Tick Tock, went the cuckoo birds around the room. When the clocks struck twelve, the collective chatter of the mechanical birds stirred the old man.
“Ah well, best be getting home!” he exclaimed, and left the small doll he had in his hand on the worn table. “Good bye my little ones.”
The old man walked home through the dark and dreary streets. When he reached his old tenement, he slammed the door closed and greeted his small white chihuahua, its eyes gleaming and coat shining. It was ecstatic to see him. “Yes, I am home!” he laughed. “Sorry for taking so long, my honey.” The dog gave a small woof and wagged its tail delightedly.
The man climbed the steep wooden staircase to his room, changing into his nightgown and going to sleep in a wink. Minutes later, he spasmed and his heart stopped its lively bu-thump. He drew one last cold wispy breath and then fell into an unwakeable sleep, his face forever contracted in a pallid expression.
2 days later
Adam was walking down the streets of Munich Germany when he noticed a tiny doll lying among the worn-out cobblestones. It had brass hinges and was sparsely colored. It appeared to be a young girl, and in its hand was a butcher’s knife crusted with faded red paint that he took to be a representation of blood.
He wondered where the doll came from. Its wooden body was slim and tough. He lifted up the doll, examined it for a moment, and slipped it in his knapsack for later.
He returned home later that day and sat down at his desk, rummaging through his bag for his work. His fingers brushed against the smooth wooden surface of the doll, and he pulled it out, staring at in in curiosity. When he tried pushing the arms back and forth, he felt an extremely tough resistance, and his vision blurred until it focused on a place elsewhere.
He was looking down at a real girl, one who looked very similar to the one he was holding.
“What the hell is this all about?!” he exclaimed, trembling with fear. In the small girl’s hand was a butcher’s knife, her curly golden locks falling upon it when she moved.
He dropped her onto the table in alarm, pulling his arm back hurriedly and wiping his sweaty hand on his pants. The girl did the same, brushing her small fingers against her plain skirt.
After he’d calmed down enough to notice that the doll-girl kept mirroring his movements, he picked her up and brought her over to the next room, where a woman was sitting calmly in a straight-backed chair.
“Anika, what are you doing with that knife?” she pondered, a simpering smile on her face.
Adam replied, “I’m not sure, Mama.” The sound came out of Anika’s mouth, not his own.
Adam was deeply freaked out and set the doll down. As she fell upon the wooden table, she jumped to life again, hurling the knife. The woman fell to the ground, her heart impaled by the sharp edge, and Adam realized with horror that the knife was indeed covered in real blood, not red paint. He scooped her up again, terrified by what she might do.
The young girl twisted her head 180 degrees and stared right at him. “You’re next,” she cackled, throwing her head back into the air. Adam threw the doll into his bag, raced out the door and down the street to where he had found the doll, outside a storefront window that displayed several hand-made clocks. The words Alistair’s Cuckoos and Dolls were scrawled in messy handwriting across the green sign that hung over the door, waving in the fierce wind.
Adam set the doll onto the ground and using the heel of his boot, smashed the doll into painted splinters.
Anika Rothstein’s death had been a mystery. The girl had been found dismembered on the floor of her bedroom late at night. Her limbs and head dangled from the ceiling on white string stained with her blood. The sticky red fluid had splashed on the carpet and furniture, splattering everywhere as her torso, skinned, twitched and spasmed on the floor. When the police were called, the forensic science team examined the small house and interrogated Anika’s father. They were shocked when they discovered miniscule slivers of maple wood in the blood of what was left in her appendages. While the theory of Anika killing her mom resulted in being true, Anika’s death was a phenomenon that led scientists around the world searching for the answer, but one never came.
The girl strolled down the street to the doll store. She wanted to get one for her friend’s birthday, but she wanted to see the selection first.
As she left the store holding a paper bag filled with little dolls, the toe of her boot hit a large cobblestone that stuck out. She fell forward, the bag falling from her arms and scattering the wooden dolls onto the street. A sharp pain erupted in her arm, and she hissed in pain.
When she stood up and gathered her dolls, she took a look at her arm. A splinter had driven deep into her arm. Honestly, who breaks wood on a street like this? she thought angrily as she tried to pull it out.
She managed to get most of it out, and continued on with her bag of dolls. The pain had faded, giving way to a dull numbness. She realized she could no longer feel her arm, and so she decided to have a doctor take a look at it soon.
That night, as the cuckoo bird chirped somewhere in the house at midnight, the girl was gone, and so were her dolls.