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Margaret, Newcastle, England

Here’s a creepy story my friend told me long ago (about ten years, in fact!) when I was around eleven or twelve years old.

The way she told it, a little girl she knew had been given a small doll by her parents. The doll was a gift from an ancient great aunt who had now passed away. The little girl, lets call her Lucy, was secretly unnerved by the doll which had nasty little black eyes that seemed to follow her around the room and a cross expression on it’s face. Nevertheless, Lucy had to accept the doll, as she was well brought up and didn’t want to upset her parents by informing them of how uneasy she felt around the doll. Her parents told her the doll was called Arabella. The name seemed to suit her. No offence at all to those people called Arabella (hey, my own name isn’t anything to brag about!) but Lucy was even more afraid now the doll had a name. It seemed to make it more human, and if it was even a little human then what might it be capable of??

Even so, Lucy never really believed on a conscious level that the doll could do anything to her. It was just a doll, after all, and only reached up to just above her knee. So, to put her mind at rest she stuffed Arabella into the little cupboard under the stairs, behind a pile of shoes where her parents wouldn’t see her.It was not until a few nights later, when Lucy was lying in bed that she heard a noise...a shuffling sound, which went on for about five minutes. Then, a brief dragging noise and finally, a scuttling like light footsteps walking very fast. By now Lucy was pinned to the bed with fear, unable to move with fear. Then, she heard a voice-like a very deep, almost masculine tone- but quiet enough not to wake her parents. Lucy always slept with the door open and the landing light on, as she was a little scared of the dark. Therefore she could hear more through her open door. She heard the voice say ":Lucy, I’m on the first step":...And then loud scrabbling again as whatever was speaking apparently turned tail and returned to it’s place of hiding.

Lucy was so scared that she didn’t sleep a wink that night but laid in fear until the break of dawn, when her mother got her up for school

Lucy tried to explain to her mother what had happened the night before, but was so tired that, when her mother passed it off as ":just a dream": she began to believe it might be the case.

Of course it wasn’t. Lucy begged her parents that they might get rid of the doll, but they insisted that it had been the great aunts wish that Lucy would have her doll. So Lucy reluctantly went back to bed, repeating to herself in her head that it had only been a dream. She checked the cupboard under the stairs, but Arabella was exactly where Lucy had left her.

That night, Lucy fought sleep but she eventually drifted off even though she had fought sleep. Presently, the deep disembodied voice woke Lucy again. She wondered if she could only hear it in her head.

":Luuuuucccccccyyyyy....I’m on the fifth step..": it said. Then came to scuffling noise and the voice didn’t reoccur that night. Lucy was crying by now, and again she didn’t sleep that night. At school, Lucy told her friends about the doll, and of course they laughed at her. Lucy could only think that if Arrabella was climbing four steps at a time then there was only one more night to go.

That night Lucy decided to shut her bedroom door. When her mother turned her light out she asked why Lucy was no longer scared of the dark. Lucy replied that she was and could she leave her light on instead of the hall light? But her mother pointed out that her bedroom light was so bright it would keep her awake, and said no.
Therefore Lucy agreed to just sleep without a light. She opened the bedroom curtains instead to light the room a little anyway.

Just as she began to doze, she heard the noise. And then the voice ":Luuucyy. I’m on the top step...": Lucy knew her door was closed but was still terribly afraid. Her heart pounding, she knew if she stayed in bed she wouldn’t be safe. So she got up to investigate.

And her parents found her body at the bottom of the stairs. They guessed she had tried to go to the lavatory in the night without switching on the light, had slipped on a roller skate found beside her, and broken her neck. Arabella had been found beside her body, and was buried with Lucy. Everyone said what a tragedy it was. But at least Arabella was safely buried, and would never be able to strike again.

Was the roller skate from the cupboard under the stairs? That’s where it was kept. It’s a sad story, but one that scared me for many, many years!!

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