The Student Publishing House of Townsend Harris High School

The Starling Press

The Student Publishing House of Townsend Harris High School

The Starling Press

The Student Publishing House of Townsend Harris High School

The Starling Press

February 13, 2024



Blood, terror, and the screams of the unknown fill the halls as I run. I never thought something like this could happen to me; I’ve read books and watched movies about how it all happens, yet I still can’t believe I am here. The halls are like endless mazes; they darken the deeper I run, covered in rot and rust, with dark crimson stains, but I keep going. I can hear footsteps behind me growing louder by the minute. I try to pick up my pace, but it’s of no use. I’m too tired and my vision is hazy. If only I had listened to my parents- but I can’t think like that, I have to run. I have to run for my future, run for the life I dreamed of living, and run for my mom, dad, and brother. 


Around 2 months ago, at school, my friends and I heard about a party and wanted to go. Now, I am not much of a party girl but I thought it would be a nice time out with my friends and my boyfriend, and besides what could possibly go wrong? My mom and dad did not want me to go out. They said something about how I would get “kidnapped” and how they would never see me again. Although I did not even want to go, my friends managed to convince me. They suggested I sneak out of the house where they would wait for me. With no other option, I complied. That evening, my parents were downstairs thinking that I was asleep in my room, giving me the perfect opportunity to jump out the window. My friends were outside waiting for me. I was expecting to land on a hard, dirty ground, but to my surprise, Dolion caught me right before I could feel the cold ground beneath me.

“You didn’t think I’d let my girlfriend get hurt like that would you?” He smiled.

And off we were to enjoy the party.            

                                       *                   *                    *

The booming of loud music flooded my ears like the cracking sound of the earth during an earthquake, you could hear it a mile away. We walked into the party and I found myself standing alone. My friends scattered throughout the party. I go to the kitchen to grab a drink since I have nothing more to do. Soon one drink turns to three, then to five, and pretty soon I’m dancing on a table. Dolion managed to get me out of there just before I fell. He tried to take me home but I just flipped out on him. 

“LE-LEAVE M-ME ALONE!!” I growled at him. 

“Come on Nadia you need to simmer down. I’m only trying to help you.” he stumbled. 

“I don’t n-need your h-help! Just go A-AWAY!” 

I shouted and soon the look of defeat took over his eyes as he retreated to the shadows in the opposite way to where he lived. After the fight I didn’t want to stay there anymore so I started heading home. 

I’m walking down in the dark starry night, not a single soul in sight. The screaming banshee and the sound of siren head strolling follow me as I walk. An airplane passes overhead, engines roaring like a beast trying to escape the clutches of evil. I felt bad for how I treated Dolion. “I’ll apologize to him tomorrow.” I thought, as my eyes grew heavier by the second and suddenly…………….

                                       *                   *                    *

I woke up with a sudden ringing in my ears and a throbbing pain at the back of my head. I found myself in a room covered in dirty white cushions drenched in mahogany and burgundy stains. The room smells like rotting flesh with a mix of dead fish, followed by a metallic taste. It’s quite revolting. I got up and stood on the moldy ground, trying to keep my balance. My vision starts to come back as I scan the room. I see an old broken-like bed in the corner to its right, a small toilet, and beside it a sink. The entire room looked rather like a cell, for example, the ones you find in an asylum. My thoughts flood over all at once, 

“What happened?!” “Where am I?!” As I stood in awe, a small crack made its way to my ear. I turn in fear thinking about who it could be. A dark shadow crept its way toward me. The face became clear to me as he lunged forward. The man had pale white skin, as pale as snow, his eyes deep, with pupils of midnight. Silver hair, sharp and flowing with tint at the base. His face was old and withered, with no expression, no emotion, just pure darkness. He had a grecian nose and small lips. His clothes looked centuries old, he wore a black coat with a vibrant blue flower on top of an off-white shirt covered by a maroon vest with valomonos patterns. A blood-red tie wrapped around his broad white neck almost covering a tiny scar. He wore black pants matching his coat which held similar stains as the ones on the wall of this soft hell. He spoke in a deep and displeasing voice,

“I see you have finally woken up.”

“Who are you?!” Where am I?!” I ask in distress as a fine smirk appears on his face.

