I Work at a Half Priced Voodoo Shop - Chap 6
Ever since the redhead incident, I was wary of going back to work. I’ve never really cared about the people who get what they asked for whenever they don’t think a wish through. But she wasn’t there for a wish. She didn’t want anything. She was just there. Yeah, she brought a cop to the shop, but if I was her I’d do the same thing. Whatever happened to her down in the basement, she didn’t deserve it.
My day off was spent mostly in my room sulking. Just wrapped up in my blankets and contemplating the many horrible things I had done for King Creole. When my mom came in and knocked on my door.
“Travis? A couple of Police officers are here looking for you? What the hell did you do?” She asked in a confused and scared tone at the same time. As far as I know, she thinks I’m selling crack for all the money that I’m getting. I swallowed as I tossed my blankets away and made my way past her and down to the lobby of our house. Two officers were standing there and looking up at me.
“Travis? Can we please talk to you outside?” The older man said, brushing his greying hair back and placing his hat back on. I nodded wordlessly and looked back at my parents who were staring at me from the kitchen as I was led outside into the cold autumn afternoon. I put my hands in my hoodie pocket and looked up at the officers, my face betraying that I was nervous as all hell.
“Is this about King Creole?” I asked after a prolonged silence. My eyes widened when the officers nodded. They looked around quickly before the older one took his hat off again and looked at me dead in the eyes.
“Tell him that we’re so sorry for the trouble that one of the rookies caused him. We didn’t have time to radio him and tell him to wait for backup.” The man said in a quick nervous tone. My jaw fell to the floor at just how desperately this cop was apologizing to me.
“I can tell him tomorrow when I go back to work.” I offered the man. Who breathed a long hard sigh of relief and nodded quickly. Taking a notepad out and a pencil.
“Tell him the agreement with the department still stands and that we’re so terribly sorry about what happened.” He said, scribbling something on his notepad and ripping it out. Handing it to me I looked down at the note. Which was basically just what he had just told me but in written form. I guess in case King Creole didn’t believe me.
“Yeah, okay.” I nodded, putting the page in my hoodie pocket and shaking both of their hands. Then wordlessly walking back into my house and walking past my parents who bombarded me with questions. I didn’t answer them. Just going back to my room and collapsing back on top of my bed. Pulling the covers back over myself and resigning myself to dealing with all this some other day.
Making my way to work the next day, I sighed as I entered the familiar dusty shop. Walking over to the counter and sticking my needle back into the template. Looking back at the basement door which was eerily silent. Shaking my head and reaching into my pocket I walked over to Creole’s office and knocked three times. Standing back a bit and waiting for the boss man.
He didn’t leave me waiting for too long as he soon opened the door and smiled big and wide when he saw it was me. “Travis! How was your day off? I missed ya boy.” He chuckled, coming fully out of his office and giving me a hug, which I half-heartedly gave back.
“It was fine, sir. Um, the police came and told me to give you this.” I said, reaching into my pocket and handing him the handwritten note. He looked at it quizzically and took it from me. Looking down with his button eyes and that smile on his face growing wide enough to strain the stitches on his mouth.
“Oh, marvelous! I was beginning to think that they had forgotten about little ol’ me.” He chuckled, sticking the note into his suit and smiling at me. “I do apologize again for you being roughed up as badly as you were, Travis.” He tsked, putting a hand around me and leading me back to my counter.
“It’s fine sir. It didn’t hurt that badly.” I said, rubbing the bruise on my forehead a bit. It only stung if I touched it really. Lucky for me my hair is long enough that I can hide it behind my bangs. Pays to never get a haircut sometimes.
“Good. Good. I do enjoy your company in the shop. Even your little friend was missing you.” He chuckled, tapping the template doll on its head. I looked at it, and for once it wasn’t giving me a stink eye. Glad I’m not such an ass to it after all. “Keep up all the good work, son.” Creole said, giving me a firm pat on the back and leaving me to run the front end once again.
Doing my usual ringing up of the odd customer, I was soon enough met with something that did make my day a little better. Olivia usually came back to the shop every Saturday with her new mother so it’s always a little ray of sunshine to see her so happy.
“My doll broke.” She said with a sad little pout. Holding up the doll of what used to be her mom and showing that the arm had indeed come off. “Can Mr. King Creole fix it?” She asked sadly like this was the absolute end of the world. I looked up at her new mother who looked at me with this blank gaze. Well, I thought then it was blank. Now I think it was one of worry and pity.
I didn’t even have to go get Creole when he threw open the door to his office and came over to Olvia. Who ran to him and gave him a hug like he was her long lost father. He smiled and giggled with her as he took her doll and her hand, leading him to the office.
“Are you aware of what awaits you?” Olivia’s new mother asked out of the blue. Her soft British accent in a low and whispering tone. I looked at her with a confused look.
“What do you mean?” I asked her. Sitting up in my rocking chair and looking at the voodoo template. Taking it off the counter and placing it on the floor. Looking back at her for more information.
