I watched as my little sister, Mary opened her last birthday present.
“Mary who is it from?” Mother asked.
“I don’t know, there is no name card. It is just written: ‘To Mary’ in a dark red color.” Mary said, ripping the last of her present open. Inside was the most beautiful porcelain China doll I have ever seen. Her perfect milky skin was as white as snow and her rosy cheeks complemented her big blue eyes which were outlined by perfect individual black eyelashes. Her long sleek black-as-night hair was in a perfect braid down her back. Her clothes were woven from pure silk and rippled and shined.
“Oh she’s beautiful!” Mary gasped, hugging the doll.
“It’s a shame you don’t know who gave it to you,” I said observing the name tag.
“What will you name her?” Mother asked.
“Josephina,” Mary replied.
Josephina turned out to be Mary’s favorite birthday present. It seemed that Mary never played with any of her other presents. Sometimes it seemed like Mary was obsessed with the doll. Whenever dinner came around Mary never wanted to eat. She’d stay locked in her room with Josephina. Mary refused to go to Mass on Sundays and I rarely saw her anymore. I found Mary’s Rosary and cross outside her door which scared me a lot.
One morning I woke up at 3:00. I was thirsty so I crept to the bathroom to get water. I passed Mary’s room and I saw the light shining in her room under the door and through the keyhole. I put my ear against her door and listened.
“Josephina your hair is so pretty!” I heard Mary say in a very high-pitched voice. “Mother says I should quit playing with you and Kim says your controlling me,” Mary said. (Kim was my name). Mary sounded extremely sick and even slightly demonic.
I peeked through the keyhole and almost had a heart attack. Staring back at me were Mary’s blue eyes. But wait Mary had brown eyes! I stumbled backwards and pushed against a wall violently.
“Josephina what are you looking at?” Mary said in a voice that sounded like a million spirits.
Horrified, I ran to my room and locked the door. Over the next couple of days, Mary acted very strangely. She looked very pale and sick.
One day a doctor came over and told us Mary needed exorcism. Mary had to be strapped to a bed. She never made eye contact with anyone. All she did was stare at the wall, she never did anything else, it was so creepy. Josephina had disappeared. Mom and I couldn’t find her anywhere.
One day a priest came over to deliver the Mary from the demon. He laid a cross on her chest and Mary immediately screamed out. Her scream was like a demonic screech, a thousand nails against a chalkboard. She was sweating and her straps looked like they were going to break. Only the whites of her eyes showed and you could see the veins popping out of her forehead.
The priest started saying multiple blessings: “By the power of the Lord, I deliver this demon from this child!” He chanted loudly. I gripped my mother for support. Mary screamed louder.
All the sudden the lights began to flicker rapidly and it seemed like dark shadows were bouncing against the walls. A thousand voices started humming around in the room and I swear I saw Josephina in the corner of the room, but when I looked nothing was there. Then all the sudden everything stopped. The electricity went out but the voices stopped and there were no more dark figures. Mary was breathing loudly and the priest was saying a short prayer of thanks.
Then he turned to us. “Let Mary rest for a couple of days, then she will be fine. Keep her in her room but you may remove the straps. Do not talk to her.” Then the priest set a Bible, Rosary, and cross at Mary’s bedside. He smiled then left. Mary lay there with her eyes closed. Mother pulled me out of the room.
That night I crept to Mary’s room. It was locked. A dim light shone from under the door. I crept closer. That was when I heard it. Chants upon chants were coming from her room. Mary’s voice sounded sounded like an evil spirit’s wafting against walls. What was she chanting? It sounded like a different language. Oh no! Mary was chanting the Lord’s prayer backwards!
Completely astounded, I looked through the keyhole and saw Mary dancing around candles and a burning fire in the center! She was burning the Rosary, cross, and Bible! A twisted wicked face shone upon my little sister. All along the walls were horrifying writings and symbols such as 666. And it looked like they were all written in blood. In my own fear, I passed out.
After that night, Mary was never seen again. But somehow I knew that Josephina had something to do with it.
Years later, I had a family of my own. My daughter Sydney opened her last present on her 6th birthday. “Who is it from?” I asked.
“Doesn’t say,” Sydney replied. Inside was the most beautiful China doll I had once seen.