“All in time my dear.” as he says this he turns his back and starts walking in the opposite direction, I scream in terror, “LET ME GO!!” but he keeps walking while letting out a light chuckle; the steel white door closes behind him as I run banging against it, whaling to let me out.

 I don’t know how long it has been since I got here. In absolute silence, I sat, with occasional murmurs and the sound of rats scurrying inside the walls. Sometimes I would shout for the oddly gray man who graced me with his presence not too long ago. Distant in thought, I almost didn’t notice the slender man leaving a dress at the foot of the door. I could not see who it was, but I know that it wasn’t the skeleton who paid me a visit earlier. This man had short and thick golden blonde hair. He was wearing a leather jacket. That was all that I could see since it was only a torso sticking out of the door. The man left and I heard his footsteps fade away. As soon as he was gone I walked to where the dress had been laid ever so gently. It was an electric amethyst-colored dress, quite beautiful. It was made of silk and had three rows of ruffles starting from the side of the dress and around the back. It had long sleeves and beautiful detailed lace patterns, along with it was a belt at the bodice of the dress. It looked like a dress from the 1850s kind of like the one that the scrawny old man was wearing. Almost like a princess’s dress. On top of the dress lay a pearl and diamond choker. The glistening diamonds were mesmerizing, it almost looked real, and it felt real too. It had strings of pearls and a detailed rectangular piece at the center embroidered with diamonds. I noticed beside the choker a note. It was on a whitered victorian piece of paper saying:


“Wear this dress and choker and be ready. Someone will come to pick you up. If you do not follow these instructions there will be dire consequences.”


After reading this note my chest tightened. I had trouble breathing, but I had no choice but to pull myself together and do what the note said. I put on the dress. It was a perfect fit, almost too perfect. I waited for some to come for a while but it was like waiting for a ghost. Unfortunately, someone had decided to grace me with their presence and my waiting had come to a halt. To my surprise, it was the man with his flawless straight golden hair. He had a diamond-shaped face and a broad neck. He had these beautiful taupe-colored round piercing eyes, along with his button nose and perfectly smirked lips. He was definitely much younger than the old man I saw earlier and quite handsome. Maybe, he was nicer too. He wore a vintage 18th-century black suit. He had a midnight black vest on top of a plain white shirt with a bow tie on the collar. He wore a dark black coat over and smooth black pants beneath along with black shoes. All over he looked like a very fine man.

“You’re the one who left me the dress earlier!” I say ready to fight back if needed.

“Yes, I am” he replied in a stern and dull voice, it was like all life had been sucked out of his voice and there is only a shell of the person he used to be.

“What’s your name?” I asked.

“Zane. Zane Sterling,” he answered. “And I presume your name is Nadia?”

“Yes, how did you know?”

“The Dollmaster told me who you are.”

Confusion rolled in my eyes as he said that. 

“The Dollmaster?” I questioned him, curious to know who this identity belonged to.

“The Dollmaster. The man with the white hair and eyes, he came to see you before.”

My mind was filled with confusion as I stumbled “That’s him!? Why is he called that?”

“Because he runs everything here. He’s the reason we’re all here.” 

As he said that his voice was saddened. I could see the pain in his eyes, but then I realized he said “We’re ALL here” meaning that there are more people who are stuck here including the golden man in front of me. 

“There are more people here?” I ask hesitantly.

“Yes, there are many people imprisoned here, including myself, and now you.” 

My eyes struck in terror, knowing now that I might never be able to escape or see my friends and family. Before I could say another word, a similar deranged voice spoke through the tiny speaker in the cell. “Attention all, you shall all go to the main hall before we begin.” I wondered what he was talking about before. I asked the man in black standing tall in front of me, he did not say a word and instead told me to follow him. I didn’t know what to say so I just followed him outside the gates of the crimson white hell. Outside the cell was a maze of corridors where someone can get lost for days. The walls of the halls are dark and damp, filled with dirt, rust, and blood. My curiosity got the best of me and I mumbled, “What is this place?” He replied, “It’s an old abandoned asylum. It hasn’t been used for over 15 years until The Dollmaster came.” 

