Halloween Ghost Story Contest -- 2016
Elementary School Winners

First Place

Our first place Elementary School entry was written by Michelle Fang, a ten-year-old presently living in Hong Kong.

Camari and Her Dolls

Michelle Fang

"Wow, I can see the Eiffel Tower from here!" Abigail exclaimed excitedly, pointing at the famous landmark from her airplane window, "Avery?" She popped her sister's hearing aids in.

"Why did you wake me? I was having the best dream ever!" Avery moaned.

The two twin sisters might've shared the same face, but they were very different.

Abigail was a softhearted, pink-loving goofball that believed in everything and everyone, including Santa Claus! Avery, on the other hand, was a logical, sporty tomboy that was always suspicious of strangers and their motives.

"Look! It's the Eiffel Tower!" Abigail repeated, not losing an ounce of her enthusiasm.

"You shouldn't be so excited," Avery frowned disapprovingly.

"Well, I know we're visiting sick Gramps, but there's always a reason to be happy."

"Well, they say that there's something wrong with people who are happy all the time."

"That's just a silly thing to believe-"

"Hello," A girl sitting on the other side of the aisle said, interrupting their conversation. She spoke faintly, like she had a sore throat. She was quite pale, and the light seemed to shine through her. Her blonde hair was tied back in two tight braids. Her blue eyes were glossy, as if she was in a trance. Lastly, she was wearing a plain white dress that looked like a nightgown from Medieval times. The weirdest thing about her was that she was clutching two dolls that looked almost identical to Avery and Abigail. Even down to miniature hearing aids plugged into the Avery doll's ears. They were curious.

"Who are you?" Avery questioned.

"My name is Camari," The girl replied.

"Where are your parents?" Abigail asked worriedly.

"They are already in Paris, and since I am old enough to travel by myself, they thought that I should just come alone." Camari explained.

"Wow! My parents would've never allowed me to fly all alone until I was at least twenty-one." Abigail replied. Avery glared at her, as if she was telling this stranger too much information.

"Those dolls look a little eerie, don't they?" Avery commented. "They're like the spitting images of me and my sister. How did you manage that?"

"Oh!" Camari smirked, "What a coincidence. I have many of these little dolls. They are all in my suitcase. They are quite lovely, would you like to see?"

Before the twins could reply, Camari pulled out her suitcase from under the seat in front of her and revealed her collection of dolls. The dolls were stacked tightly on top of each other, and their porcelain faces were painted with exceptional realism.

"Woah, they look so real! Where'd you get them? I want one!" Abigail blurted out.

"Ah, well, they were passed down from generation to generation. They are practically antique." Camari simpered.

"Antique dolls have hearing aids? That's funny." Avery quipped.

Camari retorted pointedly. "Well, they are mine now. So I can do whatever I want with them - including buying them new clothes and accessories."

Before Avery could take up Camari's point, there was an inflight announcement from the cabin crew that the plane would be reaching its destination shortly and to make sure all seat backs and tray tables were in the upright position, as well as to stow all the carry-on luggage underneath or into the overhead bins. Camari quickly stuffed all her dolls, including the Avery and Abigail dolls,into her suitcase, and tucked it underneath the seat in front of her.

All of a sudden, Avery and Abigail felt quite light-headed.

"It's a little stuffy in here, don't you think?" Avery said, tugging at her shirt collar.

"Well, it is a plane. And we're about to land. Maybe we're feeling a little nervous!" Abigail suggested.

Once the plane landed, Camari and the girls said their goodbyes.

Avery remarked soon after Camari walked off, "Man, that girl was weird. I hope we never see her again."

"Don't say that, Avery! You're so antisocial."

The twins quickly forgot about Camari as they loaded into their rent-a-car and made their way to the hospital with their parents, to visit their sick grandpa.


"Where is he?" Mr. Johnson asked the receptionist impatiently.

"I'm not sure, maybe he's already checked out," The receptionist said, twirling her hair nervously.

"I'll call dad," Mrs. Johnson said, taking her phone out of her pocket. Then, out of nowhere, Camari walked in on their conversation, careful not to bump into Mr and Mrs Johnson. It seemed like she had walked from the Psychiatric Ward, but she was such a frail, grey figure that it would have been hard to notice her anyway. She was now holding the Abigail and Avery like dolls under one arm, and dragging her suitcase behind her with the other.

"Hello, Abigail." She smiled, ignoring Avery.

"What a surprise! Hi, Camari!" Abigail exclaimed, returning Camari's smile.

"What are you doing here, Camari?" Avery asked flatly.

"Well, Avery, I came here to visit my Aunt. My mother told me to come out here so that Aunt Jenna could rest." Camari replied with the same tone.

"Well, I'm very sorry to hear that your Aunt Jenna isn't feeling well," Abigail said.

"It's not quite so bad, the doctors say that she'll be in peace shortly."

"That's good, but these so called 'doctors' don't even know where our grandpa is!" Avery complained.

"Girls! You're blocking the hallway!" Mrs. Johnson snapped them to attention, "Come along now, we've been here for almost an hour, and it still seems Dad's not here." Mrs. Johnson sighed, ""Fellow friends, may I accompany you too? My mother told me that it might be good to get some fresh air," Camari called to them as they were exiting the hospital.

