The Immortal Doll Shop of Stockholm

      I've been stuck here for as long as I can remember.  All that I remember of my past was that one fateful day while I was visiting Stockholm of having found this little shop.  I had arrived here with my mother to visit my grandparents for the winter, but my mother had sent me out on an errand because my grandfather fell ill.  She wanted me to fetch some fresh soup from the nearby market, and I agreed to go do so.  I made my way down the snowy alleyways towards the market.  I passed by many old homes on my way to the market when I came across a small shop sandwiched between two homes.

     The shop itself looked brand new from the outside, but it didn't appear to be open as I gazed in through the window.  What caught my eye, however, wasn't the shop itself, but rather a wooden doll that had been placed right in front of the main shop window.  Many old shops in Stockholm would put new merchandise up in front of the shop window for people who passed by to see.  The reason I stopped dead in my tracks and stared directly at this doll was because it looked like an exact replica of me.  From the boots I wore to the scarf that was laced around my neck, to the coat I wore to prevent myself from falling ill like my grandfather.  They even got the color of my skin right in all pigmentation.  They even managed to capture the exact look of freckles I had on my face and the tiny birthmark that was underneath my right eye.  It was far too uncanny for it to be random chance that I found this exact wooden replica of myself.

      Most people would have run away from such a thing, believing that it was a foreboding of bad times or that it was a cursed object, but I absolutely loved weird things like this.  However, this would turn out to be a time I most certainly regret indulging myself in my curiosities.  I went up to the shop door and turned the knob, but the door had appeared to be locked.  Distraught, I continued to yank on the doorknob, desperately trying to open the shop that contained that precious doll.  After many attempts to enter the shop and a frustrated slam against the glass window of the shop, I began to walk away, distraught over not being able to retrieve the doll I found so captivating.  That was until I heard the door slowly open behind me.  It surprised me and caused me to hop back in shock, but as I slowly walked towards it and moved the door itself, I saw that it was clearly open now.

     I proceeded inside of the shop and looked around as I examined the shop.  There were a few shelves on both the left and right side of the shop and a room behind a desk that was sealed away by another wooden door.  I turned my gaze to face the desk that the doll replica of myself had been standing on, only to find it not there anymore.  I grew distraught as I looked around, slowly beginning to panic as I believed that I had lost the doll and trying to make sense of where it could have gone.  I looked to the ground, hoping that it fell somewhere, but only surfaced with a small wooden doll on a bicycle.  It was slowly moving its wheels as I picked it up.  It had been moving on the ground, but laid on its side, unable to move anywhere.  I placed it down correctly and proceeded over to one of the shelves.  I didn't hear the sound of the door close behind me, as I became too distracted by the sight of my doll again.  There it was, sitting just a few shelves above me.  I looked around me to make sure that no one saw me reaching for the doll.

     With no weary eyes glancing or staring at me, I proceeded to reach for the doll.  As I continued to reach up, I began to hear something all around me.  I wasn't sure what it was, but something was surely moving around in the shop.  I desperately tried to reach up for the doll, but my arms were proving too short.  I was growing more and more uncomfortable as I continued to hear the movement grow louder.  I hopped up, reaching out to the doll, but was still unable to grab it.  I looked around for something, anything that would help me to grab it.  I looked around the shop until I finally came across a stepping stool.  I moved it over to the shelf and stepped on top of it.  I cherished the moment as I slowly reached my hand out to the doll.  But I was immediately frightened as my hand made contact.

     My eyes blinked open and I was sitting up on a shelf.  I moved my eyes around, desperately looking around to see what had thrust me upon the shelf.  It took me a brief moment to realize what had just occurred, and every growing moment only served to terrify me further and further.  I was now inside of the doll, my eyes rattling inside my head as I looked around in panic.  I looked down to my lap to see my hand permanently attached to a pen and a large pad of paper having been placed on top of my legs.  I tried to move my legs, stand up, shift them, move them, hoping to be able to rise to my feet and escape, but it was no use.  All that I could move now were the eyes that rattled inside of my head and the pen my hand was attached to.  I could no longer speak, and every attempt to open my mouth and scream were silenced by a sealed line that had been carved into my face as a permanent smile.
I looked around the shop, hoping to find something, anything that could help break me free, but I only grew more horrified as my eyes met the gaze of a truly horrifying face.

     As I looked down, I could see myself, or rather I could see my body.  It was standing there with a large extended grin to greet me.  What filled my soul with fear and will haunt me for the rest of my days was the evil gaze I saw coming from my own eyes.  My own eyes were no longer a bright green but were now a soulless black.  My body let out a high pitched giggle and proceeded to run out of the shop, cackling as it ran back towards my home.  I wanted to cry, to scream, to hang my head low, to do anything, but I was forced to simply sit there and watch that terrifying revelation unfold, as well as the countless days that passed it.

     Time is difficult to keep track of in the shop, where little else changes except for a few rattled glances of eyes from other dolls, lost souls who have been trapped here like me.  That noise I continued to hear as I reached for the doll that fateful day wasn't some ominous creaking in the shop, it was the sound of all of the dolls watching me in fear as I reached out towards my own prison.  I am forever trapped inside this wooden shell and will never be able to escape, and the only sound I ever hear besides the rattled stares of a few of the other dolls is a low and deep voice every Christmas eve.

"On Christmas Eve, on one fateful day, all of my wonderful toys can come out to play."

     Every time I hear that voice, I see various people walk or even run past the shop, many of them laughing or cackling the same way my body did when it left.  I sometimes saw some of their faces as they passed by, all of them soulless like my body and marked with two solid black eyes.  All I can do now is sit here with the pen I was given and write.  I once saw a young girl enter the shop, but was unable to help her as she reached out and touched a doll and became a prisoner of the shop like me.  I am one of the few dolls that can move, so I will write down my tale in hopes that someone who enters the shop will read my message before it's too late.  We are sometimes moved around from place to place by the shop and are seated in different locations.  If you are reading this paper now and have come here to obtain the doll that much looks like yourself, I have but one message for you:  do not touch the dolls.  Turn around and run away as fast as you can and never return, less you fall victim to the immortal doll shop of Stockholm.


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