So I was right, I thought, it was an asylum cell. As we walked across the charcoal halls I noticed various doors that looked like mine. Maybe these are the cells used to keep the other people that are here. We came to a halt in front of a mahogany-enforced door. Zane opened the door to a completely different world from where we were before. The walls were covered in red wallpaper with intricate golden patterns all over. Vintage and Victorian furniture and paintings decorated the corridors as far as the eyes could see. How could this be?! A few seconds ago we were in a phantom’s den and now we’re in the castle of a king. We walked deeper into the castle which was more like walking into the past. Everything about the place, about me, and Zane screamed “The 1800s.” Then I concluded that this “Dollmaster” was obsessed with the 1800s, more specifically the late 1800s. Now another question would be “Why?” But that’s a story for another time. Now, I needed to figure out where we were going. And what were we going to do? 

Soon after we come across a grand staircase, almost like the majestic ones you see in movies from where the princess walks down from. Beneath the stairs were many people all dressed up and fancy just like me and Zane. We made our way down the stairs when I asked him, 

“Where are we?” 

He whispered, “We are in the Main Hall of the Dollmaster’s Mansion of Wonders.” 

“Mansion of wonders!?” I snarked back 

“What kind of name is that? So cliche.” 

He let out a light chuckle and said, “I couldn’t agree more.” 

We reached the bottom of the stairs where many other people had been mingling. 

Zane told me to not leave the room and that he will be right back. So I went off to see if I could talk to someone and get some answers. I came across a girl with strawberry blonde hair with tan skin and sharp feline mocha brown eyes. Eyes that carried no life. She had a celestial nose and classic lips. She looked beautiful in her long yellow gown with floral details and long puffy sleeves. Along with it, she was wearing a pearl choker similar to mine. I went towards her hoping that we could talk. She introduced herself as Tory Belle. All over she was a very kind, generous, and funny person but just like Zane the joy in her had been taken away. She introduced me to her friend Zahir Hendrix who also happened to be Zane’s only friend. Zahir was a cool, chill person he didn’t talk too much but if you really got to know him he was the funniest person you could ever know. He had black hair and deep almond black eyes, along with fair caramel skin. A square jaw face and a button nose. He wore a prince-like white and light brown outfit. Along with a light brown vest with a plaid pattern on top of a white shirt that had puffy sleeves at the end. With white pants matching his shirt and golden brown boots and a bow tie similar to Zane’s. Together the four of us were talking about how long we’ve been here and how our life was before we got here. Zahir had been here for 2 months. Before, he lived with his older brother and sister. His parents died when he was ten and ever since then he wanted to make them proud and be an engineer. Tory had been here for a month. She lived with her moms and was a freshman in college like I was and also she wanted to be an artist when she finished college. As for Zane, he had been here the longest, 6 months. He lived with his dad. His mom had died a long time ago. He was a sophomore in college and had a part-time job because he wanted to help his dad out. We were learning more about each other as the voice that brought terror to all of our hearts had returned. 

“Welcome everyone. I am The Dollmaster and today we are going to play a classic 

game we all know. Hide N Seek. However, there is going to be a little twist if I find you, you will be a part of my collection.” 

Baffled at the spot I whispered, “Hey, Tory what does he mean by “Part of my collection?”

“You don’t know?!” She replied with utter shock.

“Am I supposed to?” I reply with the question.

“If he catches you he is going to turn you into a porcelain doll and put you with the rest.” 

Standing in dread before I could say another word, The Dollmaster exclaimed 

“You will have 5 minutes to hide anywhere in the mansion. However, you may not enter the Redroom. If I were to find you. You will be immediately eliminated. You may-”

Out of nowhere, a sky-blue suit shouts to startle the crowd, 


As gasps fill the grand room, the old hag smiles “If you do not I shall do this.” In a matter of seconds, the man lets out a devastating scream, and the smell of burning flesh quickly spreads as the limp body of the unfortunate man falls to the ground. Soon the face of shock replaces the one of the stern as the eyes of the crowd fill with sorrow. In a matter of moments, I realized that the man had been electrocuted from the neck. The bow ties were actually shock collars for the men and as for the women, the choker around our necks was our shock collar. Soon I realize this is how he controls us, to make sure we don’t disobey him. 

“Alright everyone, the excitement is over. It’s time to play.” 

The old man turned around and the five-minute timer on the golden grandfather clock had begun. Zane grabbed my hand and started to run. We ran through a hall, my heart pounding I could not think, everything was flying past. There were so many colors all just rushing by while we were running. We entered a small dark closet filled with cobwebs and random items. There were things like clothes, hair, and small pieces of string. I was about to speak when Zane put his finger on his lips to show that I must be quiet. 

