July 9, 2017 by Patrick Starks
It was always quiet when I was a child, never loud, crazy or exciting. For some that was a surprise, I had four brothers and a sister after all—it was easy to say we were a big family. For the number of us that there were, our parents always made sure we got what we wanted, especially during the holidays, but if you’re thinking we were spoiled—we weren’t.
Christmas was always the best. The season was cold as usual, but no one cared, all anyone looked forward to was the snow and the contest. The contest was a chance for everyone in the town to prove who was the best—the best at making snowman, sometimes snow angels. I always felt confident in my sculpting and so did my family. Even though my snowman wasn’t the tallest, it was the most perfected—I at least believed it so. My four brothers Tom, Liam, Eddie, and Morgan, however were jealous, somewhat sexist, but I still loved them—they were family, they were my brothers and I was their sister. My sister Athena and I however, were an item. For an odd reason people always assumed sisters never got along, but her and I always did just fine—guess it was because we were so close in age. Athena would always support me and I the same for her—she was my biggest fan, she was my partner in crime and still today. Although, she wasn’t always the most courageous in times of need.
But anyways, enough rambling on about my family, I think whomever you may be reading this, can get a grasp of my life style, or I’d at least hope so. So, let just skip to the chase, skip to that following year—another Christmas. It was the day before Christmas, Christmas eve. I only wanted one thing that year and asked for it in repetition—so that it stuck in mom and dad’s head. It was a Tickle Me Elmo. It was the most popular doll during the nineties and I was soon to be the owner of one, soon to be one of the cool kids. I remembered the night like it was yesterday. My brothers were always the first to wake, and they never hesitated once to believe they’d get pepper in their eyes doing so. Me and Athena would follow in their lead afterwards—when the time was right. Although with all the wrapping and boxes being ripped apart like paper, it was hard for anyone to continue to sleep. As I walked towards the living room I could see my gift, it was obvious. My parents had always gone above and beyond on my gifts, I guess it was because they felt guilty that they only got me one thing—they felt I deserved more, I was there favorite my brothers always said. But I did as my brothers would and began tearing all the wrapping off what was mine. It was a shame; my parents did such a wonderful job with the wrapping. But it had to be torn, I had to have my gift, for the sake of my coolness, I thought.
I eventually got to the gift, it was exactly what I asked for—Tickle Me Elmo. The doll looked just as cool as it did on tv. It was a lot a larger than it appeared on the screen, although I wasn’t very big myself. As I held the doll I hugged and squeezed it tightly, it immediately did as it would in the commercials. It laughed out loudly saying “Oh boy that tickles”. But I always wondered how could you tickle someone by squeezing them. It never made any sense to me and I always wondered who was the brains behind that screw up, but I guess it didn’t matter, the doll was a hit that year. I fell in love with Elmo right away, I took him everywhere with me after that night.
About two days later, I put him in the closet with the rest of my doll collection—sad to say, I’d grown tired of him, especially his obnoxious laughing. I then went to sleep, an hour or two went by and the other siblings and I were all knocked out. But then vibrations started to shake from my closet. It was odd, I knew it was Elmo but, I wondered how. All I heard was laughter from the closet, it woke Athena—she was scared and stayed hidden beneath the blankets. I was scared as well, didn’t want to move a muscle, but it was my doll, my responsibility. So, I persisted to the closet, it was still cold, I looked like a life-sized burrito the way I was wrapped within my blanket. I eventually reached the closet, it only took a few steps but felt further—fear will make you feel that way sometimes. After standing in front of the closet for what felt like hours, I built up the courage to open it. I guess I should’ve turned on a light, it was dark, with no moonlight to create a gradient.
