Join me, in a whimsical tale about betrayal, romance, horror, and above all, sacrifice.
The blood drips in this wretched romance/crime thriller from David McKay. Follow the trail of cold blooded, capital murder, in The Toddler.
Outside of a non-descript gray building, cold wind blows across the grounds, turning up leaves and such in front of a partially cracked window, where two people are talking inside.
A young woman in her mid-twenties looks across a desk at the Adoption clerk, who has an open packet on the desk.
“Well, I’m sure you can see, Mrs. Amber, that the only person we have for adoption at this point in time, is Tricia. Now, before you can say anything, understand…this is a child, from Romania, the Eastern block. Her mother died in childbirth, and her grandparents shipped her here with an illegal U.S. customs certificate.”
The young woman made a confused face. “Customs…? Isn’t that for goods and services?”
The clerk gave her a stern look. “Yes. It is.”
“Thankfully, the border agent caught her before they could ship her to some crack house in Jersey. You follow?”
The Clerk pushed forward the packet. ” Just take a look.”
The woman picked up the packet.
When Amber gets home, she put the packet on the table top, and turns on the light above.
Amber peeks around the corner of the room and sees her husband reading the packet at the table. He is tall, handsome, and is leaning on the table, the glasses on the tip of nose.
He looks up, startled. “Omigosh, I’m sorry I’m late, where did you get this?”
“The Orphanage,” says Amber, sidling in beside him. “It says she’s only 7. Perfect age, Don’t you think…”
He looks at her, finishing her thought, …to start a family.”
“Yes,” says Amber. ” Perfect age.” They embrace in a passionate kiss, the papers fall back to the table top.
Photos fade into view, some of a small child in black and white. The child is holding an old-looking doll. Soft, choral music plays as photos of the packet change. Npw, is a photo of the same child, now significantly older, much closer to the actual age mentioned in the packet. The child is unsmiling.
Music fades, as Husband is eating breakfast at table. He watches his wife bring toast. He clears his throat.
“You said she’s from the Eastern bloc? Don’t they have diseases there?”
Amber turns around with a look of shock. “Randy, they HAVE medicine in Russia. Just not as good as ours.” She tosses the rest of the toast at him. “Here, eat up, we have a family to start.”
He bites in, rolling his eyes.
A black sedan pulls along the long, curved drive of the Orphanage at dawn. The sun throbs golden in the East, over a leafless, life-less looking forest.
They two, come through the front doors of the greeting center of the orphanage, and greet the receptionist at the desk.
“Excuse me,” says Amber, “we are here to see doctor Golding about an adoption.”
“Yes, well…see,” the receptionist fumbled with some papers, “Doctor Golding is actually out today, and won’t return until tomorrow morning. I–“
“You don’t have to say anything more,” says a loud voice over the intercom. “Please, send them in.”
The receptionist looks absolutely befuddled, and simply gets up and directs them down the hall. The doctor greets them at the door of the office.
“I am pleased that you could make it. It would have been a shame to tell Tricia that you weren’t coming.”
“Say hello, Tricia.”
In a thick, Russian accent, Tricia responds. She lifts her tiny porcelain hand up to Amber. “Hello, Amber I am Tricia. It’s nice to meet you. Are you gonna be my mommy?”
Amber laughs out loud, “of course! Right, Randy?” She gives her husband a slight smile.
“Aha, yep, we just need the go ahead from the good doctor here to get her started,
Tricia suddenly rushed forward, and embraces Randy’s mid section, and squeezes hard.
“Whoah, Captain! I gotta able to maneuver!”
Randy pushes her off, and Amber bends down to her height. “Hi, there!” she says, but suddenly Tricia seems disinterested, and simply sits down on the ground playing with a hole in the linoleum.
Aber looks confused and stands back up, looking at Randy. “Kids,” he says.
“That’s about it, then,” the doctor says taking back the pen from where Amber had signed the release form. “Of course, just follow the schedule we have her on, and I’m sure you two won’t regret it.”
“Thanks, doc, we will,” says Randy, as they head back out the door. At The last instant, though, tricia turns to glances menacingly at the doctor, who immediately rushes forward to close the door right in her face..
