It happened in the middle of the night.
“And just like that, there were two of them on my front porch.” Tiffany Dean holds her stomach as she tells the story, gesturing to two little figurines cast off the corner of her house. The lay lifeless, one, with its head turned toward the heavens, the other facing the depths of hell. And for all we know, that’s where they come from. “Just like the folks down the street. Freakin’ dolls showin’ up outta nowheres. And we don't like it.”
Others in the neighborhood don’t know quite what to make of it, and it’s clear, this is the story. A maddening fear defines both the zeitgeist of the hour, and psychological paralysis that prevails in Terpenia Heights, a sleepy, outlying suburb east of Cannatown.
“At first I thought it was a high joke, findin’ these dolls out on the tire pile,” says local gas pump worker Freddy Miles, “but then I realized, they was starin’ at me. Eye to eye. Just like this. Like they knew all the stuff I’dun.”
Confusion and unquenchable suspicion linger everywhere; a once neighborly people now watch over their backs, unsure if they can trust the very people behind their rose bushes. “Dolls, dolls, that’s all I hear ‘bout,” says detective Wilder Maury. “Why couldn’t it be hamburgers, or crisp 20-dollar bills?” Maury says there's no leads, and absolutely nothing known about the dolls. They're made of porcelain, smell musty, and look soul-less.
“People are so disturbed, they barely trust their own family members, much less, themselves. It’s crossed a line,” he warns.
So far, the sudden overnight abundance of dolls appearing throughout the small town weighs heavily during day-to-day activities for residents -- and there are signs it may also be affecting tourism. “People drive through here, and all them lifeless faces laying around, and they’re gone in a heartbeat,” Miles says. “Whereas, I don’t feel like I can leave, since they seem t'know what I’dun.”
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