It was a cold, wet evening, the nights drawing in so that it was already dark at a little after 4pm. Justin Cierra, on his way home from work, flipped open his phone, watching the rain splat against his windshield.
"Justin, sweetie, it's mom."
Like he couldn't tell that from Call ID.
"I just wanted to make sure you weren't going to be late to Suzie's party."
"Sure, Mom, when is it?"
"Yeah, but when?"
There was an icy silence, followed by a slow, deliberate intake of breath. "This evening, Justin."
"You forgot, didn't you?"
"No, Mom, how can you say that?" Justin lied, as he spun the car around, u-turning in the deserted road, heading back towards a K-Mart he'd passed a few blocks back.
"She's your sister, for Christ's sake. All I ask is that we come together as a family for these special occasions, and what do I get?"
"Alright, Mom! I'll be there!"
"Good. Love you, sweetie."
The line went silent. Irritated, Justin hung up the phone and slipped it back in his jacket pocket. Freaking family... Suzie wasn't even his real sister. She was a half sister, and twelve years younger than him. They'd never gotten on. He hadn't gotten on with any of the new family his mother had built up, but he continued to pretend he did, for her.
The K-Mart was shut, and would be open again in a half hour, but the Goodwill next to it was still open, so he ran in to grab something that he could fob off as a present. There were rows of clothes and accessories, but he didn't know what she wore, or what size she was, so he headed to the toys. What would an eight year old girl want for her birthday? He looked at the poorly maintained doll's houses, and the jigsaws with pieces missing, and/or replaced by other, entirely different pieces... tempting as it would be to give her Frankenstein's jigsaw, he doubted Suzie or his mother would be happy.
"Excuse me?" The prim old woman at the counter called back to him. "We're about to close soon."
"Alright, alright." Justin sighed and grabbed the first thing he saw. It was a rather ugly three foot tall doll, with a mess of ginger hair. It wasn't even ugly in a specific way; it just looked a bit... creepy. It was still in the box, staring out through the plastic window, surrounded by red and yellow card. It looked seriously dated, but... he could say it was retro. Whatever. He paid five dollars for it, threw it into the car, and drove to his mother's house. All the time, he was trying to figure out why the doll was so familiar, but never bothering to actually examine it. He turned up, hugged his mother, said "happy birthday" and dropped the doll in front of Suzie, before swiftly forgetting all about it and getting into an argument with his step-dad ten minutes later. Suzie, who hadn't wanted her half-brother to turn up and ruin the mood anyway, took her doll upstairs, to be with the rest of her presents.
She slid him out of the box cautiously, red and white sneakers first, so that the box went up over his blue overalls, and past his smiling head. She read the legend on the box.
"Good Guy, huh? I never heard of you before."
"Hi-De-Ho, ha, ha, ha!" The doll's face moved with a slight mechanical grinding sound, as he turned his head towards her. Suzie gasped. She'd never had a talking doll before. She wondered what else it would say.
Flipping over the box, Suzie started to read the instructions, which was when the row escalated again, Justin yelling at Mom about her Dad, her Dad yelling at Mom about Justin, Mom yelling at both of them to shut the hell up because they were ruining a special occasion. Just like they had last year, and the year before, and as long as she could remember, at Christmas, birthdays, the Super-bowl, and just about any other time they were all in a room together. Suzie got up and shut her bedroom door, before picking up her new doll.
"They do this all the time. I really hate them sometimes. Especially Justin. He ruins everything."
"Hi, I'm Chucky, and I'm your friend to the end." The doll replied cheerily, blinking it's blue eyes at her. She smiled, picking him up and sitting on her bed, turning on her audio book CD and sniffing slightly as the door slammed.
"That's Dad storming out." Suzie explained, looking at the doll as she crawled under the covers. The door slammed again as she rested her head on the pillow. "And that's Mom going after him." She sniffed again, curling up under the covers as the TV blared on downstairs. "I wish Justin would stop causing problems." She muttered, looking at the doll.
"Hi, I'm Chucky. Wanna play?"
She smiled, putting the doll on the floor as she curled up and decided to sleep, until ten when everyone would come back, be apologetic, and give her a big slice of cake, just like every year.
The next morning, across state, Sam slammed down some printed out news articles on the Formica-topped table where Dean was eating waffles and bacon, eyes wide.
"You're gonna need a strong stomach for this one."