Five Nights at Freddy's - The Final Chapter
Summary: Thirty one years ago a traumatic accident happened to Jake Cameron that he cannot remember. He doesn't know what hurt him. He doesn't know why his brother won't speak to him. He doesn't understand why he is terrified of dolls and animatronics. However it is that very fear that will eventually bring Jake's past to the forefront... which he must survive one last time...
== Chapter 1: The Dreadful Doll == “Jake?”
The man on the couch groaned and shifted onto his face. A hand tapped his shoulder,
“Are you awake?” the voice called again. It was a soft, grandmotherly voice. The man grunted and did not move.
“Jake can you hear me? It’s almost ten, I’ve cooked your breakfast…” she sighed and shook him again. Jake grunted loudly and slapped at her arm.
“Oh really! You know Jake, if you don’t get up I might decide to give your food to Ellie.” The old woman said sternly.
“What did you fix?”
“Sorry Jake I didn’t hear that.” She said softly.
“What did you fix?!” Jake asked with obvious irritation.
“Well now, I fixed a few oatmeal cookies, I scrambled you an egg, fixed you some coffee with a little sugar…”
“I don’t like it with sugar.” He mumbled.
“Do you want me to give it to Ellie?”
“No!” Jake murmured “Don’t give it to Ellie… I’ll eat it, I’ll eat it.”
“You’re gonna have to get up first. I’m not bringing it to your bedside anymore.” The old woman replied.
“Not even… not even if I asked you nicely?”
“Nope. I wouldn’t even do it if you said please. Now come on Jake get up. I’ve still got your bathroom to clean and Ellie’s got a big appetite.”
Jake sighed and slowly rolled over and opened his eyes very slightly. His maid was looking down on him; a triumphant smile crisscrossed her wrinkled features. Jake blinked and rubbed his eyes.
“What time is it?” he demanded.
“Nearly ten…” Jake looked away and slowly gathered his surroundings. He was in the den as far as he could deduce, mainly from the mounted television set on the wall across from him, the rug on the floor and the set of DVD’s on a nearby table. At the moment he was sitting on the couch in a pool of sweat. “Did I sleep on the couch? Mallory?”
“Yes you did.” Mallory replied “Jake you have to eat and get dressed. You’ve got a doctor’s appointment at eleven thirty remember?”
He stared at her. A doctor’s appointment? “What doctor’s appointment? I’m fine; I don’t need to see a doctor.” Mallory sighed and folded her arms,
“With Dr. Rosenbaugh Jake.” She explained.
Jake scratched his head, “Dr. Rosen… who?”
“Rosenbaugh Jake.” Mallory asked.
“Rosenbaugh? Oh no… not him, his office smells like cat urine… couldn’t you get someone else? What about Ellis?” Jake asked irritation. The fan light was on, both lamp lights were on. No wonder I’m tired he thought, Mallory must have turned on all the damn lights to wake me up.
“That would have been a little difficult Jake, since she broke her collarbone.”
“Oh right…” Jake sighed, “Come on, Mallory… I don’t want to go to see the doctor again.”
Mallory sighed and turned away, “I don’t care. If your breakfast isn’t gone in ten minutes I’m giving it to Ellie and that’s final!”
“Yeah whatever…” he muttered lying against the couch as he watched his maid disappear into the kitchen. “Stupid doctors’ appointments… god… curse it all.”
Jake slowly rose off the couch as one might from the dead. His eyes blurred as he stood up and he paused for a moment as his vision gradually came back and his blood flow gradually returned to normal. Jake was a tall at just over six feet. He was very tall for his family, as he was just the second Cameron man, according to his mother, who had managed to reach the six foot mark. Jake had a mop of wavy black hair that obscured most of his face, dark brown eyes, and a great deal of stubble around his chin. On the whole, he had what most would consider a handsome complexion save for one glaring thing, which was a faded scar on his forehead.
For the past three years Jake had lived with Mallory and her daughter, Ellie. Jake’s father had been an accountant at a somewhat prosperous firm and had left his wife a large sum of money when he had died of a severe stroke while at work. The money was a major surprise in itself. They had always lived a working class life on his father’s modest paycheck, but as it turned out he had made his fortune secretly playing the stock market. However, his death left Jake’s mother in shock, she refused to spend any of the money and spoke to nobody. He had tried talking to her about it but she said nothing and merely stared out into space, a vacant look in her eyes.
Her eyes. From time to time Jake went through the memories of his mother directly after his father’s death. It had been a very quiet, deathly time; she had said little and slept frequently, hardly ever leaving the house. He remembered screaming at her, begging her to say something, to stop staring out into space but she never responded.
Four weeks later she died in her sleep while Jake was out at a local bar and his father’s fortune transferred to him. Jake went to the bar even more frequently and soon was rapidly in the process of drinking away most of the money. But, as fate would have it he met someone there from Alcoholics Anonymous, a certain Fritz Smith, and with his help and that of his grandmother Jake had managed to stay dry.
However, Jake had never been very good at taking care of himself and so he had hired Mallory. She was, in his opinion, a real hard-nosed woman who treated him as if she was his mother. For the first several weeks she and Jake quarreled a great deal until Mallory had finally told Jake that if he really didn’t like her as his maid he could do his own housekeeping. From that point on, Jake did his best to interfere as little as possible with what Mallory was doing and sent her his check every month.
