When gifted a doll from an ominous stranger, a terrifying realization is discovered. It pays not to be the favourite child.
Translated and written by John Boon
Original story: 黒髪のジェニー
A long time ago my dad was seeing another woman behind my mum's back. A few years later he decided to break it off with his mistress. This caused her to become mentally unstable.
My sisters and I would occasionally see her stood on the road near our school acting strange. She frightened us.
My sisters were able to ignore her with ease, but I somehow felt sorry for her. She spoke to me occasionally and when my sisters weren’t there I would always reply.
After a while she would say things like “You’re such a good girl, you’re the best out of your sisters”.
One day, to my surprise, she gave me a “Jenny doll”.
I was overjoyed. Since I am the youngest of my
siblings, I would always get their hand-me-downs. I never had something new, something of my very own. This wasn’t some old tattered doll, this was a brand new Jenny doll just for me!
I didn’t want my sisters to get their hands on my new doll and take her for their own. Furthermore I was sure that they would tell on me and mum and dad would take Jenny away.
I decided to tell not to tell them about the doll.
But because my father’s mistress was mentally unstable, she didn’t care what kind of trouble she caused me. She became obsessive.
She tried to give me a huge amount of Jenny products (a hair salon, Jenny playhouse, seven more dolls...).
Everyday she would be waiting for me on the way to school.
It all was too much and her behaviour scared me. I began to avoid her. I changed my route.
After a while she stopped waiting for me on my school route.
Eventually I went back to walk my usual route to school again. I was happy.
But one morning I saw her again, I didn’t feel the usual kindness she had projected before. Something had changed. She was very calm and still, totally the opposite of how she had been before, her face was pale and her smile was now thin. I couldn’t see much of her face as it was hidden beneath the brim of her big hat and sunglasses.
She was carrying two huge overnight bags by her side. In one of the bags a box was poking out, somewhat intentionally.
Immediately I recognised the box’s shape, I was sure it was a Jenny doll box.
“I have to go away, I’m going very far away. Please accept this as a parting gift,” she said as she offered the box to me.
It was a Jenny doll I hadn’t seen before. It was a Jenny with long black hair.
I hurried along to school; I was so eager to show everyone my new rare Jenny, honestly I couldn’t wait to start boasting.
Some horrid boy snatched the box from me at school, he tore it open and pulled my new rare Jenny’s head off.
I was mortified.
Some of the girls at school managed to get Jenny back from the boy and they returned her to me.
I held her head in my hands. I saw weed-like clumps of someone’s black hair jutting out from beneath her chin. I didn’t look right.
One of the girls who returned the doll pinched the clump of hair, at first a huge curled up wad of hair came out followed by long trailing strands.
We watched as the hair from Jenny’s scalp slowly started to become unravelled. A crowd of children gathered around to get a closer look.
Hair from her head was disappearing from her scalp as the girl tugged on the clump of hair.
One noticed small blood clots attached to the roots of the hair…
This wasn’t hair that was cut but hair that was torn from someone’s head.
We all stared at the doll, suddenly we were all screaming in horror.
I felt so scared and bad inside, I was revolted. I began to cry, others around me were crying too, even the boy who ripped Jenny’s
head off. We were inconsolable, the teachers had to cancel our following lesson.
The teachers called an assembly and we were all given a serious talk about the incident. We were reminded of the importance of not receiving gifts from strangers and to be aware of perverts.
I was made to state before my teachers and my parents, who were called in from work; “I will not take things from strangers” and “I will be careful of perverts”.
Neither my parents nor my teachers would say that the “pervert” was my “father’s ex-mistress”.
To this day, whenever I see a Jenny doll, I feel sick and frightened.
Especially the new ones with black hair.
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