It had been a couple of hours since we were there. Being there all this time let me think about the situation we were in and more about The Dollmaster. We had been playing in the sick twisted mind of a man’s fantasy. In this fantasy, he had all the control and power which he lacked in the real world, and because of his lack of power, he now had the obsession to obtain it through this fantasy which may be linked to his past. Clearly, the Dollmaster had been through some type of trauma in his early life which made him who he is today. Being a psychology major had its perks. Before I could continue thinking, a voice I’m all too familiar with spoke through the speakers, 

“Attention to all those who are hiding. Congratulations! To survive today’s game. You may come out of your hiding spot and return to the main hall.” 

I let out a sigh of relief as soon as I heard that. I couldn’t believe I made it out alive and I know that I wouldn’t have done it if it wasn’t for Zane. We slowly got out of the dark cave and made our way back to the main hall where we regrouped with Tory and Zahir. They had been hiding in one of the walk-in closets with clothes for dolls. We all discussed what happened and all that we saw. The different rooms that The Dollmaster has for torturing the poor souls that a trapped like slaves. How he forces them to dress up and play his little games. With that, we decided it was time we end it all. We were going to escape no matter what. 

We all concluded that the first step to our escape was to learn of The Dollmaster’s schedule to find the perfect time to escape. Before we could further continue to discuss our plan, the one, and only Dollmaster appeared once again.

“Once again I congratulate you on your survival, especially our new guest.” 

As he said that I knew it was directed at me and I could feel eyes burning through the back of my head. He continued,

“However, you won’t be lucky next time. That’s all for today, farewell and have a goodnight. You will have someone escort you to your room.”

I was expecting Zane to take me back to my room but another person with the white mask and plain black clothes took me through the devil’s maze back to that white prison cell which I now called home. I was left with some plain white scrubs to change back to from the purple gown. I knew it was late at night because I saw the midnight sky filled with stars through the windows of the mansion while heading back. We had been in that closet for half the day, I realized. I was really tired after a long day of running and hiding and decided it would be best if I got some rest. As I lay in bed ready to sleep, the events of the past couple of days replay in my head and I realize that the fact that Zane had not known me for long and yet still found it in his heart to help me, and how Tory and Zahir were so accepting of a complete stranger, made me realize that I could trust that and something told me that they felt the same. And with that, I closed my eyes and hoped to wake up in my bed instead of this hellish nightmare. 

                                              *                   *                    *

Over a few weeks, Zane, Tory, Zahir, and I planned our escape. We were able to see each other only 3 times a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays. Throughout the weeks Zane had been snooping around-since Zane had been there for six months he knew the mansion better than all of us-making him our eyes and ears. Zahir’s job was to listen in to The Dollmaster’s conversations to try and find anything useful. Tory, on the other hand, was responsible for gathering weapons that we could use in case of an emergency. Lastly, me being the fresh new prey, had to keep The Dollmaster from ever finding out about escape. It was a Thursday and the theme for our game was a masquerade ball we were playing, Russian Roulette. One by one we were called to the center of the room and hoped that our lives would be kept in this sick game of cards. A man in a green suit and caramel skin was called upon to the center of the grand hall where fate would decide on his life. The revolver spun and out came the sound of thunder. In a flash of shock to what felt like ages the man fell to the ground, his blood splattered on the ground leaving a trail of crimson. The entire room grew silent except for one man in a dark black suit and white hair, who started laughing on the spot asking, 

“Why aren’t you laughing?! Is this not entertaining to you?” He asked us like what happened to the man won’t happen to us, and so he continued. Soon it was Tory’s turn. She stepped in front of the revolver while looking back at us where we were trying our best to keep her calm. My heart was beating faster than ever before while praying that she will be alright. I could feel Zane’s squeezing mine trying to keep me and himself strong. The revolver spun,


As Tory’s limp body falls to the floor I can feel my tears burn into my skin. I couldn’t move. 


This can’t be happening. 

Not her. 

Please no…n-no. 

I look over to Zane and Zahir, they too are paralyzed into place. Zahir’s face streamed down with tears as he tumbles to the ground, while Zane just stood there trying to process what just happened. She lay there on the cold ground still as beautiful as ever, a pool of blood growing larger and larger beneath her. 

