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The Dolls Of Valeria
The Dolls Of Valeria

The Dolls Of Valeria

Franc68Lorient Montaner

Horror is something that knows no confined boundary, for it exceeds the mundanity of death. It is deemed unnatural and ineffable, yet it is ingrained deep within the thoughts of those people that are haunted by its phantasmagoric episodes. From amongst the darkness that resides as the reminder of our fears exists, the essence of the inescapable truth.

No story could ever be told, without the innumerable secrets that remain a mystery that binds us with reality. Nor should it be presumed to be insoluble. It is when those secrets are unravelled that we see the inimitable guise of terror. The terror that you shall read is one that was born from the evil acts of a man's depravity, and the victim would be an innocent poor girl who would be murdered. Her life would be abruptly truncated, and her restless soul would be tainted with the vileness of her irreversible fate. Her name was Valeria Quinteiro.

It was windy and cold, as the guests had arrived at the residence of the Quinteiros on that autumn day of 1948, outside of Mar del Plata in Argentina, which was in South America. The residence was a villa that was a silver brick edifice that was built in 1900 that had resembled a Tudor design from England. From afar, one could descry the emblematic structure.

It had a large and vast garden with poplars and eucalyptuses that exuded its aesthetic magnality. The gate to the main entrance had a portico with pointed arches, and there were buttresses and a crenellation, an entrance patio, a façade before the ample measurements along the central bay window.

The main wing was made of wrought masonry with several awnings, a slate roof covered with verdant moss, aralias and ivy, three chimneys on both wings, and between the two wings there was a cylindrical volume that had embodied a picturesque composition that was enviable.

Inside, there were two stories, guest rooms in each of them, an intermediate mezzanine, a decorative gallery, a Main Hall and Dining Hall that were properly refurbished. The interior design and walls were mostly covered, with elegant tapestries that were identical to those exhibited in English medieval castles and rugs that were authentic in their fine interwoven texture. The cerulean blue draperies in these halls were silk, and the furniture that enhanced the sheen of the halls was pristine.

It was apparent that the owner was a genuine admirer of the Tudor Dynasty and had gone to a great degree to imitate this illustrious architecture. A lingering murk had disrupted the prior placidity of the villa. The terrible tragedy that had occurred was still active in the minds of the neighbours of the Quinteiros.

The guests that had arrived were either relatives or known acquaintances of the Quinteiro Family. A lone representative of the family, whose name was Bruno was there to greet the others with his cordiality and propriety. He was the male sibling of the deceased Valeria. He was of a medium built and stature.

What was more noticeable about him was the distinguishable attire which he wore that was a black suit and trousers, with a black tie over his white shirt. Bruno was a refined man of society, who had the charisma to flatter any woman and the intellect to outwit any man that would become his foe.

The father whose name was Luciano had been arrested for the murder of his daughter. He was imprisoned and waiting for his appointed trial. The facts about the case were still pending, and the details were unclear, in particular, the motive for this ghastly incident.

The guests who had arrived for the funeral were Thiago Maldonado, who was in his mid-twenties, well-groomed and a handsome bachelor, Lorenzo Russo, who was in his mid-forties, a banker and married, Catalina Romero, who was in her mid-thirties, beautiful and an heiress to her father's fortune, Valentino Colombo, who was in his fifties, a politician and a widower. And finally, Pablo Echeverría, who was the eldest of all the guests gathered. He was in his mid-sixties, a landowner and a Gaucho.

All of the guests who were present had known Valeria in some capacity, but were shocked to see that she was murdered by her dominant father of whom they were acquainted with his austere reputation. Amongst them, there were different opinions expressed and shared about her heinous murder. It was the conversation that had fascinated the intrigued guests. Bruno had left them to chat amongst themselves in privacy.

'I still can't believe that poor Valeria was murdered,' said


'Who would ever think that her father would ultimately be her killer?' Lorenzo had stated.

'Who are we to pass judgement unto others, without knowing all the established facts? Pablo confessed.

'I had suspected that her death would be the result of a murder', Valentino interjected.

'How could you know?' Thiago asked.

'Yes! I would like to know that', Catalina had uttered.

'Because, I knew that her father was capable of murder'.

'Those are your words professed not ours!' Pablo iterated.

'Am I to assume that you are defending this inexcusable act, Señor Echeverría?'

