The House of Dolls

📅 Published on December 8, 2020

“The House of Dolls”

Written by Deeify
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available


Rating: 9.57/10. From 7 votes.
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Every neighborhood has one. That creepy, old house that nobody wants to go near. They’re usually surrounded by overgrown trees and bushes. Parts of the siding have fallen to the ground due to neglect from whoever lives there. Dusty, old windows around the house only give you a hazy glimpse of the shabby curtain hung in front of it. Of course, rumors would always be spread around the neighborhood about it being haunted or cursed. One particular house in my neighborhood checked every single one of those boxes, including the one about how an old, creepy hermit lived inside.

I’ve only seen the owner of the house a few times. Usually yelling from her windows at the children who had wandered too close to her home. Some of the kids occasionally taunted her yelling “Public sidewalk! Public sidewalk!” with their arms outstretched, almost daring her to come make them leave. She never did. She would always ramble on incoherently and slam the window shut.

One particular night, I was walking my dog and passed her house. As my dog stopped to sniff a very exciting patch of grass that had grown through the sidewalk, I took a second to look up to the house. One window was lit up and I could see through the sliver between the curtains. It was her. She was…frantically talking to herself. I obviously couldn’t hear what she was saying but she seemed to be going back and forth between arguing with herself and then pleading with herself. A frown drooped across my face as I watched her yank at her hair while continuing her solo rant. I could see her throw clumps of hair to the floor after each yank. I hurried my dog along and we continued home.

Now, I’ve left out one particular feature of this horror house. Several of the windows were lined with old, creepy dolls. They were usually just piled up on the window sill and all facing outward, staring at you from an already spooky house. I’ve never gotten close enough to really take a look at one of the dolls but they were clearly old and decrepit. I’ve always assumed they were to frighten off the neighborhood kids as most of the dolls looked purposely mangled, almost as if to look as terrifying as possible. If that was her intent…she succeeded. My hell, they were horrific.

“Did you hear?” my girlfriend asked me as I dried off the last of the dishes. “Old lady Higgins died last night. I saw the ambulance haul her off. I guess living to a ripe old age of 200 was a bit too much for her” she continued.

Lori had been my girlfriend for two years now and we had just barely moved in together. This was our first venture as full-fledged adults on our own so we were that stereotypical excited couple, enjoying the wonders of our new found freedom.

“Okay, first off, I never knew that was her name. Did you know her?” I asked with a smirk as she dried her hands.

“No, my grandma told me it. I guess they went to school together. She said she was always the weird girl in the corner who just doodled all day,” she replied.

“Well, the crazy hit her pretty hard as she got older then. Still, it’s always sad to see someone go,” I offered, feeling a bit guilty about my first statement.

“I wonder what they’re going to do with her house,” she said in an echoing voice while talking into her coffee cup.

“What are you guys talking about?” Paul said as he walked into the kitchen. He had stayed the night after our poker session from the previous night went a bit longer than we thought. Paul was my best friend and we’d often lose track of time when we hang out.

“Oh, that crazy, old lady up the street passed away last night. We were just talking about what’s going to happen with her house,” I replied as I sat at the kitchen table with Lori.

“You mean that decaying old lump of a house? I didn’t even know anyone still lived there. It looks condemned,” he said with his eyebrows lifted.

“It probably should be,” I replied.

“Hey, let’s go check it out!” Paul shouted excitedly.

“What?” Lori yelped as she slammed her coffee cup a little harder than expected on the table.

“If she had any family, they probably won’t be around for a while to get her stuff. I’ve always wanted to know what it looked like in there. Although, those dolls give me the creeps,” he said almost in a salesman-like pitch.

I scoffed, “Nah, man, I’m good.”

Paul slumped his shoulders to show his disappointment.

“How about we just go take a peek in the windows? Seriously, my curiosity is killing me,” he said, lifting his hands up on either side.

I looked towards Lori. She shrugged her shoulders.

“It’s up to you guys,” she said as she lifted herself from her chair.

Apparently, Paul’s little sales pitch worked as we were soon venturing out towards the creepy house. Its ominous presence seemed to be quite a bit more menacing knowing the house was now vacant. A hesitation came over all three of us as we stood at the sidewalk of the house. We looked at each other for a bit of approval and began our walk.

The crunching of the dead leaves and sticks under our feet reminded me of old horror movies where it would get quiet right before the big scare. A sense of thrill came over me as we walked around the side of the house. I looked towards Paul who immediately bit his bottom lip with eyes lit up as if to dare me to peek in. I did.

To my disappointment, the dirt on the window paired with the dark, unlit room made it impossible to see anything. The only thing I could clearly make out was an old wooden chair backed up against the closest wall. I sighed and looked towards Paul.