She looked to the wall of voodoo dolls behind her and leaned in close to me. “He’s using you. You need to get out of here before it’s too late.” She said in a soft begging tone. Grabbing me by the hoodie strings and pulling me close. “Get away.” She begged, quickly letting go of me and doing a full 180 of emotions. A big happy smile on her face as Olivia came back with her doll all fixed up.
“Be more careful with her, darlin. She’s fragile.” He instructed, giving Olivia a pat on her head and handing her back off to her new mother. Olivia nodded up to the voodoo man and took her mother’s hand as she was led out of the store. Her mother looked back at me and a sad look came to her face.
After they were gone I turned to King Creole and mustered all the nonexistent strength I had. “Sir? Why did you hire me?” I asked him. Quickly placing the template back on the counter and putting my hands on the dusty surface.
The question seemingly caught him off guard as he looked at me like I’d spoken to him in an alien language. He stared at me with those button eyes for a good long time. Long enough for me to grow uncomfortable. The same look he gave me when I asked him about the basement. “I just needed an extra hand.” Was all he said.
“Oh. Uh, okay.” I nodded quickly. Sinking away from his piercing gaze. It felt like every button eye was looking at me in the shop. It was a lifesaver when the front door opened and a customer walked in. Creole instantly turned into his usual happy self and happily granted the person’s wish of curing their cancer. Shame about the heart attack they had right afterward.
As Creole took a hold of the dead body, he dragged it towards the basement and opened the door behind him. Grunting as he tried to get a better grip on the cadaver. I was about to offer help to him when a white arm jutted from the darkness of the open basement and wrapped around his neck.
“Ah! You sneaky, fucking whore!” He shouted, slipping on the first step of the basement and tumbling backward into the darkness. I watched the whole thing in abject horror. The arm that had grabbed my boss was one of porcelain. I could tell this because of all the shards of it that had fallen off of it when the two of them went tumbling down.
Standing up quickly, I looked down into the basement. An entire pile of porcelain shards waiting for me at the entrance of the door. “Sir!” I shouted down into the dark depths. “Do you need any help?” This was paycheck on the line man, this was serious!
I didn’t hear anything from him and I looked down into the dark depths. Swallowing the bile building in my throat, I pulled my phone out and turned on the flashlight, and clenched my fist as I took my first step into the basement. It took me a whole 30 seconds to take my second step just out of fear for whatever was going to come towards me in the darkness.
“Sir?” I shouted into the darkness again. “Taking a few more liberal steps before I froze again. I shone my flashlight deeply into the darkness and heard a fast scurry heading towards me. “Oh fuck this!” I shouted quickly, turning and booking it upstairs. I managed to get up there and put my hand on the door, flashlight still shining down into the dark.
What met me was a woman, body made completely out of porcelain crawling up the stairs at Mach speeds towards me. She wore a dirty and tattered white dress, and she was missing one of her eyes. I didn’t let her get far as I quickly slammed the door in her face and pushed my full weight up against the door.
“Let me out!” She screamed, smashing her hands against the door. Cracking porcelain heard as she smashed and beat against the door. “Before he wakes up, please!” She screamed. Confirming to me that she’d subdued my boss. I closed my eyes and just kept my full weight against the door as she kept on banging.
“I can’t! I have no choice!” I screamed back. Just keeping my eyes closed as she banged and pounded with futility. I didn’t know who this creature was and I didn’t want to know. What was going to stop me from ending up like her? So I just kept against the door until she suddenly fell silent. I wasn’t about to take my chances and just stayed against the door. Until a familiar voice came from behind the door.
“Open the door, Travis.” Came the haggard and tired voice of my boss. I cautiously looked at the door and backed away from it. The knob turning and the figure of my boss coming out and slamming the door shut. Locking it with the key and pounding his fist into the door.
“Are you okay sir?” I asked him, backing up to give him his space. He looked back at me, the stitches to his mouth torn open as he covered it with his hand. Nodding to me he pointed to something behind me. Looking I saw the template was holding a spool of thread and a needle. Nodding to him I walked over and gave it to him.
He lifted his hand up and quickly started to sew up his mouth. A thick black liquid was dripping from his mouth as he sewed himself back up with expert precision. Finishing it up in under thirty seconds flat.
“I’m fine son. She just got the drop on me.” He growled, tossing the spool back at me and working his lower jaw. He then turned his attention back to me and grabbed me by the throat, shoving me into the wall and giving me a firm squeeze of my throat. “I told you, never to fucking go down there.” He snarled at me.
“I-I was w-worried about you!” I choked out, trying to pull him off of me. Gagging and looking pleadingly at him. He gritted his teeth and dropped me, causing me to gag and choke for air as he walked away from me. I looked up as he walked away from me. Silently going into his office and slamming the door close.
Pulling myself up into my rocking chair, I breathed hard just trying to get my bearing. It took a good hour for me to finally pull my phone out and shakily look at it. What could I possibly do? The police obviously wouldn’t help me if they came to me to apologize for them coming here. I had no one to answer anything for me. Except. I looked back at the basement door and walked over to it, stepping over the still dead customer.