'It is only my opinion expressed'.

Bruno had entered the room and said to the guests, 'I suggest that you get acquainted with your rooms. I am afraid it will be a long day tomorrow. I thank you all for coming'.

Each of the guests was taken to their rooms upstairs by the servants that were present. They were told by Bruno that they would be served dinner in the Dining Hall, once the meal was prepared. Some of the guests would remain in their rooms until dinner, and others would walk the gloomy corridors of the villa to be familiarised with their new surroundings.

The mystery of the place had many undiscovered moments in time that were indicative of the events that had taken place before the murder of Valeria. A large portrait of her painted was hanging in the Main Hall. She was striking in her natural appearance. Her hair was black, her eyes were green, but it was her unique smile that was captivating. The portrait had retained the immaculate innocence of a young woman, not even in the blossoming of her twenties yet.

Everywhere, there were visible traces of Valeria that could be discerned. Bruno had made certain that her memory in the villa would not be tarnished by her cruel death. Although there was a grievous mood, the sobering thought of her presence was pervasive and ineffaceable. She could not be blamed for the heinous act committed by her possessive father.

There was one thing that was eerily conspicuous, and that was that in her room which was still embellished even after her death, was a singular doll that had resembled Valeria sitting on her bed. The features of the doll were similar but creepy. Other dolls were found in the room also. From what the guests were told by the female servant named Elena, Valeria was extremely fond of her vast collection of dolls. They were vintage and wooden in their composition and originality.

Before dinner, the guests had stepped out of the villa to enjoy the magnificent view of the spacious garden and the countryside. It was hard to believe to some of the guests that this place was the setting, where a horrific crime had taken the life of a young woman just beyond her adolescence.

The location of the villa was chosen for the discretion that the Quinteiros had sought, when the villa was constructed. The history of the family was well embedded in the area, and their ancestral origin was directly linked to the province of Galicia in western Spain.

In the late 19th century, the first Quinteiro had migrated to Argentina, with the hope of establishing a new life there in prosperity. Before he had migrated to South America, he had lived previously in England. It was there, where he was inspired for the incredible architecture of the villa.

When it was time for dinner, the guests had gathered in the Dining Hall, where they would be entertained by Bruno, who had joined them. They had discussed an array of topics, but the guests were mostly interested in the explicit details of the death of Valeria.

At first, the conversation had begun with the topic of their activities, their views on politics, the funeral, then it had gradually changed. The gory aspect of the murder was still a curiosity to the guests. However, none of them were bold enough to commence their enquiry, with straightforward questions to Bruno.

The guests had the sensation and implicit perception that he was hiding the truth from them, or that he had avoided the sordid nature of the murder intentionally. Whatever revelations, Bruno could disclose would only bear the truth that he was willing to concede overtly.

'My memories of Valeria are of a cheerful young woman. She was always smiling I recall,' Catalina confessed.

'Mine were just as colourful as yours Catalina,' Thiago had remarked.

'And you Bruno, how were your memories of her?'

He had paused deliberately, before he replied, 'They were mostly good memories, Catalina. Valeria was known to be mischievous, but weren't we all in the days after our adolescence?'

'It is a shame that her life ended in such a horrid tragedy', Lorenzo professed.

'Indeed! But it is pointless to even speak about her death, since we cannot bring her back to life'.

'Forgive me for my intrusion Bruno, but surely you had a clue that your father was not acting normally within his senses,' Thiago had insisted.

'Are you insinuating that I had allowed my sister's death?' Bruno replied.

'Not all Bruno! I was simply trying to understand the situation'.

'I see in all of your eyes, the passed judgement unto my father and me. If so, then let me say to you all that I had nothing to do with my beloved sister's death. I swear this on my mother's headstone'.

The declaration that was affirmed by Bruno had appeared to be genuinely credible. His words were powerful, but amongst several of the guests, this declaration did not convince them of his disassociation to his father's brutality. He must have known of his manipulative and disruptive temperament. Had Bruno inherited these despicable traits of his father?

A discernible suspicion was cast on his version of the account of his sister's untimely death and his father's imprisonment. The unresolved nature of the reason that had caused his father to murder his sister was difficult to understand for the others. Why would he do harm to his dearest daughter who he had loved with his supreme devotion, according to Bruno?

