Voo Doo Doll

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Fantasy


Steven Gary Schlussel is a musician and songwriter from San Jose, Calilfornia. Recently he decided to expand from 3 verses and a chorus into the short story form. This is his first completed
effort. Enjoy!

Submitted: February 12, 2018

A A A | A A A

Submitted: February 12, 2018

A A A

A A A


“She’s Perfect”

I shook my head at my old buddy Saul.  How many times have I heard this before?

“I’m sure she is” I said.  “But what are you going to do about it?”

“I’m gonna do something Doug – I don’t know what yet, but I can’t let her pass me by.  I can’t.”

As much as he’s my good friend, Saul is not the type of guy you’d figure to capture the heart of “the perfect woman”. A nice guy but never perfect himself, and now Mid-50s, balding, with an expanding paunch and a contracting wallet, a stereotype accountant.I hate to say it but his best years are behind him.

“Did I show you her picture?” – He pulled out his cell phone to show me the latest pics he’d taken as she walked from her car to her office.  It’s not stalking – not yet.

Not that I could blame him – she was pretty perfect.  Tall and slender, waves of raven-black hair and eyes that could melt a man at 50 paces.  You’d have to be very gay or very dead to not want her.

“This isn’t doing you any good you know”

“I know.  But I can’t help myself.  I mean, she should have guys lined up around the block…”

“But according to you, she doesn’t”.

“No…”

“So what. Are. You. Going. To. Do.”

Well, you’re gonna think I’m crazy”

“Saul, that’s a given”

“Yeah, I guess so” he chuckled.  “But hear me out before you call for the men in the white coats”

“Oookaaayy…”

“I found this witch doctor..”

“SAUL FOR CRYIN OUT LOUD!!”

“Doug you promised you’d hear me out!”

I tried to calm myself but now I was getting worried.  Has Saul really gone round the bend?  Witch Doctor?!?  Okay, let him talk and maybe he’ll hear how crazy he sounds.

“Are you listening?  Okay. Like I said, there’s this witch doctor. It sounds crazy I know but he seems to be the real deal.  How’s this for weird – He walks into my office – looking like a regular guy, hands me his card and says “I can help you with your problem” – I only got one problem Doug!  “Come see me tomorrow, and by the end of the day she will love you forever”. 

“Saul, it’s a scam” I say to him gently.  “You’re pretty obvious.  You’ve been mooning over this girl for weeks.  Everyone knows.  And you’re just desperate enough – and obviously crazy enough - to give him everything you’ve got.  Uh-uh.  Not on my watch.”

“Listen Doug, he only wants $500.  It’s worth it to me.  What have I really got to lose?  I don’t have anything else to spend my money on.”

“Do you even have Five Hundred?”

“Sure!  What you think I’m a pauper!?”

Funny how he always sound more Jewish when he talks about money.

“Look, if you’re going to do this, at least let me come with you.  He’s probably going to soak you for ten times that much once he gets you where he wants you.”

“Great Doug, I was hoping you’d come along.  I want you to see this”.

 

2.

I suppose I was expecting a barefoot guy dressed weeds with wild hair and a bone in his nose.  Witch Doctor, right?  But we reached the address and found a nondescript office in a nondescript building and behind a nondescript desk a fairly nondescript old man.Close cropped hair, tan suit with a violet tie.  No, not what I expected.

“Hello Saul. Ah, and you must be Doug.  Welcome both of you. Please sit.”

“How ‘bout THAT” Saul whispered to me. “I didn’t say anything about a friend named Doug.  He just KNOWS things!”

“Poor Saul” I thought as I shook my head.

“Did you bring me what I asked?” said the “doctor”

“Yes, Yes- Saul started to pull out his walled.

“No, not the money…”

“Oh!  Oh, yes, yes I did” and Saul reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a little baggie.  Inside the baggie was a single strand of raven-black hair.

“You gotta be kidding me” I said. How cliché’! Then it hit me. 

“You gonna tell me how you got that?” I asked

“No, no I don’t think so” muttered Saul

He handed the strand of hair to the doctor – he still hadn’t mentioned his name and I got the idea that I would probably never know it – who placed it in the middle of his barren desk.  Then he reached into a desk drawer and pulled out a small straw doll.  Pulling the hair out of the baggie, he wrapped it skillfully in and around the doll. 

