Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Happy Halloween my lovelies! This picture seriously creeps me out. But if dolly had one chunk of hair left tied with a dodgy little bow, she'd be exactly what I pictured for Nanny's companion. 

And on that delightful note, on to the finale!

Creepy Old Ladies & Dolls
Part Three

                A hand patted his cheek. “Ben!” The urgency in the voice pulled him from the darkness that held him captive. “Ben, please wake up!” 
                The scent of her, homey and honey sweet, wafted over him. But the comforting aroma was tinged with something else. Smoke?  But his mother didn’t…Then it came to him. The fire. His eyes popped open to see his mother bent over him, her face twisted with concern. Red and blue lights flashed behind her.
                “Oh thank heavens!” she said, throwing her arms around him. “What happened?”
                Ben tried to piece things back together again. The interchange with the old woman. The doll.  The fire.  He pushed the words out. "Did she get out all right?"    
            “Who?” his mother asked, the concern deepening the faint lines around her eyes.“Was there someone with you?”
                “The woman...” he faltered.  “The old woman upstairs.”
                Her frown grew more grim, the look in her eyes a mixture of pity and worry.  “There was no one upstairs.”
                Ben wanted to explain what he meant, but his head was pounding so hard he could barely think. Something niggled at the back of his mind. Had his parents ever really referred to the old woman? He remembered thinking of her often throughout the years and longing to ask questions.  But every time he had brought her up, his parents changed the subject, always with that same concerned expressions.
                “The doll,” he muttered dazedly, looking around for it.
                “Do you mean this old thing?” His mother brought forward the tattered doll, pinching its pigtail between two fingers.
                “She...” he hesitated, unsure how his mother might react. “She called herself a nanny. She threw the doll out the attic window before she broke the lamp and started the fire.” 
                His mother glanced up at the narrow attic windows, the color draining from her face. Ben propped himself up and followed her gaze. Obviously, the fire had been contained quickly, but the shattered, blackened window testified of what had transpired.
                The next words out of his mother's mouth were so faint he barely heard them. “Nanny West,” she said softly.
                “Nanny West?” he repeated.
                His mother's eyes—fear flickering behind them—fixed on him. “When you were born, I was too ill to care for you, so we found a nursemaid. Her name was Isabel West.” She looked down at the doll still pinched between her fingers and laid it gingerly in her lap. “She was quite elderly, but she was a wonder with children and seemed particularly taken with you. When I recovered enough to take care of you, she became resentful and jealous.” Ben's mother fidgeted for a moment, smoothing the doll's dress and straightening the hair bow. Finally she lifted her eyes to meet Ben's again. “Her emotions became so erratic we were afraid of what she might do...take you away or harm you in some way.”
                “So you sent her away?” His mother confirmed the guess with a grim nod.
                It fit perfectly with what the old woman had said. Except for one thing. “Then why has she been living in our attic for all this time?”
                “She hasn’t.” Her voice wavered, devoid of its usual strength. “Isabel West has been dead for fifteen years.” 
                Shock ran through him like lightening. Ben turned his gaze back to the attic window.
                His mother cupped his cheek to draw his attention and he refocused on her face. 
                “All those times you told us you heard something upstairs, we didn’t believe you. We thought it was nothing more than an overactive imagination,” she explained.  “I never believed in ghosts, but if there was ever a woman determined to protect a child, it was Nanny West.”
                The statement hung in the air, worming its way more into Ben’s mind with each passing second.
                “How did she die?” he asked.
                His mother took a deep breath and released it slowly. “After she left us, she refused to take another job.  She retired to a small cottage on the outskirts of town, barricaded herself inside, and refused to see anyone.  One day they found her, dead in her own bed. Apparently she’d overdosed on something and passed away in the night.”
                “What about that?”  Ben nodded toward the doll sprawled in his mother's lap.
                “It was with her when she died,” she said, pressing her lips together, as if it that was all she would say on the matter.
                Ben narrowed his eyes, willing her to put into words whatever she had held back.  
                She dropped his gaze, shame creasing across her brow.  In a voice so small Ben barely heard it, she said the one thing that would haunt him for the rest of his life. 
                “It was buried with her.”
* * *
Thanks for reading! I'll admit I hate horror but I love suspense and mystery. A special thanks goes out to my dad for introducing me to both Alfred Hitchock and The Three Investigators and for my five brothers who regularly scared the pants off of me. Sometimes literally.

Did you get scared? I'd love to hear what you think! Read Parts One and Two again!  

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