1,000 words – check out the contest here- http://mystiparker.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/off-october-flash-fiction.html
The Doll Factory
Natalie hated long journeys, especially in the rain and particularly in the dark. She was tired already and only half the journey was complete.
“Not far now” she muttered to herself
Suddenly the engine warning light came on.
“Oh god really?” now talking to the car
She needed a place to stop and phone Mike, driving slightly further she saw what was a warehouse and a light shining from the top window. The car crawled its last drive to the warehouse. Slamming the door as if to punish it, she ran to the entrance. The building looked old.
She took out her phone, no signal
“Typical” she thought
Turning to the large door Natalie looked for a buzzer, wondering why anyone would be in at this time of night.
She eventually saw a speakerbox and buzzed
“Hello” said a croaky old voice
“Hello, im sorry to disturb but my car has broken down and my mobile has no signal, could I come in and use your phone?”
She sighed and turned back to the car. Suddenly the door opened.
“Thankyou” she shouted to the air
Natalie stepped inside and the cold air still followed her, even after the door slammed shut behind. Looking around she studied that the floor was covered in newspapers and dust. There was a conveyer belt going around the area- she was in a factory of some kind. The only light was from a hanging florescent tube that was swinging on two chains, even though there was no breeze. The air smelt of musk and it tasted damp.
“Hello” she shouted with a hint of impatience
She walked through to another room, no one around but lots of boxes. This room was darker as the only light came from the entrance. She took out her phone and used it as a torch.
To the right of her were stairs. She started to climb them and they made a creaky noise, like the bolts were loose. This was enough for her to quicken her pace. At the top she could see down to the area she was first in. Natalie noticed out the corner of her eye something moved down below, but she couldn’t focus quick enough. She shook her head and continued on
“Surely they hire a cleaner?” Tutting at the newspapers on the floor.
The next room she saw a baby, she let out a silent scream and ran to it, but as she got nearer she noticed it was a doll- so this is what the factory is used for! A doll factory!
Unexpectedly music started to play throughout the factory- creepy nursery rhyme music, sounds like it is playing on a gramophone type player.
“I must be close to that phone” she wondered
She found it odd that whoever the old person was had not greeted her yet. As she approached the other side of the room she saw a warm glow from under the door and a voice of a female talking.
“Finally” she thought as the cold was starting to get to her
“Don’t they have heating here either?
Natalie knocked on the door.
“Yes” the old voice demanded
“Hello its me- I buzzed in asking to use a phone?”
“Ahh yes come in” the croaky voice replied
She opened the door to an office type room. She made out the back of an old lady on a rocking chair, cradling one of the dolls like it was alive.
“Hello” she said nervously
The old lady turned around slowly, her face was like one of the porcelain dolls and her eyes were black as night, her jaw started to detach.
Natalie screamed and ran out the room, hearing giggling in the background. As she was running , the doll that was on the floor earlier was not there! She didn’t care and kept running – she didn’t think she was being followed. Down the stairs she tripped face down onto the floor, her eyes adjusting to the newspaper article in front of her:
“Factory murder forces business to close”
There was a picture of the manager – the old lady!
She picked herself up, her knees started to hurt so had to limp. The giggle was behind her, she turned her head around and her eyes widened. The doll was walking! Its head turning 360 then jerks sideways like it has a twitch. She quickened her limp; the dolls were climbing out the boxes. They were moving towards her and a screech from above pierced her ears. Natalie glanced up to see the old lady; she looked like she was ordering the dolls somehow.
“We need fresh blood to keep us going” the old lady shrieked
“You will join us” chanted the dolls slowly
Natalie could feel the bruise from her knees starting to come out and tears formed around her eyes making everything blurry.
“Join us, join us”
The sound of the nursery rhyme in the background got stuck on repeat. Natalie made her body move for her freedom, she tried the door but it was locked. She turned around to find any other doors; surely there should be an exit?
The old lady spouted black wings and flew towards her. Suddenly she blacked out.
Natalie awoke sometime later- she felt hungover, her body felt stiff and squashed somehow. She glanced at her hand and found it was tiny. Everything around her seemed so big and tall. Lying on its side was a broken mirror. Shuffling towards it she started to get a recollection of what happened earlier. Scared to look, taking all her confidence, she takes a deep breath and willed herself to look. Staring at her reflection she froze in horror-she realised she was looking at a doll.
Screaming she woke up to the sound of her phone vibrating. It was Mike texting her, asking if she could pick him up from the airport. Sweat dripping from her forehead, she breathed a sigh of relief. Just a dream.
(Pictures from – http://www.flickr.com/photos/rustycosworth/4964270631/