The Story of Abby Ann…Epilogue

The dollmaker was in her workshop. She was inspecting the beautiful dollhouse she found at an estate auction two months before. The story was, a gentleman started building it when his three daughters were very young. Due to unfortunate circumstances, he didn’t complete it until 40 years later. Beatrice thought it looked pristine. Every detail was finished to perfection. The tiny furniture, the dolls, and their clothing were so carefully and lovingly finished. Few appreciated such workmanship more than Beatrice. There was even a tiny carved dog.


Beatrice was excited about the day ahead. The children would soon be there to begin their lessons in doll making. Beatrice had asked each of the children to bring the doll that she had made to look like them. She had been the evil dollmaker then… full of hatred.

It’s almost time, she thought. She walked over to the cabinet and pulled out her dark, hooded cloak. She knew when she put it on, she would become the evil dollmaker. She walked over to the potbelly stove…yes, it was burning nicely. She could direct each child to take their doll and throw it in the fire. The dolls served no purpose now, did they?


Beatrice could hear the children knocking on the door. As she walked to the door, she stopped and unfolded the cloak. She walked passed the stove and opened the door to the fire…she then folded the cloak up again, threw  it in the fire, watched it burn a minute, and shut the door.

“Oh my,” she said as she welcomed the children, “Just look at this beautiful doll house. Now…bring your dolls over here and let’s play.”



The Story of Abby Ann…part 25

“Amanda,” Belle whispered, “Amanda, wake up. I have good news.”

Amanda had been in peaceful slumber. She had been dreaming about the happy life she had lived before her Father had taken her away. In her dream, her sweet teacher was really her Mother, and they lived with her Grandfather Sanders. He was so good to her and the other children. She felt loved, and safe. She and Abby Ann were constant companions. She couldn’t have imagined a better friend.

“Amanda,” Belle  gently shook her daughter’s shoulder, and Amanda opened her eyes. Oh what Belle wouldn’t give to see the sparkle back. “The doctor said you’re stable enough to travel home, but you must promise to eat.” Amanda’s weight loss had compromised her health and stamina, and was a major concern to the doctor.

Amanda started to look away, but Belle took her chin in her hand and brushed the hair from her face. “I have more news,” she said. Abby Ann is back home, and so are Alice, Andy, and, Tony. They have a wonderful, smart dog named Beau who came with them. Abby is convalescing too. You’re going to be in a room together.”

Amanda smiled her beautiful smile. “I’m hungry,” she said. She was absolutely beaming.

Yes, Abby, Andy, Tony, and Alice were home. It felt so strange to leave the little cabin, but they felt better after a dinner of hamburgers and ice cream. Yes, they were home and when Amanda got there, the little family of children would be reunited.

The adults had many questions and concerns, but it would wait. They all agreed to take a few days to get the children settled, and well. It was so heartwarming to see everyone of them with perpetual smiles on their faces. Mandy was beside herself with excitement.

One week later Charles asked Andrea, Aaron, Belle, and Beatrice, to meet with him in the drawing room.

“I know we’ve all looked to my sister, Beatrice as the source of all the pain we’ve  suffered over the past two years.” He looked toward Bea, who was looking at him with unwavering eyes. There was unmistakable regret in her expression.

“I must accept much of the responsibility for all that happened. I have been a self-centered man. I created this life for myself. It was all so perfect, and everyone, especially the children looked up to me. I was admired by all. The unfortunate truth is, there was no place for Beatrice in my Utopia.”

Charles was full of emotion as he continued; never taking his eyes off his sister. “In her loneliness, Beatrice began to focus on making her dolls, until each child was represented by a doll that looked just like them. While beautiful, they were a poor substitute for real family and human affection. Beatrice will be treated for her undeniably fragile mental health. I also have a long way to go before I’m completely recovered.”

“So my family, I ask that you find it in your hearts to forgive us both.”

“Now,” he continued. “I must keep you awhile longer, to inform you of a decision that Beatrice and I have agreed upon. At least one remarkably good thing has happened as a result of all that we’ve experienced. We have come to know and love our dear sister Audrey’s family.”

“There were three siblings,”he said. Audrey, Beatrice, and myself.” Charles looked at his family before he continued. “The estate will be split three ways. I will own 1/3. I intend to give my daughter Belle, a good portion of my share. Andrea and Aaron, we are incredibly blessed by you and Mandy. You will rightfully own 1/3, and Beatrice will also own 1/3. She intends to will her portion to the children, so they will always have a home here.” He smiled at Aaron, and Andrea. “We are hoping you will stay on and make this your home as well.”


Aaron and Andrea looked at each other. It would never occur to them not to stay.

Feeling much better, Beatrice hopped on her motorized wheel chair, People scurried to get out of her way. “Now,” she said. “I’m in need of a nap.”


And so, the story of Abby Ann ends. I have grown attached to this family, and I hope you have enjoyed their story.

(There will be an Epilogue). 😉







The Story of Abby Ann…part 24

Morning came. What would this day bring to the lives of the children who had been through so much?


Belle was at her daughter’s bedside waiting to meet with a doctor that had come highly recommended. Amanda was so sick, yet according to the staff at the sanitarium, she hadn’t been diagnosed with anything other than exhaustion and depression.