Saul was transfixed.  I’d never seen him so intent on anything in his life.  A Voo Doo Doll.  Jeezus.

The doctor swiveled his chair away from us, toward the wall behind him, and lit a joss stick which was jutting from its wall holder.  We could see his hand waving the smoke around the doll while he muttered something unintelligible in whatever language such things were done. 

When he turned around, the doll had become longer and more slender.  The strand had grown to a thick head of hair. And the eyes…..

“There, it is done” said the doctor, and he smiled as he handed the doll to Saul.  “Go to her and be happy.

“What – what-what do I do now?!?” Saul stammered.

“Things will work out. You will see.  But put the doll somewhere safe and never let her know of it”.

Saul almost giggled. “Right, right, right”.  Saul reached back again for his wallet.

“No, do not pay me yet.  Wait until you see I have not deceived you.  Then you will return and pay me whatever you think it is worth”

Now that shocked me.  And worried me.Is the girl in on it?  If she is and she comes around, Saul will probably give the guy everything he owns and five times more.  This is not good. Time for me to be the good friend.

I grabbed Saul’s wallet out of his receding hand “No, Saul’s going to pay you right now, just as he agreed. And he won’t be back.”

The Doctor smiled. “I understand.  You are a good friend, Doug.  I know you feel you are protecting him. But I assure you he has nothing to fear from me”.

The doctor took the bills I extended to him and put them in his pocket, not bothering to count them.

The Doctor extended his hands as in a blessing “May this day bring you good fortune”.  Then he turned and walked out a back door I hadn’t noticed before.

Saul stood there, staring at the doll.  And stood there. Staring.

“C’mon Saul, let’s go” I said, and dragged him out the door.

 

3.

I had to keep the phone 3 feet from my ear.  I knew it was Saul but other than that the wild caterwauling sounds didn’t seem to have any connection to any language I’ve ever heard.

“Chill, buddy, chill!!  Slow. Down!  Take a breath!!  I continued in this manner for some time until hyperventilation got the better of him. 

“Oh my GOD Doug!  It worked!  It worked!  It WORKED!!”

He could only mean one thing.  Oh God, she IS in on it.

“All right Saul.  Deep breaths.  Now, tell me what happened”

“It was just like he said.  It just HAPPENED!”

“What happened, Saul”

He was starting to hyperventilate again and I started wondering if he had a heart condition he hadn’t told me about. No, I’m afraid I already know all about his heart condition.

“I was sitting at the bus stop, where I always sit to watch her walk to her office” (Yeah, I give, he’s stalking her) and suddenly, she stopped, turned to stare straight at me, smiled and walked over!”  SHE walked over to ME!  ME!!”

My heart sank.  This is gonna kill him.  They’ll take all his money and leave him worse than dead.

“So I stood up and she walked over and smiled and said ‘I could have you arrested you know’.  I held my breath, I didn’t know what to say.  And then she said “you should have said something long ago.  I’m Serena.”

“Then she gave me her hand.  I held her HAND Doug!!!”

“Oh rapture”

“Don’t do that!  Don’t you dare do that!”

“I’m sorry Saul.  Then what happened?”

“I finally managed to spit out my name.  She laughed. “That’s just the name I thought you’d have.  It fits you well.Saul.  Nice to meet you.”

“I continued to stand there not knowing what to do.  This can’t be happening! No, it really IS happening.  I must be dreaming!’

“Come on Saul, don’t make me do all the work!  Don’t you want to ask me something?”

“I – I – I – yes, of course – yes, I do – I – you- we – “

“Yes, I’ll have dinner.  See you when I get off work – around 6?”

 

4.

I don’t believe it.  I just don’t believe it. I’m looking at it right here in black and white and I still don’t believe it. 

A wedding invitation.  Saul and Serena.  A wedding invitation! 

Well God damn. 

