’s attached to my hands and arms. I look to the side of me and see that my gaping knife wound was sewed up. My stomach wound was just bandaged.
"Aria where were you?"
"I was getting the axe in the shed to save you, it was really heavy I'm sorry."
“Oh ok, where the hell was my mom when this was going on?”
“She was helping me get the axe. I’m really sorry.”
“Where the hell were my siblings?”
“Following orders like you told them.”
“SO, I almost died, they couldn’t help me?”
“They got too scared. I’m really sorry.”
“That’s alright.”
"Is he awake yet Aria?"
My mom peered through the door way. Along with five other heads.
"Yea he is, come on in."
The door opened and my mom and dad and four siblings come in.
"Hi Joshy, you feeling any better?"
"Yea I am."
"The doctor told us it will take some time for you to heal.”
“Yeah I figured that.” The lights were so bright in my room. I couldn’t clearly see through my squinted eyes.
“Hey mom can you shut these light off for me? They’re kind of bright and I can’t see.”
“Sure thing honey.”
"Ok no more visitors Josh needs to get his rest."
This really nice looking nurse walks in. She had a really nice smile and it reminded me of my grandma. She wasn’t like old, but around her forties and very thin. Just like my grandma. Only my grandmother was in her seventies. They all filed out of the room. It got lonely pretty fast. When everyone left I started to think to myself. Why did that toy look like me? It was rather odd because the scientist never knew me, plus I wasn’t alive at the time. A couple of days go by and I’m still in my lonely hospital room with nothing on me besides a hospital gown. It was quite breezy. I didn’t like it much, but I had to deal with it. My mother came up one of the days to just see me and talk to me.
"How are Michaela and her family mom?"
"They're good, Mrs. Lombardi told me that Michaela kicked the doll out the window and it ran away into the decrepit house."
"Oh Michaela, she's too funny. A huge smile went across my face. I knew Michaela wouldn’t let anything happen to her family. “Mom did you see that toy that almost killed me?"
"Oh my god yes I did. It looked just like..."
"Me, right?" I interrupted her.
"No just like your great great grandfather. He was the only child that slept and never did his work. So the men who watched the children as they worked, told the scientist to make one look just like him."
"Then what toy did he kill?"
"He killed the strongest one, the toy king. He looked like the rest just had a crown and a majestic cape. His red eyes and soul eating smile."
"How do you know this mom."
"Grandpa told me sweetie."
"They only come out at night and they are very strong, and they only go after the person who turned them. That person has to be within twenty feet of them and on the block in order for them to turn on. That’s why they haven’t come out.”
“Oh my god, are you serious? That’s insane, how did this guy figure this out? It was only the eighteen hundreds!”
“Honey, he was mad, who knows what he was capable of.”
“Oh yeah that’s right.”
“”Yeah well I have to go honey I’ll see you in a couple more days to pick you up, ok?”
“Ok, I love you.”
“I love you too Joshy, I’ll call you later, bye.”
“Bye Mom.” That night I had my first nightmare about this whole charade. I was running away from all the toys, but I couldn’t get away. They all ambushed me and killed me! I woke up screaming and to the nurses trying to calm me down. A couple days go by and it’s time to go home. Finally. That night after I came home my family made a plan. They know there’s no time to lose. I’m home and that night they were turning on to terrorize the neighborhood again. The plan was to destroy them before nightfall. Plan B was to just destroy them before they got into people’s houses. I asked my mom what they did to my doppelganger and she said they dissembled it and threw it into the junk yard. The plan was about to take effect. With the sun going down we knew what we had to do. We stood outside of 7 Emerald Avenue with our choice of weapons. Aria with her axe, Mom with prized meat mallet, Dad with his chainsaw, and me with my hammer. The sun was getting lower and lower, we all decided it was time to move. We started for the house with half the neighborhood watching us. We get inside by using mine and Aria’s entrance in the back of the house. All the toys were right back where we found them, but the machine was still running. This means that the toys were still on. Dad sees the raggedy Andy doll and chops it into pieces with his chainsaw. Aria whacks raggedy Ann in the face with the axe and just kept chopping her up. Mom hit the toy soldier in the stomach with a mallet and tore right through it. Pieces of metal and parts of these magnificent pieces of machinery went flying around the laboratory.
"Wow for eighteenth century technology these were made really well."
"Well Aria what do you expect the man was an evil genius, who knows what he was capable of."
"That’s true Joshy, but..."
THUD! They toy soldier's eyes flared up with a glowing red and started heading for Aria. "NO!" Too late he stabbed her in the leg. He picked her up and threw her. "NO, ARIA!" Then he went after my mom, but she ran out of the house. My dad went after the toy, but the toy got him in the stomach with the large butcher knife. Blood everywhere. My dad gripping his stomach like he had a belly ache and Aria gripping her leg like she just got a Charlie horse. Next was me. The toy turned around to see me. Stare down. I sized him up and he sized me up. "You stab my father, you stab the love of my life, you terrorize my neighborhood, and your friend stabs me two times! You’re going down!" I run towards him with my hammer reminding me of my great great grandfather. Not paying attention he stabs right in my side again. I go down. He stabs me again in my stomach. Here we go again. The taste of blood in my mouth. It’s rolling down my cheek now. The pain is so bad. I start coughing up blood. My lungs are burning. The burning cold sensation. The blurriness and the dizziness. It’s unstoppable. I try and get the strength to hit him, but I couldn’t do it. He starts to look at me and tits his head a little to the left, then back to the right. This crazy thing is insane. BAM! I get the strength and throw the hammer straight into the toys head. Its eyes fade out and it’s sparking. It collapses onto the floor. Almost hitting me, but I kick it to the side. I'm saved again, only this time I do it myself. The next day would be Christmas and all would be joyous, only I'm spending it with my injured girlfriend and father in the hospital. My mom and Aria's mom brought up all the presents and my siblings. That story was in my family for generations. That curse was in our family and I lifted it off of us. Instead of being the family with the crazy past, we are now known as the family that saved Emerald Avenue from hell. That was my Christmas of twenty ten.

Submitted: November 06, 2010

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