The Toymaker

My story takes place in Germany in 1986. I was six years old and the youngest in my family. My parents always told me that I had the gift of feeling presences just like my sister and father.

We lived on the second floor of a two story house on the cobblestone street leading to the Mosel River. The first story was abandoned, but my sister and I were given permission from the landlord to play down there if we so chose to do so. From the street, the house looks very enchanting and very old. The door was made of a very heavy oak and squeaked quite a bit. My sister never liked to be down there, but I didn't mind it. I figured "Hey, if I have to go through the downstairs hall to get in and out of my house, I might as well get used to it!"

One day, I had stayed home from school because I had a very bad case of walking pneumonia and was not allowed to leave my house. I was home alone (except for my dog, Molly) watching Scooby-Doo when I heard a hammering noise from downstairs. I figured it was just someone at the door, so Molly and I scooted slowly down the spiral staircase (I say scooted because I was very small and the stairs were very steep) with my trusty security blanket to open the door. About three steps from the bottom, my usually-protective dog began to cower and whimper and I realized that the banging was coming from one of the musty, old, closed-off rooms. Molly quickly retreated to the safety of our living room. I laughed to myself thinking of how much Scooby-Doo and Molly were alike.

I creeped down the remaining high stairs and tried to make my way over to the source of the banging. Since it was so dark downstairs, due to the lack of windows, I had to drop down on all fours and feel my way along the floor, blanket in tow. I soon found the door by slamming my head into it. I cautiously stood up and noticed that I had a mixed feeling of sadness and happiness that was so heavy that I almost couldn't breathe. I twisted the glass doorknob and to my surprise the dark and dank room had been transformed into a light-filled, glorious toy room. An old man was at a workbench across the room from me with his back turned. I looked around the room slack-jawed thinking "Wow! Have I ever hit the jackpot!" The old man turned to me and smiled a toothless smile. The only thing I could think of was that this old man had rented the bottom floor as a toyshop. He reminded me of Geppetto from Pinochio. "Do you want a toy? How about a nice little dolly to play with?" He said, handing me a wooden doll the size of a Cabbage Patch Kid. Then I looked around again and realized that all of the toys in the shop were wooden and none of them looked like the GI Joe's or the Barbies that I played with. In fact they were all like ones that I had seen in a museum gallery show on toys of the 18th century. As I started to thank the kind old man, I heard a rapping on the front door. "I'll be right back." I said to the old man. I went to answer the door. It was my neighbor asking if I was okay. She said she had heard Molly barking furiously for about an hour and a half. I looked at my digital Swatch watch and realized that it was already 4:30. Scooby-Doo had started at 2:30 and I left half way through the show. Where had all the time gone? She commented on the fine craftsmanship of the doll I was holding and then asked again if I was okay. I assured the lady that everything was okay and, after she returned to her house, I closed the door. I ran back to the toyshop to find that the door was closed. When I opened the door, the room was dark and there was no sign of anyone being in there for a long time. Confused, I went upstairs and waited for my parents to come home. I told them what had happened and they assured me that it was just a dream. I quickly ran from the room, returning seconds later with the doll the old man had given me. My parents could not find any explanation for it. I still have the doll and I still have the gift of not only feeling presences, but also seeing ghosts.

Submitted by Jacque, Texas, USA