I have to admit this did not go the way I thought it would.  As the days rolled into weeks and months and the scam never reared its ugly head, I had to come to the inescapable conclusion that the old Witch Doctor had delivered. Saul was deliriously happy.  She turned out to be everything he had envisioned and she seemed to be just as happy.  The improbable couple was certainly a sight to behold.The reaction to their arrival always followed the same pattern.  “WHO is that BEAUTIFUL woman?  And what does she see in HIM?”  Little did they know and how shocked they would be if they did. 

Saul had bought a small safe in which to keep the doll.  The safe was embedded in the floor underneath the sofa in his living room.  Sometimes late at night he’d move the sofa, open the safe and pull out the doll, just to be sure it was still there.  Leaving the lights off, so nobody would see, he’d touch the dark hair, bless the good Doctor, then replace it in its hiding place.

They should live and be well.  Mazel Tov.

 

5.

SERENA

Serena sat at her dressing table, combing her long black hair.  She knew Saul loved her hair, so she continued brushing to bring out the shine.

“I still can’t believe you’re doing this” said her sister Belle.  “What do you SEE in this guy?”

“Darling B, until you’re in love, you will never understand and I will not be able to explain it to you”

“I know, that’s what you keep telling me.  But why HIM?  You could do so much better!”

“Love conquers all, B – what’s better than that?”

“Well, youth, looks, wealth, personality, charm – for starters!”

Serena sighed, but smiled at her older sister.  Always looking out for her, she knew she meant well.  “Love is blind, haven’t you ever heard that?”

“Boy it sure is this time!”

Serena threw her brush at Belle, being very careful to miss her by just a bit less than normal.  “Now just stop, that’s your almost-brother-in-law you’re talking about!”

“Oh, all right. I just want you to be happy, ‘Reens’.Belle jumped into Serena’s lap and held her face in her hands, fixing Serena with a serious gaze.  “Does he really make you happy?”

“Yes he really does”

Belle smiled and hugged her baby sister “Then I’m happy too” 

“Thank you” Serena said, choking back a tear.  They’d been together all her life, now Serena was breaking their bond for a new adventure.  One she never expected to have. 

Belle got serious again – “Have you told him?”

Serena stared blankly at her sister.

“No, you haven’t!  You haven’t told him!”

“Well, no, not yet, I’ve been waiting for the right time…”

“Serena Haversham Bancroft!”  Now Belle was really getting serious.

“I know, sister, I know.  But how do I do this?  I’ve never had to tell anyone before!”

“Yeah, well you’re the one who decided to marry a mundane.”

“I did not choose this, the fates chose him for me.  How else would you explain it?  For weeks I saw this silly little old man staring at me, taking pictures of me when he thought I wasn’t looking.  I was about to cast a warding spell on him when suddenly I changed my mind and wondered what sort of fellow he was.  I as much as asked myself out for him!  And lo and behold, I found myself falling for him.”

“And he still doesn’t know he’s marrying a witch.  Don’t you think that might be important to him?”

“Honestly, B, I really don’t think he’d care if I told him I was a space alien”

“No, he’s totally smitten.  You didn’t help that along, did you?”

Serena dragged her sister over to stand them in front of her full-length mirror “Since when have we ever needed such ‘help’?  Belle and Serena smiled knowingly at their reflections.  A touch shorter, a bit more voluptuous, with  auburn hair and those same eyes, Belle was well aware that neither she nor her sister ever needed any of the love spells they’d been taught. 

“ But then….”

Belle laughed “What Reens?”

“I am getting older”

“What in all souls are you talking about!? We don’t get older unless we choose to!”

“Yes but I will be getting older.  I’m going to be living in the mundane world, I’m going to have to age.”

“Why, sister, why?”

“Because I’m not going to tell him”

“Oh, please don’t do this to yourself”

“I’ve decided.  I think he worries sometimes about my commitment to him.  Such a revelation would cause him even more strife.  No, I don’t need to tell him.  I won’t tell him, not unless I absolutely have to.  Maybe when we’re married a while and he’s sure of his place in my heart.” 

“Serena, I hope you know what you’re doing.”

Serena sighed.  “Yes, me too”.

 

6.

The wedding was a small affair.  Serena’s sister Belle was her witness, Doug stood for Saul, there were a few other friends and a couple cousins on Saul’s side.  Serena’s family and friends were not terribly happy with her decision to marry outside the coven and she had to make some excuses but if Saul wondered about that, he didn’t show it.  He was marrying the most perfect woman in the world and that was all he cared about.  Early that morning he opened his safe to check on the doll. Still in place.  Still as it was.  As it ever would be for as long as they both shall live.

