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I swear it was watching me. I knew its eyes were following me as it was burning. I had to burn it, I had to get rid of it. It was following me, learning about me. But burning it didn’t work. It still followed me. It still shadowed my footsteps. It was missing one eye and after the burning, the eye that it had was turning into sludge. It wasn’t gone though; it could still watch me. I saw it the other day, sitting in a chair by the fireplace I threw it into. I remember when I first got it, it was a day like any other. The sunday before another week of school. I was putting away some papers I had just graded when I heard a knock at my door. When I opened my door I saw my grandfather on the other side, a strange puppet in his hands.
“Here you go, son”
I never knew why he gave it to me; my best guess is because I once said I wanted to be a puppeteer when I was a child. I don’t know why he took it so literally, I just wanted to be like the voice behind Elmo on Sesame Street.
When I took the puppet from him, the smile that snaked onto his face made me banish any ill thoughts of his gift, I didn’t want to make the old man sad. I should’ve known better. That b****rd knew what he was doing, what he was giving to me. I laid it down in a chair by my dining table. It only took a few days for me to feel it following my every step, my every breath, my everything. I remember my wife, she loved me and was always by my side. I told her about it, I had to make sure I was holding onto my sanity. I decided that she was the best to go to. I was wrong, nobody was to be trusted.
“Babe, you gotta believe me” I pleaded.
“I’m sorry but this sounds ridiculous.”
“It’s following me, it’s eye, it can always see me!”
I remember staring into her face, tears trying to escape my eyes. Why wasn’t she believing me? Later that day I heard her talking to someone in the kitchen. Where I put the puppet. I stormed into the room, my wife, Claire, startled at my appearance.
“Who’re you talking to?!” I demanded an answer.
“Nobody!” She shouted back.
I could see fear in her eyes, her beautiful green eyes.
“Stop lying!” I shouted as I smacked her.
She flew into the counter and turned to look back at me.
“What’re you doing!?”
“Who are you talking to?!”
“Why are you lying to me!?”
I hit her again, my fist landing atop her skull and sending her head flying into the kitchen sink. Again, she rose. There was a long gash running across her forehead and blood was starting to fall down her face.
“Babe, I don’t want to do this. Just stop talking to the puppet”
“You think I’m talking to that thing!? It’s not alive!”
She was still denying it, after all this. She reached for one of the drawers and fumbled with the utensils. I could see her pick up the handle of a knife. I ran to her and grabbed her arms.
“What are you doing babe?”
She didn’t answer, she just stared into my eyes. I knew she was talking to that damn puppet, they were conspiring against me. I took the knife from her and pushed her to the ground.
“It doesn’t have to end like this Claire! Just apologize, we can be happy again.”
I waited for her to say she was sorry, to apologize for plotting with that thing. When I think of it now, I shouldn’t have given her that much time. I should’ve killed her as soon as I heard the two of them speaking.
“Come on babe” I said as I reached out my hand toward her.
She slapped it out of the way and it was with that that my patience had ran out. I took the knife and stood over her. She backed away from me, soon she ran out of room. Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.
“You made me do this!” I shouted as I plunged the knife into her stomach. She didn’t scream, or at least she couldn’t. Not over the blood she was coughing up. Not over the blood pouring out of her wound and onto my marble floor. She still struggled, a weak hand moved over to the knife. Tears ran down my face, spilling and mixing with the crimson below us.
“Why are you making me do this?!”
I picked up the knife and stabbed her again. And Again. And Again. I didn’t stop until her hand fell into the pool of blood her hair was swimming in. Her beautiful, brown hair. She would always fuss about it, if it was better to teach with her hair in a bun or in a ponytail. Whether she should dye it or not. I held her hair in my hand, why did she do this? I laid next to her and looked at her lifeless face. There was blood falling from her mouth, like she was a fountain. Color was draining from her, I could only see the makeup she put so much work into. So much work, for nothing.
This was the first of many who didn’t believe me. They all thought I was making it up for attention or that I was insane. After this I tried to get rid of it. I don’t quite remember very much about the burning. I just remember that I threw the thing into our fireplace. I swear I saw it burn, I swear I saw the flames envelope and consume it. But it still showed up later, this time in a different place. It was on the floor, examining my wife. I remember taking steps toward it, slow and cautious steps. It paced around Claire’s body, it’s small shoes splattering about in her blood. I was a few feet away from it when it’s head turned toward me, spinning like an owl’s, it’s now partly melted eye staring into me. I couldn’t take it. After everything I was just through, after the burning, it was still here. I ran at it and kicked as hard as I could. I swear it was there. I swear my foot connected with it. I felt nothing, I didn’t feel the satisfying crack of the puppet’s facade breaking against my foot. All I could feel was my leg sliding through the wind and bringing me with it. I fell and landed on the floor that was now almost coated in my wife’s blood. I remember the confusion, the anger. How had it escaped me? It was so close. I got up and looked around for it, it was nowhere to be seen. It wasn’t at the dining table, it wasn’t near the fireplace. I even checked out front, where we first met. I sat at the dining table and thought. How’d it get away from me? How could I still feel it’s eye’s creeping along the back of my neck? My thoughts were interrupted by my doorbell ringing.