However, two years ago, Mallory had revealed to Jake that her husband had been suffering from Alzheimer’s for the past few months and she needed someone to be able to consistently watch over Ellie. Jake felt sorry for her and made a deal, she and Mallory could live with him if she would go and get a part time job and would pay a little rent. Naturally, she gladly accepted the deal and instead agreed to work for him without pay. Shortly thereafter the two of them arrived at Jake’s doorstep with most of their possessions. Jake gave Ellie the guest room and gave Mallory his parent’s room. The arrangement had been the same ever since, Ellie was now six years old and was already in first grade, while Mallory had managed to secure a part time job as a weekend cashier at a local Laundromat. Nevertheless, she continued to do most of the work around the house and boss Jake around in her usual hard-nosed manner. Jake sighed; he swore that sometimes Mallory acted like she was his mother.
As for Jake, he did little save from tending to a little garden box in the front yard, reading, surfing the internet, occasionally taking some time to reconnect with Fritz, and going to monthly checkups with his doctors. The doctors, the doctors, oh yes… and the waiting room… he was very familiar with all of that. Jake was probably the one person who had memorized the location of nearly every room and office at Grammercy Hospital. He had seen more doctors, more frequently than anyone else he knew. The reason for his frequent visits was the thin, barely noticeable facial scar, and what had caused that was a different story entirely.
Thirty one years ago, when Jake was only five years old, he had a birthday party at his favorite local pizzeria. It was so long ago that he could barely remember anything about the place aside from that it had been one of the most popular places in town. They were always doing some kind of event, and there were hardly any kids around who had been there and had a great time. But on his birthday party something had gone terribly, horribly wrong and he ended up with a severe injury. Jake remembered his parents’ faces when they learned the news that most of his frontal lobe had been damaged by some kind of bite to his forehead. His parents had moved to sue the restaurant but it closed down shortly after the accident and was never heard from again. Ever since his mysterious injury at the pizzeria, Jake had led a less than normal life. He was put into the special Ed classes at school, he was given regular IQ tests, and had multiple appointments with a whole array of psychiatrists where he was asked to identify objects and carry a conversation about whatever trivial subject the doctor chose to talk about. Sometimes they asked about his family or him. Ha! As if they really cared. As far as Jake was concerned, he was fine, end of story, no matter what the doctors told him. The truth was Jake didn’t like to think of himself as mentally impaired as to think so just made his rollercoaster moods even worse than they usually were.
It had been thirty one years of being an outsider, thirty one years of feeling strange and drawing pitying looks from people who knew him. Now, at thirty five, Jake was determined to forget everything and sooner or later get rid of the doctors… somehow.
Jake sat at the kitchen counter, prodding the platter of his eggs with his fork absentmindedly. The eggs were conglomerated in a rubbery clump in the center of the plate. Jake cursed silently; the one thing Mallory had never been very good at as long as he had known her was cooking.
“Mallory!” he yelled.
“What are you yellin’ about Jake?” Mallory called.
“You didn’t scramble my eggs!”
“Scramble your own eggs then!” she retorted.
“Scramble your own eggs…” Jake mimicked “Fine, I’ll scramble my own stupid eggs… Housekeepers, I thought they were supposed to keep houses! Lord, what I’d do for some peace and quiet…”
He smashed his fork into the eggs multiple times, rapping it loudly against the glass plate. Scramble the eggs, scramble the eggs, yeah I’ll scramble them all right! Jake thought angrily, mashing his fork furiously into them at a furious pace. Several moments later he paused and examined his handiwork. The eggs were neatly smashed into tiny little pieces. Jake smiled, that’s how you scramble an egg Mallory he thought. Jake raised his fork and dug into the eggs, quickly devouring them. Once he was done he wiped his chin with a folded paper towel Mallory had set out, grabbed one of the oatmeal cookies and began working on that.
At this moment there was a squeal of excitement and two little feet raced down the hallway and towards him into the kitchen. Jake looked down just in time to see the blonde form of Ellie come racing towards him. He groaned she had that excited look in her eyes again, which only meant that she wanted something from him or had something to show him.
“Uncle Jake, Uncle Jake!” she squealed, reaching up in an attempt to give him a hug. Jake glared at her and looked away.
“I’m not your uncle Ellie.” he snapped.
“Mama said I could call you that.”
“Mallory is annoying.”
“No she’s not! She made me breakfast! It was deliciiioous!” Ellie smiled brightly. Jake looked back at her in annoyance.
“Yeah… great. Why don’t you go help your mother with something? I’m sure she’d appreciate it.”
“I’m just a kid. Why don’t you help her? You never do anything!” Ellie retorted.
He sighed at this, where did she get that smart mouth anyway?
“I can’t help her because she is the maid, and I am the land-lord. I charge you rent in return for your mom’s help. But you know… I could decide to kick you out any time I wanted too.” Jake said darkly.
“You wouldn’t do that Uncle Jake, I know you like us here!”
“Don’t call me that.”
“Fineee.” Ellie said “I know! I’ll call you Uncle Grump!” she giggled,
Jake put down his fork and glared at her, “Why are you still here?”
“I found something in the attic and I wanted to know if I could keep it!”
“The- the attic?” Jake whirled around, “The attic? You said the attic right?”
“Yep!” Ellie chirped.
“What the – what were you doing up there? I don’t remember giving you permission to go up there! My personal stuff’s up there Ellie! Did Mallory tell you it was okay?” he looked towards the stairwell, “Mallory! MALLORY!”
“What is it?” the maid’s irritated voice replied.
“Why did you let Ellie into the attic? I told you that’s my private space!” Jake said exasperatedly “Wait, what, wait, what did you find?”
“Just a doll.” Ellie giggled.
“Just a doll?” he asked incredulously, what the hell was a doll doing up there? “A doll? Where is it? Where did you find it?”
“Jake!” He whirled around to see Mallory standing at the doorway hands on her hips and a mixed expression of utter bewilderment and exasperation on her weathered face. “What is it? You were yelling like a crazy man.”