Outside, we get a full perspective of Tricia’s frame as she walks hand in hand with Randy. She is about 4 feet tall, but heavier looking than normal, her movements, more measured than a normal child’s movements to be. Her only intention, it seems to be getting to the car in the parking lot. She pulls on Randy’s arm.
“Hold on!” he yelled, “I’m going as fast as I can. Are you hungry? Can you understand me?”
He looks down at Tricia, and her rather beautiful, child-looking face, gently cracks into a smile.”
“Huh? Whoa there, looks like we need to schedule a dentist appointment too. How about tomorrow?”
Tricia gleefully nods her head, her brown bangs flopping on her forehead, sillily.
“Okay, we will then.” Randy smiles and looks at Amber, who is in the driver’s seat.
She sighs, “I guess so, I mean I have class in the morning, I could slip one in before…hey!”
Tricia has climbed inside the car and has stuck her foot on the gas pedal, revving up the engine way beyond normal.
“Tricia! Stop that…! It’s,” but, before Amber could do anything, Tricia turns around and wails into Randy’s lap.
“Dangerous… that’s all I was going to say. Stop looking at me like that, Randy, please.” She pulls the car into gear, “I just want to go home.”
The car pulls away down the driveway, and we get a parting shot of the window of the doctor’s office. There is a man looking out, and he pulls the curtains shut.
“And this is YOUR room,” says Amber, turning on the lights.
Tricia enters the room, and immediately sits down and starts playing with child’s blocks on the floor.
“There you go. Im gonna clean up a little bit, and star dinner early. Do you like any that ng special?”
Tricias hands stops. She looks up. “Yes…? Roast?”
“Roast? Roast it is then. I’ll have Randy pick up some from the store for us.”
“Can I go?!” Tricia screams.
“Wha…? Hang on, we have rules around here, Missy. No yelling, please. It’s uncalled for. Understand?”
Tricia just nods her head, bangs flapping. “Uh, huh.”
“Good,” says Amber. “I’ll be back and check up on you in about thirty minutes. Have fun!”
Amber closes the door behind here, and leans against it. She pauses, thinking. She hears a slight laugh from inside the room, and turns back to it. She gently pushes the door back open. She sees that Tricia is lying in bed, seemingly sound asleep. She closes the door.
Randy comes in with the groceries. He looks at Amber. “Everything okay?” He places groceries on the countertop.
Amber pauses. “Yeah, it’s just that, well, Tricia is acting a little weird, don’t you think. I mean, we just picked up from the orphanage, and she’s acting like she’s trying to run the place.”
“Run the place? Amber, are you okay? The doctor said it would be a minute for her to adjust. I mean, she comes all the way from Russia, for Christ’s sake–“
“Mommy always told me not to take the Lord’s name in vain,” comes a small voice.
They both look towards the staircase.
“Tricia, oh my god…! How long were you standing there?”
Tricia runs to hug Randy, but Amber blocks her. “Wait, what are you doing, little missy? It’s past your bedtime actually. You’re going to take a nap.”
Amber grabs Tricias arm. To which Tricia bites down on her hand.
“Owe, you little bitch!”
“Uh, huh, huh, you said not to scream. Where’s your manners?”
Amber holds her hand, while Randy bends down in front of Tricia. “Tricia, that’s not nice. Please apologize to Amber.”
“Say you’re sorry.”
Tricia shakes her head.
“Say it,” growls Amber.
She gives Amber a dirty look, then bounds off upstairs.
Amber looks at Randy. “She’s out.”
New fall leaves fall across the neighborhood. People raking in their yards. Dogs run around playing in the leaves.
“Hi, Chris!” says Amber, to the next door neighbor.
” Oh, hi, Amber! How’s the new member doing?”
Amber nods. “Fine. Just fine…hey, we’re having roast tonight, would you like to come? I mean, it would be good to have company.”
Chris looks hesitant. “Well sure, Amber. I’ll…i’ll just have to let Molly know. She’s not feeling well these days.”
“Oh, okay. See you then!”