She was gone

And with her, a part of us had died too.

It did not feel right. For us to live and for her to die. Zane, Zahir, and I got lucky we were able to see another day. We did not want to leave Tory but we have to escape and now more than ever not let her death go in vain. Later we were sent to our rooms. That night I thought about Tory. She was a gentle soul. She couldn’t hurt a fly even if she wanted to. All she wanted was to see her moms one last time but that was cruelly stripped away from her by that excuse of a person. That night I fell asleep thinking about all that I could do once we broke out of this hellhole. And finally, bring peace for Tory.

                                          *                   *                    *

Now on to the escape plan. Zahir overheard The Dollmaster mention a trip he was going on Sunday two weeks from now. The plan was that on the night of the day of the escape before we play our game Zane was going to grab the master key and the key to open the shock collar that we noticed The Dollmaster caring around while Tory and I distracted him. (Rest in peace Tory). While exploring the house during our previous “games” we further understood the blueprint of the house and discovered secret tunnels underneath the asylum. We concluded that the tunnels may have been dug out by patients to escape before it was abandoned and could possibly lead back to the city. However, most of the tunnels were blocked off and there was at least one in every room. We checked all the rooms but all were the same, except one. The Redroom. No one has ever been in the Redroom except The Dollmaster. We did not even know if the tunnel was blocked off or not but that was a risk we were willing to take. After we get the keys we would make our way to the Redroom while everyone else is playing and hope that our passage to freedom would be wide open.


                                              *                   *                    * 


Today’s the day. The day that would determine our future, 

the day that might set us free 


give us an early grave. 

The Dollmaster made one of his workers leave me a dress, it was quite beautiful. It was a simple rose-pink dress with pearl details all over. Though today was a day to be rapturous about, I felt horrible leaving all those who are stuck here but we promised that we would come back for them once we get out (or if we can get out). The theme for today was Villagers, we had to dress up as noblemen and women in-you guessed it! The 1800s. It was time to go, the gates of hell had opened once again, and this may be the last time I ever walk through them before I’m free. I met up with Zahir and Zane and we preview the plan before setting it in motion. The Dollmaster appeared from thin air without anyone noticing. This was it. I take my cue and go to The Dollmaster while Zane grabs the keys and Zahir makes sure everything goes smoothly. 


“Nadia, my dear, is there anything I can help you with?”

“Yes-s. um…I-I…uh just wanted to ask yo-you what we were going to play today?”

“Eager are we? Why so quick to know?”

“No reason. Just wanted to be prepared”

He chuckled menacingly, sending cold shivers down my spine. But it’s all worth it as Zane was successfully able to grab the keys.

“Go join the crowd darling. I’ll tell in time.”


It took everything in me to not throw up right then and there, at least he got the keys. 

Step 1: Complete.

“Welcome everyone as you know I am The Dollmaster and today’s game is, Julius Pollux, more commonly known as Sardines. Now if you don’t know how to play it, it’s quite simple. It’s just like Hide N Seek but reversed. One person hides and the other’s seek. Once you find the person you hide with them. However, for the people that can’t find them, you are going to be the new addition to my collection. And If I find out where you are hiding you all will be a part of my collection. Good luck my dolls, you’ll need it. And as for the person that’s hiding, that will be Nadia.” As soon as he called out my name, my heart skipped a beat. I scream in my mind “I CAN’T DO THIS, I CAN’T I CAN’T, I CAN’T BE RESPONSIBLE FOR SOMEONE’S DEATH.” I quickly snap out of it and go back to reality. I’ve been told to go off and hide while everyone else counts. After learning all I can about the mansion I quickly go and hide while making sure that no one follows me. My hiding spot is a little dark closet, not too big but not too small, enough to hide many people. This closet is a well-known hiding spot among us dolls. Hopefully, people can figure out where I hid so they do not have to die. The only weird thing about it, however, is that there are plastic dolls with their hair and eyes cut out. It wasn’t long before someone found me. Together we hid in the closet. It was a girl with blond hair and green eyes. She was wearing a red dress kind of like mine but detailed with diamonds instead of pearls. Her name was Shanaya. A few minutes after her came a man I’d seen around a couple of times. One by one my hiding spot was filled with people, however, Zane was nowhere to be seen. Zahir and I were sitting with all the victims of this unfortunate play just waiting for this nightmare of a game to finish. I was starting to get worried when Zane busted into the closet trying not to make any sound. He smiled while walking towards me, letting me know that he was alright. I couldn’t be more relieved than I was at that moment, but I tried not to get my hopes up too high because anything could go wrong. We were all waiting for the moment when the voice of an old distraught man would tell us to come out. While waiting, the footsteps of a demon walked on the opposite side of the wall. Everyone’s face filled with nothing but horror. We turned to statues on the spot hoping that the creaking sound of the door never touches our ears. We heard the footsteps slowly growing louder by the second, and then they come to a halt. The deafening silence with nothing more than the singing of rats, the thought of what could happen was too much to bear but to our hopes the footsteps begin, only to fade in the distance. However, not a single person was breathing in case the monstrosity came back. A few minutes later the voice of the monster under my bed came to the speaker however it was rather dull, maybe from the disappointment of nothing new to his collection, 

