On any given day Annabelle was late. Late to school. Late to work. Late to get home. But not today.
Annabelle hurried up the drive, she couldn’t be late for this job. Easy money, watching kids sleep was about as good as it got.
An imposing double story came into view and she slowed. Huge columns cuddled by ivy stood guard over the front porch. The upkeep on such an old house must be steep, but it was well taken care of and breathtakingly scary.
An important sounding chime announced her arrival.
“Annabelle?’ perfectly painted lips asked.
“Just Bella’ she smiled.
‘Come in, come in. I’m Angelica. The twins are already asleep upstairs. They know we are going out and shouldn’t make a sound. This is George my husband.’
‘There are snacks in the fridge and tea, coffee…’ Angelica waved her hand to show Bella.
‘Make yourself at home but please don’t eat on my white couches” she smiled. ‘Our numbers are by the phone. What else?’
‘Thank you. I have to finish an assignment so…’
‘Come Angelica, they will give our table away.’ She smiled and hurried out, trailing expensive perfume.
Bella breathed a sigh of relief, helped herself to a soda and looked around. The modern kitchen led onto an equally modern sitting room, all in white with green accents.
‘Clever with little ones’ she thought. Bella checked out the downstairs TV lounge and it was much more her style. Comfy couches, bright colors, and a huge TV. She tuned to “Today’s Hits’, turning the sound up a little she chucked her bag and soda down, kicking off her shoes.
Aaggh! History was her worst subject. She laid everything out and tackled it. An hour later she lifted her head and cricked her neck. Lifting the cooldrink she realized it was done and stood to get another one.
Her stockings made no noise, she grabbed another cooldrink and an apple and headed up a grand staircase to peep in on the children. They were fast asleep and Bella marveled at being paid to sit and study! Humming she ran down the stairs, two at a time.
Looking down at her paper, she was munching away when the hair on her neck stood up. Slowly she lifted her head and saw a small shape reflected in the TV. It was one of the kids! Phew.
‘Hi…’ she stopped it wasn’t a child, but a child-size doll standing in the corner, that she hadn’t noticed. It looked old and dirty and its eyes follow her as she approached.
The grubby dress looked Victorian and her hair was once black and shiny. Bella wondered how it could stand on its own and manage to look that creepy? Oh well. She sat and carried on but her eyes continually moved up to the TV to check the doll’s reflection. It really felt as though it was watching her.
Bella opened the door wide, but she could still see her and didn’t want to touch it to move it.
‘Dam’. She sent George a message asking if she could sit in the formal lounge. She said that the doll in the corner was creepy and distracting her from her homework.
George immediately phoned back.
‘Yes the old-looking one standing behind the door. I’m sorry, I just am so creeped out by it, it’s watching me. I…I don’t mean to be insulting, its just strange…’ Bella tried a giggle but it came out strained and too high.
‘Bella take your bag, go up to the children’s room and lock yourself in. Now.’ The hair on Bella’s neck was now fully up.
‘OK. Why?’ she was already lifting her bag, something about the tone in George’s voice.
‘We don’t have a doll like that in our house.’
Bella grabbed her stuff, ran past the doll, heart beating out of her chest.
As she passed the doll, it reached for her, she took off up the stairs. The last thing she heard before slamming the door was ‘Mama. Mama’.
The parents came home in record time, paid Bella and she ran home and never babysat again.