As I looked around, there was Elmo. Even though it was dark it wasn’t hard to find him—I mean, who couldn’t see a bright red doll with a big orange pickle nose. I laughed at the thought of his appearance, but became silenced of what I saw next. I guess you’re thinking, he probably doesn’t have batteries in him, kind of like Chucky from that nineteen eighties film, Childs Play—but no, not exactly—this was different. What I saw was Elmo, but he was standing, and his back was facing me. I didn’t understand, he was just laughing and shaking like hell, I thought. How could he be standing, a doll with no bones, just cotton for the soul. I figured I should say something, I said his name. I got no response, he remained standing. I then called for his name one last time, waiting for a response. Athena however was still under the covers and was even more creeped out with the fact Elmo was standing on his own. What we got next made me run as my life depend it on it. As I waited, Elmo fell backwards, right by my feet. When he fell, he started laughing again, shaking the very ground I stood on. I took off, but who wouldn’t. Athena and I stayed cooped up under the drapery of our beds, wondering if we would even make it through the night.
My brother Morgan then woke up. He yelled for me to turn Elmo off, but there was no chance in hell I was getting near him. Morgan busted through the door of or our room yelling—telling us we were going to get it the next morning. Morgan then picked Elmo up, we feared what would happen to him. We pleaded for him to put the doll down, but he just held it, and stared at with hate. He turned Elmo over stripping the cover off what held the batteries in place. He shook him like a mad man, knocking out every single one of the charges that kept him going, and going—sorry, that was irrelevant to the story wasn’t it.
Morgan slammed the door on his way out, he left Elmo on the ground where he dropped him. Athena and I were still frightened, but we figured it was all over. I mean, he had no batteries, he couldn’t possibly work without out them, we thought. I couldn’t look at him any longer, I jumped from my sheets and then drug him back to the closet. I was finally back in bed, exhausted from the horrific encounter—I was surely going to have nightmares or a nightmare—about dolls particularly.
An hour went by, I was sleeping gracefully. I felt like a big girl, but I also figured it was my dreamcatcher. I was always a strong believer in those type of things and still am today. But later another laugh breached from the closet again. Athena jumped up and just stared at me, with eyes of concern. I was concerned as well, how could he be laughing—Morgan had taken the batteries out, we thought. I immediately turned on the lights, there was no chance I was dealing with this again in the dark. I became annoyed with Elmo, I thought he was my friend—but friends don’t haunt other friends—although, now that I’m older, I can tell I was wrong on that one.
Without hesitation, I picked him up—my hands shook, but not from him, just by the fear, and my palms became sweaty. I thought to myself, maybe my brother just didn’t turn the switch off, so I pulled back the patch that Morgan once stripped. When I pulled it back I instantly ran back to Athena. She asked me what happened, what I saw, but I couldn’t come to speaking out. I felt giving it any bit of acknowledgement would make it a reality. Elmo had the batteries in him. I looked at the floor where my brother dropped the batteries, but didn’t see any. It was natural to assume, yet chilling to say that those were the same batteries. Elmo however continued to laugh, and Morgan kicked open the door once more telling me he was going to kill us, but we were just kids—I’d always call his bluff, that’s what little sisters did. He then picked up the doll yelling at it. He turned it over to turn the switch to off this time, but as he held it was to find out that Elmo was also tired of him.
Elmo laughed, and he laughed with the switch off, my brother became puzzled. With urge to shut it up he stripped the batteries as he did before, but Elmo still laughed. Morgan threw the doll and ran to the covers me and Athena hid. We were all panicked. Morgan didn’t know what to do, just held us tightly. He was the oldest, he felt it was his duty to protect us.
I then heard my name, it was subtle, but crystal clear. It was Elmo, he was calling for me and as he grew impatient he yelled it, knocking over all the toys and lamps within the room. As tough as Morgan was, I think he crapped his pants. The smell was horrendous, and with no fresh air to enter the place we buried—I felt if Elmo didn’t get me, the smell of my brother’s butt would.
Before we could even grasp what was happening, it was now morning. Mom and Dad were awake—mom particularly wasn’t happy. Our room looked like a tornado flew around the room before she came. Do you like Frank Ocean? I do. But sorry, off topic. The day went on as usual—quiet yet active. However, we still had more nights to come, more nights with Elmo—after all, it was always about Elmo and I.