Daniel peered through the glass case in front of him. Behind the shine of his faded reflection on the glass, he saw a dust-covered doll wearing an old-fashioned dress. The doll had been propped up within a case since he first arrived at the school many months earlier. The glass case was placed right outside the school game room, where kids played foosball and air hockey. There was also a television that played sports games.
“This doll has been inside the glass case since my first day here,” said Daniel to Laurie and Arthur, his two best friends. “Is it rare? Who does it belong to?” asked Daniel.
Laurie looked at the case. “There is no plaque or name,” she said.
“Maybe it’s just for decoration,” Arthur shrugged.
“It’s kind of weird to place it outside the game room,” said Daniel.
Just then, Kyle Penesco came walking down the school hallway. Kyle was the meanest bully in Daniel’s grade and possibly the grade above as well. He stopped near the middle of the hallway and began surveying the area as though he was looking for something. Suddenly his eyes set to focus on a girl who was exiting the game room.
“Hey, you,” Kyle sneered at the girl.
The girl, whose name was Diana, stopped and she turned to look at Kyle. Diana had long curly red hair and glasses with a purple rim.
Kyle extended his arm and pointed his finger. “Yeah, you,” he said. “With the dorky glasses.”
Diana stood outside the game room, staring at Kyle. Kyle marched up to her. The kids in the hallway, including Daniel, Laurie, and Arthur, started to watch. Kyle put his face uncomfortably close to Diana’s face. “You have some nerve,” he said.
“What are you talking about?” she asked.
Kyle smiled. “You know full well what I am talking about. You were the one who snitched on me earlier. I know it was you who told vice principal Chad Greasly that I set off those firecrackers in English class.”
“I didn’t even know you had firecrackers,” she said.
“Don’t lie to me,” he said. “You were the only one in class who could’ve seen me light that big firecracker. You’re going to pay for snitching on me.”
“Just leave me alone, Kyle.”
“I don’t think so. And something tells me you’re going to get what’s coming to you sooner than you think.”
Daniel had had enough. He stepped up to Kyle and said, “Knock it off. She clearly hasn’t done anything to you.”
“Oh, Danny boy, when will you learn,” Kyle said.
“You should ask that yourself,” said Daniel.
“Whatever,” said Kyle, folding his arms. “You’re not going to stop me. I can get payback on her anytime I want.
“Oh, really?” said Laurie, stepping in, “When and how are you possibly going to get revenge on her.”
“Well,” he said, looking over at Diana, who was looking embarrassed about all this. “I’d say now and like this.”
Before anyone could act, Kyle’s friends had snuck up behind Diana and poured a huge cooler of cold water and wet toilet paper all over her. She stood frozen, dripping wet, a pile of soaking wet toilet paper on her head and dripping down her sweater. There was silence in the room. Kyle burst out laughing. “What a sap! Just look at her,” he said. His friends, the Bony Brox brothers, Mitch, and Pete, who had poured the wet toilet paper on Diana, began laughing with him. A couple of students watching couldn’t help but laugh as well. A couple of seconds later, Diana burst into tears and ran down the hallway and out of sight.
Kyle said, “Oh, man, I wish I had a camera.”
“You’re such a sicko,” said Laurie. “Could you possibly get any lower?”
“Seriously, Kyle, that was really uncool,” said Arthur.
“So what,” said Kyle. “It was worth a laugh, and she deserved it.” And with that, he and the Bony Brox brothers took off down the hallway.
“What a mess,” said Laurie.
“It’s about time we head back to the dorm,” Arthur said.
“Agreed,” said Daniel.
They walked in the opposite direction that Kyle ran off. And as they exited the hallway, Daniel got a quick look at the dusty doll. Her hands were now clenched. Strange, Daniel thought. I could have sworn her hands weren’t clenched when I was looking at her earlier.
The next day after homeroom class with Miss Winkle, Daniel, Laurie, and Arthur, had a free period. They were walking past the game room when one of them noticed a group of kids standing around the glass case that held the doll.
“What’s going on?” Daniel asked.
“Someone stole that weird doll,” said one of the kids. “They broke right through the glass.” There was glass all over the floor. The janitor was placing cones around the glass and taping off the area until it was cleaned.
“Strange,” said Laurie. “I see glass on the floor, but there is not a bit of it inside the case.”
“So?” said Arthur.
“If someone broke through the glass to get the doll, there should be glass inside the case. The breaking impact must have come from the inside. How is that possible? Was there anything else in there?”
“What are you getting at?”
“I am not sure,” she said.
However, Laurie didn’t really have time to ponder about this because later that day
all the kids in school were called into a surprise assembly where vice principal Chad Greasily got up on stage and announced to all of the students that the doll that was stolen from the glass case was actually a very rare doll. In fact, it is even worth a very large amount of money.
Vice principal Chad even told the kids that the doll has always been a very precious item to principal James Sanderson, and he has always thought of it as very important to him
Chad then went on to tell the students that “If anyone knows the whereabouts of the rare doll or has any information on who took it, just go to my office in the administration building, and you can report it to me.”
At this point, some kids were getting restless in the chairs and were ready to get up.
Only to have Chad lower the big auditorium movie screen and instructed a teacher in the back of the room to dim the lights.
Chad clapped his hands together and said, “So, we will now be watching two educational movies about the harmfulness of stealing.”
A bunch of the students moaned.
Usually, these types of educational movies were drawn-out Public Service Announcements with very corny actors and morals that were just hammered into you
The second film came to a close. all the kids were let out of the auditorium to have a small amount of free time before dinner.
As the kids hustled out of the assembly hall, Daniel, Laurie, and Arthur squeezed their way through the crowd and down a hallway that led to the schoolyard. “Ughhh,” Arthur groaned. “Quite frankly, I don’t see why we have to suffer for whoever stole that doll.”
“You know, I do say this a lot, and I know that he and I are not on the best of terms, but I am going to have to guess that Kyle stole that doll. I mean, he was in the hallway the day before making fun of Diana.
Laurie shook her head. “I don’t think Kyle did it,” she said.
“Why?” Arthur asked.
“Call it women’s intuition, but why would Kyle steal the doll?” She lifted up one finger, “There’s only one reason why he’d want to: Kyle is greedy and wants the money. But until today, I don’t think any student knew that the doll was worth anything.”
“Kyle has always found out ways to figure out stuff like this,” said Daniel.
“Maybe,” said Laurie, “But how did the glass get scattered all over the floor but not anywhere inside the case?”
“Listen,” said Arthur. “I am no expert, but I don’t think glass on the floor proves anything, at least in the case of who did it.”
Arthur threw up his hands. “To tell you the truth,” he said. “I don’t want to hear about that doll any more than any other student does. The last thing I want to do is sit through another one of those corny videos again.”
“True,” said Daniel I think I’ve had enough educational videos to last me several years.”
“Come on,” said Arthur. “It’s almost dinner time. Let’s stop talking about this. I am sure that weird doll will turn up eventually.”
Unfortunately, two weeks passed, and the doll had not shown up. The teachers even searched all the kids’ rooms, but the doll was not found. Then any kid who was worried about the whereabouts of the doll suddenly became disinterested in the subject. It seemed like it had just disappeared without a trace. By the end of the third week, the doll seemed all but forgotten, and the schooldays went on as usual. However, word got out that a large group of new kids was arriving at the school soon. Everyone wanted to meet them.
So soon enough, the day came for the school’s new kids to start on their first day
Daniel, Laurie, and Arthur were sitting under the big old oak near the schoolyard. They watched as a seaplane carrying all the new students began to land on the water right off the coast of the island
Daniel got up and stood on a thick root of the oak tree. he started to squint; he could then see from afar that several motorboats were now headed toward the landed seaplane to pick up the new kids and bring them to shore
The new kids are coming said Daniel to his friends. we should go and meet them said Arthur the three, then excitedly rushed down to the dock to talk to and greet all the new children. but when they got there, a large group of other students was also waiting on the dock to see the new kids
Daniel tried to look for a way to get closer to the port where the new students would arrive but there were too many other kids blocking the way.
“Guess some other kids got the same idea we had,” said Arthur.
“So much for meeting the new kids,” said Laurie. Let’s just go back to the oak tree,” she added as she rolled her eyes.
“Wait, look over there ~ isn’t that girl new?” said Daniel he then pointed to a girl who was quietly standing a slight distance away from the large crowd of kids that was blocking most of the dock.
She had long dark brown hair that had two bright pink bows tied within it.
Her light blue eyes seemed to shine a strange shade of pale in the sun, reflecting off the nearby ocean.
Weirdly enough, the girl also wore an old-fashioned and quite frilly dark blue dress that even seemed to have lace at the edge of the sleeves.
Arthur looked at the girl. “Huh, well, I’ve never seen her before I guess that means she must be new.”
“Well, come on, what are we waiting for? Let’s go ask her what her name is.”
Before Daniel and Arthur could start to walk over toward the girl with the old-style dress, they were stopped by Laurie, who looked very concerned.
“Hey, what’s wrong,” said Daniel.
Laurie looked at her friends and said this might sound crazy, but I have the strangest feeling. It’s just that girl looks so familiar. Very familiar, almost like I’ve seen her somewhere else
Daniel and Arthur glanced back over at the girl.
They both took a second to look at her very closely.
Then Daniel started to see what Laurie was talking about. “Hey, you’re right, Laurie, she is really familiar, but I just can’t remember where I have seen her before,” said Daniel
“I know, isn’t it weird,” said Laurie scratching the back of her head.
“Well, I have certainly never seen her before,” said Arthur.
“Well, either way, it looks like we’re going to find out who she is anyway because she’s headed this way right now,” Daniel pointed out.
The girl with the pink bows and old fashion dress slowly made her way over to Daniel and his friends.
As she approached, she dragged a cart that had two large trunks on it behind her.
“Hello, are you a student here at this school?” the girl asked.
“Yes, we are,” Laurie said, nodding.
“That’s great!” the girl said, smiling, “let me introduce myself; my name is Dolly Dahl.” “Lovely to meet you,” Dolly extended her hand for a handshake.
“Nice to meet you too,” said Daniel, who was getting ready to shake her hand.
But before he could grasp her hand, Dolly quickly pulled it away.
“Excuse me,” said Dolly sneering at Daniel I wasn’t talking to you.