Chris waves, but then lowers his hand and looks down at his poodle who is sniffing at the gate. He whimpers.
“Okay, there buddy?”
Dinner is being served. Amber sets down the plate full of pot roast in front of Tricia, whose shocking blue eyes scour over it, and then to her empty cup. “More milk, please.”
“Tricia, in this household, if we want something, we just get it for ourselves,” says Amber. She lowers the glass of milk and puts it on the table.
“Oh, okay,”says Tricia, jumping off the chair, pirouetteing once, then the doorbell rings, she laughs, and runs to answer it.
“Tricia, wait…!” But, it’s too late, and she opens the door, and there stands Chris, the next door neighbor.
“Ah, hah, young lady! Nice to meet you, I’m Chris Cummingsworth. And you are?”
She holds out her hand, and in a deep throated growl, whispers, “your death.”
“Eyeee! Yikes! What have they been feeding you?”
Amber comes to the door and holds Tricia back. “She’s our little animal, ha ha ha! Randy, take her back to the table, please.”
“Im sorry, Mr. Cummingsworth, it’s been a long day. Can, I take your coat?”
Tricia catches Mr Cummingsworth’s eye at the dinner table. “I must say dear, you are absolutely beautiful. Did you come from Russia?”
Tricia just chews, pasues, and nods. All of the roast is gone from her plate.
Mr. Cummingsworth looks up. “You did say she is from Russia? Which part?”
“Uh,” Amber and Randy look at each other. “We aren’t sure. The file on her was so
..” Amber looks at Randy, “incomplete.”
“I see, well, for a child her age, she ought to be a little bit more developed. She’s definitely malnourished, and could use a haircut.”
Trcia snorts, swallows the last bit of meat, and disappears from view. The next sound is that of her slamming her bedroom door.
Mr. Cummingsworth looks up. “Maybe she’s not.”
Friday. Twelve o’clock. Dentist appointment. Tricia is lying on her back, and the dentist peaks down in her mouth.
“Holy crap…I mean, this is interesting.”
“What is?” Says Amber, leaning in.
“Her jaw line, looks… developed way beyond her actual age. It looks…like an adult’s.
“That’s impossible,” says Amber, bending down to peer in. Tricia jolts abruptly in her chair, then goes back to sleep, the gas mask doing its work with the co2.
“In fact, even her molars are adult’s, as well. There is fine indications of being ground–“
The door opens to the dentist’s office.
Randy steps through the door. “Is she okay?”
“Yes, just a little, surprising is all,” says Amber, standing up. “As usual.”
Randy looks at Tricia on the chair, passed out. “Uh…?”
The dentist apologies, then begins procedure to wake Tricia backup.
“Remember anything?” Asks the dentist.
“I always do.”
On the car ride back home, Amber turns around from looking at Tricia in the back seat.
“She’s going to need a root canal, and possibly a molar replacement, but those are so expensive.”
“We can dot it. I have high hopes. I got that job at the office, and we’ll get more money by December. Start planning the Christmas party now, babe.”
Amber laughed, okay, but first, we have to get little Tricia’s teeth all in order. Okay?”
Tricia glares at Amber, but as soon as Amber realizes it, Tricia’s eyes are closed, asleep.
With Tricia in bed, Amber and Randy sit together on the couch, getting randy. Randy’s hand pushes down into Amber’s pants. She grabs his arm. “Wait, what if–?”
“Oh, just relax she’s been asleep since she got home from the dentist.”
“I know… that’s, what,” but her voice changes into moans of pleasure, as the camera pans back up to the top of the staircase, where there are not-so-child-like eyes staring back.
At the breakfast table the next day, Tricia sits, eating pancakes with Randy.
“Where do babies come from?” Tricia suddenly asks Randy mid bite.
He puts down the toast. “Babies come from the mother, I suppose, but it’s the man who plans everything.”
“Yeah, plan. Why, got a husband?”
Tricia just looks at him. “No.”
Amber comes in the door of the kitchen and sees them. “Uh, everything okay here?”
“Yeah, mommy!” Yells Tricia, jumping up, and hugging Amber.
