Natalie Spencer browsed the plastic tables littered with knick knacks and various collectibles. The table on the right had childrens clothing, printer paper, office supplies, kitchen decorations and a coffee canister full of pens. To the left was even more junk, nothing to catch a twelve year old’s attention. Her mother, Patricia, on the other hand found plenty of things she could use. Patricia wasn’t a hoarder so-to-speak, but definitely on her way. She had already filled up two closets with things she’d never use. Natalie overheard her Aunt Teresa say that she was doing so as a coping mechanism for her husband, Natalie’s dad, passing away the year before. Natalie was still young and hadn’t truly accepted that he was dead, yet more that he was just “gone”.
Natalie glides her hand across the bumpy edge of one table as she makes her way to the end, eyeing each item if only for a second. “This garage sale doesn’t have anything cool,” she says. Piling up clothes that were too small to fit anyone into a stack, Patricia responds, “Keep looking, there’s boxes behind the second table. Tell me if you find anything.”
Natalie doesn’t respond, she just continues around one table and past a customer examining a rusted tea kettle. A cardboard box with a milk logo on the side of it catches her attention. In black marker the box said: $1 EACH. Peering into the storage of goodies, she sees porcelain dolls, half dressed barbies, army men, none in decent condition. Sighing, she hangs her head pushing into the mass of toys.
“Ouch!” She pulls her hand back as a drop of blood runs down her pointer finger. Using her other hand, she cautiously reaches in and grabs hold of a plastic torso. Giving it a tug, it comes out gripped into her hand. A clown doll, with a light red smear on the closed mouth. It had tufts of orange hair with spots missing, exposing it’s white base of a scalp. The glass eyes it held weren’t a match, one was green and the other red. Unusual, but the doll was still cute. It had stripes running down the clown suit, red and black with a red ruffles around the neck, wrists, and ankles. Natalie adored dolls and was a bit of a collector, she instantly fell in love with it. Rushing over to her mom, she holds up the doll and pleas, “Mom, can I have a dollar? Please?”
Not even noticing what was in Natalies hands, she nods her head and continues to pile up unnecessary junk. Natalie turns to walk to the car when the doll is suddenly snatched out of her hand. An older man hovers over her and sneers, “Where did you find this? It’s not for sale.” “But, it was in the box of toys?” She quietly responds. The older man looks back to the box, then back at the doll, it dangled from his clenched fist by one leg. He mumbled something she couldn’t understand before walking to the front porch. The woman hosting the garage sale sat on a lawn chair, slowly fanning herself with a newspaper. The man stepps towards her and raises the doll showing her. Natalie couldn’t understand what he was telling her, but the woman did not seem happy. If anything, she seemed to have a worried expression on her face. She got the doll from him, carefully at that, and only by his foot while keeping him away from her body. Like she was holding spoiled food on the way to the trash can. She places the doll onto her seat and looks over to Natalie. Her stare was cold, it sends a chill down her spine. The woman looks down at the doll then rushes inside with the man.
“You ready to go?” her mom interrupts. She looks down at Natalie who seems out of it. “Hey, you okay?” She asks while handing her a crumpled dollar bill. Natalie nods her head and watches as her mom heads to the car. “Go pay for your toy, we’re leaving.”
Natalie heads up towards the porch and looks around, a few customers were busy with their own findings. The owners of the house were still inside, through the screen door she could hear the man saying something in the distance. He sounded distraught, and through it she could make two words out. “Lock up”. She figured they must have had trouble with a dog or cat, and looks over at the clown doll. It was sitting upright against the chair, arms to the side as if it was watching over the garage sale. Natalie looks back towards the door then reaches down for the doll. She drops the dollar in place and scurries back to the car with the item hidden between her arms in a hugging embrace.
Driving past the front of the house, the screen door opens as the man comes out with a trash bag in one hand and a black book in the other. She couldn’t tell from how far away she was, but to her best guess it resembled a Bible. The couple and the house faded into a tiny dot in the distance as they continued down the road. Turning around and leaning onto the backseat, she catches one last glimpse of the man coming out into the road. She felt awful for taking the doll, but fair was fair for it to be in a box of dolls for sale. Plus she paid them, so it wasn’t stealing. Smiling, she turns the doll around to get a better look at it. The fabric on the back end was slightly torn, revealing an etched letter. She tilts her head in confusion and pulls down on the outfit revealing the word JNYX carved into its back. She found it rather odd, but also liked the way the word sounded.
“Jynx, huh? Well, welcome to your new family. My name is Natalie. I can’t wait for you to meet the rest of your family members.” She says before placing the doll in her lap.