“I- Mallory, did you give her permission to go up into – into the, whatever it is, the attic?” Jake asked.
“Of course I did.” The maid shrugged “It was dirty and you said you wanted it cleaned.”
“I – what?” he looked from her to Ellie and back again “But what was Ellie doing up there?”
Mallory rolled her eyes “She was helping me tidy up. It was an awful mess up there Jake before we got around to it.”
“Did I tell you - I never said you could go up there! That’s where my personal stuff is!”
“Well,” Mallory sighed “We weren’t going through your things, just dusting and cleaning mostly. We got started yesterday.”
“Yesterday?” Jake rubbed his eyes. That’s just perfect he thought, I can’t keep anything secret. “What’s this doll you found?”
“This!” Ellie said, shoving a greenish looking doll in front of his face.
“Aaaah! Jesus! What the hell?” Jake exclaimed, nearly falling off the stool as he stared at the thing in Ellie’s hand.
What Ellie was holding was a doll in form but it was anything but normal. It appeared to be some kind of bunny and seemed to be horribly disfigured in several ways. The doll was missing one ear, its feet appeared to be charred and it wore a grotesque smile on its face. Jake stared at it for a full minute; Ellie thought this thing was cute?
“Don’t you like him Uncle Jake?” Ellie asked shoving the doll closer to him. Jake flinched,
“Uh- er it’s a he?”
“Well…that’s what I think. His name is Plush! Come on say hello to Plush!” Ellie made one of the doll’s decrepit arms wave at him. Jake forced a scowl,
“I’m fine thanks.” Jake said. What was that doing in the attic? He thought gazing at the doll in distaste. Ellie seemed to love the doll – or Plush, whatever she had called it, but creepy was the only thing that could describe it. Especially that smile…
“Oh please!” Ellie pouted “Pretty please?”
“I’m fine.” Jake said firmly.
“Come here Ellie.” Mallory cut in “Jake doesn’t want to say hello to Plush.”
“Okay!” Ellie said. “But can I keep him Uncle Jake? Please? Pretty please?”
“Yeah… fine.” Jake said “Just keep uh – Plush in your room or something.”
“Why? What if Plush wants to go somewhere?” Ellie asked innocently. Jake sighed, because Plush is freaky and I don’t want to see that all the time he thought.
“Because I said so, unless you’d like to be the first person I’ve evicted.” He said menacingly.
“Fine…” Ellie muttered “I’ll keep him in my room… come on Plush, I don’t think Uncle Grump likes you very much.” And with that she skipped out of the kitchen with the doll wrapped around her arms.
“I didn’t say that! And – it’s Jake!” he called after her before he whirled around at Mallory,
“I never told you to clean out the attic Mallory.” She shrugged,
“I coulda sworn you did.”
“Well I didn’t!” Jake exclaimed “Did Ellie take anything else? Or you?”
Mallory glared at him “You know I would never steal from you Jake. The doll wasn’t in a box, and I let Ellie have it since I didn’t think you’d want too. Besides, she’s pretty attached too it.”
He sighed in annoyance and ran a hand through his hair. It wasn’t his fault that the doll was creepy. But what bothered him more was that the thing had even been in the attic in the first place. He certainly would not have ever bought something like that… would he?
“You just had to let her take that doll didn’t you?”
“She’s a child Jake!” Mallory replied.
“Yeah but – why couldn’t you have just told her no and thrown it away? Mallory, I don’t want that thing in my house, its freaky!” Jake protested.
“Oh come on Jake, it’s just a doll.” Mallory said. “Ellie’s very fond of it. It’s like a friend to her – that’s how children are Jake.”
“That’s not how I was Ellie. When I was her age I was playing with Legos like a normal kid…” Jake sighed “Fine I don’t care just as long as I don’t see it. I don’t think she got that the first time so just tell her for me okay?”
“Sure thing Jake.”
Jake pushed away his plate and took a sip of his coffee “What time is it?”
“’Round eleven.” Mallory said. Jake nearly coughed up his coffee at this,
“Nearly eleven? Dammit Mallory why didn’t you tell me?! It’ll take forty minutes to get to Rosenbaugh’s from here!”
Mallory frowned “I don’t run your life Jake, not my fault that you slept late.”
“It’s your fault for not waking me earlier.” Jake snarled as he took a long sip of his coffee and pushed his plate away.
“Do you need anything?” Mallory asked.
“No.” Jake said coldly as he stood up and picked his shoes off the floor.
“You don’t have to be rude about it Jake…” she said.
“That will be all Mallory.” Jake muttered “Thanks for the breakfast.”
Mallory sighed and walked towards the door but paused at the entrance “Are you having another mood -?”
“No Mallory I’m panicking because I don’t want to have to pay a late fee that’s why.”
“I’ll finish cleaning the attic – I mean the kitchen.” Mallory said.
“Anything else I should know?” Jake asked.
“I’m taking Ellie grocery shopping later this afternoon and maybe to Subway later for a sandwich and a snack.”
“Okay.” he replied “I’m taking the red car.”
Mallory shrugged “I don’t mind.”
“You better not, it’s my car.” Jake said, as he walked over to the door and went into the garage.
“Jake-?” Mallory called. He sighed in irritation and turned around,
“What is it!”
“Don’t lose your temper.” She winked and walked away. Jake scowled and closed the door; it was already a very bad morning.
“Damn doctors’ appointments…” he grumbled as he pulled out his keys, opened the car door and climbed inside. He fumbled for the right key for a moment and started the car. Jake grabbed a remote off the dashboard, pressed a button on it, opened the garage door, and proceeded to back out onto the driveway. He checked the clock on the dashboard – it read five minutes after eleven.
