Another week, another prompt from More Odds Than Ends. My week 10 prompt: Forensic analysis revealed… came from Fiona Grey Writes. It’s a continuation of my cursed dolls series that seems to be writing itself here on the blog.
Jack sighed and looked down at his porch. This was the third time in two weeks. Yet another dog carrying yet another doll had showed up on his doorstep. What the hell is going on? This is way more than one cranky witch.
The dog, a big German Shepherd this time, gave a small bark that turned into a whine. Jack let the dog sniff his hand before bending all the way down to pick up the doll.
“I know, buddy. I know. Come on inside and let’s see what we got.”
“Monica!” he yelled up the staircase. “I got another one! Can you feed the dog, please?”
He heard Monica running down from the second floor. “What the hell is going on? This is, what? The third one? That is not normal.”
In the kitchen, Jack made sure the dog got water while Monica dug out their remaining dog food. Their own dog had died about six months earlier and they had never gotten around to donating all the leftover food. Good thing, too. If this keeps up, we’ll need to actually buy more.
Jack looked for a note on the doll. The first two had managed to write a note with a short description of what had happened to them. Neither of them had managed to tell him who, exactly, had cursed them and shoved their spirit into a doll, and the first one, Renee Detweiler, had said that she couldn’t tell him. There had been spark of fear in her eyes and he had let the matter drop. Now, though…now, he was going to have to find her and get some information. This was too strange of a pattern to let it slide.
He found a small scrap of paper stuck in a pocket on the apron the doll was wearing. This doll looked a little bit like that famous ragdoll with the red hair. At least the apron had real pockets. He pulled the note out and unfolded the tiny piece of paper.
My name is Susan Blackwell. As you can probably tell, I’ve been cursed into this doll. I’ve been told you can help me. The woman who did it is named Camilia Sharpe. She works with another woman, Armina Grove. They’re doing this to anybody who they feel is in their way. Even if you cannot get me out of this doll and back into my own form, please alert the Witches Council. Whatever it is, can’t be good. Oh, my dog is called Captain. Please take care of him.
Jack stared at the piece of paper. Great. His name was being bandied about among one group of witches or magic users who were getting on the wrong side of at least two witches who were then turning everybody into dolls.
“Monica, honey, I think this is going to get very weird and possibly very bad before it’s all over. Make sure you strengthen the wards around the house and yard as soon as possible. Like after you feed the dog. Oh, and his name’s Captain.” He looked up at his wife. Monica turned from feed Captain and stared at Jack.
“OK. I just did that a couple weeks ago, but I’ll double check. What’s going on?”
Jack nodded toward the doll. “This one, Susan Blackwell, named names and apparently my name is being passed around as a good curse-breaker. I mean I’m flattered, but still…” he trailed off.
“That will bring us some unwanted, probably nasty attention.” Monica finished for him.
“Yeah. OK, let’s get going.”
Jack took the doll and the dog into the living room. He grabbed a piece of paper and a small pencil and set them and the doll on the coffee table.
“I’m going to leave you here and go back into the kitchen. Please write down as much as you remember about the curse used on you and then send Captain in to get me. This way, I’ll be able to more quickly and easily break the curse.” He nodded to the doll, gave Captain a scratch on the ears, and went back into the kitchen. He considered pouring himself a stiff drink, but settled for sparkling water. I can drink after I break this curse. I’ll probably need it. He sighed and sat down at the table to wait for Captain.
Not two minutes after sitting down, Jack heard a sharp sound, like a shot almost, followed by frenzied barking coming from the living room. He dashed in to find the doll broken in half and Captain barking madly at a spot just behind the doll.
“OK, OK. Calm down, boy. Captain. Shhh.” Jack tried to quiet the dog and simultaneously assess the doll. In fact, this was likely fatal. Shit.
Monica came running in from the back yard at that point. “What happened? I just finished checking and reinforcing…oh, shit.” She said when she saw the doll.
“Yeah. I’m taking the doll and Captain and going to visit Rob. He’ll be able to tell me what happened.”
“OK. Please be careful. It’s possible that whoever detonated that spell, knew she was coming here.” Monica’s tone was worried, but she gave him a quick hug and carefully picked up the two halves of the doll and put them together in a small, decorative basket. Jack headed out the door with the basket, followed by Captain.
An hour later, Rob came back into the small foyer of the ME’s lab. His face was grim.
“Jack, I’m sorry. My forensic analysis shows that there is no animating spirit in this doll. The spell was designed to trigger when she was in your house. I don’t think it was meant to hurt you or Monica, though.”
Jack stared at him. “Shit. Now, it’s murder by witches. I’ll have to get a hold of the Witches Council.”
Rob nodded slowly.
Jack looked down at Captain, sitting next to his chair, and rubbed his head. “Well, boy. I guess your new home is with us. I’m really sorry.”
Captain whined and leaned against Jack’s leg.
Thanks for reading! And, please do check out More Odds Than Ends for a good group of writers and some fun prompts.