“Bobby! Bobby, look what Mommy found on the doorstep!”
Bobby wasn’t all that interested as he shoveled cereal into his mouth. The spoon stopped when he saw his mom haul a large stuffed rabbit into the kitchen.
It would have been like any other stuffed rabbit except it had the face of a girl. A very, very lifelike face. Too lifelike for Bobby. He hated dolls. The very thing his mom collected. She set it in an empty kitchen chair.
“I’ll bet your Aunt Carolyn dropped that off. I’ll call her to say thank you!”
Bobby resumed eating, not taking his wide blue eyes off of the thing.
“You didn’t send it? Well. I wonder who did. I’ll figure this out, Carolyn. Gotta go take Bobby to school, so I’ll talk at you later, mmkay?”
Fourth grade was uneventful, but not without homework. Bobby careened into his room and was about to fling his ten-ton backpack onto the bed when he saw the girl-bunny sitting right on the edge of it. Looking at him.
Was mom so short of storage space she had to put her crap in his room now?
The TV clicked on downstairs.
“Mom, do I really have to have your new doll in my room? I don’t like it. I don’t like any of your dolls, but I really don’t like this one. Mom?”
Bobby tromped down to the living room where the couch in front of the TV was empty.
He turned to go back upstairs but stopped. He wasn’t quite ready to go back up where that THING was. He was a little rattled by the surprise encounter. Nothing his favorite afternoon cartoons wouldn’t fix.
The TV was quite a piece of hardware. Big and wide and Dad’s shrine during football season.
Bobby poured a glass of orange juice and deliberately left the kitchen lights on. It was just too dark without them. He lay on his side. He lost himself in the show when the lights in the kitchen flickered. Bzzt… bzzt…
The phone rang. Bobby would just let it go to voicemail. He didn’t like the phone and he didn’t like talking to mom’s nutty doll collector friends (the only people that really called).
The phone stopped. And immediately rang again.
Went to voicemail.
Okay, maybe it’s actually important.
“Hullo?” Bobby answered.
He thought he heard static. But it turned into breathing. Strange breathing. Like muffled crying.
“Hey, who is this?” Bobby pressed.
“You said you didn’t like me,” it was the voice of a little girl.
“Why don’t you like me? You said you really, really didn’t like me. How could you say something like that?” more crying.
The line went dead as Bobby grasped for some sense of what he was hearing. Wrong number? Had to be. It didn’t sound like anyone he knew.
He got back to reposing on the couch.
It wasn’t more than ten minutes when the power went out completely.
Bobby cursed at the reflection of himself laying on the couch in the TV.
Then he saw the reflection of the rabbit-girl sitting at his feet.
For a few seconds he couldn’t move. He bolted off the couch and made for the front door. It wouldn’t open.
Terry went about setting the breakfast table.
“Come on, Lindsay, you don’t want to go to school hungry!”
Her daughter slept hard and woke up slow. A knock at the door stopped her before she could check if Lindsay was even out of bed.
She opened the front door and saw nothing but the empty street in the little subdivision. Then she looked down.
There was some sort of big stuffed animal, maybe a rabbit sitting with its back to her on the steps.
She picked it up and turned it around. It was definitely a rabbit. But it had an eerily realistic face of a little boy with bright blue eyes.