Catalina had spread the untold rumour amongst the others that Valeria was afraid of her father. For what specific reason? She revealed that it had to do with a family secret that was hitherto undisclosed. They had gathered in the Main Hall that night. Bruno had joined them, after returning from a trip. Thiago had asked him about the dolls that were situated in their guest rooms. He was not the only one to be inquisitive about the dolls, the others were interested in knowing too their relevance.

What the guests did not fathom was that there was a unique mystery that was linked to the dolls that few had known. Bruno would answer by telling the guests that the dolls had belonged to Valeria, who had cherished them profoundly. They had a sentimental value to her.

He had grinned then said that she talked to them as if they were human, and they would talk back to her, or so Valeria would confess. The expressions on the countenances of the guests were of confoundment. What did Bruno mean that the dolls would answer Valeria? Was he being facetious or just clever in his attempt to masquerade the truth?

Whatever was the case, some of the guests were uncomfortable with the dolls in their rooms and had asked for them to be removed, whilst others paid no attention to their presence. The guests had planned on leaving the following day after the funeral. As they had prepared themselves for the funeral, they found themselves drawn to the peculiar suspense that was engaging them with the death of Valeria. After all it was the main reason why they had come to the villa in the first place.

Catalina, who had spent more time with Valeria and was her first cousin, was the most unsettled of the guests present. Her reactions were transparent and facile to discern. She was also the most susceptible to believe in the innominate evil that had entered the villa that was induced by Luciano, her uncle.

The uneasiness felt by the guests was reflected in their behaviour towards each other and Bruno. There was a distrust in him, despite the fact that he had done nothing to warrant such suspicion. The idea that Bruno had become the lone heir to the Quinteiro Estate that included the villa was assumed by the others. It was tempting to think of foul play, when contemplating the murder, but the sudden realisation was that the individual that had murdered Valeria was the father Luciano, not Bruno. He had been bestowed the inheritance, due to the line of succession that had guaranteed him his inalienable right.

What had belonged to Valeria would never be contended, because she was no longer alive to request her share of the inheritance. That was the lugubrious consequence of this story.

'Tell me something, Bruno, now that you are the sole inheritor of your father, what do you plan on doing with your inheritance?' Asked Valentino.

Bruno was an unusual man of great mystery, but there was not one that would inhibit his intentions, 'Once I have inherited, then I plan on selling this villa and buying another property along the coast'.

'But you have not even received the inheritance, and you are thinking of selling this villa,' Pablo expressed.

'Without your father's consent I imagine', Valentino interjected.

'I repeat, once I have the inheritance', Bruno responded.

'And what of your father?' Thiago had asked.

'Regrettably, he will either be locked up for the rest of his life in a prison cell or in an asylum'.

'You seem to think more about yourself Bruno. And Valeria?'

'What about her?'

'Do you not think about her?'

'Of course, but she is dead, Catalina. And you know that!'

'How easily we forget the dead!'

'But why sell the villa, Bruno?' Asked Lorenzo.

'To be honest Lorenzo. It is because I do not want the memory of Valeria to be tarnished forever with this villa'.

'That seems to be logical!'

'And the dolls? What will become of them?' Asked Thiago.

There was a certain pause in Bruno, as if to contemplate that question. He would reply by saying, 'The dolls have a life of their own'.

'What do you mean by that?' Valentino was bemused.

'What I mean is that they do what they please'.

'Are you suggesting that they are alive?'

'You have said this, not me'.

Bruno would leave the guests to speak to one of the servants, who had entered the Main Hall. He had left them pondering with his insinuation of the dolls being alive. Was this just a deceptive ploy to frighten the guests, or was there something sinister that he was concealing which was an unspoken secret?

The darkness of the night had arrived with an ominous shade of creepiness. If that was not enough to unnerve the guests, then what would occur on that night would be unfathomable. It is said that during the night the souls of the dead rise from their dormant quietude. The souls that would rise were not human in their natural constitution. Nevertheless, they were horrifying in their reign of terror. You see these wooden dolls were not ordinary ones, and their relation to Valeria was much more than imagined or construed.

As the night was progressing, so were the elements to a heightened anxiety. Some of the guests would remain in the Main Hall indulging in conversations, whilst others would either return to their rooms or walk curiously through the narrow corridors. A cold draught was felt entering, through the recesses of the walls and the windows. Bruno had not yet returned. Whatever urgency that the servant had in speaking to him, must have been of great importance.