 

7.

DOUG

I dropped by Saul’s office one afternoon about three months after the wedding.  I hadn’t seen him at all.  Typical newlywed, his new bride was his universe and nothing else mattered. 

“Doug, hey, how are you!?”

Saul looked great.  He was beaming.  His voice seemed stronger and deeper. He might have even lost some weight and I could swear some of his hair was growing back.  Married life definitely suited him.

“I’m just fine.  You seem well.”

“Never been better.  Never. Ever.” He smiled broadly with a glint in his eye.  I left it at that, I didn’t need details.

“That’s wonderful, Saul, just wonderful.  I’m really happy for you buddy.”

“Thanks Doug, you should only have the same happiness I have someday”

“Thanks, I appreciate that.”

“Doug we’ll have to have you over for dinner some night.  I’m sure Serena would like to see you too.”

“Thanks Saul, any time”.

 

7.

“You’ve been fixing him, haven’t you?”

Serena smiled sheepishly at Belle “Well, a little bit, yes”.

“Has he noticed his hair is growing back?That he’s losing weight?  That he’s grown an inch or two?”

“I’m not sure.  Maybe.  I suppose so” Serena giggled.  “I mean, I know he worries about his appearance so why not make him happy?”

“Because maybe he’s going to figure out something is different about his wife that she hasn’t told him about?”

“Oh, don’t be silly.  How would he possibly connect his regeneration to a magic spell?  He doesn’t believe in magic so how would he even begin to guess?”

“Well, just be careful”

“Besides, I’ve done something else.Something to ensure it won’t matter”

“Whaaat…?”

“Well, it was sort of a love spell, but not really, just sort of a nudge”

“What for?  If the guy were any more crazy about you he’d be in a straight jacket!”

“I don’t know.  For some reason I started to worry.  It makes no sense I know but I started getting a little on edge.  Maybe because I’m improving him perhaps he’ll think he can do better.”

 Don’t give me any false humility, nobody’s going to do much better than you and you know it!”

“Yes, you’re right, B.  You are right. But what’s done is done.  It’s just a simple little spell.  It simply tells him he can’t live without me.  It doesn’t really change how he feels, it just compels him to keep feeling that way.”

“Under penalty of death”

“Something like that”

“Sister, you are so strange”

“Belle”?

“Yes”

“How did you know about those extra inches?”

Belle gaped, smiled, raised one eyebrow.“I was talking about his height but..”

“Well” Serena giggled “I improved him for my benefit too!”

 

8.

Saul sat in the dark, staring at the doll.

  Shortly after the wedding, Saul and Serena had moved into a 2-story house in the suburbs.  It took some doing but Saul had managed to put his safe in under the sofa without Serena’s knowledge.  Sometimes while she was sleeping upstairs he would come down to ensure his magic doll was still there.  It was a good thing that somehow he seemed stronger, because he needed all his care and control to move the sofa quietly enough to keep Serena from waking up. 

He sat in the darkness, feeling the straw figure in his hands.  Thanking God again for this blessing. 

Is it blasphemous to thank God for a Voodoo doll?  Saul hoped not.  But he really didn’t care.  Whatever awaited him on the other side, he was in heaven now.  With the woman of his dreams. The one he couldn’t live without. 

What would happen to him if she was suddenly gone?

The thought struck him in the chest like a heart attack.  He has always assumed he would die first.  But I’m feeling stronger every day. Must be the new vitamins she got for me.  For some reason tonight the thought of her preceding him in death brought panic like he’d never felt.  What would he do?  How would he possibly survive?

What if the voo doo spell wears off?  He clutched the straw figure.  Does this thing last forever?I never asked!!  What if it doesn’t?!?!

He calmed himself down. Don’t do this to yourself.  We have tonight, tomorrow and many tomorrows to come.  No need to worry! 

Saul replaced the doll in its safe and went upstairs to hold his wife.

 

9.

