The Toy Store

December 10, 2008
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Mr. Jenkins was a mysterious elderly fellow. He was not handsome, he was not dashing, and he was not by any means tall. In fact, Mr. Jenkins was about the height of a yardstick; well— not a yardstick, but he was unbelievably short. Mr. Jenkins was a single man, he had been all his seventy-six years on this great rock known as Earth. He had never went out courting when he was a youth, and now that he was well up in years, he had no plans to do so either.

Mr. Jenkins had a cat to keep him company though, so Mr. Jenkins case of being single was not at all a bad predicament. “Sylvester”(his cat) was a lively, wiry, cat; with dirty, tattered, brown fur. Paired together, Mr. Jenkins and Sylvester made a good coupling.

But even though Mr. Jenkins had a cat to keep him company, he had no friends to socialize with. Well— that’s not true— he used to have a friend. Mrs. Cobbapple, an old woman who was just as ancient as Mr. Jenkins was. But tragically, she had suffered a heart attack two years from the present, and was no longer among the living.

What turned off many people about Mr. Jenkins was that he was always unkempt. In fact, there was never a day that Mr. Jenkins did not have a scraggly beard, and a multitude of cowlicks flocking idly in his rapidly declining hair. Since Mr. Jenkins had no one to please, he felt that it was automatic in his nature not to have what many would consider proper hygiene. Aside from his hygiene, Mr. Jenkins had thick, scratchy, glasses and he also sported a ‘lovely’ lazy eye that would decide to flutter in every which direction when it pleased. With all these ‘charming’ features, and with his hunched over back, Mr. Jenkins tended to be alone most of the time.

Mind you, Mr. Jenkins was not one of those elderly folks who just stay at home all day. No, Mr. Jenkins did in fact have a priority keeping him busy most days. You see, Mr. Jenkins had always had a lifelong passion for toys. Not action figures, and cheap plastic dolls, but real quality toys. Toys that, if kept long enough, would last you a lifetime. Those were the toys Mr. Jenkins had loved as a child, so it would only make sense that a fellow like himself would open a toy store.

Mr. Jenkins toy store had a rough start in its early days, but this was due to its ugly appearance. Surprisingly, Mr. Jenkins had realized that if he wanted to keep running his toy store, he would have to invest a few dollars into it to make it look presentable to the public. After a while, the job was done. And his toy store looked so interesting that even animals— mostly birds and squirrels— would show up at it.

Once the toy store was presentable, Mr. Jenkins found that his profits were slightly increasing. At first, parents of little children were delighted that such a store was erected in their community. Now there would be a place for them to get there overwhelming Christmas shopping done for their expecting offspring.

When they had entered the toy store, most of them were appalled at the sight of it. For just like dear Mr. Jenkins, the inside of the toy store was— well— really unkempt. Toys of all kinds were scattered about. There were no aisles. No, each toy had a random place on the table or the floor. The lighting in the store was horrid, and most if not all— of the lightbulb’s flickered weakly, as if they were in a desperate struggle to keep clinging on to their electric life. And, in most of the parent’s opinion, Mr. Jenkins had overpriced most of his items. After the news had passed through the rumor weed in town, Mr. Jenkins found that his toy store was not receiving much business again. Well— that is not from adult consumers.

Even though the parents of the children of the town despised the toy store, it was not likewise for their children. Mr. Jenkins toy store’s profits in fact depended on the purchases of the children. And the children absolutely loved the toy store. Unlike their parents, they did not care about the ‘appearance’ of the toy store. All they really cared about was the contents of the toy store— the toys.

And oh how the children loved the toys! Oh how they loved them! They could not get enough of them. It seemed that the toys in Mr. Jenkins toy store cast a spell upon the children, entrancing them with their classical charm. It was because of this, that Mr. Jenkins began to love the children. In fact, Mr. Jenkins cold, isolated, heart was beginning to thaw because of the overwhelming fire known as friendship. But what if the toys had feelings? What if a creeping jealousy began to creep into them, because of Mr. Jenkins growing fondness of his little customers? What if?

