The Doll’s Eyes

For Phoenix. Always and Forever.

My name is Chastity White. I am a headhunter, and this is my story.

When I say that I am a headhunter, I mean that in a very literal sense of the word. That is, I deal in the collection and purveyance of heads. How do I come across these heads? A variety of sources. The most reliable, and therefore most boring, sources of heads are morgues and funeral homes. The directors at places like that are always willing to turn a blind eye in exchange for cash. The riskiest, and therefore most rewarding, way of collecting heads is to harvest them from still living bodies. At first, my harvests were random, based entirely around whomever happened to be an easy target at the time. 

As my business expanded, however, I was able to take on more and more “special requests.” In the darkest corners of the internet, there are people willing to pay top dollar for the severed heads of their enemies. That’s where I make most of my money: small lot collectors who place auction-style bids for museum-quality heads. Of course, it’s easy for an amateur to be taken advantage of in this market. Half the people who purport to be paying customers usually turn out to be undercover law enforcement agents, and the other half are more likely to stiff you on your fee than pay you what you’re owed. But once I found my clientele of people with appetites similar to mine, the money started rolling in faster than I could spend it. 

That’s because I’m no amateur. 

It all started when I was three. I was exploring the old landfill behind my grandma’s house, when I stumbled across a porcelain doll’s head, laying face down in the dirt. Its hair was filthy and matted, and there was a small hole at the base of its skull where it once connected to the doll’s body. I stooped down and picked it up, rolling the thing over and over in my hands. Its skin was smooth and cold, and its eyes were shiny, black beads. I had never seen eyes like that on anyone but myself.

“Goddamn it, Helen!” screeched my elderly grandmom. “She’s got the Devil’s eyes!”

“Shut up, mom!” my mother screamed back. “She has dark brown eyes. That doesn’t mean she’s the Antichrist!” 

“It means she’s got her father’s eyes!” retorted my grandmom. “And you’re telling me that man wasn’t the Devil?”

So that was that, according to my grandmom: I had the Devil’s eyes. I carried that doll’s head around with me until I was ten, like a toddler with a safety blanket. I really do believe that it was a token of comfort. Of course I got bullied a lot. What sort of weird loner kid sits alone at recess, rocking back and forth, clutching a doll’s head? I guess I could have tried harder to fit in. But no one ever taught me how to fit in.

How was I supposed to figure that out on my own?

It wasn’t until middle school that I began to realize that there were others like me. People who “fit in” with no one else. And by the time I graduated highschool, I had built a neat little dossier of contacts who I thought might make potential “clients” in the future. Clients for what? At that point, I wasn’t sure. All I knew was that I liked the idea of heads more than the actual people to which they belonged, and that there were other people out there like me. So once I hit rock-bottom and got kicked out of rehab, I knew I had to make a tough choice. Did I go quietly into the night? Or did I face my problems head on?

Pun intended.

Of course I picked the latter, starting small with the aforementioned “easy” targets of graverobbing, ambulance chasing, and things like that. Once I had established myself amongst my peers as a woman who could get the “real thing” somewhat reliably, I decided to raise the stakes. My first harvest was on a fast-food employee walking alone to their car after dark. If I had been aiming to kill, a blow on the head would have been ideal. But since that was the most valuable asset in this whole operation, I’d had to devise a way to incapacitate and harvest without damaging the merchandise. To this end, I swung the tip of my machete square into the small of his back, dropping him to his knees. A couple of quick swipes, and I was home free. Taking it home with me on the bus, wrapped in cellophane and stuffed into a Louis Vutton handbag, I had never felt such self-satisfaction. It filled a void in me that I didn’t know existed. The same void that I saw in the doll’s eyes. My father’s eyes. My father’s void. 

The first head went at auction for $100,000. The next one for $300,000. By the time I got to lucky number seven, I was pulling in a million a head. And I was harvesting once every two weeks, so those millions added up quickly. I thought that, for what I was doing, a two week cooldown period would be sufficient to maintain a steady supply. The last thing I wanted was to be accused of creating artificial scarcity, or else of flooding the market. The thing about selling heads to a curated audience is that you need to know your product inside and out. Two weeks gave enough time for research, planning, and the construction of an elaborate scenario that began with a prospective head and ended with a successful harvest. From there, all I had to do was follow the specifications in the buy order, and then ship it with a private carrier. I always make sure to bill the “guaranteed on-time delivery” to the client. 

Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy 🙂