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What a Doll!



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About The Book

Emmy’s new doll has strange powers over her best friend in this entrancing addition to the You’re Invited to a Creepover series.

Emmy Spencer and Lizzy Draper have been best friends since birth, but now that they’re in seventh grade, they’ve begun to drift apart. Lizzy—insistent on being called Liz now—has a new group of friends, and she has gone out of her way to exclude Emmy from them. It’s almost as if Lizzy doesn’t want Emmy hanging out with her anymore. But then Emmy comes into possession of a doll that can change all that—a doll that will put Emmy in control of Lizzy’s every move. Can she use the doll to save their friendship, or will it end up controlling them both?

This spooky tale is a level 3 on the Creep-o-Meter.


What a Doll!


One Friday night Lizzy Draper and Emmy Spencer were watching TV and eating popcorn at Lizzy’s house. This was because Lizzy didn’t seem to want to do anything else.

“Pass the popcorn, Lizzy?” Emmy asked her best friend.

Lizzy passed the bowl over with a slightly annoyed look. “It’s Liz, remember?” she asked Emmy. “Now that I’m not five anymore?”

“Oh, right. Sorry, Liz,” Emmy mumbled. Emmy had a bad feeling in her stomach, the same feeling she’d been having for a few months now. Things were different between the lifelong best friends. There was no denying it. It was simple: Now that they were in seventh grade, Lizzy had become popular, and Emmy had not. Lizzy was talking to boys, and Emmy was not. Lizzy was wearing lip gloss, and Emmy was not. Lizzy—

“Hey, you know something?” Lizzy interrupted Emmy’s thoughts. “You could maybe start going by a more mature name yourself.”

“What do you mean? Change my name?” Emmy said.

“No, silly,” Lizzy said. “Just go by something like Em. Or Emma.”

“Em might be okay,” Emmy responded. “But my full name’s not Emma. It’s Emily.”

“Right, but Emma is much cooler,” Lizzy said, looking totally serious.

“I kind of like Em,” said Emmy. “But it would take some getting used to. Hey, I know. Instead of Liz, I could call you Lizard.” Emmy laughed at her own joke.

“Like when I was three?” Lizzy asked sarcastically.

Emmy thought it might be a good idea to change the subject. “So what are we going to be for the costume party this year?”

Lizzy paused and examined the pattern on the rug. “Oh,” she said. “I was going to tell you. I’m going to do a group costume with Cadence and Sophie.”

Ouch. Emmy tried to keep the hurt out of her voice. “But we had so much fun last year,” she said.

The costume party was part of their school’s spirit week, which was only a few weeks away. When Lizzy and Emmy were in sixth grade, they heard rumors about how competitive some of the kids got with their costumes, and they were a little scared to participate. But then Emmy had the most brilliant idea: Lizzy could dress up as a bug and Emmy could go as a can of bug spray. Lizzy had loved it and so had everyone else. They even won an honorable mention for such a creative costume—an honor very few sixth graders ever received.

Emmy had been thinking of ideas for this year’s costume for months now, but apparently it was all for nothing. At this moment, Emmy was feeling a lot like she was an actual bug and Lizzy was the spray.

“I know,” Lizzy said. “Sorry.”

Lizzy’s mom, Marilyn, poked her head into the family room. “You girls should turn off the TV soon,” she said.

“There’s nothing else to do, Mom,” Lizzy said with a hint of a whine. Emmy couldn’t help but notice that Lizzy had stopped calling her mother “Mommy,” which Emmy still called her mother. What was with all these name changes?

“I can’t believe my ears,” her mom said. “You two have always found fun things to do together at your sleepovers.” It was true. They’d make crazy concoctions in the kitchen, pretend to open up a beauty parlor, write short plays and perform them for their parents, carve bars of soap into funny shapes, and do plenty of other creative stuff.

Lizzy sighed loudly and said nothing more, finally turning off the television when it was time for dinner. The two girls sat silently at the table they had sat at together so many times before, since they were babies in high chairs. Their moms had met when they were pregnant with Lizzy and Emmy, and because they were next-door neighbors on a street deep in the heart of Brooklyn, New York, they spent countless hours with their baby girls in their kitchens, out running errands, at the playground, and even on family vacations together. Lizzy and Emmy had always been inseparable, just like their moms. Until lately.

Twirling spaghetti on her fork, Emmy was lost in thought. How could she feel so lonely with her best friend beside her? Maybe it was because they weren’t really best friends anymore. That thought made her so sad she dropped her fork on her plate. It was all she could do to keep herself from putting her head down on the table.

“What’s the matter, Emmy?” Marilyn asked.

“Nothing,” Emmy said. There was a time when she could tell Marilyn anything, and this wasn’t that time. Marilyn and Joanne, Emmy’s mom, had always depended on each other to take care of the other’s daughter in a pinch. If Joanne couldn’t get away from work and Emmy was sick at school, Marilyn would pick her up at the school nurse. If Marilyn had to go to a meeting out of town, Joanne would watch Lizzy until she got back. It was like each girl had two moms. Of course, it was even better than that because it was also like each girl had a sister—Lizzy was an only child, and Emmy had a little brother.

Living next door to each other had always been so much fun. The best part of all was that they could see right into each other’s bedrooms. They had all sorts of fun with this, shining laser lights or flashlights on each other’s walls in the dark and throwing things back and forth through their open windows. They did have one rule they agreed upon long ago, though: no spying.

