Paige: Sis, people are listening... I mean reading. This is a blog, not radio.
Monica: Well, this would be cooler if it was radio.
Paige: Well duh. But it's not, so get on with it.
Monica: Ok, here we go. Ready? Ahem... Mee mee mee...
Welcome, Ladies and Gentlemen, to this first installment of Dollhouse Theater. Tonight, in honor of All Hallows Eve and inspired by the recently passed H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival in Portland, Oregon, we bring you tales both terrible and horrific. Tonight our narrator, Paige Doll, will give us our first and most tremble inducing story, The Dollhouse Horror...
Paige: It is difficult to convey the terribleness of what my existence has become, trapped in a house where such frightening creatures dwell to wreak havoc upon my fragile mind, yet I must. I pray that word of my predicament will reach someone who will understand my plight and perhaps, through an act of kindness save me from the fate into which I have fallen, or perhaps in mercy send me into an oblivion where such horrors will never find me.
Understand first that I did not begin my life as I am now, mad and ruined. I was born to an aristocratic family whose legacy had been one of great pride. Well bred and educated as one befitting my station, I looked forward to a life off standing and ease. Yet into these modern times a family of regal birth does not equal one of means. As with many such bloodlines in these hard times, and being one of many daughters and few sons, it was thought that I should be given in marriage to one of the nouveau riche where perhaps my beauty would suffice in lieu of a dowry in exchange for an influx of much needed funds to the family coffers.
In this my father succeeded, finding a man who was willing to proffer a more than modest sum for my hand in matrimony and membership in our extended family. Without title of his own he seemed eager for such a union, at least on paper. Understand that in such arranged marriages it is not uncommon to be promised to another without ever having laid eyes upon them. He lived in the far north, a distance too vast to cross for a casual meeting. Instead all arrangements were made by proxy and with funds exchanged and verified my destiny in his hands was assured.
His letters did show a kindness, however, and so it was that I left my home not just with trepidation but with hope in my heart for the promise of a happy and fulfilling life. Love seemed a high order to ask, I know, and yet other sisters of mine had found it in just some circumstances. At the very least I thought there would be mutual respect and that fondness would grow with time.
The journey was indeed long, with carriages cold and perilous conveying me forth, yet I was reassured at every step that my safety would be guaranteed upon each leg of my travels. Indeed I was treated well by the purveyors of these conveyances, allowing me to gaze in relaxed wonder upon the scenery that I passed. From the dry south to the green north I went, until I arrived in a land where grey skies loomed over hills where trees hung low with the heaviness of rain upon their branches.
It was here at the threshold of my new home where I first laid eyes upon my husband to be. Indeed he did seem kind in personality, his words meant to reassure and his eyes bright with appreciation. However, though not unattractive in general appearance, his skin had the palor of a palsy born of these sunless lands, and his touch seemed fleshy and soft against my own. It took the entirety of my training and sense of family duty to maintain my composure. Inwardly I cringed as I laid my hand upon his proffered own to help me from my carriage seat.
Though his bearing spoke of the wealth that had my brought me forth to this place, little of it showed in his home and dress. He preferred to present himself casually, his work requiring little in the ways of formality, and though comfortable his house was not ostentatious. Though I did not think of myself as vain, a part of me had perhaps hoped I would be kept in better means. Still, the amenities offered were more than adequate with the promise of acquiring anything I felt was lacking in my surroundings. In this he was most accommodating and pleasant.
It was then that I witnessed the first of terrible things to come. As I was led upon a tour of the house I was faced with two creatures the likes of which I had never imagined. Though both far smaller than I, they sat upon the floor and gazed at me with hunger as if each could devour me whole, a burning desire that burrowed into my soul like worms finding fertile soil. One was bloated in shape, a patchy white and brown thing whose grotesquely large blue eyes seemed devoid of any earthly concerns. The other was black as pitch, fangs protruding from beneath sunken eyes that peered from a carved and bony face. The two orbs prompted a deep sadness from which I forced myself to look away or be consumed.
"My god what are those?" I had to ask, surprised and horrified simultaneously.
He called them by some name I can now no longer remember, so focused was I upon their grotesque forms. His matter of fact tone, however, suggested these small abominations were commonplace even though I had never laid eyes upon their ilk before. I shuddered with revulsion yet held my tongue. I walked gingerly around them as they continued to stare unnervingly at me as I passed.
The hideous animals were not the only things strange here. Nearly every wall was covered in shelving which contained, upon closer inspection, an odd array of macabre and sordid tomes. Some displayed glyphs upon their spines whose meanings I could not discern, yet others spoke of worlds beyond our own, displaying images on their covers of beings not of this or any earthly body. There were boxes, too, sitting in prominent places around the house, black, glass covered faces hiding whatever they contained.
I found myself bewildered by what I was seeing I was unable to ask the questions that burned in my mind. Had my parents known to what strangeness I was entering into? Was this my fate? Was I destined to have a foot in two worlds, not sure to which I belonged? Still, despite my concerns my husband to be seemed kindly enough. One of his creatures, however, ripped at a cushion upon one of the living room couches nearby, dripping ichor as it gurgled in dissatisfaction, now clearly visible claws slowly destroying the object of its fervor. Bile came to my throat in increasingly difficult to contain panic.
