Pat O’Malley
2 min readJun 1, 2022
Photo by Hunain Bin Shahid on Unsplash

I knocked on Edward’s door. Everyone was worried about him. He’d been wrestling with a sudden bout of illness.

The door creaked open. In the unlit sliver, I saw the pale, emaciated frame of my friend. I said his name and without a word, he opened the door and led me inside. Gone was the vibrant, charismatic entrepreneur. Dark bags sank under his eyes and his auburn hair was matted with sweat.

“What’s going on? What’s happened to you?” I asked.

As he tried to respond he suddenly convulsed, grabbing at his side and howling in pain.

“It hurts,” he whimpered. “The doctors say there’s nothing physically wrong with me but I keep feeling these sharp jolts of pain at different points on my body. Everyone thinks it’s all in my head.”

“Oh, Edward,” I said trying to repress my laughter.

“You have to believe me! I’m not making it up!” He sobbed.

I let him carry on like that for another moment before I had had enough.

“I believe you, Ed. Here, you want to see something cool?”

Gently, I pulled out the gray, beady-eyed doll from my pocket. Tied around its bulbous yarn head was a lock of dirty auburn hair. Sticking out from a handful of points on the figure were several metal pins.

My thumb was still resting on the green ballpoint of the pin impaled on the doll’s side.

My old pal didn’t appear to understand just what he was looking at. In his eyes, it was like I was the one who was crazy. Smiling, I pulled out the lighter resting in my left pocket.

Scared and confused, Edward watched as I raised the lighter to the doll and flicked the wheel.