‘Until the dolls came…’

By Cody Reeves


Just about every summer of my childhood, I would be taken to Fort Worth to visit my grandparents for a week or so.

I wouldn’t call their house a mansion, but it’s really big – like six bedrooms and six bathrooms sort of big. It wasn’t haunted, but it had scary things, like the shadowy, larger than life-sized painting of a very stern looking Civil War officer, right at the top of the stairs. There was the room where my great-grandmother died, and a headless mannequin wearing a wedding dress.

I was always a little uneasy sleeping upstairs in that house. I was just a country boy from a small town, and I never felt quite right being in the middle of a large city. No matter what time of the night, there was never a moment that was totally silent. I was away from my parents, in a strange place and constantly reminded that in any direction, some unknown people or things were awake and moving while I was vulnerable and asleep.

Still I managed to tough it out and sleep upstairs year after year. Until the dolls came…

My grandmother had decided to fill every upstairs bedroom with dolls. Every kind of doll. There were dolls standing in the corners, dolls sitting on the beds, dolls carefully arranged behind glass enclosures, life-sized dolls lying in baby cribs and rockers. There were porcelain dolls, stuffed dolls, plastic baby dolls, even a doll house with tiny dolls living inside. All of them watching me with cold lifeless eyes, angry that I had invaded their home. Waiting for me to let my guard down so they could feed on my soul.

They were the perfectly preserved corpses of dead children and miniature adults. Some smiled insanely, some pouted, and some held more stoic expressions. All of them unnervingly life-like, and yet where a soul should be there was nothing. Nothing but a cold hatred for living things.

It’s been almost twenty years since the dolls came and I haven’t spent a single night upstairs since. But I know they are still there, waiting.

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