The guests in the Main Hall were beginning to suspect even more that there was something that Bruno was hiding. It was impossible to not detect that suspicion, especially when taking into consideration that he was the only one who knew in depth the tragedy that had occurred with his deceased sister.

Lorenzo and Valentino, who had remained afterwards in the Main Hall, were observing more in detail the portrait of Valeria that was hung, when they had both noticed that there was crimson blood coming from the portrait and it was dripping on to the floor.

Their reaction was of utter amazement. They approached the portrait and touched it, without knowing if what they had seen was actually the substance of blood. Upon touching the blood, it was confirmed that it was indeed the drops of blood, but what had caused this blood to manifest? Both men were obfuscated and could not explain the unnatural occurrence. They had attempted to rationalise the blood, but could not determine its origin.

They then saw the image of a small figure that had quickly passed in the corridor. Lorenzo had suggested that it was a perverted display of enacture by Bruno. Valentino thought it was somehow related to a supernatural influence that was existential inside the villa.

Thiago had located in one of the rooms of the west wing, something that was unusual. It was a chest that was abandoned. Were there worthy valuables in it he thought? When he had opened it, there was nothing inside of the chest, but some photographs of Valeria, her mother and the rest of the family.

The innocent smile on Valeria's face was telling. She had appeared to be happy in her expressions. However, there were other photographs that were underneath that were more revealing of her recent trauma inflicted. In these photographs she was bruised and battered from the face down to her legs.

As Thiago was holding these distressing photographs, the door would suddenly close. Someone had closed the door on him. Was it one of the servants? He turned the doorknob, until it had finally opened. Once he had stepped unto the corridor, he saw an image of someone small in size running away.

While this was happening, Pablo the eldest of the guests had seen another lone figure that was small in stature, scurry on to the corridor, from one of the rooms on the first story. He was uncertain of what he had seen with his eyes.

Was it just a caliginous shadow that appeared, and he had mistaken it for an image that had resembled a small person? His instinct had compelled him to follow the image, but he would ultimately lose it in the opacity of the corridors.

There was an odd silence then, as Pablo stood waiting to see what would happen afterwards. There was no indication of where the image could have disappeared. Thiago had spotted him and had asked him what was wrong. Pablo had attempted to make sense of the whole incident with his description.

'You seem rather puzzled in your expression, Pablo?'

'If I told you that I saw a strange image in the corridor, would you believe me?'

'Was it unrecognisable?'

'It was small in stature'.

'A wicked doll perhaps?' Thiago had suggested with sarcasm.

'What are you trying to tell me?' Pablo insisted.

'I was just trying to make you see that you perhaps mistook the image, for an object that had resembled a doll. I too saw something similar.

'I see your point, but I fail to understand the connection'.

'Perhaps, it would better that we join the others'.

'I agree. I wish that I understood what I had seen. That is all!'

They had returned to the Main Hall and found that Lorenzo and Valentino were still stunned with the discovery of blood that was coming from the portrait of Valeria. When the others entered, the blood had ceased to drip. This would discompose the miens of Lorenzo and Valentino, who had sworn to have witnessed the blood coming from the portrait.

'Where did the blood go?' Lorenzo uttered.

'What are you talking about?' Thiago asked.

Lorenzo had pointed to the portrait of Valeria, 'That portrait just before you both entered was dripping with blood'.

'Are you certain about that? I don't see any blood anywhere'.

'I tell you that Lorenzo is telling the truth. I saw it too!' Valentino affirmed.

'Unless there is something supernatural occurring!' Thiago suggested.

'Perhaps the villa is haunted, or worse, there is someone or something that is behind these inexplicable occurrences,' said Lorenzo.

'If it is the case, then it would explain what I had seen in the corridor,' Pablo had professed.

'What did you see?' Asked an intrigued Lorenzo.

'I saw a strange image of a small person in the corridor'.

'What could it have been? I saw the same thing vaguely!' Asked Valentino.

'Was it one of those wretched dolls that were placed in our rooms?' Thiago enquired.

Bruno had entered the Main Hall, where he would overhear the last remark by Thiago, 'I am certain that whatever you thought you saw gentlemen it was something that is explainable'.