Daniel, who was taken back by Dolly’s harsh reaction, quickly tried to apologize
“I’m sorry,” he said to her.
“You better be,” said Dolly narrowing her eyes. “Just try and learn your place, boy.”
She then looked back at Laurie and smiled, “So, as I was saying, it’s really nice to meet you. What’s your name?”
Laurie looked strangely at Dolly for a few seconds, not sure what to say.
Finally, Laurie spoke and said, “My name is Laurie Locketbox.” She paused again. “Don’t you think you should be kinder to my friend Daniel? I feel that you were pretty rude to him,” Laurie said.
Dolly giggled, “Oh, don’t mind him, He’s just a boy.”
“What is that supposed to mean?” said Daniel, feeling a little frustrated at Dolly’s comments.
Before anyone could respond, Arthur spoke up. “Hey, what is that smell?” said Arthur.
Everyone looked at Arthur, confused by his off-topic question, only to realize that he was right. A strange and powerful scent filled the air, and they could all smell it.
Daniel pulled his shirt over the lower half of his face as Arthur pinched his nostrils shut.
“Oh my god, what on earth is that?” Laurie coughed.
Dolly, who seemed completely unfazed by the strange odor, simply smiled and said, “Well, I see you have noticed my new perfume; it’s a lovely fragrance, don’t you think?”
“Um, yes, lovely,” said Daniel while attempting to hold his breath.
“Uh, what kind of brand is it?” Laurie said nervously, now with her hands clenched around her nose and mouth.
“Oh, I’m glad you asked,” said Dolly while smiling. “In fact, here, I will show you.”
Then she opened one of her trunks that she had on the luggage cart behind her. She pulled out a small but thick purple bottle. Embalmed on the front of the bottle in gold lettering read L’eau des Ordures. “See, the name is in French; it was imported directly from Paris.”
“No offense,” said Laurie looking at the writing on the bottle, “but doesn’t that mean….”
“Oh, I think the staff is taking us to our rooms now!” Dolly said excitedly.
Dolly shoved the perfume bottle back into the trunk and started wheeling her luggage cart behind her as she hurried away to the group of new students that were now getting led to the school dorms by vice principal Chad Greasly.
Before she joined the new kids, she turned and waved. “Nice to meet you, Laurie. See you around school.” Dolly then looked at Daniel and narrowed her eyes, and frowned.
“Oh, and Daniel, go jump in a ditch where you belong, boy,” said Dolly sneering. And with that, she turned and skipped off to join the other new kids.
Daniel watched, not sure what to think. He heard vice principal Chad start to struggle as he tried to keep count during roll call
“Okay, that should be everyone……. wait, that’s not right….. he should be here; I mean, I know I’ve counted him………. wait now we have too many new students …………but let’s see here….” Chad Greasly said while looking over his clipboard. “Oh, who cares; we have everyone,” he said, throwing his hands into the air.
“Okay new students, follow me to the dorm area! There, we will assign you your rooms.” The new students marched away, following Chad.
“Well, that was sure something, wasn’t it?” Arthur exclaimed.
“Yeah, I guess that Dolly was kind of rude,” said Daniel.
“Easy, guys,” Laurie said, “she’s just new here I’m sure she’s just trying to get used to her new surroundings.”
Arthur gave Laurie a sideways glance, “you’re just saying that because you were the only one, she was nice too.”
“No, I’m not saying you guys are wrong. She was very rude. I’m just trying to sympathize with her situation. Remember how hard it was for me when I first got here.”
“I guess you’re right,” said Daniel. “It’s always hard to adjust to a new place.”
“She’s certainly going to be an interesting face to see around the schoolyard,” Arthur said.
“But it’s strange. I swore I’d seen her somewhere before,” Laurie said. Unfortunately for Laurie, she couldn’t figure out where.
A week later, Dolly had indeed made her presence known around the school, especially with the girls, with who she seemed to be very good at making friends.
Unfortunately for the boys, she didn’t seem to like them one bit. Laurie figured she was a feminist, and yet it seemed she just hated boys in general. However, Dolly’s popularity with the girls continued to rise. She was very supportive of all of them, always their confidant and good friend. She seemed to believe that whatever they were doing was the right thing. Apparently, she had been passing around a request to start an all-girls club in the school.
Daniel, Laurie, and Arthur sat in the cafeteria during one lunch break, eating grilled cheese sandwiches and French fries, discussing Dolly’s new petition.
“I heard from one of the boys on campus that Dolly had actually gotten her petition approved by the administration.”
“So does that mean there’s actually going to be a Girls Club?” Arthur asked.
“I kind of like the idea,” Laurie said. “It will be nice to have just the girls to hang out somewhere.”
“I hope this doesn’t mean we have to start a Boys Club in response,” said Daniel. “If you ask me, I like it when all the boys and girls play together.”
“True,” said Laurie.
“I just hope wherever this Club meets, there are open windows,” Arthur said. “Her perfume is horrendous. I still can’t get the stink out of my nose from the last time I smelled it.”
Laurie chuckled. “It is quite bad. Her room is next to mine, and I can still smell it through the dorm’s ventilation.
They finished eating their sandwiches and walked outside to the swings in the schoolyard. When they got to the swing, Daniel noticed that there was a group of kids gathering around the edge of the kickball field
“Say, what’s going on over there?” asked Daniel
“Huh, I don’t know,” said Arthur wanting to go check it out.
“Yeah, why not, let’s go see,” Daniel replied.
So, Daniel Laurie and Arthur changed directions from the swings to the kickball field.
When they got to the crowd of kids, they realized that everyone seemed to be gathering around a tall boy with bad acne named Kip Oswalds. Kip was standing over a younger African American girl named Brenda.
Kip was holding a small penguin stuffed animal above Brenda’s head just out of her reach.
Brenda, who was not that tall, was reaching up in an attempt to grab the penguin toy.
“Give it back, give me back, Mr. Huggers,” she cried, jumping up and down and trying to reach her penguin toy.
Kip smiled, “you want it; grab it,” he then lowered the penguin Toy closer to Brenda.
“Go on, take it,” he laughed.
Brenda tried to grab the doll from Kip’s hand, but before she could grasp it Kip pulled it away.
“Too bad. To slow. It’s a shame you’re not super tall like me,” Kip mocked.
Brenda, now very upset, said, “please, Kip, give me back, Mr. Huggers!”
“Then come on, go, and earn it,” Kip said smugly.
Daniel had seen enough; he was about to get ready to do something.
When right then, he smelled of Dolly Dahl’s awful perfume in the air
All of sudden, out of nowhere, Dolly appeared behind Kip.
She then grabbed his arm and twisted it behind his back hard.
“Yeeaaauughhaaaaa!” Kip screamed in pain and surprise.
Dolly smiled wickedly as she continued to pull and twist Kip’s arm in the wrong direction
let go, let go! Kip cried out in pain. you’ll break my arm.
“Do you feel the endless despair, boy?” said Dolly grinning viscously.
“Ow, cut it out you’re hurting me,” Kip yelled.
Laurie finally took a step forward and said, ”Dolly, stop it! He’s had enough.”
“Yeah, let him go,” Daniel said, chiming in.
Dolly paused as she looked at Daniel, Laurie, Arthur, and all the surrounding kids. Then she released Kip’s arm from its very painful position.
He stumbled forward, clutching his forearm. For good measure, Dolly kicked him right in the rear, knocking him down to the ground.
She scanned the grass for a second and saw where Kip had dropped the Mr. Hugger toy when she was twisting his arm. She walked over, picked it up, and gave it back to Brenda.
“Thank you,” said Brenda in a quiet voice. She ran off.
Dolly reached into her purse and pulled out the awful-smelling vial. She sprayed herself at least fifteen times. Daniel, Arthur, and Laurie looked at each other in silence, trying to ignore the stench of the vile perfume. Dolly then walked off completely unfazed. To Daniel and Arthur’s surprise, Laurie marched after Dolly. And Daniel and Arthur marched after Laurie. Laurie called out, “Dolly!” Dolly turned around, “Hi Laurie,” she said with a smile. Daniel and Arthur had stopped a safe distance away from the two girls. Laurie got up close to talk to Dolly. “I couldn’t help but notice what you did to Kip back there. Listen, I know he’s a jerk, but you can’t treat him like that. You could’ve broken his arm or dislocated his shoulder.”
Dolly frowned. “I think some boys need to be taught a lesson. That’s all.”
“Okay,” said Laurie. “But you could’ve seriously hurt him. Be careful about that.”
“I’ll keep that in mind,” said Dolly with a grin. Then she wandered off.
Daniel and Arthur ran over to Laurie. “What were you talking to her about?” asked Daniel.
“Forget that,” said Arthur. “How are you able to get so close to her and still breathe?”
“Well, one, I was trying to tell her not to get so violent with other kids, but I don’t think she listened. And number two, I just power through it.”
“I envy you,” said Arthur.
Later the next day, early in the morning, right after breakfast, Daniel was packing his backpack for his first class of the day. Arthur, who had left the dorm room earlier, popped his head in the doorway, “Daniel, come on quick. The principal, James Sanderson, is outside the playground, wheeling around in his wheelchair. He never comes out.”
“Really, what’s he doing?” Daniel asked.
“I think he’s just strolling around.”
“Let’s go see him,” Daniel said.
They ran out of their dorm room and met Laurie near a huge crowd of kids that were surrounding the rim of the playground.
“Look! There he is,” said a kid in the crowd. “He looks so old.”
“I heard he was supposed to be the strongest person ever. His arms look like toothpicks.”
Daniel stood on his tiptoes and got a brief look at the principal, who was not only the principal but owned the school and the whole island. The principal seemed to pay no mind to the kids but, at the same time, seemed to be putting on a show for them. He had such a happy smile. It seemed almost unreal, yet one hundred percent genuine at the same time. It was a paradox. He looked like a kindly old grandpa, the kind who had a dozen war stories that more than half of were made up, but he still told each one vigorously and with such detail, you couldn’t help but believe everything he was saying. Daniel eventually managed to get a good view of the old principal by looking through a gap between two older kids
Daniel watched James Sanderson with interest as he quietly admired a flower bed growing in the schoolyard. Daniel tried to get a good read on him, but it was hard. He looks a little goofy but in a nice way. However, he has a strange sophistication to him, Daniel thought to himself.
