The Puppet is a scary story about a man who is plagued by a creepy-looking marionette. It was written by KI Simpson.
The puppet has always haunted me.
It had a big head and its face was made of wrinkled, flesh-colored rubber. The eyes were gigantic, bulging white orbs and its black hair was made of some hard substance that didn’t quite mesh with the rubbery head. The teeth were gigantic, pure white and capable of moving up and down. The body and limbs were wooden, painted to resemble clothes, but the paint was faded, you could see the wood’s natural brown in some places. Each arm and leg was a different length, but the hands and feet were pretty detailed. It made a loud clattering sound whenever it moved.
The puppet has always followed me.
I don’t mean it got up and chased me around the room or anything. I mean it kept showing up in my life. My earliest memory of it is from my first birthday. Although I obviously can’t recall much of that day, I do remember that horrible puppet. I have no idea why it was there, I just remember it scared me to death and I couldn’t stop crying. A few years later, when I was finally able to talk, I asked my parents about it, and they flatly denied anything like that had ever happened on my first birthday. They must have thought lying about it would make things easier for me.
The next time I saw it, was when I was three years of age. I was exploring a room filled with old stuff my parents had stored away and I found a calendar. I don’t remember the year. There was a photo for each month, but the only one I remember was October; that puppet was the image for it. I got scared and ran out of the room. I told my mom and tried to show her the calendar so that she’d know the puppet was real, but I couldn’t find it. The room had been very messy, and I ran out of it so quickly that I knocked over piles of stuff. I guess the calendar just got buried.
It happened again when i was six years old. In the middle of the night, I woke up from a nightmare. I was too scared to go back to sleep, so I went down to the living room and turned on the TV. An old black and white TV show was just ending and when the commercials started, the puppet came on the screen. It was dancing while loud music played in the background. I screamed and started crying uncontrollably, but by the time my parents got downstairs, the puppet was gone.
I didn’t see the puppet again for quite a while after that, but I kept having nightmares about it. When I was 15, I decided to try to track it down, using the internet to try to find information about the calendar, the commercial, anything. No one had ever heard of it, but one day I got an instant message from someone I had never talked to before. The person’s screen name was a random mash-up of numbers and letters, but their avatar was a picture of the puppet. “Glad that you still remember me,” they said, then immediately signed off. They never contacted me or came back online again.
When I was 20 years old, I was walking past a store that sold old toys and dolls, and in the front window, I saw the puppet. I went inside, and asked the clerk if he knew anything about the puppet’s history, when it was made, where it was from, anything. The only thing he could tell me was that the puppet had just been sold to the store a few days before. He told me I could have it for $6.00. I wasn’t sure what to do. It still scared me, but having proof that it really existed seemed like a good idea.
So, I bought the puppet and took it home.
For a while, I felt better. I regarded the puppet as an irrational childhood fear that, as an adult, I had managed overcome. I even started to believe the explanations my parents had tried to give me. They said I must have seen it somewhere as a baby and the image just became lodged in my subconcious. I must have imagined it in the calendar, they said. Perhaps I was dreaming when I saw it on the TV commercial. Maybe the person who contacted me online had just been playing a practical joke.
I kept the puppet, but as I moved on in my life, I pretty much forgot about it. I finished college, settled down and got married. My wife will be giving birth in a few weeks. I was cleaning up the spare room and preparing it for when the baby comes, when I found the puppetin the back of the wardrobe, dusty and abandoned. I didn’t want to leave it in my child’s bedroom, so I picked it up and moved it to another place.
As I was dusting it off, I noticed a faded inscription on the back.
It read: “This is what he will look like.”
Before I could figure out what this meant, I heard my wife crying downstairs. I rushed to her side and she looked more upset than I had ever seen her before. Sobbing, she told me that the doctor had just called.
There was a problem with the baby…