'Really? Explain to us then Bruno, how does a portrait bleed and how do dolls go wandering by themselves?' Lorenzo had persisted.

'If I told you, none of you would believe me'.

'I am waiting!' Thiago answered.

Catalina, who was in Valeria's room upstairs, would find a diary that had belonged to Valeria. She had found it in her room. Someone had placed it there near the lamplight. She began to read it with meticulosity, as she had turned the pages eagerly.

The entries into the diary were chilling and foreboding as well. Valeria had chronicled her daily life and the chaos that was surrounding her father and brother. She spoke of the distrust and fear that was provoked by her father. She also spoke about how much she had missed her deceased mother.

There were intimate secrets that Catalina had suspected, but never realised to what degree was this horror unbearable to Valeria. There was one entry, in particular, that Catalina had read several times over. It was one that had captured Valeria's ongoing situation and the seriousness of her predicament.

(From Valeria's diary)

I hope to soon reach my birthday and become an independent young woman, where I can choose to do what I think is best for me. Despite the objection of my father. He grows more restless by the passing days, and his actions are not befitting of a sane man.

I fear that he is rapidly losing his mind. Bruno does not agree with me and thinks that we should protect him from anyone that tries to harm him purposely. He has even threatened me with his austere words of admonition. There are days, when I miss my beloved mother. I know that she would have protected me from both my father and Bruno, but sadly, she is no longer with us in this world.

I look forward to the day that I am rid of this rigidity imposed by them, and the terrible scars that they have inflicted upon me. Sometimes, I wish that I was dead, or they were. When Bruno was about to reveal his mystery, a vociferous scream was heard coming directly from the room of Catalina. The rest of the guests had reached her room to find her discomposed and standing at the edge of the door.

'What has caused you to scream?' Asked Lorenzo.

'The doll—it came to life! I tell you it was alive!'

'Then—the dolls are real, not some wooden adornment?' Thiago had interrupted.

'Yes!' Catalina declared.

The hysteria had spread and caused the night to be thus accentuated, with the supernatural episodes that were affecting in their subsequence the guests. They had come to the villa for a funeral, but they were quickly accepting the dreadful irony that the mystery that was concealed was revealing itself, with a frightening aftermath that any of them could not conceive of its irrepressible horror. The secrecy that was veiled was disturbing in its origin and invariable in its pursuit.

The guests were questioning amongst themselves whether to stay or not. Bruno's comportment was becoming more insensate. For his part, Bruno would attempt to convince the guests that what was important was the funeral that was to take place in the morrow. His words would cause reluctance with the guests, who had witnessed abnormalities that were beyond any reference to an illusion conjured.

However, none of the guests could prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that what they had seen was actually irrefutable. Thiago had disclosed to the others, the upsetting photographs he had discovered. This would cast even more doubt on the relation between Valeria and her father.

Bruno had managed to convince them to remain in the villa until the funeral, at least, until they had said their farewells at the cemetery to the deceased Valeria. For the remainder of the night, the guests would retire to their rooms meditatively.

The dolls would be locked in a cabinet, so that they could not get out. This was assured by Bruno. It was difficult to know, whether the dolls were alive, as Catalina had suggested. The blood from the portrait and the images in the corridor left no trace of substantial proof to be verified or confirmed. Catalina would request that someone would sleep in her room to protect her. Pablo would be the one to offer his protection. Another bed was added to the room. The suspense would wait, until the next day. What would transpire would lead to a shocking ending that not one of the guests would perceive of its inevitability.

When the morning arrived, it did with the sombre rays of the sunlight that had entered throughout the dull corridors. Was this the sign of a foreseeable omen? The guests had awakened to the precursor of the madness that would ensue thereafter.

They had breakfast and then prepared themselves to go to the cemetery, where Valeria was to be put to rest. The apprehension of the events that had occurred was still vivid in their thoughts, as they were gathered and properly dressed in their black attire. The sober colour of reverence and grief.

No further displays of abnormal activity would be witnessed during this time period. However, someone was watching them within the vicinity that the guests had not expected. The bulging eyes of a madman, who was lurking outside of the villa. He was watching through one of the windows attentively.

