Monthly Archives: July 2017

Chapter 20

He impatiently waited for lunch time. His stomach hurt, and he regretted not eating pancakes. If only he had more than a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. But also, he needed to call his wife again. Maybe, with any luck she would have read the books, and understand what was going on. Maybe she could talk some sense into him, and tell him he was imagining things. At least they’d be in it together, whatever this was. His lunch would be cut short from his extra long break. He couldn’t dial the phone while he ripped open his sandwich. The broken finger on his right hand suddenly gained his attention as he was tearing the saran wrap off the pb&j. Sleepwalking, then bone break. Fuck. Coralina broken. Her tiny little bones snapped. God he hoped he was wrong.

The thought turned his stomach, and he punched the button to call Kelly. “Hey honey?” He said to his silent wife on the phone. He was starting to worry that she hadn’t actually picked up, because she was so quiet. “Did you read them?”

“Is this some sort of fucking joke? Are you pranking me because I’m pregnant?” There was a ring of hostility in her voice, disbelief running through her veins. She was as angry as he’d ever heard her.

He swallowed nervously, trying to prepare himself to calm her down. “I wish I was. I already was sleepwalking. I broke my finger, and now the nosebleeds.” He said, try to sound very calm. Kelly was a beast when she was angry, and he needed her present and thoughtful, not angry and shouting. “I don’t know if it’s real, I just know that I’m kind of freaked out. I also think I know where the witch is who… Started all of this. What you think?”

“I don’t believe you.” She said, even more hostile sounding. This wasn’t going well. What was he supposed to do now? “Why the hell would you do this to me? Have you been planning this ever since you got this dollhouse?” He could hear her foot tapping the linoleum in the kitchen, with a rapid slap slap sound. “Coralina was sleeping walking, are you trying tell me she is going to break a bone?” Her voice was getting a higher and higher pitch as she shouted.

Mark tugged on his shirt collar. The panicky feeling was starting to choke him. “I don’t know!” He took a deep breath and tried his damndest to collect himself. “Fuck, Kelly, seriously. It’s not a prank. When I went to get the little table leaf, the guy told me he thought we got the cursed dollhouse. He said a lot of weird shit. And I got bored and stopped by the library to check it out. “ He could feel her angry breathing on the phone. “Could you just help me figure out what to do next?” He was met with angry silence. He couldn’t stop himself, he just had to twist the knife. “You do after all have no job.” He said, sarcastic frustration running off his tongue the like the blood running out his nose.

“Oh, I thought it was okay that I didn’t have a job, because, “ She started screaming, “You put a baby inside me!” And she hung up.

Then he was really mad, what an utterly stupid conversation. Coralina was on the roof this morning, and he had been on the roof not just a few nights earlier. Was Coralina gonna snap one of her tiny, perfect bones? He had an immediate vision of her eyesocket crushed, and he gagged. He never finished his peanut butter and jelly sandwich, opting to let his belly ache with hunger. Why did they have to fight? He dragged his feet back to work, dejected, and confused. Fuck. If his wife wouldn’t help him who would?

Chapter 19

Mark was furious at work. He rarely showed up to work with anger hot in his belly. Mark continue to build the wall of the house, thinking that his wife, and her absolute insistence that she not get a job. It really pissed him off, while he stood there and he worked and he sacrificed. How dare she. He picked up a two by four and started to carry it toward the saw. The board turned red in his arms as his nose started to gush on it. His anger faded into a quiet terror. Kelly having now job was nothing compared to being cursed. He dropped the board, clutching his nose and rushing to the bathroom. The grimy mirror showed his face coated in blood. He quickly scrubbed it, but what started as a drizzle suddenly waterfalled, and he ended up sitting with his head between his knees desperately squeezing his nose shut as a puddle started to form between his legs.

The third stage.

Carolina was on the first stage, sleepwalking. His daughter was cursed. Panic was crawling up his tight chest and pressing on his tongue, begging for a bleat of raw terror to escape. But he bit his lips tight together and closed his eyes tight. Maybe he was just imagining this. Kelly would calm him down, he needed to tell her, so that she could be his voice of reason.

So, he swallowed his anger, and called his wife. While it rang he threw a handful of paper-towels on the ground and started to clean up his blood puddle with his foot. One hand still clutching his nose tightly to keep it from spewing. “Hey, Kelly. I don’t want to fight. I think…”

“I’m pregnant.” She said, interrupting.

“What?” He was so unprepared he slipped in the blood he was wiping up. He twisted, one foot skittering out from under him. He had to let go of his nose to catch himself on the wall. The shock was unbelievable. “You are on the pill!”

“I am, that’s what is pissing me off so much. No part of me wanted a baby right now. I know that you were fine with us having another kid- but now… I just… I want to stay home with this one. I won’t go back to work! I don’t want to work, puking and pregnant gross. I don’t want to clean hotel rooms when my belly is fat and my cankles swollen. It’s not fair.” She said with a loud half-sob threatening to burst free, and he could hear her slamming pots and dishes in the background. “It’s not fucking fair!” And he could hear the tears threatening to spill out of her eyes.

