I can hear her scratching at my bedroom door. She moans, as if her soul is coming out of her little body. The screeching, as if her
wrists were being cut, not by her own will. She tries to peer though the key hole by my fancy door knob. She pulls, trying to pry my heavy, wooden door, with her little delicate fingers. How did I
get myself into this? Why must I investigate everything that seems out of the ordinary? My name is Samantha Ren, and this is my story...
It all started when I was about seven or eight. It was my birthday. My Aunt Milly decided to invite me to stay at her house for a whole week. I was so excited. Lizzy, my aunt's stepdaughter, and I never really got along. But in my aunt's eyes, we were a perfect set of best friends. As you could probably tell, Lizzy wasn't too fond of me coming either. She had two choices at this point; become my favourite cousin, or make my week a living hell. She apparently chose living hell.
As the days went by, the numbers on my countdown until the trip changed to single digits. Finally all of my dreaded waiting was over. My mum drove me to my aunt's house. After a failed attempt at insisting that she get home to make my father and brother dinner, my mum sat down on my aunt's new blue couch with a cup of tea and a scone. My aunt argued with Lizzy about my sharing a room with her, and finally gave up and offered the guest bedroom for me to stay in. My mother insisted that I would be too scared to sleep for 6 nights by myself, but I wanted to be treated as if I was older like Lizzy and I said that I would be fine. After my mother FINALLY left, we had dinner and I went upstairs to get changed in my pj's. As I was changing, I heard a noise coming from a locked drawer on my aunt's dresser. I tried to open it but discovered that it was locked. I decided not to worry about it and to forget about it. Little did I know that this would be now impossible. My fate was already sealed.
As the sleepless hours passed by, I realized that I wasn't as brave as I thought. I found that I truly was too scared to sleep by myself for one night, let alone six nights. I finally found enough courage to close my eyes and then I fell asleep. The next morning I calmly announced to my aunt that I wasn't alright with sleeping by myself in the guest bedroom. She offered to let me to sleep down stairs on the couch, if that would help, or for me to sleep with her and my Uncle Sam, or my mother could come and stay with us, or I could go home and forfeit the rest of the visit. Unfortunately, Lizzy overheard our conversation and started to tease me with name calling and she called me a chicken and a baby. Tears started to fall from my face down onto the hardwood floor of the kitchen but then my aunt calmed me down and scolded Lizzy. She soon started to cry too. Her mother sent her up to her room. As Lizzy ran up the stairs, she turned around and yelled "You better hope that Clair doesn't follow you home, even though it's already too late, she has already chosen you," she told me. She disappeared into the upper level of the house.
I asked my aunt who Clair was. She sat me down, on one of the bar stools by the island in the middle of the gigantic kitchen and started her story. She explained that Clair was her great grandmother's china doll. "When my great-grandmother died , Clair was passed down to my grandmother, then to my mum and then on my 10th birthday, to me. When your uncle Sam and I got married, I gave the doll to Lizzy for her 10th birthday. When she first got it, she loved it. She wouldn't go anywhere without Clair." She said. I asked if my mother knew about Clair, and she said yes. "She does know about Clair, but doesn't like to talk about her. She thinks that old china dolls are creepy. That's why I got Clair from our mother instead of her. She was supposed to get it, for she is the oldest, but she insisted that I would enjoy her more then she would. She was right."
I decided that I would call my mum and ask her if she could come and pick me up to take me home. "Maybe you'll feel better about staying longer when your older Sammy?" I nodded as I agreed with my aunt. As usual, my mother was running late in picking me up, and then we stayed for dinner after insisting that we must get home. After dinner, I went upstairs to the guest bedroom to get my bags. When I first entered the room I could feel that something was wrong but I couldn't put my finger on what it was. I opened the closet to take out my clothes and was startled to see the old china doll sitting on top of my luggage. I was so scared. I could have sworn that I saw her blink. I just figured that Lizzy was trying to scare me by putting her there. I tried not to think about it and grabbed my bag and closed the closet door. Just before I left the room, I noticed that the locked drawer on the dresser was ajar. Despite my curiosity I decided not to worry about it, and clattered down the stairs to meet my mother and aunt.