The guests were then escorted in a limousine to the local cemetery that was not distant from the villa. The corpse of Valeria was taken there in a black hearse. At the cemetery, her coffin was placed into the ground, where she was buried afterwards. Beautiful flowers would cover her coffin and poetic elegies were read on her behalf, following the religious rituals that were performed. Her death was a tragedy in its occurrence, but her listless cadaver was a shame that was perpetrated by an act of betrayal. Those who had professed to have loved her dearly were the ones to have sent her to her grave unwillingly.

A lone raven was perched on one of the nearby branches observing the gloom. It was rare to see one in these parts of South America. Was it sent from the chasm of hell to witness the burial or was it sent as a reaper of tidings? Once the elaborate procedures of the burial were finished, the guests were taken back to the villa, where they would gather their things and prepare themselves to depart on that same day.

Unbeknownst to them, there was a gruesome terror that would be released with shocking effects attributed. They would be in the Main Hall amidst the presence of Bruno. He was in the process of thanking them for their participation in the funeral. He had appeared to be somewhat indifferent as he spoke. It was as if he was memorising from a prosaic script that was devised by him. His voice could not palliate the horror of Valeria's death. The guests had sensed that peculiarity in his words uttered. After his speech, he would tell the guests that they were welcomed to visit him at his other villa, just outside of Buenos Aires.

'I would hope to see all of you again soon. Before you depart, there is a special guest that has barely arrived'.

It was while he was addressing the guests that someone else had entered the Main Hall unannouncedly. It was no stranger that was standing before them. It was the startling presence of the father Luciano.

Somehow, he had escaped prison or was freed. Whatever was the circumstance, it did not matter, because he was there in person. He was dressed in tattered clothing and dishevelled in his appearance, but it was his piercing, ebony eyes that had demonstrated a daunting stare and expression.

The guests upon seeing him, knew who he was and were disturbed by his imposition. They were in absolute disbelief. Bruno, on the other hand, was not shocked to see his father standing there like a madman possessed. He had sought his release, despite the objections of his uncles and other family members. He had paid someone to help his father escape.

'What is the meaning of this, Bruno?' Lorenzo enquired.

'Forgive me for my bad manners. Let me introduce to you all, my beloved Father, Luciano Quinteiro,' Bruno had replied.

'He is supposed to be in prison, where he belongs. What is he doing here?' Thiago interrupted.

'I was able to seek his release'.

'Have you gone mad, Bruno? He is the killer of your sister Valeria!' Valentino had interrupted.

'True! But there is more to the story of her death that none of you are aware of its utmost relevance'.

'Such as!' Pablo asked.

'Perhaps, it is time that you all know the actual truth.'

'Whatever you tell us, it will not convince me of your deranged father's guilt. Get this man out of the room, for he brings chills down my spine'. Catalina had screamed.

'I agree with Catalina. If this is reported, you will be arrested Bruno', said Lorenzo.

'I shall proceed with my account. Upon that day, when Valeria was killed, my father had recently discovered that Valeria was planning on filing charges against him based on the accusation of cruelty. It is true that my father treated her unfairly and at times was unkind to her. He would lash out at her for her insolence, but she too was not an angel. She had her dark side to her. You see, what you all fail to recognise is the fact that Valeria drove my father to his insanity'.

'How convenient of you to put the blame on her, when she is no longer here to defend herself', Thiago had remarked.

'I shall be the one to defend her. I knew her the most from all of you. She was no devil, like you describe her to be!'

'She was no angel, as you portray her Catalina,' said Bruno.

'And what now? What do you plan on doing, Bruno? You don't expect us to be silent on the matter', Valentino questioned.

'You have no choice in the matter!'

The servants were not present in the villa, while this was happening, but there was someone else or should I say, some other beings that were observing the situation closely. They would manifest then. Bruno had grabbed a gun from his gray trench coat and had ordered the guests to sit down in the chairs of the Main Hall, where he already had prepared their demise.

There were five glasses on the table, for the five guests that had been invited. Bruno had filled the glasses with wine that were poisoned. Once they had learnt that they were full of poison, the intense anxiety had heightened amongst them. It was clear in their minds that Bruno would not allow them to leave the villa alive. He could not permit them to ruin his plans that he had originated.

Doom had appeared before the guests, as an unwanted game and attraction of life and death. One by the one, the guests were ordered to pick up their glasses of poisoned wine. The dread of death was imposing and parlous, but it would not be their day to die. Bruno the mastermind would be thwarted from achieving his macabre plan. He had delighted in participating in this wicked scheme of his.

