When I was a kid, I was a huge sucker for Barbie dolls. Really. I didn’t care for them like other girls did; giving them baths and cleaning them up and going to sleep with them, but I did like playing with them. I was usually playing around with the outfits, having them talk to each other, stuff like that.
I possessed fifteen dolls – ten girls, two males, and three little kid Barbies, who were girls, too. I even named the dolls after my family members, but among the fifteen, the doll named Samantha (who was named after me) was my favorite, merely because she had the fairest skin and the longest, blondest hair, none of which I had. I admit, that was pretty shallow (and bordering on sexist) of me.
Apparently, I had a lot of fun with these dolls. I don’t remember much, but I recalled having them play out scenarios that I wanted to happen to me, like me getting noticed by my crush, or my brother finally getting caught eating all the cookies. It might sound lame now, but hey, I was a kid. Anyway, my mom would always tell me, “You’re always inside your room playing with those things. You should get out there and make friends, honey.”
But I would ignore her. I would stay in my room, in my own little world, playing with my little plastic Mattel friends.
It was heaven.
Until the day I fell down the stairs. My head suffered some long term memory loss when it hit the floor, so I couldn’t remember most of my childhood after that. Including, yes, the dolls. I remember having them, and playing with them, but apart from what my mother recounted for me, it was all a big blur. My mom told me that I continued to play with my Barbie dolls, but it wasn’t quite the same.
Eventually, I grew up.
When I reached about ten years, these dolls were left in a box in the attic to gather dust. I wasn’t too upset about it, either. At that time I had already moved on to reading Harry Potter books.
One day, though, things were different. I had just finished high school, and I was packing up my things to head off for college. I needed to get some boxes from the attic, so I headed up the small, spiral staircase and proceeded into the room.
Going through the boxes, I found myself smiling reminiscently as I spotted some old stuff. Books, old toys, photo albums, and the like. I ended up staying there more than I had intended to. As I reached the last few boxes, I encountered the dolls. I opened up the box, only to be horrified by what I saw.
For what I found, instead of my old friends, was a pile of plastic, naked bodies, with no heads and arms. It wasn’t – it isn’t that scary if you think about it, but it had surprised me completely, since the last time I saw these dolls, which was when I put them in that box, they were all in perfect and sellable condition. And seeing them like that, just tore a small hole in my heart. They had been dear to me somehow, after all.
I headed down the stairs, the box in my arms, and showed the dolls to my mom.
“Did you let Stephen borrow these after we put them away?” I asked. My brother had just turned ten this year, but I figured that he might’ve gotten his hands on my dolls years ago, and maybe thought they were chew toys or something. But then my mom frowned and looked through the box. “No, I knew how much these dolls meant to you; I wouldn’t do that.”
I shook my head. “But he must’ve gotten his hands on them, look, they’re all messed up,” I countered. My eyes were beginning to sting just looking at the bare bodies. But I cleared my throat and tried to pull myself together. They were just toys, after all.
“But anyway. That’s done now, nothing I can do. I’ll put this back upstairs,” I decided, grabbing the box once again and heading back to the attic.
Part of me was still upset that Stephen might have gotten ahold of my things, but I managed to get over it when I reached the spiral stairs. Halfway there, though, some force – probably my clumsiness – tripped me over and I fell down almost five steps. I landed on my rear on the wooden floor and I winced in pain as the dolls poured out of the box and onto my torso.
I sighed as I got up. “I’m alright,” I yelled back downstairs. “If you were asking.” Getting the toys off of me, I stood and took a moment to check myself up. Luckily, I didn’t suffer any injuries.
I got down on my knees and picked up the dolls – or at least what used to be dolls – to put them all back in the box, until I noticed something odd. The dolls were naked and were missing some limbs, all except one doll – Samantha.
She was in perfect condition, as she had always been, and was even wearing the outfit that I had always made her wear – a pink, silk gown, filled with glitters at the bottom part. She wore black stilettos and was carrying a black carry-on bag, like she was going to a red carpet event, and she was smiling at me. I almost smiled back. That is, until I saw that her smile was different.
Her grin was wide, almost abnormally wide, and somewhat sinister. I felt chills in my spine.
I headed back downstairs to tell my mom about it. She was still fixing some of my stuff for college, and I approached her, reluctantly.
She barely looked up, but she gestured that I go on.
“Can I ask you something?”
She smiled. “Well, you already have, honey.”
I rolled my eyes. This was not the time to receive sassy talk from my mom. “Let me ask you another, then. How did I get on with those dolls?”
She stopped what she was doing and looked at me, a slight frown in her eyebrows. “What, honey?”
“How- I mean, how did I really play with them?” I asked more clearly.
Her frown deepened. “You mean, before the…”
I nodded, referring to my childhood accident.
“Mm, it was adorable how you played with them, really,” she began, taking a breath. I listened intently as she told me about my having them all interact with each other, like a role play of sorts. The scenarios I wanted to happen in real life.
It sounded nothing serious, but for some reason I couldn’t get this uneasiness away.
“Okay, then.” I gulped. “And after the accident?”
“Well. We let you stop playing with them because it was starting to scare your sister Chrissie. You started having them fight with each other – physically – and having them take off each other’s body parts. You would take off their clothes, set them on fire, and you would take off their arms and throw them around in your room. And you would remove their heads and stomp on them with your foot while you laughed; you were enjoying it, Sam.”
She stopped. And I was glad she did. “There was this one Barbie you left clean, though. The one in the pink dress,” she said, going back to fixing my things. The uneasiness worsened – I knew that I had Samantha play me in all my scenarios.
“Yes, yes, Samantha,” she said with a nod. “You would leave her clean. And then after that you would whisper things to her, and it was just plain creepy.”