He clicked the zipper of his coat against the metal pole of the table three times. Each click was equally apart from the other. Slow. Steady. He sat there in the empty room void of everything except a single table and two chairs that stood on opposite sides of the table. Out of the shadows sat a man in a white coat. This doctor looked over his notes and back at the man whose eyes were red and dark from lack of sleep and the deepening crazy that possessed his weak soul.
The doctor asked, “Do you know why you’re here, Mr. Patterson?”
The man, Patterson, looked up slightly from the table. His head still down, but his eyes matched with the doctors in a creepy, sinister stare. “Why?” He asked, his voice low and barely audible.
“Why don’t you start from the beginning.” The doctor suggested. “I want to hear what you remember. Let's start with what you told police. The asylum and the town.”
Patterson adjusted in his seat. He rose himself just to adjust the clump of clothing he was sitting on and finally leaned comfortably against the back. He placed his hands on the table, his hands chained in cuffs, and tiredly began his story.
He explained that he was crazy. He’d always been crazy. But that was to be expected, living in an old abandoned asylum as a caretaker for thirteen years. He said it got lonely sometimes. Alone at the top of the hill with nothing put the old relics that were once a hospital to take care of. He’d enjoyed this job of his. Most people would find it creepy to work in the middle of the woods with a creepy old structure to take care of, but he liked it. He was a fairly skeptical person of the supernatural and never believed childish things like hauntings or ghosts.
He leaned uncomfortably as he continued telling his story. He walked to town one evening. It was a rather long day of work and he thought it would be nice to treat himself to a fresh pint of beer. He’d never really been into town before so it was all fairly new to him, though he did find the set up a bit odd. There were no cars in the street. None in the parking lot or at a stop sign or anywhere in sight. There were no people around either, no one walking along and stopping in. Now granted, he said, this was around midnight, but it was still a bit odd. No one was out. Who would walk in the night like this?
He walked into the pub a few miles passed the welcome sign of the town. There he noticed that it looked almost as colorless as the night. As if looking through a viewfinder with a filtered camera, he said. It almost didn’t look real. Like the picture didn’t make sense. Still, he thought nothing of it and sat at the bar. He ordered his usual. Straight whiskey and talked to the townspeople. Once he told them he worked at the asylum their faces became pale. They looked around at one another, secretly scheming. Or so the man claimed.
After that strange encounter, he went back home where the color of reality had finally come back to him. He slept that night, not really thinking much of the town. Come morning he went into the grounds of the asylum, this place was always just as colorless as the town. But there, one day, everything changed. He found something odd. A little doll, about the size of a small child, lying on the ground. It was colorful, just as colorful as his home and it didn’t have that same depressing look as the asylum or the townspeople. What was most odd about the doll wasn’t that it was colorful, but rather that it looked new. Brand new. Most of the things he encountered on the asylum floors were worn and torn. But this doll was left untouched. Almost as if it had been left there just a few days ago.
Interested in it, he took it back with him. He set it in the corner of the room, he smiled at it. “Now don’t you move on me,” He told it, grinning. He went to bed and awoke to repeat the same routine again. Maintaining the asylum and returning to the town to talk with the townspeople. Once he mentioned the doll they became different. They started telling him to kill the doll. To bury it, to tear it up, to scatter the limbs, and dispose of it.
It was evil.
The man returned that night, half expecting the doll to move, but it never did. It obeyed him, sitting in the corner like a good girl. He followed the same steps the following day, cleaned the asylum, went to the town, but something was different that day. He hadn’t disposed of the doll as the town people told him. And as he opened the door to the pub he noticed that everyone was still. No one moved. They were all stuck in a still frame doing their usual. Men drinking at the bar, women toasting with friends, people playing pool, and the one single man playing piano in the corner of the pub. He looked around, staying in his place at the door when suddenly the piano started to play. The man's hands were not moving, yet the hammers within had somehow triggered themselves to vibrate the strings and produce a tune. He listened to the music play, which didn’t seem to be in his head but emanating from the piano, and just as suddenly as it had started playing it began to distort its sound. As if he were playing in the wrong key and jumping from note to note like a child banging on keys. And then, it stopped.
A few seconds after it had stopped all the heads of the men, women, and the children, turned to look at him. Their eyes began to boil, melting within their skulls and showing two large holes within their faces. Once their eyes were dripping from their faces, they all said the same words.
Terrified of the scene, he ran from the pub. He ran straight for the house and threw the door open to see that the doll had finally moved. It was standing in the corner, limp, crying, begging him to let her go. But he wouldn’t have it. The doll was possessed, he was sure of it. They’d told him to kill the poor doll, and he hadn’t, so the town was punished. He went out with the evil deed. He pushed the doll down, ripping at her arms and legs, pulling them off and discarding them to the side of the room. He pulled out her hair, stabbed into the doll's stomach and ripped out the stuffing. Once the dolls cries had ceased seed, he was sure the cursed doll was finally dead.
He buried the doll in pieces, as the townspeople said. He couldn’t risk the doll coming back for revenge. An arm near the old oak tree, a leg beside the river. All the pieces of poor little Annie Doll had been scattered and hopefully forgotten.
As the man finished his story, laying his face against the cold tabletop, the doctor couldn’t help but go pale. Shakily, the doctor opened a file marked Annie Fisher. He slides it over to Patterson. “Now look,” The doctor commanded, Patterson shielded his eyes. “Look, Patterson.”
The man looked up at the file. Pictures of a crime scene. A body taken apart and nearly decayed to the bone. “What is that?” Patterson asked.
“This is Annie.” The doctor said.
Patterson picked himself up. His face smiling in disbelief and shaking his head. “No. That’s not Annie.”
“Yes, it is,” The doctor said. “This is the girl you murdered.”