Authors: Tyrolin Puxty
A Division of
P.O. Box 2160
Reston, VA 20195
Cover by Eugene Teplitsky
All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever. For information about Subsidiary Rights, Bulk Purchases, Live Events, or any other questions - please contact Curiosity Quills Press at
, or visit
ISBN 978-1-62007-687-3 (ebook)
ISBN 978-1-62007-688-0 (paperback)
staying in your bag all day! It’s suffocating!”
“You’re a doll. It’s physically impossible for you to suffocate.” Gabby pushes me deeper into the eternal darkness. Argh. I don’t think she’s ever actually cleaned this bag out; crumbs war for space with old bits of paper at the bottom. Thank God I can’t smell, because I get the feeling it wouldn’t be pleasant.
I could sense at that moment it was going to be a bad day. The dark clouds, the thunder… it was like the beginning of a horror film.
“Gabby, please let me out just this once! I’ll pretend to be inanimate! No one will ever suspect that I used to be human. I just want to learn like everyone else.”
“Ella, you’re lucky I even bring you to school,” she lectures through the open zip. “I could leave you at home all day.”
I fold my arms. Stupid, petulant, big-headed, stubborn pre-teens!
She walks into the school, her stride kind of sloppy and bouncy at the same time. We’re ten minutes early, so Gabby joins her friends to hang with before the bell rings.
I don’t like Gabby’s friends. Frenemies, rather. At first, I thought it was because I was jealous, but I’m pretty sure it’s because they’re just horrible.
“Well, if it isn’t Gabby Odd-Socks,” Brenda greets, in that sly voice of hers. I hate everything about that girl. Her harshly cut bob, her lazy eyes, her concave chest.
I can’t see Gabby from this angle, but I imagine she’s rolling her eyes. “Knock it off, Brenda. That happened
. It’s not that big of a deal.”
“You cried like a baby when we pointed it out.” Brenda cackles, encouraging the others to join in.
“That was ages ago! Talk about being stuck in the past,” Gabby mumbles, flinging her bag to the ground. It lands with a thud, and I hit my head on the zip. I peek through and snarl at Brenda’s cocky little grin. Her little minions are the equally nasty Devin and Jess, who are grimacing more than they’re smiling.
“Whatever.” Brenda checks her nails, temporarily trounced. “Remember that time when we all went camping? That was funny.” Gabby doesn’t respond, so Brenda dramatically gasps. “Whoops! Sorry, Gabby. I forgot you weren’t invited. You’re not invited to many things, are you?”
Gabby’s learned not to react, so instead of speaking up, she forces a laugh, shakes her head, and tries to walk off. Brenda steps in her way.
“What’s wrong, Gabby? Cat got your tongue?”
“No. I just don’t see the point in arguing with someone who has unresolved rejection issues.”
“I don’t have rejection issues. In fact, I have too many offers. Did you hear Raymond asked me out? I’m still deciding whether to say yes or no.”
Gabby clicks her tongue, so I push my head through the gap to see what’s going on.
“That’s the fifth guy to ask me out this year. How many have asked you out, Dev?”
Devin shifts uncomfortably. “Two.”
“And what about you, Jess?”
“Just the one. I’m still with him. It’s been seven months, and—”
“—yeah, yeah.” Brenda waves her off. “And that leaves little Gabby Odd-Socks. How many boys have asked you out this year?”
Gabby stares Brenda down. “I don’t even know why you’re bringing this up. No one cares.”
“Maybe I should rephrase the question. How many boys have asked you out this
?” Brenda throws her head back and brays. “Zero! What boy would
like a weird, sick lesbo like you?”
“And what’s wrong with being a lesbian?” Gabby asks. I can just picture the faux-curious arch of her eyebrows.
“Oh, you’re right.” Brenda fake-yawns. “It’s not like being into chicks will affect you, anyway. You were part of that epidemic last year, weren’t you? I watched all the videos. None of the survivors can have kids now.” A tear rolls down Gabby’s cheek, and my heart breaks. Please don’t cry, Gabby! “It’s a good thing, because you shouldn’t pass on your genetic code. Not that you would anyway, lesbian.”
That’s it. I burst from the bag, jump to the floor and point an angry finger at Brenda.
“HEY! She is
a lesbian! And even if she was, she’s still a better human than you’ll ever be!”
Silence. Everyone stares at me in pure horror. Oh
, what have I
? I’ve never been exposed before! Gabby’s eyes widen and her throat tightens. Boy, does she look like the professor now.
that?” Devin demands, more intrigued than scared. She whips out her phone and immediately starts filming.
Gabby reaches for Devin to stop, but Brenda pushes her away. “Nah-uh. Looks like you got some weird little alien doll thing. Let’s see what it can do.”
“No, Brenda!” Gabby bends over to pick me up. Before she has a chance to, Brenda snatches me and shakes me around violently.
!” I shriek. I can’t die, and I can’t feel, but that doesn’t mean I like what she’s doing.
“Leave her alone!” Gabby screams, failing in her attempt to grab me from Brenda, who gleefully ducks and weaves.
“Oh, so this little thing means a lot to you?” Brenda trills.
“Please, don’t do that,” I ask as politely as I can, but I sound mortified. “Please, put me back.”
Brenda doesn’t listen. She never does. She yanks at my arms, a little startled when they don’t come off.
“The professor made me unbreakable after the last time,” I warn. “Only Gabby and I know how to detach my limbs.”
“Unbreakable?” Brenda asks. “What does that mean?”
“Ella, shh!” Gabby whispers. “You’re
unbreakable! He just made you out of stronger plastic!”
Brenda stares at Gabby, before shrugging. “Seriously, I knew you were weird, but I didn’t know you were
weird. Dev, Jess—follow me!”
Brenda suddenly bolts, Dev and Jess in tow, filming every excruciating second. I scream down the hall, regretting having ever doubted Gabby. I should’ve stayed in the bag.
“Help me!” I scream as Brenda skids into the science lab. “Gabby! Where are you?!”
Brenda places me on the counter. There’s no one in here, which is just my luck. Where’s Mr. Block when you need him?
Oh no. Brenda’s setting up the Bunsen burner. My eyes bug when the flame appears. “Hey doll thing. What’s your name?”
I pause. “Ella.” I look into the camera and smooth my tutu. “I’m… I’m a robot.”
“You don’t make mechanical noises like a robot,” Jess protests.
“Sure I do! Listen!” I move my arms and attempt ventriloquism by making robotic noises with my mouth half closed.
Brenda snickers. “Okay, it is pretty cute. It’s a shame I’m going to destroy it.”
“What?” Devin flinches, keeping the camera on me. “Why?”
“Because I hate Gabby. She loves this robot doll thing, right? I’m gonna mess it up
“Please, don’t,” I say, but Brenda has already jammed the flame into my gut. My leotard quickly melts away, exposing my shiny stomach. “I said, don’t!”
Brenda seems disappointed, like she expected me to combust. She sighs and pulls the Bunsen away, but the damage is already done. My leotard is completely ruined.
Leave her alone
!” Gabby appears at the doorway, her neck stooped and her shoulders raised. She charges Brenda and wrestles her to the ground. “
Give her back
Brenda grins and shakes her head, pinning Gabby to the floor. “I’d much rather do
.” I’m plunged into darkness as she bites into my neck and rips my head off. She spits out my body, which lands on Gabby’s chest, who screams. I’m really dazed. It’s weird looking down at my body like this.