In the two days Belle had been with her, Amanda had talked very little. She said nothing at all about what her life had been like these past two years since her father had abducted her. She had been ripped away from her home and the friends that were her family.

Belle wondered if Amanda resented her. Did she think her Mother hadn’t looked hard enough to find her? Joseph had hidden Amanda well. He had unsavory connections in the business world and prison hadn’t rehabilitated him. It seemed it had only made him more bitter and vengeful.

Poor Amanda. Would she ever feel safe again? Belle’s thoughts were interrupted by a nurse with a message. The doctor she was meeting with had arrived.


They made it through the night. Beau had done his best to keep Abby from freezing. She had been so close to giving into the cold, but Beau had saved her. She knew she had probably suffered some frostbite. Her fingers were blue and waxy looking, and her toes had been numb for hours. Her drowsiness was a sign she might be on the verge of hypothermia.


It was extremely difficult for Abby to walk , and they had to leave the sled behind. Beau knew exactly where he was going, and he patiently led the way. He was careful to avoid deep snow and other perils. When she thought she couldn’t take another step, Beau whimpered or barked to encourage her on.

Finally, she could see the cabin hidden in the trees. When they got a little closer, Beau ran ahead and barked at the door. Alice and Andy came running out, and Tony stood in the doorway grinning. At first they only saw Beau, but he ran back to Abby to show them he was bringing her home.

The cabin was cold. They had run out of wood, but the children had it all figured out. Andy would get the wood. He would take Beau with him, so he wouldn’t get lost. Alice and Tony helped Abby into some warm dry clothes. They rubbed her hands and feet with the homemade salve she had so lovingly rubbed on Tony’s legs, made sore from the Ill fitting prostheses.

The four brave little souls had been through so much. They learned to survive the many challenges they were faced with, but they wondered if they would ever get to be children again.

Beau helped Andy collect some wood and soon the little cabin was warm again. They would have to go farther from the cabin for a better supply, but perhaps Beau could help them locate the sled. Alice made Abbie some warm broth to sip. They were so grateful for Beau. The loyal dog was clearly worried about Abby, who was suffering the effects of being too cold for too long. Beau was nervous and impatient. Immagine how the poor dog felt knowing he had to leave them all again.

Aaron and Andrea got up early the next morning and went back to the clearing. They didn’t know what else to do. They prayed the coon hound, Beau would be back to guide them to wherever it was he wanted them to go. Was it crazy for them to believe that after two years, the children would be found? It was unlikely, but they had to try once more.

The two ranchers had insisted they would meet Andrea and Aaron in the clearing. This time they would bring two extra horses. They had thermoses of hot coffee and rolled up extra blankets behind their saddles.The group was determined they would see this out. They just needed the dog to be there to guide them.

Beau wasn’t there to meet them, so they proceeded to take the same path they had abandoned the day before because of darkness. They didn’t have a plan beyond getting to the area where they had turned around. When they got there, they stopped to have some hot coffee and figure out what to do next. It was cold, but not as bitter cold as it had been the day before. The skys were clear and the wind had not yet begun to blow.

They were all lost in ther own thoughts when Andrea clearly heard a dog bark. The other’s heard it too. Soon, they saw Beau running toward them. He was beyond excited, and so were Andrea, Aaron, and the two men who were so willing to help them. Once again, they were trusting the beautiful coon dog to lead them to the children, wherever they were.

They couldn’t believe their eyes when they saw the cabin. who had built the little log house so far out in the middle of an area with no roads or even wide paths to get to it?

They thought it was probably abandoned…then, they saw the thin sliver of smoke coming from the chimney. “Could this possibly be where the children are?” Andrea didn’t dare to hope. Beau went running to the door. He was barking, whimpering, and running back and forth between the cabin and the humans on horseback, who came to get the children and take them home.

Andy opened the door when he heard Beau, but when he saw the horses, he became frightened. Andrea recognized his fear. She got down from her horse, but before moving toward him, she tried to find the right words.


“You must be Andy,” she said softly. “I am Mr. Sander’s niece, Andrea, and this is my husband Aaron. We have come to take you home.”

Andy began to cry as he walked with Beau to where Andrea stood. He had not seen a grown up in ever so long. He was sobbing as he looked up at this lady, who spoke so softly. “Abby Ann is really sick, he said. We really need someone to help us.” This little boy who would barely even talk to the other children, had found his voice. He let Andrea hold his hand as they hurried back to the cabin. The exhausted Beau had completed his task, now all he wanted was to eat some food and sleep by the fire.



Abby was not well enough to ride on the back of a horse, and once again it was getting too late in the day, to make the arduous trip back to the clearing; especially with the children in tow. The ranchers brought in plenty of wood to keep the fire stoked, then rode back to the clearing. They would be back with a sled to carry Abby. Hopefully, she would be some better in the morning and be able to make the trip. The other children would ride behind Andrea, Aaron, and one of the men.

The little family in the cabin got very little sleep that night. The excitement of going home kept them awake, plus, they wanted to make sure they weren’t dreaming.

Andrea sat by Abby through the night. Abby thought surely she must be dreaming, but she looked up at Andrea and ask the question that was most on her mind.

“Did they find Amanda?” she asked. “Will she be home when we get there?”

