Rolph

The following short story was presented at the Jersey City Writers’ monthly genre event–Creepypasta: A Literary Reading of Web Horror. Please enjoy.

There once was a family: a mother, a father, a daughter, and a son. One day, when the son was three and the daughter was eight, the father abruptly left to pursue his fortune elsewhere, many miles away.

Soon after, the son introduced his mother and sister to Rolph.

Rolph was, apparently, a puppy—a big puppy, who could walk around like a human, but was invisible to everyone but the son.

Believing that this was a coping mechanism, the mother recruited her daughter to pretend that Rolph was real. She gave her daughter chocolates or pennies to hide in her brother’s room and, when he discovered them, his sister would exclaim,” Why look, Rolph left you a present!” This never failed to delight the young son.

Soon, it was time for the daughter to go to school. She left for her first day with a kiss for her mother and assurances to her brother that he wouldn’t be lonely—he still had Rolph.

As weeks passed, the mother observed a change in her daughter. Gradually, she stopped wanting to play with her brother. She grew very short-tempered when he brought his stuffed animals to her room, and she lost all tolerance for Rolph. She told him that imaginary friends were for babies.

The son cried and insisted that Rolph was real, but the daughter would not relent. Left to her own devices, the mother struggled to keep up the ruse, and gradually the son became convinced that his best friend had abandoned him. He became despondent, and his mother grew worried.

Then, one morning, the son’s stuffed elephant Sniffy, went missing. Convinced he had misplaced it, the mother helped her son search his room, and eventually discovered Sniffy stuffed into the highest shelf in the room. When she lifted the animal, something hard clattered to the floor, followed by a piece of paper. She picked it up. The edges were ragged, the writing barely legible.

 

I am right here.
-Rolph

 

Looking down, she recognized the object that had fallen. It was one of Sniffy’s eyes.

Immediately, the mother went to her daughter’s room wielding the injured elephant. Was she trying to scare her brother? This was not funny. The daughter insisted that she had not hidden the elephant, and the two argued back and forth until finally, the mother punished her daughter and told her that the matter was closed.

However, a few days later, the mother was again awoken by her son. He was crying and holding a pair of jeans. The jeans were shredded: ripped straight down one seam and up the other. As the mother took the jeans from her son, she felt something crinkle beneath her fingers. Reaching into the back pocket, she pulled out another tattered piece of paper.

 

Seem real yet?
-Rolph

 

Once again, when she confronted her daughter, the mother met nothing but protests. This gave the mother pause, because the jeans did appear to have been torn barehanded, and her daughter was, after all, only eight years old. However, there was no other explanation, so the mother punished her daughter once again, hoping she had learned her lesson.

Two days later, when the mother went to wake her son, she found that half of the hair on his head had been shorn away. And there, beneath his downy cheek, was another scrap of paper.

 

That was close.
-Rolph

 

This time, the mother stormed into her daughter’s bedroom and ripped off the sheets. However, before she could get a word out, she saw a flash of silver. There, beneath the sheets, were her sewing shears.

Of course, her daughter insisted she was innocent and had no idea how the shears got into her bed. She cried. She pleaded. But the mother was furious. She told her daughter that from now on, her daughter would sleep with her, in her bed, every night until she learned the difference between a harmless prank and a dangerous one.

That night, after putting her son to bed, the mother took her daughter with her into her bedroom and locked the door. She tied the key around her neck and informed her daughter that until she confessed and apologized to her brother, this is where she would sleep. With that, they went to bed.

Several hours later, the mother awoke bathed in sweat. A crackling sound came from the foot of the bed, and the air smelled of smoke.

Peering over the bed, the mother recognized her daughter’s blond head faced away from her, toward tongues of flame that were steadily creeping up the bedroom door. She was about to cry out when she saw her daughter’s hand extend toward the flames.

That hand. It looked so strange. Instead of tiny, slender fingers, these were long and bent, with long and jagged nails.

Slowly, the daughter’s hunched form rose. As the body unfurled, it kept growing, taller, and taller. The shoulders, they were too broad. The hair was too long. This could not be her daughter.

When the hulking form finally turned, the mother began to scream. The face was that of her daughter, only distorted, as though someone had turned the skin to clay and pushed with their hands until the forehead and the chin were a foot farther apart than they should have been. The jaw hung off to one side, detached, and a long tongue protruded between thin slimy lips. In the flickering light, its ears looked pointed, almost . . . dog-like. It was no longer her daughter. It was a monster.

Grinning maniacally, the monster began to stagger forward toward the bed. In its fist were the sewing shears.

“Please,” the mother begged, her voice raw with smoke. “Please . . . I never meant. . . .”

At the edge of the bed, the monster opened its mouth. Strings of saliva stretched across its pointed fangs. As the shears flashed forward, the beast emitted a deep garbled moan.


“Rolph. Is. Real.”

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