Pierre Sprinkles sat alone atop a round mahogany table, his upsetting smile fitting just below his ruby nose. There was a small half moon scar there and an identical one on his lower lip. He sat back and stared out at the world while satisfied customers perused the shop. His boots were a pea green and curled up with a golden bell at the end. The outfit he wore was that of a mid-evil court jester while in his face he was clearly a clown. His olive eyes stared straight ahead and with a guiltless smile he looked kind of like a child who's been caught doing a bad deed and yet can't hold in their laughter. Not one shopper had ever given Pierre Sprinkles a second glance; some were even disturbed by his harrowing grin. The owner of the shop had been haunted by the doll in his dreams every night since it came into his possession. That's why this particular treasure fashioned a three dollar price tag.
A very lofty gentleman with a stern yet relaxed poise entered the Shop. His eyes radiated like two emeralds absorbed in sunlight. His flaxen hair was tied back with a thin piece of rope. His name was Maal.
"Hello my friend." said the weary shop keeper.
"How's it hang there Charlie." The shop keeper gave him a puzzled look.
"Yeah, anyway this one caught my eye." Maal said.
"Oh mmy, you mean Pierre Sprinkles." the keeper said this in the most gratifying manner.
"Umm sure, what is that his name or something?" he asked.
"Yes well that is what he asked me to call him." Maal raised his brow inquiringly.
"I mean that is the name he came with." said the shopkeeper precisely.
"Is the price really three dollars? Maal asked.
"Yes my friend, it has been here so long it really needs to go." The shopkeeper brushed back what was left of his pie-bald hair and smiled anxiously.
"I have to have it." Maal exclaimed. He paid the three dollars and fled the shop with Pierre Sprinkles in his arms as if he were a small child once again.
Maal had once owned a doll like this; his great grandmother had given it to him on his eighth birthday. He loved that doll a great deal but his mother couldn't stand the sight of it. It drove her mad, and then that day when she drove her Pontiac off a cliff with the doll in the passenger seat. Maal hadn't thought of that day in quite a while but he had thought of the doll many times. That doll didn't have a name like this one. Pierre Sprinkles, he thought to himself as he looked at it sitting comfortably in the passenger seat. He said it aloud: "Pierre Sprinkles" it was an appealing name. He felt happy, an emotion he hadn't felt in some time.
As he drove the rest of the way to his home in the town of Ralden he said the name to himself numerous times. And that night with Pierre Sprinkles by his bedside Maal had the most wonderful dream.
The dream lasted only a few hours but to Maal it felt like a lifetime. Pierre had showed him different lands, beautiful mountains and wonderful sapphire rivers. He was shown a white beach that lasted the whole length of a continent. He was allowed to live in one land, a nameless utopia where the people were all passive and truthful. Here Maal and Pierre lived peacefully and died content. How can a doll grow old and die he thought but just then the alarm clock kidnapped him from this marvelous world.
That morning instead of going to work Maal left his house and all his possessions and headed west. He strapped Pierre in to the passenger seat and sped towards the highway. As he looked at Pierre sitting there with his arms puffed out like a jolly fat man, he had a shocking revelation. This was the doll he owned as a boy, but how? Hadn't he witnessed his mother drive off in a psychotic rage with the doll in the passenger seat? Hadn't her car been found burned beyond recognition? He was not mistaken this doll had the identical half moon scar on his nose and lower lip. And just then a wicked smile crept upwards, his eyes widened and he couldn't help but laugh. In fact he laughed for about fifteen miles, and it was weird, he thought he could here another faint laugh besides his own. The laugh was sinister but to Maal it sounded like heaven. It was a kind of scratchy, high octave laugh that would have driven any normal human crazy. Maal just continued driving hunched over the wheel with a semicircle smile never leaving his face. He pulled in to a gas station around noon; he could here a ballad being played as he walked in.
When Johnny comes marching home again Hurrah
When Johnny comes marching home again Hurrah, Hurrah
When Johnny comes marching over that hill
And he doesn't know which way he will spill
Of course these weren't the real words but this is what Maal heard. As he walked up to the counter holding Pierre as if he were a small child the attendant suddenly went into a trance.
"Please just take it master." whispered the attendant.
"Okay" Maal said bewilderedly as he slowly backed out of the store. The whole time the attendant's eyes locked on Pierre.
Back on the highway Maal looked at Pierre and said: "That was really strange Pierre; I don't know what happened back there." Not expecting a reply he just stared at the tarmac disappearing under his wheels. What he heard was a faint voice that sounded like that of a thirty year smoker.
"Would you rather pay for that gas, chuckles?" He looked at Pierre with that childish grin but Pierre just stared out contentedly. As he did this he swerved off the highway and as he righted the car he heard that same smoker's voice:
"Hey chuckles watch the road." There was no mistaking it, he thought, that was definitely Pierre Sprinkles talking to me.
