Today we are featuring Inklings Book Contest 2020 finalist, Nicole Chen! Nicole finished 6th grade this past school year. The story she submitted is called “Don’t Forget About Me.” Our judges loved the perspective from which this story is told, giving us a twist on typical creepy-doll stories.
Florence sat there, watching as Elizabeth opened her present. This one had long, golden, blonde hair, and shining blue eyes like the ocean. Florence had messy dark brown hair with light, dull, brown eyes. Florence looked at the doll; it had such a similar name yet so different. Faith, Elizabeth named her brand-new doll Faith. It seemed she didn’t even want Florence; Elizabeth spent so much time admiring her new doll Faith, she didn’t even notice Florence.
Florence remembered the attention Elizabeth used to pay to her. It was Elizabeth’s 13th birthday party; she ripped open her present and saw a beautiful doll, Florence. Florence had long dark brown hair with shining brown eyes. Florence’s hair was wavy; it felt and looked smooth and silky. Elizabeth would spend hours playing with Florence, paying all her attention to Florence. Elizabeth would always style Florence’s hair and take Florence everywhere she went.
One day, before Elizabeth got Faith, Elizabeth forgot about Florence. Now it’s Elizabeth’s 14th birthday and all Florence could do is sit there and watch as Elizabeth had forgotten all about her.
Florence sat on Elizabeth’s desk, glaring at Faith. “Wow! look at you Faith! You have such pretty hair I’m going to braid it.” As Elizabeth reached out to grab a hairbrush, she hit Florence off the desk. “Oops.” Elizabeth passed Florence lying on the floor.
Florence, knocked, sprawled out on the floor, sat there, heartbroken. She saw how much Elizabeth cared for Faith; all Florence could do was lie there watching Elizabeth brushing Faith’s hair, and reminisce about when Elizabeth cared about her like that.
“Elizabeth!” screamed Lillian, Elizabeth’s younger sister. “I wanna play with you too! Can I use that one?” Lillian said while pointing to Florence.
Elizabeth glanced over at Florence. “No, go get one of your prettier dolls…better than my old ruined doll,” Elizabeth mumbled.
Florence listened in. She felt useless. Elizabeth had no sympathy for Florence anymore. “Ha! Florence used to be pretty, unlike now,” Elizabeth said while brushing Faith’s hair.
Snowflake ran up the stairs. Snowflake grabbed Faith. “Hey! Don’t touch Faith!” yelled Elizabeth. Florence watched as if she was hurt. Elizabeth never even bothered to care when Snowflake took her. Florence felt hurt when she saw that. Elizabeth would always glance at Florence and look away with disgust.
Florence was always ignored. Even if she was on the floor, Elizabeth walked right past her, knowing that she was on the ground. The next day, Florence started moving around the house. She followed Elizabeth to school.
That morning Elizabeth was excited to show Avery, her best friend, Faith. “Oh! Let me show you my new doll! It’s in my backpack,” said Elizabeth excitedly. When Elizabeth reached into her bag, she grabbed her doll and screamed! “This isn’t my new doll! This doll is ugly!”
“That doll isn’t that bad,” Avery said. Florence felt hopeless, and with a heavy heart, walked back home. When she returned, she saw Faith lying on Elizabeth’s bed. Florence grabbed a pair of scissors off Elizabeth’s desk.
“Mom, Dad! I’m home!” Elizabeth yelled once she entered the door. She dropped her backpack on the bottom of the stairs and ran up. As Elizabeth walked into the room, there was hair all over the floor. She saw Faith, “My doll! What happened?” Faith’s hair was in chunks. Elizabeth looked at Florence, Florence had a grin on her face.
“Did you do this? You dumb doll! Ugh, Lillian probably must’ve done it. I need to take Faith to mom. She might know how to fix this.” Elizabeth brought the doll to her mom.
“Well, Lillian sure isn’t making anything easier. Though, we may just have to order a doll wig.”
“That’s fine,” said Elizabeth in an upset tone.