Then Mr. Jenkins fondness for the children began to grow even the stronger. So strong, that Mr. Jenkins for the first time in his life began to shave regularly. Then he began to comb his hair. Then he began to wear clothes that weren’t ratty. Then instead of a cold, emotionless, face, Mr. Jenkins had a warm cherry color kindled in it. Then his heart began to overflow with joy, so much that he began to tell jokes to the children. The jokes then lead to hearty laughter. It was because of the children, that Mr. Jenkins found happiness.

(although the toys did not)

As Mr. Jenkins changed, so did the appearance of the toy store. Instead of being dirty and unorganized, the toy store was now spick and span; it now seemed that the store had not a single speck of dust lurking in it. The toys were in aisles of all things, and now they were in order. (but the toys were jealous)

As the days passed—as the months passed— Mr. Jenkins began to pay more of his attention to the children(instead of the toys); then he began to do more things with the children. It was then that some of the toys realized that Mr. Jenkins now only thought of them as objects. It used to be that Mr. Jenkins used to play with the toys all the time; for remember, he used to be a lonely old man. When he used to get lonely, and when he tired of Sylvester’s companionship, he began to play with the toys to destroy his grueling boredom and loneliness. It was because of this that once made Mr. Jenkins store dirty— but no longer.

The toys could tolerate children— because that is what they were created to do. But, they wanted to be with their maker(Mr. Jenkins) Nothing was more important to the toys than Mr. Jenkins— nothing. It came to a point where the toys longed for the touch of their makers hand(but they didn’t get it)They wanted nothing more than to be played with —but they did not want to be played with by children— only their maker would do. Even though they were now organized, and were neatly sitting and hanging from the ceiling, they wanted Mr. Jenkins. No one else— only Mr. Jenkins.

There would be times at night(after closing time, mind you) And on these times, Mr. Jenkins would sit in his chair with Sylvester in his lap, stroking the cats filthy fur repeatedly. Whispering and sometimes announcing to Sylvester and the air: “Oh— I wish I could of had children.” He would sigh while stroking Sylvester and then: “Oh I wish I could of had children. It’s a shame it is! A downright shame! All of these years of my life wasted doing nothing! Oh— what a shame! What a damned shame!”

Needlessly to say, the toys did not like this. The toys did not like the fact Mr. Jenkins was beginning to regret all the time he had spent with them, and not people. They did not want to be ignored by their creator. To be ignored— to be in isolation— to be forgotten— these are terrible and most despicable emotions. (And the toys were beginning to feel them)

Though the toys could tolerate the children— and tolerate them they did; painfully— their was one child they despised. Their was one child they did not favor. This child was a little, cute, eight year old girl that went by the name of Susan Parker (though she was nicknamed Susy) She was a delightful girl, and full of charm. It was her that made Mr. Jenkins change dramatically. It was because of Susy that Mr. Jenkins was now a pleasant human being. It was Susy that had made the once cold, and numb Mr. Jenkins become anew.

The toys hated Susan Parker because of one reason— and mostly one reason only. That one reason was that Susy was drawing Mr. Jenkins away from the toys. Now this is a profound statement. How would just a little girl be able to receive the hate of so many toys? What had she done that had made Mr. Jenkins a brand new man?

The answer is actually quite simple: she was his first customer that was a child. Before Susy, all the customers Mr. Jenkins had received were snobby mothers and fathers who quickly left the store because of its appearance. What made Susy so special to Mr. Jenkins— what separated her from all the other customers was that she actually browsed. Yes, she went through all the toys and inspected them. She looked at every one of them, and marveled, stated too and complimented Mr. Jenkins on his master craftsmanship on building toys. Mind you, it was rare for Mr. Jenkins to ever receive a compliment. In all actually, it was the first compliment he had ever received from anybody. It was in this act of kindness that Mr. Jenkins opened up. And from that moment on, Mr. Jenkins would remain friends with the adorable Susan Parker. They became on such friendly terms that Sylvester had warmed up to and trusted Susy enough to let her pet him. Susan was the one responsible for the good that had been done in Mr Jenkins life.