What he had not foreseen was the involvement of the surreal forces of the other world to intervene on behalf of the guests, who were intended to be murdered. As the first glass was picked up by Thiago, a strong gust of wind had entered the Main Hall. It was the unrelenting spirit of Valeria, who was announcing her presence. The glass that was in the hand of Thiago would abruptly fall to the ground and shatter into tiny pieces. He was then ordered to pick them up by Bruno. When he did, he would be shot dead.

One of the wooden dolls who had climbed on to his back would knock the gun from Bruno's hand. When he had tried to retrieve it, he found another doll was standing before him. He struck the doll with a walking stick, knocking it down on the floor. His father did not move, for he was simply an onlooker at the moment. Bruno would retrieve the gun again and order the others to drink the wine. This time, he had ordered the rest of them to drink at the same time, or he would shoot them. Pablo had refused, and he too was shot dead on the spot. Bruno's perverted game was altered by the interaction of the dolls.

Other dolls had then entered, whereupon he began to shoot at them filled with uncontrollable rage. There was no stopping the effort of the dolls. They had come for him to take to the dark realm of the other world, where Valeria was residing. Desperation was seen in the frantic eyes of Bruno.

He had warned the guests to not leave the area, but he had told his father to leave at once. He would join him afterwards, when the commotion was over. The evil that was consuming Bruno was insurmountable and unrestrained in his actions committed.

He was not willing to forsake his claim on the inheritance and status for anyone, including the guests. The gripping madness that had overtaken his father was overtaking his rationality. It was his contrarious recalcitrance that would doom him. He was besides the fireplace. What he had failed to see was that behind him in the form of a doll was his dearest sister Valeria.

She would climb on to his neck and stab him in his veins, numerous blows that would cause Bruno to fall on to the floor dead. Before he would die, he had uttered one last sequence of chilling words that were directed to Valeria, who was then standing beside him.

'Why Valeria? I would have shared the inheritance with you, if you had only lived!'

She would not respond. Instead, it was Catalina who would, 'Because, you wanted more the inheritance than her love'.

Bruno would speak no more and die. As for his father Luciano, he would take his life, by shooting himself in the temple. His madness was too much to bear, and the inherent guilt that he carried with his actions that had caused the death of Valeria had finally stirred his consciousness to react.

There was no doubt that he had done horrible things in his life and to Valeria, but Bruno was also a contributor to the sad ending of Valeria's life that was deemed unjust. The cruelty that both had displayed were indicative of the tumultuous relation they had with her and her mother, who had passed away mysteriously several years ago.

A death that some of the local people believed was committed by Luciano. Who would have dared to fathom from them that a repeated killer had been dwelling in their surroundings for some decades? The grim consequences of the death of both Luciano and Bruno would leave then no absolute heir or heiress to the amassed fortune of the Quinteiros. If only Valeria had lived, she would have claimed what was rightfully hers from the beginning.

The dolls would not threaten or act against the remaining guests. They had not come for them. They would leave the Main Hall and return to their places, which were the rooms where the guests were staying at. It was said that the countless spirits of people that once lived were retained in the wooden composition of the dolls. Who were these people originally? Were they the insufferable victims of Luciano, who never took accountability for his crimes? That was the insuperable enigma yet to be resolved.

The dolls would remain in the villa. One thing is certain, and that is that the dead are never truly dead in spirit. Some dare to incarnate in flesh and others in dolls. Valeria was a testimony to that revealing contrast. Before the three guests had departed, they had expressed their opinions on what they had witnessed at the villa. They had regretted the deaths of Thiago and Pablo. They had seen the darkness of evil manifest, and the abhorrent corruption of two men.

What they had learnt as well to believe was that the inconceivable was not always contradictory, and that the supernatural occurrences were indeed plausible. Perhaps they were inexplicable in their contents, but they were undeniable in their essence.

A storm was brooding in the mist, and it was a signal for them to leave. The sound of the murmuring wind had gradually echoed. The villa would be sold and bought. It would be transformed into a residential school for adolescents. Just like Valeria would have wanted. The horrible events that took place there were never divulged to the public, until a decade thereafter. Nor were the irrefutable facts about Valeria's death.

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About The Author
Lorient Montaner
About This Story
9 Apr, 2024
Read Time
32 mins
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