I was hard at work in the garden when I heard someone creeping through the brush. I thought it might be Drake. It pains me to see that black sash where his eyes should be, knowing that the mutilation is the least of his pains. He walks cautiously, but I know he enjoys the garden and sitting in the sun. I'd managed to uncover an ancient stone bench since the last time he was out and would have been more than happy to lead him to it so we could talk while I worked.
When I stood to see who it was though, Lullaby froze in place, looking as though she might bolt. "Lulls? How...?" Trinity peered out of the hole in the wall we called a door and quickly ducked back inside.
"Please don't put me back in the basement," Lullaby rasped, the doll tucked under one arm. I glared at it, and she hugged it to her chest. "I was thirsty... Trina let me out."
"Did you drink all the water I left?" I brushed the dirt from my hands as I approached. She seemed okay, shaky but not psychotic. The fact that she'd taken the doll disturbed me though. I thought she had more sense than that.
She looked confused. "There wasn't any..."
"That's weird. I left you a gallon jug and some granola bars. I wouldn't just leave you down there without food and water."
"There wasn't anything," she repeated and started to sniffle. Gods... she probably thought I'd abandoned her down there. Sunshine wouldn't touch granola, and he was more than happy to drink the water right out of the pond that was slowly expanding where the pump had been. He was really the only one I could imagine poking around in the cellar, it being "his space" for so long.
I put an arm around her shoulders, turning her back to the house. "Come on. There's water in the cooler with what's left of the ice, and there's broth on the fire... you can have some with a cheese sandwich."
"Okay." She switched the doll to her opposite side, away from me.
"You should have left that thing in the triangle."
"She's mine," Lullaby replied defensively.
"It just... would have been better. We can bury it somewhere maybe or wall it up when I have the money for mortar." I should have taken care of it earlier, but I'd wanted to make sure the exorcism was successful.
"No, she wouldn't like that at all," she said in an almost frightened voice. "She'd be very, very angry if you did that."
"You... can't still hear her, can you?" I gave her a bottle, dripping from the cooler. The ice was all but melted again. You don't miss luxuries like electricity and refrigerators until they're gone.
She gulped the water down in a few seconds. "I never could. Now I can. I can hear her, and she can't control me. I'll take care of her. Don't worry. I won't let her hurt anyone again."
I put a bowl of broth in her hands and searched through one of the bins for bread. "Just... don't take off that necklace I gave you or mess with the stitches in her chest, OK? Promise?"
She nodded, sipping at the broth with the doll tucked under one arm so that it's head stuck out the other side and glared at me with its awful little button eyes. I made her a sandwich and refilled her bowl so she could sop up the broth with the bread. While she ate, I slipped down into the cellar... there was no sign of the water or the granola bars. But who would have taken them?