By Raine Love Perez
Being left home alone was a normal part of Marley’s life since her Mom was always at work. She was a surgeon so she was in the hospital for fifty to sixty hours per week. Sometimes even more. Right now, Marley and her seven-year-old sister, Callie, were flipping through channels, trying to find something interesting to watch.
Marley glanced at the clock, abruptly sitting up. 11:37 PM. Shoot. It was way past Callie’s bedtime. A solid two hours and thirty-seven minutes past. Her Mom would not be happy with that. “Alright. Come on, Callie. Let’s get you tucked into bed.”
“But I’m not tired,” Callie said, yawning right after the words had left her mouth.
Marley chuckled at her sister’s childlike behaviour. “Yeah, right,” she said, standing up as she gestured for Callie to follow. She turned on her heel, sauntering towards the staircase and was about to ascend the first step until the power went out.
“The lights turned off!” Callie exclaimed.
“I can see that.” Marley pivoted towards the nearest light switch, flicking it on and off. Nothing. Whatever. They were going to sleep anyways. She reached for the emergency flashlight on a shelf, pressing the power button and feeling that reassuring click under her thumb as a beam of light shone into the darkness. She pointed the light towards the stairs and looked at Callie, smiling. “Up we go.”
Callie gazed at the top of the stairs then shook her head. “No.”
Marley blinked. “No?”
“The lady is blocking the way.”
Marley gave a look of confusion, following her sister’s line of sight and pointing her flashlight towards it only to find nothing. “What lady?”
“The one with no eyes.”
Goosebumps rose. “Stop that, Callie.” The urban legend of Dolly drifted into Marley’s mind. The malignant demon that once was a beautiful lady, one that had doll-like features such as porcelain skin and rosy red cheeks. Her eyes were her best feature. They were a forest green, and it contrasted greatly with her black hair. Unfortunately, she lost her beauty when the townsfolk sacrificed her to the gods. First, her green orbs were carved out, then she was burned to death.
Suddenly, the flashlight went out. Marley furrowed her eyebrows and tried to turn it back on. “What the…”
“She’s coming closer…” Callie said, fear evident in her eyes.
“It’s okay, Cal. I’m sure that you’re just imagining things,” Marley reassured. She wasn’t sure if she was trying to reassure her sister or herself. She picked Callie up and reached for the landline. “This is why sleeping is so important,” she added, before dialling her Mom’s phone number and waiting for an answer. She tried once, twice… When she got no answer on her third try, she put the phone down. She frantically looked around, paranoia slowly rising. It was pitch black, and her sister was claiming that there was an eyeless lady in the house. What else would she feel? She then got an idea. She could drive to her Mom instead. She rushed towards the front door, unlocked it, and tried to open it, but it wouldn’t budge.
“This can’t be happening.” She spun towards the windows and opened the curtains, only to see blood covering every square inch of the glass pane. Her heart skipped a beat. Its pungent scent filled her nostrils and she gagged. Suddenly, with no time to react, the glass shattered, the pieces flying everywhere and making Callie scream. Instinctively, Marley threw Callie to the sofa and shielded herself with her arms. Most of the shards bounced off, some managed to pierce Marley’s arms, and one punctured her stomach. She grimaced and hissed in pain while tears brimmed Callie’s eyes.
“Go to your room,” Marley managed, delivering each word as calmly and steadily as she could. She didn’t want to frighten her sister any more than she probably was. Callie heeded immediately. Not because she was intimidated, but because she was scared. Marley plucked a fragment of glass from her stomach and tossed it aside before proceeding to do the same with the other ones that were protruding from all over her arms.
When she was done, she started towards the stairs as well but was forced to a halt when a heavyweight pounced on her. She turned her head to see what was on her and was met with an inhuman face. A lady with no eyes. More specifically, Dolly. Only she didn’t seem doll-like at all. Her skin was an ebony colour, rather scorched, that in which correlated with her death. Proof that she was burned. Some of her skin was peeling off, and the very few remaining patches of her hair was as crispy as fallen leaves during the autumn season. Dolly plastered a smile on her hideous face before speaking in a guttural voice.
Completely horror-struck, Marley’s eyes widened and she drew in a sharp breath. She swung her fist at the demon’s face, but it reacted almost immediately and countered the attack by sinking its teeth deep into her forearm. Marley shrieked in pain then head-butted Dolly’s face, the force of this causing the demon to bump into the side table and spilling the glass of water Marley never finished earlier. The demon shrilled and Marley crawled back, her heart pounding against her chest. She wheeled around to grab a lamp, but when she turned back around to attack, Dolly was gone.
