Kyle had better things to do on a Friday night during her trip to Europe.
One thing was for sure: She did NOT want to go to this ‘Freak Puppet Show’ her friend, Daphne found on a flier in some trashy pub.
“*Psychotic Psychs & Shitface*??” Kyle exclaimed. “Daphs, you’ve got to be joking….”
“Come on, girl loosen up!!!” Daphne slammed her hand on the café table. Her crazy, curly golden hair seemed to poof up in excitement. “It’s cheep thrills like this we used to live for back in high school!”
“Come on….Daph…” Kyle leaned in closer to her friend. “You know I hate dolls.”
Daphne sighed. “Look. I’ll level with you, hon. You think I didn’t believe you all those years ago, but I do. You need to put it behind you.”
“You act as though I talk about it all the time…” Kyle looked out the window, avoiding eye contact.
“You don’t….but I can see it haunts you from time to time.” Daphne said in a somewhat empathic tone.
Kyle looked back at her friend. She smirked. “Fine. Challenge accepted.”
Daphne winked. “That’s my gal!”
“You owe me!” Kyle pointed bluntly at her friend.
They grab their bags….
~*~*~*~*~*~Later that night….~*~*~*~*~*~
Kyle and Daphne walked into the crowd that was the audience of the upcoming puppet show.
Kyle made her way to the left side of the front of the stage. She looked into the audience. The crowd itself was a bit rowdy. Grimy young people in their early to mid 20s throwing up, smoking weed, and chugging alcohol….but that wasn’t what bothered her. It was the ambience of the entire area. There were a few guys in a corner who seemed to be undressing Kyle and Daphne with their eyes.
“Kind of a scummy crowd, eh Daph?” Kyle nudged her friend, giving her shit.
“Meh…Maybe the show’s better.” Daphne shrugged.
“OW! You’re hurting me!”
“Stop squirming, Shitface!”
Kyle caught the faint conversation.
“What now—?” Daphne started to ask.
Kyle inched her way towards the back of the stage. She pulled back the curtain just a tad.
“Sit STILL you wee lil fuck!” Psychs yelled.
Kyle’s mouth dropped open. She couldn’t believe what she was seeing, and hearing.
What appeared to be a small child—almost doll like in appearance, she had to admit—was getting a collar strapped around his or her neck.
“I won’t do it,” the ‘child’ opposed, standing his ground.
“Oh you will, Shitface or you won’t eat for a week!”
The small plastic, almost deformed looking child sighed in defeat.
“Now COME ON!”
The doll child looked over in Kyle’s direction, gasping.
They locked eyes for a split second.
Psychs turned around.
Nothing was there.
Kyle had already made her way back into the crowd. She rushed passed her friend.
“Kyle?” Daphne lifted in eyebrow, wondering what had happened.
She made her way to the center of the crowd, near the front. Daphne followed her.
The house lights dimmed, and the stage lights came on. Hard metal music started to play. The crowd roared in excitement.
A disembodied creepy voice started to speak: “Welcome, everyone! Will you please put your hands together for THE Psychotic Psychs and his puppet, SHITFACE!”
Psychs strutted out on stage, with the little puppet boy at the end of a leash and strings attached to his or her shoulders.
Kyle glared at Psychs. She wanted to punch him in the face.
“I can already tell this show is going to suck.” Daphne said in guilty tone, leaning towards her friend. She started to walk in the other direction.
Kyle grabbed her friend’s jacket. “Wait!” Kyle didn’t take her eyes off the stage.
Psychs sat on a stool, the doll child in one hand, a cigarette in his other.
“This disgusting atrocity isn’t even anatomically correct. I found him in a cemetery back in New Jeresey. Little bastard tried to rip me throat out…”
“I did not….” he looked up with his blue doe eyes at Psychs.
The crowd roared with laughter. Kyle was getting more and more pissed off by the second.
“I just wanted to give you a hug.
Doll child looked into the crowd and made eye contact with Kyle. His widened and his mouth dropped open.
To Kyle, his or her eyes screamed: HELP ME.
Either way, there was something very familiar about this kid.
It’s as if ‘Chucky’, the same doll that tormented her adopted brother, Andy had a love child with….somebody…she couldn’t place who.
It didn’t matter.
It didn’t matter what this kid looked like or where he came from. He was a child in need of help; of getting out of an abusive situation.
“HEY ASSHOLE!” Kyle screamed up at the stage.
Psychs leered down at Kyle.
“Kyle!” Daphne hissed. “What the hell are you doing?!”
“I’m talkin’ to you!” she looked Psychs right in the eyes.
“Oh lookie here, folks looks like we got ourselves a heckler.” Psychs said nonchalantly.
The crowd laughed.
“Let me ask you a question—”
“—Ask away, love…” Psychs was noticeably bored with Kyle already.
“Tell me something, do you make it a habit of tying up little kids and making them perform?”
Psychs raised an eyebrow.
“YEAH. I went there.” Kyle baited him.