“I am so late.” Jake groaned as he pulled out onto the curb, pressed his foot to the gas and sped out of his neighborhood.
Thirty minutes, after a good deal of tailgating, speeding, cross cutting, and running several red lights along the way, Jake arrived at the Danford Medical Center with his appointment due in three minutes. He got out of the car, pressed the automatic lock, and headed towards the entrance. Jake had been to the Danford Medical Center several times before and it was easily the least favorite of all the hospitals that he had been to for two reasons. One was that the doctors there seemed to enjoy treating him as if he was some kind of mental case and the second was that it was inconveniently located. Jake had gone to Danford for the past two years for an occasional checkup which usually took anywhere from fifteen to twenty five minutes – although it always felt a lot longer than that.
Jake opened the door and walked over to the reception desk. He rang the bell impatiently and scowled at a promotion pamphlet entitled: Danford Medical Center – dedicated to providing the treatment you need for the life you want. The logo was new, not to mention a total lie.
When no one came to the front desk Jake rang the bell several more times. He rolled up his sleeve and checked his watch, it was eleven thirty one. Several moments later a brunette receptionist appeared at the desk and flashed a false smile,
“What can I do for you sir?”
“Well my name isn’t sir, it’s Jake. Tell Doctor Rosenbaugh I’m here for my eleven thirty appointment would you?”
The receptionist nodded “Yes, Jake. Would you like to take a seat in the meantime while I go get the doctor for you?”
Jake looked over at the waiting room. It was packed with people including a massively overweight woman and a young man who, with pink hair and earrings, looked like he was from a punk rock band. He gave a tight smile and shook his head,
“No I think I’ll stand.”
The receptionist paused to write something down before she returned her attentions to him, “Okay, I’ll be right back in a few minutes.”
“Yeah go and fetch the ‘doctor’ why don’t you.” Jake muttered sarcastically. He stood awkwardly near the door occasionally glancing at the crowd in the waiting room desperately hoping to get out of the place as soon as possible.
Suddenly a pair of footsteps approached the room and a slightly overly cheerful voice called his name,
“Why Jake! Long time no see!”
Jake looked up to see none other than the freckled face of Doctor Eugene Rosenbaugh. He barely suppressed a groan upon seeing him. Rosenbaugh had both the disposition and the face of a salesman who was far too happy about whatever they were selling. He was mostly bald with patches of curly hair along the rim of each side of his head and wore a smile on his face that was so fake it was as if it had been painted on his mouth.
Rosenbaugh gave a little laugh at this, “I believe you have an appointment with me?”
“Yeah.” Jake replied with none of the doctor’s enthusiasm.
“Well let’s get on with it then.” Rosenbaugh said, patting him on the shoulder. “Doctor Shaw will be with you all shortly.” He added nodding to the other patients.
Yeah because one doctor is enough for twenty patients… Jake thought in irritation as he followed Rosenbaugh down the hallway to his office, ignoring every attempt the doctor made at small talk along the way. Jake barely resisted the urge to plug his fingers in his nostrils once he was inside the office due to the overwhelming smell of cat defecation. Instead, he constrained himself to a tight grimace and took the open chair across from Rosenbaugh’s couch. Rosenbaugh, meanwhile, grabbed his clipboard and pen off the desk, lay down on the couch and began to scribble furiously on it.
“So Jake, how has your day been thus far?”
“Fine.” He said stiffly.
“Why don’t you tell me about that?”
Jake sighed and stared up at the ceiling, hoping for some spiritual power to take him out of the room and back to the garden box at that very moment, where he could have some peace and quiet without someone asking annoying questions. He paused and looked back at the couch and silently cursed, Rosenbaugh was still there looking at him curiously, pen in hand. This was the same game they always played in the psychiatric sessions, every time Jake said something Rosenbaugh would ask him a question about it and whatever his response was more questions would follow.
“There’s not a lot to tell, I got up an hour ago and rushed over here so I wouldn’t be late.”
Rosenbaugh nodded and wrote something down on his pad, “Well that’s very considerate of you Jake.”
Considerate? Ha! Considerate my ass you annoying bastard… I get here on time so I don’t have to pay your late fee! Jake thought as he looked away from the pad to keep himself from losing his temper and grabbing the stupid thing and throwing it out the window. Rosenbaugh wrote on his pad for a few more moments before returning his attentions back to his patient, as he sometimes referred to him.
“Let’s explore that a little shall we?”
“How much is this going to cost?” Jake asked abruptly.
“Enough to make me hope that you will make good use of it.” Rosenbaugh replied with a small smile. “So Jake, tell me more about your day.”
“Like I said, I woke up late and rushed over here -”
“If I were you,” Rosenbaugh interrupted “I would make very good use of the time we have together Jake. You’ve shown signs of excessive grumpiness lately and I think it’s important to explore that. Not to mention the fact that there are plenty of other people out in that lobby who also have appointments and so if you have nothing else to say then I’m happy to show you the door and tend to their needs.”
Jake rolled his eyes at this. Excessive grumpiness? What a joke he thought. If he was excessively grumpy it was because he was sitting in an office talking to a quack that was only too happy to take whatever came out of his wallet. But then again, he also had to regularly attend psychiatric appointments; after all his attendance at regular psychiatric checkups was one of the few things that kept him out of some rubber room in the state sanatorium. Jake shook his head, oh well he was going to have to pay for the appointment anyway so he might as well get something out of it.
“I don’t know what do you want me to tell you?”
“Whatever you like.” Rosenbaugh said, folding his hands over his lap “Were you grouchy earlier this morning?”