I must have looked a little shaken up, because when I came down stairs, all eyes were focused on me. My mother came up beside me and asked, "Are you alright Honey, you look startled." "I...I'm fine, just a little jumpy thats all." "I don't blame you for being a little scared about that creepy old doll. That thing still creeps me out." I smiled at my mother's attempt at humour. I love my mother so much and she is the smartest, most successful woman that I know, but when it comes to joking...she's as dumb as a doorknob. After saying our goodbyes, I realized that I had forgotten my teddy bear Charlie up in the guest room. My mother must have noticed my frantic looking through my things, because she asked "Did you forget something?" "Yes, I forgot to get Charlie off the bed...I could have sworn that I picked him up when I left the room ,Mum." "Would you like me to go get it for you?" She asked gently. "No, its OK. I'll go get him myself. I am a big girl now Mum...Gosh." I smiled and ran up the stairs, charged into the guest room and screamed.
"How...who...what?" I stood there sobbing and had tears running down my face stuttering my shock. I could hear two sets of footsteps racing up the stairs. My mother and aunt burst though the door. "What happened?" They both said in unison. "Oh my." My mother whispered as she looked to the same spot on the bed that I was staring at. "Who would do something like this?" She turned and asked my aunt. On top of the bed sheets, lay my teddy bear, shredded into big chunks, scattered all around the bed. We all suspected that the "shredding utensil" was the old silver letter opener stuck into the head of the bed. "Lizzy!!!" My aunt yelled at the top of her lungs, while running out of the room to go fetch her from her hiding spot. The longer I stood there looking at the shredded version of Charlie, the bigger my globs of tears were. I couldn't figure out why someone would do something like this. I had certainly had enough of this visit away and I wanted to go home as soon as possible. Five minutes later my aunt emerged from the hallway with Lizzy straggling along behind her. "Can you explain this to us Lizzy?" asked my aunt in rage. "Oh...that. I know something about it...or about who did it anyway...but you wont believe me...you never do." Answered Lizzy through the big smirk that was spreading across her face. "Don't you dare smile Lizzy. What you did was wrong." Said my mother. "What did I do?" We all looked at her in disbelief as if she had just claimed to have experienced an alien invasion in the backyard. "What? I didn't do that!" she said shocked and hurt by the fact that we ALL thought that she had committed this horrible act. “Its OK Sweetie. I know you loved him, but we can get you a new one.” Said my mother. “Let us just go home.”
When we got home, we pretended like nothing had happened. My father had asked what was wrong, and my mother told him what happened. After a while, I didn't miss Charlie as much. I got a new teddy bear, but he was never the same. Years passed and I had forgotten about my aunt's house, and everything that had happened in it including Clair. I am now 14 , today going on 15. All of my family came over after my friends had left. My aunt came but not my uncle nor Lizzy. Lizzy had recently been sent to a detention centre for shoplifting, and my aunt and uncle were no longer together. My aunt handed me a gift. “Lizzy picked it out for you. I hope you like it.” She smiled at me. I ripped off the pink and lime green wrapping paper and opened the cardboard box, inside was a little china doll. “Oh, so beautiful. Thank you very much.” I hugged and kissed my aunt. After everyone had left after the party, I sat down in my bedroom on my bed searching though my gifts. I picked up the lovely little china doll. She was no larger than a foot, with her long royal blue ball gown, silky blond hair, and luscious red lips against her pale, freckled face. There was a tag attached to her sleeve inscribed with the name “Claudette”. “What a charming name.” I said while stroking my hand through her hair. “I think I will put you up here.” I placed her in the middle of a wooden shelf that was attached to my wall. When it happened I thought I was seeing things. I could have sworn I saw her blink. “Wow, I must be going nuts.” I shook it off , got into my nightie, and climbed into bed. I had many bad dreams that night. I dreamt about Clair. It had been so long since I thought about her, about that birthday, that at first I thought it was just a nightmare. Boy was I wrong. I was awakened around 3:00am by