The Transformation Story Archive Strange Things and other Changes

Let Sleeping Dolls Lie

by Anonymous

Everyone who lived in or around the industrial district of Old Town knew of the Deffone toy factory and the tales that centered on the old building. The older women and men who lived during his lifetime never speak of the former owner by name, it's always the "devil's toymaker." They claim he sold his soul for his unnatural gift of toymaking. They also claim that the factory was cursed by his pact and no one ever survives an encounter with it or any of the toys produced. That's if you could ever find any...

But those are just old wives tails, spun to keep children away from the decaying factory, or are they? Surrounding the man and his work are many unexplained happenings that few have tried to understand. Few people care and even fewer remember the man and his creations. Most would rather let his memory disappear into the lost pages of time.

There are those though who keep the facts, to keep others from falling pray to Deffone. One such person is an old man who used to work for the factory in its heydays, Mr. Fret. He now lives by the factory as a sort of gatekeeper, warning those who are foolish enough to even approach the grounds.

"I remember the day the factory first opened, God, it had to be around 1930... We though it was a Godsend as there was finally work for many of us deep into the grip of the Great Depression. I was only 18 when the gates were opened for applicants to enter and like so many others my age, fought for one of the few positions available. I remember quite well Mr. Deffone, he'd personally oversee every interview. He wasn't a man of beauty, his face looked like so many others of middle age. If you didn't know it was him, you'd swear he was just another worker by the way he dressed in thread-worn clothes. But there was something about him that always gave me goosebumps. The way he'd look at you or a strange feeling of malice that surrounded him like a cloak. Like he had ulterior motives other than the reason you were hired on. No one questioned it, so neither did I. The man was pure genius with his toy designs, so beautiful and well made were his works. We just couldn't keep up with the demand the public placed upon us day after day as the shop ran out of items time and time again. Still, Mr. Deffone never hurried us or set the assembly line at a faster pace, hell we rarely saw him as he spent most of his time creating new toys. But after my 5th month there, then began these accidents and workers just disappearing into thin air, almost on a daily basis as more were hired on to replace them. Somehow, though, the toys kept coming at the same rate, whether we were at full manpower or down to two people. This went on for, gods, at least two weeks until the very last day I worked there. I was on the finishing assembly line for some rocking horses. One of the very last ones to come out of the paint shop had this weird odor to it, a strong coppery smell that seemed to come from the red paint on it. None of us at that end could figure it out until we scraped off some of the paint. God, were we sorry we did. Underneath was this heart pattern a couple of us recognized immediately. It was a tattoo belonging to one of the painter who disappeared the day before. Right there, the whole lot of us punched out and threw our timecards on the floor, vowing never to return. I wish that was the end of it, but then it became worse... People all over the town began to disappear just like the workers. Children and adults alike were just gone, no warning or nothing. The most people would find were these dolls and teddies in the children's' beds or nearby where collectors kept the Deffone toys. Hell, the only linking factor in all the disappearances, were that each and very victim had one of his toys. It wasn't long after, that a mob tried to storm the factory down and had a huge bonfire of every Deffone toy that could be found in the Old Town district and beyond. The police barely turned back the riot at the gates, but ordered Deffoned to close down until an investigation was conducted. It never even got that far as the man shut his gates for good shortly into the investigation and was never seen outside again. It's been years since anyone's gone near that damned place since that final closing and with good reason... There's been many a fool crazy or stupid enough to enter the doors: Police, kids, even people looking to tear the place down or find out what happened to the others. But none of them's ever come out again."

And so, the Deffone factory just sat upon its foundation, alone, decaying, and shunned from fear. That was, until now...

On the streets of the Old Town district, a lone cruiser slowly patrolled as a summer storm strengthened far away on the dusk horizon. From inside the car, an older police officer watched the people on the street mull about in their daily business. The years of repetition in this act kept him from really focusing on the people and the commotion, as he knew the signs of trouble well enough to predict them before anything even happens. As thunder rolled in the distance, the officer parked his car and kept an eye on some kids just hanging around a convince store, the warning signs all too prevalent. But as he sat there, though, the group broke up and his radio came to life.

"This is HQ to anyone in the vicinity of the Industrial district, call in."

Officer Don Teleto picked up the handset to his radio and answered in, "This Telto, HQ."

"We've just received a report form an anonymous caller that there are children playing around the old toy factory. Proceed to the factory and see if you find anyone on the property."

"Copy, HQ. Teleto out. Stupid kids... gonna get themselves killed on that old wreck of a building. "

Officer Teleto was a 14-year veteran of the force, he was also a kid who grew up in the slums of the industrial area. Sure, he had heard the stories of the "devil toymaker" from his mother on many occasions, but he never put any belief behind them. He saw the building for nothing more than a condemned factory than as the bogeyman's lair. The years of police training and getting away from his past helped to reinforce those feelings even stronger. Truthfully, Teleto felt that there was more of a chance of him finding the perfect powder doughnut than a devil in his own beat.

The old factory loomed above the skyline like a gothic castle ruin as the last trickles of daylight were hidden and diffused by the surrounding warehouses and businesses farther away. It always seemed funny to Teleto how no one would build near the factory or even attempt to tear the thing down. The suggestive power of a few old stories he figured.

