Alicia lived mostly with her Grandma Agnes in a small town on
Mulberry Street, while she was growing up. They were very close and had an intense love for each other.
Her Grandmother had made her a life sized rag doll when she was five years old and named it Patches. Alicia loved that doll. It was her constant companion, since Alicia was mostly a loner growing up with a few friends. Patches would listen to her problems when no one else would.
Being poor growing up and being made fun of the clothes that she wore, Alicia felt like an outcast. She had a mother that was rarely around because she had to work to help support Alicia. Her father was a mean and vicious drunk, who spent the money he made on booze and gambling with his city co-workers in the small steel town that they lived in.
Alicia feared for her and her Mother's life most of the time, never knowing when he would go off on them during one of his drunken rages.
It was times like these that she would confide in Patches and seek some comfort. If only she could get even with the man that made their lives miserable. But she was just a little girl and helpless.
Her step-father was friends with most of the police, city workers, and council men. It would not have done her any good to complain to them the day her backside was bruised and bleeding from the razor strap that he used on her. He would beat her for the most ridiculous reasons. If he got drunk and fell asleep and burned the bean soup that he was cooking, she would get beat for that. If she didn't move fast enough from outside playing to him calling her inside to change the TV set for him, because he was to damn lazy to get off the couch and do it himself, she would get the back end of his hand across her face.
If they ran out of his favorite snuff at the store, she would be almost afraid to go home because she knew what fate awaited her.
Her Grandmother hated that man as much as Alicia did. Her Grandmother would attend to Alicia's wounds in times like these. Alicia loved being with her Grandmother. She loved the times that she would be able to stay with her. Lying safely in bed with her Patches.
She dreaded the times that she had to go home with her mother and step-father, not knowing what might lie ahead. There was never any peace in the house, just arguing and then the beatings would come.
One day, Alicia came home from school and found her mother lying on the bottom of the stairs. Her step-father was at the top of the stairs yelling down
STEP-FATHER: Get up you bitch! You're not hurt.
Then he started laughing at her like a demon had possessed his soul.
Alicia wondered if one of them would have to die before this madness would end. A few months later, her grandmother was rushed to the hospital. She had high blood pressure and suffered a stroke. A blood clot went to her brain and she died.
The night she died, Alicia was at home with Patches on the bed with her. She was praying that her grandmother would be alright and come home again.
An apparition appeared at the bottom of her bed. It was a wispy ghostlike woman. Her arms were held out and her fingers wiggling as if to say "Come to me."
Alicia watched with her covers up to her chin not knowing what was happening. Patches floated off the bed and was standing in front of this ghost like woman. Just then Alicia's grandmother's spirit entered into Patches and laid down beside Alicia.
PATCHES: Alicia, you'll never have to be afraid again. I will protect you!
PATCHES: Yes, child, I will never leave you, my spirit lives inside the rag doll that you love.
On the day of Grandma Agnes' funeral, Alicia's step-father came home after a 3 day drinking binge unaware that his mother-in-law had died.
He was screaming at the top of his lungs.
STEP-FATHER: Where are you little bitches?
Patches came out from Alicia's bedroom and quietly descended the stairs. With stealth like motions, she came upon her drunken son-in-law and tapped him on the shoulder. He turned around, bleary eyed and was startled by the doll that had come to life.
STEP-FATHER: What the hell?
PATCHES: Never again will you cause harm to my family!
STEP-FATHER: Agnes? he said in disbelief.
He tried to push her out of the way, but Patches had wrapped her arms around his neck, slowly constricting him as a python would his prey.
When she felt him go limp, she released him. He was gasping for breath as he slowly began to rise.
Patches, seeing an opening to the basement, walked towards him. He backed up unaware the door was opened, fell backwards, tumbling head over heels down the stairs. He laid at the bottom in a lifeless heap.
She slowly turned around and went upstairs to Alicia's room. Now she knew her destination and why she had come back to life in the body of this doll.
Her family was now free of this evil man. With Alicia's help, she would be able to rid the world of a few more like him or even worse.