Free Flash Fiction:
The Dummy Head
By: Jae El Foster
November 25, 2018
He kept the head beside him on the desk, amazed at the likeness of its human features. He’d found it in the woods. Although it was an old beautician’s haircutting dummy, it was so remarkably human that when he’d found it, Johnson had thought it was real – decapitated from some poorly departed soul.
He had been thrilled that it hadn’t been real, but he’d also been mesmerized. There was something about the face – the eyes, the smile… what was left of the hair. It reminded him of somebody – perhaps anybody. He didn’t know. It was just… familiar.
Nearly a month had passed since Johnson found the dummy head, and he was as enchanted by it now as he had been then.
“You look like you have a story to tell,” he told it, smiling as he held his eyes with its. “I wish you could tell it. I’d love to know how you ended up that deep in the woods.”
He lifted the head and held it before him. Although its expression was lifelike, the eyes were empty. It was nothing more than a head; there was no reason for his continuing fascination. He’d earlier decided that it was an oddity – a conversation piece – but it matched none of his décor and, if he were to be completely honest, it kind of gave him the willies.
On his way out to work this morning, he placed it in the trashcan beside his mailbox for the garbage collectors to carry away. When he returned home in the evening, the trashcan was empty, and the head was setting once again on the desk.
When he noticed it, the color drained from Johnson’s face.
“How in the…?” He went to it, took it in his hands, and sniffed it. It certainly smelled like the trashcan. He set the head back down and took a step away.
The dummy head’s eyes seemed to look into his. They were blue and bright, and they added to the creepiness of its smile. Whereas the eyes had early seemed blank and lifeless, they now seemed to have a little spark – something different. Something that Johnson maybe missed before, he thought as he considered what to do with the head.
From the kitchen, he took a black trash bag and some duct tape from under the sink and returned to his small home office. There, he dumped the dummy head into the bag, wrapped the excess bag around itself, and then taped it all together in one mighty ball of duct tape.
This time, Johnson drove the bound head to the nearest convenience store, where he tossed it into their dumpster and continued on his way. Once more, when he returned home, the head was awaiting him on his desk – clear of tape or plastic. He stared at it in silence – in utter awe. It was the same head, as remarkable as that was, but there was something more to it now… something else that had changed on it. Where its smile had been simple and closed before, the dummy head’s lips were now slightly parted, revealing teeth in its smile.
When Johnson was about to question what was happening, the head winked at him – just one of its sparkly blue eyes.
Johnson shouted as he jumped away. Panicked, he went to his bedroom and took the case from his pillow. Then, returning to the office, he stuffed the head inside. He held the case closed as he once more fled his apartment. At his car, he tossed the bagged head into the passenger seat, and Johnson climbed into the driver side. Within moments, he was on the road again, and within an hour, his car was parked alongside the road while he hiked through the woods. It was dark out now and he had only the flashlight on his phone to guide his way.
“You want home?” he told the head in the bag. “I’ll give you home alright. You’re going right back to where I got you from.”
When Johnson reached the clearing where he’d found the head, it began to rain and the ground became slick beneath his steps. He reached into the pillowcase and pulled the head out, ready to throw it to the ground and stomp it in, just like it was when he found it. Only, as he took the head from the case, it blinked at him and grinned – sharp fangs glistening in the rain.
As quickly as Johnson could scream, the head was upon him, chomping at his neck – silencing him as blood began to spray out from his body, blending into the rain. Johnson dropped to the ground and the head continued to feast until Johnson’s head was severed from his body. Then, the dummy head rolled over to the grizzled neck and adjusted itself against it. Thunder roared high above and lightning struck down to the clearing where the body lay. Shortly, the storm cleared.
As it ended, Johnson’s body stood – the head of the dummy now attached. Only, the dummy head was no longer made of rubber, plastic and wood. Now, it was flesh and bone, having melded with the body and passed on the curse. Looking down to Johnson’s head on the ground, the inhabitant of the body smiled.
Johnson’s head had taken the form of a beautician’s dummy head, and it would remain like that until it received interaction with a living human to give it the strength needed to take over that human and – once again – pass the curse on to another. It just needed a curious owner to awaken it from its cursed slumber of death. It just needed another person like Johnson.
Copyright Jae El Foster, 2018