He looked over at Laurie. She had trapped Arthur in a conversation about all the amazing accomplishments done by James Sanderson when he was young.
“Then there was the time James Sanderson led that dangerous expedition to the South American jungle to find the lost city of Chachickle,” Laurie explained. “That’s not all. he also discovered a new kind of soil to help crops grow healthier.” Daniel was not sure if everything Laurie was saying was true or not, but he thought it was interesting. He turned to take another look back at James Sanderson
Just then, the rancid smell of Dolly Dahl’s perfume once again filled the surrounding air. Daniel turned around. Dolly was standing a little way away from him and his friends. She was watching Principal James Sanderson as he wheeled down the path toward the blacktop. She was glaring at him with such hatred that it gave Daniel chills.
Dolly gave James Sanderson a disgusted sneer and said quite loudly. “What a pathetic repulsive pig.” Several kids in the crowd who heard what Dolly said turned around to look at her. Daniel was surprised; people usually only spoke very fondly of James Sanderson. Why would Dolly insult him like that? She didn’t seem to have a reason, at least not that Daniel could see. Daniel watched as Dolly stormed off. “Weird,” he thought to himself. “Why would anyone not like Principal James Sanderson?”
Later that night, during dinner, Daniel, Arthur, and Laurie were seated at their usual table, eating spoonfuls of warm tomato soup. Just then, the door to the cafeteria slammed open, and a boy ran in. He yelled, “James Sanderson got injured! He’s getting rushed to the hospital!” There was a burst of commotion among all the students.
“Is he dead?” Arthur yelled out.
“Does this mean school is canceled for tomorrow?” Kyle asked.
“How bad is he hurt?” another student asked.
The boy who had burst into the cafeteria said, “They’re putting him into a helicopter right as we speak to take him to the hospital on the mainland.
“Where?” another student asked.
“Near the docks,” said the boy.
“Come on, I want to see what happened,” another student said.
A bunch of kids got up and ran out of the cafeteria.
Eventually, everybody left the cafeteria to see what happened. Daniel, Arthur, and Laurie followed. Everyone except Dolly Dahl sat alone at a table in the far corner and was just starting her meal. As Daniel and his friends followed the rest of the kids down the hallway to see what happened to James Sanderson, Daniel couldn’t help but remark about Dolly and her suspicious behavior.
“Hey guys, am I the only one who thinks It’s weird that the only one who doesn’t seem to be affected by James Sanderson getting hurt is Dolly?”
“Maybe she just doesn’t want to see what happened to James Sanderson,” said Arthur.
“I’m not so sure,” said Daniel. “She seemed to be so angry at him earlier today. You don’t think Dolly could have done something to him, do you?”
“I don’t know,” Laurie interjected. “I don’t think Dolly would ever do anything to really hurt Principal James Sanderson.”
“Right. I guess so,” said Daniel a little anxiously.
The three friends ran and burst through the door that led to the front yard. It was getting late. The sky was getting darker, and there were clouds fogging up the starlight from the few stars that had appeared in the early twilight hour. The air also felt wet and moist compared to the inside of the cafeteria. Daniel looked around. He could hear a helicopter’s blades chopping at the air. However, he didn’t see where the noise was coming from.
Just then, Laurie raised her arm and said, “Look over there!”
On top of a small hill near the path to the docks, the somewhat shady image of a helicopter sat atop the grassy ground. Surrounding it was a large group of kids. Some of them were jumping up and down to get a good look at what was going on. The teachers stood between the kids and the large medical helicopter to keep all the students at a safe distance. Daniel, Laurie, and Arthur approached the crowd and tried their best to push their way to the front.
“What’s going on?” Daniel asked a teacher named Mr. Horton.
“The principal’s wheelchair gave out on one side. He fell out and almost hit his head,” Mr. Horton answered.
“Wow,” said Arthur, “I hope he’s okay?”
Look, there he is, Laurie said. she pointed to the bottom of the hill where a group of hospital workers wheeled a stretcher through the crowd of watching children. Laying upon the medical stretcher was principal James Sanderson. Next to him was vice principal Chad Greasley who looked like he was on the verge of crying. Now Daniel wasn’t sure, but it looked like they were trying to hold down James Sanderson.
“Come on,” said Laurie. “Let’s get closer.”
Daniel, Laurie, and Arthur ran to the site on the hill where they were wheeling James Sanderson on a stretcher. When they finally got a closer look, they realized that the medical crew was struggling to keep the stretcher straight. James Sanderson was desperately trying to get off the stretcher. The nurses who were carrying him were struggling very hard to keep him down. “What’s happening?” Daniel asked. “Why is he shaking so much?”
Then they heard the voice of an old man, obviously, James Sanderson, saying, what are you talking about? I’m fine.
I don’t need to go to the hospital This is nothing. I’ve had more pain going to the bathroom than this.”
One of the nurses said, “Please, Mr. Sanderson, you have a very bad fracture. Just calm down.”
Chad Greasily chimed in, “Please, sir, do as they say. They’ll take good care of you.”
“I understand that, but I’m not hurt. I can barely feel my injured arm at all,” James Sanderson shouted as they loaded him onto the helicopter. “Chad, I want you to watch the school while I am gone. I want the whole place intact when I return.”
“Yes sir,” Chad shouted to James Sanderson over the noisy helicopter blades.
Almost as soon as the chaos began, the chaos ended with James Sanderson getting flown to the hospital on the mainland.
The next day the chaos started up again. The school was restless. A lot more pranks and practical jokes were being played on kids and teachers. Some kids obviously felt safer doing troubling things with Principal James Sanderson not around. For instance, Kyle, the bully, was having a field day, stealing money and stuff from the backpacks of other kids. Rumors spread as to how truly injured James Sanderson really was. Chad, who was now temporarily the principal, tried to quell the rumors by saying James Sanderson just had a few small broken bones. But everyone could tell that Chad was struggling to maintain order without the calming presence of the principal.
Daniel, Laurie, and Arthur especially noticed the change in the feeling around the school. As they sat outside the school library one day, Laurie looked up from her notebook and said, “Everyone has been in such a mood since James Sanderson had that accident it’s such a bummer, gee it’s like there is not even anything fun to talk about now. I mean, we don’t all have to be so glum after all. There’s stuff to be excited about, for instance, have you guys heard about the full lunar eclipse coming up? the whole moon is going to be blacked out.”
I heard about that said Arthur do you think they will let us outside after hours to see it
I doubt it said Laurie they only allow that if there’s some sort of special school event or a class project that involves having to be up late,
“That’s too bad,” said Arthur, “hey, maybe we can see it from our dorm room windows! What do you think, Daniel?”
Daniel was flipping through the pages of his textbook he sighed sorry guys, I don’t know it’s just I’ve been thinking a lot about principal James Sanderson I heard he is a super nice guy, and it’s been a week since he left,” he said. “I hope he’s all right.”
“Yeah, I’m surprised Chad is able to manage at all with him being gone,” Laurie said. “Whenever I ask him a question, he always says he has to run it by James Sanderson first. To tell you the truth, I don’t think he’s very good at leadership.”
Daniel turned to her and said, “You do have a point. I think he feels more in command when he knows he has a higher authority backing him up.”
Arthur yawned. “You guys can worry about Chad all you want, but what I am disappointed at is the fact that James Sanderson, our principal, got himself injured. And we don’t get a break from homework or anything. They know we’re all freaked out about this; you think they’d at least cut us some slack.”
“Guys, I hate to bring it up, but you do smell that?” Laurie said.
Daniel and Arthur sniffed the air and immediately regretted it. Just then, Dolly appeared. It was a problem because she was spraying at least twenty-two puffs of her perfume all over her body.
“Ummm… hi, Dolly. What’s happening with you?” Laurie said as friendly as possible.
“Oh, nothing much. How about you, Laurie?” Dolly responded with a smile.
“Just trying to get my extra credit homework done,” replied Laurie.
“Really? You’re working on some extra credit, huh? Gee, you sure are smart,” Dolly giggled. “Say, you know what? I want to give you something.” Dolly took out a pink purse and started shuffling through its content.
“Tomorrow night, I’m going to throw a big party in the auditorium. I’m hoping it will help lighten the mood around the school. Here, let me just give you an invitation,” said Dolly.
“Say! A party that actually sounds like a cool idea. Can me and Daniel have an invitation?” Arthur asked.
Dolly glared at Arthur. “It’s a girls-only party,” she sneered.
She pulled out a pack of envelopes held together by a rubber band from her purse. As she pulled out the group of envelopes, two things fell out of her purse onto the ground: a tube of lipstick and a small plastic bag with a strip of black rubber inside it.
“Say, Dolly, some stuff just dropped out of your purse,” Daniel pointed out. “Here, I’ll get it for you.”
Daniel reached down and picked up what had dropped. “Here you go,” said Daniel, extending his hand to give Dolly back her things.
Dolly looked furious.
“Give that to me, boy!” Dolly snapped. “Those are mine!” She snatched the lipstick tube and the small plastic bag out of Daniel’s hand. Dolly shoved the lipstick and plastic bag into her purse. She then looked at Laurie and handed her one of the envelopes she had pulled out of her purse a second ago.”
“Here is your invitation. I would love you to come,” Dolly said. And with that, Dolly turned around and stormed off.
“Well, that was weird,” said Arthur.
“What was in that Ziplock bag?” Laurie asked. “It looked like some sort of string or strip of black rubber.”
“Why would she have a strip of rubber in a sealed plastic bag in her purse?” Daniel said.
“Maybe it’s an ingredient in how she makes her perfume,” Arthur said. “After all, it smells so bad, it’s almost flammable.”
Either way,” Laurie said. “She sure got mad when Daniel picked it up.”
It looked like a piece of a tire said Daniel it even had those little bumps on it, you know, like the one’s on bike wheels
Arthur looked puzzled. Why on earth would dolly keep a piece of a tire in her purse?
Laurie, who was deep in thought, said, “Wasn’t the reason James Sanderson got taken to the hospital because one of the wheels on his wheelchair gave out, and he fell.”
“Yeah, so?” Arthur said.
“Well, what if that black rubber was a piece of his wheelchair? Laurie asked. “What if it was from one of the wheels?”
“She did arrive late to dinner that night he fell,” Daniel said. “Maybe she was up to something.”