Psychs roared with laughter, as did the crowd. “This right here, Ms. is—-“
“—not a freakin’ puppet, I can tell you that much right now.” she folded her arms.
“You’re an American, right?” Psychs asked slyly.
“Nice try!” Kyle laughed sarcastically. “….Ya know, I work in the social services field. I can have ten guys fly out here tonight to arrest your scummy ass.”
“Well, bring it on, mate! This ain’t nothing but an empty vessel!” Psychs yanked on the chain. Doll child gasped in pain.
Psychs whispered subtly to him or her, not breaking eye contact with Kyle. “Scream and I’ll rip your throat out.”
Kyle was reaching a boiling point. She inhaled and exhaled in frustration. She could tell he or she was too scared to say a word. Either way, she was determined to help this little guy.
“Come on, Daphne. Lets get out of here!” she said loud enough for Psychs to hear.
“What the hell was that?” Daphne whispered in confusion.
“We’re not leaving yet. Meet me at the back of the stage, “ Kyle whispered.
After the show, Kyle and Daphne hid under a table, right near a cage that Psychs was locking the doll-like child into.
“You were not kidding….” Daphne whispered as she looked at the scene in disbelief.
“Why else would he need a cage?” Kyle added.
Psychs snapped the lock into the cage. “I’m gonna go collect our earnings for the night. I’ll be back…I meant what I said earlier, Shitface.” He pointed threateningly at him. “Scream and I’ll break your windpipe.” he disappeared into the front of the house.
Kyle got out from under the table.
“Hey kid,” Kyle whispered. “Pssst!”
The doll child turned around. He/she gasped.
“Don’t be afraid, OK.” Kyle approached the cage cautiously. “I’m a friend. I can help you. How are you feeling right now? Are you hurt?”
The doll child sunk his head in shame. “Awful.” he/she said. Kyle felt that was to be expected after what he just went through.
“Of course you’re feeling that way….I’m sorry. Look, we don’t have much time.” Kyle handed the doll child a piece of paper. “My name is Kyle. I’m a social worker from the United States. I work in Chicago, Illinois. Do you know where that is?”
Doll child shook his head. “No.”
“No matter, here’s my name, phone number, address, and the organization I work for.”
Doll child took the piece of paper.
“I’m gonna get you out of here, OK?”
He/she nodded their head.
“Do you have a name?”
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” said Kyle in an angry tone.
“No….I don’t have a name and I don’t know who my parents are….” he/she was on the verge of tears.
“Do you know how old you are?”
“OK, that’s a start.” Kyle nodded, smiling warming to the kid.
“We know where that creeps performing tomorrow.” said Daphne, who snapped a picture on her phone of the doll child. “You can get someone up here by tomorrow night, right?”
“Yes,” responded Kyle. “You might have to sit tight before we can come and find you again. Alright?” she addressed doll child
The kid nodded his head optimistically. Tears started rolling down his/her face. This broke Kyle’s heart.
“Look, kiddo……” Kyle held onto his/her hand. “I didn’t have any parents when I was your age either. We’re gonna find your family.” She winked and smiled. He/she smiled back.
“Really?!” This excited him/her.
“Yes!” Kyle said with equal excitement. “But I want you to promise me something.”
The doll child nodded and listened.
“If this scum bag tries to hurt you: YOU RUN. As fast as you can.” Kyle said in a serious tone. “Promise me!”
“I promise!” nodded the doll child. “Oh yes, I promise!”
“I’ll find you tomorrow and we’ll take you out of here.” Kyle promised. “I promise you.”
Kyle put her hand over his and smiled.
Daphne checked behind the curtains. “Creepo, twelve o’clock.” She watched him head towards the backstage.
“We gotta go!” she nodded at him/her. “We’ll come and get you in the next day or two, I promise!”
“OK!” he/she said, watching the women leave from behind the stage.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*Two days later….~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
A group of police and social service people had raided Psychs tent. There were police, social workers, you name it examining the cage, the condition of the place, etc.
“He’s gone! I already told you!” Psychs looked defeated as he sat handcuffed on his own couch.
Kyle looked around the cage. She was a little disappointed, admittedly that the kid was gone….but nonetheless happy that he or she headed her words and ran off. She only hoped that the kid would try and contact her. Either way, she was ready for his/her call.
After all, what could be worse than being in conditions like this??
Kyle looked over at the TV. Entertainment Tonight started to play a TV spot.
“You can check Chucky and Tiffany’s new film, in theaters soon…Anything you want to add to that Chucky,” the woman on the screen handed Chucky the microphone.
“Fuck you all very much and go see my film!”
Kyle’s eyes widened. She looked from Chucky to Tiffany on the screen. It hit her. She knew exactly who this kids parents were.
She started dialing a number on her flip phone and held it up to her ear.
She waited for it to ring a few times.
“Andy?” Kyle spoke into the phone. “Hey, how are you? That’s good…” Kyle’s voice filled with concern. “Listen, Andy…we might have a potential problem on our hands here.”
Kyle walked outside and started explaining to Andy what happened over her weekend in Europe.