Florence watched from the stairs. She was mad; Elizabeth never bothered to fix her hair. Florence remembered the time when Lillian took scissors to her hair. “What? What happened to Florence? Florence isn’t pretty. I’ll just ask mom for a new one for my birthday.” Elizabeth had thrown Florence to the floor. “I’m going to play with one of Lillian’s dolls.”
Elizabeth walked off. There were times when Elizabeth would pay attention to Florence, but it was never the same as how Elizabeth treated Faith. Florence wanted Elizabeth to feel the same pain.
Florence followed Elizabeth to school every day and stared at her through the window. “AH!” screamed Elizabeth,
Ms. Anderson glanced over at Elizabeth. Elizabeth yelled, “THERE’S A DOLL OUTSIDE!”
Elizabeth’s classmates glanced over at the window.
“There’s nothing there,” said Avery.
“W-what?” Elizabeth looked directly into the doll’s eyes. “F-Florence….” Elizabeth stuttered; she didn’t want anyone to think she was crazy. She tried to play it off, “Oh sorry, I was day-dreaming.” Elizabeth just tried to not think about it, but she couldn’t get her mind off of it.
That night at home, she looked at Florence who was waiting by the door and grabbed her. Elizabeth ran upstairs. “Mom! Come here!”
“Elizabeth? What’s wrong?” Her mom said, confused.
“My doll is haunted! Today at school, I looked out the window and saw Florence staring into the glass.”
“Sweetheart, that’s probably just your imagination.” Elizabeth’s mom walked away thinking of Elizabeth’s funny imagination.
“Ugh that stupid doll, that stupid doll.” Elizabeth grabbed Florence. Elizabeth walked over to the park, with Florence in her right hand. She left Florence sitting on the bench, next to the swings hoping another kid would take her.
Elizabeth walked home. The sun was slowly setting, and the park was quiet and empty. She heard a creak and glanced over, seeing the swing moving back and forth. “Why is that swing moving?” she walked over and saw Florence swinging on it. She turned back around and started to walk; Elizabeth quickened her pace. When she got home, she slammed the door and turned around. Florence stood right in front of her. Elizabeth blinked. The doll was gone. “I must be out of my mind,” Elizabeth mumbled.
She walked up the stairs, petrified of what was going to happen next. She ran to her room and closed the door. She stood at the door holding it shut. She turned around and saw Florence, messy brown hair, scratched up face, ripped clothes, and dark red demon glowing eyes. Elizabeth blinked. “W-What?” Elizabeth said in a nervous tone. Florence was gone. She went to get ready for bed and went to sleep with Faith on her nightstand.
Elizabeth sat in bed screaming. “What is going on?” Elizabeth’s mother yelled. She came into the room. Everything was perfectly fine. Elizabeth was holding one of her books, aiming it at Florence, who looked like a normal doll. “Elizabeth? Are you all alright?” Elizabeth dropped the book down right next to her doll.
“You’re acting like your imagination seems it’s real.” Elizabeth’s mother looked worried.
“EVERYTHING IS NOT FINE! THERE IS A DEMON-LOOKING DOLL THAT WANTS TO KILL ME, AND YOU CAN’T SEE IT!”
Elizabeth’s mother looked really confused. She looked to where Elizabeth was staring. Nothing was on the ground except a normal doll. Snowflake burst into the door and stopped. Elizabeth slowly slipped the focus of the doll.
Elizabeth looked back at the doll, she wanted to destroy it, “That doll is ruining my life.” Elizabeth said while looking directly at it.
The next day, she took Florence and tried to fix her up. Then Elizabeth went back to the park, and left Florence sitting on the bench again. He hoped if she fixed Florence a bit, some child would want her. Then Elizabeth walked away and turned her back. Florence was gone. “What is wrong with that doll!” Elizabeth wanted to just get rid of it. “Maybe if I just talk to my new doll Faith, she will somehow get rid of Florence.”
When Elizabeth walked home, she saw Faith sitting right at her bedside table. Faith was sitting there. It seemed she was a normal doll. Elizabeth sighed and went to sleep. She wanted to just get rid of that dumb doll. “Ugh! Faith, can you get rid of that stupid doll?”
Florence never really wanted anything bad to happen, but Elizabeth just didn’t stop treating her like trash. Florence decided to try and make Elizabeth notice her.