“Huh? What have you two been talking about?” Amber laughs.
“Nothing,” says Randy. “Wow, she seems to really like you now.”
“I know, isn’t it…great?” Amber says looking up.
Christmas time. Winter has fallen. Snow covers the wood three feet deep. Snow plows roam the street twenty-four seven. The t.v. news predicts even harsher weather through next week.
Amber is decorating a Christmas tree, while Watching Tricia play with an ipad on the floor. Doorbell rings.
“I’ll get it!” Yells Tricia, and she leaps up to open the door. Staring back is an older looking lady, in her mid-fifties.
“Why, you be little Tricia, am I right?”
Tricia just nods her head, and flashes her mouth full of braces.
Amber comes to the door. “Aunt marie…”
“Where is Randy at?”
Amber pauses slightly. “He’s…working late.”
“Oh, I see well don’t let that spoil you having a good time. Plenty of us are left coming, so…”
They go inside together, and Tricia spots the next door neighbors dog, before pausing, her eyes going into narrow slits. The dog is now digging in the spot it had been sniffing earlier, again. Tricia closes the door.
Inside the house, Amber goes about making sure the lights are in order, the table set, and music is playing in the background. The air is festive. Soon others arrive. Chris and his ill wife. And several other unknown people, friends of the family, all greet one another. Amber looks at the clock. She turns to speak.
“I’m going to call Randy. He’s late.”
She walks in the kitchen then suddenly sees that the back door is open. “Tricia, are you there?”
Amber peaks out the door, and sees a set of shoe prints have been made in the fallen snow. She steps outside, and follows them. They lead to the back yard, where there is a bloody mess on the ground. Amber immediately stops, screams, and rushes forward. It is the next door neighbors poodle, its head ripped off, lying on the ground.
She falls to her knees.
“Mommy?” She hears, then, she swiftly turns around and catches a shovel to the head.
What seems like hours later, Amber feels herself being drug on the ground. She hears a soft muttering, a man’s voice. Garbled, speaking in an unfamiliar dialect.
“я же сказал, что достану тебя, сука.”
Amber tries to scream, but she can’t. Her mouth is stuffed with leaves. Her head rolls on the ground. She sees party goers celebrating through the window. She lifts her head up and sees Tricias boots covered in blood.
“Where are you taking me?”
“To the woods,” says a man’s voice out of Tricia’s mouth. ” Where you belong.”
“Oh, my…!” Someone cries through the kitchen window. “Its Randy!”
“He needs help carrying those groceries!”
They rush out to greet him, completely overlooking the trail of his wife’s blood now trailing off in the woods behind the house.
“Unhg! Ouche! Hold it together, young lady! Times not done with you yet…! Unhg!”
The much too strong girl is pulling Amber feet first into the thickets. Small veins pop on the little girls arm, her calves flex through her sheer, black leggings. “Ungh!” Her face suddenly looks old now, sunken, and grimy with sweat and blood.
She throw Amber in a small ditch dug in the ground. She throw a shovel down in there with her. But not before using it to scoop up dirt onto Ambers body, and filling in the he.
“Soon, you will sleep forever. And, when dawn rises, I shall be in your place, forever. Ha, ha, ha, I mean, ahem, ahem.”
Dirt plopped down on Amber’s bashed head. And continued, until blackness took over.
Soft Christmas music begins, then a record scratch as someone flipped it over to start a more Rocking song. Rocking around the Christmas tree begins playing as the guest are well into their share of the festivities.
Randy walks around with a garbage bag, picking up trash. He turns around. “Have you guys seen Amber. Tricia?”
“Tricia?” Someone asks.
Randy walks hastily into the kitchen, and sees the back door open. Dirt and snow now spill inside. He pushes it open. “Amber?! Tricia…!”
Randy turns around and sees Tricia standing at the bottom of the staircase.
“Good grief, you gave me a heart attack. Where’s your mom, i mean Amber?”
Tricia just stands there, Rocking a little. Someone else enters into the kitchen and sees them talking.
“Oh, you must be Tricia!”