“Uhh…guys?” Lori said under her breath.

We both turned to see Lori pointing towards another portion of the house. We walked over slowly to see what she was trying to point out. I snapped my head back as I saw an open window to the house’s basement. We all gazed at each other for several seconds of quietness. We all had the same idea but it was Paul that piped up.

“I say we go in!” he demanded.

I looked to Lori for her thoughts.

“Screw it!” she said in a laughing tone.

Without thinking we marched towards the window. Paul, being the most eager of the three of us made his way in first. It was a smaller window but just enough room to make our way in. I heard a thud as he dropped to the ground.

“You good, man?” I said, squinting into the dark basement.

“Yeah, come on down!” he yelled from the echoey room.

I made my way in followed by Lori. A fright came over me as I tried to gather my surroundings. We were actually in the creepy old lady’s house. This was so crazy. A lone light bulb flickered on in the center of the concrete room. Paul had found the light switch.

“Oh, thank God!” Lori exclaimed.

A quick tour of the basement area showed…nothing much. It was mostly empty aside from a few boxes and old furniture. We found the stairwell and made our way up. We were in luck as, while lights were far and few between, the electricity was still on.

As we made it to the first floor, I felt a resignation as I assumed the upper levels were going to offer even more mediocrity. I was wrong… I was so wrong.

We entered the living room area. What stared back at us gave all three of us a shock. Dolls. Hundreds and hundreds of dolls littered the entire room. These things weren’t just in the windows. The entire place was filled with them. All of them mangled and deformed in their own unique ways. Every single doll had its eyes cut out leaving only two black voids staring back at us. This was terrifying.

I jumped in fright as Paul yelled, breaking the silence, “What in the hell is going on here? This lady was some kind of weird hoarder.”

“I guess, man,” I said as I panned the room.

We continued walking while stepping over doll after doll. We made it down the hallway to the kitchen. At least, I think there was a kitchen underneath the blanket of dolls.

“I think we should leave now…” Lori said while folding her arms in discomfort.

Paul clicked his tongue in disappointment and glared at her.

“No, man, I think she’s right. Let’s go,” I said sternly.

“You can go if you want to. I’m going to explore a bit. This is crazy,” he replied as he continued his way to the next room.

We wished him luck and turned back towards the living room and stairway to the basement. As we approached the top of the stairs, something happened that terrified me to the core. The loudest scream I have ever heard filled the entirety of the house. It was a blood-curdling scream of terror…from a female. Lori grabbed me in a hug with a frightened yelp.

“What the hell was that…?” I said, trying to keep my voice down realizing someone else was here.

“I don’t know but, I say Paul is on his own. If he doesn’t want to leave after hearing that, it’s on him,” she whispered, holding me tighter.

I nodded and we began our trek down the stairs to get out of this terror house. As we approached the halfway point of the stairs, we were once again startled by a door slamming behind us. We looked at each other in confusion. There was no door at the top of the stairway before. We stared at each other in concern. We looked up as the single, hanging light bulb began to flicker. Another startle hit us as yet another door slamming shut was heard. This time…it was at the bottom of the stairs.

“What the hell is going on here?” I said as I felt my voice break with every word.

Lori simply stared at the door in fright. I put my hand on her back to guide her down the rest of the way. We arrived at the now-closed door. I turned the knob to open it. It swung open and to our horror…more stairs. Another flight of stairs continued with the basement at the bottom.

“I can’t do this…let’s go!” Lori yelled, grabbing my hand.

We proceeded to the bottom of the new set of stairs. I almost tipped over as the light bulb flickered off. I grabbed Lori immediately. It was pitch black. We had to continue though. We carefully took one step at a time as to not fall. We continued blindly with one hand outstretched.

“Ouch!” I yelled as I stubbed my finger into a solid surface. We had reached the door. I slowly turned the doorknob. Horror coursed through me at what I was seeing. We were back in the living room. Dolls were strewn across the room, all blank and emotionless with those black, cold eyes.

Lori began crying as I held her tighter.

“We have to find Paul,” I said almost involuntarily.

We proceeded in the direction Paul had gone. A long hallway led us to two more rooms as well as the staircase upstairs. Both rooms were filled with knick-knacks and old furniture. Oh, and of course…more dolls. As if we weren’t freaked out enough, the dolls gave us a lifeless, terrifying gaze as we made our way through the house.

“Paul? Paul?!” Lori yelled up the staircase.

We made our way up, hoping to not have another…staircase incident. Luckily, nothing happened…yet.