The Story of Abby Ann…part 23

Her Father had placed her in a sanitarium, which is a place to convalesce, but Amanda wasn’t getting better. When Belle saw her daughter for the first time in two years, she was saddened and terrified. Amanda was withering away. Gone was the smiling child who had brought so much joy to everyone who knew her. The rosie cheeks were now pale, and the smiling eyes were now dark and vacant. She needed to be home with her Mother and Grandfather. She most definitely had to be under a doctor’s close supervision. Belle found herself wishing that Abby Ann could be there. Amanda needed her soulmate. She needed love, and prayers, and hope to survive.

Belle faced a dilemma. Amanda was not strong enough to travel, but perhaps she would do better in a more healing environment. In the end, she decided to take her daughter home. First she must search out a competent doctor who would take over Amanda’s care. She needed someone who would be willing to accompany them home, and remain there until Amanda had recovered. Belle knew Amanda wanted to live and she would do everything in her power to help her.



The four on horseback had followed the determined dog about as far they could if they were going to make it back to the truck before dark. Continuing would put everyone in danger. This was not a good place to get lost.


Andrea couldn’t justify putting these two kind men and their tired horses at risk. They had to go back. They could regroup and try again in the morning.

Beau wouldn’t go with them. They did everything they could to persuade him. He was tired and hungry, but he continued on his mission alone.


Per Andrea’s instructions, the van driver returned to the estate with Charles, Beatrice, and Mandy. The three unlikely companions were determined to stay together, rather than go to their rooms. The housekeeper served them a light supper in the drawing room, but they ate very little. The concerned nurse checked on Charles and Beatrice and determined they were holding up pretty well considering the recent turn of events.

Charles thought about all that had happened. It would have been easy to blame his sister Beatrice for everything; but in truth, he had to accept his part in her spiral into such darkness. It was true. He had dismissed her as a baffoon. In his mind, she was nothing but a simpleton to be tolerated. She must have been so lonely. He had stoked  his own ego by creating a perfect combination. He thought himself magnanimous because of all he did for the poor children. He felt needed by them. When they were gone, there was nothing more for him to do, but have a breakdown. When had he ever done something, just because it was the right thing to do?

Charles looked at his sister. She was holding the dolls she had created. They were the product of such talent. She was talking to them softly. He asked Mandy if she would push his wheelchair so he could be near Beatrice. His beaten down sister looked at him and smiled, then handed her brother Charles the Amanda doll.


TheIMG_2008 - pans children in the cabin were huddled near the fireplace. They had only used enough of their remaining wood to keep the embers burning. They all knew that Abby should have been back from collecting wood hours ago. It was dark now. They would have to wait until daylight to go in search of her. It had taken all of them working together to survive. Because of Abby, they knew how strong and competent they were. Now, they would work together to find her.



Abby knew she had to stay awake. She walked and moved around as much a her numb limbs would let her. Thankfully, the wind had died down. If she could only keep going until daylight; she might have a chance to find her way to the cabin. She had been through too much in her young life to give up now. She was so very tired.. She wanted to sleep, but she had to stay awake. She had to get back to the children. This can’t end badly she vowed.

Was she dreaming or hallucinating? Was that a cold, wet nose on her cheek? Was it really Beau? She could feel the fear subside. Beau was there. In just a few hours it would be daylight and Beau would take her home.



The Story of Abby Ann…part 22

“How would a dog get way out here? We’re miles from any towns or villages, that I know of. I have no idea where he could have come from,” Aaron said.

“He came here to get us,” Mandy said. “He knows where Abby is.”

“Aaron,” Andrea chimed in. “We can’t follow him. Who knows how far he’ll take us, and for that matter, where he wants us to go? We must get Aunt Bea and Uncle Charles home.”

“We’re not going anywhere,” Charles insisted. “I think that dog knows where the children are.”

While they all bantered back and forth, Mandy slowly walked over and knelt by the dog. “See,” she said. “His dog tag says Beau.”

“Be careful Amanda, we don’t know how friendly he is,” Andrea warned. The dog was whimpering, clearly trying to get them to do his bidding.


“There’s only one thing we can do,”Aaron surmised. “I’m dressed warmly. I will stay with Beau while you go get help and take Charles and Beatrice back to the estate. Tell the authorities we’ll probably need snowmobiles or some other way to get through all the rough terrain and trees. And Andrea, it’s probably best you don’t tell them the children were lost two years ago.”

I don’t like leaving you here Aaron, it will take us until mid afternoon to get back to you. I just can’t think of another way, so we’ll do as you say.”

Aaron walked over to Beau and found a stump to sit on. “It’s going to be a long few hours Beau,” he said. ” I sure hope you’re  not sending us on a wild goose chase.”



Abby and the other children were beside themselves with worry. Beau hadn’t returned and it had been three days. Was he harmed by a wild animal or had he tired of the hard life they had to live? No, he was nothing if not loyal. What if he’d gone back to the people he lived with before. He had a tag, but it only said Beau. Abby coudn’t imagine never feeling his soft tongue licking her face again.

The weather had been icy cold and snowy.  Abby needed to take the sled and find more wood. She only had a few hours before it would be dark. She cautioned the other children to stay inside while she was gone, then bundled up as best she could before heading out. They had found three warm jackets, gloves, and boots in the cabin, which they were grateful for, but when the weather was bad, they couldn’t all go outside at the same time.