the sound of something hitting the floor...or falling down the stairs. I got up quickly and ran out of my room with my flashlight. Apparently my parents never heard the noise, because when I peeked into their room, they were still sound asleep...at least I thought they were. I ran to the top of the stairway and shone the flashlight down to the foot of it. At first I didn't see anything, but then I saw a little piece of paper. As I breathlessly crept down the stairs, I could hear noises in the kitchen. What could it be? I thought to myself. I got to the bottom of the stairway and picked up the small paper. It was the tag from Claudette's sleeve. How did this get down here? Then everything went black. I must have been hit on the head with a blunt heavy object. I awoke about an hour later. I was lying face down on the floor of the kitchen. I looked up and I could believe my eyes. I saw Claudette standing on the top of the counter with my mothers chef's knife in her hand smiling down at me. I was so terrified. I scrambled to my feet and ran up the stairs to my parents room. When I got there, I closed and locked the door behind me. I reached out to my father, who I thought was sleeping. When I touched his neck, he was stone cold. I searched for a pulse, I did take a safety course at the hospital and all, and I couldn't find one. He was dead. I couldn't believe it. I ran over to the other side of the bed to my mother. She was gone too. I saw the stab wounds now in both of their chest, that had bled through the blankets on the bed. I didn't know what to do, until I remembered the bathroom. There was a bathroom the you could enter in my parents room that lead to mine. That bathroom was my only hope. I didn't know if Claudette had figured that out yet, but that was a chance that I had to take. I ran as fast, but as quietly as I could to the bathroom door. I opened it slowly, she wasn't there. Thank goodness. I ran in, closed and locked the door behind me and stood at the other door, leading to my bedroom. I put my ear up to the door. There was nothing but silence. I had to go in there, there was no other hope. I ran in and locked the door behind me. My bedroom door was still wide open from when I first walked out. I ran to it and closed and locked it. I guess she heard me. I took my dresser and chair and blocked the door. I jumped onto by bed and started to pray. There was nothing else I could do. I guess we are now back to where we started. She pried the door open and jumped up on my furniture, with knife in hand. I frantically turned around to find something to defend myself with. A lighter, perfect. In secret I had recently started to smoke in my room, and I had my friend's lighter on my bedside table. I grabbed it, took a piece of card stock from the pad and flicked the switch. I did this about three more times, throwing each fire ball in different directions of my room. The window, the rug, my bed. I opened my window and jumped down. Luckily the swimming pool was right under me. There was a fall, splash, crack and scream...then nothing.
Everything was very blurry. I could feel myself drift to the bottom of the pool. I used some of my remaining energy to open my eyes. They stung. Everything was red, I must be bleeding more then I first realized. I needed air. I allowed my body to drift up to the surface. I pulled my head up, and grabbed the wound. I pulled my hand back to look at it. It was covered in red liquid. I looked up. I have expected to see Claudette standing there...but no. On the edge of the pool sat Lizzy. I didn't have enough energy to even think, let alone question her. She didn't say anything to me. She pivoted her body to grab a black duffel bag. She dove her hand into it, and out emerged Clair. She seamed to look happier or maybe just more doll like then I remembered. Then Lizzy reached into her pocket and pulled out a small brown pouch. She untied the rope that was keeping it enclosed, and took out a pinch. She set down Clair on her feet and sprinkled the shimmery, sweet smelling dust on top or her and around her murmuring something I couldn't make out. Then she blinked, Clair I mean. She blinked. Lizzy nudged her forward and Clair dove into the pool. She started to swim to me. I couldn't get away. When she got to my motionless body, she climbed onto my back, and whispered “I'm sorry.”. She pushed my head downward and I drowned. As I was floating down to the bottom one last time, I saw the tag that read “Claudette.”.
© Copyright 2017 Joy Evans. All rights reserved.
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