Lori Pinich closed her eyes and sighed deeply. Her hands gently squeezed at the black purse in her left hand, when the autumn air blew past her face. She held her breath and knocked on the eight foot wooden door, a bit startled at the loud noise it made. Why wouldn't she be a bit startled? One look around would scare off anyone. The front yard didn't show any sight of green and all of the trees were shriveled. One turned eerily to the side, just scratching at a broken window near the top of the house. Lori narrowed her eyes when the wind picked up and a black leaf floated to her feet. Before, she got a chance to bend down and pick it up the door opened.
"Hi, you must be Ms. Pinich the new babysitter for my daughter Alicia! I am Mrs. Socutore." a relatively young woman said. "Come in," she said opening the door. Lori smiled weakly when the door made a loud creaking noise. But, her eyes grew wider from the beauty that showed from the inside. It wasn't nearly as old as the outside with the white peeling, paint with black splotches.
Lori awed. "You can't judge a book by its cover," she whispered outloud, while taking a step into the house. She stopped briefly to look back on the old wooden porch at the black leaf, but it was gone.
"Ms. Pinich I am happy that you could baby-sit today." Mrs. Socutore said, closing the door. "I have a job interview and I really needed to attend it."
"I really need the money, so it isn't a bother," Lori replied with a soft laugh. She couldn't help, but freeze when the sound of Mrs. Socutore's shoes clinked over the floor.
Mrs. Socutore stopped and smiled. "How about I give you a tour Ms…"
"Please call me Lori," Lori interrupted.
"Fine, Lori let me show you the house." Before, Lori even got a word in she was being towed into the living room. "This is the living room, through those doors is the kitchen," Scoutore pointed to the left. "Up those stairs is my bedroom, but you should have no reason to go up there," Scoutore said pointing to the right. She walked further into the living room until she stopped near the mouth of the hallway. "Down there is Alicia's room and bathroom, I think that's all you need to know."
Lori shook her head knowingly, but then a door under the stairs caught her eye.
"What's in there?" Lori asked curiously. She watched Mrs. Socutore's face turn white and she could see from the side that her hair was standing on end.
"That's…that's…" Mrs. Socutore gasped. Her young face stayed motionless for a minute, but then in an instant her face shined. "I forgot, I don't want you to let Alicia go into that closet."
"Why not?" Lori asked, regretting it at once when the words left her lips. Instead of an argument, Mrs. Socutore reached in her pants pocket and pulled out a key and walked to the door. The door creaked open and there was a light in the middle of the closet shining on a glass case.
"Come here, Lori," Mrs. Socutore commanded, and Lori obeyed. She stepped into the relatively large closet and Mrs. Socutore closed the door softly. "Did you know that Alicia's dad died when she was two years old?"
Lori cleared her throat and shook her head. "No ma'am. I don't think that that's…"
"Well he did," Mrs. Socutore said. She smiled weakly, while the corners of her mouth showed a very vacant frown. "My husband was a believer of the paranormal. He spent thousands of dollars for ancient artifacts that may have been used by witches, used to catch ghost, or anything dealing with supernatural. One day he found something very valuable in South Africa." She paused for a minute and walked over to the glass case, lifting the top off. Lori tried to look over her shoulder, but her view still was blocked. Suddenly, Mrs. Socutore turned around sharply and clutched something dearly to her chest.
"My husband found this," Mrs. Socutore said angrily. She held out a thick bladed knife, which was shaped like the letter S. The handle looked really smooth and engraved with it was many different lines, but none of them were the same.
"Wow!" Lori exclaimed.
"This knife is over 300 years old and was said to make someone live forever. My husband told me that if someone was killed by this knife in a certain way, their soul could be caught and placed back in the dead body. This, would automatically make one live forever. He always said that if you died and were brought back to life you couldn't die again. So, one night when I came back from shopping I came to a very quiet house. I called and called, but no one answered…that is until I heard Alicia crying in her room. I ran to her closed door and opened it, to find something wet near my shoes. The room was strangely dark, but the room let the rays from the moon shine in. I could make out the pool of water everywhere, but I didn't know where it came from. Making my way into the room I saw Alicia's form standing in the middle of the room, so I reached to turn the lights on. To my horror, my husband sat in the middle of the floor and Alicia with his blood covering her from head to toe," Mrs. Socutore sobbed.
"This very knife sat in his hand and the pool of water that was everywhere was his blood spewing from his throat!"
Lori gasped and covered her mouth with her hands. "I'm so sorry."
"Don't be. My husband must have tried to use the knife to make himself live forever; however, he forgot he needed someone else there, but I guess he wanted Alicia to help him. What an ignorant man," Mrs. Socutore sadly giggled. "Alicia's six years old now, and had numerous counseling, but she's never really recuperated. That's why I don't want her in this room, I don't want her to remember anymore! I…I don't want…" she began to sob.
"Don't worry," Lori said softly placing her hand on Mrs. Socutore's shoulder for comfort. "I won't let her in here." With a nod Mrs. Socutore placed the knife back in the glass case and escorted Lori out of the closet.