As the girls cleared the dishes, Emmy noticed Lizzy looking at her closely. She seemed to be focused on Emmy’s long dark hair, which she wore in two braids. On the way up the stairs to Lizzy’s room, Lizzy swished one of Emmy’s braids like a horse’s tail.

“I have a great idea,” Lizzy said as they entered her room. “Let’s give you a makeover.”

Emmy was pleased that Lizzy wanted to do something, anything, with her. And they had played with makeup before. They used to love playing dress-up and putting on fashion shows for their parents. It would be fun. This sleepover isn’t going to be totally awful after all, Emmy thought.

“Awesome,” Emmy said, smiling. “Where’s your mom’s makeup case?” It was what they’d always used when they played dress-up.

“No makeup,” Lizzy announced, swishing Emmy’s other braid. “Hair.”

“Oh. Okay,” Emmy said, and removed the rubber band from each braid. She ran her fingers through her braids to undo them, splaying out her long pretty hair over her shoulders. Her hair was so long it almost reached her butt.

Lizzy looked at Emmy’s hair thoughtfully. “I have a vision,” she said, grinning, and left the room. “I’ll be right back.”

Emmy sat cross-legged on the floor, facing the mirror. She couldn’t wait to see what Lizzy was going to do. Would she weave a sophisticated inside-out French braid, like she did so well? Use a curling iron? She was so relieved that Lizzy seemed more like her old self that she didn’t notice what Lizzy was holding in her hand when she came back into the room.


Lizzy help them up like a magician’s wand. “You’re going to look great, Em,” she promised.

Emmy’s heart stopped. “Um, L-Liz . . . ,” she stammered. “I don’t want an actual haircut. I thought you were just going to braid it or something.”

“But haven’t you noticed how badly you need one?” Lizzy asked. “We’re in seventh grade now, but your hair is stuck in fourth.”

Emmy instinctively put her hands to her hair to protect it. What would her mother say if she came home with her hair cut off? She loved her daughter’s long hair. So did Emmy, actually. She loved feeling it cover her back, she loved brushing it, she loved braiding it herself. She’d never wanted shorter hair. For her entire life Emmy had never allowed it to be cut more than an inch to get rid of split ends. It had always been long. And so had Lizzy’s light blond hair until this year, when she’d gone for a short cut that she described as “sassier than long hair.”

Emmy was still stammering. “P-Plenty of grown-ups have long hair,” she pointed out.

Lizzy frowned. “Oh, never mind,” she said. “You’re hopeless.”

“I’m sorry,” Emmy said, making sure her voice didn’t crack. She was on the verge of tears. Things had been so much better in the last few minutes, and now Lizzy was disappointed. She was giving up on Emmy.

“Whatever,” Lizzy said like she really didn’t care. “I was just trying to help you. Forget it. Let’s just go watch TV again.”

Emmy’s heart sank deeper into her stomach. Her mind raced. Was there some way to salvage this sleepover? Yes, there was.

“How about if you just trim it?” Emmy asked. “I don’t mind having it cut a little bit. It might be . . . cool,” she added.

Lizzy smiled. “Excellent,” she said. “It will be cool. I promise. First let me wash it in the sink, like at a real hair salon.”

They went into the bathroom, where Lizzy gently sudsed up Emmy’s hair and carefully rinsed it. Then she even added conditioner. Emmy loved the feeling of Lizzy’s hands massaging her scalp. Lizzy was right. It was just like being at the salon. All the while, Lizzy was humming happily. It was just like old times. She helped Emmy stand up, wrapped one towel around her head and one around her shoulders, and led her back into her bedroom, where she combed out her hair and turned Emmy away from the mirror. Emmy felt like she was at a fancy spa.

“Here, sit on this towel,” Lizzy said, “so we don’t get hair all over the floor.” Emmy moved onto the towel.

Just as Lizzy started cutting, her cell phone rang. She put down the scissors and grabbed the phone.

“Hey, Cadence!” she said happily. “What’s up? No, I’m not doing anything.”

Yes you are, Emmy thought sadly.

But Lizzy continued the conversation for a few more minutes before hanging up. Then she continued cutting. Emmy was faced away from the mirror, but it felt to her like Lizzy was cutting off quite a lot.

“I think you’re cutting too much,” she said to Lizzy. “Let me just see in the mirror.”

Lizzy put the scissors down and put her hands on her hips. “Do you trust me or not?” she said.

“I trust you,” Emmy lied.

Lizzy continued snipping away, stopping twice to check text messages, which she smiled at but did not say anything about.

More snipping. A lot more snipping, actually.

“Okay, you can look now,” Lizzy said proudly. And for the next few moments, everything went in slow motion for Emmy.

She turned around slowly and looked in the mirror. It was a bit dark in Lizzy’s room, but what Emmy saw was plenty. And her reflection made her scream.

About The Author

A lifelong night owl, P.J. Night often works furiously into the wee hours of the morning, writing down spooky tales and dreaming up new stories of the supernatural and otherworldly. Although P.J.’s whereabouts are unknown at this time, we suspect the author lives in a drafty, old mansion where the floorboards creak when no one is there and the flickering candlelight creates shadows that creep along the walls. We truly wish we could tell you more, but we’ve been sworn to keep P.J.’s identity a secret…and it’s a secret we will take to our graves!

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