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Mophead by Simon Lee-Price


It sounds like child’s play. Keep Tony’s giant rag doll Mophead in your home for a week and win the £1000 bet. The trouble is, everyone who tries gets scared out of their mind. Maybe they should listen to Tony’s parting advice: “He doesn’t like to be left on his own for too long. It only makes things worse . . .”



Don’t ask where he comes from… you don’t want to know.

Why does living with Mophead always turn into your darkest nightmare? After all, he’s just a stuffed guy, like the kind you burn on Bonfire Night, and you know he can’t really hurt you. But things look different when evening falls—and so does Mophead, sitting at the end of your couch. You could swear he has grown and his stringy grey hair seems a little longer than before. You lie awake in bed listening to every sound, trying to reassure yourself that inanimate objects cannot get up and creep about, especially ones that have no feet.

Tony is just a phone call away. He’s promised he’ll come at any time and take Mophead off your hands—and collect his winnings of course. But how can you admit to being scared of a rag doll, even when you notice a kitchen knife has gone missing?

Mophead will also feature in the anthology, Restless, coming soon from Frith Books.

Simon’s Author Page

Additional information


Simon Lee-Price


7096 words (20 .pdf pages)


.epub, .pdf

Kindle ASIN


Cover Design

Anna Reith

Read an excerpt


© Simon Lee-Price. All rights reserved.

“Are you still game?”

That was the first thing he said when I opened the front door. The sight of him standing there and grinning unnerved me. I’d given him my address in the pub over a week ago but I never thought I’d actually see him again.

“Don’t tell me you want to chicken out?” He smiled unpleasantly, moving so close that I could see each grain of stubble on his chin. He could have been thirty or fifty and had a bronze tan which looked as if it had been sprayed on at a salon. “Not a scaredy cat, are you?”

“No, I’m still game.”

Still game? That wasn’t how I spoke but, just like that night in the pub, I felt pressured to mimic his laddish patter, as if it showed masculine confidence and resolve.  

“Great! I knew you’d be up for it, mate.” He rubbed his palms together. “Rightio, I’ll just go over and get him then.”

I watched him walk down the path to the gate. His stride was easy: his weight fell on his heels, and he tucked his thumbs into his front pockets to make his shoulders appear broader. I knew his type and disliked him even more. He was a chancer who went from one scam to the next. I couldn’t remember how we’d got talking that evening; I’m not the kind of person who usually gets chatty with strangers and he wasn’t local, I was sure of that. But I did remember making the bet and squeezing one of those slippery palms to confirm it.

He crossed over the road to where a white estate van was parked at the kerb. It looked barely roadworthy, and the logo on the side was too worn away to read. I noticed somebody sitting in the passenger seat. Man or woman, I couldn’t tell, they were too low down, but I could just make out what looked like the top of a head of ash-grey hair. The passenger sat absolutely still and didn’t even move when Tony—his name came to me suddenly, like a flashback—pulled open the nearside door and, placing a forearm on the roof to brace himself, leaned down into the van. He remained in that position for some time and must have been exchanging words with his passenger. Then he leaned further in and started fiddling with something out of sight.

When he stood up again, he was holding a limp figure against the side of his body. What I’d taken for a human passenger was in fact a giant rag doll or a Bonfire Night guy. He pushed the door shut and came back across the road and in through the gate, the strange, grey-wigged creation straddling his hip like an oversized baby and riding up and down with each step as if it derived an indecent pleasure from the act.

It was dressed in a padded anorak and green corduroy trousers, a getup which reminded me of my schoolboy days decades ago. The poor thing had no shoes or even feet: the ends of the trousers were simply tied off with pieces of old rope, and the hems flared out like tiny hooves. My attention, though, was focused on the mass of rat-tailed hair which reached halfway to its shoulders. It was the head of a mop. A very old and well used mophead. It completely obscured the doll-thing’s head and—when Tony stood before the door again and turned sideways to show me the face, its chin resting on his shoulder—I’d had no preparation for what I saw.

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