As he approached, Teleto turned on his spotlight and began to sweep about the grounds for any signs of the kids. It wasn't too hard to tell how they got in as the light swept over a huge section of fallen fencing that succumbed to age and rust. Teleto turned the light upward onto the building as he drove into the property through the hole in the fence. Near the top of he building were roof catwalks and numerous ladders snaked all over, including up the two towering chimneys connected to the building. Just as he shined the light up and down the farther of the two smokestacks, a bit of movement caught his eyes. Teleto shined the light back onto the chimney to see a small figure dressed in white climbing down it.

"God! That kid's got to have a death wish or something!"

When the figure reached the bottom, two more seemed to appear and join it and then dance about in a circle on one of the catwalks.

"This is Teleto to HQ."

"HQ here."

"Looks like that phone call was right, got a whole group of 'em playing ring around a rosy on the roof. I'm going to need some help on this one."

"Copy that, are there any unit in the vicinity of the industrial sections?"

"This is Beggs, HQ. I'm about 15 minutes out on the West Side.."

"Copy that."

Teleto stepped out of his cruiser as he kept the light on the group of figures and called out to them.

"Hey kids! You need to come down from there, this in no place to be playing around!"

The only response was some childish giggling.

"Damn fool kids..." he grumbled as he slammed the door shut, "Don't make me have to come up there!!" he then yelled up.

But there was nothing to be seen where the light shined as some more giggles drifted on the air. A low rumble of thunder came from behind as Teleto prepared to circle about the building.

As he walked towards it, a voice called out from behind, "Please tell me, officer that you are not planning to enter that cursed place."

Teleto turned to see and old man in a ragged coat standing near his car. From his looks, the man had to be whom his mother called the "gatekeeper," Mr. Fret.

"You have to be the legendary Mr. Fret, the self-appointed gatekeeper," Teleto said as he approached the man.

"I am. What may bring a reasonable sounding man like yourself to this factory"

"Listen, sir, there are some kids up there and I have to get them down before someone gets hurt."

"What children? I have watched this place all day, and there have been no children foolish enough to come here."

"Look, we got a call about them, and I just saw a group up on the catwalks. I don't very much relish the idea of going anywhere near that place, but not for the reasons you believe in."

As Teleto walked away, Mr. Fret gave one last weary shake of his head, "My boy, all reasons are good ones to avoid this place. The evil here cares not what the purpose of your visit may be, only that it shall be your last..."

Teleto circled the perimeter of the building, but couldn't spot a single clue as where the figures had disappeared off to. As he approached the old shipping platforms in the rear of the building, the sounds of giggling drifted out from inside. Teleto grumbled something to himself as he hoisted his body on top of the platforms and shined his flashlight through one of the broken windows scattered throughout the huge bay doors. Nothing but old boxes and moving equipment that looked to be from around the turn of the century. The layer of dust that covered everything told Teleto nothing had moved in there for decades. As he looked about, the sound of a metal door opening and closing and then a short scream grabbed his attention. Teleto, drew his gun and turned to see a door leading into the main factory vibrating as if it had just been slammed shut as well as something lying on the ground just before it. He carefully approached the door to find a white hat at the foot of it, only it seemed a little strange that the hat was a style not worn since the late 20's and the manufacturer name was one that he couldn't recall. As he looked the hat over, a second scream cried out. That was the final deciding factor as Teleto tossed aside the hat, then cautiously opened the door and entered into the factory. As the door closed behind him, he never saw how the hat faded out of existence where it landed on the ground.

On the street, Officer Beggs slowly pulled up to the old factory and immediately spotted Teleto's cruiser, but couldn't see the officer anywhere in sight. A brief flash of lightning illuminated the sky and, for a brief second, the building. Beggs felt an odd sensation that breif moment of time the factory was lighted. Almost a panic telling his gut to run, get away. It didn't sit well with him and he decided to call in

"Beggs to HQ..."


"Come in HQ..."

Again, nothing but static came across the radio.

Beggs was new to the force, a rookie of only two months, but even he knew Officer Teleto. Teleto was a good, smart cop and going in alone when he knew backup was on the way didn't fit his personality. Unless there was a good reason to...

Beggs had lived in town for only a year, but even that was long enough to hear whisperings about the old Deffone factory. The place looked like a cross between Dracula's castle and Frankenstein's lair to him and it gave him an uneasy feeling. The place looked like it could actually be haunted. It also looked like it was ready to cave in upon itself at any time as a gust of wind from the storm blew off a chunk of the building.

Beggs parked his cruiser and stepped out. A strong gust of wind tried to pull his hat off as he scanned the area for any sign of Teleto or the kids. The first droplets of rain began to fall as he pulled out his Mag-light and shined it about. It came to bearing upon an old man that seemed to have appeared out of nowhere.

"If you looking for that other officer, I'm afraid you'll not find him. This place has claimed him now," the old man said as he began to shuffle away toward an old, rickety shack, "I'd go on home if I were you."

As the man disappeared into the darkness, the rain began to fall in sheets as Beggs hurried to pull on his rain gear. He couldn't stop thinking about what the old man had said, but it didn't make any sense. Beggs walked up to the second car. Everything appeared to be in order as he looked inside. But then, shots rang out in the air. Beggs knew the sound well enough to know the sound of a police issued 38 with how much time he put into training with his own. The sixth shot faded away into a roll of thunder as Beggs ran back to his car for cover and grabbed the radio.