“Paul, are you up here? Paul?” Lori continued her jittery pleas to get his attention. Nothing…

“I’d say let’s split up but I’ve seen way too many horror movies to know that’s not a good idea,” I said in an attempt to lighten the mood.

The fright was too deep though. We continued our search for several more minutes in an eerie silence. As we approached yet another room, I heard something behind us. I turned around and in the unwell lit hallway…I saw Paul, just standing there. I could barely make out his face as it was shadowed but…I saw his expression. He was staring with a smile…a smile bigger than I’ve ever seen him make. His eyes glared at us with an almost evil looking intent.

“Paul? Is that you? What are you doing? Let’s get the hell out of here!” I ordered.

Lori looked back as well. I could see the look of confusion paired with fright on her face from the corner of my eye. I began walking towards him. With an almost inhuman speed, Paul ran quickly into one of the bedrooms. I looked at Lori in fright. I had to get my friend and get out of here!

I walked towards the room and peered in. Paul was gone. A bed, covered in those damn dolls was all that filled the room. I walked inside with Lori behind me. I’m 100% sure he ran in here but he’s nowhere to be seen. We turned to leave but were suddenly stopped by the now-closed door. No slam this time, just…a closed door. I wasn’t having it anymore. I quickly opened the door. Lori fell to her knees and began sobbing. The door led us back to the living room…and the same dolls stared back at us.

“I don’t know what…” I stopped mid-sentence as I looked back at Lori. She was crouched down and sobbing…in the living room. I looked back at the other side of the door. Another living room. We were stuck between two identical rooms. I grabbed Lori’s wrist and began searching through the living room for anything I could to bust one of these windows out and make our escape.

At the edge of the room, that same, old wooden chair I saw from the outside sat. I stomped my way over, kicking dolls out of my way in anger. I grabbed the chair and immediately began smashing it against the window I had originally peeked into when we arrived. It was working. The window began to crack and eventually shattered.

I looked out to the ground to prepare for our escape. I…

No words can accurately explain the fright that came over me. What I witnessed as I turned to Lori…was horrific. A slimy, green, deformed…thing stared back at me. It’s pale, green, bulging skin was glistening in the little light there was as it reached out to me with its limbs that seemed to be bent and broken in different angles. It let out a gurgled moan as it began towards me.

I let out a primal yell and began to run. I didn’t make it far before I tripped over the chair I used to smash the window. The creature made its way on top of me and began screaming in that same gurgled voice. Moisture from its head dripped on my face as I yelled in terror. I could see its skin bubbling under the deformations as it attacked.

“Babe! Babe!” I heard Lori yell.

I opened my eyes and slid back hitting my head on the window sill. The monster was gone. Lori looked at me with a look of confusion and fright.

“What…who…” I frantically said not knowing what to actually say.

“I don’t know what happened. You went over to the chair and just sat in it. A little bit later you just began freaking out on the ground and pulling at your hair. What happened?” she said quickly.

I didn’t want to tell her what I had just seen. I wiped the tears from my eyes and stood up.

“We have to keep trying to get out of here,” I said. I’d had enough.

We shuffled through more dolls to reach the stairway to the basement. The stairway that scared us so much…but we had to try. I shook my head as the stairway was blocked by a door. I opened it up with Lori clutching my arm. I stared in defeat as I was looking into the upstairs bedroom Paul had darted into. Dolls and that same bed greeted me as if to say “you’re not going anywhere”.

I walked into the room with my head down. I leaned up against one of the bedposts and let out a sigh. Lori cleared some of the dolls to make a spot on the bed and slumped down. There were several minutes of silence.

Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed something on a nightstand. It was a book. I don’t know why but, I moved to check it out. “Helen Higgins” was written on the front. It was a diary. I looked over toward Lori who was still sitting on the bed with her face cupped in her hands. It seemed very farfetched but this old lady clearly knew the house. Maybe the diary would offer information on…how to leave it.

It started out as any diary would. Talking about her day, people she would interact with, etc. After a few minutes of reading…it got far worse. The beginning seemed to be when she was in her early 20’s with the later excerpts being decades later. Her ramblings became more incoherent as the pages flipped. Towards the end is when her entries became…much darker. Her ramblings became much more disturbing as she spoke of people watching her from the windows, trying to get into the house. She would yell and scream at them to go away but they persisted for years.

Several more entries later, a few excerpts gave me an insight into her…strange behaviors.

“Yes! After a lot of research, I have finally found out how to get rid of these damn intruders. They are not welcome here and they will know it!”

“The dolls…the dolls will work. Scary…I will make them scary…and the evil trespassers will not want in.”

“More dolls… More dolls will keep them away. Yes… They will know they can’t come in… They will lose interest in my house…in me.”