Then I was shown what would be our bedroom. Yes, there was a bed there, its softness inviting after my long journey, yet there was something else as well. It was another box, a crate actually, this one a head taller than myself and a hand span wider. It loomed in the space, making it impossible not to gaze in wonder at the wooden surface.
"This is your new home," my husband said, his voice purring in undisguised satisfaction. Whether he referred to the room, the bed, or the crate I could not tell. A shiver travelled down my spine in fear. He left me alone in that room for a time, in name to rest, in fact to become acquainted to the dreadful world in which I found myself. I sat on the bed, enjoying its comfort, and explored the spacious closets out of curiosity. The crate, however, I avoided, its presence such an affront to my sensibilities that a part of me blocked it from my consciousness.
That's when I heard the voices emanating from the living room. In curiosity I opened the door and peered without. The two creatures sat on the other side, both staring at the door with intensity. One lay upon its substantial belly, front legs twisted beneath it in an impossible manner. The other sat upon its haunches, only its glistening eyes showing signs of life in the black statue of its body. I froze, trickles of sweat dripping down my spine as I stared eye to eye at their hideous visages. Unblinkingly they stared back, each of us caught in the other's gazes, one in horror, two with an unrequited, ravenous craving.
Behind them I caught the shimmering of reflected light emanating from the room beyond as of people moving before a fire whose flames flickered and danced upon the walls of some ancient tomb. Here the voices sounded, clear yet distant in their incessant droning, interspersed with chanting music which clung to my ears like sickly sweet honey.
We stared at one another, the creatures and I, until my fear lost it's grip upon my body and my legs began to shake. The small monsters sat, unmoving, and so I found within me the last of my flagging courage to step forward and face them completely. Still they sat, unflinching, their eyes deep wells that I worked not to gaze upon lest the dregs of my soul be captured within. Looking away I inched around them, my heart thundering within my chest.
The bloated one followed me with its gaze, head turning until I wondered how such alien physiology could keep it from spinning off like the cap of a jar, the preserves within oozing away like sludge in winter. It seemed unconcerned, however, showing no discernable discomfort.
I could look at the creatures no longer. I turned away, hoping that they would not follow as I ventured forth to find the source of the voices and flickering emanations. There, around the corner, was my husband, empty face gazing longingly toward the box I had seen earlier, its glassy face changed to reveal a cascading menagerie of images the likes of which were unthinkable. It looked upon impossible places that could not be, and those people, their lives reduced in form as if seen through a spyglass impressively built by ancient artisans, spoke, unaware that they were spied upon by unseen eyes.
What was it that I was witnessing? Were these the lives of other people who acted out their intimate lives before an audience of uncaring souls, or did this box give sight to the dreams of elder gods who waited, sleeping in distant lands, until such time as they would rise to wrest the earth from the likes of man?
Even as I watched, the image upon that crystal face changed, and chanting came forth, a song haunting and seductive, calling the listener forth to imbibe forbidden beverages that bubbled darkly and cold in forgotten places.
I found myself frozen in fear and fascination, my heart no longer able to keep pace with the terror I felt within, and in that terror all thought and feeling fled. Trapped within my own body I could no longer move or speak. Standing, locked in place as by a vice, mouth gaping, I screaming inside myself to no effect.
It was in this way my husband found me. Unconcerned he took me to that room, talking to me, dressing me, positioning my unresponsive limbs so that I could sit besides him and watch the box and it's forbidden magics.
This is the way I remained. Unable to take any more of this ravaging horror not even fear could any longer cross upon the paths of my mind. Locked in a battle where awareness had lost and self had fled, my senses were all that remained, taking in my surroundings and reflecting upon unspeakable visages. My husband and his creatures are now all I know of life, if life could be ascribed to them and to myself.
My existence now flowed from room to room, from the bed where my husband would lay with me, to the living room where he would sit besides me to watch that horrid box, or to the dining hall where he would eat tantalizing yet never offered food. Sometimes he would pose me like some unstrung marionette, blinding me with lights as he waved some finely crafted device which would click and whir in unknowing function.
On occasion, when guests would come or work took him elsewhere for a time he would kiss me upon the cheek and put me in the bedroom. It was not to the bed he would take me, however, but to that horror in the corner, the crate. There he would stand me, moving the hair from my eyes as if I had need of sight in the darkness to come, and wish me farewell before closing the door.
That is where I find myself now, trapped within the crate and my body, unable to break free. It is here where thoughts sometimes return, where I silently scream into the black void for an end to this ceaseless torment.
Monica: Oh my fucking god...
Paige: Yeah, ain't that cool?
Monica: Gulp I'm... I think I'm going to go hide in a corner now. See ya'... Scamper
Paige: Damn. I lost our narrator. Ok, I guess it's up to me then. Well, so ends our first Dollhouse Theater. Will there be another? Perhaps. Only the elder gods really know, and should we ever gather the courage to ask, that question may just be our last. Till then, stay safe from the ghouls and goblins that crawl from their hidden places in the darkness of night. Farewell.