Zach wakes up in the middle of the night, his heart racing. A minute or two later, he hears something against the window. Tap. Tap.Tap.
Much to Zach's surprise, the tapping is not some murderous monster, but Poppy and Alice, who have been throwing pebbles at his window.
Zach puts on some clothes over his pajamas and makes his way outside. Poppy and Alice want to go to the junkyard to talk so they don't wake anyone up; it's about half a mile away.
They settle into an abandoned shed to talk. Poppy turns on a flashlight and starts telling her creepiest ghost story yet.
Remember the Queen of the dolls from Poppy's mom's cabinet? Well, Poppy brought her along. And guess what? She's still super creepy.
Zach is impressed and afraid, and he's acting like a jerk to cover it up. Alice calls him on it, and it hurts his feelings a little.
Poppy had a dream. You know, the kind of dream where your doll comes to life and tells you she's going to haunt you until you lay her bones to rest.
Zach's all, "Um, what?" so Poppy explains that the Queen is made of bone china, which is made of human bones and real hair. Oh, and the body of the doll is stuffed with human ashes.
Zach tries to tell himself that Poppy and Alice are playing some sort of prank. But they're not.
Poppy tells Zach more about the doll-girl, whose name is Eleanor Kerchner. When Eleanor died, her dad went crazy and made her into this creepy doll, and so her grave is empty. Poppy says that Eleanor plans to haunt the gang until they bury the doll in her grave.
Zach asks Alice if he believes Poppy's story, and Alice says that she was skeptical until she saw the thing.
What's the thing? Oh, just a big bag of ash and bone stuffed into the body of the Queen. Yikes.
The freaky ash bag is labeled "East Liverpool," a place in Ohio about three hours away; Poppy has come up with a cockamamie plan to take the bus there. Boarding time is 2:15AM, and Alice has agreed to go if Zach does, too.
Zach wonders if Poppy is playing a game. He sort of doesn't care, though—he's still mad at his parents and thinks that getting out of town might do him some good. Also, the human ash bag is freaking him out.
Zach asks Poppy if she found the ash bag before or after her dream about Eleanor, and when Poppy refuses to answer, he assumes she found it before.
Zach agrees to go on the quest to return Eleanor's bones to her grave on one condition: No one brings up the game. He's still feeling sensitive about it.
Poppy and Alice have already left a note for Poppy's parents. (Alice is supposed to be spending the night there.) They tell Zach to go leave his own note and to pick up some supplies; they'll regroup in twenty minutes.
Turns out Zach isn't very good at packing supplies: His provisions include some candy, a soda, and a book about poisonous plants. So he's ready for… very little.