Chapter 1 - The Midnight Visitor

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  • Dedicated to My Mother

Author’s Note: Hello both new and returning readers! If you are new, then welcome, if you are returning - then welcome back and I hope this lives up to expectations :) The Old Town Square in Prague is so easy to imagine centuries ago but, if you're not a fan of history, don't worry, I won't be dwelling on that aspect much. I'm aiming scare you and make you get lost in the mystery, not give you a lecture. 

So, puppets. Think you’ve heard it all before? Think again. Or at least, I hope you will xD Anyway, all I have to say is I hope you enjoy this and I’d love to hear your thoughts. Thank you :)

Best Wishes,

~ TheTimelessClock

Dedication: For my mother. You’re always artistic and your love of dolls, puppets and other strange and dark items have rubbed off on me. I suppose they are the main cause of my inspiration. So, thank you and I see this as a story you might enjoy one day :)

*****

Moonlight spilled in through the open window, casting a white glow upon the bare wooden floor boards. Josef sat in his leather arm chair, his heavy lidded eyes drooping, almost closing when...Tap. Tap. Tap. Josef’s eyes snapped open.

Tap. Tap. Tap.

The noise appeared to be getting louder. But of course, Josef dismissed it as being nothing. “Just the wind...” he muttered sleepily, glancing at his cracked windows that he had no money to repair.

Tap. Tap. Tap.

Josef groaned, thinking it was someone at the door. “They can wait until morning...” he said to himself. He yawned, closed his eyes and rested his head against the back of the chair. His mop of dark brown hair falling over his forehead.

Tap- a floorboard creaked, shattering the silence. The tapping stopped. Josef froze in his chair, his hands gripping the sides tightly. There was someone in the room.

Tap. Tap. Tap.

They were footsteps. Footsteps. And they were getting louder. Closer. Josef drew in a breath.

Tap. Tap. Tap.

There was someone-

Tap. Tap. Tap.

-in the room.

Tap.

Josef was not alone. Slowly, very slowly, he turned his head a fraction and swivelled his eyes to see a figure, no more than a metre tall, standing there in the shadow of the room.

Tap.

It moved a step closer. The clouds shifted in the sky and a thin stream of moonlight fell upon the figure’s face. Revealing the true horror of the situation. A puppet. It’s eyes manic and glassy, its painted mouth slightly smeared, giving it the horrible effect of dripping blood. Its strings were cut, the uneven ends hanging around the doll. Its face was painted white, so pale that it appeared to glow. As pale as death. The puppet opened and closed its mouth.

Tap.

Went the wood against wood.

Tap.

One step closer.

Tap.

One step nearer.

Tap.

The puppet reached out a hand. Josef was frozen in fear, his eyes dry and unblinking. The scream that threatened to come bursting out of his mouth, never made it past his lips.

Tap.

The puppet turned to leave, its joints never squeaking, dragging its strings along the floor. Josef never saw it go. Never saw it leave. Never heard it laugh. Josef never saw anything ever again. Never heard anything again. But he had seen the puppet...just a shame he never lived long enough to tell the tale. The puppet laughed at Josef, the high pitched peal of laughter creating a most disturbing atmosphere in the room. The puppet started to make its way to the door.

Tap. Tap. Tap.

Went the little wooden feet.

*****

Meanwhile...

Applause rang out through the theatre as the show came to a close. I sat at the back of the dimly lit room and watched the audience don their hats and cloaks, preparing to venture into the cold night air. The atmosphere was warm and cheerful, the people bubbling with excitement as they left, walking into the street. I heard the chink of coins as several men dropped a few pennies into our collection pot. I sighed as the crowd gradually diminished and I was left alone. It was odd sitting in the silence that had now replaced the buzz of conversation. It made me feel lonely. I wanted the show to start all over again, to be surrounded by eager faces and lively music.

“Anna!” Called my uncle, Pavel, from the hall “are you ready to go?” Hurriedly I  grabbed my cloak from its hook and followed my uncle out into the square, shivering at the sharp breeze. My uncle locked up and we set off through the streets, the day’s crowds thinned out to just a few stragglers.  My lace up boots clapped against the cobbles and echoed in the old town square. “What are we doing tomorrow?” I asked.

“Our visitors are coming, don’t you remember? We’re going to show them the workshop.”

“Of course,” I said, realization dawning upon me. “Do you think they’ll buy anything?”

“I doubt that they will tomorrow. But they’ll almost certainly be interested.”

“How couldn’t they be?” I said with a small laugh “our puppets are some of the finest around.”

“The finest, my girl.” Replied Pavel “the finest and don’t you forget it.”

*****

Author's Note: Well, how did you like it? I really hope you enjoyed it and I'd really appreciate the feedback since this is a new story. What did you think? Love it or hate it? Every thought you have is appreciated as long as it is shared - thank you for taking the time to read this :)