“I’m sorry. I just…I’m afraid of him. Do you know anything about him? Is there some way to stop him?” I asked into the keyhole. Waiting to see if the porcelain woman was still there. I waited there, about to give up when a soft voice came back to me.
“Charles.” She whispered softly. “Charles Sumner.” Was all she whispered. Going silent again and not responding again. I nodded a silent thanks to her and went to my counter. Pulling up my phone and starting my research. Well, it turned out that the only thing I knew about Charles Sumner was that guy that got beat with a cane in the senate before the civil war. So I don’t think the internet is going to help me there.
I worked the rest of my shift and left without a word to King Creole. But instead of heading straight home, I went somewhere I hadn’t been in years. The library! A wealth of knowledge! And the only place I could think that would have anything on my boss. Getting to the reference section I poured into everything and anything I could. Looking at the newspaper section. The headlines, deaths, famous people from my town, anything about Charles Sumner. And then, about an hour before they were about to close. I got a hit.
Charles Sumner 1900-1925. He was a pretty famous pianist back in the day and was even part of a band called The Sumner Orchestra. Other than that I didn’t get too much about him, but it did lead me down a rabbit hole when I saw the only picture of him in the reference book. It was clearly my boss. King Creole in the flesh. No button eyes, no stitches, nothing, he was no doubt human in this picture. That was surprising. What surprised me most was the woman standing next to him in the picture, because that was the porcelain woman.
She was famous enough to have a caption along with our boy Charles. Mary Simmons, a well-loved singer in the band. And according to the book, Charles’ fiance. I dropped the book when I saw that and stared in disbelief. She was his fiance. What could she have done to deserve what she was getting? I needed to know more.
Then all of the lights in the library cut out. I looked up quickly and nearly pissed myself. Grabbing my phone and turning the flashlight on. I clung to it tightly as I looked around quickly. I looked back at the book and, sorry about this library, ripped the photo out of it. Stuffing it into my hoodie and making a break for it. Until I found myself falling flat on my face. Looking down, my eyes went wide as I saw a couple of voodoo dolls at my feet, having tied my laces together while I was in the darkness.
“Oh give me a break!” I shouted at them, kicking them and quickly ditching my shoes as I made a run for it again. Getting to the front doors I pulled on them, to no avail. I was locked in. Why couldn’t the internet have had this information! Now I was going to die in my least favorite place in this stupid town! And that was saying something! Looking around I had to find a way to escape. I had the idea to head to the fire escape.
Looking around I soon made it to the nearest door and reached out to open it. Only for my arm to go completely limp on. I raised a brow at this before I lost control entirely of my body. Once again hitting the floor with a grunt and looking around in terror as I couldn’t move. A million questions I asked were soon answered when a familiar voice came up behind me.
“You should’ve left well enough alone, Travis.” Creole berated me from the darkness. The lights coming back on, and revealing him standing right next to me. Holding a voodoo doll, that looked exactly like me. He held it in a firm grip, a needle held right up to the doll’s neck. I swallowed hard and looked up at him.
“I just wanted to know more about you!” I shouted at him, the fear in my voice obvious. But he held a hand up to his mouth to hush me as he knelt down with the doll in his hand.
“Use your inside voice, Travis. We’re in a library.” He chuckled, grabbing me by my hair and pulling me up by it. “You want to learn more about me huh? Want to know about what that, whore did to me?” He asked, his teeth growing sharp as he talked. Reaching into my pocket and pulling out the page I’d ripped from the book. He looked down at it with disgust at first, but also a sense of sadness.
“Please. Don’t kill me.” I whimpered, shivering, and trying to gain any kind of control back over my body. He looked at me, and then at the paper. Tossing it back at me and giggling like a little child.
“I’m not going to kill you, son. I need you for things.” He said, grabbing me by the hair and pulling my head up to meet his button eyes. “But after this little stunt you pulled, it looks like I’ll have to put things in motion.” He sighed, pulling me up to my feet and tossing the doll of me up and down.
“What do you mean?” I asked him, again getting shushed by him. He patted my head and whispered something into the doll’s ear. I suddenly got super drowsy and struggled to keep myself standing. Looking at Creole and finally I passed out.
I woke up this morning and gasped. Looking around quickly to see where the hell I was. I was in my room. Had I dreamed of all that? The picture of Charles and Mary however was still in my hoodie pocket however and that quickly dispelled any idea of a nightmare.
I got up and went to the bathroom next to my room. And screamed.
Because looking at my reflection in the mirror. Were two big black buttons. Where my eyes should’ve been.
Look I don’t know what he’s doing to me. And I don’t know how to stop it. I’m scared guys. I’m going to find out how to stop him before I end up like all the customers I’ve shit about.
If I don’t upload, assume I’ve failed.
My skin is getting really pale as I finish this up so I got to get a move on.
Wish me luck.