The thunder was growling loud, and the rain was flowing down the street drains. My house wasn't far from my school, but it was down a small clearing of the woods. I lived in a poor town amid Illinois, Carbondale. The house next to mine, which was mostly a dilapidated cabin, had been for sale for almost five months. Surprisingly, the realtor sign got taken out of the soil. Boxes sat in the driveway, waiting to be picked up into the home. A girl sat in front of the house. She wore a white dress, black shoes, and long black hair dripped off her shoulders. She was cradling a doll that almost seemed to match her appearance, that looked like a porcelain human. The strangest thing is that anytime I would walk home and pass their home, the girl was sitting there cradling her doll, staring at me lividly when I passed her. Her eyes were blank, the emotion was lacking and her skin held an alabaster hue. One day, I did hear another voice coming from the home itself. It was an emotionless sound, calling a name, Laura. But her stare, her stare mortified me. It was an empty, ghoulish peer. It made me wake up in the middle of the nights in cold sweat. It made me nervous and anxious. It took control of me. All of my dreams, or nightmares shall I say, vaguely involved that girl and her doll. I was exhausted and restless, this girl and her doll plagued my thoughts. My other neighbor was a caring middle-aged woman who, despite being very kind to the neighborhood, remained quite a meddlesome individual. She was the kind of woman that knew everything about everyone somehow, all of our darkest secrets. She was always eavesdropping on our conversations in public, sticking her nose in people's business. One day, I walked back from school, and after facing the girl's terrifying glare, I saw the woman standing on my front porch. What did she want this time, did she know about Laura haunting me? I walked up the stairs and before I could ask her anything she grabbed my arm and whispered in my ear: "Don't mess with this family, she said, they're always moving from place to place and never stay over 6 months at one location. Did you know their strange daughter is adopted too? I believe her doll is the devil in her image..." I rolled my eyes and walked into my home after listening to my neighbor's warning. But now that I look back at it, oh how I wish to have listened to her. About a week later, I got a knock at my door. A fairly young and elegant woman stood there, she stretched out her hand to shake mine and introduced herself: "Hi, I'm Mary, your neighbor, I'm Laura's mother". I was paralyzed in fear. The woman looked like a normal human being and not possessed like her daughter, but something seemed off about her perfectly symmetrical face and daring smile. She continued: "May I ask you a favor dear?". I shrugged and replied, "Sure, why not". She explained to me that her husband was off to work and that she needed to run some errands. She asked me to babysit her daughter while they were off and that they'd be back in a few hours. I took a step back, did she just ask me that? I took a deep breath and thought, "I probably just overreacted, no big deal". I accepted her favor and walked back to her house with her. As soon as I stepped in the atmosphere felt heavy and the smell was quite strange. It wasn't upfront, rotten smell. It was almost like a subconscious perfume of fear floating around. She headed up the stairs to get her daughter, and I waited nervously at the bottom of the stairs. What she brought down, wasn't human. It looked like a ragdoll wearing a cute, white dress and dragging around an exact, lifeless copy of itself. Her mom promised to pay me a bit, and as soon as she closed the door, the child lifts her head. Her eyes were black, her skin was a rotten white, and her hair looked like black strings dangling from her head. I wanted to run out of here and scream for help, but I managed to keep my cool, nor for long though. She reached out her hand for me to hold it. I felt like I dipped my hand in freezing water, her skin was as rough as leather and as cold as ice. She said in a deep voice, "Play with me, Annie"... How did she know my name? I never introduced myself formally to her nor her mother. She dragged me to her bedroom and closed the door. The smell got stronger up there. I played with her for about half an hour before I started feeling nauseous, shivers ran down my spine. I was going to die here. I stood up abruptly, and blurted: "S-sorry Laura, b-but I have t-to go..." She stood up at her turn and yelled: "No! No! You're going to stay here, and we'll play forever!". Her voice was like a man's, deep and distorted. I felt like I was about to pass out here and there on her washed-out carpet. I tried turning the door handle, in vain. The window seemed to be completely jammed too. I crept in a corner and as the demon was approaching me, I closed my eyes, clenched my fists and started reciting a prayer... Father God, my heart is filled with chaos and confusion. As soon as the "girl" heard these words out of my mouth, she let out a deafening screech, as if she was being slaughtered. I covered my ears and kept reciting, I feel as if I am drowning in my circumstances and my heart is filled with fear and confusion. As I opened my eyes, her monstrous doll came running towards me, slashing me with her claws and biting me as a rabid animal would. It started to strangle me, and with all of my might and power, I grabbed her legs and swung her across the room. Her head smashed against the plaster walls, and blood started dripping from her head along with thick, black smoke. I continued my prayer in hopes that it would save me... I need the strength and peace that only You can give. Right now, I choose to rest in You. The doll lay in front of me, wiggling and convulsing. Her head was churning back and forth and it made horrible cracking sounds. The doll started melting and the girl stood paralyzed in front of me. I finally yelled, And lead us not in temptation but deliver us from evil, Amen! Laura and I passed out next to the bubbling, hissing leftovers of the doll. Her mom rushed home and woke us up. Laura claimed she remembered nothing, and instead of the darkness of her eyes and the paleness of her skin, were vibrant blue eyes and rosy cheeks. Had I just done an exorcism on a 6-year-old? After that life went on, Laura seemed to have regained life and I recovered from this traumatizing event. But tragically, four years later, Laura drank an entire bottle of bleach and passed away. I could only imagine her screeching as her insides corroded and disintegrated. Doctors ruled it an accident, but many of us remain to believe that she killed herself... But we were also confused as to why a ten-year-old would do that to herself. Her parents were in grief for months before finally moving away from the cabin that held so many bad memories. A year after their move, I decided to go back to the house as it was abandoned. I walked up the stairs to her room, the burnt stain remained on the carpet. In one of the cabinets, I found a picture of her and the doll. Behind it was written, She has returned to us! For those who return our call will be damned!
Author Notes: Woohoo, hope you enjoyed (-; HAPPY HALLOWEEN!