"This is Beggs! Shots fired at the toy factory! Repeat, shots fired at the toy factory!"

The radio only answered with a squeal and then dead silence. Beggs threw the receiver in disgust on the seat before going back to the trunk. He opened it and then unlocked a second metal security container inside. Within was his emergency riot gear and Beggs immediately pulled his shotgun, his personal 45, extra shells, speedloaders, and clips for three weapons. Beggs slid on a shoulder holster for the 45, loaded the gun, and holstered it. The clips and speedoaders went into belt clips and the extra shells went onto a specialty elastic strap on the stock of the shotgun. On the front of the shotgun were two clips that Beggs slid his flashlight into. Now ready, he then went from point to point towards the factory.

>From inside his shack, Mr. Fret watched by candlelight one more heading to what would be more than likely his doom, "I warned him... why can't they listen, just once? In he goes to save a fellow worker, but it's going to be him that needs savin'..."

With that, he blew out his candle and laid down on his cot.

As the rain poured down, Beggs literally slid to a halt at the front wall of the building. He made a soft 'omph' as he hit the wall and then pulled down into a crouching position. A quick look around revealed nothing but water puddles and silence. Nearby was a set of stairs and a door and what appeared to be the remains of a sign above them. Beggs strained to see the lettering through the pounding rain. Badly faded were the words 'toy shop' and a little arrow pointing to the door. Without a second though, Beggs slowly worked his way to the door. The coldness of the rain was beginning to seep in through his clothes, but that didn't matter to him. What did matter was that a fellow officer was in trouble.

Beggs cautiously slid up to the door and tried the knob. To his surprise, the knob worked and the door slid inward. Beggs stuck the shotgun in first as he swept it about to get a better look inside. Like the sign said, the room was a toyshop, or the remains of one. A dusty counter with an old cash register sat at the far end as shelves lined the walls. In a few spots, toys covered with dust and cobwebs sat silently. Beggs swept the floor with his light to see a few more toys lying about in a haphazardly condition. Near the counter was a second closed door, the only other way in and out of the room. Beggs felt that it was safe to enter and slid in with his back to the wall. As he slowly moved toward the back door, the font door suddenly slammed shut. Beggs ran back and twisted the doorknob, to no effect. Someone or something was keeping that door shut tight.

"Shit... nowhere to go but forward," he thought to himself.

Beggs slowly moved back towards the other door with the shotgun at ready. As he shuffled along, his foot accidentally hit a doll in the middle of the floor. When it landed a few feet away, Beggs could have sworn the thing said "help me" instead of "mommy." Out of curiosity, he picked the doll up and sure enough, the thing said again "help me." That was seriously beginning to creep Beggs out as he quickly put the doll onto a shelf and left it there. As he backed away, the thing kept on saying "help me" over and over, faster and faster until the head actually began to spin around, a la Exorcist. That was all Beggs could take as he fired a shotgun round into the doll and sent it and a chunk of the shelf into oblivion. As he stood there and pumped a new shell into the chamber, a cackling laughter drifted through the air. One by one, the rest of the toys began to join in as their eyes glowed with a fiery red. Beggs swept the flashlight in every direction as the laughter began to die off and a scraping noise could be heard.

On the floor, several of the toys were trying to crawl their way towards him. Beggs sent most of the dolls flying with solid kicks into the walls, but one teddy bear presented more of a problem. The bear looked up at him with its red eyes and growled as inch-long spikes grew out of its paws. Beggs never gave it a chance to do whatever it intended to do as he fired point-blank range. He then ducked a swipe from a second bear on a shelf next to the rear door as he kicked it in got the hell out of the front store.

Beggs slammed the door shut and leaned against it for a brief moment to catch his breath. As he did so, he also shined the light all around to get an idea of where he was. Beggs found himself in a long hallway with several doors on each side. Each door had a glass window with faded words painted on the front. Beggs went to the closest door and wiped the grime off of the window. On it was painted the words "accounting and bookkeeping." Out of curiosity, Beggs turned the doorknob and slowly opened the door. Inside were numerous old-fashioned bookcases and hundreds of ledgers and leather-bound books. Near the rear was also a huge oak desk with several books stacked upon it. Beggs shucked off his rain gear before he walked up the desk and flipped through one of the books. It turned out to be a daily cash ledger and he just counted up a random day's intake. Beggs wasn't even half of the way down the page before his mental calculations were in the thousands of dollars. He flipped over several more pages with the same massive sales patterns on each and every one. The factory was moving hundred of toys a day until he came to a page dated 1932 in which the entries abruptly ended with a giant ink streak. As he thumbed through blank pages, Beggs never notice that a second book on the desk opened by itself and began to flip pages.