“Congratulations to everyone who has won, you may now come out of your hiding spot and go back to your rooms. Don’t stay up too late, goodnight.”

We all sigh in relief that this nightmare from hell is over for now. We all return to the Main hall, ready to be taken back to our rooms. I quickly enter my room and change my clothes to something comfortable for our journey. A couple of minutes passed by and soon Zane appeared all dressed in white like me, he used the key to open the diamond choker around my neck. I noticed that he didn’t have his bow tie on

“Freedom finally!” I exclaimed. 

Together we went to get Zahir, took his collar off, and made a run for it in the mansion. We ran by the flying colors of the halls dodging and dashing any sight of us from the human eye. Soon we found ourselves face-to-face with the Redroom. Zane had the keys with him. At first, he was hesitant, but then Zahir snatched the keys out of his hands and unlocked the door.

“Sorry for snatching the keys like that. I-”

“It’s okay, it doesn’t matter.”

Zahir wanted to apologize, but he understood that Zane had something of his own to deal with that’s why he was hesitant.

“Are we really about to do this?!” expressed Zane. “Once we do this there is no going back.”

“We know, but aren’t you ready to risk anything for freedom?” I answered back hoping to boost his confidence. 

He nodded showing that he was ready. And we all entered the room that was feared by all. Shock filled our faces as one by one we entered the room, what lay in front of us was horrifying. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. We saw a vision of the distant future of what would happen to us if The Dollmaster caught us. The mystery Redroom housed none other than The Dollmaster’s most proud possessions, his Dolls. The room was filled from head to toe with dolls; some of them looked familiar because they were people we knew. I felt like I was going to be sick but we still kept going. We locked the door behind us so nothing looked suspicious. We started searching the room to find an entrance. We were searching when Zane fell against a bookshelf causing it to shift and expose a passageway. The three of us then pushed the bookshelf all the way and were now confronted with a dark hall. Just plain darkness. It looked like if we were to walk into it we would free fall into an abyss never to be heard from again. With all options lost, we walked through hoping that we were one step closer to going home.

Step 2: Complete.

It was like a maze in there but luckily there was a map at the entrance that we could use to navigate through the tunnels. We start making turns left, right, up, and down. 

“Are you sure we’re going the right way? I asked unsure of where we are headed.

“Yeah, at least that’s what the map says,” said Zahir, a little worried himself. 

We all came across a door after various twists and turns. It was quite withered and rusty with a wooden brown color. “The map says that after we enter this door it’s a straight path to the city.” Zahir said, showing us the map.

“Are you sure?” questioned Zane.

“I don’t know. That’s what the map shows” I answered.

“I think we should just go in and check it out to see if the map is right.” 

We all came to a silent agreement and I opened the door to see the mysteries that lie inside. Once we enter, moonlight blasts through the darkness, and my eyes are met with a pair of silver ones. A bony old man stood in vintage clothes. It’s all too familiar.

“Just where do you think you’re going, my little dolls?” He asked with a grin on his face. This could not be happening after everything we did. The Dollmaster was right in front of us almost as if he was waiting for us to come. Did he know about our plan? I asked myself a thousand times.

“Aren’t you supposed to be in bed sleeping?” He questioned, cold and sadistic. He let out a light laugh. 