“Mom!” Elizabeth shouted.
Elizabeth’s mom walked upstairs and looked at Elizabeth. “Elizabeth, stop pretending you see a doll.”
Elizabeth looked at her mother with her shocked eyes, “W-what!? There’s a doll mom!”
Elizabeth started looking pale when she went to school. She would always see the doll in the hallway, and when she blinked, it was gone. Elizabeth screamed, “WHY CAN NO ONE SEE IT!”
Her friends looked at her, “What is wrong with you Elizabeth! You were never like this!” Elizabeth was left there alone. Alone, looking at the doll standing right in front of her, she then went to her next class. Florence would follow Elizabeth everywhere she went. Elizabeth would always act weird around her friends. “What is up with you Elizabeth?” Her friends would always ask the same question. When Elizabeth got home, she saw Florence sitting on her bedside table, “I need to get rid of this doll somehow…” Elizabeth thought. “What if I give it to one of my friends; they can deal with these things.”
The next day, after school, Elizabeth went up to Clara. “Hey Clara! Look at my old doll.”
Clara stared at it. “It looks nice actually, except it has a few scratches and her hair is a bit… interesting,” Clara said.
“Hey do you want it?” Elizabeth said in a soft joyful tone.
“Sure, why not?”
Elizabeth handed the doll to Clara and Clara took it. Elizabeth smiled and walked home. When Elizabeth got home, she didn’t see the doll anywhere. “Finally that doll is gone.” Elizabeth looked at her table and saw Faith. Faith seemed like a normal doll, and Elizabeth would always play with Faith. While Elizabeth was playing with Faith, she all of a sudden felt guilty for giving Clara her “haunted” doll.
It was a Saturday night. Elizabeth was just about to go to bed, but went downstairs to get a cup of water. Elizabeth heard someone knocking at the back, sliding, glass door. She switched on the light; she saw her doll standing there. Florence looked completely different. She had black hair, ripped clothes, pure black eyes, scratches everywhere and Florence had an evil grin on her face. Florence had her head tilted. Elizabeth screamed. She dropped her glass of water on the ground and it shattered. Her mom ran downstairs and saw what had happened. Elizabeth cried, “Why can’t you see that doll standing right there!”
Elizabeth’s mom had no expression. “Elizabeth, I’m taking you to a psychiatrist.” Elizabeth’s mom said.
“What! You can’t see this dumb doll!” Elizabeth stormed upstairs. She then thought about it. “I didn’t treat that doll badly, did I?” Elizabeth then fell asleep.
The next day Elizabeth saw the doll next to her bed. She took the closest thing and threw it at Florence. Unfortunately, that thing Elizabeth took was her piggy bank that was filled with coins. She missed the shot. It hit the wall and broke. Money and coins flew everywhere. Elizabeth was upset; she knew her mom would think she was out of her mind and she looked at the wall. There was a huge mark left there from what she threw. Elizabeth took one of her paintings and hung it up on the wall. Elizabeth looked at it. She knew if she kept acting like this, everyone would think she was weird because no one else noticed anything wrong around her. Elizabeth went to school the very next day; she wondered what was going to happen.
More horrible things started to happen. Elizabeth looked at everyone and everyone looked at her. She had thrown a pen and it hit one of the students, her friend, Clara. It didn’t hit hard. The teacher started to call Elizabeth’s parents.
When Elizabeth’s parents came after school, Elizabeth said, “Mom! Dad! It was the doll, I swore I saw it I didn’t mean to hit Clara!”
“Elizabeth stop trying to make excuses, you probably are just using this doll as an excuse for everything that you do.”
Her mom took her to a psychiatrist. Elizabeth sat there talking about the doll. No one believed her. Elizabeth kept on thinking about how if she kept trying to hurt the doll, she would end up doing something else.
Every single day she would see Florence standing right in front of her, and Florence would follow her everywhere. Elizabeth wanted to just make Florence disappear.
One day, Elizabeth couldn’t deal with Florence anymore. Elizabeth grabbed Florence. Florence didn’t do anything. Elizabeth took Florence back to the park once more. “This time you’re not coming back into my life.” Little did she know, there was no way Florence would stay out of her life after Elizabeth did those things.