The sound of rusting paper grabbed Beggs attention and he happened to look down at the desk to see the book stop at a certain page. Beggs just about dropped the book he was holding out of shock as he involuntarily backed up. The book just sat there and Beggs thought about if he should or shouldn't approach it. Several minutes passed as he tried to make up his mind. He finally figured that it was safe since it hadn't made and threatening motions towards him. Beggs put down the sales ledger and quickly read over the new book, which was an inventory report. As he read over it, Beggs noticed several disturbing facts about the entries, such as a recently dated entry from only a few years ago. Then suddenly, a pen from beside the book floated up and Beggs jumped back with the shotgun at ready. The pen seemed to ignore him as it began to scribble across the open page. When it finished, the pen laid back down on the table and didn't move again. After some time, Beggs cautiously leaned in closer to read the entry. It was today's date and under the additions to inventory section, the pen had wrote, "Added: One stuffed pig. Awaiting second inventory item to be added." Beggs felt his heart just freeze and his stomach knot.

Beggs slipped out of the office and slowly slid with his back to the wall down the hallway, leaving his rain gear in a pile at the far end. He passed many more glass doors, but only briefly slowed to peek inside a few. Most were empty, some contained one or two toys (which he promptly passed on by), but one by the end contained something else. Beggs couldn't make it out clearly, but it looked like a body slumped over one of the desks. He carefully approached it to find a skeleton dressed in the remains of some very old-fashioned clothes, except for the chest area. It had none.... A perfectly round hole was through the center of the skeleton. Beggs looked about to see a toy cannon sitting up on a file cabinet behind the skeleton. He didn't exactly wait around to see if the cannon was still loaded or not as he hurriedly vacated the room.

The hallway ended in a 'T' junction of two other halls that both led to several more doors. All of them were simple wood designs, with the exception of one that was adorned by several large deadbolt locks on the outside. Beggs was naturally attracted to the locked door and tested it for how well it was sealed. An experimental push rewarded him with a loud creak and the sound of wood stressing to the breaking point.

"The wood's so old, it can't take any punishment..." he thought to himself with a mental smile.

Beggs pushed with all his might and the door frame itself disintegrated into sawdust and dry-rotted wood as the door swung open with the deadbolts sticking straight out of it. He went over the room with the light and saw that he had seemed to discover the very room that Deffone had designed his toys in. Scores of precision tools, sculptures and blueprints hung on every square inch of wall space of the room.

Beggs slowly wandered about the room, studing some of the half-finished designs and specs tacked down to workbenches. Some of them were of such a complex design, he couldn't believe that a simple toymaker had come up with them on his own. Beggs continued on and found a circular staircase heading up to second-floor landing. He carefully checked the structure for any weaknesses before following it on up to the darkness above.

Beggs barely stuck his head above the top step and shined his light about. The room seemed to be living quarters with a bed, a small kitchen, and two doors farther down leading to somewhere. Beggs checked under the bed for any surprises, as well as in the stove, and found nothing to be of concern. He then went over to the two doors and opened them. One lead into a bathroom, the other into a glass-encased room full of levers and panels: The factory control room. Beggs entered into the glass room and wiped off a window with his sleeve. It over-looked a catwalk and a huge black space. He couldn't make anything other than a few generic shapes out of the darkness and that frightened him from knowing he couldn't tell what may be out there.

On a hunch he scanned over the panels and found what he was looking for, the lighting controls. Beggs flipped the circuit breakers and wondered if there was still any power being sent into the factory. There must have been (to his amazement), because as he flipped the light switches, an angry buzz filled the air. Slowly, lights began to flicker on and off as they warmed up from decades of inactivity. Most blew their filaments, several exploded into a brilliant, but brief shower of sparks, yet a few survivors hung on with a eerie yellow-orange light onto the floor. Below Beggs stood a maze of machines and crates the likes he had never seen before.

Beggs walked out onto the catwalk and overlooked the ground floor. The few lights that did work were few and far in-between one and another. That caused numerous shadows and dark spots to dot the landscape and that bothered him to no end.

Beggs slowly made his way along the catwalk to what seemed to be the only ladder leading up and down from it. Near the ladder, an ominous screeching sound came from beneath his feet as an entire section of catwalk began to tilt. Beggs dove for the ladder just as the metal walkway gave way. The section literally shattered upon impact from how badly corroded the metal was. Beggs' hands grasped for the ladder rungs as he flew through the air. His aim was true, but he didn't count on the condition of the ladder itself. As the full weight of his body slammed onto the rung, it gave way much like the catwalk with a loud snap. Beggs desperately tried to pull his body inward on to the ladder as he began to fall, only to succeed with having those rungs give way as well. Beggs slid down the entire length of the ladder as each rung broke off the moment he landed on it. Then suddenly, at the last couple of feet, a rung actually held. The sudden stop threw Beggs off-balance and he went flailing off of the ladder onto the floor. Broken rungs either crushed into rust powder or skipped off into the shadows as he landed hard and got the breath knocked out of him.

Beggs tried to regain his breath as he struggled to a seated position. In the silence absence of breath, he heard two distinct noices: A soft cry of help, and the sound of footsteps heading towards him. Beggs forced his body to crawl to the ladder and tried to use it to get to his feet. As his breath slowly came back to him, he looked about for his shotgun. He found it twenty feet up, on what was left of the catwalk and ladder up top. The flashlight caddy had hooked itself upon a railing post and hung by a thread out of his reach. Beggs silently cursed his luck as he pulled out his 45.

From somewhere off to his left came a low moan.

"Teleto! Can you hear me?!" Beggs called out.

It wasn't like anyone knew he wasn't here anymore after the catwalk, so he decided to go the direct approach to find Teleto.