"Now, I want you to make sure you keep this key in a safe place. I don't want her to get a hold of it and go in the closet. She's a very curious girl," Mrs. Socutore said, after locking the closet door. She delicately held the key in her hand trying to give it to Lori.
"Wait, why don't you take the key with you?" Lori asked.
Mrs. Socutore laughed. "I don't want to lose it, so please hold it for me." She smiled at Lori and grabbed the girls hand to place the key in her palm. Then, she looked down at her watch and gasped. "Oh no, I'm going to be late. Make sure you feed Alicia and she has to be in bed at ten."
"Okay!" Lori yelped, when Mrs. Socutore zipped past her to the front door.
"Thanks again Lori. ALICIA, MOMMY'S GOING TO HER INTERVIEW, SEE YOU LATER TONIGHT!" Mrs. Socutore screamed to her daughter and slammed the door closed leaving Lori standing by the closet door. She threw the key in her pocketbook, and then lobbed it onto the couch and looked down the hallway, where Alicia's room was. Walking slowly she made it to her door, and knocked.
"Alicia, I'm Lori your babysitter. I was wondering are you hungry?" Lori asked, but silence filled her ears. She knocked on the door again and asked the same, but still there was no reply. She shrugged and turned the doorknob cautiously. "Hello!" she said, sticking her head in the room. When she noticed no one occupied it she flung it open and a chill swept over her body. The first thing she noticed was that the walls were filled with little dolls. They weren't just regular dolls, but miniature wooden dolls.
Lori walked deeper into Alicia's room and twirled around, feeling like a kid in a toy store. She stared up at the ceiling to find that it too held more of the wooden dolls.
"This kid must love miniature dolls," Lori laughed. Suddenly, the door slammed shut and she jumped. There was no one in the room, but then she felt a breeze coming from the window. "Why am I so jumpy?" Lori laughed again and closed the window shut. "It's all in my mind, I think I ought to get out of Alicia's room before she finds me in here."
Lori began to retreat to the door when she noticed one of the wooden dolls lying on the floor. She reached down to pick it up, but felt a sting in her finger.
"Ow!" she yelped. When she looked at her finger she noticed a huge splinter hanging from it. First, she placed the doll back in its spot and then pulled the splinter out, a drop of blood formed on her finger and she groaned.
"What are you doing in my room?" a loud voice said. Lori's eyes traveled through the room until she saw the girl sitting on a bed. Her eyes widened out of pure shock. There before her sat a young girl, but her appearance would have made anyone think it was a Halloween costume. Her skin was a chalky pale color, with big black pupils as big as a baseball. You couldn't see any white part in her eyes whatsoever, not to mention her black and white hair flowed down her body. "I said, what are you doing in my room?" she asked sternly.
"You must be Alicia. I…I was wondering if you were hungry," Lori sputtered out, not able to take her eyes off of the girl in front of her.
Alicia stayed silent. "You must be Lori. You're rude, you didn't knock."
"I did knock, but you didn't answer and…"
"I'm hungry," Alicia muttered and moved off her bed. Her hair streamed to the floor and she stared harshly at Lori.
Lori smiled nervously. "Then let's go get you something to eat." Lori watched Alicia walk out of the room and she couldn't help but sigh. "Please don't make me kill this girl," she muttered. Lori made it to the hallway and to the kitchen, not noticing that her pocketbook lay on living room floor. She was taken a back when Alicia sat like an angel at the table ready for something to eat.
"So, Alicia you must love wooden dolls. I remember that I use to collect different kinds of figurines when I was little," Lori said, while she stood at the door.
"I made them," Alicia replied.
"Wow, you must be a smart girl to make all of those dolls. Your friends must be envious of you."
"The dolls are my friends," Alicia muttered.
"You must have some sort of…"
"Friends and people you love leave you, dolls are inanimate and they will always be with you no matter what."
Lori felt sorry for the little girl. She had no real friends? Every little kid should have someone. Then Lori smiled to herself and sat down in the chair across from Alicia.
"How about I be your friend Alicia?"
"You'll leave," Alicia responded.
"I won't I promise!" Lori said happily, feeling a bit relieved when Alicia gave a slight smile.
"I want a peanut butter and jelly sandwich now," Alicia said.
"Sure," Lori said getting out of her chair. She strolled to the refrigerator and began to take out the supplies she would need. Then she tried looking through the drawers and cabinets for a knife of some sort. "Hey Alicia do you know where your mother keeps her knives?" she asked turning around to face her.
"In the left drawer under the sink," Alicia informed her.
Lori spun back around and opened the drawer, spotting a butter knife in plain sight.
"Thank you ….Alicia," Lori gasped dropping the knife at the same time, when she turned around to find a little boy standing beside Alicia. He stood with his mouth gapped opened and his eyes were crossed slightly. "Hello!"
"He doesn't talk," Alicia said. She tugged on the boy's shirt sleeve and whispered something in his ear. He immediately pulled out a chair and sat down. "Make us two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches."
"Alicia who is that?" Lori asked while bending down to pick up the knife she dropped.
"Who are you talking about?" Alicia asked questioningly.