She hadn’t talked about it to the others yet, but Abby knew they were going to have to leave in the spring. She had to find someone to help them, but how far would they have to go, and who would they meet up with? It still terrified her to think about that day on the bus. The day they lost everything but each other.

They were growing, and they didn’t have enough clothes to wear. It was a miracle that none of them had been seriously ill in all this time. The one she worried about the most was Tony. He needed protheses that fit him.


Andrea asked their driver where they might find the closest police station, or would it be better if they found another source of help that would involve less hassle? They had driven about halfway back to the estate, when off in the distance, she saw what looked like two men on horseback. “Pray everyone,” she said,  “This could be our answer.”


The two horsemen were more than a little surprised to see the small van carrying the driver, two elderly people, a young woman, and a small child. They weren’t close to anything and the weather was less than ideal for an outing. They themselves had been out looking for some missing cattle and were riding back to their truck and horse trailer.

After telling them as much of the truth as she dared, the two men agreed to go back to where she had left Aaron and Beau. Andrea told the van driver to take everyone else home, then to please come back to the clearing and wait. Amazingly, they all agreed to do a she asked. The plan was for her to ride double with one of the men back to their truck. They would load up the horses and take the truck to the clearing. Andrea started to get up on the horse, then quickly went back to the van to get the Abby Ann doll. “We need all the help we can get,” she whispered.


When they arrived at the clearing, Aaron and Beau were waiting. The men let them both warm up in the truck for a bit while they discussed a plan. Finally, they decided that they would follow the dog as far as they could, but they would have to double back in time to get to the truck before dark.

They discussed if they should leave Andrea with the truck, but in the end, the four of them rode the two horses, and Beau ran ahead looking back every few minutes to make sure they were still following him.



Abby left the cabin later than she should have, and  had gone too far in search of wood that wouldn’t take too long to dry. She was so distracted by her worries, she feared that she had gotten lost. “Come on Abby,” she told herself. “You know all the short cuts, and you have been in this direction many times.” The fresh snow had made her disoriented. Abby felt the panic well up inside. She didn’t want to stop, yet she was afraid going on might get her even further from the cabin; where Alice, Andy, and Tony were waiting for her. They would be almost out of wood, and they didn’t even have Beau with them to make them feel safe. Abby sat down on her sled and put her head in her hands, “Please God,” she prayed. “Don’t let them leave the cabin. Don’t let them try to find me.”




The Story of Abby Ann…part 21

Who would be knocking on the door of the dollmaker’s workshop, Mandy thought as she crossed the room. When she opened the door, she didn’t recognize the man in the wheelchair. Behind him was a nurse who pushed the chair though the doorway. The man looked around the room and then his eyes fell on Aunt Bea.

“Hello sister,” the man said. “You look distraught.” He looked pale and gaunt and his voice was weak, but his eyes were clear as he focused on the sister who was responsible for almost killing him.

Beatrice looked at the man for a brief second, then turned back to focus her attention on her dolls.

“You took two years of my life from me,”Charles continued. “You alone are responsible for the fate of the school children, including my granddaughter. Why Beatrice? What possesed you to stoop to such madness?”

Mandy had only heard about Uncle Charles, but she knew exactly what he was talking about. She looked at Aunt Bea, who spoke next.

“Two years? I never existed at all. I meant nothing to you. I never had a place in your heart, did I Charles?” her speech was slow and measured. “Your precious school children were all you cared about. I couldn’t wait for you to hear they were gone, along with your precious granddaughter. You lost your mind, because you are weak. It didn’t take much to keep you in your stupor. I only had to keep you alive awhile longer, for my plan to work. You see, Andrea was going to be blamed for your death. ” She was silent for a moment, as if mourning the death of her plan. “Oh my,” she lamented. “Do with me what you will, but you will get no satisfaction. You can’t destroy a life that never was.”

Mandy and the nurse watched this exchange in silence.

“We’ll continue this conversation another time,” Charles was getting tired. He was still a long way from good health. “Go back to your room, Beatrice,” he said., “You and I are going on an outing in the morning. Maybe it’s not too late for redemption… for both of us.” As an afterthought, he turned to Mandy. You must be Mandy, my niece’s daughter. Could I ask you to help me to my room?” He turned to the nurse and asked her to help his sister. “And Beatrice,” he said. Please bring your dolls.”


Amanda was coming home. Belle hadn’t seen her daughter in two years. Aunt Beatrice had involved  Amanda’s Father in her scheme to get rid of the children. Belle knew Joseph only carried out the plan because he hated is ex wife. Poor Amanda was ill and her Father had tired of his game. Belle went to The city to see if Amanda was well enough to make the trip back to the estate.


Andrea couldn’t believe all that had happened since her little family had uprooted and moved thousands of miles to start a new life. They had certainly gotten more than they badownloadrgained for. Now what? she thought as she went to go find Mandy.

When she got to Mandy’s room, Andrea immediately got concerned. Where was Mandy? Belle had reassured her that she left Mandy with a maid. There was something else that disturbed her…the dolls were all missing. She was about to leave the room in search of Mandy, when Aaron walked in the room. When he started to speak, she told him she didn’t know where their daughter was.

When they got to the bottom of the stairs, they saw someone in a dark cloak leaning heavily on Charles’ nurse. Imagine their surprise when they discovered it was Aunt Bea. They didn’t have time to ask questions, but the nurse did tell them Mandy was with Charles. They hurried to the tower and to Charles’ room. He was resting in bed, and Mandy was sitting at his bedside holding his hand.

