The parade ended, and a family headed back to their car. The father carried his daughter over his chest as she was sound asleep. As they walked down the sidewalk, there was a small booth with a doll that had red hair. The woman stopped to look at it and asked the man about it.
“It’s the last of her kind.”
“I know.” The woman picked it up and examined the doll. The eyes were closed, and the plastic skin felt as if it were real flesh. The hair was curly and smelled of spicy cinnamon. “I remember having one like this, but she is different.”
“As I said she’s the last of her kind or should I say a rare doll. I’m selling her for $5000.”
The woman’s husband laughed and shook his head. “You must be crazy. No one in the right mind would pay for a doll. The new models move around and talk. That one is just a stuff doll.”
“Tell you what,” the man grabbed something from behind the stand and pulled out a black bag then placed the doll inside. He smiled at the woman and held the bag to her. “Let your child decide if it’s worth it and if she loves it, pay me.”
The woman grabbed it, but her husband held her hand. “Linda, this might be some sort of trick.”
“No tricks,” the man held his hands in the air. “I’m only let you have a trail with the doll and if she hates it, place it outside.”
Linda grabbed the bag and thanked the man. Her husband was not happy about it, so he said nothing else. When they arrived at the car, their daughter woke up and her mother showed her the doll. The child face lighted up and she hugged it and thanked her mother.
“Great,” the man said. “Now we have to pay that guy for an old doll.”
“Ken, you can afford it.”
“It’s not that,” he looked at his daughter who was speaking to the doll. “he could of have others and tricks us into buying it. Besides, he…wait where did he go?”
The stand was gone, and there was no sign of where the man went.
“He was there just a moment ago.”
“Well he didn’t charge us, and we didn’t give him our information of where we live.”
When they arrived home, Linda went to the bathroom to set it up for her daughter. While both parents were occupied, their daughter was in her room introducing the doll to her other toys.
“Everyone, we’ve got a new friend who’s going to stay with us.” The girl placed the doll on her bed. “She was a gift from my mommy, so I want everyone here to be nice to her. Oh, I should give you a name.”
“Chrissy!” her mother called.
“Time for a bath.”
Chrissy ran down to the bathroom and left the doll on the bed. As it sat there, its eyes opened and moved.
A while later, Chrissy came back and looked at the doll and noticed that its eyes were opened. She looked at them which were purple. Chrissy lifted the doll and sniffed the hair.
“I like your hair, and it smells nice. So, what should I call you.” Chrissy examined the doll and found a tag on the dress, on it was a name, Ruby. “That name suits you, Ruby.”
The doll’s plastic mouth moved, and it smiled. Chrissy was stunned and ran to show her parents of the smile. She found her father on the phone speaking to someone while he stared at his monitors. Chrissy tugged his shirt and told him to see, but he was busy and told her to leave as he was working. Chrissy was upset and went to find her mother, but she was sleeping on the sofa.
“Guess everyone is too busy. Oh well,” she went back to the room. “let’s play until its dinner time.”
Chrissy placed Ruby on a chair and set a cup in front of the doll and began to play.
“So, Ms. Ruby, what type of tea do you like?” A sound was heard, and Chrissy looked at the doll. “Did you say something?”
“Yes.” The doll said as it moved its lips. “I said I like black tea with a hint of cinnamon.”
“Okay.” She pretended to pour. “And what about snacks?”
“Crackers with cheese.”
“Oh, I like those too.”
Just then Chrissy’s father came in, and he looked at the doll that sat on the small chair. “Honey, who are you talking to?”
“Ruby.” She answered. “She can talk, and her eyes are opened.”
He stared at the doll but saw that its eyes were closed. “Ah to be young. Anyway, what was it that you wanted to show me.”
“Ruby. Her...her eyes were opened.” She grabbed the doll.
“I see, well your mother is sleeping so I was wondering if you would like to help me cook dinner.”
“Yes!” She answered with excitement. “Can Ruby help too?”