“Yes.” Jake replied. No sooner had he said this before Rosenbaugh once again started scribbling on his pad,
“Why is that?”
“I didn’t sleep well.”
“Mmmhmm… that doesn’t sound pleasant. Why didn’t you sleep well? Were you resting on something uncomfortable?”
“I was sleeping on the couch.” Jake explained in a bored voice.
“Was the couch uncomfortable?”
“Why is that important?”
Rosenbaugh ignored him, “Was the couch uncomfortable?”
“I dunno, it was okay.”
“Did you have a dream? A nightmare perhaps?”
Jake shrugged and thought back to last night. If he had a nightmare he would have remembered it, but nothing spectacular or special stood out in his mind. “Nope. I don’t remember having one.” He said.
“So what made you uncomfortable?” Rosenbaugh asked. “Did you have any alcohol last night?”
“No… I’m a recovering alcoholic.”
“Then why were you uncomfortable Jake? Were you lying to me?”
Jake rolled his eyes, “Yeah because I have so many reasons to lie about that.”
“This isn’t funny Jake.” Rosenbaugh said stiffly.
“Yeah well – I don’t see how it’s important.”
“Well…” Rosenbaugh paused to glance over some notes on his pad, “According to your Medical history you are prone to severe mood swings and bad temperament… I was attempting to examine the cause of your moodiness this morning but to find out I need information from you Jake.”
Not the Medical history again… Jake thought in irritation. He was sick of going over his medical history and having every little quirk in his personality be attributed to some kind of ‘mental problem’ caused by his childhood injury. If there was a good reason why he was grumpy it was because he was in this stupid office talking to Doctor Quackhead instead of enjoying his morning all because Mallory had rescheduled his appointment!
“Jake?” Rosenbaugh’s voice called “Jake?”
Jake glared back at him, what now? Rosenbaugh glanced tiredly at him and looked away and wrote something on his notepad.
“The couch wasn’t uncomfortable was it?”
“I said it was fine.”
“Then why are you grouchy?”
“I have plenty of reasons to be grouchy!” Jake said angrily, “For one thing, your office smells like cat piss!”
Rosenbaugh stared at him for a moment like a man who had just been punched in the face. Jake glared at him victoriously, glad to have finally blown some steam at this irritating man and to watch his reaction to it. But to his complete surprise Rosenbaugh put his clipboard and pen down and got out of his couch. He looked down at Jake in curiosity before a small smile began to emerge on his lips and he broke out into a hiccupy chuckle,
“Well, well, well.” He smiled, “Now we’re getting somewhere! What else? Did you have trouble on the way here? Perhaps you had some problems at home - ?”
Jake stared at him, somehow Rosenbaugh had ended up happier after the insult and instead of giving him satisfaction it increased his annoyance at the doctor even more.
“My housekeeper’s daughter… she took something from the attic – a doll.”
“I see, and I presume this annoyed you a great deal?”
“Uhh yeah, yeah it did. They’re not supposed to go into the attic, it’s where I keep most of my – my family’s private things. That’s not abnormal is it?” Jake added with the slightest hint of sarcasm.
“No… how about you tell me about the doll.” Rosenbaugh continued as he paced around the room. Jake shook his head, the very last thing he wanted to talk about was that doll. He had just spent nearly the last hour trying to forget about the creepy thing and the last thing he needed were those freakish pupils and yellowy teeth popping into his mind. But, try as he might the image gradually surfaced in his mind, much like a bad dream.
“No… I mean yes I can tell you a little about it.” Jake took a deep breath and closed his eyes and attempted to clear the thing from his mind. No… not this again. Think of something else…
“What did it look like?”
“What did what look like?”
“The doll, Jake. If you could provide me with a description of it we might be able to explore the reason for your mood swings. I have a statement from you from our last appointment that you don’t keep any mannequins or anything of a similar nature in your house. Would you say that you have a fear of dolls?”
“I - I dunno…” Jake mumbled absentmindedly.
“You have also been accused of assaulting animatronics at Chuck-E Cheese in a mall several years ago. At the time would you say that these animatronic characters scared you?”
“I see…” Rosenbaugh muttered. Jake could hear the rusting of papers, which only meant that the doctor was going through his notes in their previous sessions, or some other part of his medical history.
“And before the incident with the animatronics witnesses testified you were acting and behaving normally. Is this true?”
“Yes.” Jake replied. But he wasn’t really paying attention to the questions, but instead to the greenish doll that was materializing in his head. Its stitched up head began to form, first with its yellow teeth and those big dark eyes with their bright white pupils. Suddenly the head moved and stared at him, sending a chill down his spine. Go away…
“Indeed. And you show up here, grumpy and visibly angered not long after you saw a doll in your house. Tell me about the doll Jake.”
“It – it was weird…”
The doll’s form fully materialized at last, its damaged left ear flopped towards him, and its stitched up arms and legs slowly grew to their full length,
Think of something else.
The bunny opened its mouth to reveal a dark bottomless maw and opened its arms towards him.
There was a sound of a pen scribbling on a notepad, “Interesting. What else can you tell me about it Jake?”
“I – I uh - need to think…”
No… go away dammit! Jake tried to visualize the beautiful flowers in his backyard. But his efforts were in vain as the damaged doll grew increasingly large, blotting out anything in his mind. Jake stared up at the bunny, it surveyed him with its far – too large eyes and emitted a low screeching tone from its mouth,
What? Jake thought in disbelief, it was speaking to him?
But instead the doll drew closer and closer still. Its mouth opened wider as if it were going to swallow him whole. Jake gasped but he couldn’t move he was a prisoner to the legs of his chair. He squirmed and looked away but he was trapped, unable to even raise his arms in self-defense as the doll drew right up to his face.