“Mommy..Daddy,” Mandy screamed, “You won’t believe who the dollmaker is. She had begun to fill them in on eveything, when Uncle Charles said there was something he needed to tell them. “Belle is on her way to get Amanda,” he said. “She is quite ill, but we’re hoping she will be able to stand the trip home.” He was overcome with emotion. “I thought Belle knew where the other children were, but she doesn’t. I must have been

dreaming in my semi-conscious state. I have this strong feeling they made it to safety and they’re still alive.”

“Uncle Charles,” Andrea sat next to him on the bed. “I would so much like to believe that too, but if they had been found by someone, surely they would have contacted you.The area is so remote. It was searched the day they ran from the bus. They thought even their teacher had abandoned them, and most likely didn’t think they could trust anyone. They were little children.”

Charles looked at his neice beseechingly. “Beatrice and I are going back to the area they were last seen. We’re going tomorrow morning. I want you and Allen to come with us..Mandy too. I feel strongly that God has protected those little ones, and something tells me we should go back there.”

Andrea smiled at her distraught Uncle. “Of course we’ll go with you.” she said.

_____________________________________________________ __________
d502b6c10d02379f9acadf03f088c225The driver was in the foyer early the next morning. Andrea insisted the nurse accompany them as well, since neither her Aunt or Uncle were feeling their best. It was a 2 hour drive and thankfully, Mandy slept most of the way. All of the dolls except the Mandy doll were placed between her and Aunt Bea. Mandy was holding the Mandy doll as she slept.

When they got to the clearing in the woods where the nightmare began, they helped Aunt Bea and Uncle Charles into wheel chairs. Thankfully, they were bundled up because it was cold and snowy.

None of us were here that day,”Andrea said. “What is it we should do now Uncle Charles?”

“Where is the Abby Ann doll?” He asked. “Someone please bring her to me.”


“Abby Ann was the first doll I made,” Aunt Bea said. “Even before the Amanda doll.” She then handed Mandy the doll to give to Charles, but before she did Andrea spoke.

“Mandy believes Abby Ann talks to her through the doll. I believe she even talked to me once.”

“You hold her Mandy.” Uncle Charles said. “Abby Ann and Amanda were best friends, but Amanda isn’t here. I rather think that you will be close friends with both girls”

They waited in silence…for what, none of them knew for sure.

“I made the dolls for an evil purpose,” Aunt Bea said. “Abby Ann may be waiting for me to tell them all how sorry I am. They all took on a life of their own. None of them were evil.”

They stayed as long as they could, but it was cold, and it wasn’t good for Bea and Charles to be out too long. They didn’t know what they were waiting for, so they guessed it was time to leave. They were getting settled in the car when they heard a dog bark. They looked around by the trees and saw a beautiful red dog sitting there.

“His name is Beau,” Mandy said. “And he wants us to follow him.





The Story of Abby Ann…part 20

Mandy stood there watching the dollmaker with her beautiful creations. Each doll made to look like the children she claimed to despise. She held them close and began rocking them back and forth, as she spoke in a soft soothing voice. “Oh my children, I have missed you so.”

Mandy realized the dollmaker was no longer blocking the door. She didn’t know if she should run for it, or stay with the poor old woman who no longer seemed so threatening.

There was a knock on the door…Mandy looked at the dollmaker who nodded her head to open it. The dollmaker, Aunt Bea, drew a deep breath and closed her eyes tight as if she was trying to prepare herself for whatever would befall her


Abby pulled the sled loaded with wood to the door of the cabin. Andy would be ready to help her stack it. When the work was done, she could warm herself by the fire and eat whatever had been prepared for supper.

In the two years they had lived in the cabin, they had become creative with the limited variety of sustenance they could find. Beau, the coon dog who had come to them early on, kept them supplied with small game and fish. The children picked edible wild berries, onions, and greens. In the warm months, they would dry the fruits and vegetables for use in the winter. The meat could be dried for the days Beau’s hunting expeditions weren’t productive. They learned how to preserve their meager supply of fresh food by following the instructions in a book they discovered in the cabin.

They had been frugal with the supply of flour, sugar, and cornmeal the previous occupant had left behind, but they had used the last of it, a few months before.

It was a cold clear night, and the warmth of the fire felt good. They had 2 small beds in the loft area, but more often than not, all four of them huddled together in the big bed below. Their faithful protector, Beau, would stretch out in front of the door.

On this night as everyone prepared for bed, there was an unspoken fear in the hearts of the children…Beau had not come home.


In the drawing room of the estate, Belle Sanders Jackson, and Andrea Allen, were meeting for the first time. They were first cousins, and the only offspring of the generation before them. Belle was the daughter of Charles,and Andrea the daughter of Audrey, (who was deceased). Beatrice Sanders, the sibling of Charles and Audrey, had no children.

Belle and Andrea were close to the same age. They each had one child. Both girls were named Amanda, although Andrea and her husband Aaron had always called their daughter Mandy.

The cousins had something else in common. Aunt Beatrice had virtually turned their lives upside down. Neither were totally aware of just how much.