Laurie held up the envelope that Dolly gave her. “Maybe I should go to her party. If she is up to something, I’ll find out.”
“Well, we can’t go,” said Daniel.
“She doesn’t want any boy in twenty miles of that auditorium,” Arthur said.
“I can handle it myself,” said Laurie. “I’ll report to you the morning after the party.”
The night of the party came quicker than expected. Laurie was not sure what to wear. The invitation wasn’t specific. Laurie decided to put on a sweater that was fancier than what she normally wore. The rest of the clothes she kept were the same: greenish jeans and red sneakers. The party started at 8 pm. She walked out of her dorm room and headed down the hall, but then she stopped. An idea came to her. She turned around and walked down the hallway to the dorm room next to hers. She knew this was Dolly’s room, just like she had told her friends when she said she could smell Dolly’s perfume through the ventilation. She sniffed the air near the door. She didn’t smell anything. But just to be safe, she knocked on the door.
“Hello, Dolly,” she said. “Are you in there?”
At first, there was no sound, but before Laurie could do anything else, she heard Dolly’s sweet voice.
“Yes, I’m in here,” she replied. “Is that you, Laurie?”
“Yeah, it’s me, Laurie. Are you going to the party?”
“Yes,” said Dolly from behind the door. “I’m just putting on my makeup. Come in. We’ll walk over there together.”
Laurie, not sure what to expect, opened the door and stepped into Dolly’s room. What she did not expect to see was how many dolls were lining every corner of the room: Raggedy Ann dolls, old-fashioned barbie dolls, dolls with bonnets and bows, and checkered dresses. They were in every crevice of the room. There must’ve been hundreds of them, maybe even more. She was so amazed at all the dolls in the room that she almost didn’t notice Dolly sitting at a vanity, applying eyeliner.
“You can sit down on my bed. I’ll be done in a sec.”
Laurie obeyed. She sat on the edge of her bed. “You sure do have a lot of dolls,” she said. “I’m guessing you collect them?”
Dolly turned to look at her. “You could say that. You could even say I never grew out of playing with dolls.”
She grabbed a huge bottle of perfume from a drawer and started spraying it all over herself. The entire room stank like something Laurie didn’t know how to name. It was so strong Laurie had to grasp the leggings of her pants and not her nose with both hands just so she wouldn’t look rude.
“If you think I have a lot of dolls, you should see my dollhouses,” she said. “After all, I think everything deserves a loving home.”
“Do you have these doll houses here?” Laurie asked.
“Why, yes, most of them are scattered around the room.”
“Didn’t you only bring three trunks to this school?”
“I can fit a lot of stuff into my trunks.”
“Huh, if you say so,” Laurie said
“Well then. Shall we go?” Dolly asked
“I don’t see why not.”
Both girls left the room and began walking to the school auditorium.
As they walked out of the dorm, Laurie wanted to figure out if Dolly was really up to something, so she decided to strike up a conversation.
“So,” she said. “It’s pretty nice of you to throw a party, but I have to know, is there an actual reason why you don’t want boys coming to the party? I mean, no offense, but you haven’t been that friendly with the boys around campus. It would be nice to know why.
“I just don’t like boys,” Dolly replied. “I find them incompetent, irritating, and rude.
“Well, if that’s how you feel,” said Laurie, “I don’t want to force you to change your mind. I do have one other question, though…” Laurie paused. Her mind raced to try to keep the question from sounding like it was digging too deep into Dolly’s personal matters. “What do you think happened to James Sanderson’s wheelchair?”
Dolly looked unnerved by the question. “What do you mean? Didn’t it just break?”
“Yeah, but the wheel popped,” Laurie said.
“So, what’s wrong with the wheel popping? Why is that important?”
“Wheels don’t just pop on their own. Something had to pop it, right?” Laurie asked.
“What are you suggesting? Are you saying someone popped it on purpose?”
“I don’t know,” said Laurie. “I just find it kind of weird, don’t you?”
“That old coot’s wheelchair was older than dirt,” said Dolly. “I’m sure there was an old tear in it.”
“Maybe you’re probably right,” said Laurie. “But I have one more question. Why do you think James Sanderson is an old coot?”
Dolly suddenly looked very serious. “Believe me,” she said. “That man is worse than an old coot. He’s worse than any name I can call him.”
“But why, why do you think that?” Laurie asked.
“Listen,” Dolly said. “Sometimes in life, unexplainable, wonderful things can happen. But sometimes, those same wonderful things can lead to darkness and suffering. Do you understand?”
Laurie looked confused but nodded anyway.
At that exact moment, the two girls arrived at the door that led to the auditorium.
Laurie could hear the other girls giggling inside.
The warm glow of the party could be felt through the door window.
Well, I have not got any hard proof that she harmed James Sanderson, Laurie thought to herself, but she definitely hates him. And she’s acting suspicious every time I bring up his name.
“Come on, Laurie,” Dolly said. “No more talk about that nasty old jerk. Let’s just enjoy the party.”
Dolly pushed the doors open and entered the auditorium.
Laurie, however, stood for a moment in deep thought. She couldn’t think of a reason that could prove Dolly had anything to do with the wheelchair breaking, at least evidence-wise. She decided to walk into the party and enjoy herself.
Laurie spent the party talking to the girls she knew from her class and helping herself to the Buffet table. There were dozens of chocolate cupcakes with white frosting.
“Say, these cupcakes are delicious,” said one of the girls. “Where did you get them, Dolly?”
“I made them in cooking class,” Dolly said. “Now, who wants to play a game?”
“Sure, what do you want to play?” one of the girls asked.
“I was thinking of a game of truth or dare,” Dolly suggested.
“That sounds like fun,” said Laurie.
All the girls gathered and sat in a circle to play the game.
now for those of you who don’t know the rules. we each get a turn to pick either a truth or a dare. If you pick truth, you have to tell the truth about something personal, and if you pick dare, you have to do something daring,” Dolly explained.
“I think we all already know the rules to truth or dare,” said a girl named Jessie
“Well, good,” said Dolly, “I’ll pick first, then.
Dolly looked around the circle of girls.
Her eyes locked on the older girl with an emerald streak down her short blond hair.
Dolly pointed to her and said, “How about it? Truth or dare? Which do you pick?”
The girl with the emerald streak in her hair smiled and said, “Truth, I guess…”
“Okay, tell us what your most embarrassing childhood memory is?”
The girl hesitated.
“I don’t know. It’s kind of gross,” she said.
“Come on,” said the girl next to her. “We’re all mature here.”
“Well,…Okay,” said the girl with the emerald streak said. “Just nobody tells anyone ok
“When I was six, my school put on a production of Wizard of Oz for all the parents. I played Glenda, the good witch. I had to put on this paper mashie frilly pink costume, glitter, and everything. But right before it was my turn to go on stage, I had to go to the bathroom. So basically, I had this giant costume on, and in order to go the bathroom, I would’ve had to pull most of the costume off, and I was on in like ten seconds—
“So, what happened?” one of the girls asked.
“I decided to hold it, and I went on stage. I probably would’ve been fine if the girl who was playing Dorothy didn’t keep forgetting her lines, causing these long awkward silent pauses. So, I’m on stage waiting for this girl to say, “We’re not in Kansas anymore,” which she somehow managed to forget, and I am really having to go badly. Finally, she says it, and everyone looks to me to say, ‘Are you a good witch or a bad witch?’ Of course, I say my line, but somehow while I was concentrating on saying my line correctly, I didn’t notice the large trickle of yellow water dribbling down my stocking and spreading into a puddle all over the stage. Apparently, Dorothy didn’t notice either. She was wearing fake corny ruby slippers that didn’t fit her, and when she stepped forward to say her next line, she slipped and fell right into the puddle. As the audience started to figure out what was going on, including my parents, Dorothy began to cry. People in the audience pointed at my dress. I started to cry too. It was a terrible night.”
“Well, it sounds like you handled it okay,” Dolly said.
Thanks, it was embarrassing but a little funny looking back on it. said the girl with the emerald streak in her hair
Hey, is anyone else thirsty said a girl named Susan, who was standing up. Because I’m getting a soda from the vending machine if anyone wants one
The other girls respectfully declined, and Susan left the auditorium.
“So, does anyone else want to go,” asked Dolly.
Just then, Laurie got an idea. If Dolly could play this game and get someone to tell a story like that. Imagine what I could get Dolly herself to confess to if I was to play.
“Hey, I’ll go next,” said Laurie raising her hand.
“Ok, Laurie, who do you pick,” said a girl from Laurie’s history class.
Laurie smiled and said, “I pick Dolly, now truth or dare.”
Dolly nodded, and then she sat silent as she thought to herself.
“I choose truth,” said Dolly
Yes, she chose the truth. Laurie thought, but Laurie still had to think about the question and how to get Dolly to admit something.
But before Laurie could think of a question, the door of the auditorium slammed open. The girls turned around to see what was going on. Susan ran into the auditorium.
“What’s wrong, Susan?” one of the girls asked.
“James Sanderson just got back from the hospital,” Susan said.
“I’m glad he’s okay,” said one girl.
“Yeah, that’s great,” Dolly said. “As great as tooth decay.”
Laurie stared at Dolly. “Is everything okay, Dolly?”
“I’m tired,” Dolly said. “You guys continue the party. I’m heading back to my dorm room.”
The party finished up shortly after Dolly left.
The next day everyone was happy that James Sanderson was back and running the school. Daniel, Laurie, and Arthur were sitting on a bench outside the school building after class. “So, how was the party?” Daniel asked.
“It was good, but I didn’t really get any information out of Dolly. I was close. We were playing a game, and I almost got her to confess something, I’m just not sure if it was about James Sanderson.”
Arthur shrugged. “Maybe we’re reading into it. Maybe nothing is going on between her and the principal.”
“Well, there’s definitely something going on,” said Laurie. “She hates him more than the Nile River is long.”
“Either way, if she wanted to hurt James Sanderson,” said Daniel. “She’d have to try again because he’s back from the hospital, and I hear he’s pretty healthy.”
“Let’s hope she doesn’t really want to hurt him,” Laurie said.