"Officer Teleto!"

" me..." came from beyond Beggs' line of sight.

"Hold on! I'm moving towards your positions now!" Beggs said as he began to move about the rows of boxes.

Beggs slowly moved among the maze of wooden crates as he checked each corner or large area of shadows for any signs of trouble before moving on to the next. After having a large section of metalwork collapse on him and being attacked by killer dolls, he wasn't taking any chances. The occasional moan would drift through the air, helping him to keep a fairly good bead on which direction to head in the majority of the time. The way the boxes were aligned made traveling in one direction impossible, but Beggs could tell which one he needed to roughly travel in the most.

He finally hit a spot where the moans seemed to keep changing directions in a circle and Beggs was absolutely certain he'd been past a set of crates more than once. Beggs scanned the isle for any place that he could climb up on for a better view and saw a pyramid of smaller boxes down a bit from him. Beggs quickly jogged over to them. The setup seemed stable enough and the boxes were in fairly good conditions, good enough to at least hold his weight for a short period of time.

Beggs lifted himself up onto the first set of boxes and waited a brief second to make sure that they wouldn't collapse in upon themselves. They seemed sturdy enough and he continued upward at a slow pace. At the top, Beggs finally allowed himself to rest as he looked over the other sets of crates. He was right in thinking that he was just walking in circles as the other side of the isle was nothing more than a circular fence of sorts. Unfortunately, what was inside the circle was still a mystery as the lights over it were all not working and that didn't make him feel any better about the situation.

Beggs hopped down the pyramid, but lost his balance while landing on the floor and accidentally bumped into a larger crate as he tried to keep himself upright. The crate rocked back and forth a few seconds, but didn't tip over and Beggs let out a sigh of relief. Unfortunately, that sigh was a bit premature as a whirring noise came from inside the crate. As he stood there, a splintering sound came from the sides as the front cover bowed outward. Beggs drew his gun and before he could make a run for cover, several more crates began to exhibit the same conditions. Beggs was surrounded on both sides as the front lids off the crates flew off and rifles with bayonets lowered into a charging position. As he watched in fear, human-sized toy solders stepped out of the crates and all turned towards him, eyes blazing red and filled with murderous intentions.

Beggs dodged a swing of the closest solder's bayonet and fired his gun into the toy's face. The head shattered into wood splinters, but the thing kept on coming. Beggs sidestepped a stab and grabbed onto the gun as he wrestled for control over it with the solder. It didn't prove too much of a challenge as the toy's hands pulled out its arms with a cracking sound. Beggs paid zero attention to that as he switched about the gun ends and took a mighty swing of his own. The bayonet cleanly sliced right through the solder's chest and it collapsed into two pieces that no longer moved. Beggs stared at the blade in disbelief at what it had just done, that was until the next solder charged him.

It was a running battle through out the entire length of the circular isle as Beggs alternated use between his gun and the toy gun. Shoot, stab, parry, swipe, dodge, and shoot again... Most of the solders went down with no problem, but he was left with two that refused to die and gave him a fun for his money in attacking and defending. The two kept trying to circle about and surround him, but Beggs kept on his toes and constantly moved about to keep that from happening. After so many failed attempts Beggs was finally able to get a blow in that took the arm off of one of the toys, but it cost him just as dearly as he felt the other's bayonet pierce his flesh. Beggs let out a scream as the blade went into him and pulled back out. All that saved him from getting run through was his vest as it absorbed most of the blade's momentum. Beggs stumbled backward until his back was against the crate wall as he instinctively tried to feel how bad the damage was. It felt like a shallow stab to the side of his chest, but that didn't mean anything, as the wound was a bad bleeder. He could tell by large amount of blood covering his hand as he pulled it out from underneath his vest. The two solders could almost seem to sense how much of a crippling blow Beggs'd received as they readied their guns for the final blows. Beggs readied himself for the final stand as well, gripping both the chest wound and his gun tightly.

As the solders moved in, a deep booming voice suddenly filled the air, "Hold your ground my solders..."

The two toy solders immediately stopped their advancement and stood at attention, much to the relief and surprise of Beggs.

Again the voice spoke up, "Who gave you permission to harm my new toy? I surely didn't..."

Beggs didn't like the way the conversation was going, especially the part about a new toy. He tried desperately to get away, but something wouldn't let him.

"Hold now, little man... I'll be with you as soon as I'm done dealing with these two..."

The voice had now grown cold and sinister as a bluish tint filled the air. Before Beggs' eyes, a ball of a pure aqua color surrounded the two solders. The sound of hellish screams dimly came from out of the ball and froze Beggs ' breath as the bodies of the solders began to crack and splinter. For a brief second, the two solders turned into human shaped figures before dissolving out of existence with one final cry of pure pain. In no other moment in time did Beggs ever wish he could just run away as strongly as he did now.

"You've a strong fire to find your fellow man, little one... I somewhat admire that quality in you, as most of the others have never given me such a performance of a strong will to survive. Come now, it's obvious you want to see him, so I shall give you that privilege," the voice than said as the last traces of the ball vanished.