The bunny’s maw grew wider still as it reached out with one of its appendages towards his face. Jake felt a chill run down his spine as it did so and he heard a low buzzing in his ear that became louder, and louder. His eyes grew wide, his lip grew tight, and he began to shake as it repeated itself in the same unearthly screech,
No, no… you’re not real!
“S-s-stop it! STOP IT!” Jake bellowed. He opened his eyes and the doll disappeared back to the dark imaginations of his mind, and glanced around wildly before giving a deep sigh of relief, everything was normal. Suddenly he felt a voice calling out to him, as if it were attempting to bring him out of a trance. Jake looked up to see Doctor Rosenbaugh bending over him intently with a look of guarded concern on his face,
He had let it happen again. Jake’s entire body filled with embarrassment and anger at himself, he had let himself get out of control again, he had another episode, but worst of all he had let it happen in front of someone else. Jake cursed himself over and over again for breaking down. Damn it! Why did that stupid doll have to come back into his head? He was just beginning to forget about it, to banish it to Ellie’s room, or preferably the trash bin where it belonged, but then a single question about it had stuck its freakish face back in his mind and caused a breakdown!
“Jake? Are you there? You seemed a little on edge… would you like a glass of water –?”
“I’m fine!” Jake interrupted as he felt the anger wash over him. He was thirty six years old, he wasn’t a child anymore! He didn’t need someone to tell him if he was alright or not, he could think that out for himself. Jake looked back at Rosenbaugh, “What is it? There’s nothing wrong with me!” he said angrily.
“What happened Jake?” the doctor asked, his brow furrowing in concern.
“I – I nothing – nothing happened…”
“Are you sure? You’re shaking Jake, maybe you would like to talk about it -?”
Do I want to talk about it? Do I want to talk about it? No! Jake screamed in his head, I don’t want to talk about anything… anymore! Rosenbaugh was gazing at him with the same concerned, almost pitying look that his friends had all those years ago shortly after his injury, it was a look that told him he wasn’t normal.
“I’m fine… it was just a creepy doll. A-anyway I’ve got to go… I’ll send you a check…” Jake muttered as he stood up, covered his mouth to shield himself from the smell, and hurried to the door.
“Jake!” Rosenbaugh called out to him but he wasn’t listening. Jake needed to get out and go somewhere before his mood got worse and he lost control entirely. He rushed past the bemused secretary and out into the fresh morning air, towards his car, and next to the coffee shop in town. As he drove the creepy image of the bunny followed him, lurking on the fringes of his mind like a tiger stalking its prey, and it drove him away to the only place he could forget it.
Damn it all… Jake thought. Shit…he could almost hear his brother Marcus laughing at his stupidity. He ran a hand through his hair and tapped impatiently on the steering wheel as he became lost in his thoughts. Jake cursed, and cursed again how could he be so stupid?! Rosenbaugh was bound to treat him even more like a charity case now, after his breakdown in his office, and all because of a stupid doll! What had Ellie called that creepy thing again?
“Plush…” Yeah, he thought Plush… Plush the freaky, messed up doll.
Jake thought back to that morning, how Ellie had come running down the stairs with the raggedy doll in hand. She seemed to hold absolute affection for the thing but it freaked Jake out more than he could possibly imagine. He knew he had a phobia about marionettes and animatronic characters, one time he went to the mall with his mother maybe ten years ago and had a panic attack at the sight of a Chuck-E-Cheese character. It had been so bad he lay curled into a ball for several hours while his mother fussed over him. But a doll? Was it possible for a doll to get into his, or anyone’s head and cause that much of a fright?
Jake slammed his hand down on the horn in impatience. The car in front of him gave a jolt forwards and continued its leisurely travel down the road once more. He scowled and cursed again.
That stupid doll was back in his mind.
“Leave me alone!” he yelled. “I’m not scared of you!”
Plush’s yellowy smile widened as if it were mocking him. Then it opened its mouth and spoke in the same metallic screeching tone as before,
Its words sent a deep chill through his body. Jake could feel his eyes widening and his knees begin to shake as Plush’s maw grew wider and the screeching grew louder,
“Stop it! You’re just a doll – SHIT!” Jake bellowed, as he managed to swerve just in time to avoid the car in front of him. The irate driver honked his horn and cursed in return as Jake worked the steering wheel and pulled back into the right lane. He hadn’t realized it but he had pressed down hard on the steering wheel, causing him to accelerate twenty miles over the speed limit. Jake looked behind him in worry, but to his slight relief the flashing red and blue lights of the state patrol were not in pursuit behind him.
“Nice try you bastard.” He muttered, his chest rising and falling very quickly at his near death experience, “But I’m going to burn you as soon as I get home… god, I’m already talking to a doll. I really am going a little nuts huh?” he smiled to himself and set his mind on the road. He wasn’t going to get distracted again that easily, especially by a mere phobia.
Jake drove down the rest of the road in relative peace, although occasionally raging at the thick line of traffic as he switched lanes and pulled into a parking lot beside his destination, Waldorf and Dickerson’s Cafe. He took a deep breath, got out of the car, and headed into the shop. By the time he was inside Jake’s mind was already on something else, food. Waldorf and Dickerson’s was his favorite place, it was in fact a café and had everything from croissants to Italian sodas and despite its high prices for a local business, and every bite was worth it. From the moment he opened the door the warm smell of baked goods washed over him and played a sweet harmony with his nostrils. For the first time that day Jake was at ease, Waldorf’s had a very comfy atmosphere, unlike most small businesses he had been too but it was just right for him. He had rarely exited Waldorf’s in a worse mood than he entered it and today was no exception, because he was in such a bad not to mention frightened state that there was no way he couldn’t.
