The dagger was firm in her hand. The girl with the violet eyes squatted down to meet me at eye level.
“Such an interesting little doll you are,” she repeated. Her doll was shifting in appearance. The milky skin melted under her new sun-kissed skin. Her once lilac eyes shifted to a deep auburn, and chocolate-colored curls cascaded down her back.
“She wants to play. See? She looks just like you.” Her eyes wavered downward. “Except, you have this pretty necklace.” She reached for the dog tags around my neck. Out of instinct, I jerked my chest away from her bony hand. I felt a sharp pang in my side. I’d nearly forgotten about my injuries.
“Very interesting,” she cooed. I felt the cool tip of the dagger pressed against my cheek.
She slid the dagger along my face and across my jawline, coming dangerously close to my jugular. My heart beat wildly in my chest. She didn’t cut me; she only cut a thick lock of my hair.
“I’ve never had a brown-haired doll before,” she said, tucking the lock of hair into her pocket. She looked at me, holding a skeletal finger to her lips. “That will be our little secret,” she gave a sinister giggle.
“Crazy bitch,” I murmured to myself without thinking.
The anger boiled out of her face. “Pretty dolls don’t talk like that!” she howled.
One punch to my right eye came, and then one to my stomach. I felt like my lunch would make a guest appearance, and the cracked rib from before began to throb.From her tightly pulled raven colored bun, she revealed a small needle. I didn’t get the chance to speak before I realized what she was doing. The girl hummed a softly as she began sowing the mouth of her doll.
“We can fix you right up pretty doll,” she said. I felt my mouth close. My lips felt sharp pressure beneath them, as if the needle was worming it’s way through my skin. I felt the burn of the thread as she stitched my screams in my mouth. I bucked in my chair, desperate for sound to come out of me. I only heard my own muffled cries. Her slim fingers were surprisingly strong as they clutched my throat for me to meet her gaze.
“Do you see what you make me do, pretty doll? Now I have to punish you!” She cradled her doll close to her ear with the other hand. “What’s wrong, pretty doll?” She listened intently. “You feel pain?”
Pain. So much pain. My head felt like it would explode. There was a drill in my skull, and it was not letting up. I screamed at the top of my lungs begging Mother Earth for mercy. It was as if she were actually inside my skull pounding against my brain with a sledgehammer. I had never felt anything so excruciating in my life.
Her words to her doll were quiet daggers. The pain was unbearable. I felt my brain melting into nothing, and my temples felt like knives were squeezing out of them. Her hand was still firmly clasped around my throat, forcing my gaze on her. Her lips moved furiously against the doll’s ear. I could feel my skull begin to split at my crown. I could feel human nails clawing from inside the walls of my cranium to break it open. I could feel my throat rasping as I continued to scream.
“Enough!” A booming voice filled the room. The pain stopped, but my tears didn’t. I choked and gasped in my chair. But the worst was yet to come.
The phantom had arrived.