“Well, even if she does try to do anything, she would have to get to him first. Principal James Sanderson has been in his office inside the administration building doing paperwork since he got back last night, and I heard vice principal Chad has been checking up on him every five minutes. So, unless she is able to harm James Sanderson without being near him, Dolly would be caught if she tried anything sneaky,” Arthur explained
“Good, I’m glad about that. Daniel said I mean, I hate when anyone gets hurt, and I would definitely feel awfully bad if nice Principal Sanderson was the one who got hurt.”
“Well, still, there is nothing we can do about it now. So how about we grab some baseball mitts and head over to the big grassy field near the playground for a game of catch? How about it” suggested Arthur
“Sure, that sounds fun,” said Daniel.
“I got a baseball in the dorm room I’ll go get it,” said Arthur.
“Ok, cool, we’ll meet you there,” said Daniel.
Arthur then turned and ran off to get his baseball.
Daniel watched Arthur speed off towards the dormitories and out of sight. He then began to stride towards the school’s tall grassy fields.
“Come on, Laurie, let’s go!” said Daniel. “We’ll beat Arthur there.” But as Daniel walked forward, Laurie put her hand on his shoulder
Daniel stopped and looked around.
Laurie was frowning.
“What’s wrong?” asked Daniel
“Well, to tell you the truth. I really do hope that Dolly doesn’t do anything to harm anyone because I’m starting to think of her as a pretty good friend, and I’m wondering if my trying to pry into her business like I did last night is hurting her feelings at all. Because I don’t want to do that.”
Daniel looked at Laurie and thought about what his friend was saying. “Listen, Laurie, you can make friends with whoever you want you don’t have to run it by me first,” said Daniel. And as for being suspicious of Dolly, we don’t have to talk about that anymore, okay? Said Daniel to Laurie
“Thanks, Dan,” said Laurie.
“Cool, now let’s go meet Arthur to play some catch,” said Daniel.
“Ok, but I don’t really want to play right now I’ll just watch you guys,” said Laurie.
“Are you sure?” asked Daniel.
“Yeah, I’m sure,” nodded Laurie.
“Well, ok. Then how about we go ahead over to the field? I bet Arthur is there already,” said Daniel.
“Ok, let’s go,” smiled Laurie.
So, with that, Daniel and Laurie took off running to the grassy field.
However, later that night, Daniel sat up in his bed. He looked around the room. It was a mess like usual. There were torn bits of crumpled-up candy wrappers on the carpet and pages of unfinished homework lying all around the writing desk.
Daniel was not sure what woke him up. He looked over at the bed next to him where Arthur slept. Arthur was asleep on his bed, snoring loudly. His backside was angled up towards the ceiling, and his cheek was crammed straight into the mattress. Daniel always thought the way Arthur positioned himself when he slept was funny, but he never commented on it to Arthur
Laying his head back down on his pillow, Daniel attempted to go back to sleep however he now felt too awake.
Daniel sat up again, deciding that he should go to the bathroom.
So he uncovered himself from his blankets and got out of bed.
He creeped quietly out of his room, making sure not to wake Arthur, and slipped into the hallway.
Daniel walked down the empty hallway to the dorm bathroom
all the lights were off, so it was a little hard to see, but Daniel made it to the bathroom door fine
before Daniel entered the bathroom, he stopped to look out the big window on the other side of the hallway across from the bathroom door.
The window overlooked the entrance to the large woods that covered most of the island.
Through the window, Daniel could see the shine of the glowing light of the moon and stars projected over the school grounds.
He always liked that it was always very easy to see the stars on the island because most of the schools’ lights were turned off late at night.
Daniel noticed how bright the moon was showing.
This was surprising because earlier that week, he remembered when Laurie said that there would be a full lunar eclipse coming very soon.
however, the moon still was shining very bright.
Daniel started to turn around to renter the bathroom door across the hall, but as he stepped away from the window, he thought he saw some sort of big bright flash suddenly light up the school grounds. Daniel turned around to see what the strange flash of light was, but when he looked through the window again, the light was gone. Just the view of the empty school grounds and the dark forest.
Daniel was confused. He was sure he just saw a huge bright flash of light. But before he could even think about it, another huge, big flash lit up at least half the school grounds. This time, however, Daniel saw where the light came from; it came from in between the trees in the woods.
Daniel, not sure what he saw, waited for another few minutes keeping his eyes trained on the woods.
Nothing happened. Maybe he dreamed it. It was very late, and he was getting a little tired now just standing there.
Just then, he almost missed it. Something or someone was darting out of the woods and towards the school building.
Whatever it was, it remained in shadow. However, Daniel could not tell what he was looking at. Whatever it was, he knew students were especially forbidden to go deep into the forest after dark. But within an instant, the shadowy figure was gone. But right before it vanished into the shadows, a bit of moonlight shined upon the figure’s leg, revealing just for a second it was wearing a skirt.
Despite that, Daniel was still not sure what he just saw, and he didn’t see anyone outside the window now. It was past midnight, so Daniel turned around and went back to his dorm room.
The next day Daniel woke up late.
He still managed to get to breakfast in time, but he was still concerned about what he saw last night as she sat next to Arthur and across from Laurie at the breakfast table.
Could he have dreamed it? He couldn’t have. He remembered getting up and walking down the hallway so it couldn’t have been a dream
So, if it wasn’t a dream who was that I saw through the window last night Daniel thought to himself
He started to think about who he could have possibly seen running out of the woods
unfortunately, the immediate idea that came to mind was Dolly Dahl
after all, she has always been acting angry and suspicious for almost the whole time she’s been at the school
Not to mention the person he saw last night was wearing a skirt which means it was most likely a girl.
It had to be Dolly he saw last night.
Even though Daniel knew that he couldn’t prove it He just had a strong feeling about it
He then looked over at Laurie.
Daniel started to think about whether he should mention the story about the figure he saw to Laurie and Arthur.
He knew Laurie was starting to become friends with Dolly because of the time she had spent with her, and he also promised her he would not talk about his suspicious feeling towards Dolly anymore.
But he wanted to mention something about what he saw last night to them.
Just then, Arthur interrupted his thoughts and said, “Look at this! that lunar eclipse everyone’s talking about is happening tomorrow.” Arthur held up his phone and pointed to an article that appeared on its screen.
Neat said, “Laurie, I bet that eclipse will look really cool.”
Laurie paused, hey guys she said. “Can we talk about the eclipse later? I need to tell you something, Laurie said sharply but quietly.
“Sure, what is it,” said Arthur.
Laurie leaned forward.
Last night I heard Dolly sneak out of her room, and she didn’t come back for like four hours. “I think she was up to something,” said Laurie.
Daniel felt slightly relieved.
“You know,” Daniel said, “last night I could have sworn I saw a girl running around near the woods last night from out the window maybe it was her.”
“It had to be her,” said Laurie.
listen said Arthur raising an eyebrow I was asleep all night, and I didn’t even hear anything are you sure you saw something
positive,” said Daniel.
“I say we find out what she’s up to tonight,” said Laurie.
Hey, I thought you and Dolly were starting to become friends said Arthur what’s with the change of heart
We are friends, and friends don’t let other friends get into trouble alone
Ok then, so what kind of trouble do we have to get up to, so we can stop whatever trouble Dolly is up to said Arthur skeptically
Daniel smiled I say, we have a stakeout.
The next night Daniel and Arthur sat up, looking out the window of their dorm room.
“It’s been a while,” said Arthur. “Don’t you think we should’ve gotten a signal from Laurie by now?”
“I’m sure we’ll get it,” said Daniel.
“What if we wait all night, and we never see where Dolly goes?” Arthur asked.
“Wait, look, there’s Laurie,” said Daniel.
Laurie was standing outside the boy’s dorm room, flashing a light from her cell phone.
“That’s the signal,” said Daniel.
“I have a bad feeling about this,” said Arthur.
Daniel and Arthur snuck out of the room and down the staircase, and slowly out the door.
They crept around the building and met Laurie on the other side.
“There you guys are,” said Laurie. “What took you so long?”
“We didn’t take that long,” said Arthur.
“Either way, did you see her,” asked Daniel.
“Yeah, I saw her. She left the girl’s dorm room a few minutes ago. I followed her to the edge of the woods. Then I went to get you guys.”
“Did you figure out what she was doing?”
“No, I stopped at the edge of the woods. She went all the way in. But there was one thing… she was carrying a bag full of stuff.”
“What do you mean ‘stuff’” asked Arthur.
“I couldn’t tell. It was big and lumpy.”
“I say we wait by the edge of the woods and see if she comes out,” said Arthur.
So, the three kids stood by the edge of the woods for a half hour, but there was no sign of Dolly, only the sounds of crickets chirping. Arthur yawned.
“This is taking forever,” he said. “Maybe we missed her, and she already went back to the dorms.”
“How could we have missed her? We would’ve seen her walk by on her way back to the dorm.”
So, you think she’s still in there,” asked Arthur.
“I wonder what she’s doing in there,” said Daniel.
“It’s pretty dark,” said Laurie. “Do you think she got lost?”
“Maybe we should go after her,” said Daniel.
“I don’t know,” said Arthur. “Maybe we should go get school security.”
“You know they’ll just get us in trouble for being out this late,” said Daniel.
Laurie leaned forward and squinted her eyes. “Can anyone see anything in those woods at this time of night?”
Just then, there was a huge cracking sound, and a golden light lit up the forest, but it lasted only a second or two, yet long enough to make all three kids jump up in the air. They were stunned. They stood frozen, staring into the deep dark woods.
“What was that?” Laurie asked.
“I think we should get out of here,” said Arthur.
“I agree,” said Daniel. “But tomorrow, we’re coming back with flashlights! We must find out what that was.”
The next day after class, Daniel, Laurie, and Arthur sat at their usual place in the lunchroom.
“Hey guys,” Arthur said. “Check out Dolly.”
Dolly was standing near the water fountain, looking happier than Daniel had ever seen her. Not to mention, despite being on the other side of the room, Daniel could still smell her perfume.
“Did she put extra perfume on today?” Arthur asked.
Dolly was wearing a blue fancy gown and a ribbon in her hair.
“Is someone getting married? What’s up with her?”
“Listen, guys,” Laurie said. “Remember, we’re following Dolly into the woods tonight. So, we should be less concerned about what she’s wearing and more concerned about what she’s doing. Right?”
“I’ll bring the flashlights,” said Arthur.