He walked up to the man behind the rows and rows of desserts and breads and told him what he wanted, one loaf of challah bread and a French roast coffee with cream and no sugar.
Jake glanced around the café as he took his seat at a table near the door. As usual most of the tables were full of people chatting, busying themselves on their electronic devices, or inhaling everything brought to their table. He soaked in the atmosphere for a moment and gradually calmed himself down. This was an exercise Jake had gone through multiple times before, whenever he got out sorts he went to Waldorf’s and busied himself somehow, either by eating or through conversation. At the moment he was watching a customer at the table across from him, it was a young man who was tapping furiously on their tablet with both fingers with the concentration of an Olympic athlete. The young man was dark haired and Asian by the look of his eyes. Jake watched him for a moment and wondered what the man was doing on his device. Was he socializing? Or was he doing work? Suddenly the young man laughed and began typing away on the tablet with a grin on his face.
Jake sighed and turned away, the young man probably was socializing with a friend or a family member of some kind. The sight of the young man’s mirth might have made most people smile but it merely increased the pit in Jake’s stomach, one that had been there for thirty one years. He felt his forehead; he could still feel the barely noticeable dent in it, and the rough texture of the flesh that had grown over it. It was that injury that had taken his childhood away from him, and had condemned him to a life that was somehow subpar to that of everyone else. Then there was the alcohol… that had made him even more of an outsider, all because he couldn’t handle the pain of his mother’s death and his brother’s silence. And then there was that doll or Plush as Ellie had called it. The stupid thing had freaked him out so much it had given him two panic attacks and nearly killed him on the way to Waldorf’s! And the words it had said to him, what did those mean?
No, whatever Plush was ‘saying’ was just a figment of his imagination. Dolls couldn’t talk after all, they were just dolls!
Or were they? It seemed real enough on the road didn’t it? He had heard its voice in his head!
Jake shook his head in frustration; he wasn’t supposed to be thinking about this! He was supposed to be relaxing. Jake glanced towards the bar again and thankfully he got his distraction as he saw a waiter wave him forward. He got up and collected his bread loaf and coffee and paid the guy seven dollars.
Just as he was heading back to his table a familiar voice called out to him
“Jake! Hey Jake!”
He turned his head to see none other than the bearded face of Fritz Smith beaming at him. Jake smiled and greeted his AA buddy in return before taking his seat at the table. Fritz strode over and sat his burly frame down in the chair in front of him.
“Man Jake I didn’t expect to see you here.” Fritz said in his usual friendly tone.
“What do you mean? This is my home away from home.” Jake replied. Fritz laughed at this. Fritz Smith was a tall, big man in a red plaid shirt and a brown leather jacket and had the appearance of Paul Bunyan, as some had told him with his deep blue eyes, curly brown hair, and huge forearms.
He was very friendly in person and was quick with a joke although he could become quiet from time to time for an indefinite period. Fritz was forty seven and held a steady job as a history teacher at a local community college, although many who knew him felt he was better suited as a football coach. However, he hadn’t always been that way; before he cleaned up his act he had been a alcoholic and had actually been committed to a mental health facility for six years due to severe hallucinations and night terrors. Jake had asked him once about what had happened but he refused to tell him about it. In turn, Fritz had never asked Jake about his past, not that he would have been able to tell him much, but instead focused on the present. Jake was grateful for that, he didn’t want to think about his past any more than Fritz did and so they talked about sports, or women, or history, or whatever their present problems were and it helped.
“What are you doing here Fritz?” Jake asked.
Fritz grabbed the challah loaf, “Stealing your food.”
“It’s good bread so I’ll grant your trip was worth it.”
“Nah, I was a little hungry and I stopped by to see how you were doing man.” Fritz said, giving him a friendly pat on the shoulder. “So tell me, how’s your day goin?”
“Not too great.” Jake admitted, taking a sip of his coffee.
“Yeah… I uh woke up late and you know how that is.”
“Got a little bit of a late start huh?” he laughed, “Yeah I know, I feel like all my students are like that. I gave them one small homework assignment to tell me who the Ottomans were and half the class thought they were a furniture company! A furniture company! They thought the most powerful Arabic empire of all time was a couch!”
Jake shot him a puzzled look. Fritz rolled his eyes,
“Don’t you get it Jake? Oh all right… Ottoman is another word for couch. Do you get it now?”
“Oh – ohh yeah I get it.” Jake chuckled, “Sounds like you’ve got some really great students there.”
“I know!” Fritz smiled, “But I’m still betting I can drill enough knowledge into those heads of theirs so at least they’ll leave knowing where China is.”
Jake forced a laugh at this but didn’t respond and instead took another sip of his coffee.
“Mind if I have a bite?” Fritz asked, holding the bread loaf. Jake shook his head,
“Just don’t eat all of it.”
“Well now that you mention it…”
“I’m joking Jake.” Fritz said as he tore off a healthy chunk of the loaf. “That okay with you?”
“Y-yeah whatever.” Jake said, slightly nervous. Fritz seemed to have noticed his nervousness and leaned towards him,
“You doing okay Jake?”
“I – yeah, yeah I’m doing fine Fritz, something weird happened earlier, that’s all and it’s bothering me a little.” He said absentmindedly. Jake was thinking about the doll again, but the last thing he wanted to do was tell Fritz about it.
Fritz’s brow furrowed in a look of mild concern,
“What’s going on?”
“I – nothing, everything’s fine. What were you telling me about the Ottomans again?”
Fritz shrugged, “That’s not important. Look, Jake you’re my friend and if something’s bothering you, y’know you can tell me about it. I’m not your psychiatrist; I’m not charging you for this!”