Fuck. How was he going to get her to take him seriously now? “Look, you can say home.” He said, hoping to end the conversation quickly so they could move on to the ‘hey we’ve got a cursed dollhouse’ part of the conversation.

But him relenting just caused serious waterworks. Her bawling was loud, and breathless, with goofy hiccups between sobs. She audibly tried to gather herself and he could picture her taking a breath and wiping her eyes. “Don’t tease me. Do you mean it? I’m sure we can figure it out. I can… I can figure it out.” She lost it again. He could feel the relief in her voice. A loud hiccup made her giggle.

“Yes. I’m excited to have another kid!” He said, trying desperately to sound excited. “Kids are great.” But secretly his stomach was turning, what if he couldn’t take care of three children? Coralina was on the roof this morning, and he had already brought in a cursed dollhouse. What on earth could he do wrong next?

The cycle of abuse.

What if it caught him? How do could he possible break a cycle if it had become supernatural?

“Mark, I know, I know that your terrified about being a dad. We’ve been doing great so far! You’ve been doing fucking great.” Kelly said, through sniffles. As if she instinctively knew that he was already spiraling. He was running lies in his brain of the ways that he was going to fuck up a tiny human. “It’s gonna be okay, but I will figure the budget out. I’ll do whatever it takes. Maybe I could babysit, if we really need? If it’s real tight.”

“Kelly, I have got to talk to you…” But then he glanced at his watch. Fuck, his break was over. “Shit, I gotta go, but… Look at the books under the couch. I think… I think that’s… Our dollhouse. I’m concerned.” And he hung up, without even saying goodbye.

Hopefully she would feel the urgency in his voice, and not just think he was screwing around.

Chapter 18

Kelly cleaned up Coralina, and started making breakfast. Mark’s nose was still bleeding. He went up stairs and stripped off his clothes, turned the shower to hot and the steam filled the room. Once under the muffling sounds of hot water he sobbed. Coralina had almost died. This was all his fault. His uncompromising fears about being a bad father were replaced with the belief that it was too late. He did the best he could do as a father, and even though he tried desperately not to continue the abuse he had grown up with, still his daughters were in incredible danger. They could be permanently harmed by his actions. He wept from the unrelenting guilt, and the overwhelming fear. But then he let his anger grow hard, as he toweled off and prepared to face the day, and his wife.

How he was going to talk to Kelly about this very serious development? Maybe they really were cursed, or haunted. It was the first moment that it seemed real. The stages, that seemed like coincidences, were now prominently waving in his face.

He was terrified that Coralina might be in the middle of it. Would her bones break? A shudder ran down his spine the moment he thought it.

“Kelly? Can I talk to you about something?” He said, when he came and sat down. It was still only six in the morning and he had a little bit of time before had to go to work. Kelly was in the middle of making pancakes.

“Is this about my job again? I told you I’m not going to get a new one. I’m staying home. You can’t stop me.” She said slamming down her spatula.

Immediately Mark was furious, his misplaced anger overwhelming his brain. His heart was pounding in his eyes, they were slanted little slits of fury at her. “You have to get a job! But that’s besides the point, I was trying to talk to you about…”

But she charged at him, “I do fucking not. And you can’t make me. I will do what I want.” Then she whirled her cocky little head around, so her back was to him. Anger bouncing between them like a energizing game of ping pong. She started scrubbing a pot, with furious big long strokes. Water was flinging up in little tiny dots all over the house. As she slammed the pot down into the suds, they let out a cry of steamy little anger.

“Geez, that’s not even what I was trying to talk to you about! Fuck. Why do you have to be like this! If you like eating we have to work. But whatever, who cares. Eating doesn’t matter. Does it? You being jobless screws our finances.” He grabbed his wallet and held it in front of his crotch and pretended to ride it. “Look I’m Kelly I just fucked our finances.” Then he threw it on the ground and stomped on it. “Get a job, if you want us to eat. That is how this works. That is the reason we work.” Mark shouted, stomping on his own wallet while his wife stared at her.

Just then Beth stepped into the room, her tiny little mouth in a circle. “You don’t like it?” She whimpered, and immediately started to cry.

It was then, that Mark remembered she gave him the wallet for his birthday. “Fuck. Beth, no… I…” He clenched his fists and glared at his wife. This was her fault, he was sure. He picked up the wallet and shoved it back in his pocket. “I saw a spider.” He swallowed, staring at her upset eyes and she nodded slowly.

“Okay.” She said, with a sniffle, and stepped back out of the room to the dollhouse.

Kelly was silent, furiously scrubbing the pot refusing to speak to him. A moment later she set a pile of pancakes on the table and said, “food is ready.” She said it with a soft sneer, a laced threat. Like: we are eating, so maybe I don’t need a job.

He slammed the front door on the way out, his belly empty of pancakes. Anger was throbbing in his chest, and he never even told her that he thought they were cursed.