As part of Aunt Bea’s grand plan to be rid of all the school children, Amanda was abducted  by her father who had managed an early release from prison. He had taken his daughter to Europe, where they had been for the better part of two years. Amanda became despondent, and her health deteriated. She grew thin and weak. Her Father soon tired of dealing with her. He traveled with her back to the states where he placed her in a sanitarium. His plan was to return abroad. He cared about his daughter, but he hated his ex wife more.

Recently, he decided Belle had been punished enough. He sent word to Belle’s father Charles, telling him of Amanda’s whereabouts.


This was the current state of affairs in the lives of the Sander’s family, and the lost school children.

This was the day Mandy found herself in the tower with the dollmaker. No one had known the extent of Aunt Bea’s jelousy and resentment.

Yes, she was with the dollmaker, but her friends the dolls were there too.

Aunt Bea had nodded, so Mandy went to see who was knocking at the door.




The Story of Abbie Ann..part 19

The Dollmaker

Mandy waited until she was sure the cloaked figure was not coming back again. She was so excited to see the doll that was made to look like her, she was braver than she should have been. The key was left in the door. She opened it, removed the key, and let herself in. She had heard about the room in the tower where the dollmaker worked, but she had never seen it. For the moment, she forgot she had come to retrieve the Mandy doll. The room was bigger than she had imagined, and she saw doll parts of every shape and size. Mandy wished she could watch the dollmaker put all the parts together to make a beautiful doll.

After she had looked around, she went in search of the doll the Amanda doll had told her about. Mandy couldn’t imagine having a doll that looked like her. She was so engrossed, she didn’t hear the door open.

“Why are you here? ” The voice sounded angry. Mandy turned to face the door. She was so frightened, she couldn’t speak at first. The figure in the dark cloak moved towards her. Mandy coudn’t move. “The dollmaker,”  she whispered. The ominous presence that filled Mandy with fear started to move even closer, then stumbled and very nearly fell.

“Bring me that wheel chair this instant! Hurry, I’m about to fall.”

Mandy saw a wheel chair backed against the wall, and hurried to retrieve it. She was afraid, but she made herself wheel it close enough for the dollmaker to reach the chair, but not close enough to reach her.

After the cloaked figure fell into the chair, Mandy was asked again. “Now…answer me…why are you here?”

Mandy found her voice and said, “I’m Mandy, and I came to get the doll that looks like me.”

“I am the dollmaker, ” the dark cloaked person in the wheel chair said. “Come, and I will show it to you.”

Mandy moved closer, and she could see the mysterious dollmaker clearly. “I didn’t know you could make dolls,” She said.

“Oh my,” the dollmaker sighed. “How unfortunate that you discovered my secret. No child is going to ruin my plan. I’ve come so far, and I’m almost there. Now, what must I do?”

Mandy stood still, not knowing what to do. Instead of moving closer, the dollmaker started to back up, until she was blocking the door. She smiled, but it was an evil smile.

“I need to go,” Mandy said. “My Mother will come looking for me.”

“Oh my,” The dollmaker shook her head. “She will never think to look here, and it wouldn’t  occur to her that her “Aunt Bea” would harm a child. I’ve already gotten rid of five helpless, little urchins. One more shouldn’t be a problem. I much prefer dolls,” She went on. “They’re smarter, and they’re much more clever than people. Best of all, they’re always beautiful, because I make them that way.”

The doll, Mandy thought. could the Mandy doll help her get away? “You said you were going to show me the doll that looks lIke me. Is she beautiful?

“Hush,” Aunt Bea seemed a little flustered. “Have you ever wondered why I made the Amanda and the Mandy dolls last? ”

“No, why did you?” Mandy was sobbing, but she was curious.

“Amanda is out of the way. She won’t be bothering me anymore. She hasn’t met with any, shall we say, unfortunate catastrophes, but she won’t be coming back to my estate. I don’t make the dolls until I’m sure the living being is forever, and ever, and ever…out of the way.”

She looks so hateful, Mandy thought. Please, please, help me dolls.

The evil dollmaker was still talking. “You and your parents were about to be sent on your way..penniless at that. Dear Uncle Charles was on death’s door. The foolish doctor and attorney impersinators had fled. She was thoughtful for a minute before she went on. “The only one not accounted for was the nurse. I wasn’t quite ready for her to leave.”

” I had it all worked out, you see. With Charles dead, I would be the next heir in line. His neglectful daughter disappeared years ago. Your parents will be proven guilty of trying to bilk their poor Aunt out of her fortune. That accounts for everyone in the bloodline.”

“Yes,” she said. “I must rearrange things. First, I will figure out what to do with you, then, there’s my sick brother Charles to finish off.”

Mandy froze as she saw the dollmaker reach into her cloak and pull out what looked like a sharp tool.

The dollmaker laughed. “You all think I’m limited to a wheel chair. It’s true, I’ve become weaker as of late, but I’ve been driven to make it up here where I make my incredible dolls.”




“You won’t get away with it you know.” It wasn’t Mandy speaking. “I’m very much alive, and so are Tony, Alice, and Andy.” It’s Abby Ann’s voice, Mandy realized, and she knew by the look on her face, the dollmaker knew it too.



“You’re wrong about my Mother.” This time it was Amanda’s voice. “She was our teacher, and she tried to save me from my Father. She’s back now.”