“Not working… The book said it would work… These people are still getting in… Why aren’t they afraid?”

“Mistakes… I’ve made mistakes… NO! They live in them. The very thing that was supposed to keep them out…is where they dwell…I invited them in…without knowing.”

“I found my old diary…I missed you! It’s been decades… I’ve lived with my demons in seclusion… I hate them… They hate me. They haunt me when I’m awake. They haunt me when I’m asleep. They are evil. They delight in torturing my mind… I’m so glad I found your diary… You’re all I have now.”

I covered my mouth in shock as I read the last entry.

“No more… It will end… Thank you, my diary, for being there for me. This day will be my last. My tortures will finally be over.”

Only blank pages followed. I carefully put the diary back on the nightstand as I looked over at Lori. She seemed to be catatonic.

“Lori…babe, I’m going to get us out of here,” I said, attempting to add confidence to my voice.

She continued staring forward. I lifted my head up as I realized something was happening. From the walls of the room, I heard…voices. What seemed like hundreds and hundreds of voices were emanating from all four walls. There were so many, I couldn’t understand what they were saying but they were getting louder. I covered my ears as they continued their ramblings at us. I looked up at Lori who was still staring ahead with no emotion.

Just as suddenly as the voices began…they stopped. I clenched my teeth in anger. Without a word, I grabbed Lori’s wrist and began to lead her out.

“No! No… I can’t…” she said, sobbing.

“Lori, I am getting us out of here. No matter how much of this damn maze we have to go through, I’ll get you home!” I insisted.

She wiped the tears from her eyes and quickly nodded. I was just glad to have even a little bit of my girl back.

We proceeded out into the hallway. I felt a strength in me as I was determined to get through this and get us back to safety. My strength faded quickly though. As I looked left and right into the hallway to determine our next move…something was staring at us. At the end of the hall, a silhouette of a man was…just standing there. The shadowy form was dressed in an old-fashioned outfit. He was not from our time, dressed in an old dust coat and top hat.

We stared at each other for several seconds as I contemplated what to do next. His face was pure black, but from the emptiness, I saw a toothy smile begin to form. No eyes, no features…just a grin is all that looked back at me. I shook my head and darted towards the stairs with Lori.

We made it down to the living room. As if everything we’d gone through wasn’t enough, we were met with…more stares. The dolls…those damn dolls…were all staring at us. We stood in silence as we looked around in terror. Deformed and mangled faces glared at us as we slowly proceeded towards the stairway.

We entered the stairwell and began our descent. I would say, I prepared myself for whatever horrors these…evil spirits that dwell here had for us but…that was impossible. To my astonishment…nothing. No twists and turns, no voices or screams. We’d made it to the basement.

A look of excitement was on Lori’s face as we stared at the open window we had climbed into to start this nightmare. Apprehension fell over me as I wondered if this could be another cruel trick. As we continued to stare in disbelief, loud, heavy footsteps came hurtling down the stairs.

“Dammit! Go! Go!” I ordered Lori.

We hastily climbed out the window to avoid…whatever was stomping down the stairs towards us. We both crawled on all fours through the dead leaves and twigs towards the backyard wall. I turned towards the window with my back flat against the concrete wall. My eyes were wide open as I stared. The window…slowly closed. It creaked shut. With a soft clicking sound, the window closed and we were free from this horror.

We walked back to our house with heads hung down. Lori continued her sobbing as I held her. As we sat down on our living room couch, I began sobbing as well…but…we were safe.

We broke our lease and moved out as quickly as possible. We could not stand even being near that house. The events of that day were four decades ago. I still have nightmares from the brief time I was there. Lori was never the same. I’ve remained with her, trying to help her recover but…what happened to us was far too scarring.

In an almost “face your fears” type of move, I returned to the neighborhood today. The house…that house of dolls…was still there. Dolls filled the windows just as they had 40 years ago. The house was more overgrown with foliage and as decrepit as ever. A group of children on bicycles pulled up inquiring as to why I was just staring at this house. We chatted for a few about the house but I did not want to tell them my story.

Apparently, old Ms. Higgins was a member of a very rich family that owned the house. I guess it was just another page in a book as they’ve all but forgotten it to let it rot. Although, the kids did inform me of a resident in the house. He can be seen sometimes, blabbering to himself and yelling at kids that pass by. The local kids have named him “Crazy Old Paul”.

Rating: 9.57/10. From 7 votes.
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🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available

Written by Deeify
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

🔔 More stories from author: Deeify

Publisher's Notes: N/A

Author's Notes: N/A

More Stories from Author Deeify:

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Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

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