Hello everybody! I hope you're having a wonderfully spooky October. My boys sure are. My husband has been taking them out to haunted houses on the weekends, and they've been loving every minute of it!
Here's my entry for the joint WEP/IWSG Challenge, and I hope you enjoy it!
A Matter of Principle
The doll lay spread eagle on the oak, its plastic blue eyes reflecting the light from the golden swing arm lamp. It wasn’t the same kind of illumination one could expect from an operating room, but Hazel supposed it would have to do.
The porcelain face, made to look just like someone Hazel had once called her best friend, sent chills down her spine. The level of resemblance was uncanny. She didn’t know how the doll’s creator did it, and frankly, she didn’t care to find out. There were a lot of details surrounding the manufacturing process that both bewildered and terrified her. The price also came quite high. A year’s worth of salary, in fact. However, having spent so much money on this endeavor didn’t unsettle her quite so much as the sense that she’d also given away her soul in the exchange.
Hazel had a voodoo doll when she was a kid, though it looked nothing like this one. It came in a box of assorted items that her parents picked up at an auction. She tested it by swiping a piece of hair from her older sister’s hair brush and tying it around the doll’s neck. After she inserted a tiny sewing needle into the doll’s knee, a shriek tore through the house. The sudden pain had caused her sister to tumble down the stairs and tear a ligament. Surgery and months on crutches followed.
The power of that moment astonished her. She placed that voodoo doll on the shelf, and there it gathered dust. Years passed before she pulled it down again. A boy got too handsy at a party, leaving her to run out crying with a torn dress and a whirlwind of rumors to follow her remaining days of high school. That boy spent months going through physical therapy after an intense pain caused him to crash his car.
That doll helped her inflict suffering when needed, yes, but this time it wouldn’t have been enough. Not for what Hazel had in mind. The pain inflicted this time had to be deep and permanent to match the betrayal she felt. Friends didn’t go behind your back and steal your husband from you. They didn’t try to lay claim to the family you’d worked so hard to build. They didn’t smile, offer flaccid apologies, and flaunt your children around town as if they had birthed them instead of you.
No. Friends didn’t do things like that, and such traitors didn’t deserve any mercy.
“It’ll all be worth it,” Hazel whispered to herself as she took the X-Acto knife in hand. She brought the knife’s sharp point to rest against the doll’s chest. She took a deep breath before pushing it in. The soft material that composed the doll’s torso parted easily beneath the blade, revealing the stuffing within. It looked like the typical cottony substance that could be found inside many children’s toys, except this stuff had been dyed beet red. She continued the single deep incision, bringing it all the way down to the groin.
Hazel was shaking when the lifted the knife again. She hesitantly grasped some of the soft red stuffing and rubbed it absent-mindedly between her fingers. Would that be enough? It had to be, right?
She shook her head. There was no sense in coming this far to leave any room for uncertainty. One quick flick of her wrist cut the dolls neck. She jumped back when the head separated from the body entirely and landed with a soft thud on the brown rug.
* * *
The local news was awash with the horrifying details the next day. A woman was brutally disemboweled and decapitated. A frantic boyfriend woke to find her dead and called the police.
Hazel watched those news reports with rapt interest, though she ensured her daughters never saw them. Knowing that the woman who’d they’d affectionately called their Auntie Karen all their lives had died was traumatic enough. It got even worse for them when no fingerprints other than their father’s could be found at the scene. Though his story never changed, and no murder weapon was ever found, police concluded that he was the only one who could have possibly committed the crime.
Sure, Hazel hated to see her girls cry, but she couldn’t simply lie back and take it. It was a matter of principle. Her so-called friend had to pay for what she’d done, and her ex-husband would suffer in prison for what he’d put her through.
Hazel locked the doll away in her safe beside all her other most valued possessions, hoping she would never have need for such dark magic again.
Word Count: 781