Jake ran a hand through his messy black hair and stared up at the ceiling. The emotions came back to him like a river of water exploding through a dam, his fear and his confusion once again came back in force. He could feel himself growing cold and his hands began to shake. Why? Why did he feel this way? He was in his favorite shop, talking to his friend, so why couldn’t he settle down already? Jake shuddered and grabbed at his face, he felt his arm bump into something and a second later he felt a warm trickle run down his pant leg.
Suddenly a hand touched his shoulder. Jake felt the anger rise up in him with a fury, he had been touched that way before, it was a touch that conveyed sympathy – for him!
“Get off me…” he muttered, pushing the hand away.
“Jake. What’s going on? Jake? Did I say something wrong -?”
“Obviously you said something wrong!” Jake hissed, glaring at Fritz. He stared at him in surprise,
“I didn’t know – I’m sorry Jake I shouldn’t have asked.”
“It’s not any of your business anyway –.” He started, causing Fritz to look up at him, his pure blue eyes looking straight into his. His gaze was different, it didn’t secretly convey some kind of condescending sympathy, it conveyed understanding, that Fritz understood his pain whatever it was because he had been through it too. Jake looked at the floor in shame, how could he let himself slip like that again? Who did he think he was talking too? Fritz was his friend, not a damned putz like Doctor Rosenbaugh who only cared about his money.
“I-I’ve been a bit crazy today…” he murmured. There was a brief pause before Fritz laughed,
“Yeah by the look of it. That’s nothing to be ashamed of, you’ve only been crazy for one day, I was crazy for six years!”
Jake looked back at him and smiled, “I guess that makes me sane.”
“Well, saner than me at least!” Fritz smiled, “Whatever it is Jake, I’ll bet it’ll pass. Plus, it’s barely three o’clock, there’s still plenty of time for a good day. Hey, you want to hear some other stories? I’ve got a really good one about one of my students who tried to cheat by hacking into the computer system.”
“Yeah.” Fritz said “Here’s all you need to know, after she’d hacked into the grade book she gave herself all F’s instead of A’s by mistake!”
Jake laughed at this. It was amazing how one joke had managed to bring back the warm atmosphere of Waldorf’s café, but with Fritz, it was hard to be depressed for very long.
“I’ll tell you the rest in a minute…” he added before leaning over to the counter, “Waiter!”
Jake’s afternoon with Fritz had proved to be the exact kind of therapy he needed. By the time he got home he was in such a good mood he had forgotten entirely about the freaky events from the early part of the day and went to bed with his mind at peace.
It was ten o’clock when he went to sleep.
The night proceeded peacefully for some time until Jake was abruptly disturbed by the sound of the large grandfather clock downstairs chime twelve o’clock. Suddenly there was a loud thump followed by several loud booms. Jake slowly opened his eyes and sat up in bed. What’s going on? He thought groggily. At that moment there was a loud crash followed by a metallic screech,
“The hell…?” Jake muttered as he stumbled out of bed and towards the door. Was someone trying to break in? He paused and grabbed his flashlight from the dresser and headed into the hallway.
“Someone there?” he flicked on the flashlight, momentarily shielding his eyes from the glare as he stumbled down the hall. Jake flashed it from one corner to the next, but nothing was there that wasn’t supposed to be. He frowned and continued on, towards the staircase that led downstairs but all was silent and normal. What was that noise earlier? Jake turned around to the back of the hallway and flashed his light there, but once again he noticed nothing out of the ordinary, the chair was empty and the bathroom door had not been disturbed.
There was no response.
"Ellie! This - this isn't funny!"
Jake scowled and moved towards the staircase before he caught a slight movement out of the corner of his eye near his bedroom door.
“The hell?” he muttered, as he whirled around and flashed his light there but once again he saw nothing. Damn it, what the hell is going on? He thought. Not a second later he noticed something move into the hallway. It was a slight movement but he noticed it, and whatever he saw it was small, and fast. Jake turned off his flashlight and listened, a second later he heard the sound of tiny feet running across the hall, getting increasingly closer with each step.
Pat, pat, pat, pat, pat, pat, pat
Jake took a step back and turned on his flashlight, but once again the yellow beam revealed nothing on the hallway floor. He frowned, something was definitely there, but where was it? Jake slowly moved his flashlight upward, illuminating the bathroom door, pictures of his family, a chair by the door, and finally a small greenish yellow doll sitting in it.
He nearly dropped his flashlight at the sight; the bunny doll sitting in the chair was Plush, wearing the same sadistic smile.
“W-what…” Jake stammered, his eyes filling up with fear. “N-no… no! You weren’t there a minute ago. How did you move? How did you freaking move you piece of shit?”
The doll did not respond but instead continued to look at him. To Jake’s complete disbelief the doll’s eyes focused on him and it opened its mouth very slightly,
Let-s pl-ay…a game…
Jake stared at it and took a step back, whatever game Plush wanted to play; he wanted no part of it.
“No, no, no! This isn’t real!” he took another step back and another before he found himself against the wall on the other end of the hallway. Jake swore and hurried for the staircase but he found his path blocked by the chair, with Plush in it, grinning down at him.
Before he could react Plush had disappeared from the chair. In a panic he flashed his light all around him,
“The hell? Where did you go you little bastard?” he yelped.
Suddenly he saw the doll’s face grinning evilly at him from the room adjacent to him. Jake stumbled back and flashed his light.
IT’S – ME…!
Plush repeated himself in the same strange metallic – human voice before disappearing in another flash of green and yellow. Jake spun around and flashed his light at the adjacent room to see Plush disappear once again.
Their little game had just begun.