Elizabeth didn’t go to school for a few days because she ended up sick in bed. When she returned everyone looked at her weird, then Elizabeth remembered what happened with the pen. Elizabeth tried to explain everything to her friends but no one listened to her anymore; nobody even wanted to be her friend anymore. They all thought something was wrong with her, but no one knew that the doll was a real thing in Elizabeth’s life.
Elizabeth felt isolated and a completely different person, but then one of Elizabeth’s old friends walked over and sat down at her table. “Elizabeth tell me what’s going on.” Elizabeth sighed. She started to talk all about the doll and how she was trying to get rid of it and all the things she’s tried to do.
Her friend cut her off. “Wow they were right, you are as crazy as they said.”
Elizabeth’s mouth opened, “W-what?” Then Elizabeth’s friend walked off. She wanted to cry. No one believed her; they all isolated her. Elizabeth just thought about how she treated Florence. She thought of something. “Maybe if I pay more attention to Florence, she will stop giving me a hard time.”
Once Elizabeth went home, she looked around her house for Florence. That’s when she remembered Florence usually stayed in her room beside the bed. Elizabeth ran upstairs into her room. She looked around her room. Florence wasn’t anywhere. When Elizabeth turned around, she saw Florence right there in front of her with no expression.
“Hey Florence.” Elizabeth said nervously. Nothing happened. Florence was still right there not caring about anything Elizabeth had to say. Elizabeth knew that the only reason she was paying attention to Florence was that Florence was making everything difficult. Unfortunately for Elizabeth, Florence knew that too. Florence wasn’t willing to accept any apologies that didn’t mean anything. Elizabeth took Florence and tried to fix her. She made Florence’s hair wavy and smooth again and fixed her clothes. Florence felt even more unsatisfied that the only reason Elizabeth even bothered was because of what was happening in her life now. Faith was still sitting at the bedside table. Florence didn’t care about what Elizabeth did. Elizabeth tried to be nice to Florence, which upset her even more than before. She knew Elizabeth only cared about her own life and didn’t mean a true apology.
Elizabeth talked with her psychiatrist a few times each week about her situation. She knew that a psychiatrist wouldn’t help her at all and that this was a waste of her time. She went with what her mom said, but Elizabeth felt upset because no one would believe her. Elizabeth thought about how everyone would think she is weird and seeing a psychiatrist, but Elizabeth knew what she saw was real, even if no one else believed her.
Elizabeth went to see her psychiatrist. It always put her in a bad mood after the visit. The psychiatrist would talk to Elizabeth and give her ways to cope with it. Elizabeth disliked how she did that. Every time when Elizabeth got home, she would say, “I’m going to my room.” Then she would always stay there. She would always complain to her mom about the psychiatrist. “It doesn’t help! You know why? It’s because what I see is real.” Her mom would leave and not want to hear it. Florence sat on the nightstand in Elizabeth’s room. She would look at Florence and make an annoyed face. Florence liked how no one believed Elizabeth. It made her feel satisfied, but not satisfied enough.
One day Elizabeth was talking to her psychiatrist, but she saw a random doll on the table. She realized the doll wasn’t Florence, so Elizabeth didn’t make a huge reaction to it, “Um, is something wrong?” asked Elizabeth’s psychiatrist.
“N-no.” Elizabeth glanced back over at the table and the doll was still there. While Elizabeth’s psychiatrist talked to her about the doll. Elizabeth kept glancing at the doll on the table.
Once Elizabeth got home, she didn’t see Florence where she usually was. She felt relieved. “Maybe Florence stopped bothering me?” Elizabeth stopped worrying about Florence for a while. Every day she came back from school and Florence was nowhere to be found.
One day Elizabeth came home from school and saw Florence sitting at the bottom of the stairs. “What? I thought you left.”
Florence sat on the steps and had a small evil smile on her face. Elizabeth had had a nice week with nothing bothering her, but now she had to deal with Florence again, sitting at the bottom of the staircase. Elizabeth took the first thing she saw and threw it at Florence. Just as Elizabeth threw it, Lillian came running down the stairs and the book hit Lillian, “Ow!” Lillian cried.