Lori laughed after picking up the knife. "That little boy who…who…who," Lori stuttered, when she noticed a doll sitting at the table. "Where did that little boy that was just here go?" she asked.
Alicia chuckled, as her eyes widened even more. "You must be talking about my friend here," she said pointing to the doll.
Lori opened her mouth to say something, but nothing came out. Had her mind been playing tricks on her? She shrugged and began to make Alicia's sandwich, but it still plagued her mind. There was a little boy there, wasn't there? She wasn't imagining it. After, she finished making the sandwich she watched Alicia eat her sandwich, not taking her eyes off of the doll. She had gotten a better look at the doll and it did resemble the boy that she had seen at the table. It had the same crossed eyes and the little wooden mouth was gapped open.
"I'm done," Alicia said and handed the dirty plate to Lori.
"Okay," Lori said snapping out of her daze and taking hold of the plate. She got up to take it to the sink to wash it. "Alicia you can go and watch television if you want."
"Fine," Alicia groaned. The sound of the kitchen door closing signaled Lori the girl was gone.
"You must get out!" a voice shrieked.
Lori ignored the voice, thinking it was the TV in the living room, but then she felt something tugging at her shirt. She turned around to be face to face with the little boy from before, sitting on the table.
"She won't let you out even if you try," the boy shrieked again. Lori covered her ears when she felt her ears drumming from the shrieking voice.
"Who…what are you…" Lori stuttered.
The boy smiled evilly. "You said you wouldn't leave her. That's a no-no. A no-no, a no-no, a no-no."
"What are talking about?" Lori asked.
"No one leaves her, no one leaves here alive," the boy laughed again. "The dolls are her friends, the knife is the key, and she steals the soul and makes a doll. Her father was wrong about…" the boy stopped and the color drained from his face. He quickly jumped off the table and ran through the door.
Lori stood shockingly at the door. "I'm going crazy." She groaned and wiped off the access water that was left on her hands. "I can't wait to leave this crazy house," she said as she entered the living room. As soon as she looked into the living room, Lori noticed Alicia staring at her and regretted saying the words.
"I knew it!" Alicia yelled and ran to her room.
"Alicia!" Lori yelled at the girl as she ran past. She followed after Alicia, but stopped when she reached her bedroom door. "Alicia I didn't mean it."
"You're just like everyone else. All my friends said they would never leave me, then they change their minds. Even father left me everyday and didn't come back for a year or two on his travels. He left me!"
Lori swallowed hard. "That wasn't your fault Alicia, he just thought…"
"That's why I killed him, because he was going to leave me again. He was right about the knife, except I improved it."
"Wha..what?" Lori gasped. The girl was going hysterical she didn't know what she was saying. "Alicia!"
"He didn't know you had to make a doll for each person and say a special incantation to bring them back whenever you want. You live forever, but only if someone else holds you."
Lori didn't respond she just stared at the door. Then suddenly it hit her…the knife! She looked down the hallway and found the closet door wide opened and ran into the living room. She wouldn't? She couldn't? Lori saw her pocketbook lying on the floor with all the contents spilled everywhere.
"The key!" Lori shouted. She dived on the floor, searching frantically through her things, but there was no key. Suddenly, footsteps came near, but she couldn't move. Her body was heavy and she couldn't breath. Something shiny past the corner of her eyes and fell to the floor. THE KEY!
"No one leaves me!" Alicia's voice played through her ear. Lori's eyes clouded up with tears and she began to sob when the sight of the old knife came into view. Alicia's small pale arm was attached to it. Lori felt the cold steel pressed against the base of her neck and a strand of Alicia's hair fell over her head. She looked up to see Alicia's big black eyes staring down at her piercingly into hers.
"Alicia please don't," Lori cried and tried to move, but she still couldn't.
Alicia smiled forebodingly. "We can be friends forever Lori. We can be friends forever." With that said a loud shriek played through the house and a black leaf outside floated from the eerily tree to the front porch.
"Hello is anyone home!" Mrs. Socutore chimed when she finally came home. She found the lights in the living room off and was happy to see that it wasn't a mess either. She looked at her watch to find out that she was rather late. "Lori, I'm back and I'm so sorry I'm so late, but traffic was a …" she started. She saw from the corner of her eye the door wide open to the closet door and became worried. Racing to the door she found the key sitting on top of the glass case. Walking in she picked it up and smiled at the beautiful knife in the glass case. "I thought I told Lori to keep this door closed. Where can you find decent help these days?" she whined while locking the closet door.
Mrs. Socutore smiled at her daughter's voice and turned around to pick her up. "Hi pumpkin, do you know what happened to your babysitter?"
Alicia smiled brightly. "She had to leave early said something about a curfew, but I could take care of myself. I even made this new doll," Alicia said holding out a wooden doll.
Mrs. Socutore noticed the doll in her daughter's hand and smiled. "Wow, you even accessorized it with a black pocketbook, but it kind of looks like someone doesn't it?" she asked curiously, walking down the hall to Alicia's room.
"I don't know, but it's always going to be with me," she said in a sinister way. "I love you mommy!"
"Love you too pumpkin," Mrs. Socutore said and gave her daughter a kiss before entering Alicia's room.