“One more thing,” Daniel said. “I have been thinking about last night. Have either of you guys figured out what that cracking sound and golden light were?”
“I have been thinking about it, and do you know what it reminded me of?” Laurie said. “This may sound weird, but it reminded me of a sound I heard in chemistry class. It was when the teacher combined two chemicals in one vial. It created a chemical reaction that caused a cracking sound and a burst of light and smoke.”
“Why would a girl like Dolly be messing around with chemicals, in the woods no less,” Daniel said.
“I guess we’ll find out tonight,” said Laurie.
That night, Daniel and Arthur once again waited by their room window until they saw Laurie waiting outside. The two boys crept out of the boy’s dorm and around the building for the second time.
Laurie was waiting for them. “Come on, you guys,” said Laurie. “I already saw Dolly going into the woods.”
“Here, let’s all take a flashlight,” said Arthur.
Cool, let’s go said Daniel starting to walk toward the woods
Whoa Laurie exclaimed quite abruptly
“What is it? What’s wrong,” said Daniel turning to face her.
“It’s nothing I just forgot the lunar eclipse was today,” Laurie said while pointing up to the dark sky
Daniel and Arthur both looked up at the moon, which was quickly becoming engulfed by the shadow of the earth, giving the whole sky a much darker and eerier look. It surely was something to behold
the three kids all stared up at the moon for a few minutes until Arthur broke the silence, “Come on, guys,” he said, “we don’t want to be distracted from what we’re doing, let’s go get to the woods before school security finds us out of bed.”
“You’re right. Let’s get going.” Daniel said.
So, and with that, the three friends snuck through the dark over to the entrance to the woods.
“Ok, here we go. turn on your flashlights,” whispered Daniel.
they each flipped the switch on their flashlight and headed into the woods together.
Daniel led Arthur and Laurie down the dark path through the woods. They flashed their flashlights up and down the spaces between the trees, but there was no sign of Dolly.
“Where is she?” asked Daniel.
“I don’t know, but we could end up looking through the dark all night if we don’t find Dolly soon,” Arthur said.
“Wait, look!” said Laurie pointing off the path to a large, tangled mess of leaves and branches piled between the brush.
“What? I don’t see anything,” said Arthur.
“Behind that stack of branches, there’s a light,” Laurie said.
Daniel squinted, and sure enough, behind the vines and leaves, he could see a bright flickering light. “Come on, let’s see. Maybe it’s Dolly!”
The three friends went, maneuvering their way around the sticks and brush to get a better look at the flickering light, but when they got there, they couldn’t believe their eyes. To Daniel, Laurie, and Arthur’s astonishment, the flickering light was coming from a large clearing, decorated to the brim with what looked like bird bones dangling from strings of the surrounding trees and pieces of wood with ancient-looking markings drawn upon them that were scattered among the outskirts of the clearing. The dirt ground of the clearing was covered in small circles of tiny black candles, and three of the trees had little dolls made out of straw nailed to them. In the middle of all this strange set-up was a small burning hot fire that was warming a large pitch-black bubbling cauldron-like pot with a strange light, purple-colored steam bellowing out of it. Finally, propped up next to a big rock that was in the clearing was a framed picture of principal James Sanderson with a splattered dark red X over it.
“What is all this stuff?” asked Daniel quietly.
“It looks like Dolly is setting up some sort of voodoo-esque ritual,” said Arthur, “you know, like in the movies.”
“But why? Why go through all this trouble?” asked Daniel.
None of them had an answer.
Suddenly, a rustling came from the bushes on the other side of the clearing.
“Quick, hide!” whispered Arthur.
“There, behind those trees,” said Laurie.
Daniel, Laurie, and Arthur dived underneath the thick prickly branches of a group of smaller trees, kneeling on their hands and knees out of sight. They watched intently as Dolly Dahl, still wearing the blue gown and bow in her hair, entered the clearing through the trees carrying a large burlap sack with strange shapes bulging out of its surface. She walked over to the fire and cauldron and then set the burlap sack down. She smiled wickedly and emptied a small jar of what looked like herbs into the bubbling brew. Once again, a large bang with a small explosion of light and smoke bellowed out of the caldron and echoed throughout the forest.
Arthur covered his ears at the sound.
As the light and smoke died down, Dolly got on her knees and reached into the burlap sack. She then pulled out two small stitched-up dolls. Dolly cackled menacingly. The flickering light from the circles of black candles surrounding her lit up her face in a very intimidating way, making her look quite scary.
“Now, boys, isn’t it past your bedtime?” said Dolly grinning.
Dolly raised the two stitched-up dolls above her head, and both Daniel and Arthur immediately stood up.
“Huh?” said Daniel.
“Hey, I can’t move my legs!” squealed Arthur.
“Good. Now come here,” Dolly said, pulling the two stitched dolls closer to her body. Completely out of their control, Daniel and Arthur walked forward into the clearing where Dolly could see them.
“What are you two doing?” hissed Laurie, who was still kneeling down behind the tree branches. But both Daniel and Arthur were frozen, unable to move as they stood in front of Dolly, unsure of what to do.
“Good boys. Do you feel the endless darkness? Do you feel the misery?” Dolly giggled. “Oh, but you look so tired. Why don’t you lay down?”
Dolly proceeded to shove the two stitched-up dolls straight into the ground so they were lying flat in the dirt. Much like before, Daniel and Arthur found themselves being thrust forward and landing face-first into the ground.
“Not bad for a doll, don’t you think?” said Dolly while getting up to her feet. “Okay, Laurie. I know you’re here too. You can come on out. Let’s talk,” Dolly called out with a much less creepy smile. Laurie was surprised but still stayed on her knees behind the branches.
“Come on, Laurie. I won’t bite,” said Dolly.
Reluctantly, Laurie stood up and walked into the clearing so that Dolly could see her. Laurie looked down at her two friends stuck face down on the ground.
Laurie then looks up at Dolly with a very serious look on her face.
“Okay, Dolly, you have some explaining to do. Why are you really here?” Laurie said.
“For revenge, of course,” Dolly said sinisterly.
Laurie narrowed her eyes. “So, my woman’s intuition tells me you really haven’t been telling the truth about who you actually are. So, Dolly, who are you?”
“I’m no one, just another disposable soul just like these two boys here,” said Dolly pointing to Daniel and Arthur, who were still both stuck, lying on the ground.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Boys like these are all the same. They spread darkness and despair on the world, and they don’t even know it. So, I’ve come here to change all that. It’s time to spread a little darkness of my own.”
Laurie frowned. “Come on, Dolly. I thought we were friends!”
“Oh, Laurie, we are friends. So, you just have to trust me, okay?” Dolly said.
“Trust you! Why should I? I don’t even know who you are!” cried Laurie.
“Well, you should trust me. Because when I’m done, everyone else in this school will be covered in a world of anguish.”
“Why are you acting like this and not how you usually do? At least before, you were happy.”
“You’re so wrong. I was never happy. My happiness was an illusion, just like everyone’s happiness is. Life is just a pit of despair.”
Laurie was mad now. “Quit talking in riddles! What the heck is going on?!”
“That’s a personal matter, so I can’t tell you the details. But what I can tell you is tonight will be the night James Sanderson takes his last breath.”
“That’s impossible,” said Laurie. “Principal Sanderson is sleeping in his bedroom where he always does.”
“I don’t need to be near James Sanderson to hurt him,” said Dolly. “That’s because I have this.” She reached into her burlap sack and pulled out an almost model-like stitched-up fabric doll of James Sanderson, complete with a wheelchair and top hat. “It took me forever to get the stitching on the wheelchair done.”
“So, you’re going to hurt him with a doll?” Laurie asked.
“This is a very special doll, Laurie. It’s a black magic voodoo doll. Much like the ones I used on these boys.”
The boys were still struggling to get up off the ground. Their faces were planted face-first on the ground, making it very difficult to make a sound.
“Okay,” Laurie said. “Three questions. One, if those are voodoo dolls of Daniel and Arthur, why don’t you have one for me?”
Dolly looked calm. “That’s because you’re a girl and my friend. That’s why I invited you to my party. All those girls there are my friends. And I don’t hurt my friends.”
“I see,” Laurie said. “Then, if those dolls are controlling Daniel and Arthur, are you also controlling James Sanderson right now?”
“No, his doll isn’t complete. I only need one more part, which I have in that bag.”
She pointed to the burlap bag on the ground.
“So then, what exactly are you planning to do?”
Dolly pointed up to the clearing through the trees. “That eclipse is special. It happens every so often, more than once a year. But this night was the most exceptional for me. For tonight, the eclipse will black out the moon completely and give the potion I have here enough power to finally seal Sanderson’s soul in misery forever. Unfortunately, Laurie, that’s all I can tell you. The rest is a personal matter.”
Laurie crossed her arms. “Then what’s stopping me from tipping over that cauldron over there and putting an end to this whole thing?”
Dolly looked at Laurie contently. “I know you won’t, Laurie. This is very important to me. I’ve dreamed about this moment for a very long time. And you’re a girl, and girls don’t take time out of their day just to ruin other girls’ dreams. We’re kinder than that.”
Dolly looked Laurie directly in the eyes. Laurie stared back and then looked away.
“This is wrong. Even if this voodoo stuff works or not, you can’t kill James Sanderson.”
Dolly looked up at the almost-eclipse. “The time is drawing near. I will release your friends, and you can go.”
“Why are you doing this?” Laurie asked.
“Because he did something to me that was unforgivable.”
“Then tell me what’s going on? Don’t try and use all this weird stuff to try and hurt him.”
“It’s my burden to bear,” said Dolly. “Now, if you’ll excuse me.” She reached into the burlap sack and pulled out a small plastic bag with a strip of black rubber in it (the same one she dropped earlier).
“Hold it,” Laurie said. “You mean that strip of rubber is actually Sanderson’s wheelchair? That means you popped his wheelchair that night.”
“You’re very smart,” said Dolly as she tied the strip of rubber around the doll of James Sanderson. “I guess I should tell you that I needed something that was always close to him to complete the doll. So, I popped his wheel to get it. It was the easiest thing I could obtain.”