Elizabeth stood there. “Uhm.” She didn’t know what to say. She had just hit Lillian with a book, and couldn’t just tell her mom that she hit Lillian with a book. Elizabeth needed to say something so she said this, “Mom! I was… Trying to see how far I could throw a book!”
Elizabeth’s mom didn’t seem impressed. She took Lillian to go get ice and calm her down. Elizabeth sighed. she looked down at Florence. She knew she had to be more careful.
The next day Elizabeth had school. She took her backpack and walked to school with Avery. She didn’t say anything about the doll and talked to Avery about school. When they got to school, Elizabeth saw Florence next to the entrance. “Hey, look at that random doll,” Avery said.
Elizabeth didn’t say it was the doll haunting her, she said something to go along with it. “Yeah, maybe one of the first graders dropped it, they always bring dolls.”
They walked to their class and sat in their seats. Elizabeth looked into her backpack and almost screamed. Elizabeth saw Florence sitting in her backpack. “What? Why are you here?” Elizabeth whispered to Florence. Florence, of course, didn’t answer. Elizabeth took her notebook out and started to take notes.
Once school ended Elizabeth went home. She tried to open the door, but it was locked. She rang the doorbell at least a dozen times. Her mom opened the door and looked annoyed. “Why couldn’t you just open the door?” her mom said.
“The door was locked!” Elizabeth yelled at her mom.
“It was never locked.” Elizabeth’s mom walked away looking annoyed. Elizabeth shut the door, she turned around and saw Florence again, “Oh, so now you want my mom to hate me?” Elizabeth said to Florence. She noticed Florence was holding a shiny necklace. Elizabeth blinked her eyes and saw Florence was gone. She didn’t think much of the necklace. Elizabeth went to her room. She called Avery and talked with her on the phone for at least an hour. When she ended the phone call, her mom called her for dinner. Elizabeth sat at the table eating. Her mom, dad, and Lillian were all looking at her. Elizabeth felt like everyone didn’t like her anymore. She knew her sister was scared of her, since she threw a book at Lillian. Her mom was mad at her. After Elizabeth finished dinner, she did her homework and then went to brush her teeth and get ready for bed.
The next day before school, Elizabeth didn’t see Avery waiting for her. “Maybe Avery’s sick.” Elizabeth walked to school alone and when she got to school, everyone was looking at her. She saw Avery glaring at her with a different group of friends. “What did I do?” Elizabeth was so confused. She didn’t think she did anything.
“Ugh! I can’t believe you! I thought we were friends,” Avery said.
“WE ARE!” Elizabeth screamed.
“We don’t want to hear it,” said one of Avery’s new friends. Elizabeth reached into her backpack and saw a necklace. It was Avery’s. Avery’s older sister gave it to her before she left. Avery has been looking for the necklace for such a long time. “Is this what they are talking about? How do I have it?” Avery walked up to Elizabeth.
Why would you even take that?” Avery said.
“I didn’t even know I had it!” Elizabeth screamed. Avery walked off with a new group of friends; she took the necklace from Elizabeth. Then Elizabeth realized Florence had been holding something the day before. It was shiny and had the exact charm as Avery’s necklace. “How did Avery even know I had it… I didn’t even know.”
Elizabeth did everything alone.
When she got home, she looked at her mom. “Why would you take Avery’s necklace!?” her mom yelled. “You knew how much that meant to Avery!”
Elizabeth couldn’t stand being blamed anymore. “I didn’t take the necklace! Mom, you know I wouldn’t take that! You know who did! That doll I was talking about!” Elizabeth’s mom was really annoyed now.
“That doll had been bugging you huh? Well, your dad and I have a solution. You have been pretending there was a doll haunting you, you even threw a book at your sister. We tried taking you to a psychiatrist and you still are acting like this.”
The very next day Elizabeth was yelling at her parents. She was locked in a padded room screaming. Florence was in front of the door and she said, “Don’t forget about me.” Then skipped down the hallway with a smile on her face.