He continued on that highway for three days only stopping for gas (free each time) and to piss on the side of the road. When he arrived at his father's house it was late and he slipped in the back window. He left Pierre in the car not wanting to give his father a heart attack. If the man woke up and saw the doll sitting on his kitchen table he'd likely think that it had come back for him.
Kaal woke early that morning as he did all mornings. He went about his chores quietly not wanting to wake his son who had arrived suddenly in the middle of the night. He didn't need clarification as to why Maal was here for Kaal had a horrible nightmare in which Pierre had forced him to drive off a cliff. He knew the doll was back, he knew because he hadn't had a nightmare like that since the doll killed his wife. Maal woke around eleven and his father greeted him with a fine breakfast. They chatted briefly before the subject of the doll came up.
"Why would you bring that thing to my home." said Kaal to his only son.
"He's back dad and his name is Pierre Sprinkles." he cried jovially.
"You're acting like a child, like when that doll killed your poor mother." Kaal shouted.
"No dad I need this doll, don't you understand that. I have been miserable since the day he left me." Maal said with tears beginning to flow.
"It's evil and it will kill you the same way it killed your mother. I witnessed that thing destroy her and I won't let it destroy you." Finishing that sentence Kaal grabbed the keys, jumped into Maal's car and drove off. He didn't even glance at Pierre sitting in the passenger seat.
Two hours later Maal arrived at the cliff where his mother had driven off twenty years earlier. Pierre Sprinkles sat at the edge with smoke billowing up from below. At the bottom Maal's car was aflame and his father's charred corpse was still behind the wheel.
"Are you happy now Pierre? You have me all to yourself." Pierre just smiled that contented smile because he was always happy.
As he walked to the used car lot where he knew he would be granted a free car, his thoughts were with Pierre. Although his father had just been killed he was happy, he wasn't even thinking of that now. Right now he was only thinking about Pierre and how he would protect him with his life. Because this doll was Maal's key to happiness and that was worth his life.
Maal opened the door to room twelve at the Highlight Highway Motel after another pleasant nights sleep. He was hit with a fresh layer of sunlight and a whiff of sweet salt water. He was overcome with the most pleasant feeling like he was emerging from the womb into a new and sweet smelling world. It didn't matter that this particular motel only housed dealers and pimps, Maal would have felt this no matter where he was. He wasn't sure how he ended up here but he supposed it had something to do with Pierre wanting to lay low since the police would surely have some questions for the both of them. Besides with both parents now deceased and Pierre in charge there was nowhere else to go. As he walked to his car he was thinking of when he was eight and Pierre was his only friend, the other boys too freaked out to come around. Not once did he ever feel lonely or cry during that time and thinking back he could remember Pierre talking to him but to this day his lips never moved. He began to have thoughts like "am I nuts?" or "maybe I'm one of those schizos" and then he would hear Pierre from deep within "no, no chuckles I can talk. How ya think ya got to this shit hole." And a comforting feeling swelled up within him. Other memories were coming back like they were old sitcoms run in simulcast. He remembers trying to show his parents that Pierre could talk but a huge argument ensued. His mother telling him it couldn't be in the house or it had to be destroyed. After that day Maal just lived in the shack next to the house alone but not alone because he had Pierre. He would think back to those days in the shack and it would help him get through some rough times. Just him and Pierre like brothers, kind of like right now and as he thought this his smile became a little more frightening, arcing upward almost resembling the Grinch.
"Whoa you look like you could use a hit chuckles." said a passing vagrant. Maal grabbed him by the shirt.
"What did you call me." Maal said nervously.
"Nothin man you better get the fuck off me 'less you want this here bullet in yo gut." Maal released his grip and stumbled away.
"Get rid of that freaky doll too, people don't like him." Yelled the vagrant as Maal got in his car. He ventured to another motel not unlike the one he just left. He got a room for the same price (free) and locked the door.
He would sit and listen to the noise and the gunshots from the tramps and hustlers for hours before deciding it wasn't safe for Pierre. Maal returned the key to the front desk and walked hurriedly to his car. Before he could get in he was surrounded by drunks and crack heads.
"Why you got that doll man." slurred one of the drunks.
"Yeah, he's your lover?" The laughter almost broke Maal in half.
"Pplease leave us alone." Maal said. The laughter only grew louder and on the verge of blacking out Maal screamed: "Pierre". Just then in Maal's most desperate moment Pierre's eyes lit up like two bright green planets floating side by side in space. The laughter stopped and in a flash of smoke the parasites that were surrounding Maal and Pierre vanished into small two foot mounds of ash. As Maal opened his car door and got in he no longer looked crazy. He had a calm relaxed demeanor resembling one of those saints immortalized in stained glass at a church. He drove south now hand in hand with Pierre, peacefully journeying to his fate. In the instant when Pierre's eyes lit up Maal was given a chance to see his destiny and he couldn't have been more pleased by what he saw. TO BE CONTINUED.