This story was written in answer to The Word of the Day Challenge : Uncanny
Uncanny means: Uncanny is the psychological experience of something as strangely familiar, rather than simply mysterious. It may describe incidents where a familiar thing or event is encountered in an unsettling, eerie, or taboo context
Here’s what I came up with…
Madam Mime’s Waxworks was a place to get close to the rich celebrities and historical figure – without getting close to them at all. Every exhibit was an uncanny resemblance of a well-known person wearing a recognisable outfit and pose.
Benjamin Sutton owned Madam Mime’s with his cat Suzi. What with a downturn in the economy and a lousy winter he’d been forced to lay off most of his employees. Now, only he and Kiosk worker Gina worked in the building during open hours. Old Johnathon would be in each morning as the caretaker. A skeleton crew for an ageing old waxwork.
“Well, its closing time, Gina,” Benjamin said with a yawn one evening. He passed her wearing his comfortable red tweed jacket and pinstriped trousers. His outfit and twisting moustache made him the ringmaster of his show. Nodding to the statue of Winston Churchill in the alcove, he locked the front door.
“Oh, good. We had a few visitors today. Not enough though, I’m afraid.” Gina had come to work for the waxworks whilst doing her science degrees. At nineteen she was as much an attraction as the exhibits, to Benjamin’s way of thinking. Even in the museum’s blue t-shirt and black trousers, she had a cute figure. Round dolly face and plaited pigtails which were hard to resist playing with. Gina closed the till down for the night and took the money tray out.
“Some is always better than none, my dear.” Benjamin took her till tray from her and led the way through the velvet curtain. “We’ll check nobody fell asleep in here and then I’ll walk you to your car as always.”. On her second night, Gina had been grabbed by a shadowy assailant with a missing index finger. She’d been lucky that a passing off-duty police officer had seen the incident and saved her. Since then Benjamin had always escorted her to her car and seen her off home.
“Thank you, Ben,” Gina replied hugging herself as they entered the first room. It was dressed like a dully lit comedy club and filled with comedian waxes.
“Old Oscar looks tired; I should put someone else on stage I think.”
“Aww, Ben. You say that every night and naa!”
“I’m — Gina, you flinched are you okay?” Benjamin had been checking beneath a large clothed table when he saw her jump back. She was staring at a comedian with a bowler hat, little round glasses, tail suit and beard.
“H-he pinched my bum while I was looking behind the curtains.” Gina’s face was bleached white with shock.
“How weird! I don’t know who he is. I bought him because he looks like Charlie Chaplin you know.” Benjamin poked the dummy’s stomach and looked at his hands. The waxwork had come with an index finger lost in transit. “I don’t see how he could have pinched you.”
“I’m telling you, he did,” Gina hurried from the room and entered the Hollywood wing.
“I doubt that.” Benjamin followed her and gazed over his A-listers. Many were old but some were newer. “Do you like Katharine’s new dress?”
Gina smiled at it. “Yes, from the African Queen, right?”
“Indeed, I paid a pretty penny for it at auction.”
“Humphrey has a new suit too, doesn’t he?” Gina smoothed the lapel of the wax gentleman’s shiny black jacket.
“He does. Moths ate the old one.”
“It was worth chang—” Gina gasped. “Something moved by the Oscars stage.”
Benjamin glanced around the giant gold Oscar trophy and the podium held by Mr Spielberg and a pet velociraptor. “I don’t see anything.”
“I do.” Gina picked up a little round pair of glasses. “These, look uncannily like the ones that comedian wears.”
“Yes, they do.” Benjamin left the Hollywood room and return to the comedy club. “Well, he’s still here. Minus his glasses,” he remarked with a spidery feeling creeping all over him as he locked eyes with the waxwork. Something rum was afoot within Madam Mime’s this evening.
Feeling spooked the two hurried through the horror wing where they discovered Frankie had lost an arm. It was nowhere to be seen and so they entered the Royal family and prime minister’s room.
“Good evening, your majesties,” Gina said in her most plummy accent. She checked behind the thrones, straightened and screamed. “Look out the comedi—”
The lights flashed out
Benjamin got a half look at the bowler hat-wearing comedian before Frankenstein’s arm bludgeoned his head. He staggered into the Iron Lady and the two crashed to the ground.
Gina’s screams filled the room becoming muffled to Benjamin phasing in and out of consciousness. His breathing quickened as his mind put the pieces together. ‘Missing fingers – pinched bum – lost glasses.’ “Gina’s stalkers back to finish what he started!”
Benjamin staggered to his feet. “My apologies, Maggie.” He said to the wax lady he’d flattened and decapitated. He felt blood oozing from a wound above his eye as he took out his phone for a light and looked about him. Seeing nothing he called the police and moved through the darkness.
“Gina! Where are you?” he breathed his eyes glancing about the darkroom. The storeroom door was open. Benjamin hurried through into the corridor. Staging stands and backdrop were leant against the walls here. Into the storeroom he went, this place was home to dozens of waxworks requiring repairs and waiting for a chance to be seen again.
A light in the corner and a muffled scream
“Gina!” Benjamin dashed between figures from a sci movie and came upon the tailcoat wearing comedian. He had Gina by the throat and was tearing at her clothes. “Unhand her you slimy sprat!”
“Well, Mr Ringmaster don’t you look fine. This fresh piece of meat is mine.” He said with a sinister smile.
“Rhymes, very clever. Now, let her go you disgusting animal.” Benjamin widened his stance.
“Yes – yes, of course, we’ll fight. Then I’ll take care of my prize alright.” The comedian laughed, tossed his hat askance and charged.
Benjamin jumped aside and caught him with a punch in the mouth. “Stop fighting and get out!” he yelled as the two traded blows.
“A year ago, I wanted this girl. Now, I’ll take her as a pretty pearl.”
Benjamin saw a flash of silver; the man had drawn a small but deadly Indonesian karambit knife.
“If you want her you’ll have to kill me first.” Benjamin took up a hat stand; refusing to back down.
“Oh, so you too, love her pretty head. No matter, I’ll make you very dead!” the comedian lunged.
Benjamin caught his arm with the stand but he twisted free. The blade sliced through his sleeve as he bashed the creepy man away.
“Oh, goodie I’ve drawn some blood. When my fun is over, I’ll bury you both under some mud.” The comedian laughed again.
A face with thick black hair and a blackeye rose behind him. It crashed down on his head and shattered like a giant candle. The Comedian went cross-eyed and staggered forward.
Benjamin braced for him and broke the hat stand over his shoulder laying him out cold.
Gina stood holding a lock of black hair. “Sorry, Rocky. Better your head than mine,” she said letting it fall to the ground.
“How uncanny Rocky still scores knockouts!” Benjamin said catching her in a hug. “I’m sorry, I didn’t stop him sooner.”
“Well there’s no good waxing lyrical now is there. He’s brained, I’m fine. Let’s go home.”
Have a great day!