“I was told that you would try to escape tonight but as much as I didn’t want to believe that my advisor was right.” exclaimed The Dollmaster with fake tears.

“You have an advisor? I thought you worked alone.” fired Zane. 

“I do, she just chooses who my dolls are. You can come out now!” 

A silhouette of a woman appeared in the shadows as she walked into the light and her face became clear. It was a girl with puff white hair, soft tan skin, and sharp feline, pale eyes. Eyes that held an amused and excited look. She wore glasses and had a celestial nose. Along with classic lips that wore blood-red lipstick. She was wearing black dress pants with a red shirt. No…it can’t be! not her anyone but Her. I closed my eyes and rubbed them over and over again but the sight of her never left.

“Everyone, I’d like for you to meet my granddaughter and advisor…..Tory.” The Dollmaster saying her name out loud made it real. In all the rush I screamed,

“YOU! But…but WHY?”

“Surprised?” She burst out in maniacal laughter. “Oh Nadia, how pathetic.”

“B-b-but you died. WE ALL SAW YOU.” Burstout Zahir.

“It was all simply just a ruse. My grandfather can’t have all the fun.” She said with a Cheshire cat smile.

“All that we’ve been through. You were just playing us the whole time.” Zane said as defeat took over.

Hearing her say that was like a hammer banging on my heart over and over again crushing it into a million pieces each time. All that we’ve been through together was all a lie, it didn’t mean anything, it was all an illusion. A sick twisted game. I couldn’t believe anyone anymore. It’s all fake. I have no one, I can’t trust anymore. I collapsed and fell to my knees, nothing made sense anymore. The person that I mourned for, and hated myself for every night, blaming myself for letting her die, turned out to be the source of my pain, my darkness, and the reason I can no longer sleep at night. I was about to give up on everything I feel a pair of strong arms hugging me, comforting me, and telling me everything was going to be okay. It was Zane, he was there for me. All of a sudden I felt a slim glimmer of hope. Just enough to fuel me up and get out of this place. I get up and show what I’m capable of. Although Tory turned out to be the perpetrator, she still got us the weapons just in case of an emergency. In a flash of thunder, I run toward the old Dollmaster and the 8-inch silver blade is no longer shining in moonlight. It was now colored in red. The old hag let out a devastating scream. Tory tried to get me away from her grandfather but before she could do anything to me Zahir tackled her to the ground and the three of us made a run for our lives. That’s how I’m in this current situation, running with my new friends because after all we’ve been through together, it’s hard not to call them my friends, at least some of them. It was difficult to breathe, I just stabbed a person, sure it was The Dollmaster but it didn’t make it better. With Tory, right on our tail, we managed to make it to the end of the tunnel and into town. However, Tory was no longer there; she probably left because she could get caught. Even though we were in the blinding lights of the city, we kept on running till we reached the police station. We entered a building of blue coats, golden badges, and shocked faces and the rest was history. 

We were immediately taken to a hospital and our families were called. 

“MOM, DAD,” I cried. “I never thought I’d see you again. I’m so sorry I didn’t listen to you.”

“It doesn’t matter, your home now,” rejoiced my mom.

The police asked us about all that happened and where the location of that hellhole was, and we told them everything that happened. They went to the abandoned building and rescued everyone locked up. They also found the Dollmaster half dead on the floor with the knife stuck in his chest. Desperately gasping for air trying to hold on to the little life that he had left. Unfortunately, the doctors were able to save him, but he’s going to prison for the rest of his life. However, Tory managed to run away and is now out-lose in the city with a sadistic mind like her grandfather. 

Ever since that day, I’ve learned so much, but at the same time, I lost something I dearly cared for. I will never understand why Tory could do something like that. Maybe it’s because she’s just like her grandfather. But something about her was different. She didn’t lack control nor did she play into the 1800’s theme. She enjoyed watching them suffer and turned into dolls. Seeing people in pain knowing she’s the one who caused it feeds her power and a sense of delight. Even though The Dollmaster is locked up, I can never get the feeling out that one day THE DOLLMASTER is going to come back for me. Maybe not the original Dollmaster himself but his creation. That one day she’ll return and make me pay for what I did. 


Leave a Comment
Donate to The Starling Press
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student authors of Townsend Harris High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Starling Press
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Starling Press Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *