It was the first day I was going to the park by myself. My mom finally agreed that I was old enough, being 12 years old, to know all the rules such as the ‘don’t talk to strangers,’ ‘don’t go anywhere with strangers,’ ‘come home before dark’… you know, all the basics.
I was so excited to be on my way I tripped on my untied shoelaces and almost fell down the stairs in our apartment building. As I sat on the top step to tie my shoes my neighbor, Mr. Martin, came out of his apartment and asked, “What are you up to today Tina?”
Barely able to contain my excitement I told him all about going to the park and how I was going there all by myself since I am old enough now and how I was going to play there ALL Day!!!! He smiled at me and told me to have fun but to stay safe then headed down the stairs and out the front door.
I finished tying my laces then and jumped up and ran down the stairs and burst through the front door like I was an escaping prisoner who hadn’t been allowed outside for years. As I walked down the street I smiled and greeted the world with the optimism and excitement only a 12-year-old could on this wonderful, glorious, sun-filled day!
As I got to the park I noticed that not many kids were there yet, but it was earlier than the normal time I come to the park, so I will just find something to do until all my friends show up.
I noticed a few kids playing hide and seek around the jungle gym. I saw them at school before but they were a couple of grades below me so they were not my usual crowd.
Then I noticed the girl sitting on the bench all by herself, Wisteria I think her name was, or something strange like that. I had played with her before here at the park, she was a little weird, but since my friends were not here yet I thought she would do to pass the time with.
I walked over to the bench and sat down. We started talking about what to play. She had brought a couple of dolls, which I did like but since I was 12 now I couldn’t be seen playing with dolls.
After about half an hour of us trying to decide what to play and my friends not showing up, Wisteria invited me to come over to her house so we could play with her new dolls that she had left at home. I agreed but told her I couldn’t stay too long, what if my mom stopped by to check on me and got worried. Wisteria wasn’t a stranger since we had played before, but my mom was a worrier.
I helped her carry her dolls as I followed her down a couple of blocks, and then turned left on Monroe St. Her house was the third down on the right-hand side.
It was a two-story house that looked more like it belonged out in a country setting with a nice big porch on the front that would be great for playing on when it rained but you just had to be outside. It was a baby blue color with a white front door that was just the type of welcoming home that my mom and I always dreamed of living in. I followed Wisteria up the steps and through the front door.
Once inside though, the feeling was much, much different than the welcoming exterior made you feel. The inside was dark, not because the sun wasn’t shining in the windows, but because the air just seemed to swallow whatever light was coming in.
Wisteria turned to me and smiled and told me that everything is ok, and just to walk as quietly as I can and follow her to her room. We didn’t want to wake up her dad.
So I followed her up the stairs and down a long, dark hallway. I was so focused on trying to be quiet I didn’t notice how long the hallway was until I got to an open door at what I thought was the end but really the hall just turned to the left and kept going.
How can this hallway possibly continue on? The house I came into wasn’t nearly big enough to hold the hallway we just walked down let alone the other hall I saw going off of it.
As I followed Wisteria into the room with the open door I looked back down the hallway we were leaving and just noticed that all the doors along the way were closed. There had to have been 5, maybe 6? Wow! This is a LOT bigger house then I thought.
I looked around her room and the first thing I noticed was that this looked more like an insane asylum room than a kid's bedroom. I know what an insane asylum room looks like from movies my mom watched after she thought I was asleep.
There were two beds with thin floppy mattresses but no sheets were on the beds. They didn’t even have pillows on them either. How can a person sleep without pillows?
The walls were bare and painted a cream color that looked like it should have been repainted a long time ago, with all the cracks and chips that were in it. The floor wasn’t carpeted but had a very old almost worn out looking wood floor.
There was a rug in the middle of the room though. It used to be a very pretty pink color, maybe about a million years ago when it was new, now it was stained a little and threadbare. Almost as if it would disintegrate if you tried to vacuum it.
There was a chest of toys and dolls in the corner though that looked like they were well taken care of, all dressed and set up neatly to show them all off as much as possible.
I asked Wisteria why she had no sheets on the bed or where her pillows were. She said the sheets were being washed. I still thought it was really strange that the room looked as if nobody lived here except all the dolls so I asked if this was really her room.
She looked at me almost hurt that I would ask her that and then whispered “Yes, this is my room. It was recently redone just for me and my dolls.” She then excused herself and said she would be right back but still be quiet so her dad wouldn’t find me here without her.
She walked out the door and straight down the hallway I hadn’t been down yet, to the end where I watched as she waved at me and entered a room and closed the door.
As I was standing there, not really knowing what to do and wishing I had just stayed at the park just like I was supposed to, I heard loud footsteps coming up the stairs and down the hall.
I didn’t want to be found there by anyone, so I sat down on the floor behind one of the beds where I could still see the door and hallway Wisteria had gone down, but hopefully where I wouldn’t be seen by anyone.
As I heard the footsteps getting closer and closer, I tried to come up with a plan to leave this house before her dad caught me and before Wisteria got back from wherever she had gone to.
I heard a door open and close and the footsteps disappeared so I slowly crawled to the door of the room and peaked out. The hallway was still really dark and long but very empty of any living being that I could see. I stood up and as quietly as I could, I started walking down the hall.
This time noticing all the pictures that were on the walls. They were all of Wisteria. Wisteria and her different dolls. There was no other person in any of these photos I passed, just her and dolls, lots and lots of dolls. The walls were completely covered in them, from the ceiling all the way down to the floor!
I was only halfway down the hall when I heard a door start to creak open behind me. I did the only thing I could think of; I grabbed onto the doorknob of the closest door, praying it would open and be empty, and went in when that prayer was answered.
This room was almost exactly like Wisterias’ room, only it had one bed and a LOT more dolls in it. This room, instead of having a toy chest, had shelves that covered every wall and every shelf was covered in dolls.
Big ones, small ones, all different colors. Some looked like old ladies and some looked like very young kids. It was really creepy how lifelike they looked, except for their size. Almost as if you were to talk to them they were going to answer.
I could hear Wisteria now, calling for me. Opening up a door, calling my name, closing the door. Coming closer and closer to the room I was in.
What was I going to do? I really didn’t want her to find me, I didn’t know why but now I was feeling really scared of her. I hid behind a couple of the bigger dolls that were on the bottom shelf behind the door.
When she opened the door to the room I was in and called my name I held my breath so she wouldn’t even be able to hear me breathe. It worked!!! I waited a few more minutes as I heard her continue down the hallway calling for me and checking more rooms.
As I was getting myself out of my hiding place I found some papers that had a lot of writing on them. It was hard to read since they were old papers and the writing on it was starting to fade.
I sat down in the corner, where hopefully I could stay until I could find a way to get out without getting caught and read the papers. It turns out to be a journal of sorts.
A journal where she described herself as a 16-year-old girl named Beth, with bright blue eyes, soft wavy brown hair, and wearing a green checkered dress. Beth told of her friendship with a new girl in town named Wisteria and how one day she went to Wisterias’ house to play but was never allowed to leave.
Nobody was ever allowed to leave.
I looked over to the dolls that I had hidden behind and there was a doll with bright blue eyes, soft wavy brown hair, and wearing a green checkered dress. Behind that doll was where I found the journal.
I heard a noise by the door. When I looked up at it, there was Wisteria looking through a little window that she opened in the door smiling at me with a huge grin and excitement in her eyes.
“Do you like my dolls? They are my friends, forever!”