Laurie’s mind was racing. She knew weird stuff happened on this island all the time. But this was just creepy, and deep down, she had been starting to feel close to Dolly. But with this revelation, there was another revelation: she didn’t know her at all. And Laurie was fed up with that. She didn’t like not knowing the answers. She figured she’d find them out, and she knew how. Taking a quick concerned look at her two friends, still stuck to the ground and struggling and failing to get up. Laurie clenched her fist and was ready to get some answers.
“Listen, Dolly,” Laurie snapped. “You always talk about how great girls are and how much you appreciate their importance to the world. If you really do feel that way, then you owe me something,” said Laurie.
“Um, no, I don’t,” said Dolly looking annoyed.
“Yes, you do. At least if you believe in girl power as much as you say you do. Because you and I never finished that Truth or Dare game, and if you remember, you chose Truth. So, if you believe that girls are so great, then prove it! Tell me, a girl, the Truth. And don’t lie.”
Dolly was clearly in thought.
“Well,” Laurie said, “Are you going to lie to another girl?”
Dolly looked up through the clearing in the trees at the oncoming eclipse.
“So, why are you doing this?” Laurie asked.
“Fine. I’ll tell you my story,” frowned Dolly, “but they can’t be here,” she said, pointing to Daniel and Arthur.
ok that’s fine Laurie said bravely
Dolly picked the two stitched-up voodoo dolls from off the ground
Daniel and Arthur immediately stood up, frozen in an upright position
Arthur spat out a mouth full of dirt and angrily said, “Ok, that’s not cool.”
“Laurie!” Daniel cried out. It’s like my body is moving on its own. you have to stop her from doing whatever she’s doing.
Laurie looked at her two friends and said, “Daniel, listen, you just have to trust me on this.”
Daniel gave Laurie a very concerned look
Laurie then looked back at him with a reassuring but still worried face
Dolly took the two voodoo dolls in her hands and pulled them close to her face, and whispered, “Return to your dorm and go back into your room, then stay there for the rest of the night and don’t come out till morning.”
Instantly Daniel and Arthur whipped around and started marching out of the clearing, their legs getting forced out in front of them, stomping up and down as if they were being force-guided by invisible strings unable to stop or move their upper bodies
as Daniel unwillingly strutted out of the clearing and past Laurie, he looked at her for a quick second and said, “be careful,” before marching out of the clearing and back to his and Arthur’s dorm room
now there was just Laurie and Dolly standing in the middle of the black candle and voodoo doll-covered clearing
“So,” said Dolly, “shall we begin?”
Laurie took a deep breath, clenched her fists, and said, “Ok, you chose truth that means I get to ask one question you have to answer said Laurie sternly
Dolly nodded and then asked Well, what is your question?
Laurie looked directly at Dolly and asked. Why are you doing all this revenge voodoo stuff?
At this point, Laurie was not sure whether she actually wanted the answer to her question or not, but it was a bit too late to stop now.
Dolly narrowed her eyes you really want to know why I went through the trouble to set all this up?
Dolly looked up at the still-enclosing lunar eclipse and sighed. “It was a long time ago, right here on Learning Book Island,” she said,
It was a very long time back before there was a school
the esteemed Sanderson family owned a huge mansion here on the island
everything looked so different back then, and that monster James Sanderson was but a small child
the members of that family committed the most terrible of acts in the walls of that house, but none of them were as horrible as the crimes committed by James Sanderson and his filthy wreck of a father. And I witnessed it all
“Wait,” Laurie interrupted, “how did you witness it?” The schools have been here for years, not to mention James Sanderson is super old, and you’re just a kid how could you be there at least over 50 years ago?”
Dolly simply stared at Laurie in silence.
“Well?” said Laurie questioningly, putting her hands on her hips.
“It’s because I’m not exactly human,” Dolly said calmly.
Laurie drew back. “What do you mean by that?”
“It means that this is not my true form.”
“What? You’re going to turn into a werewolf or something?”
“Not a werewolf. I am a doll spirit”
“A what?” Laurie said, looking at her.
“You see, Laurie, I have been on this island for years because that was where I was first unwrapped on Christmas day.”
“Okay, you’re confusing me. What? You’re saying you’re a doll?”
“I was a doll.”
“Okay,…” said Laurie, “that really makes no sense. You’re a girl. You’re standing right in front of me.”
“I am. But I wasn’t always. You see, I was nothing but a little doll until despair took hold of me.”
“So, if you were a doll, how did you become human?”
“Right where the school stands now, the Sanderson mansion once stood. And that is where my story begins. As I said, on Christmas Day, I was unwrapped from a green and red box. I didn’t have many thoughts back then or energy. But I can still remember the first thing I saw. I saw her face. She was so young and beautiful.”
“Who?” Laurie asked.
“Agatha Sanderson. She was no more than two at the time. But we became immediate friends. I couldn’t move or speak, but I felt happy. Happy being with her. Her family, on the other hand, was less than desirable. Her father was a rich businessman on the stock exchange and other such businesses. When he was not traveling, he spent his days working on paperwork and yelling at servants. I only knew Agatha’s first stepmother for three months. Half a year later, another mother came in. Several years later, there would be another one as well. I didn’t know Agatha’s real mother because I believed she was dead. The mansion was huge, with lots of room to play outside. Agatha, who liked to be called “Aggie,” played with me on many occasions. Time with her was like a dream, although technically, I couldn’t really dream. I had many friends, the other dolls in Agatha’s collection. They didn’t say much. You could say I had higher energy than them. And quite frankly, I owed it all to Aggie. However, in spite of the times we played together, Aggie always wanted a person to play with. Unfortunately, the servants were always busy in the kitchen or dusting, and her father and mother were working, and there was only one person who really had the time to hang out with her. It was her brother, James Sanderson. But he never spent that time with her. He spent it either reading or writing or doing some sort of ghastly math equation.”
“Excuse me,” Laurie said. “I hate to interrupt. But James Sanderson never had a sister.”
“Not that he would want you to know about,” said Dolly. “He and his family spent a good portion of the day ignoring Aggie. So, she continued to play with me. Not that I minded. At the time, I personally thought her family was a bore, unlike Aggie – – she was so kind and joyful. But little did I know her family was going to become far worse than just a bore. For over time, it was decided by the family that James was a genius, a prodigy even, and he should have more attention and time devoted to his education, leaving Aggie more alone than ever before.
I tried to help out. I wanted to reach out and hold her hand, tell her that it will be okay and that I will always be there for her. However, being a doll frozen in place, I could not do those things. I felt so weak and so angry. But that was just the beginning of my endless fury for the men of the Sanderson family.
As time continued, young James Sanderson continued to impress different scholars and adults. Aggie played alone, forbidden to interrupt her brother’s studies. One day, after having a nice tea party with me, Aggie decided to visit her brother just to see how he was doing. she took me with her into his room. Her brother was writing up an application for some fancy school. I heard her kindly ask James how he was doing, and he ignored her. Aggie then asked her brother if he wanted to come outside and play. He still ignored her. That made me angry. I wished I could grab him by the chin and force him to notice her. But, of course, I did not have the strength to do so.
Then the father came storming in. He was enraged. “How dare you interrupt your brother! He is working so hard, and you come in here to bother him! Shame on you!” He was crazy, and he kept on screaming, “How dare you interrupt your brother!”
Then James Sanderson’s father did the unthinkable. That horrid man slapped Aggie, and James still ignored it all. I can still remember the way she cried. That day, the energy inside me grew a new feeling. It was hatred. Hatred for all the men in the Sanderson family.
As time went by, like it always does, the Sanderson family got yet another mother. Aggie spent the majority of time alone outside playing games of make-believe. That was always my favorite thing to do with Aggie because even though I was technically not alive then, I still felt like I was alive while I was with her. Because she saw me as alive. Either way, even though I was still playing with Aggie, I never stopped noticing the sadness that she was feeling, boosting my hatred for the Sanderson men and their ignorance toward her even more.
Then, winter came. I remember it well. It was that winter when it snowed on the island, as it had never snowed before. I watched from the shelf in Aggie’s room, through the window at the snow pelting down outside. That’s when Aggie got sick, very sick. She put me on the nightstand next to her bed, and I started to watch her cough. I watched her cough for the next few weeks, and I couldn’t say or do anything. It was maddening.
Finally, Aggie’s father got around to calling a doctor. The doctor arrived on the island by boat. I watched as he examined Aggie. He took Aggie’s temperature and felt her pulse; he did not look happy. The doctor stepped outside the room to talk to Aggie’s parents. But both I and Aggie could still hear his grim-sounding voice from outside the doorway. The doctor told the parents that Aggie was in the early stages of a rare disease. However, in the early stage of the sickness, it could be treated. All they had to do was move Aggie off the island and to a medical facility on the mainland. If that were done, she would most likely be alright. When I heard the doctor say that she could be alright again, it wasn’t the first time I felt relief, but I had never felt it as strong as I did at that moment.
Then I heard the father say, “So how much is this all going to cost?”
I couldn’t believe it. Aggie was terribly sick, and all he cared about was the money. I didn’t hear what the doctor said next. He must’ve been telling him how much it was going to cost. I heard the father laugh. “Does that include the transportation?” The doctor said, “No.”
Then I heard the father say, “I don’t believe we’ll be doing that.”
The doctor’s voice grew intense. He told Mr. Sanderson that if it was left untreated, she could fall into a further stage of the disease, which would not only be incurable but could kill her. Then I heard the father say, “I’m sure we’ll be able to handle this. Thank you for your services.” There was still some talking, but I could hear none of it. I remember Aggie’s face. She looked so brave and yet so miserable at the same time.
As the days now turned into weeks, Aggie remained bedridden in her room. The door was usually closed, except for when a maid or servant would bring her soup. Aggie would ask them if they could sit by her side and talk, but they usually said they were too busy and that she should get her rest. As Aggie’s face grew paler and sweatier, she had less and less contact with people from outside her room. I felt the darkness growing in me, and there was nothing I could do to prevent it, for the only light in my life was fading. And I could do nothing to help her.
Aggie still stayed very strong. If she could not play outside, she would play in her room. Eventually, she got so sick she couldn’t even get up to retrieve her dolls from the shelf. I was the only one near her, for I sat on the nightstand and sometimes in the bed when she had the strength. I remember her saying one night that she appreciated me staying with her. Even though she didn’t know I could feel or hear her, she talked to me as if I were a person. But despair still grew in what would be my heart. Aggie remained asleep most of the time, but I could hear what was going on behind the wall. I could hear the nasty scribbling on a piece of paper with a pencil that belonged to her horrible brother. I could hear people praising him, cheering him, telling him how wonderful and smart he is. It enraged me. All that care and hope for a boy who didn’t deserve it while Aggie was dying in the room across the hall.