(and the toys hated her for it)

It continued. Susan came practically everyday to the toy store. She came day after day after day after day. So long, that the toys could not keep count of the days that Susan had come to the toy store. In every instance in which Susy set foot in the toy store, it was a boiling, steaming, hardship for the toys to endure. For them, every time she came, she was driving Mr. Jenkins farther and farther away from them. And, day after day, their hate became outrage. It all came to planning. And during one dark night, the toys gathered together; to plan something quite terrible.

***

The day began pleasant enough when Susan climbed out of her bed. She got dressed, had a good breakfast, and due to her mothers pestering insistence, she had brushed out her shoulder length brunette hair. And after that, she eagerly accepted her weekly allowance money that was awarded to her after she did her daily chores. Her father chuckled at her eagerness for the money and mused, “Don’t blow it all in one place, Susy, make that money last for Gods sake.”

Susy just rolled her eyes in practiced annoyance. Her dad was sort of foolish of saying that of course. Her father knew, just as she knew, where the money was going to go. Mr. Jenkins Toy Store— where else?

Susy hopped on her bike and pedaled fiercely to the toy store. Once she was there, she parked her bike and took a breather. Her small eight year old frame huffed and puffed violently. The ride had been slightly rough on her. Had she not of been in such a hurry, the ride would of not of been so demanding of her energy.

Once the girl had caught her breath, she entered the store. She glanced around for a second or two then the comprehension came to her mind that Mr. Jenkins was not in the store, or at least, he was not visible to her. Something else was odd to her as well, the lights were off. It wasn’t pitch dark in the store mind you, there was still pale light leaking out of the display window in the front of the store, giving her just enough light to move about.

“Mr Jenkins?” She called out curiously, “Mr. Jenkins! Mr. Jenkins, where are you!”

There was no response to her call. No nothing. Susy ventured further into the toy store. Something else caught her ever watchful eye— the toys were no longer organized and tidy. No longer were they sitting idly on the shelf. Now the toys were as the were when Susy had visited the toy store the first time. They either were on the floor, or were sprawled in strange positions on the shelves.

Susy pondered at this. It was unlike Mr. Jenkins to do such a thing. Curiosity now became a small, throbbing, panic as Susy desperately desired to know where Mr. Jenkins was.

In the middle of her state of pondering, something brown and furry suddenly jumped out before her. Susy was very startled for a moment, but when the brown furry thing let out a lazy meow, she laughed out loud at herself nervously for being so startled. It was Sylvester! Perhaps he was the one who had knocked the toys down and put them in such a state of disarray. This is what Susy had told herself. As Sylvester walked on, Susy failed to notice a small doll clinging to the cats right hind leg with a hand of cloth.

Susy was relieved to see Sylvester, but still the unknown question still stood remaining: where was Mr. Jenkins? Aisle down aisle she went, in search to find her elderly friend. She stopped in the middle of an aisle and called out again, this time her hands were cupped around her mouth in a vain effort to amplify her call.

No answer. Susy called again, and again there was nothing. Then, she felt a small, but firm hand clasp around her shoulder. Quickly— instinctively, she turned in surprise to find out who was touching her. And to her relief, the person touching her was none other than Mr. Jenkins.

“What is the matter child?” Inquired the man in a gruff tone. “What are you searching for?”

Susy hugged the man, (who was only almost thee inches taller than she); then she said, “Why, Mr. Jenkins, I was looking for you! Where were you?”

Mr. Jenkins laughed a little, then scratched some white stubble that was now sprouting on his face. Then Mr. Jenkins looked at her, and when he did, it frightened her. It frightened her— because in the first time since she had met Mr. Jenkins, his infamous lazy was moving.

“Why child!” exclaimed he. “I was just back in the shop working on building a new toy! It’s been forever since I’ve made one you know!”

“Oh,” replied Sally. “Then I have another question. Why are all the toys just running around? Why are they not on the shelves Mr. Jenkins?”

The ancient man looked about as glancing for something that was not visible. He did this for a while longer, then he said, “What in the world are you talking about, child? All the toys seem fine to me!”