“Tricia! It’s so nice to meet you!”
Tricia is being greeted by several others, when she looks over and sees Randy is gone out the door, and she bolts after him.
She rounds the corner and sees Randy standing over the body of the dead dog.
“Did you do this Tricia? Did you!” spits Randy. He wretches, then slaps Tricia across the face. She begins to sob in a soft child-like manner. Randy reaches out for her, but she pulls away and runs inside and upstairs to her room.
Later, the police have arrived. Randy is talking to a sheriff now, explaining about the poodle, and his missing wife.
“And the last time you saw her was before you left for the grocery store?”
“Six hours ago.”
“Got ya. Well, we’re putting out and apd on it right now. We’ll contact you if we see anything. Thank you for your time, Mr. Farmer.”
“Thank you, sheriff.”
Randy ushered the detectives out the door, then turned the deadbolt. He made his way to the bottom of the stairs, before taking a chair from the kitchen and sitting down on it.
“Tricia? I want you to answer me, truthfully. Do you know where your mother is?”
He hears a faint laughter from upstairs. It is not a child’s laughter, however. He stands up, nearly knocking the chair over.
He hears pounding. A racket. He races upstairs, and throws open the bedroom door. Tricia is completely nude, her body though not a child’s but that of a monster. Her frame has morphed, seemingly, into that of some kind of animal. She leaps from the window, howling into the night.
“Run!” He hears a familiar voice scream.
“Amber! Amber! What the fuck!?”
He rushes to the window, and a hand reaches up and grabs his throat. A predatory hand. The porcelain color now reflecting the true gruesomeness of the bone structure within.
Randy grabs the arm with both hands, but the creature who comes up is much more strong, and beastly. It yells, and chucks Randy from the window and over the edge of the second story tiling, and onto the concrete below, where he lands with a thud.
Amber immediately tries to resuscitate him, hitting his chest, and screaming. Lights come on from across the yard, then more.
“Hey, what’s going on over there?!”
Amber gets up and runs towards the house, the window above now empty of Tricia.
“You fucking bitch!” I’m coming for you!”
“Ha, ha, ha! Try your best, fucking wench. I’ll be sucking your blood by morning.”
“What do you fucking mean? You fucking cunt?!”
It was a man’s voice speaking now. “I’ll show you.”
The lights went out in the kitchen, and the warmth of blood spills down Amber’s head. She reached up and found a blade lodged in her skull. She reached and pulled it out, screaming bloody murder. The left side of her body felt a tingling sensation, so she switched the knife over to her right hand. She swings it at the untied shoe lace of the little girls boot.
“What are…you…you, bitch?”
The voice echoed off the kitchen walls. “I am the reason why we get chills in the night. The other side, as it were, of this life.”
“No, you are …just a little bitch, with a too low voice, and some fucked up teeth, nothing more.” Amber slurred. ” I should never have adopted you.”
“Well, I’ll never tell.”
Amber slipped in blood and fell on her back. The knife flew from her hand, and slides to a stop in front of the Tricias boots. She steps on it. Then reaches down to pick it up. Her body, her frame now, is hideous, and she straddles Amber, the knife raised over her.
“How are you?”
Tricia smiled, her braces flashing in the moonlight. “I am the antichrist, come full form. And you are the last sacrifice to become human.”
“No, you’re not,” says a voice from behind.
Tricia looks up, and sees Randy’s broken body hunched over in the doorway. He raises a gun, his police weapon, and fires it twice, hitting Tricia in the abdomen. She shrieks, and curses. There is a window crash, and she is gone.
Randy drags himself over to Amber. “Merry… Christmas.”
A thousand lights light up the front lawn of an already lit up neighborhood home. A tiny fire burns in the front lawn from where Amber had begun to burn what was left of Tricia’s clothes. Randy was being gurnied away in an ambulance, and medical staff was busy trying to get Amber to calm down to carry her away as well.
Neighbors stood outside their homes watching the chaos unfold, as a tiny boot pushed into a nearby home’s back gate, and disappears with in. A slight laughter spills from inside, then,all goes quiet as the ambulance disappears around the corner.