“Our teacher came back to get us that day, but we were afraid, and we weren’t on the bus. We were where we coudn’t be found.” It was Andy, and he talked without hesitation.

“You wanted to destroy the chidren, but by making the dolls, you saved us.” Alice didn’t stutter at all.


People have always called me brave, because I can walk without whole and healthy legs. Bravery is knowing when you’ve done something wrong and you’re not afraid to admit it. You accept the conseqeunces of what you’ve done.” It was Tony, beautiful smiling Tony.

The broken dollmaker wheeled her chair over to the table where she had spent countless hours making her beautiful dolls. She saw them all. Abby Ann was her first creation. Amanda, Andy, Alice, Tony, and Mandy were all there, and they were beautiful.


She gathered them in her arms, and looked at each one. Tears were running down her cheeks, but she was smiling. Her beautiful dolls were wise, and now…she knew what she must do.






The Story of Abby Ann…part 18



Mandy’s teacher, Ms. James, heard Andrea say she was meeting with her Uncle’s new Doctor in the parlor. She decided it was time to reveal her true identity. she asked a he358045e05f0f53bd1fecefa64426ec7ousekeeper to stay with Mandy and went to join them. After all, it was her Father they were discussing.

Years before, Belle had accompanied her Mother to Europe. She was only 16 at the time, and hadn’t been told they would not be going back to her Father. Nevertheless, she continued her education, and eventually met and married Joseph Jackson, a wealthy businessman.


It was sometime after Amanda was born that Belle discovered her husband was involved in several illegal and unethical business dealings. She advised the authorities, and her husband was prosecuted and found guilty. His prison term was 10 years. He threatened Belle with retribution, and was especially furious when she divorced him.

Belle had long since been estranged from her mother, so she sent her daughter and a governess to her Father, and she herself went into hiding. Even though Joseph was in prison, his influence was far reaching. When Amanda became school age, Belle returned to her Father’s estate. She had been very well educated, and wanted to teach her father’s little group of children. She changed her hair color and style,and became Ms. Jameson. Amanda was only 3 the last time she had seen her Mother and didn’t recognize her. Belle thought it best to keep her true identity a secret until she was absolutely sure she and her daughter were safe. Her Father was the only one who knew. Even Aunt Bea was clueless. She hadn’t seen her niece since she was 16.

Charles had shown his granddaughter photos of her Father. She knew what he looked like and was told he could be dangerous. It was a precaution, but in all the years Amanda had been with Charles, her Father had shown no interest in pursuing her.

The Dolls

Mandy was upset that she wouldn’t be spending the morning with her  teacher. She asked the housemaid to take her back to her room so she could play with her dolls. When she entered the beautiful room, Mandy ran toward the dollhouse. She’s back! The Abby Ann doll is back,” Mandy screamed with delight. “Now all five of the dolls are back. See Amanda, I told you Abby Ann would come back. Where have you been?” she asked the little doll.

“I had to go look for all the missing children,”she said.

“I thought you went to find Amanda?” Mandy questioned. “Did you find any of the school children?

“I didn’t find any of them, but I know Amanda is sick, and Tony needs bigger artificial legs and feet,” the Abby Ann doll said. “They all need to be found soon.”

“Mandy,” the Amanda doll said. “The dollmaker made a doll in your likeness at the same time I was made. I saw it. We need to get it. It should be here with us.”

Mandy grew excited. ” Is it in the tower? Where all the dolls are made?”

The Amanda doll confirmed that it was.”I’m going to get her,” Mandy said, “I’ll be right back.”

“I think Mandy is in danger,” The Abby doll said. “She knows too much.”


Mandy ran up the circular staircase that led to the tower. Her mother didn’t know she knew where the dollmaker worked. She probably shouldn’t go without permission, but she had to see the doll. Let’s see, she thought, it’s the door on the left.

Mandy pushed on the door, but it was locked. She was about to leave when she heard a shuffle on the other side. She quickly hid in the shadows of the dark landing and watched. The door opened and someone wearing a dark cloak with a hood came out. It must be the dollmaker, Mandy thought. Whoever it was took a key out, locked the door, then put the key in the cloak pocket. The dark figure started down the stairs, and Mandy was about to come out of her hiding place, when she saw the figure turn around, go back to the door, unlocked it and go back in. Apparently they had forgotten something. Moments later they came back out, but this time the key was left in the door.


The Story of Abby Ann…part 17

Life in the cabin was all about survival. Abby did the best she could over the next two years to take care of the younger children, but she was just a child herself. She decided early on they would not venture too far from their new little home. They had no idea how far they were from other civilization. At least the cabin kept them safe from wild animals, and they weren’t likely to be found by the men who had taken Amanda…or tried to.

They didn’t want to think too far ahead, but they prayed together daily that they would be found and returned to their home. The food in the cupboard was enough for awhile. They learned how to burn wood in the fireplace to stay warm, and there was a fire pit outside with a hook to hang a pot. This is where they cooked their oatmeal and cornmeal mush or thin crackers made from flour and water. They got water to drink and wash with from the little creek behind the cabin.

As the first winter approached and their food supply started to run low, Abby was afraid they would starve to death. There were fish in the creek, but try as they might, they couldn’t figure out how to catch them. Fear and cold weather were setting in, when their savior came in the form of a dog.