Susy had to force herself to look at the man. For now his eye was out of control, it flicked every direction it chose, there was no sense of order— it seemed to defy the brains natural command. Susy now sensed that something was terribly wrong with Mr. Jenkins. For it would take an insane man to claim that the toys in the store were not disorganized or scattered about. “Mr. Jenkins,” She pleaded, “Can you not see? The toys are scattered everywhere!”

Mr. Jenkins cast a glance in every direction he could, all the while his lazy eye twitched and moved about freely. He then again looked at Susy, this time a look of extreme puzzlement crept into his wrinkled face. Then he peered at the girl, squinting at her with suspicion. Then, he said, “Child! What are you talking about! All the toys are in the right place! Are you— alright child?”

That did it for Susy. There was clearly something going wrong in Mr. Jenkins mind. She had to something, something to drill some sense back into him. “Mr. Jenkins? What’s wrong with you Mr. Jenkins? You can tell me.”

A weird, chilling, false laugh erupted from Mr. Jenkins. “Child? What is wrong with you?” he paused, he tried to squint at her with his lazy eye but it proved unsuccessful, so he continued, “I— think— I am going back to my shop to work on my toy until your sickness— or whatever it is that is vexing you is gone.” Then, with his piece said, Mr. Jenkins went off to the back of the store, leaving a most puzzled Susan.

After he was gone from her sight, Susy started to cry lightly. But her crying ceased when she saw a small porcelain doll that lay isolated at her feet. Reluctantly, she picked it up. It was beautiful. The doll had a terrifying resemblance of Susy. It was a little girl in a small violet dress, with dark brunette ceramic locks. It had a sad weeping expression on it. And Susy wondered why it would be so sad.

Against her thoughts that is was stupid, she asked, “Doll? Why are you so sad? Whatever happened to make you this way?”

To her surprise, a minuscule voice answered. “I am sad,” it said, “because something is bothering me.”

Susy’s eyes grew in size in the startling surprise of the doll responding to her. But, since the doll had answered her Susy thought it only polite to talk to the doll, no matter how insane it might seem. “What is bothering you doll?” Susy asked in a sympathetic tone.

The ceramic eyes of the porcelain doll traveled to meet hers, sorrow was evidently heavy in them. “Someone,”she corrected, “Someone is bothering me.”

Susy rolled her eyes. She was trying to be sympathetic to the doll, but it seemed as if the doll was delaying any chance of Susy understanding the dolls problem. But still curious, she then asked, “Who is bothering you doll?”

There was silence from the doll. Then, the dolls eyes lost their dreadful sorrow. The sorrow, was now a glee— an evil glee. The glee took over the sorrow and spread to the dolls face. It transformed into a smile, revealing what seemed to be tiny pointed teeth. “You.” It said in a disturbingly darker tone. “You are bothering me. You are bothering me, and you will pay for it!”

Then, the doll sank its tiny teeth deeply into the flesh of Susy’s fingers, making Susy’s blood trickle out of the bite marks in little drops. In response to the unexpected pain, Susy threw the doll down harshly. The doll hit the ground, and shattered into oblivion.

Susy sucked her finger, trying make them stop bleeding. Once satisfied, she decided that because of the incident with the doll, and the odd behavior of Mr. Jenkins that it would be the perfect time to leave. Her foot moved to take a step forward— it did not budge. Puzzled, Susy tried to move her foot again, it ended with the same result as her previous attempt. She attempted yet again, failed result, something was restricting her foot from moving. She glanced down speedily. What was holding her down was a marionette— a marionette of a court jester. It had all its body wrapped around her leg, and the strings attached to it were somehow tangled with both her feet. Its face was covered with a zany smile, then it open its mouth and said in a somewhat silly, giggling voice, “Where do you think your going little girl?”

Susy stared at the marionette in both awe and horror. This was the second toy in this store to come to life. She did not reply to it, but instead began to attempt to hop away to the door. She failed. She tripped, and fell. She did so because of the marionettes strings. She tried to get away on her elbows, but to no avail, for the toys had pinned her down. No matter how hard she made an effort to get away, Susy could not move, let alone get off the ground. Now, that low panic she had felt earlier was a full fledged, thumping, high paced, panic of terror. If the toys had their way, they would hurt her. For on what account, Susy had no idea.