Right then, whatever was holding Beggs vanished, but before he could even think about moving, a second force grabbed him from behind and pulled. Beggs was ghosted through the crates as if they didn't even exist and then released in the darkness of the inner circle. The only sound was that of his breathing as fear knotted his stomach into painful little balls. As he stood there, a thin shaft of light appeared from above and shined down upon him. He could tell that it wasn't from any of the lights, something about the beam didn't seem right; It felt cold and harsh.

"You police officers never cease to amaze me after all these decades... Always something new with your little weapons and training. But, I digress. You've come to see your fellow officer, didn't you?"

Beggs didn't answer.

"Didn't you??" the voice asked again in a stronger tone.

"Uh... y-y-yes..." Beggs finally stammered out after finding the courage to.

There was the soft sound of muted laughter that hung in the air after Beggs' reply. Overhead, the light that shined down on Beggs began to tilt. He turned to follow the ring of light with his eyes as it slowly traversed the floor and came across an object leaned against the wall of crates. Beggs though he was going to throw up the moment his eyes were able to focus on what it was.

Sitting there was a huge stuffed pig, only it was wearing a police shirt that was stretched as far as it possibly could be, but that wasn't what mad Beggs sick to look at it. Its face was a gross conglomeration of a pig's face and a human's.

"...please...kill me..." the thing said to Beggs.

Beggs instantly recognized the voice as Teleto's. At that point, Beggs had to fight to keep his lunch down.

"Oh, come now.... he's your fellow officer. Do try to show some respect. Besides, I'm sure you'll like him when I'm done," the voice said before another round of laughter.

That was all that Beggs could handle.

"SHOW YOURSELF, DAMN YOU!!!!" he screamed into the darkness.

"I already am... Little man that hides in the dark, thinking I can't find him. Thinking he'll be safe. I am a part of the darkness, but you should be more afraid of the light. All is revealed in the light and I'm afraid you'll not like what is to be seen."

A ball of light similar to the one around the toy solders appeared in the sky. It started out as a tiny dot of light that quickly grew into something almost twenty feet across, as arcs of flames jumped across the surface and lightning danced inside the ball. The lightning then condensed into a second ball that exploded in a brilliant flash of light and sound that blinded Beggs. When Beggs' eye readjusted from shock, he looked up to see a winged woman floating inside the large ball of light. The ball dispersed as the woman floated down to the ground and his wings folded up inside her back as a black robe appeared to cover her entire body. Even though the ball was gone, the entire circle of crates remained partially illuminated in a blue tint of light. Beggs fought to keep control of his wits as he pointed his gun at the female walking towards him.

"Come now, your friend already tried that. Do you really think such tiny things can hurt me? Now give me that before you hurt yourself," she said with an outstretched hand.

Beggs felt the gun waver in his hand before being ripped from it into her's. She then chanted something softly and the gun disappeared in a fiery flash. Beggs screamed in anger as he began to rush towards her with the intent to do some sort of damage. She just waved her hand and Beggs went flying backwards into the crates near Teleto. A searing pain came from his chest as he felt the wound there open wider. Beggs tried to draw his service revolver, but the loss of blood was making him lightheaded and seeing double. He made a feeble attempt to aim and fire, but the recoil sent the 38 flying off into the shadows and caused another jolt of pain in his chest. Beggs was now having trouble to even keep his eyes open as the woman approached and then knelt down beside him.

"A strong fire indeed. You'll shall be a very special toy, a very personal one worthy of my attention and the powerful will you possess," she said before beginning a long chant.

As she spoke, bolts of lightning came from her palms and struck Beggs. Beggs cried out from the pain before the darkness of unconsciousness claimed him.

The blackness and deafness of his mind began to fade away as Beggs fought to open his eyes. The pain from his chest was gone, replaced by a dull numbness that covered not on it, but his entire lower body. Beggs' mind was beginning to turn itself back on as his senses started to work again. Nothing made a sound as he refocused his eyes to the dim light of the circle. The woman was nowhere to be seen, but the blue light remained. Beggs shook his head cleared and found himself leaned up against the crate wall, about ten feet to his right was Officer Teleto, or what used to be. The woman had finished her work on him and now only a huge, cartoonish stuffed pig was slumped up against the wall.

"Teleto!" Beggs called out, but no reply came from the pig.

Beggs tried to stand up, but his lower half wouldn't move. It felt like he was trying to move a sack of concrete. Beggs looked down and a scream choked in his throat. His legs and lower torso were that of a stuffed skunk. The remains of his pants were on the ground beneath, split from the sheer size of his fake-fur-covered appendages and swollen gut. A couple of buttons on his shirt had even popped off from the size of his pounch. Behind him was a huge pillow of a tail permanently stuck in the upright position. Beggs was horrified at the sight, but he couldn't help but to touch himself. He couldn't feel any muscles or bones in the changed portions of his body, only stuffing that made crunchy noises as is shifted about beneath his hands. His stomach would have been flipping madly from the sensation caused by the moving stuffing. That was if he still had one....

"I see you're admiring my handiwork," came from nowhere and everywhere all at once.

"Who are you?!? Are you Deffone?!?" Beggs called out as he looked for his gun.

"Deffone was a fool!" came from the sky as an explosion of light temporarily blinded Beggs.

Beggs rubbed his eyes to see the woman standing in the middle of the circle with a flame dancing in the palm of her hand.

"He moved too fast and too soon and the people grew wise to his greed for power! And now look at him..." she said with an evil laugh as the flame left her hand and disappeared into the ceiling rafters.

