Clown in the Dark: The Dollmaker's Curse Series Book 1
Clown in the Dark: The Dollmaker's Curse Series Book 1
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Evil lurks behind a doll’s porcelain eyes and painted smile…
Fiona Garris never believed in ghosts or evil spirits. A loner by nature, all she wants to do is complete her latest freelance assignment and retreat to her city apartment. But when she suddenly inherits the sprawling estate of an uncle she barely knew, Fiona soon discovers that the supernatural is all too real…
Deep within her uncle’s mansion, a vault has been hidden away from prying eyes, built to hold a very special collection of dolls. But these are no ordinary playthings. Each one is a vessel for a lost soul, an evil spirit.
Fiona finds herself caught in a struggle between good and evil, as a sinister dollmaker seeks to gain control of these vile toys. One night, while the house is still and silent, one of these creations—a maniacal clown doll—creeps through the dark halls… eager to spread terror as it once had.
Can Fiona survive long enough to discover the secret to stopping this abomination?
Or will the murderous doll make her its next victim?
Fiona had never been one to make strong connections with a lot of people. But that didn’t mean she hadn’t ever done such a thing. She could count the number of people she trusted on one hand with room to spare. Vera Vertuga was one of those people. She had been her best friend since the fifth grade. If anyone in the world was willing to help her and not call her insane when she came to them with a story about a killer clown doll, it was Vera.
The clock in the truck read three forty-two in the morning. It was a gamble as to whether or not Vera would be home. She worked at St. Mark’s Hospital as a nurse, so her hours were unpredictable.
She wanted to call, but she had lost her phone somewhere in the workshop. She had no change on her for a payphone even if she knew where to find one. Her nerves were shot, and she just wanted to get somewhere safe.
She forced herself to stick to the speed limit and made her way through mostly empty city streets until she reached Vera’s house. She lived in a quaint little bungalow in a quiet neighborhood where everyone had yard decorations and paid people to mow their lawns in the summer. It was cute, she supposed, but not her cup of tea.
Vera’s car was in the driveway and Fiona pulled in behind it. The lights in her house were out, as they were in nearly every home on the street at that hour. She hated disturbing her at such a ridiculous hour, but if ever a situation merited a late-night drop in, this was it.
She took a deep breath and looked out of her window, the doors in her truck still locked. There was no way the thing could have kept up with her, but she was still nervous. It was late, she was dressed for bed, and she was bleeding. She felt exposed and vulnerable.
Fiona grabbed Tick Tock off of the passenger seat. It wasn’t much, but it was the closest thing she had to a weapon. It kept the clown at bay, if nothing else. She went to Vera’s door. Blood was still dripping down her arm. It wasn’t gushing, and she didn’t think she was at risk of dying any time soon. But it was a deeper wound than she’d ever experienced before, and it hurt a lot.
She rang the doorbell, looking around the neighborhood as she did so. The streetlights made it much brighter here than it had been on her uncle’s property, tucked away from the world as it was. There were no clowns clicking down the street that she could see. But she wasn’t about to believe it was impossible, either. Nothing seemed impossible anymore.
Fiona knocked then, hard and insistent, causing a dog in the neighborhood to answer with barking. She smeared blood on the door and cursed out loud when she saw it. She didn’t want to make a mess.
“Fiona?” came a voice from inside.
“Vera, it’s me. I need help,” she called back, too loudly.
The dog’s barking grew frantic and it made her feel like the world was looking at her. She looked around the neighborhood again as she heard her friend unlock the door.
“It’s like four in the morning!” Vera said, pulling the door open. Fiona pushed in past her and closed the door quickly, locking it again.
“Oh my God, you’re bleeding.”
Vera and Fiona used to live on the same street when they were kids. They’d walk to school together every day and then back home again. They went to the same high school and eventually the same college as well. Vera’s parents had treated her like a daughter when her own parents passed away.
“Yeah,” she agreed, looking out of the window. Still nothing on the street outside. Vera had already left the room and then made her way back with a first aid kit and some other items. She turned on a lamp next to her sofa and then sat on the coffee table in front of it.
“Sit,” she ordered, making her friend sit in front of her. Her red hair was in a messy bun with what looked like a chopstick holding it in place, and she was wearing pajama pants and a tank top. Though short and unimposing, Vera had always had a take charge personality. Combined with a desire to help people it was what made her a good nurse and a good person. Fiona told her she should have gone to medical school to become a doctor, but Vera’s logic was that nurses did most of the real work anyway, so even if she got paid less, she’d have a greater impact on the world. Plus, she’d have less student loan debt.
“Did you get mugged or something? What the hell is going on?” she demanded. She was squirting saline solution on the wound and already had gauze and bandages at the ready.
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