Saul couldn’t help himself.  He walked downtown to the address he’d visited only once.  The building was locked tight.  There was no sign of anyone there.  Saul looked through the glass door and saw nothing but a vacant room.  It felt strangely like there had been nobody there for a long time.  He never knew the Doctor’s name.A google search for local Witch Doctors was to no avail.  Saul was certain that if the Doctor did not want to be found, there would be no way in heaven or hell for Saul to find him. 

 

10.

“Why am I worried, Belle?”

“Reens I have no idea.  Why are you worried? And what are you worried about? You still haven’t told me”

“Saul”

“Now that is ridiculous.”

“I know. That’s what worries me”

“You’re worried that you’re worried.  You are strange, sister”

“I know.  I just go round and round.  I know he loves me but sometimes I get worried that he’ll change his mind.  I know he won’t. I know he can’t. I- I made sure of that.  So there’s no need for me to worry, yet I do all the same.”

 Belle and Serena were sitting up in the room they shared so much of their lives.  Once Serena left, Belle had made it her own but there were still talismans of their shared life before Serena’s marriage.  A matched pair of shrunken heads.  Twin sets of candles they’ used for their first incantations. Belle kept these of course because Serena would have had to explain them to Saul, which she was still unwilling to do.

“If I were you, I would stop worrying.  It’s giving you wrinkles!”

Serena laughed “No it’s not!”  “Wait, no, really?” She ran over to the nightstand and looked in the mirror, closely searching for what might be the beginnings of a line on her perfect face.

“Just stop it!” Serena laughed and threw a pillow at her sister.  Belle returned the volley and soon they were pelting each other and laughing like they had as children.

Suddenly Serena disengaged from the pillow fight.Standing and backing slowly away from Belle, her eyes went wide and her jaw dropped.

“It’s you, isn’t it.”

“It’s me, what?” said  Belle.

“You’re after my Saul”

Too stunned for words, Belle gaped.

“You would know the spells I use.  You would know how to avoid my wardings.  Only you could work behind my back without my knowing.  You’ve been admiring  him. You’ve liked the changes I’ve made.  You’ve said so!And now you want him for yourself!”

“Stop it Serena, Stop it! How could you accuse me of this?  How could you!!” 

“No wonder you don’t want me to worry!  You don’t want me to find out what you’ve been doing!  It’s not his fault, it’s all YOU!” 

Serena threw a hex.  Belle warded it off.  Serena lunged at Belle, who cast her across the room.  Serena’s head hit the wall and she wiped a drop of blood from where she’d bit her lip.

‘I’LL TEACH YOU, BITCH Serena shouted and cast the most dire curse she could think of. Belle dodged under the curse and slapped Serena as hard as she could.  Again. And Again.

“STOP, SERENA!! STOP!! STOP NOW!! STOP!!  And again. And again.

Belle convulsed in sobs and collapsed on the semi-conscious Serena. She stayed there holding her until Serena slowly put her arms around her big sister and held her tight.

“I’m so sorry,  B, I’m so sorry.” She sobbed. “I’m so sorry I don’t know what came over me I’m so sorry so sorry…”

 

11.

“I’m worried Doug”

Here it comes again.

“What about, Saul?”

“I’m worried about Serena”

“Why, just because any guy on the planet would give his left nut for just one hour with her and you’re a fat, balding middle-aged accountant?

“Stop it, Doug, I’m serious.  Yes all that!  Don’t you think I know all that?  Don’t you think I know my life depends on a bit of straw and a strand of hair?  So what if the doll wears off?What if it gets old?  Straw gets old! What if it falls apart?  What if there’s an expiration date I don’t know about?  I never asked.  WHY DIDN’T I ASK?”

“Quit winding yourself up, please.  I’ve been hearing this for weeks now.  Why so worried all of a sudden?  Is there something wrong?  Has there been some change?”

“Not really. Well yes, she seems more – preoccupied somehow. Sometimes she looks at me and she looks, I don’t know… worried.”

“Maybe she’s concerned you’ll leave her.” 

What?!?  Never!  You know that!  She knows that! I couldn’t! Ever! 

“I know that, you know that, she knows that, and that’s my point!  Stop worrying!  You’re the most in-love idiot I’ve ever seen and she’s got an unbreakable magic spell cast on her so stop worrying!