"Well, we'll ask our parents first," Abigail said.

"Abigail!" Avery hissed, waving her over to the corner where she was standing.


"We shouldn't bring Camari! There's something about her that I just don't like!" Avery whispered, "Please! We should ditch her!"

Abigail's face turned red with anger, "Avery, you shouldn't judge people like that! We're bringing Camari and that is that!"

"Fine, but it's weird that her parents allow her to be alone so much."

"Whatever," Abigail turned to Mrs. Johnson, "Can we bring Camari with us, Mom? Please, please, PLEASE!"

Mrs. Johnson looked confused for a moment, then she smiled, obviously amused about something, "Oh, sure you can bring Camari, whoever she is. A new friend?"

Mrs. Johnson shared a knowing smile with Mr. Johnson, and they both chuckled as they walked towards the car.

Avery was surprised, for her mother was usually very strict about these things, but when Camari comes along, she let it slide? Something strange was definitely going on.


The entire car ride to Grampa's place, Avery was looking at Camari angrily, why did her parents seem to ignore her and let her join them? It just didn't seem right. Usually, Mrs. Johnson would make sure to have met the child's parents or guardians before taking care of them. With Camari, it was almost as if Mrs. Johnson didn't believe she existed, like she was a figment of Avery and Abigail's imagination.

Avery looked closer still.

Camari was very frail, that was for certain. Her skin seemed almost unreal - smooth but translucent, and Avery could have sworn she could see the seat of the car through her wrist. Her hair was like a few strands of golden grey straw glued to her head. Was she balding already, Avery wondered. She watched as Abigail and Camari chatted with each other, and noticed Mrs. Johnson shaking her head amusedly in the rearview window. At least I have better looks, Avery thought spitefully.

When they arrived at their Grandpa's place, he was sitting on the couch, still and pale as a marble statue.

"He looks kind of pasty," Abigail said, distressed.

"Dad must still feel a little sick," Mrs. Johnson suggested.

"Girls, Mommy and Daddy are going to get takeout - you stay here and take care of Grandpa OK?" Mr. Johnson smiled, "You can do that, can't you?"

"Yeah," Camari smiled. Although Camari had enthusiastically agreed on their behalf, Mr. Johnson walked away disappointedly.

After Mr and Mrs. Johnson left, Camari excused herself to the toilet. Avery and Abigail stayed with their Grandpa, trying to make conversation, but Grandpa stayed with his lips sealed, giving them a stony stare.

When Camari got back, she settled herself by the twin's Grandpa, holding his hand. Her cheeks seemed to gain a little more color, while their Grandpa's face seemed to be slowly draining of the little color it had left.

"Abigail, should we call Mom and Dad? Grandpa's becoming more pasty," Avery urged Abigail, for her phone had been confiscated by her mom over the school term.

"Okay," Abigail said, fishing her phone out of her pocket. Avery turned up her hearing aids, listening to the phone go: "You have just reached the voicemail of Giana Johnson, please record a message after the beep, then hang up."

"Nothing, no answer, huh?" Avery sighed.

Abigail turned her attention to the phone, "Hey mom, this is Abigail, Grandpa is looking worse now, please come home quickly!" She hung up after leaving the voice message.

Avery grabbed Abigail by the arm and pulled her into a separate room."Abigail?"

"Yes?" Abigail almost shouted from her nerves.

"I don't think they're coming back." Avery looked at her, feeling a sense of doom overwhelming her entire body.

"No! They are coming back!" Abigail argued desperately, although she too could feel the horrible sense of dread lurking in the house.

Tears streamed down Abigail's face, "Do you need a minute?" Avery asked softly.

"Y-yes, um, if you need me I-I'll be in the-the toilet," Abigail stammered, and she rushed into the bathroom, barely able to contain her nervous sobs. As soon as Abigail closed the bathroom door, Avery stormed into the apartment's living room where Camari and her Grandpa were eerily holding hands.

"Okay, Camari!" She shouted, careful not to let Abigail hear, "I just know you have something to do with my parents disappearing, and my grandpa getting sick, and I just want you to leave my family alone, bring my parents here right now, and restore Grandpa's health or else!"

Camari smiled calmly, shaking her head, "You don't have a clue of who I am, foolish girl. I never liked you, too smart for your own good, too lively - but I can fix that." She slowly unzipped her luggage of dolls, and took out the Avery look-alike. She twisted its head slightly. Suddenly, Avery fell to the ground, clutching her neck, and gasping for air.

"Wha-what are you do-doing to me-me?" Avery choked.

Camari kept on twisting the doll's head, slowly, smiling maniacally.

Abigail entered the living room sniffling softly. She froze when she saw Camari, her Grandpa and her sister, Avery all sitting on the couch holding hands, with their eyes were glossed over and their skin pale. "Um... Hey guys, you seem to be getting along well now?"

"Yes, Abigail, quite well," Avery said.

"Why don't you come join us?" Camari smiled, holding the Abigail look-alike in her bony hands.

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