The name on the collar said Beau. He was a beautiful dog and he truly saved the frightened little children. He never left them for long, and when he did, he came back with fish from the stream, or a rabbit for their stew. The children gathered wild berries and onions. They found a book in the cabin about edible wild weeds and plants. It also taught them about skunk cabbage that they could eat, plus it could also be used for medicinal purposes.

They survived by working together to meet each challenge they were faced with. Abby’s biggest worry was that Tony was growing and would soon need new protheses. She rubbed his scars where his lower legs had been removed, with an ointment she made from rabbit fat and the skunk cabbage. He was so brave, and never lost his ready smile.

Andy started to talk a little. He learned how to do so many things. He gained confidence, and he trusted this family he knew loved him. Alice had learned to slow down when she spoke. She barely stuttered.

Abby was thinking about all of this that day, as she pulled the crudely built sled, that held the dry wood she was bringing to the cabin.



The Dollmaker

The dollmaker was almost finished with the last doll. This creation was not in the likness of a child. No, the children were almost taken care of. This doll was in the likeness of an adult.

The children would no longer interfere. Four of them had been lost in the woods two years ago. They most likely starved to death or had some other fateful mishap. The fifth child, Amanda had bolted from the bus and ran. Her father had shown himself too soon. It took them two days to find her but, she was no longer a threat. Her father had taken Amanda abroad and had no intention of bringing her back.

The plan was brilliant. Bringing Mandy and her parents to the estate under the guise of giving them eveything topped it all off. With that thought, the dollmaker got back to the final touches of the current masterpiece. Andrea and Allen were getting too close to finding out the truth. The final phase of the grand scheme had begun. It was all so perfect.

images (4)



I took the new doctor to see Uncle Charles. Aaron had checked his references and everything appeared to be in order. Thankfully, the new nurse had stayed on.

I know the doctor must have wondered why the poor man was stuck in a dark tower. “Good morning Uncle Charles,” I said. “I want to introduce you to your new doctor. You remember don’t you that Dr. Davis is no longer available to come and see you?” It was afternoon and Uncle Charles was awake, but still appeared to be in a fog of confusion. After the introduction, I left them alone so the doctor could do his examination.

I got to the dinning room in time to meet Aaron and Amanda for dinner. We had just seated ourselves, when we heard Aunt Bea coming. Aaron made sure he was out of the way when she came flying in. She came screeching to a stop, while (as always), holding her hat on her head.


“Oh my, I do love this new ride,” she said.” Then as before, she rang the little bell, and said grace.

“I’m happy you decided to join us,” I said. “It gives me a chance to catch you up on a few things. “Aaron found a new Dr. for Uncle Charles, and before he departed, Dr. Davis had a service send a new nurse over. I don’t think I told you we discovered Dr Davis and the attorney he directed you to, were both imposters.”

Aunt Bea seemed nonplussed by the news. “I rather liked Dr. Davis, but I barely knew the attorney. So you’re saying Dr. Davis, whoever he is, made sure Nurse Jones had a replacement? I assume  he will be taking the same medication. It seems to have calmed   him since his breakdown.”

“The new nurse seems much more pleasant than Nurse Jones,” I said, as the food was being served. “There is no relationship between and the man posing as Dr. Davis and the new nurse. Someone who said they were Dr Davis called the service to make the request, but they had no prior business business dealings with him, and he gave no special instructions.”

At that bit of news, Aunt Bea seemed physically shaken. She didn’t comment, and after a few bites of food, she excused herself. It was a much more subdued Aunt Bea that got on her “New ride” and left the room.

The following morning, I met with the Dr. shortly after taking Mandy to the library to get started with Ms. James. The Dr. and I spoke in the parlor. “Ms. Allen, I was able to go over the tests I recommended we run on your Uncle. Since the previous nurse seems to have taken the medication with her when she left, I was at a disadvantage as far as making a completely accurate diagnosis. The tests however, did reveal some things you should be aware of.”

“Certainly Doctor,” I replied. Is it bad news?”

“On the contrary, I have reason to believe your Uncle has been over medicated. The strongest of people would be in a stuper if they had been given the high level of sedatives we found in Mr. Sanders blood workup. It’s too early to tell how much he will recover, but I will tell you, if the current treatment had gone on much longer, he might not have survived.” The doctor stood then looked toward the doorway.

“Th6fbb14137a7249983637a903ada980e7ank God, we were in time.” I turned to see who was there. It was Mandy’s tutor…

“Ms. James,” I said. “I don’t understand.”

“I don’t suppose you do,” she replied. “Then she did something that cleared up one mystery.

The  woman standing before me, was the children’s teacher and Mandy’s tutor. “I’m Belle,” she said. “Charles is my father, and Amanda is my daughter. These last two years, I have been searching for Amanda. Her Father is a dangerous man, and I’ve had to be careful. I’ve gotten close to finding them, but he’s always one step ahead of me. I tried to keep track of my father as well,” she said, “I knew he was failing quickly, which is why I came back.”

“Yes,” I said. “Hopefully,he will recover sufficiently to get some enjoyment in his life.”

“May I ask why you were disguised, and posing as Mandy’s tutor?” I questioned.

“Of course,” Bell appologized, “I feared my ex husband, Amanda’s Father, would discover I was here and try to harm me.” Then she shook her head, “I just don’t care anymore.  I only want to see my Father.”