“How do you know it’s unbreakable?”

“What – it’s unbreakable, right?  Otherwise why would she still be here?”

“Did you try?  Did you try to break it?”

“What?  Are you crazy?”

“You did!  You did try!  That’s how you know it’s unbreakable!  You found the Doctor and you tried to break the Doll’s spell!”

“Saul, you’re choking me!”

“I couldn’t find the doctor, but somehow you did!  You’ve always been jealous!  You didn’t think it would work, but when it did you were jealous and now you tried to take her away from me!”

“Saul stop!  Please! STOP”

I broke his choke hold and punched him in the face as hard as I could.

Saul fell back onto the pavement.  Good thing we were sitting outside at the coffee shop or there would have been a lot more broken scenery.

Saul lay there dazed.  He daintily touched the rising bruise on his cheek.  I clocked him pretty good.

He looked at me abashedly.  “Doug, I – I”

“Yeah, I know.  It’s ok.  Please stop worrying.”  I took a couple steps away then turned.  “And get some ice for that.”

 

12.

Saul sat quietly at the dinner table.  He was worried.  But not about Serena.  Now he was worried about himself.  In a jealous rage he had tried to kill his best friend.  All the things he said, all the accusations.  Saul knew none of them were true.  Where did they come from?  What had gotten hold of him?  He was not a violent man.  Far from it.  If anything he’d be considered meek, almost cowardly.  And yet there he was, choking the life out of Doug.  What was going on? 

The Doll.  Somehow it must have something to do with the doll.  It’s the only explanation.  What else would cause me to behave that way?  Could there be unintended consequences of a spell that carried on as long as this one did?  Could it be having an effect on me?

I’m going to have to tell her.  It will mean the end of us I know but I’ll be no good to her insane or in prison.  Or dead myself.  Who knows what it might drive me to?  I’ll have to tell her.

 

13.

Serena sat quietly at the dinner table.  She was worried.  In a jealous rage I attacked her sister.  My very own beloved Belle!  I could have killed her!  What has come over me?  What sort of madness is this?  This is not me! 

Could it be the spell I cast on Saul?  Could there be some unintended consequences?  I’d never heard of such a thing, but what other explanation could there be? 

I’m going to have to tell him who I am and what I’ve done.  I don’t know how he’ll take it, but I can’t go on this way.  Who knows what might happen – if I go off on a mundane that would be the end of her in seconds.  I could turn her into a cockroach and squash her like the miserable conniving bug that she is! Why I’d…. Oh dear there I go and there’s nobody even there!  Yes I’m going to have to tell him.

 

14.

“Serena, darling..”

“Saul, I…”

“There’s something I’d… like to … talk to you about…”

“Oh…. All right, well, there’s something….”

Saul jumped up. “Would you like to  - take a walk?”  Somehow I’ve got to do this, maybe being outside where I can run if I need to…

“All right” – Yes the night air might help me keep a clear head.

With their thoughts racing, they casually walked into the hot evening.  Summertime was brutal that year and the air conditioning was going full blast in the house.  Not surprising then when the A/C unit overheated.  But when the circuit breaker failed the explosion was quite startling.

They were just barely a few feet from the door when they not so much heard, but felt the explosion.  They turned to see their house rapidly going up in flames. 

Serena was just about to cast a dousing spell when she was pulled away from the fire by her gallant husband. 

She couldn’t cast a spell now.  The whole town would know!  The whole world would know!  That she couldn’t do. So they stood on the street.

In the living room, under the sofa, a metal box, guaranteed to be fireproof, kept out the fire, but not the heat.  Surely and slowly, a straw figure shriveled, and a strand of raven hair began to evaporate. 

Saul stood by his beloved wife.  His panic gave way to hope which quickly dissolved along with that strand.  He watched is wife as emotions played upon her face.  Shock. Confusion. Awareness. Denial. Rage. And finally the cold bitterness.

He knew he’d lost her.  For now and forever.  She turned to him in vindictive fury and slightly nodded.  Yes.  She stood and watched in brutal satisfaction as he slowly walked into the burning ruins.

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© Copyright 2018 Steven Gary Schlussel. All rights reserved.

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