The noise of rattling chains filled the air as a figure appeared in the sky. Lowering down was a naked man attached to sets of chains by huge hooks piercing his flesh, like a giant, perverse marionette. Beggs could feel his fear rising as the body touched the ground and he could quite clearly now see that the chest had been ripped open and the heart removed.

"Dance for us, Mr. Deffone. Dance like the fool you were!" the woman called out as a ball of blue surrounded the body.

The ball faded away, leaving a wooden puppet dressed in a jester's outfit. The chains began to move on their own, pulling the Deffone puppet about in a twisted version of a waltz. The woman laughed like a maniac as she briefly joined in on its dance. She spun away from it and the puppet collapsed upon itself into a heap on the floor. The woman did a mock curtsy at the puppet as it changed back into the body of Deffone and was pulled upward back into wherever it came from.

"It's because of him, I have to resort to cheep tricks and deceptions to bring in fresh sources of power," the woman said as her face became as stormy sea of rage.

"But, why?! Who the hell are you??!?"

"Now, now... if I told you everything all at one, what would you have to think about for eternity keeping me company. Do you really think Deffone could have come up with all those designs on his own? He was stupid and challenged my power out of arrogance! You know what they say about a woman scorned..." she said with an evil little smile, "But I will give you this to mull over: All power must have a source, basic truth in science and magic. It's just dark magics has a higher costs than others. Souls, life-forces, and all that..."

The smile on the woman's face was beginning to widen just a bit and Beggs' fear was kicking up just as much.

"What to do with so many bodies can be a real problem when you've been a caster for as long as I have been, so I started my little collection and expanded my power ten-fold over with all the life-forces such seemingly innocent little toys come in contact with daily. That was until, he tried to overpower me, and failed," the woman said as she turned her back from him and stared out at the far side of the circle as a blue glow enveloped her.

Beggs didn't waist the opportunity and began to desperately search for his 38. It was nowhere to be seen, probably destroyed just like his 45. But, out of sheer luck, he saw that Teleto's was lying on the ground with the remains of his belt holster. Beggs then also remembered that Teleto had fired all six shots, to seemingly no affect. It didn't matter now, though, as he had to do something. A last ditch effort that may have to end with the taking of his own life. He felt that it was better than to be a plaything to a witch/demon thing of a woman. Beggs felt around for his belt, pulled off a speedloader holder, and stuck it in his mouth to hold. Beggs then began to rock back and forth until he pulled his body off-balance and fell onto his side. With sheer arm strength, he pulled himself towards the Teleto plush, praying he would make it before the woman decides to turn back around.

Beggs had just reached the gun and was fumbling around with the chamber as the woman spoke without turning around.

"I do believe we have some company. Friends of yours to be exact, and quite a few of them. Oh, this will be most fun. Now, I wonder if your comrades will be as skillful as you?"

Huge leathery wings erupted from the woman's back and she floated upward into the sky. Beggs fought with the last bullet as he forced it into the chamber and then slammed the chamber shut as the sound of muffled bullhorns could now be heard. It was now or never in Beggs' mind to try and stop that maniac from trapping anyone else, or die trying.

The woman had begun to chant again as a blue ball of flame surrounded her. Beggs held up the gun and carefully aimed. With the precision of police training, he squeezed off two rounds in rapid fire that were dead on into the woman's back. He heard the impact all the way down there, but the woman acted as if nothing had happened. Beggs aimed for a second try, but his vision suddenly blurred as the numb feeling spread over his right arm and face. His shirt sleeve split wide open as his arm grew fat and limp and became covered in fake fur. Beggs couldn't hold onto the gun as his hand fused and fattened into a rounded puff of a plush paw. Several more buttons popped off his shirt as that side of his chest also followed suit. He was having problems now just seeing as half his face was pulled outward and his eye began to change into a plastic one. Beggs tried to twist his body as he reached for the gun with the left hand, but he was loosing all motor control and flexibility at an alarming rate. One last lunge let him hook his fingers around the trigger guard just as he lost the ability to bend at the waist.

By then, the woman had stopped chanting and turned towards him with a displeased look on her face, "Now that was a foolish thing to do... And look at what you made me do. A very shoddy rush job, even for me."

She seemed to study Beggs for a moment before snapping her fingers.

"I know what's needs improving! You look so very understuffed..."

The moment she finished saying that, Beggs felt the sensation of someone cutting a seam open and beginning to stuff him with more material. With what little flexibility remained, he could actually see his legs, stomach, and right arm beginning to swell as stuffing was invisibly mashed into his body.

"NO!!!" Beggs cried out as he raised the gun with his good arm at the woman.

"Oh, not this gun thing again. You would think that a smart person like yourself would learn after the first try..."

Beggs wasn't paying any attention to her as he forced his left eye to see beyond her body. Beyond to where a huge loading crane hook was attached to a wall by a tiedown. He had three chances to hit it, the last bullet was for him if he failed.

"...but do try again if you must."

