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A Continuous Cycle

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Alice huddled under the covers and tried desperately to forget what she had just seen. It hadn’t been standing there watching her with that one eye, it’s mouth breaking out into this wide grin. No, none of it had happened and it was just a nightmare.

She lay under the covers for quite some time. If Alice left the bed then she might see it again and that wasn’t healthy for her denial. The denial would be broken if Alice saw it once more. This was why she stayed under the covers; it brought her a false sense of security.

It was better than the reality of the situation.

Sometime during the night, Alice began to doze only to awake to the sound of scratching at her door. At first, she thought it was the cat but then she realized she didn’t have a cat. Actually, Alice didn’t own any pets.

Perhaps it was a rat or some other kind of rodent.

“Alice!”

Apparently, this rodent had a very good grasp of the English language.

“Alice, I don’t take kindly to being ignored.”

It was polite too!

She curled up into a ball, squeezing her eyes shut. The voice was ignored until the telltale signs of sunlight came through the thin curtains. At this point Alice decided to hightail it out of bed, get dressed, and leave the house.

There was no sight of it but that didn’t mean it wasn’t lingering somewhere in the darkest corners of the house. Alice didn’t understand how it was there. Logically it made no sense but it was and the thing wasn’t going away.

Alice intended to go antiquing that day but decided the day could be better spent getting some protection such as mousetraps, pepper spray, a stun gun, and possibly a puppy. The dog she passed up on because of allergies. It seemed like a good idea at the time, though.

When Alice returned there was no sign of it, however, Alice couldn’t let her guard down. The second she did, Alice was sure it would come sauntering out from the darkness, it’s mouth split into that disgusting smile.

It was three hours into her return to the house that the calm was broken. At first, Alice wasn’t aware of it. She just continuing going about her nightly routine until Alice felt like something was watching her. The feeling sent shivers down her spine.

“Alice, I thought I warned you that I don’t like being ignored. We know how well that worked out before, now don’t me.”

Alice shook her head. If she acknowledged what it was saying then Alice would be forced to consider the reality of the situation. She knew this thing and it really wasn’t a thing at all. It was her childhood friend, a gift from her deceased grandmother.

“Alice, how I have missed you.”

The words had a bite to them and forced Alice to consider the truth of the matter.

Her doll (somehow, someway) was back.

~*~

The doll was named Alais, an old French version of her name Alice. When she was young, Alice had gotten her first haircut and her grandmother wanted to do something special so she collected the hair and made her a doll out of it.

It was Alice’s constant companion. She took it everywhere and never let it out of her sight. The abandonment of her was an accident, not something Alice ever intended but the events had gotten out of control. Her father wanted to move them away as soon as possible and things were left behind in the old house.

Alice didn’t know how or why Alais had found her. She tried to go about her life despite Alais’s presence but this was easier said than done. Actually, it was practically impossible.

“Alice, I’m glad you’re not ignoring me anymore. I was so heartbroken to have been tossed aside by my best friend not once but twice.”

“It was an accident,” I whispered. “Dad moved us out so fast that I barely had time to take any of my things.”

“But I hurt for you,” she hissed as she pointed to her eye.

She didn’t want to think about that. The injury to her own eye which resulted in lack of vision was the reason her father moved out of town in the first place. Those were memories better left buried.

“I never asked you to do that to yourself!”

“You never had to ask, Alice. It just is.”

“Shut up.”

Alice felt like she was coasting the next few days and she didn’t know where her mind. She always intended to go antiquing but it never happened. Something always came up.

That night Alice decided to make herself some tea in hope, it would calm her down. Tomorrow she would go antiquing and nothing would get in the way of that.

“Alice,” Alais said disapprovingly. “I think you are putting too much honey in your tea.”

“It’s the right amount of honey,” Alice replied with gritted teeth.

“No, it’s too much.”

Alice slammed her onto the table. “Who are you to decide if it’s too much honey?”

It was much too easy for Alice to have a flash of her mother saying the exact same thing. Her mother always had a temper, lashing out at the smallest thing. If she didn’t take her pills she became worse. On that day, Alice’s mother was in quite a state.

Alice’s mother was having some tea at the time. In her haste to help, she poured to much honey in the teacup, causing it to overflow. After that, Alice remembered a lot of pain and trying to cover her face.

The result was a serious injury to her right eye. Alice’s father left her mother and tried to act as if the incident and tried to act as if the incident had never happened. Alais was always a cruel reminder of what took place that afternoon.

She left the room suddenly, intending to retrieve the box the doll had come in. Once Alice retrieved it, she threw the doll into the box and shut it closed.

“Alice, what are you doing?”

“Getting rid of you once and for all.”

Alais didn’t cry or beg for her life as Alice approached the roaring fireplace. When the box began to catch fire, a calm feeling fell over her because it meant it was finally over.

“Ah,” Alice gasped, feeling as if her entire body was on fire. “What’s happening?”

“Open your eyes, Alice, and I mean really open then.”

Slowly Alice opened her eyes and no longer found herself in her spacious living room. Instead, she found herself looking at four wooden walls.

Alice was in the box.

“How?” Alice cried, the heat becoming even more unbearable.

“Because Alice if you hurt I hurt and if I burn, you will burn as well.” Alais chuckled. “The bright side now is that you can never leave me.”

~*~

“Hello Alice. It’s so nice to see you again.”

Alice stared at it before quickly bolting from the room. She curled up under the covers, trying to shake the feeling of deja vu.

Tomorrow she would go antiquing as planned and everything would be as it was supposed to be.