(But the toys did)

Susy felt herself being lifted and turned over by the little hands of the toys. She now could see the ceiling instead of the floor. The marionette that once had a hold of her legs was now on her chest, his grinning face was forced to hers and a long cackle emerged from him.

Susy felt things clawing, tugging, and biting at her. She was in a constant frenzy of agony. Either the toys were going to kill her, or torture her to the very verge of it. Susy’s heart now beat at a astounding pace, her breathing was rapid, it was safe to say that she was terrified out of her mind. The toys she had once loved were now trying to hurt her. No, not trying to hurt— they were hurting her.

“Why are you doing this to me! WHY!” Susy shrieked.

Then, a deep, booming voice uttered, it was the voice of all the toys, joined together in unison, all of the same gruesome intent. “Because,” It answered. “You are our enemy! You were separating us from our beloved maker, for that, the consequences shall be yours to pay!”

The torture and agony continued and increased. Susy was desperate. “Mr. Jenkins!,”She called out in desperation, “Mr. Jenkins? Help me! The toys are trying to kill me!”

Mr. Jenkins did not respond— but the toys did. They laughed. They cackled and hissed with pleasure. They were overwhelming and overpowering Susy. And no one of either of the natural or supernatural realms was there to help her. No one.

Susy jerked her hand back and forth. Her eyes caught sight of something, a toy sword. It, unlike the other toys was laying idle and untouched. Her hands were shaky and pinned; but somehow she managed to grasp a hold of it. With a surge of strength, she brought the sword up and somehow— maybe somehow magically— she cut the toys off her.

Once she was on her feet again, she swept the sword back and forth, vanquishing the toys who had an ill will against her. As she did, Susy found that she was bleeding, but due to the prior events, this did not surprise her. With the sword she instilled a fear into the toys. All of them cowered before it, all except the marionette.

The marionettes strings were held up, and by some invisible force—maybe it own— the marionette was being operated, and it was moving towards Susy. Susy, without hesitation, brought forth her sword against the marionette, and in one fluid motion, beheaded it. The puppets head lolled on the ground lazily.

Seeing that she had defeated it, Susy dropped the sword and ran. She ran out of the aisle that she was trapped in, and to the door. She could hear the toys going after her as she did, but she continued anyway. She turned back, breathing heavily, she saw the toys, they would not wait for her to escape. And in between heartbeats, she opened the door, and flew out of the toy store.

She ran. She ran to her bike, she pedaled off. She raced home. For home was a safe haven. As she biked, she heard the door creak open. Then a shaky old voice— Mr. Jenkins voice— it was the voice of a crazy and deranged old man. It was a voice of a man who had been transformed, in this case a man who had been re-transformed, a man who had been once been redeemed, but had gone back to his old ways. There was a cackling, and then a giggle, a giggle similar to the marionette. Then Mr. Jenkins spoke, “Thank you for shopping, and come back soon!”





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This article has 4 comments. Post your own now!

bethybird said...
Dec. 7, 2010 at 11:41 am
hey rexy! today in class we have to read some short stories so i plan on using some of your stories for my final exam next week. ttyl!
 
Nathaniel replied...
Dec. 7, 2010 at 11:46 am
Haha...can't believe you remembered these stories...well have fun, don't know how your teachers will like them, seeing how I haven't written anything in a year or two. (P.S. To some degree I am flattered that you would even remember these...lol)
 
Sarah Flemming said...
Jan. 20, 2009 at 3:37 am
wow!! this is so good it really kept me reading and i really liked it keep writing!!!
 
FATHER CALLAHAN said...
Jan. 3, 2009 at 4:19 pm
A GOOD READ. REALLY LIKE YOUR STYLE ON THIS ONE. WELL PACED. METHINKS THIS ONE HAS THE POTENTIAL TO BECOME A BOOK. BEST YOU'VE DONE SCINCE GUARDIAN OF THE CORNFIELD.
 
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