Beggs' vision was beginning to double and blur as the numbness crept into the remainder of his body. He knew that no more time was left to pull off the impossible as he fired off the first round: Miss to the left. Number two: High and right. Last chance: On center, but way high. Beggs could feel a tear well up in his eye as his arm began to fall downward and swell, not giving him the chance to turn it about and use the last round. Out of spite, he snap fired the last bullet at the woman before he lost all control and the gun tumble out of a useless paw. Beggs wanted to scream, curse, and damn the woman all at the same time, but had no mouth to do it with as the woman looked on with a perversed pride over her achievement.

"Does my cute, fat little skunk have to say something? I can see you do in those beady eyes of yours."

A burst of flames shot from the woman's fingertips and flew onto Beggs' muzzle. It circled and twisted about a few times and Beggs felt his mouth rip from one solid piece into two. He didn't say a word at first as he stared with his unblinking plastic eyes at the hook tiedown. As the cord began to fray and unwind, Beggs finally spoke up.

"Yea... see you in hell..." he said just as the tiedown gave way with a loud snap.

The woman turned about to see one ton of pointed metal bearing down on her with the force of a locomotive as the hook swung outward in a arc. She never had the chance to dodge as it covered the distance between the wall and her in a second and the hook tip slammed home straight through her chest. She let out a horrific scream as the momentum of the hook swung her backward towards a sidewall. The impact shook the entire building as the hook buried itself deep into concrete and crushed her body. The echoes reverberated for what seemed to be an eternity as Beggs' body tilted slightly from the vibrations.

"Try and try again I was always told...." he softly said to himself as he stared at an off-center world.

A rushing of wind filled the air as powerful gusts blew at Beggs' and Teleto's bodies. Beggs wish he could see what was happeing as he tried to move just one part of himself to no avail. The sound of electricity arcing soon came after and he could see bolts flying from behind him to all points across the metal works in the room. What he couldn't see was that the arcs were emanating from behind the hook as a green glow covered it. The wind grew stronger as the sound of a hundred voices howling filled the air. The hook swung free as hundreds of faces flew from out of the woman's body and dances about. Most quickly dissapeared into the night sky, but a few drifted downward and circled about Beggs.

"Thank-you..." they all whispered over and over before disappearing themselves, all that was, except one.

Beggs immediately recognized it as that of Deffone's.

"What do you want?" Beggs asked with a sharp tone.

"To thank you for freeing our souls and mine as well. And to apologize for what I have caused. I freed that terrible witch from her holding in a book of spells in exchange for my knowledge of toymaking. But then as I saw what she could do, I had to have that power for myself and I went mad to achieve it. It took the cost of my own soul to see what had become of myself and the lives of so many to realize the evil I had released. I can't totally undo what has been done to you, but I can reverse some of it."

Deffone's face began to fade out of existence as his voice soften to a whisper, "I sacrifice myself in a chance to redeem myself to at least one person...."

As the face disappeared, Beggs felt a tingle come over his body. His body began to shrink in size somewhat as a feeling of control began to spread out over his limbs and his fingers separated. Inside, Beggs just smiled.

Just then, a loud explosion filled the room as a huge double door fell inward and several members of the SWAT team rushed in.

"Officer Teleto! Officer Beggs! Can you hear me?!" one of the members called out.

"Late as usual... and won't they be in for a surprise..." Beggs thought to himself before calling out a response.

Doctors, his commander, and the chief, all surrounded Beggs and tried to make any sense out of his tale. No one could believe that a giant plush skunk was what used to be a human being, but there he was...

"Let me get this straight... Some witch turned you and Teleto into stuffed animals just for the hell of it?? And this said witch was also controlling Deffone into making all those toys that caused other people to change as well? Preposterous!" the chief said as he stared at Beggs.

"With all due respect, sir... Then how the hell do you account for me then??!?"

"It has to be my wife's meatloaf.... Damn thing always does weird thing to me..." the chief said as he burped and then walked away.

"Can you walk?" Beggs' commander asked him as the doctors gave up trying to find any signs of life in his inanimate body.

"I don't know... Can someone possibly give me a hand up?" Beggs asked as he tried to force his arms up.

To his surprise, they actually moved. Beggs began to experiment and found that his arms and hands worked like they were supposed to. His commander and a couple of doctors hefted his bulk up onto his feet. His legs actually supported the weight and Beggs took a cautious step forward. He made weird crinkling noises with every movement, but at least he could move. Almost everyone in the building stopped whatever they were doing and just stared at the pudgy skunk moving on it's own as Beggs let out a cry of joy.

"But, what the hell am I going to do with a stuffed skunk for a police officer??"

"Mascot?" Beggs suggested.

"It might just be... Now, if you don't mind, I have a splat of a perp to scrape off of the wall. I'll be back to you later for debriefing. "

Later that evening, Mr. Fret watched the line of police cars slowly begin to disappear from the factory. A sad expression stayed with his face as he watched truckload after truckload of toys be loaded onto semi's and shipped out to be destroyed. A look of puzzlement came across it as he watched a strange figure walk out of the building under the help of others. He could have sworn it had a tail and it made him wonder. As the second to last car left, a lone man ran from the factory, trailing something from behind. The man ran behind his car and bent over something. Suddenly, a loud explosion filled the air as the Deffone factory collapsed in upon itself and the last car sped out of the gate. Mr. Fret smiled, as he now knew that the evil had lost its home here and he could finally now rest.

Let Sleeping Dolls Lie copyright 1999 by Anonymous.

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