Dr. Brandt led them past the shelving that housed countless jars of sauces and cans of who knew what, as well as an area with a large freezer and refrigerator, and a section for the housekeeping staff that held organized cleaning supplies and fresh linens. The next section was an open area with even more odds and ends. It looked like the staging area for the renovation crew—extra baseboards and molding, a workbench, some plywood and lots of stuff that must be original items pulled from the rooms.
“It’s like a museum of old junk,” Bryan said, panning the camera over a small area of furniture, some covered with dusty sheets, some without. Jess caught a glimpse of a chair with rotting upholstery. An old bike and several dolls with antique, waxen faces sat in another section. Nothing in Siler House had given Jess the creeps as much as those dolls, and she felt the fine hair rise on her arms. She never liked dolls, and these were especially awful. For one, they were sitting on top of an old dresser, facing toward them as if waiting for someone to show up. A blond-haired doll in the middle looked the worst of the bunch. At some point, it appeared to have been a child’s favorite. The dress was dirty and the hair, which must have been golden and in perfect ringlets at one time, now looked frizzy and dull. Worse, a fairly large spider had built a web between it and the dresser mirror. The pale light from her flashlight cast shadows, illuminating white stripes on the spider’s legs. Jess quickly panned the flashlight upward, making sure the spider didn’t have relatives overhead.
She almost wished they hadn’t come down here…
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