She let out a breath she didn’t realize she was holding. She wiped the sweat from her forehead and swallowed, scrambling up to her feet then scurrying up the stairs. “Callie!” She called, stopping at the top.
Her sister, she whom stood in the hallway, spun around to face Marley. She opened her mouth to say something but was interrupted when she was suddenly flung into the open room.
Marley heard the sickening sound of Callie’s fragile bones being broken and this made her heart twist in pain. She ran towards the entrance of Callie’s room, and there she was. On the floor, lying face first in a pool of her own blood. Marley screamed and brought her hands to her mouth, sobbing in horror.
Dolly emerged from under the bed, reaching a dark hand out and grabbing Callie’s corpse, pulling her under the bed as well. Marley gasped and pushed herself against the wall so that she wasn’t in the creature’s view. Just then, both of Callie’s brown eyes rolled out the doorway, a trail of blood on the floor where the eyeballs previously rolled on. Marley stared at it through wide eyes, completely petrified.
She winced when she heard the demon hungrily devouring Callie’s corpse, and that was the only sound that filled her ears. Marley shut her eyes tightly, and despite how tight they were closed, tears still managed to leak. “Please stop,” she begged weakly.
Suddenly, the power turned on again, and the phone started to ring. Marley jumped in shock. She ran into her Mom’s room towards the ringing phone. She fumbled for the phone and brought it up to her ear, not wasting any time to speak. It was her Mom.
“Mom, I need you to come home,” she urged, her voice cracking. Her knees were knocking and she was trembling greatly, barely holding the phone in her hand.
“Marley? What’s wrong?”
“Someone—something is here. And it’s not human.” Marley’s voice was suddenly lower. She cast a nervous glance around, getting the feeling that she was being watched. “Mom, please come home. I’m scared,” she whimpered.
“Oh, my…I’ll call 911 and be there as fast as I can, okay? I’m going to need you to-“
The phone flew out of her hand and right against the wall, breaking into pieces. Marley screamed, running into her room and slamming the door shut, her alarm clock falling onto the floor.
She sunk to the floor, her back against the door. She occupied herself by applying pressure to the bite wound on her forearm as it seemed to keep bleeding. Marley had never been afraid of the dark, but now, she was terrified of it. She was terrified of everything in the house and she wanted so badly to escape… But she couldn’t.
She rested her head back against the door’s surface, closing her eyes and not wanting to open them again.
Her fate then dawned on her and she started to hurt. Not just physically. It was even worse than physical pain. Her soul hurt, and the thought that her death was inevitable made a heavyweight drop on her. She would never graduate from high school, she would never become a teacher, she would never marry, have kids, grow old…With this thought in her head, she cried herself to sleep.
The last thing Marley saw was her alarm, blinking the bolded, red ‘12:06 PM’ before the creature pushed its long, rotting nails into her eyes, painfully carving them out. Its other hand muffled her screams as it tore and ate away at her body.
Marley shot upright, letting out a shaky breath of relief that it was only a dream. She glanced at her alarm clock. It read 12:05 PM. In a moment of realization, her breath caught in her throat, just as the closet door creaked open.
Callie’s eyes fluttered open, followed by a small moan of pain. The lights nearly blinded her. They were way too bright for her liking. She rolled her head around the pillow, eying the hospital room in a way that made it seem like she was leaving little fingerprints everywhere. The metallic taste of blood was in her mouth, but she paid no mind to it.
Her Mom lifted her head off the bedside, a clear look of fatigue and sorrow on her face despite the wide smile she displayed. “You’re awake “she whispered. Her eyes watered and she held Callie’s cold hand. “If I lost you too I would’ve… “she trailed off and bit her quivering lip, looking to the side as she tried to keep her tears at bay.
Callie didn’t say anything; no other sound being made other than the heart monitor and its consistent beeps.
Beep. Beep. Beep.
“It’s my fault,” Callie finally spoke. “She’s dead because of me.”
“No… No, Sweetheart. It’s not your fault.”
Callie looked directly at her Mom. Perhaps it was her fatigue that made her notice so late, but Callie’s eyes weren’t brown like they were supposed to be, but instead, a forest green.
The heart monitor suddenly stopped beeping, flatlining as Callie let out a menacing smile.
“But it was, Mommy.”