They both went to the kitchen and prepared the meal. Ruby was placed on top of the counter, and her eyes opened. She kept a close eye on Chrissy and told her what to do. Ken did not hear the doll speaking to his daughter, but he did look at her as she talked to it and interacted. It worried him, but he focused on finishing the food. Once everything was done, Chrissy went to wake her mother.
“Hey, sweetie.” She opened her eyes and looked at Chrissy. “I smell something wonderful. Did you cook for us?”
“Daddy did it, and I helped him with Ruby.”
“Oh, that’s so sweet but who’s Ruby?”
“My new friend.” She held the doll to her mother.
Linda looked at it and noticed that its eyes were opened. “Oh, so its eyes are purple. They look lovely.”
“I showed her to daddy, but she didn’t want to see him.”
“Oh, maybe she is bashful.” Her mother sat up and stretched her arms out. “Let’s go eat.”
They sat down to eat, and Ken watched his daughter spoon eat the doll. It disturbed him, so he whispered to his wife.
“I think we should not let her act some much with the doll as if it were alive.”
“All children around her age act like this. Since she is an only child, her mind is her best friend.” Linda looked at her daughter. “I acted the same way so don’t worry about it.”
Her words did not comfort him as he kept watching his daughter’s behavior.
As time went on, Chrissy and Ruby were inseparable and did everything together. For Linda it was normal, but for Ken, he became uneasy with the doll and every day he would look out for the man. He could not believe that a toy would cost so much and why did he only had one.
One night as everyone was asleep, Ken woke up and went to his daughter’s room. He saw her holding the doll underneath her. So, Ken carefully took the toy and went to the kitchen. Turning on the light, he sifted through the toy and wondered where it was made, however, the only information was the tag on the dress and nothing more.
“No way this was made in a factory, it would at least have their brand or where it was made.” He walked to his computer and began to search for any doll that looked like Ruby, but the only close one that its description was of a newspaper clipping with a child holding the doll. “So, you belong to someone once. Wonder if she is alive.”
The next day, Ken went to search for the woman who had Ruby when she was a child. However, he discovered that the woman had passed away several years ago and everyone that knew her never heard of the doll she had. One of her grandchildren gave Ken a book which was of the woman’s thoughts when she was a child. Ken examined the book and saw the images of a child and the doll. He flipped through the pages and stopped at a small passage.
‘I never learned where my father found the doll or who gave it to him, but he became upset with it and tried by times to destroy it. I told him that he was overreacting with it, but he was so convinced that the doll was trying to hurt him or any other man that came near it. Years later, my husband became too same, and he got rid of the doll. It was heartbreaking, but if it were to make him happy, I agreed to it. Still Ruby was a great friend, and she protected me. Shame that my own daughter will never learn about her kindness and protection.’
Ken closed the book and returned home. As he walked to the front door of his house, someone spoke from behind him. He turned around and saw the man that sold the doll to them.
“You.” Ken walked quickly to the man. “You got some nerve to be here and to give a curse doll to us.”
“Curse huh? Yeah, I guess she does affect us like that, but that doll has no power over us.”
“What are you talking about?”
“I thought the same thing when I gave that doll to my daughter. It drove me crazy, but I learned that it was I that made the doll to become a curse and haunted my mind.”
“What the hell are you talking about?” Ken grabbed the man by the collar of his shirt.
“The doll is only alive to the child to protect them, but for a man, it becomes a demon which we give it power.” Ken released the man. “You see, I lost everything to the doll except for it. It was the only thing I kept, and when your wife came and took it, I was free.”
“So is that why you came here to gloat and ask for the payment.”
“No,” the man fixed his shirt. “I just came to give you some advice. Let your daughter grow with the doll and be at peace with it.”
Ken smirked. “Did anyone did that?”
“The man who gave me the doll did it, and he told me the same thing.” He bowed his head and walked away. Ken went inside and found his daughter playing with Ruby. He stood by the doorway and sighed as he closed the door.