Clown in the Dark: The Dollmaker's Curse Series Book 1
Clown in the Dark: The Dollmaker's Curse Series Book 1
Clown in the Dark: The Dollmaker's Curse Series Book 1
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?



Chapter Four

Matilda’s coffee was surprisingly good. Fiona was used to freeze-dried instant coffee at home because she just cared about the caffeine boost. But she had to admit there was something to be said for well-made coffee with fresh ground beans. It wasn’t good enough to make her forget that she was in a house full of possessed dolls, but it was soothing in a way.

“So, Uncle Henry was what? Like a witch or something?” she asked.

Matilda shook her head. They had moved to the dining room and Fiona was sitting in the same place she had sat the day before. Sheldon was stirring sugar into his coffee while Matilda held her mug in two hands.

“No, not a witch. More like an exorcist,” the older woman explained.

That was an exorcism?”

“Henry had a unique ability. Well, not unique, but rare. In the east they called him a tulpamancer. He never told us how he could do what he did, only that he could do it. It’s a kind of soul transfer, really. A normal exorcism casts a spirit or demon out of a body and from there, who knows where it goes? Henry could cage it. He had to create the cage though. It had to be created for the specific spirit and he had to make it himself. So he made dolls,” Matilda told her.

“Why? How? Why would anyone do that?” Fiona asked. It looked like madness. Sounded like madness. And based on her experience with the clown, it was madness.

“How could he not?” Sheldon replied. “He was helping people. Saving them. Not just the possessed, but countless innocents. These spirits are destructive. Dangerous. They will hurt people if they are let loose.”

“Like Krov the Clown?” Fiona asked.

Sheldon and Matilda shared a glance.

“Yes, like him. Krov was—”

“—a Russian serial killer. I looked him up,” Fiona finished the sentence for Sheldon.

“Then you know how many people that monster had killed when he was alive. But what you do not know is how many he continued to kill after he’d died. Your uncle was the only person in the world who was able to stop him. To contain that evil.”

“Some containment,” Fiona said, holding up her bandaged arm.

Matilda’s expression became pained. She looked genuinely upset.

“I am so sorry, my dear. If we had known…”

“He was supposed to be locked in the vault, just like the others. Someone freed him,” Sheldon explained.

“Who would do that? Who can even get in that room?”

“Ambrose Wilkes,” Matilda said. “He’s the only one who could. Or would.”

“Why would he let that creature out?”

Sheldon shook his head then.

“That I can’t answer. It doesn’t make sense, even for Wilkes. He has long wanted Henry’s collection, but we never knew why. Power was what he lusted after. At least that was what caused them to have a falling out many years ago. Maybe he thinks he can control the dolls. I have no idea.”

“So, who the hell is Ambrose Wilkes?” Fiona asked. Her uncle said the name Ambrose in the film, but the man she had met was far too young to have been with her uncle back then. That film had to have been at least fifty years old. Ambrose barely looked thirty.

“He was your uncle’s partner. An apprentice, you could say. Henry taught him how to perform a soul transfer. His intention was to teach many people. He thought that if he could trap the evil he encountered in the world, he’d be able to save countless lives. The method wasn’t perfect, but it was better than nothing. And if the cost was keeping dolls locked in a vault forever, he thought it was a reasonable price to pay.”

“That guy I met yesterday was way too young to have been my uncle’s partner.”

“Yes and no.” Matilda nodded. “The man you met yesterday was likely very young. But Wilkes is not. He would be about your uncle’s age now.”

“He used the power your uncle taught him for things it was not meant to do. He has learned how to move his own spirit from one body to another. To preserve his youth, and to hide in plain sight.”

Fiona set her coffee down.

“He stole that body?” she asked.

“In so many words,” Matilda agreed.

“Whose body was it? What happened to that person?”

Sheldon shook his head.

“Hard to say. If the body was already dead, then he just took it over. If they were not dead…”

“They were when Wilkes finished with them,” Matilda said.

Fiona felt her stomach twisting on itself in a nervous panic. She wanted to get up and leave. She wanted nothing to do with killer clowns and ghosts and a room full of monsters. She was a photographer. She wrote articles about diners in small towns, or urban legends. Human interest stuff. Not murder and evil.

Her uncle may have thought he was helping people by collecting evil murder dolls, but it was not the kind of ride she was looking for. They could stay locked in his vault forever, as far as she was concerned, far away from her. But the fact the clown was free now was still tugging at her sense of responsibility. Though he hadn’t done anything, wasn’t it on her now?

A thought occurred to her then, and it sent a chill through her.

“How did the clown get out?”

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