13 September 2007


Based on a true story, and only slightly embellished. The names have not been changed.

The moment she saw the baby doll, Ingrid fell in love with her. She loved her musty old house smell, the crazing and cracking on her composition finish, her frayed red cotton dress, and even the voice box that sounded more like a death rattle. The doll was older than her grandmother. Mama wouldn't tell her where she got it. It didn't matter. Ingrid named her Alice and she loved her dearly. She swaddled Alice in a fabric scrap that mama gave her and supported her neck so her head wouldn't fall off.

Her big sister, Bea, on the other hand, would not go near Alice. She smelled like the creepy basement, she looked dead, possibly evil. Where Ingrid saw a loving gaze in Alice's hand painted eyes, Bea saw malice--towards her. "Keep that thing away from me!" cried Bea when Ingrid held Alice up to her to adore. "She's scary!"

At last, Ingrid had something that Bea didn't want. She had something that kept Bea away from her. Ingrid loved Alice, and Alice loved Ingrid. She didn't even notice that the cats hissed at the baby doll. Alice was special. By the end of the day, Ingrid and Alice were inseparable. Mama tucked both Ingrid and Alice into Ingrid's toddler bed. Ingrid snuggled up to her old new friend, and whispered secrets in her ear.

That night, something startled Bea awake. Something lurked in her room, and it wasn't a cat. Something crept up on to her bed. Something hard and cold touched her foot. She turned on the light. There sat Alice at the foot of her bed staring at Bea with those dead painted eyes.

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