“Hold it,” Laurie interrupted. “If you were a doll, how were you able to see and hear all those things? How exactly does that work?”
“Hey, you wanted the truth. So, I’m telling you. Now let me finish,” Dolly said sharply.
Laurie nodded and let Dolly continue.
For a short time, it seemed like Aggie was getting better. It did not last. It was after that that my anger at James Sanderson became complete. You see, even while sick, Aggie still longed for a human companion to play with. It was a gloomy day when the shut door to Aggie’s room cracked open, and her brother James Sanderson poked his head through the opening. He had a handkerchief over his mouth and was looking directly at Aggie. I saw Aggie perk up even though she was still weak with sickness.
James Sanderson entered the room completely. He was still looking directly at Aggie.
“Brother, oh brother, come over here and be with me,” Aggie forced out of her sore throat. But all her brother did in response was turn his head and walk over to a small bookshelf in the corner of Aggie’s room.
“Brother, why don’t you come over and talk?” pleaded Aggie.
James Sanderson didn’t look at her, and he shuffled through the books on her bookshelf till he picked out an old children’s book off the shelf. He still was covering his mouth with that handkerchief.
“Brother, can’t you come here so we can be together,” Aggie pleaded again.
James slowly walked back to the door of Aggie’s room, the old book in hand and the handkerchief over his mouth. Aggie was tearing up now.
“Brother, please!” she cried.
James looks at her directly one more time, opened the door, and left. The crazed feeling of darkness and hatred that was growing inside my hollow form was overwhelming. How could he be so cruel? I could see that Aggie was heartbroken, and I could do nothing as she laid her head back down on her pillow and fell asleep.
Halfway through that month, Aggie died in bed. I was there when she took her last breath. I could almost see her soul leave her body, leaving me behind, and I couldn’t cry even though I wanted to.
It didn’t take long for a servant to discover that Aggie was dead. The servant alerted the father, who came into her room. He gave one look at Aggie’s dead body and ordered the servant to take it outside and bury it. The servant asked Mr. Sanderson if he should arrange a funeral. Mr. Sanderson simply replied with a harsh “No.”
The servant then informed Mr. Sanderson that they didn’t have a coffin. That horrible man then told his servant to go to the old cellar and bring back up a large old crate. The servant obeyed and left for the cellar. He arrived not long afterward with what looked like a wooden storage crate. Mr. Sanderson ordered him to put Aggie’s body into the crate. After he did, the servant was instructed to take her outside and bury her. When the servant asked where to do it, Mr. Sanderson answered, “Anywhere in the woods.” So just like that, she was gone, never for me to see her again.
Dolly began to tear up. Laurie suddenly felt very bad for her.
“I’m sorry that happened. I can’t imagine….”
“No, you couldn’t,” said Dolly looking up at Laurie with tears in her eyes.
“But the story is not over,” Dolly said. “After Aggie’s death, cold despair grew from my being. I remained on the nightstand as the despair grew stronger. As for Aggie’s room, now empty, it was locked up, and eventually, the door was boarded over. I was so blind with rage. I could feel things happening to me, changes in my core. Still unable to react to them, time went on like a never-ending nightmare. I may not have been able to move, but my emotions were overflowing, like a black fire. As I gathered dust, I could hear the brother and the father in different rooms. Sometimes I could hear other voices. And sometimes there were none.”
“Years went by. I stayed untouched. The room itself became dirtier and older. I kept one thing on my mind: revenge on the men in the Sanderson family. It took a long time. In fact, it took many years, but the door to Aggie’s room was eventually opened. An old man who had been painting the wall outside had discovered the door and forced it open. He was surprised to even find a room there. Apparently, the door to Aggie’s room had been covered up with wallpaper. The man left for what could be only less than a minute and brought a well-dressed man into the room. I recognized the well-dressed man. It was Aggie’s brother, James Sanderson. James looked around the room quietly. His face grew sad. He brushed his hand along the bed frame and looked at the dust on his hands. He then turned his eyes to me. He picked me up with both hands. I was so furious; I was surprised he didn’t feel the anger emanating from me. He told the old man that I used to be his sister’s favorite doll. He said to the old man, “We should put her somewhere special.” For the first time in years, I was taken out of Aggie’s room. As I was carried down the hall, I saw young children in the doorways of classrooms. I realized the mansion had been transformed into a school for young children.”
“The old man, who was apparently a school janitor, went and placed me in a glass case outside a newly built game room. Being behind that glass was torture. It was the ultimate punishment inflicted on me by James Sanderson. For now, I was able to see boy after boy torment girls outside the game room, pulling their hair and spitting spitballs at them, treating all these other girls no better than how the Sanderson men treated Aggie, like disposable doll parts. It made me hate all the boys as much as I hated James Sanderson.”
“I sat within that glass case for many years, my energy growing darker every moment, until that day when I witnessed a smart-mouthed boy named Kyle cruelly humiliate a young girl by pouring wet toilet paper all over her for no reason. The heartlessness of this act was the final straw. So even though I don’t know how, the years of anger boiled up through my empty form, and that night I reached forward and broke through the glass. When I hit the ground, I was not just a doll anymore, I was a real girl. Well, sort of… it’s hard to explain. I still felt like a doll in a weird way, but I could sense so much more. I could also move. My thoughts had never run so clear. My new body overflowed with power.”
“However, despite all that, I knew exactly what I had to do. So, in order to enact the perfect revenge, I stole some empty trunks from a storage room. Then I found a hiding spot in the fishing shed near the island docks and began to bide my time. When the time was right, I took my chance and blended in with a group of new students, taking on the name Dolly Dahl, giving me all the time I needed to plan my revenge on James Sanderson.”
Laurie frowned and asked, “So let me get this straight. You were that doll outside the game room that went missing all that time ago?”
“Yes, I was,” said Dolly.
“Oh, come on! You expect me to believe that you just came alive like that? You’re not a doll, no way!” Laurie exclaimed.
“Believe what you want. It is still true. Besides, how would I know about all that stuff if I wasn’t actually there for it?” asked Dolly.
“Well, I’m sure you just asked someone for the details,” said Laurie defiantly.
The truth is, that Laurie really was unsure if Dolly was telling the truth or not. In fact, Laurie didn’t know what to think of Dolly’s crazy story at all.
“So, what now?” said Laurie, slightly worried.
“Now I use the power of the eclipse and the voodoo doll of James Sanderson to end his miserable existence forever,” grinned Dolly.
Dolly looked up and suddenly looked terrified. “Oh no! I barely have any time left of the eclipse! I have to finish the ceremony now!” She quickly picked up the James Sanderson voodoo doll and grabbed a pin from her burlap sack, and raised both above the bubbling cauldron.
Wait! Laurie called out. please, I may not believe that you are a living doll, but I have seen that you can do some crazy things with that voodoo stuff. So please don’t use it to hurt James Sanderson
“Quiet Laurie, I have to say the incantation,” said Dolly.
“Dolly, please listen. You’re a better person than this. You have to be. Just think about what you’re doing. What will any of this achieve,” Laurie cried.
To be honest, Laurie was grasping at straws. She was really running out of ideas on how to convince Dolly to stop this craziness.
“Dolly,” Laurie said, “If you don’t listen to me, can you at least take a moment and think about what Aggie would say if she saw you right now?
Dolly, who had the pin inches away from the voodoo doll’s heart, stopped completely. “I know what she would say.” She looked to the side, staring blankly into the woods. “Aggie would say that she loves me and that she wouldn’t want me to harm her brother, no matter what he did to her.”
“So then stop yourself. Don’t do it,” Laurie said.
Dolly turned to face Laurie. She had a bland expression on her face. Then the expression turned into a scowl. “But that’s the problem, Laurie,” she said. “Aggie is not here to say that.”
Laurie’s heart sank. Dolly turned around to shove the pin into the doll. Laurie looked up. There was still a bit of the eclipse left. Laurie looked back at Dolly. “She may not be here, but I am.”
Dolly stopped once again; her hand once again frozen in the air.
“Listen, I think you’re really nice to the girls around here, including me. And quite frankly, I really like that. I know Aggie was important to you, and I wasn’t there to relate. But maybe I can be your Aggie now. I can help you get through this. I mean, you said it yourself. Aggie wouldn’t want you to do this, so let’s do something she would want you to do, be free. She was confined to her bed, and you were confined to being a doll. This is the chance for one of you to live a life without constraints, including the constraints of being bound by hatred.”
Dolly still had her back turned to Laurie. But Laurie could tell, even without seeing her face, that she was angry. Laurie awkwardly held out her hand. “Come on, for Aggie,” she said. Dolly didn’t turn around. She held the doll over the cauldron and the pin very close to its heart. Laurie thought for sure she would jab it in. However, she didn’t. Dolly just stood there, with pin and voodoo doll in midair. The eclipse passed. Neither of them made a move. Laurie was unsure what to do next. Then Dolly thrust down her arms and wailed in anguish. “Why!” she cried. “I didn’t do it. Why?”
Laurie put her hand on her shoulder. “If it makes you feel any better, the eclipse will come back in two months.” Laurie paused, regretting what she had just said. “But until that time, thank you for not killing our principal with voodoo magic.” Laurie lightly chuckled. However, despite this weird night, I hope that you take the opportunity to be my friend.
“I guess that’s what Aggie would want me to do,” Dolly said.
The two walked out of the woods. “Wow. I never stay up this late. We better get back to the girl’s dorm. Speaking of dorms, Daniel and Arthur, they’ll be all right, right?”
“They’ll be fine, but they won’t be able to come out of the dorm room until the sun rises. Then the magic will be out of their system.”
“I guess that wraps up everything for me,” said Laurie. She paused. “I know you have some harsh feelings and sadness inside you. I hope you can find a way to get through them. I’d be happy to help you.”
“Thank you,” said Dolly.
“Let’s get going,” said Laurie.
Dolly looked up at the sky. “I’ll be right behind you,” she said.
“Okay, see you in a bit,” said Laurie.
“Two months,” Dolly whispered to herself.